4 Reality-Check Questions Before Starting an Explainer Video

Want to create a deal-closing explainer video? Get pro tips on budget planning, script brevity, and emphasizing value to produce videos that seal the deal.

B2B and explainers are just one of many famous duos, right up there with Mario and Luigi or Caffeine and Content. You’ve crossed paths with one or two, or perhaps many.

This cozy familiarity with explainer videos throws many people off. B2B teams think they know what it takes to produce an explainer video, so they buckle up and get after it. Then, they freak out because they are not at all prepared for the bumpy ride.

Explainer videos are an alternate universe where dizzying graphics, giddy music, and a godlike voiceover collide with business goals and marketing strategies. They aren’t whimsical, they’re strategic.

Their sole purpose, and I have to share one of my favorite quotes from a startup CEO I used to work with, is to: “Get the damn deal done.”

Since creating explainer videos can feel like stepping into an alternate universe, having a reality check before starting the project is a pro move. Grab your caffeinated beverage, stare into the mirror, and ask yourself…

Have we considered how much budget we need to produce a deal-closing explainer video?

$1K? $10K? $100K? The cost of explainer videos varies wildly, which makes them extremely difficult to shop around for.

  • Wyzowl contacted nearly 250 video production companies for explainer estimates, and quotes ranged maniacally from $600 to $250,000.
  • After removing the lowest and highest outliers, the average price for an explainer video settled around $8,500.

Okay, this explainer video average cost sounds much more realistic in 2024.

It eliminates the high-end $250K explainers that must be Super Bowl commercial caliber, which I doubt many B2B organizations need. It removes the lowly $600 explainers, which I can confidently tell you are those dreadfully generic videos that come from (what we call) the explainer chop shops.

Does this average cost make you squirm? Well, it shouldn’t.

decision stage of the buyers journey

An explainer video is the most indispensable form of Decision content because they’re highly influential at the tail end of the buyer’s journey.

I guarantee that your organization will use this explainer across marketing and sales initiatives thousands of times. And if it’s any good, it will help your team close deals.

Behind the Scenes With Video Production

Keep in mind that explainer videos are way more complex and time-intensive across the board.

Explainers contain copious motion graphics and animations, and the voiceover and music must be timed to perfection. Every round of revisions is as complicated as all get-out because the voiceover, graphics, and music must be completely and skillfully resynced.

Hence:

  • A lengthy 2-minute explainer will cost more than a 60-second explainer—more length requires more creative and more time.
  • It’s common for video production companies to put a cap on revisions—more editing requires more creative and more time.

Understanding the ROI potential is a must-do for justifying the expenditure and aligning it with business objectives. If you land just one deal with $100K ARR and spend $10K on the explainer video, that’s a 900% ROI.

That’s one closed deal, and you should close many more deals with this one explainer.

video marketing strategy guide

Can we clearly and persuasively explain our solution’s value in less than 150, 200, or 300 words?

The script is one of the most grueling parts of an explainer video project.

Many B2B teams underestimate the brevity required for effective communication in this incredibly concise video format. They want more words and more wiggle room to provide as much information as they possibly can about their solution in the shortest amount of time.

This is a spazzy approach, and it does not work for explainers. People get confused about the time it takes to silently read a script versus the time it takes to read that same script aloud as a voiceover.

Case in point: The script I created for this thought leadership video is 708 words, and the video is almost 7 minutes long. If I read this script to myself, I could blast through it in 2-3 minutes.

So, let’s talk about the big fail that coincides with a lengthy explainer script.

Can you imagine squeezing a 400-word voiceover script into a 90-second explainer video? For a voiceover, that’s straight-up chipmunk speed. Alas, this will not magically transform into the explainer video that helps close deals.

Just down yonder are some general script length guidelines for the most common explainer video lengths:

  • 60-second explainer video = 125-150 words
  • 90-second explainer video = 175-200 words
  • 120-second explainer video = 250-300 words

The word range here matters for explainers because these guidelines affect voiceover speed.

For a 60-second explainer, 125 words work best for an average speaking pace while 150 words only works for a rapid pace. For explainers, you’ll want an average or rapid pace for the voiceover to keep the energy moving or make the energy more upbeat.

These script constraints are brilliant as they force everyone to make every word count.

To see what I mean, check out this explainer video we produced. We had to encapsulate a wildly complex solution into a 60-second explainer video. We came in at 149 words for the script (phew!).

So basically, the script must strike a sweet, sweet balance between explaining your solution’s value while enveloping the viewer’s attention.

Here’s a trick we’ve learned: Focus almost no time on the features and almost all the time on the business value.

Cool saying, Britt. How do we do this exactly?

Up next we’ll talk about how your value proposition comes into play. And after that, I promise I will help you make those tough decisions about your beloved features.

Have we identified the core problem our wonderful solution solves for our wonderful buyer?

You’re dealing with an impossible situation with explainer videos. They’re terribly common in B2B and there are a lot of terrible ones out there, so most people reluctantly press the play button with an understandable grimace.

You only have a few precious seconds to draw someone in, or they’ll gleefully stop watching and move on with their day. So how in the heck do you get them hooked? By immediately focusing on the core problem your solution solves for them right in the intro. Otherwise, known as, your value prop.

Think of your value proposition as an opportunity to build a connection by empathizing with your customers. Appeal to your customer’s most important needs and get to the point.

A lot of times there’s a big disconnect between video content (actually, any type of content) and important messaging foundations like value props. But, if you don’t have a clear value proposition, you won’t be able to articulate your solution’s value in any of your content—especially explainers!

Easier said than done, right? Explainers are already tricky, and now we’re throwing more fuel on the fire by saying you’ve gotta have a death grip on your value proposition.

You know what? I like you. Since you’re still with me, I can tell that you’re fully dedicated to creating a glorious, deal-closing explainer video. So I’m going to help you by offering my value proposition formula.

The What-Who-Why-How of Your Solution

  • Offering = What problem your solution solves for your buyer.
  • Audience = Who the likely buyer is for your solution.
  • Value = Why this buyer should choose your solution.
  • Differentiator = How your solution outshines your competitors.

You do not want to try to figure out your value prop while scripting your explainer. It will suck. Seriously, I’ve been there before with Superneat explainers and I’ve been there with clients.

So, way before you begin your explainer video project, sit down with all the stakeholders and use this formula as a little worksheet to nail down your value prop. Promise me you won’t do this alone?

Okay, moving on to everyone’s least favorite part of explainer videos…parting ways with their beloved features.

Can we narrow down our features to showcase the most valuable options for this specific buyer?

I think it’s really sweet how product companies think of their features like their own children. But, there are some serious issues here when we’re all just trying to get the freaking explainer produced.

They’re attached—so attached that they can’t abandon any of their features…ever. And if you ask them to pick their favorite? They scowl and say, “How dare you ask me to pick my favorite? I love all of my features equally.”

When showcasing product features in an explainer video, less is definitely more. Attempting to cover too many features will drive the viewer completely bonkers and dilute the fine-tuned script that’s supposed to swiftly explain your solution’s value.

importance of video

I’m going to help you with “features separation anxiety” by putting all of this into context with a gentle reminder that we are working within the time constraints of a 60-, 90-, or 120-second explainer video.

Let’s say you have six children—oops, features—you’re really proud to share. You only get 10-15 seconds of air time for each of the six features, which will eat up a minute plus.

Yeah…not a deal breaker if you’re doing a 2-minute explainer video. It’s a deal breaker for 60-second and 90-second explainers, which are the more popular and preferred lengths for this video format.

Limiting the focus to three of your most prized features allows for adequate exploration and ensures each feature receives the attention it deserves. During this time, the voiceover script should emphasize the value of each feature rather than their technical wizardry.

But what about the other features we left out? Or, what if we want to spend more time showcasing how awesome these three features are?

That’s where other product marketing videos come in. Save the big feature showcase for those lengthier, in-depth product demo videos to save your explainer from feature overload.

I Never Said Explainers Were Easy…

…but with a daring mixture of care and humility, your next explainer video project will be a smashing success.

Respecting the production process and learning from these reality checks will help you create explainer videos that don’t make people roll their eyes and tune out. Instead, you’ll create explainers that engage your buyer and help you “Get the damn deal done.”

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