Stimulating website content has never been more important for landing page visitors. People retain more when they’re given both visual and verbal information to digest at once, which is why animated explainer videos make for memorable content that stands out in a sea of marketing media.
Animated explainer videos are powerful, popular tools for marketing almost any business, product or service. As the president and co-founder of Sparkhouse: Strategic Brand Films, I’ve worked on numerous explainer videos with my team in a variety of creative options. I’ve found there are many advantages, including the ability to create a piece of video content without any actors, locations, cameras or other costly elements, allowing you to release a video about a business, product or service that doesn’t even exist yet! Even if you’re not a professional video producer, knowing the main steps in creating an animated explainer video can put you ahead of other business owners. Familiarize yourself with the prototype, manufacturing and conception stages of an offering and present an animated explainer video to get your audience excited about its debut. Target potential customers, investors or even partners in your quest to get the word out.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind as you’re going through the process of creating such a video:
- Set clear goals. What are you trying to accomplish? This needs to be very clear before you start. You can have more than one goal, but keep it to a maximum of three objectives. If you have multiple concepts, you should make multiple videos rather than jamming too much into one.
- Keep the target in mind. Where will the video live and who will be watching it? Adjust the strategy and content of the video based on whether it is going to be emailed to a viewer, watched on a homepage, or delivered in an ad.
- Write a concise script. Keep it a short (we recommend under 1.5 minutes), while using a casual style for the voice-over (VO). Explainer animations tend to follow a conversational tone, so aim for a fun and light feel.
- Create a mood board/style guide. Animated explainer videos are all about the graphics, so make sure to do your research and really put in some time here. Collect references from your favorite artworks, graphics, cartoons and other animations that fit the style you are going for. I often use Abduzeedo.com and Pinterest to share ideas.
- Go through your storyboards with a fine-toothed comb. After you sit with your designers to sketch out basic storyboards, work with them to create two lists: an animation list, detailing every single visual element in the storyboards, and an animation blueprint, used to plan out how each element moves from scene to scene and section to section. Be very specific! These two lists will make sure everyone is on the same page before the animation process begins, which can help save lots of time later.
- Pick the right voiceover. If you have a member of your team who is the face of your company, this person is a great candidate to be your VO artist. If you don’t, there are many great services online to audition high-quality voice talent without the need for renting a studio or any sound recording equipment. We recommend Voices.com.
- Use music and sound effectively. We have found that music and sound effects can make a huge difference in optimizing the quality of the video, maintaining viewers’ attention and emphasizing specific points. We create custom scores for all of our videos in-house, so we have the luxury of timing our music and sound effects to the finalized animation. There are also several online sources where you can get affordable royalty-free music, and with some time and dedication, you can find the perfect song to fit the feel of your production.
I know it’s a lot of work, but if you’re going to create an animated explainer video, you want to do it right. By detailing your business through graphics, narration, and music, you can give your viewer an avenue to easily understand your company and fall in love with it. Use your animation on website landing pages or homepages to hook visitors and keep them engaged — plus there’s the key factor of shareability across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media.
Good luck animating!
A version of this article originally appeared here.