How to make your own Explainer video for next to nothing

How to make your own Explainer video for next to nothing
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’ve been after an Explainer video for my website for a while. I’ve looked at other people’s videos with envy, but worried that getting one made would cost too much.

So I got some quotes for videos, which made me spit coffee at my computer screen. They ranged from $2000 to $5000. Are you frickin’ kidding me? Who has that kind of moolah?

Eventually I found an overseas company that’s busy making me a whiteboard-style video right now. The cost? Around $500. It will be finished next week.

Then I found this awesome video software

It’s both amusing and a little annoying that I discovered a cool app this week that lets you create your own explainer video in about fifteen minutes. It’s also slightly cool that it bears the proud name of Toon.

PowToonIntroducing PowToon.

According to their blurb, it’s an “online business presentation software tool that allows you to create free, cool, and awesome animated video explainers as an alternative to…”

(Their meta description cuts off there. Jeez, get with the program guys).

But I’d say it’s an alternative to:

  • PowerPoint (Is there any one in this galaxy who likes PowerPoint?)
  • Paying a fortune for videos
  • Having large chunks of copy on your site explaining your product, when a 90-second video can do the same thing.

Why video matters

Before I get going, just a quick note on the importance of video. Here’s a chart from the B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey for 2012 that shows how popular videos are with marketers.


Video content rocks

And since you’re likely to put your video on YouTube as well, you might like to know that more than 800 million people visit YouTube each month, 72 hours of video are uploaded every day, and in 2011 YouTube had one trillion views.

And while I’m getting all statistical on you, scroll to the bottom of the post for an awesome Video Infographic from HubSpot.

To put it simply: video content on your site helps…

  • Improve engagement, keeping people on your site longer
  • Explain your product in a way that’s easy to digest
  • Encourage conversion
  • Improve your brand experience

But of course, that all depends on the video content being interesting, high-quality and watchable.

Here’s one I made earlier

So I had a little play, and made this whiteboard-style video in about 20 minutes.

2015 update: This is a 90-second promotion for my old Pick My Brain service – which I no longer offer I’m afraid.


How PowToon works

Admittedly I didn’t watch any tutorials (I’m lazy) and just got stuck in. But even then I got the hang of it very quickly.

Here are some key features:

  • A large selection of set images and backgrounds to choose from (some are only unlocked when you start to pay)
  • Audio tracks (mind you, the free ones are pretty bad)
  • The ability to record your own audio
  • Animated illustrations
  • Various text animation options, including the good old ‘hand-drawn’ style
  • Lots of other stuff I haven’t explored yet

PowToon works on the same principle as PowerPoint, in that you click to add elements to a given slide or frame. Then there’s a time slider controlling how long each slide displays, and sub-sliders that let you control how long each element stays on the screen.

powtoon video

You can download your finished video or upload directly to YouTube, then embed it in your site or on social media.

What it costs

The basic version is free, with the only downsides being limited animations options and PowToon’s branding in the bottom right-hand corner.

A yearly subscription to the business-level package costs around $200 USD which, considering I just paid $500 for that other whiteboard video, makes it an absolute bargain.

My verdict

This PowToon software gets the Toon stamp of approval.

I think it’s all kinds of awesome. It’s really quick to use, versatile and looks pretty professional.

So if, like me, you’re not keen on putting your own head in your business video, an animated explainer video might be the answer.

Oh, and by the way, according to Neil Patel, it’s all about the script not the video, so if you need help with your video script, you know who to call.

Over to you

Do you use video on your site? Do you find it effective? What did you pay for it? Would you give PowToon a pop?

Oh, and if you liked this post please Click to Tweet below:


Oh and here’s that sexy infographic I promised you.


Video marketing infographic

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