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Whiteboard Videos Convert Visitors — But Only If You Avoid These Mistakes

Image by Pat Freling of Paint Strategies.

Video marketing is one of the hottest, most effective content marketing techniques going right now — especially animated videos. And why not? Animation is fun, and it makes your explainers way more interesting than a boring old brochure.

But as with anything great, it only works if you do it right — especially when it comes to whiteboard videos. Whiteboard videos are simple and effective, but you have to avoid a few common mistakes.

Conceptual Problems

Using whiteboards in the wrong context

Whiteboard animations are, by definition, imperfect. They are meant to be fun, entertaining, and even a bit, dare we say, whimsical. Whiteboard animation videos are great for explaining concepts that in other formats might feel a bit boring or even too academic. But they have to match your bran.

In an otherwise serious, corporate, suit-and-tie environment, a whiteboard animation might feel a bit too casual and creative. Remember: Your brand is your most valuable possession. If you are fun, hip, and on the cutting edge, then whiteboard animation is perfect for you. If you aren’t exactly trying to show your wild side, then another style is more appropriate.

Your topic is too complex

We know. We just said that whiteboard videos are great for explaining academic topics in a simple, easy-to-understand way. And they are — as long as the topic isn’t too complex. If it takes you 10 minutes and 50 illustrations to explain something, you might need a different type of animation.

For example, if you want to show your audience how something works, like a cool piece of tech you’ve just developed, you may be better off using 2D or 3D animation that brings them inside the product, where they may not otherwise have access.

Your script is terrible —or worse, nonexistent

Images are important in your video marketing, no doubt. But so many marketers spend more time focusing on the animation and getting it perfect than they do on the script, when really it should be the other way around.

Whiteboard videos are supposed to be imperfect. They are supposed to look like someone just jotting down notes on the board. Should they have decent handwriting and be able to draw at least a passable stick figure? Yes. But don’t get so bogged down in the images that you forget the script.

Remember: Your script needs to show viewers what you can do for them, and get them to do something, whether it’s click, call, buy, or jump up and down three times. Don’t forget the call to action!

Check this post for some great tips on how to create a killer video script.

Your video is boring

The whole point of using animation for your explainers is to avoid being boring. No one likes a boring cartoon. When you were a kid and watched something boring, you’d wander off and find a sibling to annoy instead.

The same applies to your marketing videos. Don’t be boring. Be fun, be creative, be clever. You don’t have to say everything — just say enough to get your audience to respond.

Production Problems

Sometimes, the things that are driving visitors away from your videos instead of getting them excited have more to do with the production of the video than its content.

Obviously, you want the animation to be of decent quality — even stick figures are ok as long as they are drawn well — and you want all of the drawings to flow together as much as possible so they make sense to the viewer. But there are some little things that turn visitors off too.

Using the wrong background

The whole idea of a whiteboard video is that it needs to look like it as drawn on a whiteboard. There’s a simplicity that people expect. So choosing to use white animation on a purple background or some other combination can be a risky move.

On the one hand, it’s different and attention getting, and probably looks great. On the other hand, it’s unexpected, and might turn off your customers for any number of reasons, ranging from they don’t like the colors to it being hard for them to see. Unless you have a compelling reason to use something other than a white background, keep simple.

Forgetting to include the drawing hand

Most whiteboard videos show a hand writing and drawing the information at least some of the time. This is important. Including the hand grounds the content without it, it just sort of appears on the screen without any context. Again, a whiteboard video is designed to look like someone is presenting the information in real time on a whiteboard. Include the drawing hand to continue the illusion.

Using color

A mentioned above, color isn’t always welcome in whiteboard videos. Adding a few pops here and there to support your branding and highlight key points? Okay. Creating the entire video in full color? Missing the point. When you add color, you’re either wasting viewers’ time by making them watch someone color in the images, or adding elements that affect the notion of watching this occur in real time. Remember: keep it simple. (Have we mentioned that yet?)

Does avoiding these mistakes guarantee a killer whiteboard video? No. But when you don’t fall into common traps, you have a better chance of your video resonating with your audience — and that’s the ultimate goal.

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