How to build great software demo videos ?

We live in a world of communication. More than ever, software vendors need to communicate loud to get spotted by their target customers. And this is the responsibility of the marketing team to identify the most efficient ways to promote the products and know-how of your company.

Whitepapers, datasheets, webinars are good assets to generate interest in top of funnel acquisition campaigns but once people start to show some sign of interest, a demonstration of your product can accelerate the conversion process and make the difference with competition.

Here are a few tips to build great product demo videos:


Give me access

Get access to the product. This statement might sound basic but you might be surprised to see how many software vendors don’t offer an easy access to their products internally. Most on-premises solutions require complex installation and there is no central internal place you can connect to access your software easily for demo. Even SaaS solutions might not offer an easy access to their internal teams due to difficulties to get around the complex account provisioning process – as an internal employee, for example, you need special rights and do not have to pay for the service. When such an access exists, the version might be old because this is not a top priority internally. So, the goal here it to get an early access to the latest release to be able to promote the new product features efficiently.

KISS - Keep it Simple and Stupid

Identity a series of short scenarios focusing on the strongest value proposition. Your product does surely a lot of things. But keep in mind that customers expect easy to use software. The new paradigm is now “Do less but do it great“. Goal is not to show plenty of features that are in most cases useless to the majority (the 80/20 rule) but to focus on the core features and make them the simplest and most intuitive, on top of a very performant infrastructure with no downtime and a high speed. So, pick up 3 to 5 basic scenarios that do the job and don’t be frustrated to not show everything your product can do.

Script software demo scenarioTest your scenarios. After defining the scenarios, test them “as a dummy” and identify the points of friction. By “points of friction”, I designate the moments when the experience is less fluid – due to bugs and poor design. Be very careful of simplicity. The navigation must be intuitive, simple and efficient (no more than 3 clicks to perform a simple operation). Duration is also important: a demo video should not last more than 5 minutes too keep people interested. If your scenario is too long, split it into two videos. Last, define a title that mentions the value proposition explained in the video.

Script your scenarios. Once your scenarios are well defined, start to write a script. Writing a script is essential to have a perfect speech. Share it with other people – this is important to get feedbacks from other team members – and improve it. Think of testing your script multiple times to make sure you don’t miss anything. Last, if you are working in software, better have a video in English. So if you are like me not a native speaker, ask a native speaker to make edits to your script.

Screen recording

Find the right voice. Now that you have very solid scenarios with their scripts, you need to find THE voice. This is something to think of carefully as this will have a strong impact on the quality of your video. Take a voice that is clear and not too high nor too deep. Of course, if you record your video in English and you are not a native speaker, I encourage you to ask an American or English colleague to  achieve more professional result.

Record your video. This step might seem faster but is actually very time consuming. You also need to have the right tools for that. There is for example Camstasia that is a very good tool but if you search on Google, you will find other tools that might better fit your needs and budget. An interest feature of such a tool is to be able to cut the video if needed as you might record it in several pieces.

Prepare your video asset.  After recording, you need to spend some time to cut and reassemble it to get the final version. Think also of inserting an introductory slide with a title and if possible a call to action at the end of your video.

Publish it: Here you are ! Publish your video on your Youtube channel. Your video asset is starting a long life. The average life of such a media on the Web up to two years, potentially meaning plenty of upcoming leads! If you haven’t done it in the video, insert a call to action link in the Youtube description. In order to optimize your SEO on Youtube, think of filling the title, the description and the other meta tags properly. Last but not least, don’t only think Youtube, multiply your video presence on other video platforms and use the embed code to have it displayed on many relevant blogs and web sites.

Watch out this interesting video I discovered on Youtube:

Software trial: how to leverage your marketing tools?

Do you plan to promote your software with an online trial version ?

In a previous article, I shared my experience on the 15 tips to build a successful software trial.

The ultimate goal for this trial is to generate qualified leads for your sales team and I would like to provide today with a few recommendations on how to integrate the trial with the existing marketing automation tools of your corporate web site.


1. Plug your trial behind the contact form of your web site

Your contact form is a privileged time with your visitors because that’s the time when you ask them to trust your company and give you their contact details. Don’t use it systematically. Why ? This is a matter of psychology, i.e. understanding the motivations leading  visitors to provide you with their name, email and phone number.

Usually, I recommend:

  • to keep your articles, news and global datasheets public
  • to activate the contact form before accessing the most appealing content such as thought leadership white papers, ebooks, trials.




2. Configure the form handler

Upon form submission, two actions are triggered:

  • An API call to your marketing automation platform – e.g. Pardot or Marketo – to create the new prospect and be able to analyze the navigation path of your prospect.


  • An API call to the trial user provisioning system. This system is in charge of creating a trial account for the prospect.



3. Send a welcome email 

Upon contact creation, your marketing automation tool sends a welcome email to the prospect. This email is very useful if the visitor wants to access the trial later on. Polish the template with your corporate branding.

Your email should contain:

  • a clear and professional welcome message
  • a link to click to access the trial
  • additional links to:
    • documentation (link to a documentation portal for example)
    • sales contact information

All links are automatically tracked by your marketing automation system for optimal performance measurement.

The credentials – login and password – to access the solution are generated by the user provisioning system independently and will be sent in a synchronous but separate email.


4. Display a confirmation page

A confirmation page is important because it explains your visitor that his/her request is being processed. There is so much to say about how to write an optimized confirmation page that I think I will let it aside for a next article.

At this stage your visitors are the most receptive to any information you might give to them. Take this opportunity to engage further and provide them with relevant information:

  • sales contact information
  • link to interactive product presentations such as videos of which impact is much greater than more classic materials.

Don’t bother your prospects with irrelevant information. They want to test the product, so they simply expect content that would help them better understand it, nothing more.



5. Integrate with your CRM

Now that the prospect is registered in your marketing automation system, you can use an automatic rule that will assign a high scoring and trigger an automatic import into your CRM, Salesforce for example.




6. Define your lead nurturing mechanism 

It is extremely important to define the lead lifecycle and how you want to interact with it according to a precise timeline.

If you take the generic example of automation timeline below, you could consider following steps:

  • D: “welcome” email
  • D+1: “additional information” email
  • D+5: “Reminder” email due to inactivity or “Satisfaction” email due to activity.
  • D+[duration of the trial] – 5: “end of trial period warning” email
  • D+[duration of the trial] – 1: “end of trial period warning” email



7. Define and follow your metrics

When it comes to online performance, it’s important to monitor it through automated reports that would be generated out of your marketing automation system. Reports could contain for example:

  • Number of trial requests
  • Number of trial activations
  • Number of login attempts per user

And for your upcoming marketing campaigns, you will also be interested in those numbers per campaign.