When it comes to marketing, no single approach will work all the time. You need a blend of tactics and content types: blog posts, videos, emails, social media posts with animated GIFs. The list goes on and on.
Video can be a great addition to virtually any marketing toolkit, but it can be expensive to make. That is, unless you create your own animated videos. Learning how to make animated videos allows you to capture people’s interest using the visual power only a video can provide, all while taking less time and money than a live-action video.
Animated videos for marketing are powerful but often misused. You can learn how to properly use them in your marketing by following these steps.
Step 1: Have a plan
Step 2: Create a script and storyboard
Step 3: Make the animated video
Step 4: Promote your video
Step 5: Track everything
Why Are Animated Videos Beneficial for Marketing?
Your marketing has a lot of work to do: convey brand messaging, educate audiences on a product or service, and ensure any messaging is concise and compelling. Animated videos can boost the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by conveying more information in a shorter amount of time.
But the reasons for using animated video in marketing don’t stop there:
- When framed strategically, animated videos won’t feel like marketing at all. Consider this: 96% of people have watched explainer videos about products or services.
- With 85% of businesses using video in their marketing, animated video is expected at this point. Not using it means you run the risk of missing your target audience.
- Animated video adds context and life to complex ideas. When you stick to words, illustrations, or graphics, you’re limited in scope. Animation allows you to better convey complex ideas.
- Animation gives you more options with tone. With animated video, you can strike precisely the tone you want. That can mean the difference between marketing landing versus falling flat with audiences.
- When using animated video, you have more control over the cost and final product. Having to reshoot a video means paying actors for additional work, editors for more hours, and so on. With animation, you can use software to ensure you have the actors, tone, and final product to match your other marketing materials.
The reasons to use animated videos in marketing are many. As video’s popularity continues to rise, so will its benefits. But how do you go about implementing a video in your marketing strategy?
How to Include Animated Videos in a Marketing Strategy
While it’d be great if you could throw an animation together, plug it into your marketing materials, and call it a day, but that’s not the case. There’s a lot that goes into knowing how to make animated videos. First, ensure your animated videos feel like they belong in your marketing campaign, serve a purpose, and are effective.
The following steps will guide you as you take your idea for an animated marketing video and turn it into a finished piece that’s ready to be promoted.
Step 1: Have a plan
Before you start working on your video, you need to make a general plan for what it is your video will accomplish and how it will accomplish these things. To do this, there are a few areas you need to focus on.
How your video fits with your brand
Is the concept for your animated video in line with your branding, or is it going to stick out? Is there a natural way to brand this specific video?
Your animated video will have to be a clear part of your brand, just like your other marketing efforts. Strong branding will boost your brand identity, increase general awareness, and ensure the video doesn’t stick out from your other content. Read up on brand storytelling to ensure you’re branding your video effectively.
Create a brief
Once you’ve got an idea of what you want your video to accomplish, create a brief. This will lay out the goals of your video in writing and help you develop a script and storyboard. Some key points to add to your brief include:
- Primary goal: Is your video promoting a product? Helping with general brand awareness?
- Target audience: Who is your video for? What kind of video and style resonates with that audience?
- Core message: This is the meat of your video. What’s the primary message you want your audience to take away?
- Availability and promotion: List out where your video will be hosted and where you may want to promote it.
- Budget: How much can you afford to spend on this video?
- Target launch date: When will your video ideally go live?
A brief doesn’t need to be a work of art. Your primary goal is to ensure all essential elements of the animation and creation process are documented. This will help you stay on track, and can also be useful for winning over any stakeholders that weren’t initially on board with the idea of making an animated video.
Step 2: Create a script and storyboard
With your brief in hand and goals clearly outlined, it’s time to make a script. Once you’ve made the script, you can start creating the video itself.
Even animated videos with little-to-no audio or narration should have a script. A script will lay out all the components of your video, helping you to stay on task when creating your video. Begin by making an outline for your script that includes the following:
- A hook: This is the main draw of the video, and will take place immediately. This is your unique stance that should interest viewers. Think, “What does my audience want?” It’s also a great place to put your company song or jingle if you have one.
- A middle: The middle is where you’ll add the meat of your message; this is where you tell your story. Think about what’s necessary to uphold the claims made in your hook, and include it here.
- A call-to-action (CTA): This is what you want your audience to do; it’s generally placed at the end of the video. Keep your CTA concise and direct. Tell your audience what it is you want them to do: learn more about a product via a link, sign up for an upcoming webinar, etc.
Once your script is complete, you’ll also want to create a storyboard. The storyboard will act as a diagram for the video, outlining what happens in each scene. This will give you an idea of what each scene will look like and help you identify any potential issues before animating the piece.
It’s also important to be mindful of your branding while making the storyboard, noting where it makes sense to use branded colors, place products, add logos, and so on. Learn more about how to create a storyboard for your animated video.
Much like the brief, the storyboard doesn’t need to be a work of art. If the illustrations leave a lot to be desired, that’s okay. The important thing is that you and your team can look for potential problem areas in the video, like a section with too much going on at once.
Your script and storyboard will likely change over time, so don’t get too attached to anything in it. Before you even begin making the video, you’ll likely realize certain lines aren’t working, a scene needs to be altered or removed, etc. Until the video is done and published, the script is very much a living document.
Step 3: Create your animated video
Your script and storyboard are complete. Now, it’s time to tackle how to make your animated video a reality. This process can vary, but there are some general tips to keep you from going off the rails, running out of budget, and blowing past your target delivery date.
Consider your audience
Think about your audience and what kind of animation will resonate most. Your current content and style guide can be useful here, as many of your visual stylistic elements will likely transfer to animation. This is also important for branding’s sake, as an animated video that’s consistent with your style guide will be more cohesive with your other marketing content.
There’s likely a significant overlap between your target audience and that of your competition. Look at what kind of videos or animations your competitors are making and how they appear to be performing. This can help you determine what may or may not be effective with your audience.
Determine if you need to hire a voice actor
There’s a chance you’ve decided your video doesn’t need a voiceover. If so, skip this step! But if you need any kind of voiceover, it’s important to choose the right person for the job.
Some videos will require a professional voiceover artist while other videos will work with an in-house recording. If you have someone in-house who is comfortable recording and sounds professional, give them a shot. If you’re hiring voice talent, there are several places to find voice actors online who will create free demos for you to ensure you’re happy with the final result. The video above was voiced by Laura Schrieber. Read more about her suggestions for finding the right voiceover talent.
Look at animation software options
Consider using animation software. This can save your budget and even cut down on the time needed to make your video, especially when compared to creating custom animation. Some design studios estimate the animation process can take roughly six weeks from start to finish. This time can be reduced by weeks, depending on the time you can dedicate to the process.
The right software will make it possible for you to create an animation that looks professional without needing a designer. It also allows room for more rounds of revision and future updates, as you won’t be paying hourly to have designers and animators redo things. Instead, you only have to pay for the software.
Be mindful of design and branding
Keep design best practices in mind: Don’t over-clutter the video, limit what’s animated to avoid overwhelming.
Make sure you’re using branded or company colors when appropriate. The same goes for any kind of brand-specific font you use in your other content, on your site, and in your other marketing materials.
Step 4: Promote your video
You worked hard to create your video—it’s time to share it with the right people. Social media, your website, and your email list are all great places to promote your new animated video. But there’s more to it than publishing it and forgetting it.
Choose a great preview image
Before potential viewers hit play, they’ll see an image. Make sure it’s one that draws the eye and entices them to click. Try to find an image that piques curiosity. This could be an image with on-screen text that poses a question, or perhaps a snapshot of a new product.
Promoting your animated video
Your animated video is done; now it’s time to make sure it’s seen. There are a number of places where you can—and should—promote your video.
- Organic social media: Publish your animation on your own branded channels, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
- Paid social: Pay for social media ads to target new audiences on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other relevant platforms.
- Email: Your email list is a free, powerful way to promote your video. This audience is likely more engaged than those you’ll encounter on ads, as they’re already following your brand. This makes email an especially great place to A/B test videos. Be sure to read up on how to send video through email beforehand!
- Your own website: Include your video where it naturally fits on your website. For the best results, it’s a good idea to place your video “above the fold” aka near the top where people can see it.
Don’t be discouraged when promoting your video. It’s likely many of your early promotional efforts don’t yield the results you’d like. Run tests, collect data on your promo performance, and iterate until you’re consistently knocking it out of the park.
Step 5: Track everything
Creating an animated marketing video can take time. It’s important to know that your work is paying off, as this can influence future efforts and tell you if you’re missing the mark. Make sure you’re properly tracking your video performance, ads, social posts, and emails to inform your future video efforts.
In order to ensure you’re tracking the right things, follow these tips:
- Track video performance: Use a platform that has proper analytics, like YouTube or another professional alternative. See where people are leaving your video, what kinds of likes and dislikes you’re getting, and so on, to incorporate these insights into your future video efforts.
- Monitor your email sends: You should be tracking your email performance to see if people are opening your emails, clicking the video, and watching your content. If you have a poor open rate, try out different subject lines. If people aren’t clicking the video, it’s possible the preview image isn’t enticing, or the content itself isn’t interesting.
- Watch ad performance: You’re paying for ads, so you want to be sure you’re getting the most out of them. A/B test different versions of ads and see which ones get the most clicks and conversions. See what you can learn from these tests and use that data to inform your future ads.
Much like promoting your videos, analytics takes time to get right. Over time, you’ll learn what metrics are most important to you and your brand, and as a result, become more effective at tracking performance.
Recreating Your Animated Success
Congratulations—you’ve completed your first animated video for marketing! But recreating success isn’t always as simple as running through the same process again. You need to vary your approach and constantly revise your process.
The following tips can increase your chances of success and help you capture lightning in a bottle a second time:
- Change up your content: Make different types of videos to avoid burning out your audience. Different video formats also achieve different objectives, making it especially important for you to mix things up. For example, an explainer video is an effective way to promote a service, while an animated recruitment video is great for marketing your business.
- Watch out for audience changes: Your audiences will change, and so should your videos. Research audience trends and closely monitor the performance of your videos to ensure your audiences aren’t shifting. If they are, it’s time to change your approach to video.
- Monitor general trends: Video and animation trends can shift over time. Pay attention to trends in video and marketing to ensure you’re not falling behind. For example, video is now the preferred type of content for audiences following brands on social media. But before this, it was images.
- Use the right tools: Animation can be time-consuming and difficult, but the right tools can make it much more manageable. For example, Vyond makes it possible to animate without using any designers or animators. You can make animations that truly fit your brand by customizing any of Vyond’s many characters and scenes.
You can recreate your animated success again and again when you use the right approach and take the time to do research. And the right tools will make animating much easier. To see for yourself how much the right tools can help, sign up for a free 14-day trial of Vyond.
Learn How to Make Animated Videos Part of Your Marketing Success
Animated videos can be a boon to your marketing efforts when implemented properly. Making the video is only half the battle. Once you’ve got the video created, take the time to promote it properly and track everything.
If your first marketing campaign with video isn’t a huge success, don’t be discouraged. It can take a few iterations before you determine what kinds of animated videos perform best with your audience.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial of Vyond.