The written word works, and that's undeniable – otherwise, we would no longer have written ads – but why restrict your possibilities to only written copy and diminish your chances of a better ROI and more effective communication?
According to research by TechSmith, 67% of people understand information better when it is communicated visually.
That's why introducing potential users to your product or service using a product instructional video can be a tremendous idea.
Because this may be your next asset, let's examine it in more detail.
What's a product instructional video?
A product instructional video is a video a company creates to introduce its product or service or to instruct the end-user on how to use one or more features of the product or service (e.g., an installation video) and the benefits they reap.
Because video content is more easily consumed than written content – even by visually impaired users who can still rely on the audio without screen readers – introducing your product or explaining its features with a video can be more effective than its written counterpart (more on this later).
Key steps to creating a product instructional video
Get a script written
Storytelling in a product intro video is key.
As an example, watch the homepage intro video for Wistia:
There are great storytelling and funny scenes here.
A script will help you get the storytelling right, as well as structure your video in a way that is effective at reaching your audience.
Generally speaking, a video script is a two-column document where you have a description of the scene going on the left, and reference to images, animations, facial expressions, and so on on the right, so you would know, for example, what kind of animation will appear when you are describing the fabric of the shoes you sell.
Use conversational language in your script. Don't make it formal. A friendly video is easier to consume and recall when it comes to product decisions.
Make it short
According to Vidyard, 73% of business videos are only two minutes or shorter, and only 2% reach 20 minutes in length.
That's smart because, with a shorter video, there is a smaller amount of information to retain, and it's easier for the viewer to retain most of it (in fact, most TV ads are short).
So making your video under 2 minutes in length leads to better ROI.
Tackle your audience's pain points
Your users will look for a connection in your product intro (and instructional) video: how does it relate to them? Does it show that you empathize with their pain points?
Believe it or not, an effective video is a video that focuses on the human rather than on the object (your product or service). So set up your video to offer benefits, not features.
Offer a solution
Why are you doing this video?
With an instructional video, it is clear that you're trying to help your user base to use your product or service, but what if it's an intro video you're planning?
Well, you still want it to be helpful.
Answer the question: what is the problem that your product or service is trying to solve? What pain points does it come to the rescue for?
And then make that the message of your video.
Have a compelling CTA
When you have given viewers enough reason to like you and your product, it's time to give them something to do: a compelling CTA that will make it easy to go to that landing page where they can sign up for a free trial of your product or service.
It's important to add your CTA at the end of your video, not at the beginning or in the middle because viewers need to watch it in full to be persuaded that your product is the thing they're looking for.
As an example, watch the intro video for ClickUp on their homepage:
It's animated, pleasant to watch, and comes with a compelling "Get started" textual CTA at the end.
Video vs. blog post
A 2014 Animoto survey shows that 96% of respondents found videos important when making a purchase decision and that they are more likely to buy if the video explains the product to them first.
Video is also easier and faster to consume compared to a textual explanation, such as an instructional blog post.
Let's consider an example.
This Coupler.io instructional video – "Import Airtable Data Into a Spreadsheet" – is quick to get to the point; it shows features with voiceover, so you don't have to scroll the page up and down or move your eyes between text and images (even animated gifs) on the page, and between screenshots, so it's easier to focus on and follow the step-by-step procedure compared to the blog post on the same topic, Airtable to Google Sheets.
Also, because the user only has to focus on audio and visuals, it requires less energy to consume compared to a mix of text and images, with text needing more energy and cognitive skills to understand (internal voice and visualization vs. given voice and visualization).
It's the same reason why it's easy to learn when you can watch and listen to a teacher explaining something to you vs. when you're studying it alone from a textbook.
Can I create a product introduction video on my own?
Yes, you can do this even without a team.
There's the software you can use, such as Movavi Video Suite, to edit your videos professionally, even when you recorded that video using your smartphone and a cheap tripod.
You don't need real people in your video. You can absolutely create an animated instructional video (like the previously mentioned ClickUp video) and still rock it. Take a look at Animaker or Moovly to create your animated video (even for free).
Another option if you don't have in-house staff you can rely on for acting in the video is to hire video production agency. There are some affordable ones around. Just Google "video making agency" to find some.
For background music, you can hire a freelance musician to develop an original piece for your video, or you can get in touch with many indie artists who may let you use their music for a minimal fee.
As long as you strive to produce a professional video (no blurs, no disharmonic cuts, etc.), your video can make an impact.
Now that you have all the product intro video information covered, it's time to decide where to publish your video.
And there are different platforms that you can use.
It's the king of all video platforms with a user base of 2+ billion people who actively engage with the videos they like.
If you choose YouTube as your platform to host your product instructional video, you can reach an audience that goes beyond those strictly interested in your product who are already on your website and expand to people looking for solutions to the problem that your product solves.
Vimeo allows you to host your videos professionally and with quality streaming.
The only drawback is that Vimeo is a paid platform, and it doesn't have a community like YouTube, so you will have to have an existing community or user base to promote your video.
This platform is like YouTube, but with a smaller user base (300 million users). It's a good platform to use if you also have an existing community to rely on.
Like Vimeo, Wistia is a video hosting service that offers quality streaming but comes with no community. Wistia has a free plan for businesses just getting started. You're given a channel link to share with your users.
Best practices for creating intro videos
Adjust the language to your target audience
You've got to know your people if you want your video to be effective. What are their demographics? Are they millennials or boomers?
Adjust your language in the video to that of your target audience, and avoid jargon at all costs (unless you're going to explain it, but even then, use it sparingly in the video).
Include clickable calls-to-action
Naturally, you want viewers to act after watching the video, and clickable calls-to-action is a better idea than having them manually type the landing page into their browser, no matter how short the URL is.
With clickable CTAs, you have viewers go directly to your landing page with one click, which may act as an incentive, and you will score more conversions.
Personalize the experience
But clickable calls-to-action aren't your only option for interactivity.
You can further personalize the experience by having the video illustrate more choices and have multiple clickable items that will lead viewers with different interests to reach the landing page that best matches them.
Carefully choose your landing page
Make sure your landing page is the right match for your intro video to maximize ROI.
For example, mention put their intro video on their demo page – and it worked like a charm because that was where people were looking for more information before requesting the demo.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: "Where will this video be more needed by users?"
Have a test base
To test the effectiveness of your product instructional videos, you need a pool of test users to let you know whether what you have created is working or not.
Your test base will consist of people you can trust but who haven't worked on the video because those who worked on it with you will inevitably be biased.
Is an instructional video worth the cost?
Creating a product instructional video is always a good idea, no matter the size of your budget and the product or service you are selling.
As long as you approach it professionally and test your video with a pool of selected users, you'll reach your goal of attracting a new audience and help the existing one to use your product or service better.
To your success!