Explainer videos are everywhere. Everyone has one, and they’re becoming are required part of running a business.

But, if done wrong, they won’t help you to achieve your business goals. They may even prevent you from achieving them.

In this post, we’re going to explore three of the most common explainer video mistakes, and how you can avoid them.

1. Trying to cover everything in one video

Have you ever gone to the shop to buy jam, then felt overwhelmed by how many options there are?

Even if you just want strawberry jam, there are about ten different brands all selling something the same but different.

It’s confusing and can lead to you leaving the shop without any jam for your toast.

This is called decision fatigue, and it’s a real thing.

Studies have shown that the more options someone has, the less likely they are to take any action.

Creating an explainer video that demonstrates one thing is therefore crucial to your conversions.

I know you want to talk about all the reasons why your company or product is amazing, but that will just confuse people. One clear path – and one call to action at the end of that path—will get you far better results.

And all the stuff you left out you can always save for future videos 😉

If you’ve got multiple things you want to cover and a limited budget, focus on the most important thread. This is probably the part of the product or service which resonates with people the most, and therefore converts the highest in sales calls and on your sales page.

Create a video for that, and have a list of other videos you want to create. As your budget increases, you can create videos for each of the other products, services, and benefits you want. The videos will be much more powerful as they’ll be able to explore the topic in greater depth than if you’d tried to cover everything in one video.

2. Not having a clear structure/story

We remember stories better than anything else except images. That’s why videos are so powerful: they combine the two most important things for us to retain information.

If they’re done right.

Most explainer videos are less than 3 minutes long. It’s not a TV show or a novel. You don’t have room for endless subplots and segues.

Subplots are fine in a novel or a TV show. You have more words—and more time—to explore everything you want or need to.

Most standalone videos—like explainer videos, or even films—follow one path. Longer films might have a handful of subplots, but if they’re based on a book, many will get cut for the sake of time and attention spans.

Several subplots in The Hunger Games and Harry Potter were cut. For example, the avoxes in later books from The Hunger Games, and the Headless Hunt in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

It’s not that these weren’t good subplots to read about, but they didn’t add anything to the story when it was stripped back to basics. They were a part of the world, not the story. That, or they were cut for the sake of time.

While the avoxes in The Hunger Games was powerful and political, it didn’t add anything to the films. They were alluded to, with Pollux’s tongue cut out, but they weren’t explored in the same depth.

Your explainer video is no different. You don’t have the space to explore everything, even if it’s super close to your heart.

It’s time to be harsh and consider if you really need to include that point that you feel is important. Does it enhance the narrative? Does it add to a clear, consistent, easy-to-follow story? How does it improve the viewer’s understanding?

Most importantly, will including it expand your viewer’s understanding?

3. No call to action

It’s all very well and good having a great video, but if that great video doesn’t tell people where to go next, it’s not going to be as effective as you want it to be. Chances are, people will watch it, then disappear, when really, you want them to watch it, then buy from you.

That’s why a call to action is so powerful.

Call to action options:

  • Get in touch
  • Join our mailing list
  • Follow us on Facebook
  • Download now
  • Buy now
  • Shop now
  • Get your free trial
  • Get your discount

Those are just a few calls to action you can use to direct your audience towards what next steps you want them to take.

And don’t forget: focus on one call to action.

If you’re not sure which to go for, consider which brings you the best conversions. Is it a contact form, where prospects get to talk to your sales team, or is it a free trial, where they can test things out for themselves?

If a call to action isn’t converting for you, there’s no point in using it in your video. Putting it front and centre won’t make a difference if it’s already ineffective. Focus on the action that performs the best for your business goals.

Conclusion

Explainer videos are an increasingly important part of all businesses, big and small, ecommerce and SaaS. The clearer you can explain what your business does, the more likely you are to connect with your target audience and convince them to buy from you and not a competitor.

Having a clear narrative that follows one path—with one clear call to action at the end—will convert much higher because it’s a straight path for your prospects to follow. It will guide them down the Yellow Brick Road to solving their problems, and bring you more business as a result.

3 explainer video mistakes to avoid