For any SaaS company, the whole customer relationship is closer to a love story than a traditional business deal. Clients go through dozens of options to find the most attractive one to them. Then, the courtship begins, with the SaaS company showing the potential client how they fit all their needs. When the client commits and signs the contract, it’s like a partner moving into your apartment: you want to make them feel welcome, show them where everything is. And whenever a character flaw comes up, you both work on it to figure out the best solution (or tech support, whatever you want to call it).
What if I told you that there was a way to handle all those steps and make it a smooth journey towards a happy marriage? It’s called screencasting. Put simply, it’s the process of recording your screen while performing typical tasks in your company’s software. It often includes audio or visual narration to better guide users through the task, which makes it easier to follow the actions in the video. It’s like dealing with the problems in your relationship before they even happen! Here’s an example of one.
Screencasting is great for:
- Onboarding new clients
- Teaching clients about new features
- Tech support on common issues
It’s awesome because:
- It’s proactive (it allows you to answer questions before they ever reach you)
- It can be repurposed (an onboarding video for new clients can also be a great sales tool to show the product)
- It saves time (you can use these videos to answer common questions)
Tools of the screencast: Recording
Screencasting is a practice that can benefit any SaaS company, and it’s really worth it to invest a little in a software specialized in conducting a screencast. Here are a handful of some of our top picks:
Camtasia, $299 for PC, $99 for Mac: This is a very complete option, with a lot of different built-in animations as well as tools like quizzes to keep your viewers engaged. The company, Camtasia, itself has also produced a lot of screencasts to get you started with the platform (and get you inspired!)
ScreenFlow $99 Mac-only: Even though it’s Mac only, ScreenFlow is very feature rich. It allows you to add text or tiles to your video, customize your cursor, decouple the audio and video, and it also has multiple exporting options.
Screencast-O-Matic $15/yr: This one works on all operating systems since it’s a web app. It’s a little more pared down but it’s also much cheaper than the other two and is a great option if you’re just starting to try out screencasts. You can still add watermarks to your videos, as well as text, and even password protect your screencasts.
If you’re committed to using screencasting as a customer success tool, and you’re a PC user, Camtasia is pretty unbeatable. It allows you to create professional looking videos right from your computer, and it even offers opportunities to keep your viewers engaged with in-video quizzes to see if they’re understanding the content.
If you’re a Mac user, Camtasia is a little less feature rich, and that’s where Screenflow might be a better option. It has powerful editing tools, and even allows for iOS recording, which can be a crucial option if your product supports mobile and you want to record some mobile screencasts.
Screencast-O-Matic is way cheaper at $15 per year, and would be a great option if you’re just testing out the waters. It still provides you with editing tools and the ability to record different audio tracks, which would allow you to get a good grasp of the power of screencasting.
Making it really good: A few things to note
So you’ve done a couple sample videos and you think screencasting might be worth a second date? Here are a few tips:
Get a good microphone
Since your voice will often be the only audio in the video, it has to sound good. That means investing in a good quality microphone.The Blue Yeti is a microphone used by the majority of those serious about recording. It’s pretty affordable at $100, and it’s very versatile with a wide range of recording setups. No matter your choice of mic, it’s best to record the video and audio separately, it will allow you to better control your voice and pace.
Find a good place to record
Your users will be watching your screencasts while they try to accomplish an action within your software at the same time, so background noise is especially frustrating. Book a meeting room, record it at home, or early/late at the office to make sure there is as little noise as possible.
Keep them engaged
Even if you’re helping users, you still have to keep them engaged during the video or you risk them not learning how to properly use your product, or worse: churning. To keep users engaged, you can:
- Utilize pop-up arrows or circles to highlight to features you’re explaining.
- Use animated transitions or transition images between topics.
- Have viewers take a quiz at the end of the video to gauge their understanding.
- Add pop-out calls to action during videos to direct your viewers.
Write a script
What you’re explaining in the video might seem easy for you, but if a user is watching, it’s because it isn’t easy for them. If you write your script down beforehand, it forces you to slow down, stutter less, and ensures you don’t miss any steps. Don’t read, though. Get used to your script and try to speak as you would normally speak to a client on the phone.
Getting started: Keep these things in mind
To ensure your screencasts strengthen your relationship with your customers, make them as comprehensive as possible, they’re videos to explain something. They can be as long as they need to be. But don’t be scared to segment a more complex subject into multiple videos (or chapters within the same video if you’re using Vidyard!) if they get too long. Once you’re done editing a video, show it to one of your friends who doesn’t know the product to see if the video is clear and simple to understand.
You probably already know what screencasts you need to produce. All you need to do is identify what your users struggle the most with and what questions you answer every single day. Those are perfect subjects for your first screencasts.
Soon, you’ll realize that this type of video is also perfect for introducing new features to your clientele. And that they make perfect mechanisms for delivering product overview. And they’re great to build out your knowledge base. Next thing you know, you’ll be deep in love with screencasts.