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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
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:
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?
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.