Within the past few years, video marketing has become the preferred way to inform viewers and sell products. That’s because a combination of visual and audio content is more powerful than written words or static images alone. Today animated explainer videos are being used everywhere – Why are they so popular? Business videos are trending in 2021 because they’re the best way to engage viewers and convince them to take action. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into how to use animated explainers to help your organization in various ways.
The difference between business animation and live-action video
In a general sense, there are 2 types of video production methods for business instead of entertainment: They’re either “live-action” or animated.
Live productions are expensive because human actors are costly. On the other hand, animated characters are very economical:
A live-action video could never give so much information so clearly in such a short time. That’s why animated explainers like that one are so effective.
How to get the best animated videos for your business
Let’s walk through the process of creating high-converting videos, so you’ll know the winning characteristics to look for.
Planning & goals
Whether you’re thinking about using video for selling or training purposes, the first step is to think about the results you want to achieve. What do you want people to learn by watching the video, and what do you want them to do afterward?
As we’ll explain later, if you’ve told your audience an engaging and effective story, then they’ll respond at the end of your video by clicking through and taking whatever steps you require – That’s your call-to-action or CTA.
There are plenty of choices to be made, and there are many powerful options available, depending on how and where you plan to use your videos. The goals you set will influence your CTA as well as how the video is produced, as we’ll explain later.
We’ll walk through the steps necessary to produce high-converting videos, whether you want to produce them by DIY methods, or whether you plan to work with a team of video explainer experts.
Good storytelling is the key to success
Just like movies from Hollywood, successful commercial videos usually have a simple yet engaging storyline. There are various formats for storylines, but they all focus on telling a story that viewers can understand.
The traditional approach to scriptwriting and storylines is to simply present the problem, then show a solution to that problem. When you’re selling products and services, that means using the video characters to highlight the pain points associated with the problem.
Here’s an example of a problem-solution format:
Notice how the problem (hiring the wrong people for the wrong jobs) is presented at the beginning of the video, then the solution (the company’s HR software) is introduced immediately. The rest of the run-time is devoted to showing the platform’s features and benefits.
That’s the problem-solution storyline format. It’s a way of leading prospective buyers to see your product as the solution to their problems.
The traditional sales method of just showing a problem and then a solution may not be enough to hold viewers’ attention. So, anytime there’s a question about how to grip viewers and make sure they stay engaged, the hero-with-benefits format can be more effective.
In this type of storyline, the audience is first introduced to an animated character “hero” who represents the ideal marketing persona for that audience.
The storyline covers the hero’s journey – First, the audience feels the same pain points as the hero. Next, the hero discovers the solution to the problem.
Here’s a great example of a “hero” storyline:
Our animated hero is a working mother who needs life insurance. The story begins by introducing the hero and highlighting her worries about providing security for her children in case of her death.
The hero becomes aware that buying life insurance can solve her problem and give her peace of mind. Problem solved!
With this type of format, it’s more effective to highlight benefits instead of features. That’s because a minute-long video doesn’t give you enough time to explain (or even to list) multiple technical features.
Besides, the audience isn’t interested in your product’s features, they’re only interested in learning about the direct benefits for themselves. That’s the reality of marketing in a world with short attention spans.
Another popular storyline format is a documentary-style timeline. These productions are especially popular for educational explainer videos and training tutorials produced in serial form.
Here’s a standout example of a storyline that moves chronologically:
The story begins with the early days of medical research, then quickly leads the audience toward modern solutions for the old problem of anti-viral vaccine development.
Since the videos are so short, scripts need to be written so that every word has maximum effect. Most importantly, the spoken words of the script (narrative voiceover) must echo and illustrate the on-screen action.
You’ll also need to choose a narrator’s voice to target a given audience according to sex, tone, language, and even regional accent.
Check out how this video’s script flows smoothly, and the voiceover is clear and precise:
That’s a perfect example of crisp diction using a well-written script.
Choose the right STYLE for your video
The most common types of commercial videos are animated explainers, and there are several styles to fit specific needs. You should choose the right type, based on input from an experienced team of explainer video experts.
Animated whiteboard videos and hand drawn videos are popular styles. The hand-drawn style typically features an outsized hand drawing the topic on a plain background. They’re often accompanied by voiceover and music.
Depending on the topic, you could choose several different backgrounds for the handwriting – Plain whiteboard, lined notedbook paper, or any other type of writing surface that a visual artist could imagine.
As the hand sketches out ideas along your storyline, a human voiceover narrator describes processes and lists benefits. This type of production style is well suited anytime you want viewers eyes glued to the screen as the hand draws.
Another technique is to combine animation and live elements. For example, here’s a great example from a cyber-security company:
There’s something for everyone – It combines “live” imagery with animation as well as other graphics. Of course, the crisp voiceover ties everything together.
That’s truly memorable content with a strong impact!
“Live action” is a loser
As we’ve mentioned earlier, expert animation is the key to success. In 2021, animated characters represent about 95% of all marketing personas and tutorial avatars.
Live-action video is an outdated legacy for most business purposes, except for social media influencers who need to show live flesh. In nearly all use-cases today, animated characters are cheaper, and higher-converting than live actors.
For example, check out this emotional pitch for a long-term digital storage company:
The animated characters explain the concept quickly and clearly without relying on live-action actors to simulate fake emotions.
Animated characters cost less than movie stars
In most suburban marketplaces, the cost of producing live-action video is at least 5 times as expensive as comparable animation art. That’s because live action with human actors requires a big production crew and lots of time to record re-takes.
But animation is much simpler than live action – assuming your team includes a few highly-talented animators and producers. By combining expert animation together with voiceover, music, sound effects, and on-screen text, you’ll have better results than you’d get from a live-video agency.
That’s why most small businesses are choosing animated whiteboard videos and rejecting live action.
DIY vs. animated video explainer agency
If you’re reading this page, you’re probably thinking about using videos for your business. So, the main question is usually: Which is better, in-house DIY, or get help from an experienced explainer video team?
You might be tempted to hire a freelance animator, but don’t do it. Regardless of artistic talent, you’ll need a complete team to be successful:
- Graphic artist
- Voiceover narrator
- SEO expert
- Customer support
Good reasons for avoiding DIY video projects
Some organizations have the right in-house staff, but most homemade video productions look amateurish. All too often, swollen egos lead to poor results.
In most cases, the question is easy to answer: When you want to earn income or convince people to do something your way instead of theirs, it’s best to work with an agency.
Poor-quality presentation makes viewers think the entire organization is incompetent. So, a professional video production company is the best solution when you need things done right the first time.
For example, here’s a smooth production that engages viewers and drives them to click forward into the sales funnel:
It makes the complex topics of cyber-security and corporate intelligence easy to understand. The quality of the production reflects well on the quality of the company itself, so viewers have the confidence to click through and buy.
The best examples of good corporate video production techniques
If you’re thinking about using video, there are some easy ways to ensure successful results, whether you’re working with an agency or DIY. Have a look at the techniques used in these videos, and you’ll see the same winning characteristics in all of them.
Let’s face the truth: Talented animators and graphic artists are rare. They’re always in high demand, so you’ll typically find them working with leading agencies.
Since audiences equate the overall quality of an organization with its quality of presentation, DIY videos often bring losing results.
You should strive for good animation. That means well-drawn characters and crisp action. Here’s a clip that showcases exceptionally good talent:
Notice how smoothly the characters move, and how expressive their faces are. This is top-quality artwork that drives audiences into action!
A well-written script tells a story that grabs viewers’ attention. Every word of the script must be crafted to lead them toward your objective with a clear and convincing call to action.
Here’s an example of a clip whose script succeeds beautifully even though the topic is super complex:
The script tells a memorable story about a boooooring topic, acted out with animated characters.
Of course, corporate video production also uses on-screen graphics and professional voiceover. One of the common characteristics of great videos is the use of good narrators.
An expert narrator can give an authentic accent and tone to reach your target audience. When you’re listening to a professional narrator, they make voiceover sound easy to achieve, but it’s not.
Listen to the character in this clip – His voice is cheerful, crisp, and convincing. Most importantly, he gives listeners maximum information in minimum time:
If you’re a clear speaker, or you know someone who is, then you might try recording voiceovers yourself. On the other hand, if you work with the right agency then you’ll have access to a wide range of voiceover talent.
Successful organizations rely on broadly-skilled teams instead of counting on solo rockstars. One of the main reasons why business owners use leading agencies is to avoid costly problems later.
A leading video producer is always noteworthy for the level of customer care they provide. Just click here to see an example of how a leading agency organizes its contact page to ensure customer satisfaction.
Making videos is just like anything else: Enough time, interest and talent can make you successful. But if you’d rather focus on doing other things instead – such as your core business competencies – then you’ll have better results by working with an expert team.
To learn more about making videos for your business, just contact us!