Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make your own explainer video for your product

Explanatory videos helps founders promote their startup and explain their product or services better than text and images can do by themselves. A short, funny and engaging explanatory video is the most efficient way to tell your story. It helps website visitors, investors and partners instantly understand what your business does and how it benefits THEM.

Companies like Dropbox and 99Designs use explanatory videos for exactly the same reason. Learn from the masters and increase your conversion rate.

I’ve made a number of these videos for startups and established businesses and I’ll show you step-by-step how to make your own explanatory video on a budget.

Here’s the example video I made while making this guide:

[I’m a Big Fat Blue Button, Click Me to send an email to Karim]


1. Write a Script

First what you need is a script. It’s important to keep writing and tweaking until you have something that you’re 100% happy with. It’s easy, fast and free to change words in your text file. It can be very expensive and time consuming if you want to change audio or video later on in the process.

I use iA writer, but you can obviously use any other text editor. The reason I like iA is because it shows you the ‘Reading-time’ while you are writing your text. This helps you get a rough estimate of how long your video is going to be, based on the text you’ve written. Your video should be roughly around a minute. Some complex concepts need a bit longer to explain, other more obvious products can be summarised in 30 sec.

You can write your script following this simple framework:

  • Introduction — Here you set the tone for the video and introduce potential characters
  • Problem — You then explain the problem you are solving, making sure your target audience can identify with it
  • Solution — Then you present your solution
  • Benefits — And continue to show how your solution improves your customer’s life
  • Call to Action — At the end, close with a super clear call to action

Here is the exact script I’ve used for the example video I’ve made: View Script

As you can see, I wrote each line separately, this will design the different screens in your storyboard. Write separate lines as if each line can stand on its own. If the video works without a sentence, remove it. Only keep the essentials.


2. Sketch a Storyboard

Now that your script is complete, it’s time to visualize the different shots of your story. Some of the lines in your script can be merged together and form a single image/photo/visual. Others will need a separate image. It’s important to connect what the user will be hearing with what he/she will be seeing.

Here’s the storyboard I made for the example video: View Storyboard


3. Get a Voice Actor

It’s time to get a voice actor that can narrate your script for you. You can do this yourself if you want to save money, or ask a friend to do it. Or you can go to websites like Voice123.com or Voices.com. Find the right tone of voice that fits your story and get an audio file that perfectly narrates your script.


4. Shoot your Video

It’s time to shoot the video! For the example video I used my iPhone 6. I set up a black underground, added a few props that are photo/video related to enhance the message. Then grab a bunch of white sheets and a pencil. The sketch of my storyboard was in front of me so I knew what to draw. I hit the record button on my iPhone and basically filmed the entire thing in one shot. I followed the storyboard, grabbed a piece of paper, sketched that particular frame and went on grabbing the next sheet of paper.


5. Edit the video

With around 6min. of video, it’s time to do some editing. Using iMovie (but you can use any other video editing software) I added the voice over to the video. Then I started cutting and speeding up the video to make it sync with the voice over. This creates a fun and lightweight result. With very little tools, we now have a video that is ready to help increase your conversion rate on your website.


6. Publish & Launch

Upload the video to Youtube, Vimeo or some other video platform and add it to your website. You can now engage your audience way more effectively and are very likely to see much better results in communicating your business to your target audience.