06/19/2014 09:17 am ET Updated Aug 19, 2014

5 Steps to a Kick-A$$ Explainer Video

What the heck is an explainer video?

An explainer video is an online video that explains a product or service to a website visitor in a very short period of time, with a typical length between one and three minutes. An explainer video does a great job of increasing conversion rates because it captures the attention of the visitor and presents them with detailed information that they would most likely ignore and skip over if it was presented in a written format.

An explainer video my company Market Domination Media did for our paid search marketing service.

While not a "cheap" form of marketing, (a high quality explainer video can easily cost between $5,000 and $10,000) they can drastically improve conversion rates for your business, and are worth every penny.

There are five steps to creating an effective explainer video:

1. Well Thought Out Script

The script is the heart of an explainer video. Without a good "story" the video will be a failure, regardless of how good the animation is. The script is the first step in creating a great explainer video.

It needs to touch on the problem that the service or product relates to, and then explain how the problem is solved. It should address all of the reasons why the product or service is the best choice for the viewer. It is important to highlight information that can help build trust with the viewer. In the example video above we make it known that our agency is a Google certified partner, Bing ads accredited professionals, and accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

Every business and situation will be different, but most explainer videos are between one and three minutes in length. If the video is being developed to spark an impulse purchase on a landing page then a shorter video will be more effective, but if it is for a product or service that the viewer is actively seeking, a longer video with more information is the ticket.

2. Professional Voice Over

Once the script is finalized it is time to bring it to life with a professional voice over. The voice over is what connects the viewer to the message in the video, so it is important to use the best voice talent possible.

Sorry to crush the dreams of the amateur voice over artists out there, but this requires an experienced professional. True voice talent does a lot more than just read the script in a pleasant voice. They have the experience to really bring it to life with a convincing tone. Do not attempt to cut costs with a less expensive voice artist. All of the voice talent that we have in our Rolodex work for some of the largest brands in the world and can be heard in national TV commercials.

3. Creative Storyboard

This is where the script is brought to life. Explainer videos are so successful because they deliver a message about a product or service to a very receptive audience. A website visitor will watch an animated video and absorb the content and message before they read pages of text content. While this is partially due to pure laziness, it is also due to the fact that the average consumer will absorb more information when it is presented visually.

When creating a storyboard it is important to come up with some truly unique angles and concepts. Nothing is set in stone, so let the creative juices flow. A video with some fun elements will perform better than a video that is very dry and boring. In the example video above we start with the character riding an arrow that represents the growth of his business. There is also a futuristic machine that is measuring his website traffic and conversions. This crazy concept came to life through the storyboard development phase.

4. Custom Animation, Music & Sound Effects

Once the storyboard is completed it is time to bring it to life. Every video is going to have a different animation style. For example, take a look at the animated TV show South Park. The animation quality is low when compared to a Disney Pixar production, but it works well for them. The animation direction chosen can make the video a huge success or a big failure.

Background music and sound effects can be added to really bring the video to life. These little extra elements really add to the value and help to hold the viewers attention. The goal is to keep the viewer engaged and glued to the video until the end. An interesting and entertaining video will accomplish this, resulting in high conversion rates when the video ends.

5. Promotion & Testing

The most creative explainer video in the world isn't a guarantee for instant success. It is important that the right eyes see the video. Many companies use explainer videos on their landing pages that they are driving organic search traffic as well as paid traffic to. A creative explainer video will always increase the conversion rate, and usually by a tremendous amount.

By monitoring analytics it is possible to see if the visitors are staying on the page longer because of the video and if more are converting. Split testing an old landing page without the video and one with the video is a great way to know almost immediately how much of an impact the explainer video makes.

The longer a website visitor stays on a page, the better the chance of them converting into a lead or sale. Explainer videos are one way to help increase the average time visitors stay on the page as well as conversions.

The example above is one of the explainer videos created by my company, Market Domination Media. If you would like more online marketing tips (for free) make sure to subscribe to our weekly online marketing newsletter by clicking here.