There’s no question that explainer videos are growing in popularity with marketing departments because they can help communicate their story more effectively, increase engagement, and grow sales.
But what about entrepreneurs using startup pitch videos to get funded… what if you thought of investors as your customers, created a video that gives your pitch, helps them visualize it, and addressed their questions & objections more effectively?
You can make your startup’s story more accessible, reach more investors and grab their attention, and help them really ‘get’ it.
With attention spans at an all-time low and thousands of startups vying for the same investor’s time, videos can move you quickly to the top of the pile.
What are investors saying?
David Rose (aka “the Father of Angel Investing in New York”), is a serial entrepreneur who chairs New York Angels, one of the most active angel investment groups. In a Quora discussion, David talks about the benefits of using a video in your pitch, especially if the interaction between the entrepreneur and potential investors started online.
Investors are intuitive and put a lot of faith in the entrepreneurs they fund, so a short, professional video can help you stand out among the mountain of funding submissions.
An ideal video style would be live-action to show them who you are and your personality, mixed in with some motion graphics or other animations to explain what you do more effectively. Or you can do a live introduction to the team and then switch to a more tranditional explainer animation.
When you email a deck to investors, they can easily mis-interpret what’s inside. Skimming tends to happen a lot too, so your key points may not even get through. A video cuts straight to the point, and is carefully scripted so there is less room for error.
Who should consider using a video pitch?
Do you have these key fundamentals that investors are looking for:
- A strong team committed to the company, with diverse experiences that are able to add an immense amount of value to grow the company.
- An interesting and novel approach to solve a problem for a sizeable market.
- A business model that works! Anybody looking to invest in your company not only has to like you, but has to love your business and its potential to make money too.
Remember, a video is just the tip of the iceberg. If you don’t have a solid foundation, the best video in the world won’t help you.
“What do you mean by the best video?”
It grabs your audience’s attention, speaks to THEM instead of talking about you, and explains everything very simply so your viewers immediately ‘get’ it. Sounds simple, but there’s a lot of science and art behind it.
Here are just a few pointers of things you want to keep in mind:
Neocortex vs Croc brain: When you explain something, you’re using the most evolved part of your brain. When your audience tries to filter new information and figure out quickly if it’s essential to them, they’re using their croc brain. That’s the first part of our brain that’s responsible for fight or flight decisions, and acts as a screen for new information.
So the problem is this: you may have a no-brainer solution to their problem, but what if you don’t make it past the croc brain that functions as a gatekeeper? We’re bombarded with too much information, and it has to filter in only the critically relevant pieces. So you have to simplify – simplify – simplify your message in order to break through.
This is a great video summary of a book that explains this better:
Script structure: You can’t just dive into your solution, and you don’t want to waste precious time setting up the problem. You have to be efficient AND effective. The battle-tested structure is AIDA, which stands for Attention -> Interest -> Desire -> Action.
Grab their attention with the Pain Point you’re addressing. Make them interested in your offering by explaining insightfully the real underlying Problem. Demonstrate how you solve the problem and the results to make them Desire your solution. And finally offer a free assessment or an easy next step in the buyer journey as your Call to Action.
Cadence: Your message needs to be 2 things – simple to understand, and easy to flow. Use an app like Heminway to make sure you’re writing as simply as possible. And read it out loud at least 10 times. If you ever stumble, you have to change that part. Because your viewer’s going to stumble too. And the issue is that in video, you’re just going to lose them.
Geons: Also, your visuals need to have a certain simplicity to them to help your viewers’ brain process them faster. Avoid 3D and overly complex images: they look great but your viewer will soon get tired and won’t be able to follow your message as effectively. Ideally, you want to use primary geometrical icons (aka “geons”) that abstract from mundane details but still convey the right image as much as possible.
Typical structure for your initial video pitch – a general video guideline
Just like nurturing sales, you want to nurture the relationship you have with investors, especially during their ‘shopping stage’.
You can stand out by having a video elevator pitch that gives a clear idea of what you do, without giving away anything confidential. A typical layout could look like this:
- Introduction: Craft your vision here and introduce yourself and your team (15-30 seconds)
- Main Problem: What problem did you identify in the marketplace and how will you solve it? (30-45 seconds)
- Vision: Where do you see the company going and what does the future look like? How can you add value to customers, capture it to add value to your company, and what’s in it for the investors? (30-45 seconds)
Great, I have the video… now what?
It’s a very common mistake to create a video and THEN figure out what you’re going to do with it. It’s very important to start with a plan in mind, because it can determine certain of the parameters of your video, or plan ahead for how you’re going to repurpose your video asset:
- Are you putting it on your website
- Are you using it for YouTube ads
- Are you running an email campaign to investors
- Are you using it in meetings with investors to align everyone
- Are you uploading it onto a funding platform
- Is this for crowdfunding vs investor-funding, etc.
The goal is to spark the interest of potential investors so that they will want to contact you for next steps. You may accomplish this by growing awareness, or proving initial traction, or reaching out to them directly.
Make sure you get the most of your video
Getting a video for your startup is a big investment but it’s worth it. It’s a GREAT asset to have, so make sure you get the most out of it!
You can repurpose your video material into slides and insert it into your deck, or you can create shorter versions for your social media, YouTube Ads, and email campaigns.
Take your investor deck and turn it into a video so you know that your message is getting out there and it’s accurate, and you will reach more investors who’ll engage with you.