How to create a killer promotional video for your startup?
Video is often a must have for a startup as it’s a great visual and interactive way to convey your message. The idea of making our own startup video came up after we were selected for the startup village of Ecommerce One To One, the biggest annual event of the French e-commerce scene.
We wanted to create a video that would well explain our value proposition for retailers. The problem was that at that time we had almost no clue about how we could create a great video for our startup. The good thing is that now we think we know and we want to share our tips with you. Hope it will be helpful!
The final result :
Step 1: Set up your goals
A very important step, often forgotten in articles, is to set up your goals. There can be as many objectives as there are startups but here are a few examples:
- Present your startup. The goal of the video is to be as clear as possible so that anyone can understand the activity of your startup after watching the video.
- Get engagement. The goal of your video is to become viral by offering an entertaining content. The perfect example for this case is the French startup Tracktl (see example below).
- Educate your audience on specific topics. The goal is to market yourself as the expert of your industry. A good example are the videos of the French accelerator The Family. They make videos of experts on specific startup topics, for example how to build a good pitch.
At Tapbuy, we wanted to achieve the first goal, present our startup. Our main work was to focus on the clarity of our message and the coherence of our history.
Step 2: Choose the right format
Once you have set up your goal, you must think about the best video format to communicate it. In our case, we had 3 choices of formats:
- The classic video format. The main problem is that it involves shooting scenes, and with low quality equipment it can quickly looks amateurish. Also, you need good actors if you want your movie to be credible. However, with good actors and a cool script, the result can be really good, like this video of Glassjar Payments.
- The “screenshot” video. It’s usually very easy to do. You just have to make screenshots of your site or or app, that explain the various features. The advantage is that you can have a very clear video at lower costs, but it usually lacks a bit of “storytelling”. A good example is this video of Myeggbox.
- The Motion Design Video. This is a format that relies entirely on animations created on a computer. You don’t need to shoot anything. However, you usually need to hire a professional.
In our video, we chose the motion design video format. We had several reasons for that:
- No need of actors and staging
- Good way to pitch
- Well adapted for the presentation of a startup
Step 3: Write the script
Once you have chosen the video format, the next step is to write the script. It’s very important to write the story you want to tell, and then test it with different people.
For our video, we used a simple structure: context – problem – solution.
- Context: presentation of the major trends in your industry.
- Problem: presentation of the main problem in your industry.
- Solution: presentation of your solution and why it can solve the problem.
You can take a look at the script we wrote for example :
Beyond the structure of the scenario, it is essential to make it very clear so that you can save yourself some time later. One method you can follow:
- Draw a slide by scene
- Write below the slide the message you want to tell
- Draw quickly and roughly the scene
Once this work is done, feedbacks you will get from your team or your freelancer / agency will be much more constructive.
Step 4: Shoot the video
This is probably the longest and most technical step. It mainly depends on the format you have chosen.
1. Classic Video Format
You choose to do it yourself. In this case, you must bring a good quality camera and a good microphone for sound recording (a very important dimension often neglected). For video editing, iMovie or Windows Movie Maker can do the trick for the basics (transition plans, text adding, cutaways) but if you want to do more complex adjustments (color retouching, combining videos…), it is better to use Final Cut or Adobe Premiere, not so difficult to handle.
You work with a professional. You have two choices: freelancer or agency. It will mostly depend on your budget. For less than 3 minutes, it will cost you about 2 to 3,000 euros for a freelancer, and up to 10,000 euros for an agency (French prices). An agency will offer you the support a team of specialists (copywriter, cameraman, editor, art director…) unlike a freelancer who will handle certain aspects or all aspects of the video by himself.
2. Video screenshot
You choose to do it yourself. It’s really easy, you just have to record your screen via QuickTime player. To record your phone, you must plug it to your computer via a USB port and use QuickTime Player to film the screens. For editing, iMovie or Movie Maker should do the job.
You choose a professional. Well, don’t do that…Unless you really want to burn your cash.
3. Motion Design Format
You choose to do it yourself. It’s possible, software like Powtown or Video Scribe allow you to make videos like this. However, these software are as easy to use as they are limited. Your video will look more like an animated Power Point than a beautiful motion design video.
You choose a professional. Same story as in case 1, you must choose between a freelancer or an agency. In both cases, try to hire an animation specialist. Depending on the duration of your video, the complexity of the animation and the talent of your freelancer, count between 1,500 euros and 5,000 euros.
For our project, we chose a freelancer because we did not have the internal resources to produce a video animation using Adobe After Effects. If you happen to be in this case, we can give you three main tips:
- Spend some time choosing the right person. Every freelancer has its own strengths, those who make beautiful motion design videos are not necessarily good for filmmaking and vice versa. Feel free to contact several freelancers and don’t forget to look for referrals. We advise you to look at their portfolios and projects on websites like Vimeo or Behance. If you are in a hurry, you can also use freelancer marketplaces like Hopwork (French) or Freelancer.
- Reduce your costs by producing your own graphic elements. If you want to reduce the bill and you have a designer in your team, you can ask him to produce the graphic elements that will be used in the video. Already having your detailed scenario, the freelancer will simply animate the different elements which will save you a lot of time.
- Establish a retroplanning. This step is key if you want to control the production time of your video. In our case, it allowed us to get out the video in time for our event. See below the schedule that we used:
- Make accurate returns. If you choose an agency or a freelancer, it’s very likely that you are not their only customer. Plus, you might pay them on a hourly basis. It’s then very important for your time and your wallet to be very rigorous when giving feedback.
Step 5: Choose the sound
Here, it’s your call to decide the order that best suits you (first video and music or the reverse). In our case, we made the video first and then we took care of the music.
Choice of music. It’s very important to look carefully at the license you purchase. In addition to the price of the song, you must purchase a license which price depends on where you will use the video (website, social networks, offline event…). We bought our music on jamendo.com (French) that offers a wide catalog of sounds for professional multimedia projects. Depending on the license you take, count between 30 and 300 euros. For more premium services or customized soundtracks, you can go through unippm.fr (200 to 1,000 euros) or uniquesound.com.
Choice of voiceover. Maybe you want to incorporate a voiceover to your video to make it easier to understand. In our case, we chose not to and therefore we had to make a self-explanatory video with subtitles.To choose a voice for your video you need to go to a recording studio that will offer you a voice catalog. This requires you know precisely the text that the actor has to say. It will cost you between 300 and 1000 €.
If you want to reduce the bill and do this by yourself, a good plan is to contact radio or video student associations. They usually have professional equipment (including microphones, mixer, etc.) that will allow you to record good quality sound.
Case study: the video success of Tracktl
One year ago, the startup Tracktl also relied on a video to promote their solution to the public. The initial goal was clear, make the buzz. In the video, you can see a man who makes passengers in the subway dance. A week after the post, it had accumulated 30,000 views, two weeks after it had 200,000 views.
We met Thibault Taupin, cofounder of Tracktl, who gives us 4 tips for a successful viral video.
1. Have a unique idea
At first, we wanted to launch a street marketing operation to boost our visibility and brand image. After our brainstorming, we had a lot of ideas. The hard part is to decide objectively which one is the most feasible. We deliberately sticked to Tracktl values (= music is a factor of social cohesion among people of all ages and cultures) and not the product. In the end, you can just see our logo twice.
2. Prepare your operation
We had prepared the ground well: script, validation of the metro line 6, validation of the day and the schedule according to passenger influx, team, brief… We were fortunate to have good internal skills in scriptwriting, image capture, and video editing, because it helped us a lot.
3. Launch (in pirate mode)
We did not ask permission to RATP (French Subway Network) or any other authority to do this. It would have taken too much time, too much paperwork and the ability to have an authorization was too low in our opinion, so it was “make or break”. Afterwards, we shared the video with the RATP who congratulated us for the buzz but highly recommended to validate a signed authorization for next time
Beyond the 50 million views (all separate channels), we remember mainly a good day between friends, unlikely encounters with strangers of all ages and a lot of laughs.
Now you have all the advices you need to launch a killing video 😉