MINIMALISE BY
DANIEL
TREADWELL

Creating a Great Looking Video for Your Product or Service

Posted January 08, 2013 under minimalise, fotostat, video, marketing

It may come as no surprise to most that having a video on your website to describe your product or service can help increase conversion rates.  It has become quite common place these days with many leading retailers, brands and startups creating quirky, funny or just plain informative videos to help turn a visitor into a customer.  But that's not all video is capable of with statistics showing that it can also also assist in reducing customer support requests, increasing social shares and even in helping sites rank better on search engines.

With this in mind I decided early on that I wanted to create a video to help describe my startup, +Fotostat [fotost.at].  Based on our experience, describing a service in words is not all that hard, but really conveying how a service can be beneficial to a customer is much harder.  Fotostat is a central hub where photographers can manage their online presence by scheduling uploads of their photos across multiple networks.  It helps guage how well each photo performs by showing all relevant statistics available from each network and allows the photographer to engage with their audience in one easy to use location.  That's all well and good, but what does it actually DO?  The main value proposition we wanted to convey to our customers is how much time could be saved by using our product.  With that in mind, I set out to write a script for my video, first just in key points (who, what, why etc..), then expanding it into paragraphs.

Putting the script together took a little time, but the most difficult part for me was always going to be the visual side of things.  I am not typically what anyone would describe as a creative.  Apart from my photography interests, I am not artisticaly inclined whatsoever and find the idea of trying to be quite scary!  

Thankfully I came across +PowToon [powtoon.com], a service that provides you with all the tools needed to create a captivating video.  One of the great things about Powtoon is their ease of use.  If you are familiar with any kind of slide presentation software (like powerpoint), then you will be comfortable with Powtoon.  They provide a large array of clipart (some animated!) that you can simply drag and drop onto your slides to create the scenes that you are looking to create in your video.  You are able to change the time that each object is visible for (entry and exit points) as well as choose from multiple transition animations.

Powtoon really is great, but it is currently a beta service and not without some (minor) problems.  Any video worth watching needs audio, whether it be music or a voiceover or both.  Unfortunately at the time of creation it was not possible to add individual sound effects to each object, leaving it up to the user to cut in any effects with their background music which could be uploaded as a single file.  This was a bit of a pain to sync up but not a huge issue.  Another missing feature that I would have liked to see is the ability to add simple shapes, like a square or circle or even a line.  Whilst it was possible to upload your own images, it is certainly much more compelling to keep with the general theme of the existing clipart.

The audio for the Fotostat video was a combination of background music, sound effects for certain objects and a voice over.  The background music was made by a talented guy named Kevin MacLoud [incompetech.com] who has created a huge amount of royalty free music (CC Licensed).  Donations are appreciated and you can also purchase a non-attribution license which I did for the video which allows the music to be used without a visible reference to Kevin.  Sound effects were sourced from +AudioJungle [audiojungle.net] and the voiceover was provided by someone I found on +Fiverr [fiverr.com] for a tiny sum of just $15, which was simply astounding to me.

In total my costs for the video were around $50 for Powtoon, $30 for the music, $15 for the sound effects and $15 for the voiceover.  That is just $110 for something that would have cost me well over $1000 to have done professionally.   Is it of the same quality?  Probably not, but I certainly could not justify the higher price, not this early in my startup's life.  

Here at Fotostat we are extremely happy with the end result but we'd love to hear your thoughts so be sure to leave a comment!

Daniel Treadwell is a Developer, Amateur Photographer and Founder of Fotostat, a central hub where photographers can easily manage their online presence.