Making explainer videos for complex products: need-to-knows

Oliver Wilson

Product explainer videos are the ultimate sales tool for your product, helping to digest key messaging, features and benefits into what typically ranges from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

When communicating your offering in a one-pager or web page, having a visually strong story told through video or animation can engage prospects in a way that blocks of text simply can’t. Many people are visual, and can retain information more accurately through watching a video rather than having to read and mine for key information. 

Whether your explainer is an in-house project, briefed to a creative agency or it’s a joint effort, there are some golden rules to remember that can turn good videos into great ones. 

Less is (almost) always more 

Trying to squeeze every feature, specification and benefit into one video will leave you with a lengthy, uninspiring piece. Not only will it miss the mark in terms of creative storytelling, it will also cause unnecessary expense.

Your script should mirror the key benefits and pain points that teams use to sell into customers in the first place. Focus on the powerful, attention-grabbing statements. The longer, more complex conversations can be had later. The important thing is to get customers on the hook.

Focus on the substance before the creative

Before getting distracted with concepts and execution, the core messaging must be decided on and agreed. Start with knowing how long you want your video to be, its context and work your narrative into topline sentences to put a skeleton to your script. This can then be used as a base by your agency or your in-house team to develop. 

Have a clear sign-off process

When too many people are involved in signing off scripts, storyboards and final edits, video projects can become a nightmare to manage. This is because everyone will have their own stance on what should be priority messaging and before you know it the script is left bloated and lifeless. 

Ensure that only the key people are involved and, if anything needs to be shared with the wider team, keep this to script-stage only. Everything beyond this point can be managed by a small team. If not, you’re likely to see your timeline move back several times. 

Don’t litter your script with statistics

As powerful as stats can be to support the point you want to make, they are often lengthy and can be jarring in a conversational script. Likewise, they can quickly date should you wish to use your sales video beyond the year you created it. 

Keep language simple

When talking about complex products, sometimes using specific acronyms or terminology can’t be avoided. That’s why it’s important to keep the rest of the video as clear and concise as possible. Too many long words or country-specific idiom use can make it difficult to receive quality translations that have the same impact as your original message. 

Tease the call-to-action

If you’ve got enough time in your storyboard, give your audience the option of making direct contact but also a secondary option that leads them to finding out more. Include a URL or instructions on how to get more detail so they don’t feel like their only option is a daunting action or commitment. 

Need help getting your videos off the ground?

We provide complete, end-to-end video creation and execution, or support you in the areas your team needs the most assistance with. Whether you’re starting from scratch or with an exact vision, we can help you turn complex offerings into powerfully simple explainer videos in no time.

Want to talk more about what you need? Get in touch with us to find out how we can help. Or connect with me directly on LinkedIn if you’d like to chat.


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