It’s no secret that savvy marketers have many tools to connect with prospective leads through the entire buyer’s journey. For example, you can create an explainer video that matches each decision-making stage.
An explainer video introduces first-time users to your product or help improve your company’s reputation online.
By the end of 2022, Internet users will spend 82 percent of their time watching video content — most of us will use it for entertainment and education, as well as product research and making buying decisions.
Business owners need to make sure that they are well-represented in the medium. If you haven’t started making informational and explainer videos, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the strategies and tips that successful teams use to capture leads through explainer videos.
Questions to ask before writing your explainer video script
There aren’t many specific conventions of what a good script looks like when it comes to explainer videos.
Some of the best viral clips are funny, some are precise and to-the-point, while others are moving or thought-provoking.
Before you share different script ideas with your team, make sure you’ve laid the groundwork for productive brainstorming.
To ensure that all creators involved are aware of the team’s objectives, seek clear answers to these questions.
1. Who are your target viewers?
The number of videos uploaded online every moment is huge — Youtube creators publish over 500 hours worth of content each minute.
A viewer can’t watch all of these videos — that’s why audiences only choose clips that fit their needs, mood, or worldview.
To make sure a viewer sees your clips as relevant, identify your target audience. Segmentation is a popular way to understand who a video’s viewer is — here are the criteria you can use.
- Demographics — identify the age, gender, location, and occupation of your typical customer.
- Consumer behavior — how do your company’s average customers spend their time? What are their job responsibilities? Which daily struggles do they have to deal with?
- Needs and goals — what are the aspirations of your target viewer?
- Interests — which movies, TV shows, celebrities, books, or video games is the target audience fond of?
To create a buyer persona, consider gathering insights from other tools in your team — using data from an email builder, Facebook Ad Manager, and other sources often come in handy.
The Airtable video creators understand their audience clearly.
A few seconds into the ad, they use phrases like “if you are managing a project,” “organizing tasks” to show which user groups benefit from the platform.
2019’s Superbowl “Eat like Andy” ad was almost entirely misunderstood on social media.
Featuring Andrew Warhol as a protagonist, it felt unclear and outdated to the younger fraction of the company’s demographic.
2. What problem does your product or service solve?
When presenting your product in a video ad, you need to answer the question: “Why do I need this?” as quickly as possible.
Before working on a script, take some time to determine which problems your product solves and how it benefits the audience.
After you discovered your offer’s benefits, take some time to make them unique, concise, and memorable.
A few right strategies are:
- Thinking of embarrassing, awkward, or other emotion-evoking situations viewers get into because they are not using your product or service yet.
- Describing the impact of not solving the problem in a data-backed, scientific way helps introduce the audience to the objective benefits of becoming your client.
- Emphasizing the benefits of dealing with the problem by showing prospective clients how dealing with this concern can make them happier, more productive, or richer.
Before creating a script for this ad, Headspace figured out the pain points of its audience — low workplace efficiency, stress, insomnia.
Understanding the struggles of its audience helped the company present meditation as a smart solution to these problems.
AshleyMadison (an app that helps married couples find affair partners) launched this bold “Other Than My Wife” ad.
The backlash was huge — the clip even got a ban from Australian television.
While the polarizing nature of the service makes it extremely challenging to market, the video could perform better if, instead of promoting affairs, creators focused on the reasons that get people looking — freedom, excitement, lack of engagement with a spouse.
3. How will your product or service solve the problem?
Once you understand your target audience’s pain points, it’s time to think about the ways your company helps deal with these struggles.
Draw up a list of compelling reasons to use the product or service and find exciting ways to represent them visually.
A few interesting ideas are:
- Before-after comparisons — they demonstrate how a product or a service improves a user’s daily life.
- Show most popular product use cases and emphasize the ease of setup, convenience, and other characteristics important for a shopper.
- Address misconceptions about your product. If you’ve run ads before, chances are, some viewers have an idea of your product that might not include all of its benefits. Showing the full range of tools your solution or team offers helps break through the wall of misconceptions prospects have about your product or the type of offer in general.
In their commercial, Slack does a great job explaining how the platform is much more than a messenger highlighting its poster features — public channels, organizing communication in threads, and the ease of search.
In attempts to show problem-solving, brands often go to extremes.
Hyundai once got massive backlash for an ad under the slogan “Our cars are so safe you can’t even commit suicide in them”.
While the company was spot-on with identifying buyers’ desire for safety, the insensitive way of portraying the benefit led to a marketing disaster.
4. How is your solution different from other solutions?
Before you start working on a script, you need to make sure it reflects your offer’s uniqueness and helps it stand out.
There are several things marketing teams usually emphasize to differentiate their solutions from others.
- Size and volume.
- Convenient packaging.
- Added features (desk with expansion, laptop with a touchscreen).
- Included bonuses.
When emphasizing the difference between your product and service and other options in the market, make sure that your offer’s unique characteristic is relevant to customers.
In its demo video, Duolingo emphasizes gamification, making “learning languages and having fun” a unique feature of the platform.
The ad creators went an extra mile by choosing a cartoonish, child-like animation style to evoke the feeling of playfulness in a viewer.
T-Mobile’s 2019 Superbowl ad is an excellent example of how boring and uneventful a video clip can be when there’s no memorable detail that sets the brand apart from its competitors.
Most viewers of that 30-second text exchange didn’t get any urge to order sushi or tacos, nor to sign up for T-Mobile.
5. What is the One Big Thing you want viewers to think about after watching the video?
Finally, before passing the ball to writers, the marketing team needs to determine the takeaway a viewer should leave the video with.
After analyzing the company’s needs and priorities, come up with the objective you want a clip to accomplish. Here are some examples:
- Building brand awareness. In this case, you want to make sure that, after hearing the company’s name again, a video viewer says: “”I remember them”” and brings up your ad.
- Driving sales. A script should focus on describing the offer’s applications and benefits.
- Encourage people who are using a competitor’s product to try your solution instead. Marketers need to carefully study the competitor brand and create an ad that subtly compares two products and presents yours in a better light.
This Sphero ad features the company’s legendary Star Wars robot to help the brand introduce a new, lesser-known product.
This video for a product called SonicBox clearly wasn’t very well-planned.
It didn’t become any clearer what outcome this explainer was supposed to produce after watching the whole thing.
Writing a video script? Use this universal template
Your video should shine the light on your product’s benefits and show how the solution deals with a viewer’s struggles.
For a start, structure your story in sections — each of which has a clear marketing objective for the brand.
Finding the right structure for an ad or an infographic video requires years of experience — if you don’t have that much, consider using this flexible template for a converting script.
The defining feature of successful video ads is how direct and to-the-point they are.
As you write a video introduction, avoid beating around the bush.
Introduce your company, the product, and its main benefit within the first 10 seconds of the video.
Template: It’s [Name] from [Brand Name]. In this video, I’ll share X [tips, tools] for [designing a beautiful logo] in [under 5 minutes].
In this section of the script, you present your points, tips, or tools. Remember to back them up with:
- Stories from personal experience
- Customer testimonials
Depending on the video’s goal and target audience, you can either keep a playful conversational tone or be more formal — the way Hubspot is in this informational video.
Conclusion and a call-to-action
After you did your best to share value with a viewer as possible, the ball is in their court.
End your video with a clear call to action to encourage viewers to advance a relationship with the company.
Template: X is exactly the [type of service/product a customer needs] you have been looking for. You can [try it for free, get in touch with our team] on [website name].
5 tips to write compelling explainer video scripts
A clear understanding of your target audience, its wants, and needs is important for making an awesome video. So is a well-defined structure that helps present your offer in the best light.
However, it’s the tone of your writing and design that makes the final impression about a video.
Make sure that poor word choices and clunky paragraphs don’t stand in the way of connecting with the audience by following these tips:
When we write, long sentences don’t seem that complicated.
However, people are highly inefficient in retaining what they hear, keeping track of only one-fourth of all the words said in a monologue.
That’s why, in scriptwriting, less is more — instead of saying: “X is an innovative, next-generation tool for”, use simpler wording, like “X helps [application]”.
Some grammar checker tools, like Grammarly, highlight wordy sentences — consider giving your script a check before passing it over to the production team.
Keep it short
As you look at the trends of video consumption — one thing’s clear. We like watching short clips instead of long films. The sprouting growth of one-minute TikTok clips and Instagram stories are two clear cases in point.
Keeping your ads short is a standard best practice.
Statistically, 16 to 20 seconds (up to 90 words) is enough for an online ad, while a TV spot can be slightly longer — up to 1 minute (180 words).
There are exceptions to the rule as well — in the case of Leica, viewers highly praised the company’s 44-minute-long video — maybe, because the company was honest enough to call it “the most boring ad ever made”.
Make sure the script fits for voice.
Before you green-light the script and send it over to production, make sure it will be easy for the narrator to work with the lines.
There isn’t much to it — it’s enough to read the voiceover a few times out loud, replacing the words that are easy to stutter on with simpler ones.
Add transition cues.
If your script includes location changes or angle transitions, make sure to cue the production team on that. There are plenty of tools that allow adding comments to scripts and storyboards.
For example, marketing teams can use HubSpot to add cues like “transition to a person standing in front of the camera”, “voice over an animated clip”.
These simple notes give the production team an understanding of how many locations are involved and help cut a ton of shooting time.
Getting started with your explainer video
Writing ad scripts is both fun and challenging because there are few standards creators have to follow.
You have a lot of freedom in choosing the genre, the visual, and the final draft’s writing style.
A huge volume of decisions to make can be overwhelming — that’s why it’s better to come into production with a well-structured script and a clear understanding of the goals you expect the video to accomplish.
At the end of the day, while the road of video content creation is steep, it’s highly rewarding. The relationships business owners manage to form by sharing meaningful clips with audiences are strong and long-lasting.
Editor’s note: This blog post was written in collaboration with Andriy Zapisotskyi of Mailtrap.
Andriy is a Growth Manager at Mailtrap, a product that helps people inspect and debug emails before sending them to real users. You can connect with Andriy via Linkedin or Facebook and share your feedback on the article directly there.