Purchases? Subscriptions? Education? Brand awareness? Decide what your video is trying to achieve and what you want the viewer to walk away with.
What action do you hope the viewer takes after watching your video, and what business need does it fulfill? For example, "After watching our product demo video, we hope the viewer submits a demo request form."
2. Determine your audience.
Has the audience for this video purchased with you before? Are you introducing a new product or feature to them? Or, is this video reaching people who have never heard of you? What will this audience be concerned with? How long will they want to watch? What buyer persona will you be gearing this video for?
All of these are important questions to answer.
For example, let’s say you’re introducing software that regulates the temperature of various areas in your office.
The audience for your video might be harried office managers who are constantly fielding requests to turn the temperature up or down.
They’re concerned with keeping their colleagues comfortable without breaking the bank on electricity costs.
3. Set a budget and a timeline.
Do you have $7,000 or $80,000 to make this product demo video?
Identify your budget so you know how to proceed. This is also the time to set expectations. If you have a $500 budget, you’re not going to come out with a video on par with Apple’s latest release – and that’s alright.
Oh, and don’t forget to outline when you need this video to be completed. Even the biggest budgets can run up against roadblocks if the timeline is too limited.
4. Decide between in-house or agency.
This decision will likely be dependent on your budget. If you have a lot to work with, interview agencies that can give you quotes and creative pitches for your project.
If you have a small budget, you can still create a great video with a smartphone that has a high-quality camera. You can also screen record your computer to use as B-roll as you navigate through your platform.
Work with what you have and be proud of whatever you create.
5. Structure your video.
Will you tell a story? Highlight pain points? Use text or visuals only? Decide how you want to communicate your goal and how you’ll bring it to life.
If you’re working with a creative agency or freelance videographer, they may help you define the structure. If you’re going it alone, use videos like the ones we’ve listed below to inspire you and define which format will work best for your product and goals.
Another factor to consider is length. How long should a product demo video be, you ask? Two minutes is the sweet spot. However, you can go up to five minutes, if your demo goes into detail about use cases and features.
6. Choose between animation and live-action.
Animation can sometimes be a little cheaper than a live-action video. If you have a software product, you can also consider embedding an interactive demo onto your landing page. There are an increasing number of interactive product demo tools becoming available to do that.
Work within your budget and skill level. In addition, narrow down which option best highlights your product and the scope your project requires.
7. Write a script.
The script is a crucial part of your video. It defines the tone, pace, and message.
Start with a project brief, move on to an outline, and navigate your script, section by section, making sure it speaks to the goals you’ve previously outlined.
Call out opportunities for B-roll throughout, and always conduct a verbal run-through before getting behind the camera. This will help you see if anything sounds unnatural and should be reworked.
Once you’ve shot, edited, and finalized your video, it’s time to decide how you’ll share it with your audience. YouTube, your website or campaign landing pages, and special email campaigns are all great channels for distribution.
But don’t overlook less obvious opportunities, like including your video in your email signature, sharing it in partner blog posts, and incorporating it into your sales team’s pitches.
This classic product demo video uses animation to show how users can benefit from it.
What this video does well is demonstrate several different use cases, taking a broad, top-of-the-funnel approach that will attract the masses.
Airtable also do something else that’s incredibly smart. As the seconds tick by and viewers hypothetically click out of the video, the information shared gets more specific, with specific tactics and features.
Airtable knows if someone has stuck around over one minute into their demo video, this is likely a qualified lead who wants to learn more.
Zendesk leads with pain points in their product demo video.
"Customer relationships are complicated … made up of fragmented pieces of what you know about your customers … it’s kind of all over the place," a narrator explains. But Zendesk gets it: "What seems like chaos is actually everything you want."
The viewer immediately feels like Zendesk understands them. It’s a full 50 seconds into the video before Zendesk even introduces a solution.
We never actually see the platform at work, but that’s not really the goal of this video. That's what makes it an effective demo.
Specifically, this demo walks through how families can use the platform together to build each member's credit, save funds together, or send funds to each other.
One great thing about the intro above is that it establishes a pain point by asking the audience if they've ever dealt with bad credit or poor savings. Then, it highlights exactly how Esusu can help them.
This demo is also a great example of how a quick and simple tour of an app can show potential users exactly what they need to know about navigating and using this type of financial planning app.
Slack uses this brightly hued video to break down a common misconception about their platform: that it’s only for sending private messages. They walk viewers through how teams can communicate using their interface.
"It’s way more than just a place to talk," explains the actor, "we keep all of our files here too."
The video is feature-heavy, but the actor chimes in with how those features translate into benefits as he walks viewers through a demonstration of Slack.
A simple "Get started with Slack, today" closes out this informative video with a clear call-to-action.
The narrator in this demo explains what happens to a baby’s nose when they’re sick – and why your baby gets fussy.
Immediately, he’s identified the viewer’s pain points and explained the problem with NoseFrida’s competitors.
The narrator begins to explain how to use the NoseFrida, a device that allows parents to physically suck snot out of their baby’s nose and effectively ruins your days of carefree milkshake sipping forever (take it from me).
It’s here that the company does something brilliant. They know their customer’s biggest purchasing block is the gross-out factor this product elicits, so they confront it head-on.
"Breathe easy, we know what you’re thinking," the narrator says. They then explain how NoseFrida is designed to be hygienic and safe.
Know your product has a big red flag for customers? Try addressing it bravely, like NoseFrida does, instead of tip-toeing around the elephant in the room.
How do you get people to part with their most valuable asset: their free time? Online learning platform Craftsy, formerly known as Bluprint, has the right formula.
They first engage users by letting them know they have something for everyone. The narrator says, "Whether you’re just getting started with a craft or looking to advance your skills, our world-class instruction is here to help."
The video then outlines the various lessons consumers can take, from baking to knitting, emphasizing the value of having seasoned instructors to guide them.
Are you known for one product but want to introduce another? Sphero knows a little about that.
A few years ago, the brand created a robot called BB-8 for a little-known movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Lucky for them, I hear that panned out.
In a Kickstarter video for their newest robot, they begin by featuring the iconic BB-8 robot that skyrocketed their success. Once the viewer knows who they are, they present their new robot: The Sphero RVR.
The rest of the video features the robot’s engineers speaking about what their new creation does and why it’s special. We believe them because they’ve tethered this new creation to their past authority.
What works well here is that Sphero establishes its credibility straight on by referencing past success then introduces their new product and its features.
I’ve saved the most comprehensive product demo video for last. This example, from HR software provider Gusto, clocks in at an impressive five minutes and fifty-six seconds.
What follows is a careful walk-through of the product, its benefits, and how to pick the perfect plan.
Viewers who make it to the end likely signal to Gusto that they’re ready to speak with a salesperson. This video probably works best for buyers further along in the buyer’s journey.
Key takeaway: If your goal is to introduce your product/service to new audiences, stick with a shorter option that’s quick and easy to consume.
Using Product Demo Videos in Your Marketing Strategy
Product demo videos might take a bit of time and planning to create, but once they're live, they can be an effective piece of your brand's overall video marketing strategy.
As consumers seek out more video content while researching products, marketers are also finding that videos are their most effective asset. Like them, you'll want to leverage video marketing and product demos to guide your prospect to the customer stage.
Want to create your own video? Check out our ultimate guide to video marketing.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in June 2019, but has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Aug 25, 2021 1:45:00 PM, updated September 15 2022