Harness the power of explainer videos to generate sales

05th October 2021

Remember when digital marketing was a simple affair? No, neither do we, but it does seem that the path from first awareness to post-sales loyalty has become longer and more intricate.

Do you ever feel like you’re losing potential customers along the way (spoiler: you are, because everyone does). So, what can you do about that?

This guide is going to dig down into how an explainer video can help reduce the complexity of your business proposition and make sales simpler with lots of actionable tips along the way.

We’ll be looking both at the content of the explainer: how they are well-placed to show off your proposition and why they can have more success than a written or graphical attempt to explain your proposition. Even though explainers have many uses across the whole digital marketing funnel, we’ll be looking at delivering your value proposition in explainer form.

We’re not going into too much detail about what a proposition is or why it’s important, since we’re sticking to explainer videos, but we do need to look at the various ways you can show off your proposition. One of these way is a short, eye-catching brand proposition, think Coke’s “Opening happiness” and Slack’s “All your tools in one place”.

Of course, this short version is the application of your value proposition, not the proposition itself. The longer version will be far more complex with many ideas that need to be communicated to the customer.

An explainer video fits into that picture by letting you release the creative brakes and show the customer your proposition off in all its glory. Take the time to highlight:

  • Your customer’s main problem.
  • All the benefits your product offers.
  • What makes these benefits valuable.
  • How do you connect this value to your buyer’s problem?
  • How you differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.

Remember to put the creative brakes back on before you start to ramble. Engagement remains a key element in explainer videos and overburdening the point won’t encourage this.

We also need to consider user intent: what brought them to your explainer video? There is a right and a wrong time to introduce your value proposition. Too early and it’s like someone asking to marry you on your first date. Too late and you risk losing their interest to a competitor.

Getting the timing just right means adding search intent to your planning process. We’ll look at this when we investigate “thumb-stopping” content, later.

Your viewer’s route to your content can also have a bearing. Was it a Google search? A YouTube search? QR Code scan? We’ll be looking at activation and calls to action for explainers designed to show your proposition.

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How to explain your value proposition in a video

You know your value proposition backwards. Often that level of intricate knowledge means you’re too close to the subject to be able to get a good overall view. Fear not, we’ll help with that.

Your proposition will be made up of a number of elements, features, benefits and customer knowledge points. There are a hundred and one ways to create one, but let’s start from this:

Template for the Value Proposition Canvas - Peter Thompson

Source: Peter Thomson

The point of using a value proposition canvas like this is to focus you on things that actually matter to the customer, the things they value and need. It also helps you balance this with what you’re offering and how your product or service meets those values and needs. Balance and focus will be watchwords for your explainer video, too.

Just like Coke used this type of data to create “Open Happiness”, a very short form of value proposition, you can use it to create an explainer video.

Let’s take a look at an explainer video that uses value proposition as the backbone of the creative narrative.

The Amazon Go value proposition is different from the parent Amazon’s proposition. Amazon Go provides a frictionless shopping experience that removes queues, increases convenience and offers the use of complex technology in a simple to use package.

All of these value propositions are covered in the video in ways that put the viewer at the centre of the experience. How does it feel to use an Amazon Go store? That’s the narrative-driven approach to this explainer video.

Your own value proposition will be unique to you (or at least it should be unique since you’re showing why a customer should buy from you, not a competitor).

Even the complicated stuff, like the technology that is used in the store, is covered in a really easy to understand way.

Amazon covered features, benefits and experience in a single 90-second explainer, and you can too.

The key is to boil down the message and not get bogged down in detail. How do you benefit the customer in ways your competition doesn’t? Are you faster, smarter, easier to use? What pain points do you address? Can you talk about the experience customers get when using you?

Or look at it from the other side. What fears can you help overcome? What needs do your customers express (remember people don’t buy drills, they buy holes in the wall!)

Now comes the creative bit. An explainer video can come in many formats. Animated, 2D, 3D, motion graphics, live-action, whiteboard, kinetic text and many more. One of these formats (or maybe even a little mix and match) will help you deliver the point you need to make.

The end results you’re looking for can be creatively evaluated. Ask yourself, “Is it competitive, relevant and true?” Much like the value proposition itself, your explainer videos need to be different from the competition. They need to be something the target audience actually cares about. Amazon Go customers don’t care about how clever the tech is, they just want to fill their fridge with food.

Does your explainer message follow the three golden rules: impact, communication and persuasion? Will anyone actually hit the play button? Is your value proposition framed in a way that connects with viewers? Does the video engage them? At Hurricane media, we’ve pioneered a structure called EFA (Emotion, Fact, Action!). Make the emotional connection, back it up with facts, and as if by magic the viewer will take action.

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What is thumb-stopping content? Literally stopping users in their tracks.

As well as delivering your value proposition in the right way, the video needs to be produced to a standard that will grab the viewer’s attention.

There may be times when someone specifically searches or seeks out your explainer video, and that’s great. But most of the time users will come across your site via search. As explainers most often take the form of “help” style content, this is what we’d expect.

It’s here you must marry together; the message, the timing of the customer journey, production of the video and the point of activation. Your video needs to deliver the right message, at the right time, in the right way, and to the right pair of eyes. If that sounds like a tall order, don’t worry, we’ll break it down.

  1. Message
    You’ve already got the message right, as we covered in the previous section. You’re showing customers your value proposition.
  2. Customer journey
    This is all about search intent. Your message is about your value proposition. You’re answering the fundamental question of “if I’m your ideal customer, why should I buy from you rather than your competitors?” This mindset leads to particular search queries: “Is ABC company ethical?” or “Does ABC have good customer service?” These types of queries show how the searcher is thinking about you. It’s time to show them the true value of your offering with your explainer video.
  3. Adopt the right style
    We’ve talked about types of explainer videos above, and it’s a nebulous subject that is too big for serious discussion in this guide. Suffice to say that your video needs to be produced in the right way. That “right way” will depend on your potential audience, brand, message and other production goals. Take a look at what others have done and see if you can figure out why it works, then apply that to your own production.
  4. Getting the right viewer engaged
    Activation, married to search intent, is about making sure the people who are supposed to see the video actually see it. While a view and thumbs up from Mrs Smith in London are great, if your target audience is builders from Luton, you’re not getting a good ROI from your video.

How you manage the SEO and organic search for your video is again too big a subject for this guide, but we’ve got some SEO tips here. Do remember that some sites, like YouTube, adjust their algorithms regularly so remember to keep up-to-date on developments.

Putting all of this together leads to thumb-stopping content (a good thumbnail won’t hurt either). Modern content consumers don’t give you much of a chance to attract their attention so managing to show them something that stops them in their tracks is a real feat.

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Do all roads lead to leads?

Let’s drag this back to the brass tacks. You want sales. Your explainer video needs to generate these sales. There is a right and a wrong time to show a customer your value proposition. This is not content designed primarily for raising awareness, it’s designed more for consideration.

Knowing that you need to ensure activations of your video happen at the right time (as we discussed above).

What is your video asking the viewer to do? Something, we hope, or it’s a missed opportunity. The right call to action here is a tough ask as the customer is at a notoriously tricky stage of the buying cycle.

This makes having a call to action really important. A direct line to sales isn’t a bad bet. If they clicked with your value proposition they may well be ready to buy. Let’s create some action, here, right?

If you’ve chosen the right video platform, then you may be able to add interactive elements, such as an email form, book now, or ‘sign up’ website link. Failing that a QR code can be presented which, when scanned from a mobile, initiates a phone call (they may, however, be watching on their mobile already). We’re looking for a frictionless way for them to get what they want. Think outside the box to make that happen.

Tying it all together

As a format that works right across the whole marketing cycle, video can bring value wherever you choose to use it.

Video works generally because it’s what our brains want, and explainer videos work specifically because they drive a story in a fun, accessible way.

No matter how complex your overall proposition is you’ll be able to find a way to get that across in an explainer video. It might not be immediately obvious but we promise that with some careful thought a method can be found to tease that message out.

Thread that amazingly produced video into your digital marketing funnel in the right way and you’ll get some seriously impressive results.

There is no reason your value proposition can’t be part of your video arsenal. Show the value you offer, the problems you solve and why you understand the pain points better than your competitors and you may very well walk away with a sale.

Do you have a complex idea that needs an explainer?
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