How to Create a Perfect Startup Video
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How to Create a Perfect Startup Video (For Crowdfunding & Investors)

04.12.2018

As a new company – especially one with an innovative product – explaining who you are and what you have to offer can be exhausting, not to mention complicated.

Very few people online have the time to pay attention to a new startup. Every day, hundreds of little brands like yours rise and fall. By the time your prospects finish reading that presentation that you’ve sent them, your startup may be already long gone.

Alternatively, those who do listen to you may not understand what is so unique and interesting about your product. After all, if you appear identical to hundreds of your competitors, why should customers choose you?

With smart video marketing, you can solve both of these problems – catch the attention of potential customers and convert viewers into loyal supporters. Not to mention many other benefits that we’ve covered in our Video Marketing 101 blog post.

Start with pre-launch video marketing

When it comes to a new product launch, creating pre-launch videos can be an indispensable marketing tactic. Here’s why:

If you run a new start-up that hasn’t been backed yet, a quality pre-launch video campaign is too much of a luxury. We get it. You need to save money for the basics like production and administrative costs.

However, unless you are 100% self-funded, you will need at least one kind of pre-launch video – either a crowdfunding promo or a video for investors.

Both crowdfunding videos and investor videos have the same goal – to raise money for the company. However, because the audiences and stakes differ, you need a unique approach to each of these fundraising ideas.

Below, you will find the guidelines for both. Alternatively, if you are a fully-funded startup with a tested product ready to hit the market, you can skip ahead to the last part of this article.

Crowdfunding videos: The Good, The Bad, and The Funny

When it comes to fundraising ideas, crowdfunding is definitely the most popular option. And who hasn’t watched at least a few crowdfunding videos? Back when I was working with 3D printing, I could spend hours on Kickstarter, mesmerized by the vast amount of exciting projects and inspiring clips from their founders.

According to Kickstarter’s own statistics, their campaigns have helped fund over 117,000 startups with the help of 12 million supporters. Naturally, because of such popularity of the service, the competition there is incredibly fierce.

Thousands of new startups come to platforms like Kickstarter to market their “next big thing”, all fighting for their piece of the pie. So how can you effectively compete for the funding there?

Most startup crowdfunding videos are so similar that it gets funny. Here’s an actual parody on such videos from Celery, a Kickstarter alternative:

 

 

There are many ways you can break this worn-down template. If you want to know how to market a product using a promotional video, the following steps will help you find the right approach for your crowdfunding campaign:

1) Create a unique brand and positioning strategy

The first step when it comes to creating a standout crowdfunding promotional video is to define your brand. As the saying goes, your brand is whatever your customer says it is. So start with asking yourself the questions your potential supporters may ask.

Potential backers want to know:

Potential backers want to know your entire plan for the project – not just what they will receive for contributing. Once you have answers to these questions, you can decide how to best promote your crowdfunding campaign.

2) Become a storyteller

People love stories, in particular, the stories with a clear message. The message could be happy, sad, motivational, emotional – you name it. The easier it is for the potential backers to connect with your story, the more people will agree with its message.

When creating a story for your crowdfunding video, the first questions you should ask yourself are: “What is so special about this business idea? Why am I committed to following this idea?” Find the answers that you are most passionate about and try to incorporate them into your story.

The next step in storytelling is conceptualization. You need to determine the best possible way to present your promotional video content. Here is when the art of storyboarding comes in.

Keep in mind that the most exceptional stories captivate the viewers, teach them something new, and shift their perspective. But even if your story doesn’t sound that exciting, it can always be presented in an unexpected way. An experience storyboard artist can help you with that.

3) Determine the video’s tone

When it comes to fundraising ideas, promotional videos are fantastic. However, the tone of the video can determine whether or not it’s effective.

A video’s tone is its character or attitude. When marketing a new product, several videos can say the same thing but using different tones, moods, or emotions, which will alter their message.

It’s up to you to decide whether you want to be comical or serious. Tone can also vary depending on which product or service your company offers, but it should always be genuine.

In order to determine the most appropriate tone for your video, it could help to hire a scriptwriter to draft several scripts. Then, try to go out into the field and ask your target audience or at least people close to it to share their opinions.

4) Prioritize the first 30 seconds of your video

Short promotional video work best. Studies have shown that the average human’s attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2017. It’s now shorter than that of a goldfish.

Furthermore, research has proven that videos 30 seconds long are viewed to completion 88% of the time. Additionally, promotional videos that last 15 seconds or less are shared 37% more frequently than videos over 30 seconds.

These statistics show that marketers need to put forth their message in the first 30 seconds of a video – if they want people to pay attention. Ideally, your promotional video needs to feature your company’s value proposition in the first 10 seconds.

Effective videos last less than two minutes. The first 30 seconds are dedicated to driving the message, while the rest of the video elaborates information on the company or product- reminding the viewer why it should be relevant to them.

5) Be genuine

When marketing a new product, nothing can beat authenticity. A great thing about startup marketing is that it is, by default, authentic. Whether you understand it or not, the brand that you are creating is a reflection of who you are – and it can actually be your secret marketing sauce!

Relatable, well-thought-out branding backed by a believable video is the most effective strategy for crowdfunding. This has already been proven by countless startups.

Take the Exploding Kittens for example. Arguably the most ridicules card game ever created, Exploding Kittens has raised almost $9 Million through crowdfunding on Kickstarter – 87,825% of their initial goal.

Regardless of whether you are shooting a live-action promotional video or creating a simple animation, your brand’s personality should shine through. If someone else is creating your crowdfunding video for you, make sure your video still reflects the unique aspects of your startup.

The saying “content is king” remains true for a new product launch. In order for viewers to respond strongly to your message – and invest – it’s crucial that you dedicate enough time and resources to perfect your message.

Video For Investors aka The Video Pitch

A video pitch’s purpose is to persuade people to invest in your product and your company. Sounds like we’re talking about crowdfunding again, right? However, corporate investors should not be grouped in with the common “crowd.”

Although all of the earlier tips for crowdfunding video do apply to videos for prospective business investors, the latter requires a more serious, structured, and data-driven approach.

Here are three reasons, why you may need a serious video pitch like this:

Creating an Impactful Pitch video

Before shooting a video pitch, you need to master the pitch itself. A common crowd may forgive some sloppiness of speech and lazy napkin drawings, but with business folks you have to be precise and purposeful. Your promotional video should be well-thought-out and organized.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect formula when it comes to sales pitches. However, here are a few strong video pitch fundraising ideas from bestselling author Daniel H. Pink and his book “6 Elevator Pitches for the 21st Century”:

Know your target: It’s impossible to design an effective video pitch if you don’t know who you’re pitching to. Be sure to know your audience before designing your pitch.

Make your point: Investors don’t have time to sit around and try to decipher who you are, what you do, and what you want. They are interested to know:

Depict your value: Investors will only donate money to your new product launch if they know that your company is reputable. Use your video to show your potential investors precisely why they should invest.

Wrap it all up: Your video’s conclusion is incredibly important. If you want your promotional video to stick in people’s minds, be sure that the ending flows nicely and reiterates your main goals.

Here’s a nice cartoon video from Strategyzer that shows how all of the tips above can work in practice:

A pitch video not only effectively communicates your message, but it can also benefit your company because it is shareable and memorable. The best fundraising videos are those that market themselves naturally.

The Perfect Product Launch Video

Let’s fast forward. You have made an effective pitch video, received funding, and are now ready to present your product to the world. You’re past searching for investors and have no need for crowdfunding campaigns. What’s next?

It’s time for the public to know about your new product launch! Once your product is launched, the battle is just getting started. The fact that someone has backed your idea doesn’t guarantee that the general public will receive it well. Sometimes customers are simply not ready for new things.

That’s why you need an explainer video to push your product after the launch. A comprehensive explainer video is a fantastic idea for marketing a new startup. Explainer videos fit well with early-stage product promotion and can serve you well for quite some time.

In case you’ve already created videos for investors or your crowdfunding campaign, you’re in luck; many previous ideas can be repurposed. However, keep in mind that your audience may

change during the course of your product’s lifecycle.

Video Called to Reach the Masses

Unlike investor pitches and crowdfunding videos, general product explainers are meant for a wider audience and longer usage. That’s why it’s wise to invest more in this type of promotional video content.

With this being said, if you opt for an animated video, you’ll have enough flexibility in terms of cost and complexity to avoid spending your entire startup budget. This is also one of the reasons why animated explainer videos are becoming more and more popular among startups.

Here is an example of an animated startup explainer video that we have created for Conversy, a new chatbot platform:

There are many benefits to working with a video agency for a new product launch, but the important point to note here is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Less visual complexity, shorter message, and faster production – and you can get a perfect mix of quality and cost for your startup video.

To learn more how video can help your startup reach its marketing goals – whether it’s launching a new product or promoting an existing one – feel free to contact us.

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