How to Make a Startup Explainer Video: All You Need to Know

How to create a compelling startup explainer video? Learn more about the different types of explainer videos!

Corporate Video

Don't underestimate the power of explainer videos. One good explainer video can catapult your small startup company into a multimillion-dollar business. For example, in 2016, a small New Zealand shoe startup called Allbirds put together a great explainer video alongside a marketing campaign. In five short days, the startup surpassed its targeted sales goal of $120,000.

At Gillespie Productions, we offer video production services for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. We've outlined everything you need to know on how to make an explainer video.

What Are Explainer Videos?

Creating explainer videos

As the name suggests, explainer videos are short videos that are used online to share more about your product or service. These can come in the form of an animated video or live footage depending on the type being created. When you create videos for this purpose, they should align with your target audience as much as possible. Explainer videos are typically used on website homepages, landing pages, or high-traffic product pages. If they're executed properly, an explainer video can have conversion rates over 100 percent.

Below, we'll be looking into the step-by-step instructions on creating explainer videos and outlining the video production process that you should follow to produce an asset that can elevate your business.

Types of Explainer Videos

Explainer video companies typically offer many different types of videos that you can consider. Here are some popular explainer video examples.

Live-Action Explainer Video

One example of video content in this realm is live-action explainer videos. These are non-animated videos that simply explain more about your product or service. One example of this would be videos from the Dollar Shave Club or PooPourri. If you are selling a physical product or have a service that's people-oriented, this type of explainer video is often the most beneficial for you. Maybe you're a restaurant or a consulting group looking to generate more awareness. Using a short video with real people who can make an emotional connection with your potential customers is key to your startup's explainer video in this case.

Animated Explainer Videos

An animated explainer video is another type to consider. This variety is especially popular for companies that are trying to explain a service or talk about intangible technical aspects such as software. In this type of explainer video, there are usually few (if any) physical objects involved during production. Instead, the success of this type of video hinges more on creativity and the overall video script as well as your own voiceover. This type of explainer video can be easier to adjust and update along the way as it doesn't require reshooting the entire thing. Instead, video editing software can adjust the content as needed.

Social Media Video/Livestream

This type of video for your startup is similar to live-action videos except there is no ability to make edits. Even though this approach to an explainer video might not be as buttoned-up or polished, it can show the true humanity behind your brand and that you're willing to put yourself out there. In these types of explainer videos, you can't make edits, so it's important to develop some sort of a game plan before simply going live on your social media channels. Popular channel options include YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to connect with your audience. Many platforms also offer the option to save videos to your account once you're finished filming them.

Why Startup Explainer Videos Are Useful

Explainer video for startup

Why should you be interested in putting together a startup explainer video? You might not see the value, but we've outlined only some of the benefits that a great explainer video can achieve for your business:

  • Generate awareness for your brand: The purpose of startups creating videos like these is to spread the word about their brand and incite a call to action with their target audience. This is a way to stand out from other traditional video templates and catch your audience's attention. With a short video that's effective and to the point from the very beginning, you can increase the odds that your key message is understood by your audience;
  • A simple way to share what you do: Part of the key messages within your explainer video should be to outline what your startup does. Think of the video as an elevator pitch that you're able to share with everyone through a simple URL. The person in the video or voiceover explains what you do and how you do it in a way that resonates with your audience and piques their interest. Use it for an investor pitch or in your sales emails;
  • Makes it easy to understand what your company does: Using animated videos and simple language can help detail pain points in a way written text cannot. Your explainer video is a great opportunity to connect with your audience in a way that they will remember the content.

How to Create an Explainer Video: Step-By-Step Guide

Now that we've covered the importance of an explainer video, let's delve into the process of creating one. Our explainer video maker can help every step of the way.

Step 1. Write a Script

How to make an animated explainer video

Before moving forward with creating explainer videos, the first step is to write the script. Even if you already have incredible graphics or a great speaker, it won't mean anything without a written script that packs a punch.

Don't rush the process of putting together a script. You'll want it to be your main focus in this process. What is something that turns potential customers away from your brand? Are there technical terms that are confusing to your potential buyers? If you haven't already spent time as a company determining how to talk through these types of questions, now is the ideal time to do so. Not only will it benefit your video script but the bigger picture of your company.

As a general outline, here is a script format that we recommend:

  1. Provide a quick overview of your product or service and what it does to capture the viewer's attention;
  2. Introduce the problem;
  3. Address the problem with a solution;
  4. Provide a call to action such as signing up for a free trial;
  5. Showcase your trustworthiness through awards, reviews, etc.

Step 2. Decide on the Type of Your Video

With an explainer video script in place, now you'll be able to determine the type that suits your needs the best. Don't become distracted by all of the potentials that your startup explainer video has; make sure that the script can support your larger vision. For example, if your business sells a physical product, you'll want at least some portion of your explainer video to have live-action footage that showcases it. If you're a software company, you can use both live-action and animation when putting your video together. Don't get caught up in trying to make your video go viral or about how fancy you can make it. Instead, focus on how you can best present your value proposition.

Step 3. Create a Storyboard for Your Video

How to create explainer videos

The next stage of explainer videos is storyboarding. This acts as a blueprint for your video. Each slide of the storyboard should have a sentence from your script as well as a rough idea of what the scene will look like. You could also include a list of instructions for motion designers so they understand how you want various on-screen elements to be animated and the necessary assets for each one.

Step 4. Filming Live Action/Voiceover + Animation

As soon as the storyboard is approved, you can start to develop the audio elements of your explainer video. Consider reaching out to voiceover talent from freelance sites or using someone in-house if they're qualified.

Art is the next step if you will be using animation. Animators may start by taking one or two key scenes from your video and illustrating it using multiple styles. Use this opportunity to make any adjustments or tweaks to the art and share any feedback that you have.

Finally, all of the elements are in place to move forward with animation. As soon as your first draft is ready to be reviewed, make sure to share it with your startup or even sub-sections of your target audience. You'll want to make sure that everything makes sense and resonates in the way that it should. If needed, your animation team can make small tweaks before officially wrapping up production.

Step 5. Explainer Video Production

Business explainer video

There are various options to consider regarding the actual creation and production of your explainer videos. For example, you can reach out to a professional video production company that can help elevate your overall video. This means that the company will help you with every step of the process. This is the best option if you're interested in investing in startup explainer videos that will have the most impact on your audience. Keep in mind that this will be an investment that’s well worth it in the long run.

Another option would be to shoot the explainer video yourself on an iPhone. DIY filming can be ideal for those sticking to a tighter budget. Many online resources can help you outline the process of how to use your phone.

Hiring freelancers is another option. You can look on various freelance sites to find different professionals in your area, see their examples of work, and understand their rates.


As you can see, video for your startup is more important than ever before. It allows you to connect with your audience and outlines your product or service in a meaningful and memorable way. An explainer video can be the difference between where you are and where you want to be in terms of company growth.

Our video production company at Gillespie Productions is ready to help you put together videos that are perfect for your brand. If you're interested in hiring us or learning more about how we can help, please reach out to us today to get started.


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