In previous blog posts, we’ve talked at length about the importance of using video for business. It doesn’t matter what your business is—whether you’re Google or a local butcher shop—video marketing is not just beneficial, it’s necessary for growth.
A startup video production is, without a doubt, even more valuable than videos for businesses in other stages of growth. Everyone knows Google, Amazon, or Apple.
Video can create awareness of a new campaign, strengthen brand messages, and inform for mega-companies like those, but at the stage they are in, it’s the icing on the cake.
If you have a startup, you are operating under the assumption that nobody knows who you are, with one of your main goals being to change that.
That’s why the startup video works so effectively – it’s often the first extensive impression people get of your new company.
You could probably predict that since yes, we are an animated video production company that specializes in explainer videos, I’m going to tell you that every startup needs a video.
And you’re right.
Every startup company needs a video. However, this is not some crazy suggestion we are inventing to try to sell you a video.
This is where things are now with business; this is how it’s done.
If you have any sort of online business presence, from a Facebook page to a website to social media accounts, you’re going to need branded content, and the most appealing to potential customers (by far) is video.
But just knowing you need a video and deciding to get one produced isn’t enough. Read on to learn the questions your startup video should answer!
1.Who Are You?
Now, before you think “yeah, obviously my business should be named in the video” and close out the tab to go read about what’s new with crypto, you’d be surprised how often we talk with young startups during discovery who haven’t quite hammered that out yet.
Not that they haven’t figured out the “company,” but what exactly the company mission is and what it means to the industry.
I’ve been on a few discovery calls where startup founders have had entirely different answers to this simple question. And it has resulted in them having to get their mission statements on the same page.
But hey, better late than never.
Many times it’s a difference in opinion of where to draw the line between brand and product. And how to represent that, but it’s still something that needs to be sorted out.
Sometimes it’s just branding, but that’s still a detail that needs to be set in stone. And it’s not just something that’s a challenge for startups.
I worked for Apple just after the first iPhone launched. There were hundreds of thousands of dollars (maybe millions?) spent on materials, training, and company meetings. They wanted to make sure that all employees stopped saying “The iPhone” and called it simply “iPhone.” I now wonder if they ever created campaigns calling it “The iPhone” that had to be completely redone or revised.
2.What’s the Core Message People Should Be Getting?
The answer to this almost always coincides with the message quality of the startup video.
Think of it like an elevator pitch.
One or two succinct, tight sentences that get the job done. The more refined the elevator pitch for your brand, service, or product, the more accurately we can convey it in your video.
This is especially true for industries with complex tech like blockchain, AI, or robotics.
If you can explain your business of using Kubernetes to enhance machine learning to automate algorithms for blockchain data mining in a sentence or two that investors with little understanding of it can relate to and get excited about, it’ll be that much easier to make you a killer video.
We always ask our clients what their elevator pitch is during discovery because we know how valuable this information is coming straight from the source.
3.What’s the Tone You Want to Convey for Your Brand?
Think of some of your favorite movies.
Now think of the tones, or emotions, that are tied into them.
Let’s take an extreme example – The Silence of the Lambs.
The feeling of dread in that movie saturates it from beginning to end, and there’s a lot at play that contributes to that gut-wrenching vibe. Washed out colors. Haunting music. Creepy performances. Tense pacing. Dark lighting – the climax, if you recall, is shown mostly with faint shadows in the dark from Clarice’s perspective.
Now, there’s a real good chance you aren’t trying to have people come away from watching your explainer video feeling hopeless, but the same methods apply when you’re looking to inspire, or excite, or pique curiosity.
We always ask our clients what tone they want to convey, and then build every facet of their startup video to work with that. Music, color, pacing, VO, even video length all come into play. Those all transmit to the viewer on both conscious and subconscious levels what you’re all about.
That’s just another reason video is so effective at marketing.
4.What’s the Message?
I’ll start this section with a tip:
When it comes to figuring out what you want to say, the less you say while still saying it, the better.
One of the most common mistakes that businesses searching for a video make is they come to a production company with a laundry list of “must-include” information. Just lists and lists of facts, features, and benefits that they want to cram in.
A sixty-second animated explainer video script is going to be 150-160 words spoken at an energetic, yet not overwhelming pace. But that also doesn’t mean you should use those 150 words to list a dozen features.
That’s what we call a “feature dump,” and it’s a view killer.
We get it, you’ve got a great product and you want people to know about it. But you have to be strategic.
No one wants to watch a business video that just lists a bunch of dry information.
They want to be entertained, they want to be inspired, and they are hoping to be stirred.
If they stick around past the opening hook of your startup video, they want to be excited to take action by the end. They are your customer to lose at that point.
So keep it simple with your message with one main focus and two-four sub-goals or features to support it. Throw an impactful hook on the front and a strong CTA on the caboose, and you’re good to go.
5.Why Should A Viewer Care?
Even if it’s the most technically astounding video ever made, if it doesn’t hook a viewer in emotionally, it’s just a pretty thing to look at and forget like a Hollywood summer movie that has one of those reviews that says “the graphics were incredible” but you walk out of and forget about immediately.
But the movie producers already got your money, so it doesn’t matter. If people had to pay to watch your explainer video and it was completely forgettable, that would be no big deal.
But you need them to retain interest well beyond the end of it.
That’s why we like to work a lot with metaphors and emotional hooks within the first few seconds of content. This is especially important for complex ideas and tech products. Sometimes we can all get wowed by the newest tools, apps, and ideas. But we are emotional beings, and if there’s nothing that humanizes your message for your audience, it’s not going resonate.
6.Who is the Video For?
This question is a bit different since it’s more of a question for you than your customer, but it’s essential and often overlooked, so I figured I’d throw it in.
Another extremely big difference-maker between average explainer videos and great ones is knowing and hitting the target audience.
This can be a bit tricky because it’s something that doesn’t get as much thought.
If you have any kind of product, you know exactly who it’s for. Almost all good or great services or products exist because they answered that very question, often times by necessity. The founders saw a hole in the market, or had a problem that they couldn’t find a good enough existing solution for, and they took the action to change that.
But the target market for your product may not be the target market for your startup video.
There are many instances where the decision makers you are trying to reach are not who the product is for at all!
If you’ve made the greatest toothbrush ever, but you are trying to reach investors with your video, at least half of the content (if not more) is going to be entirely different than if it were a B2C video. You need to lay out business strategies, internal goals, and more comprehensive information than just sixty seconds of smiling faces and positive branding statements.
This also applies in some B2B instances, as well.
We’ve created many explainer videos that are designed to get, say, an IT Lead excited and then bring it upstairs to the C-level decision maker. And what gets the IT person or specific department head in the company excited usually differs than what the CEO gets fired up about, so it needs to be tailored a bit differently.
So that’s why the target audience for your video is one of the most important questions that needs to be answered.
7.What Do You Want Your Viewer to Do After Watching?
There’s a lot of variation with what the end result of someone watching a video should be, even with startups. Sometimes all you’re looking for is to get your name out there—to make an imprint so that when they see your product for sale in a Facebook ad they’ll already be familiar.
Many times you are, however, looking to get people to take action. This is where a strong CTA benefits.
Get them excited with a good reason to take action, and then make it real easy to take that action. “Visit us at 123.com.” “Click here to download our free app.” Etc.
If it’s only exposure you’re looking for, great, but if there is a viewer action you’re pressing for, make sure that there’s a clear and easy path for them to do it as soon as the video ends.
So this is the breakdown of the kinds of questions your startup video should answer. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have for us.
We hope that you’ve found this post useful. I do want to mention that when we partner with a business to create an explainer video, we go through all of these elements during the early stages of our work together – especially during the discovery stage. We work together with you and use an in-depth questionnaire to learn everything we can about you, your brand, your goals, and so on, in order to create an explainer video that aligns perfectly with your business from the beginning.
Additionally, we would highly recommend that you check out this post that goes step-by-step through the entire production process. It’s quite beneficial to see how it works, and if you’ve ever been curious to see the inside workings of how an explainer video is made, it’s worth checking out.