We know what you’re thinking:
“Guys, making videos is literally what you do. How can you write a post criticizing perfectionism? Isn’t that kind of like shooting yourselves in the foot?”
To which we respond – great question! That’s a good point. Here’s why we’re doing it…
Yes, we make whiteboard animation videos for a living – and we’re pretty good at it, too. And precisely because we’ve been doing it for so long, we recognize that perfectionism can hurt your explainer video a lot more than it will help.
But we’re talking about a very specific kind of perfectionism… A well-documented phenomenon called “bikeshedding.”
What bikeshedding is, and how it can kill your whiteboard video
Here’s how bikeshedding works:
Let’s say you are doing a complex, demanding project. Like… oh, we don’t know, creating an explainer video. We think you will agree with us that it’s a difficult undertaking, with lots of big decisions to make, and many important things to consider.
So, instead of tackling those big decisions that will move the project forward, bikeshedding causes you to spend most of your time obsessing over trivial things like:
- Do you use male or female voiceover for the video?
- Should you put some color in the storyboard?
- What should the name of your customer avatar be in the script?
- How long should the video be, exactly?
- Do you put your company logo at the start, or the end? Or both?
And so on, and so on, until you’ve completely lost track of what really matters to the success of your video (we’ll talk about it in a moment).
That’s how perfectionism often manifests – as bikeshedding. We see it every day. And if you decide to create a whiteboard video of your own someday, we want to help you avoid this intellectual equivalent of spinning your wheels,
And that’s what this week’s post is all about! Let’s dive in.
How do you craft a persuasive marketing video without falling prey to bikeshedding? That’s easy – start with the “big rocks.”
5 “big rocks” that will make or break your whiteboard animation video
If you want to 80/20 your way to a hard-hitting whiteboard animation video, there are 5 things you want to pay extra attention to. You will notice that they have nothing to do with small-time tactics and “quick fixes” we have talked about before…
…and everything to do with the big picture of how your video will be perceived and remembered by viewers. Let’s look at each of them in detail.
1. The almighty context
When viewers interact with your whiteboard video, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Their experience is shaped by:
- Which subset of your target market they belong to
- Where they are on their customer journey
- Whether or not the offer is well-aligned with what they want
- The technical and design aspects of the viewing experience
Context is by far the most neglected factor in the process of creating a whiteboard animation video. That’s why we don’t write a single word of a video script until we fully understand it!
Learn more: We wrote an entire post about the impact of context on conversions from your whiteboard animation video. You can check it out here. For extra credit, complement it with this article about customer awareness.
2. The first ten seconds
Research shows that you get about 10 seconds to hook your viewer in – or they will vanish faster than you can say “doodle poodle.”
Investing the time and energy to craft a compelling opening can increase viewer retention, making sure that as many people as possible get to see and hear your offer. So next time you’re thinking of new ways to improve your video, look at the first ten seconds and ask:
“How can I make it impossible for my customers to ignore this?”
Learn more: If you’d like to get a few tips on how to create a gripping intro for your explainer video, you’re in luck – because we already covered it! This post will give you several actionable tips on how to glue your viewers to the screen (figuratively, and perfectly legally).
3. The emotion you want to evoke
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if your product or service isn’t vastly superior to everything else on the market. It’s even OK if you haven’t explained every single thing about it.
And the reason it doesn’t matter is this… Even though people remember a great video for up to 30 days since viewing it, they don’t memorize the details. Instead, they recall how it made them feel.
If you want to improve a video by an order of magnitude, think about the emotional response. Do you want to make people laugh? Are you going for their pain points and frustrations? Would you like them to feel enthusiastic and hopeful?
Decide – and instead of losing sleep over minor details, do that.
Learn more: If you want to learn how to balance logic and emotion in your explainer video, we highly recommend this article, which will show you exactly that.
4. “What life will be like”
There’s a saying that marketers love, and it goes like this:
“When you buy a drill, what you’re really buying is a hole in the wall.”
And it’s 100% true, regardless of what you sell. So when you’re making an explainer video, you can’t just talk about your product or service – you have to connect it to the result your target customer cares about.
Better yet, you should take them on a mental journey into the future, when your offer will have changed their life. You should show them how much better things will be, and how many benefits they will enjoy.
In copywriting, they call it “future pacing,” and it can give your video some serious persuasion superpowers. Don’t neglect it.
Learn more: For a quick primer on effective copywriting (for videos and everything else), check out this blog post on the topic.
5. Your call to action
The whole point of a whiteboard animation video is to get the viewer to do something. You can’t pretend to have persuaded someone unless you inspire them to take action – even if it’s something as small as clicking a button.
That’s why the call to action at the end of your explainer video is the second most important element (the most important being the intro). Refining it is critical to your success. Even if you can manage only a 10% improvement, it can have a disproportionate impact on your conversions.
Learn more: If you want to know exactly what makes an irresistible call to action, we have an actionable guide for you right here. If you use it, you can transform any lukewarm CTA into a small masterpiece of persuasion.
But whether we like it or not, the process of video production isn’t just about those “big rocks.” The little things need to be taken care of, too. And that brings us to this next part…
Still need to decide on the little things? Here’s how…
At this point you might say:
“Sure, I get it – the little things won’t make or break my whiteboard video. But I still need to make a decision, one way or another. And I gotta do it quickly, so I don’t waste any time! How?”
Well, you’re in luck! Because we’ve gathered the most common questions and concerns our clients raise on a regular basis. And we’re going to address them right now.
“Should I use male or female voiceover?”
The short answer is: listen to several samples of voice actors, and then decide which one would be the best fit for your video. If you have found a strong voice that carries your message well, you can be reasonably sure that your target market will respond favorably.
Yep – it’s that simple. And normally we would be the last people to tell you to “go with your gut” on something… but it’s genuinely the most straightforward course of action.
Learn more: If you’re doing the voice in-house, or have trouble deciding between two equally awesome samples, you might want to check out this post. Inside, you will learn several guiding principles for choosing the best voiceover – and a few surprising discoveries about how viewers perceive male and female voices.
“How long should my whiteboard animation video be?”
The most important rule of thumb is: the more complicated the offer, the longer the video needs to be. Selling a sophisticated product, like life insurance or medical nanorobots, is very different from selling something your customers already know about, like wine or paper supplies.
And if you still want us to quote a specific number… for most explainer videos, the “sweet spot” is between 1 to 3 minutes. Which doesn’t tell you much, but hey – you insisted on it!
Learn more: There are a few factors to consider when deciding on the length of your video. We tackled the question of long-form vs. short form whiteboard animation videos a while ago. If you feel like you need a little more info before you decide, you should read it.
“I really want to include X – should I do it, or is it best to leave it out?”
Sometimes you really want to include extra information in your video, like:
- How many years your company has been in business
- How many industry awards you have won
- Your satisfaction guarantee
- The story of how your business got started
And when you’re debating something like that, it’s best to ask, “Does this information help my target customer take action, or not?” If the answer is no, don’t include it.
Seriously – even if you still have room in the script, leave out everything that doesn’t get your customer closer to yes.
You might be awfully proud of the fact that your company won the local “Best Place to Work” award. But guess what – your target customers don’t care!
On the other hand, if you were making a recruitment video for potential employees, this information could influence their decision to apply for a job opening with you. Therefore, you should include it.
Learn more: Failing to walk a mile in your customer’s shoes is one of the worst mistakes you can make when creating any kind of marketing material, video or not. For more “red flags” to avoid, you can read this article.
“What kind of tone of voice and wording should I use?”
When creating an explainer video, you often face a choice…
Do you stick with your brand voice, even if it’s as dry as a hundred-year-old camel skeleton in the middle of the Sahara? Or do you take a risk and go for something more casual, light-hearted, and more suitable to the format of whiteboard animation?
Here at The Draw Shop, we always recommend the second option. In our experience – based on hundreds and hundreds of video scripts we wrote – you can keep things casual but classy, letting the brand voice shine through at the same time.
Probably the most important thing about the tone of voice and choice of words is this: always, always draw directly from the source – your customers’ exact words and phrases. If you do that, your whiteboard video will kick butt.
Learn more: Writing an exceptional script starts with getting into your customers’ heads. Read this post if you want to learn how to find the exact language they use to talk about their pain points, hopes, fears, objections, and more.
Have more questions about whiteboard video?
We would love to help. You can book a free, no-strings-attached pow wow with one of our experts, and schedule a quick chat to answer all your questions. Fill out this super-short form, and we’ll get back to you on the double!