For this customer story, I caught up with Chris Johnson and Jason Moore, the team behind Simplifilm. They take a unique approach to making product videos, and their results speak for themselves.
We create narrative, motion graphic videos that artfully tell product stories.
How did you get started?
Jason: When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much… (kidding). I’ve been doing motion graphics video for about 13 years, and graphic design for even longer than that. Chris and I began doing odd jobs here and there in 2008, and one particular job called for an animated video. Simple by our present standards, it opened the door to a couple of other video opportunities. Our partnership went to the next level when Chris saw a bad demo for a product he loved, and when he called them on it, they hired us to make something great. We’ve been booked solid from that time on.
Chris: I’ve always been working online, and I’ve made it a point to try different contractors. I knew Jason from little league, and when Facebook exploded, he and I got to chatting off and on. He did a few odd jobs, and knocked every one out of the park. The last one – to stay with the baseball metaphor – was great, and so we rolled with it.
How do you differentiate yourself from your competition?
Jason: Simplifilm’s pieces are usually a single shot seamless thread that starts at the beginning and ends at the end. We avoid cuts as much as possible to keep the viewer engaged. It’s harder to do that, but it’s what makes us different. We also focus on story much more than effects. We have the chops to do great effects, but a lot of what we see out there is heavily plugin or preset driven, and devoid of story.
Chris: On the other hand, we don’t go with the “This Is Doug, Doug Needs _______” style of low-end cartoons. They are really simple to pull off, but they don’t convert as well as most other options.
We still keep the low key, “here’s what it is, here’s how you use it,” approach. We build a creative metaphor that makes it so that the product is understood and approachable. Jason’s not limited to the visual effects that he’s going to use.
We’ve had multiple occasions to replace videos provided by our competition, and we’ve had higher conversions every time. Our storytelling focuses on the product.
Finally, it’s ALL about the product. And the products have to be fantastic. We have an application and review process. If I find you -then chances are we’ll take you, but if you find us, well… we turn down well over half the products that apply and I’m always out looking for work so we can be sure to ONLY work with game changing stuff.
What tips do you have for small businesses looking to use video to drive sales?
Jason: Pick the two or three most important things about your product or service and limit your story to just talking about those things. You don’t even have time for an elevator speech. You’ve got about 15 seconds to hook them, then you have another 15 or 20 to keep them. A demo video is just an invitation in the door, so don’t go overboard.
Chris: Respect the intelligence of the buyers. Great customers- the kind you want and the kind you love – are really smart people. Being condescending to them is a no-go. You have to share with them.
Show the product. If you’re a service provider like an attorney or Realtor… you’re the product…be on camera. If you have an app show the interface and screens of the app. People watch a video because they are curious. So if you have a first quality, beautifully wrought demo video, that’s going to make sales.
How does Batchbook help you accomplish your goals?
First, it’s a bucket for people that go in and out of it. So I can BCC my email in and it keeps track for me, by person.
Second , the tags are great. I have a default tag to “process later” that I stick on everyone so I can just quickly dump people in in big batches and then get to it later.
Third, the “todo templates” make sure I’m following up with people- I have 4-5 ways of following up. I use Batchbook with Tout and Yesware, so when we pitch people it automatically goes in there.