How to Create an Explainer Video for $5

Online video is great for customer engagement and SEO, and the stats prove it. Explainer videos, which explain a business, product, or service in 1-2 minutes, are surging in popularity lately. Companies usually place them on their homepage, and they can have incredible results.

Take Crazy Egg for example. After adding an explainer video to their homepage they were able to generate an extra $21,000 in monthly revenue. Of course, adding a video to your site doesn’t guarantee immediate results, but it’s worth a shot.

The problem for most startups is the cost of video production. Unless you have significant revenue or funding, dropping several thousand dollars on a video may not be an option. Furthermore, creating an expensive video when you’re a young startup is a risky proposition. For starters, chances are good that something small - like your logo, colors, or website - or something big - like your business model or name (yes, we’ve seen it happen) - will change during the production process, incurring significant revision costs.

So what’s a poor, lowly startup to do? Fortunately, technology is making it easier than ever to create your own explainer video on the cheap. Sure, it may not have the polish or creative flair of a professionally produced video, and it’s probably not for larger companies or established brands, but it’s a great way to create something temporary while you’re building your business.

Here are 4 simple steps for producing your own explainer video for $5.

1. Write a script

Just like any good movie, a well written script is the key to a successful explainer video. Here are a few quick tips to ensure you end up with a video script that gets results:

  • Use short, jargon-free sentences.

  • Explain the problem, solution, how it works, and what the viewer should do next (a call-to-action).

  • Speak directly to the viewer, using terms like “you” and “your”.

  • Use a free, collaborative tool like Google Docs to write and share feedback.

  • Before you finalize things, read your script to an outsider and make sure they can understand it.

For more tips, watch 5 Quick Tips for Writing a Great Explainer Script.

2. Record a voiceover

Nothing ruins a good video quite like bad audio. But having a professional sounding voice over doesn’t mean breaking the bank. You can use a voice marketplace like or Voice Bunny, or even try your luck on Fiverr. If you or someone you know has a decent voice, you can even try using your iPhone.

If you decide to hire voice talent, provide them with plenty of direction so you can get the take you want the first time around. Directions may include notes on tone, volume, emphasis, and tempo.

3. Shoot the video

The most difficult (assuming you’re doing it yourself) and time consuming part of the video production process is creating the animation or live action video. There are pros and cons to either style, and if you’re having trouble deciding which to use, check out this comparison video.

If you decide you’d like to use animation, check out PowToon. They make it incredibly easy for anyone with basic computer skills to develop an animated video. The final product may not be the most original video ever created, but it’s free (with some limitations) and simple to learn.

If you’re more interested in live action video, you can skip the expensive camera and lighting equipment and try shooting it on your iPhone. You may not win any awards, but if you’re on a budget, using the tools you already have can get you far enough along. Assuming it works and you make millions, you can always go back and hire a professional to redo the video down the road.

4. Add music and sound effects

No explainer video is complete without music and sound effects. A little music can go a long way in setting the mood and tempo for a video. Fortunately there are thousands (if not millions) of royalty-free tracks available on the Internet. Start with Audio Jungle or to find low cost or free audio tracks and sound effects. If you want more options, check out our list of great places to find web music.

There you have it. 4 simple, cost-effective steps for creating an explainer video on a $5 budget. Have you created an explainer video on your own? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

Explainer Video Production


Andrew Follett

Andrew is the Founder and CEO at Video Brewery. Andrew lives in Chicago, loves startups, and enjoys traveling. You can find more video tips and tricks on his blog or follow him on Twitter @demoduckvideo.

Join the discussion