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Everyone is using video to explain their services or digital products to potential new customers, and there are plenty of explainer video production companies available to choose from.

But unless your chosen video company is an expert in your marketplace, it’ll be left to you to decide the message, style, runtime and type of explainer video message you put on your website.

Now here’s the rub:

Never have businesses been getting explainer video production more wrong than today.



Because they don’t apply the simplest of sales basics to making an effective explainer video.

What’s going wrong?

Often the biggest mistake is in not getting the core message right.

We know this is absolutely true as today’s explainer video production process is full of :

last minute script amends”,

“budget-wrecking unplanned visual changes”

“unexpected interventions & delays from those who sign off”

These are all clear signs that we didn’t know what we were doing in the first place when we started preproduction.

Sorry but this is true. The evidence is there every day.

Confusion at every level because everybody has a slightly different idea of what the video ought to say, or how it ought to look.

And no one finds out about this until way downstream during the post production stage, wrecking budgets & schedules, and leaving everyone with the feeling afterwards that “we could have done better” or “we’ll know better next time”.

So what can we do about it, and make sure it’s not our promotional explainer video that joins the ranks of mediocrity & obscurity, and underperforms in its business objectives?

Getting the explainer video basics right

The biggest mistake companies are making when producing explainer video is forgetting their sales basics.

So I’m going to share with you my age old sales formula, but with a new added twist for explainer video production.

You’ve probably heard of it. It’s called AIDA.

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire& Action.

It suggest that all sales presentations – including video viewings – must follow these four time-venerated steps.

1: You can’t win a customer until you attract their attention, preferably with something that really matters to them. You probably have a few seconds to win their attention, or you’re dead.

2: Once you have their attention, you have to retain their interest by making the explanation of your service interesting & fascinating to learn about. Education is a big part of explainer video.

3: But Interest isn’t enough on its own. In order to buy, customers need to feel a strong & urgent desire to own your product or service. No passion = no sale.

4: And when they’re all fired up with desire, you need a call to action, so they know what to do next, be it buy or enquire.

There it is: Attention, Interest, Desire& Action – the four steps to any sale.

Yes, you may have heard of AIDA before. You may even know it well. But talk means little.

It’s when AIDA is applied that results start to happen.

The beauty of AIDA is that it works for most expensive, and for the cheapest of explainer videos.

How does AIDA win new customers for explainer video

Right at the very beginning of your production you need to plan your core message.

I know this sounds obvious, but many companies regularly fail to do this properly, as they’re often too close to their product, and there are often conflicting views from sales rep to product manager to marketer to CXO level, with everyone having a slightly different version of your story to tell.

So here’s a simple way to apply AIDA at the start of your explainer video plan.


In the very first sentence of your explainer, the first few seconds, you have to verbally or visually win the attention of your audience so they stop what they’re doing and pay full attention to your message.

This is applies whether they’re at home on youtube, at work on your website, checking out facebook, or on the move looking at their mobile phone.


The most interesting thing to anyone is themselves. If I start talking about me, you’ll soon get bored and want to talk about you.

So your explainer video must talk to them about them.

The trick here is to unfold your feature/benefit set while still talking about them.

Showing them how to solve their problem is a great place to start.


Without forward planning-for-desire, our sale is lost before we even start.

The simplest way to crank up desire is to enable the customer to imagine how much cheaper, easier and better life is going to be with your product or service.

Desire means giving people a vision of the future with you at their side, a vision so good they’ll feel compelled to buy.

You need show a uniquely compelling proposition that rivets them.


Passionate people need to be told what to do next.

Buy, enquire, follow this link, complete this form – whatever it is, you need to tell them or you’ll leave them hanging and lose a few potential new customers on the way. Action means close the sale by winning the lead.

In case you’re wondering, AIDA’s effectiveness has been measured for decades.

And now you can back this up by measuring your video’s effectiveness with seo statistics showing the number of video viewings, viewings to completion, clicks to contact page, abandonment points, drop off times, etc.

The video style

Everyone has their own creative ideas about the style of their explainer video.

Should it have an animated presenter character or not?

Is text motion graphics good or bad for our message?

Should original scene artwork be used?

Do we need to edit any filming or stock video clips?

Should we have a famous voiceover or not?

Do we need background scenes, set designs, special visual fx?

Do we have an icon set that visually looks right for us?

How do I pick the winning music & soundtrack?

And of course: What style of video are my competitors publishing?

Having made more videos than anyone I know, I’m surprisingly not overly fussy on style. Why?

Because most styles work well, so long as they eloquently and persuasively tell the best possible story.

The area that always causes the most problems is the area concerning the core video messages, which is where AIDA is intended to help.

The need for consensus

This part is so vital that if you don’t do it, you’ll suffer in some way, be it legally, financially, contractually, logistically, or some form of business under achievement.

Let’s say you’ve got your AIDA explainer video plan outlined.

Now before you start your video, you have to ensure everyone from sales rep to CXO agrees it in advance. Not just a cursory agreement (“oh yes, that sounds about right”) but an agreed commitment to the detail.

This is important in a number of ways because:

1: If you don’t get early agreement then I can guarantee there’ll be big differences in opinion later on in the production and they’ll cost you time or money to solve.

2: Obtaining full early agreement gets your whole team  onboard from sales rep to CXO. They’ll become accustomed to reviewing video production documents, and they can expect a few more of these for script, storyboard, video proofs, etc, once the production gets underway.

So start with that most effective video habit of all – obtaining consensus early on.


Vast legions of companies are getting production wrong because of simple basic steps not being kept to, as if explainer video were somehow different.

And the casualty is the message – and reduced sales performance.

AIDA will help you structure your explainer video message perfectly:

A: A few seconds is all you have to make an impact

I: A storyline that is particularly interesting to them and solves their problem.

D: A unique proposition that lets them imagine owning & using your services.

A: A call to action at the the right time.

Back this up with a formal consensus from your team.

And don’t over worry about style, budgets & resources.

As they say “well begun is half done” so start right.

This is how to use an old trick to win new customers with explainer video.

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