Flat is beautiful. That's the lesson from the incomparable Lee Hills, the Fiverr Pro seller known as mrexplainer. Pairing that artistic talent with his training in a London creative agency, Lee has become one of Fiverr's most prolific and top-rated creators of animated explainer videos. His videos help clients attract new customers and lock in sales by putting eye-catching animation, professional music, and crisp voiceover into inboxes and social feeds all over the world. I reached out to him to help customers understand if getting a video explainer for their business is the right choice, as well as to get tips on how to write an effective explainer or demo video brief and script.
Nico: First of all, thank you for participating in this interview. For those who don't know you, can you give us a little background about yourself and what you offer on Fiverr?
Lee: My name is Lee, and I'm originally from London. I'm currently living in Birmingham, UK, with my wife and two teenage daughters. I've been involved in the design and marketing industry for most of my working career – over 20 years. I have a wide range of web design and online marketing skills and have been specializing in animation for the last five years. I work from my own home studio, specializing in creating animated explainer videos and infographic videos. The animations I create are made using all my own graphics, which I've created in my own animation style. I offer a range of different animation and video marketing gigs on Fiverr designed to help my buyers, whether they have $100 to spend or $5,000.
Nico: Explainer videos are excellent to generate interest or to clarify the purpose of a product. However, before investing any money, what questions should a client ask themselves in order to understand whether a video is right for their business or not?
Lee: I would say there are five important questions to ask before having an explainer video created for your business.
It's important to see the explainer video as one of many tools in the marketing and sales process. Your explainer video is about showing how your product or service solves the problem that your target customer is experiencing, and then inviting them to give your product or service a try. Think of a time when a family member, friend, or colleague sent you a link to their new website or product. You get to the webpage, and the design is great and the name sounds good, but after spending 10 minutes or so on the page, you find that you are still no clearer about what the product or service is or what problem it solves.
This may seem obvious, but an explainer video can work really well at the top of a webpage to clearly explain what a product or service is, especially if you know that you already have traffic going to that webpage. Another example of a reason to make an explainer video is that you may have found that you have lots of your customers asking the same question again and again about how your product works.
Why not create an explainer or demo video to demonstrate the answer? By doing so, every time a customer asks the same question, you simply send them a link to the video that shows how it is solved. This is perfect for any type of product, be it an app or a physical one.I recently converted a white panel van into a campervan. (You can find out more about my campervan project here.) As part of the project, I needed to make the front seats in the camper turn 180 degrees so that the front of the van could convert into a dining area. While I was researching how to make the seat swivel on YouTube, I discovered a video by a company that sold the bracket that made the seat turn. Their video showed how to install the bracket and included a link to buy it from their website. Long story short, I watched the video and ended up buying the bracket from them, then installed it into the van using their video. I mentioned that an important question to ask is where will you share your video? A good opportunity for sharing your video is when your product solves a problem that your customer has, just like my campervan swivel seat example.Do you know what your customers are searching for on YouTube? If you do, why not make a video around the exact thing they are searching for? Create a video that explains how your service solves their problem. If you do not know what they are searching for, ask them. Or do some research on YouTube by typing in keywords relevant to your business.
Takeaway: Notice that YouTube gives you clues as to what others are searching for as you type your business keyword into the search. It can be really effective to make a video around the exact topics that customers are searching for. If you make a video about your product on YouTube, make sure you put the link to buy your product in the video description, and use the YouTube video link tool to link the end of the video back to your website or online shop.
Nico: Preparation is a must, and the key to making the video project a success starts with having the client submit a creative brief. What exactly should it include? What are some typical example questions a client is supposed to answer?
Lee: The most important part of the creative brief for a project is what we discussed in the last question: knowing why you want to create the video and where you plan to share it. Linked to this is knowing exactly what action you want the viewer to take at the end of the video. It is for these reasons that when I am helping a customer create their script, I ask the following key questions:
Along with these key parts to an explainer or demo video brief, I also ask customers to think about any images or logos they would like to include in the video and any specific branding instructions such as color specifics or use of fonts. Having these at the ready will greatly improve and speed up the process of having your video made.
Nico: With the creative brief done, the next step is the script, which is the foundation upon which everything else is built. Do you have any writing tips or structures to follow for our clients to make engaging explainer video scripts?
Lee: Yes, I do. The first tip is in being aware that an explainer video script is shorter than you may think. When we read a script back to ourselves in our heads, we read it faster than when we read the text out loud. When a voiceover artist reads the script, they will put in extra emphasis and space to make the script come alive. It is for this reason that I find many of my customers make the mistakes of creating scripts that are far too long. It is also easy to make the mistake of trying to put too much detail into the explainer script. I recommend avoiding trying to tell the whole life story of your company or product. You do not need every technical detail about your product. Your customer is not interested in that. They simply want to know how it will solve their problem and make their life easier. If they are interested in more details, they will go to your FAQ page. When it comes to an explainer script, your script should be no more than 150 words per minute of video I recommend breaking an explainer down into four key parts: the problem or pain that the viewer can relate to, the solution which introduces your product, demonstration of how your product is the solution, and an opportunity to find out more.
“Brief, affordable, easy-to-digest and shareable, explainer videos are the perfect vehicle for explaining a business model, product, complex concept or system in just a few minutes”
Offer them something. Do not just show your website or telephone number. Give them a reason to call, or a reason to click your link. For example, tell them that they can get 15% off if they contact you directly, or offer them a free trial. Remember my example of the seat fitting for my campervan? After demonstrating the product in their video, the company simply said that you can purchase this fitting on their website and provided the web URL to buy the fitting direct. That is how they got me as a customer. I am now signed up to their email list and am about to buy a folding table from them that they offered in last week's newsletter. This all started with a demo video.How long should your video be? Most explainer and demo videos are normally around one minute long. However, there is no hard or fast rule that an explainer has to be one minute long. The reason most videos are one minute long is that they are mostly shared online where people's attention is generally very short. In fact, I would argue that people's attention spans are decreasing, as there is more and more content to consume. 30-second videos can also be effective. Yet there is nothing to say that your video has to be short. You need to think about who your audience is, where your viewers will be watching, and if there is anything in the video that will keep them watching. For example, if you make a video that will be shown to a packed room at a conference where all eyes will be on your video and where no one can leave easily, you can make your video longer and include more content. This is because you will get their undivided attention.The video example I shared here for the campervan turning chair was two minutes and 30 seconds. It was a demo video that showed me how to do something I wanted to do and, at every part of the video, I was learning something I needed to know. In the end, the video was just over 2 minutes, but I would have watched for 15 or even 30 minutes just to get the information I was looking for.
Attention spans may be shrinking but we really appreciate Lee spending so much time explaining how great videos are made and shared. It's so important to know that a video can hook and hold a prospect's attention, but your message has to be clear and your offer compelling if you're going to close the sale. Landing pages, email, and of course more video will help you earn and keep that business. "Mr. Explainer" really lived up to his name, and it's great to see how dedicated he is to helping his clients not just publish great video, but learn how to turn that video into bottom-line results.
What's the best explainer video you've ever seen? What do you think of Lee's flat artwork style? Tell us about it in the comments below.