How to Do Video Marketing on Social Media for Course Creators with Jason Hsiao from Animoto

Posted in

Listen to This Episode

How to do video marketing on social media for course creators with Jason Hsiao from Animoto in this episode of LMScast with Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. Chris and Jason dive into all kinds of video marketing best practices, and Jason shares some specific insights on creating videos for online courses.

Video marketing is a truly powerful medium. Things that are alive move, and that attracts more attention and engagement than still photos. Video makes things human. It is visually interesting and relatable. Most course creators use video, but if you have not tried it out, we encourage you to try it as it is highly effective for teaching.

Chris credits video marketing for how he was able to sell a piece of land during the recession for double what he paid. He first came across video marketing when he was doing video marketing for real estate. At the time, many listings were under optimized, and video was a great way to improve engagement from buyers online.

Animoto is an online tool you can use to create videos for everything from business meetings to weddings. It is a great place to start off for people who have no idea where to get started with creating videos. Animoto is a simple way to produce great looking videos that will stand out on social media.

Targeting is one of the most powerful aspects of social media marketing. Chris and Jason talk about how with the content tools available today combined with a highly targeted ad campaign, your posts on social media can appear right next to the ads from huge companies with million dollar advertising budgets.

How to do video marketing on social media for course creators with Jason Hsiao from AnimotoWhen creating videos for social media, it is important to engage viewers quickly. Jason talks about how it is important to treat social media posts similar to a trailer for a movie. You want to show one of the most interesting parts that people want to learn more about. Then give the viewers an easy way to take action and hear more about what you are sharing.

Jason and several other founders of the Animoto platform got started working for MTV and Comedy Central. To learn more about Jason and the Animoto software and team head to

Go to to find out more about how you can use LifterLMS to build your own online courses and membership sites. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Thank you for joining us!

Episode Transcript

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator looking to build more impact income and freedom LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses called LifterLMS, enjoy the show.
Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and I’m joined by a special guest, Jason Hsiao from Animoto. is where that’s at, and that’s a tool for making videos for social media that tell a story. I first heard about Animoto, geez, I think it was so long ago, but at the time I actually got into marketing in a really weird way. Because I’m an outdoor guy, I lived on a glacier in Alaska for a long time running sled dogs. I was just an outdoor guy without electricity and stuff like that. I used to have to take a helicopter to work. I saved a bunch of money doing that because there’s nowhere to spend it on a glacier, and I invested it in some real estate, and I bought some land in Alaska. I built a cabin on that, had a hand pump well, that’s where my wife and I met whatever. It’s a long story.
Chris Badgett: But in that time, ultimately, I decided to sell some of the land I bought in Alaska. I went to YouTube. I put together a website, somebody helped me put together a website and I made a marketing video. I sold them that piece of land for double what I got it for in the real estate recession. All of that I credit to video marketing. At that, now I started getting into real estate a little bit and I started doing video marketing with real estate, and that’s how I first came across Animoto.
Chris Badgett: What I loved about it was how you could even for … I had a video camera, I was always that guy carrying the video camera around with all my friends and everything. But you could work with still images and still make good videos efficiently and stuff. I saw you in the early days, but that’s how I first heard about it. Jason, thanks for coming on the show.
Jason Hsiao: Thanks, Chris. And thanks for that intro. Do we even need to say more? Since video just doubled your sale projection, and I guess we can just be done. But that’s an awesome story. We’ve certainly been on quite a journey over … We’ve been around for like 10 years now. So, I don’t know when exactly you found us. But we’ve certainly been on a journey.
Chris Badgett: It was really early days, I think what made it really interesting was just the ability for … You’re like democratizing video in a way especially for telling a story and sales and social media. But I was a video geek. I would consider myself on a scale of one to 10, I’d put myself at a five. I can edit videos and stuff like that. But I know a lot of the world is not a five, we’re definitely not a 10. I don’t have a $5000 computer with Final Cut Pro and all this stuff, but they do know how to take pictures. And sometimes that’s all you need. Can you talk about the origin of working with just pictures?
Jason Hsiao: Yeah. Actually, that’s where we started. In fact, the name Animoto is some kind of combination like animated photos. But a bunch of us we started … Several of us, we started Animoto. We actually used to work in TV and film. And this was 10, 15 years ago-
Chris Badgett: So, you’re a level 10?
Jason Hsiao: I was working with a lot of level 10 people for MTV, Comedy Central, and we just saw how fast everything was changing from internet to cloud computing to these … This is before the iPhone. So, these things getting smaller and smaller and it just seemed inevitable that they would have like internet connection and maybe you in a camera one day. So, we just needed to be a part of all this.
Jason Hsiao: Fast forward today, video literally is everywhere. I think what we hear the most is a lot of these folks saying, I see video is everywhere. I know I needed to be doing video to promote myself all over social media, but I have no idea you know where to get started. Our sweet spot is really for those folks who literally have zero experience with video and just need a super simple way to get to produce great looking stuff that’ll stand out on social media.
Jason Hsiao: But even as someone for me who has a ton of experience with video there are still a whole bunch of reasons why I use Animoto a lot versus a heavy editor like Final Cut Pro, Premier, because sometimes you just need to do something quick. We’ve built into Animoto so much stuff that just makes it so painless like just dealing with syncing with music and providing just all sorts of great fonts and colors and animations just all built into stuff to help your video stand out.
Jason Hsiao: I actually use Animoto a ton, even though I’m an experienced video person because it’s just quick and easy and it looks great.
Chris Badgett: That’s what I did for a while. I took a brief detour through real estate sales. I was always amazed at how under optimized a lot of real estate listings are. You could have up to like 25 photos, sometimes people had none, or just five and they weren’t that good. And then to just take a little extra time to throw all those still images together and pop it on YouTube and optimize it. I started selling property like an inexperienced realtor and getting all these leads just by doing some really basic video marketing.
Chris Badgett: I want to ask you, especially for the course creator, the education entrepreneur out there, I talk about this five hat problem that course craters face, which is you have to be an expert. You have to be a teacher, you have to be a technologist, you have to be a community builder, and you have to be an entrepreneur. And under the entrepreneur hat is the marketing hat. So, a lot of people listening to this or watching this on YouTube, they may be strong and expertise and teaching ability, but not necessarily as an entrepreneur, specifically at marketing. What are the fundamentals that you see is essential for video marketing?
Jason Hsiao: Well, first of all, this whole community already has a huge unfair advantage, because you already are producing great content that you know resonates with your audience. So, it’s a really … Now, that is just several steps ahead of where I think, most people are in terms of trying to start or grow a business. Really, it’s about how can we leverage what we have and find new people so we grow our community, grow our audience, and get people to find out about us? Because [inaudible 00:07:04] there are tons of people that probably are super interested in what you have to share and teach.
Jason Hsiao: One of the big changes we’ve seen is not just the emergence of video on social media but the ability to really target folks out there who can and should be interested in what you have to talk about. Really, the power of using … So, first of all, video. I’m sure a lot of this audience already understands the power of video. It’s visually interesting, it makes things human, relatable. That’s why using video when we’re trying to teach is so effective. But the reason we see video everywhere is just because … And there’s so many stats and studies now about when you include a video it’s like 2X, 3X this on engagement and likes and share. But it’s because that video is the most compelling and effective way to communicate what’s important. And it’s increasingly how people prefer to consume, to get their information and to get their message and to get their content.
Jason Hsiao: So, we as businesses, as entrepreneurs, as communicators, we need to make sure we’re learning to communicate in the way that people out there want their information. And increasingly, that’s a video, right? So, that’s video, and that’s why we see video everywhere, because that’s what people want. And then social media it’s totally just leveled the playing field. It’s no longer about these big companies with big budgets that can put stuff on TV. It’s like, you can have your video right next to whatever international big company with gazillions of dollars, you can have a video right next to them in your social feed. And it’s because you can really, target folks.
Jason Hsiao: So, that’s really the power of the combination of social media and video combined.
Chris Badgett: What about storytelling? In terms of structuring the video and picking a story, we talk about something called the experts curse. You’re inside the bottle and you can’t see the label on the outside or whatever. Course creators specifically have a tendency to try to cram too much either into a course or into a lesson or into a marketing video.
Jason Hsiao: Yep.
Chris Badgett: What advice would you have, if this is going to be like a first touch exposure of this learning experience that’s available, how can of course creator think about structuring the story? What are the layers?
Jason Hsiao: All right. As a first place to start, and we’ll split things into maybe like your existing community. People that are already following you and how do we use video to communicate with them? And then let’s move over to how do we actually use this video to find a new audience? Of your existing community, the thing that I think that everyone here should be doing is for every new piece of content or episode or session or however it is that you structure your content, you should be basically announcing via video each new piece of content as its launched or revealed.
Jason Hsiao: For example, if you have a new session about something, you should create a little video that’s like, “Hey, just want you guys know that on Thursday or today we just launched the latest chapter of whatever.” You can tease a little bit of the content. Give people, it’s almost like a movie trailer. Pick one of the most interesting parts and then if people want to hear more or learn more, you’ve given them a great reason to click through or swipe up or whatever and go and check out that episode.
Jason Hsiao: For the people who are already following you, creating these little teaser videos to make an announcement or to reveal something or to inform people about new information, that’s a fantastic way to just reach them. It’s little bit different than typical storytelling. The reason why … You do hear a lot of people out there like, “Just think like an editor or think like Steven Spielberg or something.” The difference that-
Chris Badgett: [inaudible 00:11:23]
Jason Hsiao: Yeah. It kind of is like that but there’s one big difference, is I like to say, save the best for first. Usually, when you’re creating a story or a film or whatever, it’s building up to the very very end right. It’s not until the final minutes that you find out who Kaiser Saw is right? But on social and on the web this is not like a theater going audience that you know will be in their seats at the end of your two hour movie. It’s-
Chris Badgett: So, embrace the spoiler alert.
Jason Hsiao: Yeah, by definition, it starts at 100% and only goes … You’ll be lucky if half your audience is still there by the end of your video. So you have to really … Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, he calls it thumb stopping, right? Because people are just flying through their feeds. So, you need something to really capture their attention literally like the first few seconds. Whether it’s the perfect sound bite or a quote if you’re doing something like this, podcast. If there’s just a juicy quote and text, or if there’s a question, like, want to know more about XYZ? What is it in that first second you can really capture.
Jason Hsiao: And then every second counts, right? So, it’s how can you keep people watching along until they get the information they need to whatever it is you want them to do, like, click here or swipe out here or go to here to check out the full episode or the full posting. Every second counts, you have to start with the best. And that’s how you have to structure things at least when it comes to social video, right? Because if you think about it, most people are on their mobile devices, they’re on the go, they’re typically not even listening with sound. So, you got to make sure you use text. Or if you have people on there, you use captions, keep it short, keep a punchy.
Jason Hsiao: It’s a bit different from traditional storytelling. But once they get to your content, once they get to information, they’ve already shown that interest. So you can take you know with your own content that you’re sharing and learning, you can take your time a bit and draw people along. But for social media, it’s a little bit different. It’s almost like backwards a little bit. Oops, just almost knocked over my microphone. It’s almost a little bit backwards. You got to start with the best and then leave them [inaudible 00:13:33]
Chris Badgett: That’s a really good insight. I was actually just observing myself yesterday. I was watching an ad in front of a YouTube video. I always look at what are people doing in those first five seconds before you can press the skip ad button? It’s amazing what you can actually get done in five seconds.
Jason Hsiao: Think about how fast you’re scrolling through your feed. Five seconds is actually a long time. If you’re watching something for five seconds, that means you’re already hooked into it for a bit. So, it’s literally almost like a second. It really comes down to anything with a little bit of movement works. That’s why video is … Because video is something moving or visual. Certainly-
Chris Badgett: It’s interesting.
Jason Hsiao: Yeah and certainly anything with a human in it is great. Because in this world of just over information and misinformation, there’s nothing more genuine than seeing the actual person. People will always stop to look at or listen to the real person behind stuff. So that’s fantastic. But if you’re shy of being in front of camera, you can just use a big text in a screen with a big quote or a juicy interesting question. Or it could be like a collage of photos. Just whatever it is you think that is going to draw people in.
Jason Hsiao: Then give them the information they need. And it’s a teaser, right? You’re not unloading everything on them right there, Because again, they’re on the go. But it’s enough to give them what they need. So that when they get home, or sit down and they want to consume everything that you have to teach them, they know exactly when and where it’s available.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome. You mentioned in our pre-chat about how to treat social platforms differently. That’s really interesting. My generic advice to people, especially if they’re kind of new to social marketing is you got to just pick one and figure that channel out before you go everywhere. For some people, that’s YouTube, for some people, that’s Facebook, for some people, that’s Instagram, some people it’s LinkedIn. And then there’s Twitter. I don’t know if I’m missing one of the major ones or not, but how is video different for these platforms? From video marketing-
Jason Hsiao: Those are probably some of the main ones. I’ll say in terms of your actual content that you’re using to teach folks. Unless if you keep that on your site, or if it’s kind of locked behind some kind of either paywall or email, YouTube is a fantastic place. Because YouTube, it’s not even really like a social media platform in the sense that people are there to socialize with her friends, it’s actually kind of like a search engine for content. People are there to learn, right?
Jason Hsiao: People are actually sitting there, they’re saying, how to do this or I want to learn about this. They’re already engaged. This is actually different from what I was saying like, on the go, on mobile, short attention spans. If they’re on YouTube they’re already invested in taking the time to learn something. They will watch however long I need them to really learn. They’re listening with audio. So, they’re already engaged.
Jason Hsiao: For your video content that you’re using to share, I absolutely think that unless it’s on your site, YouTube is a fantastic place to get discovered. But that’s a little bit of hoping that people are either searching for your information or your topic, or know you. So, you just hope if you put it on YouTube, you’re hoping people discover you.
Jason Hsiao: The beauty of the rest. And I’ll just skip to the punch line, which is if you’re going to start somewhere, start with Facebook, because Facebook is by far the biggest by the numbers and offers the most advanced tools in terms of allowing you to target a specific audience that you know should be interested in your content. The difference of using Facebook is if we’re trying to figure out how to grow our audience or grow our community or reach people who’ve never heard of us before, we use Facebook. You can create a short video, a little teaser of something to get them if they know nothing about you. What is it about you or what is it about some of your content that should get people interested. When you go onto Facebook, you can target all sorts of things from location, demographic information, interests, right? You can get very, very specific with what people are interested in.
Jason Hsiao: When you spend a bit of your marketing dollars, and you don’t need to spend that much, you can start with 20 bucks. You know that the people that are seeing or video should be exactly who are actually interested in what it is that you have to talk about. So, that’s the power of using something like Facebook. And Facebook owns Instagram. So, you can also experiment with Instagram. But I’d say if you’re going to start one place, start on Facebook. That’s a great way to reach people that aren’t yet familiar with you, and to draw them into your world.
Chris Badgett: Just to clarify, if somebody’s not that familiar with sales and marketing, there’s a concept of AIDA, awareness, interest, decision, action. Some people describe that in terms of a funnel where top of the funnel, is like you’re trying to get awareness of your course of your membership site out there. And then there’s also a concept called a flywheel, which is a little different. But is Animoto mostly for that top of the funnel awareness stage? Is that mostly where it’s most useful?
Jason Hsiao: I think that’s that for most folks that are trying to grow their business or go their audience, that’s the best place to use Animoto just to see immediate results. But really, you can use video along that entire, whether you call it your funnel or buyers journey or whatever. Even folks that are diehard-
Chris Badgett: Once you set a news announcement-
Jason Hsiao: Yeah. For you Chris, there’s already people, you have a huge following. Just even keeping your existing loyal audience engaged in a forum in announcements or a monthly video or newsletter, or whatever it is that you want to regularly share. It’s not just great for creating awareness, it’s great for converting interest into people that will become a subscriber for the first time, or become a customer for the first time. But then it’s also great for keeping people around.
Jason Hsiao: It really serves that whole funnel. But I think that tends to get a bit overwhelming. I think some people get the sense of yeah, I already have some sense of how to communicate with my existing audience. But where I hear a lot of interest in like great, well now I’m trying to figure out how to take it to the next level. I know I have great content that people who already know me love me, how do I find more people like that? I think that’s the true kind of value of what this targeting on social media offers.
Chris Badgett: That was awesome. Well, I’m going to put you on the spot for another question. I believe Animoto has a million businesses using it or something like that. What that means is you have a serious perspective in a lot of data points. I’m sure as an entrepreneur who has been in this for a while, 10 years, you recognize patterns. Pattern recognition is probably one of your super skills. How do we make a viral video? Can we make a viral video?
Chris Badgett: Let me share what I’ve heard so fa. I’ve heard short and choppy, get them in the first five seconds. Lead with your best content. Use words because the audio might not be turned on too. What makes a viral video? Is there a formula?
Jason Hsiao: I have a bunch of opinions on that. I think the best advice I can give is, a viral video is not necessarily a successful video for you as a business, right?
Chris Badgett: Views can be a vanity metric?
Jason Hsiao: Yeah, it’s a total meaning like, yeah, you can get 10 million people watching your video. But at the end of the day, if that’s not actually helping your business or growing your subscriber base, or your customer base, then it doesn’t matter. I think it’s much, much more important to really focus on, it’s not the quantity of views, it’s really about the quality and really focusing on content you know your highest perspective audience, the most qualified person out there should be interested in. Because at the end of the day, there’s all sorts of ways to create stuff that would make people laugh or whatever, but have no interest in whatever it is you’re talking about.
Jason Hsiao: So, if you want to do that, great. But it’s going to take time, it’s going to research. Also, I should say, a lot of people who thin, how do I create a video? They’re like, “Well, you got to do something super funny because that people just share funny stuff.” Look at the capital and dollar shape. I’ll tell you straight up. I’ll say authenticity is more important than hilarity. Because authenticity equals trust. And there’s a great quote from … I kind even remember who says. It says something like, “If people like you, they’ll listen to you. But if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”
Jason Hsiao: It’s actually also … I think there’s nothing more authentic than just being the most authentic version of yourself. Unless you know you’re funny, or that’s part of your brand, great, then you should run with that. But 99% of the world is actually not funny. I’ll even say as someone who worked for Comedy Central, comedy is really, really really hard. When you watch Saturday Night Live, these are professional funny people who have spent their entire careers trying to be funny. And how many of those SNL skits are actually funny? Maybe the first couple out of like 20. But it’s amazing how much unfunny stuff that professional funny people can produce, or Super Bowl commercials where people spend millions of dollars. How many of them are just crash and burn trying to be funny but end up just being a horrible mess? There’s a couple.
Jason Hsiao: It’s really hard to produce funny/viral stuff. And it’s really something that most bigger companies or companies that have incredibly, I’ll say, boring or generic type stuff have to rely on gimmicky viral videos to get attention. So, Dollar Shave Club is a great example. They sell razor blades, who’s going to be interested in razor blades? They had to rely on something a bit humorous to get even people to pay attention for more than two seconds of the video.
Jason Hsiao: So, I just say, don’t think that a successful video means a viral. I would say it’s far better to have five videos over the course of the month that really really resonate with your core audience or the core kind of demographic that you’re targeting instead of some bizarre, weird, crazy video that had nothing to do with you.
Jason Hsiao: Views are an indicator of if people are watching stuff, but that’s not the ultimate goal of videos. It’s more about the quality … Focus on the quality and the right quantity will come. Meaning the right people will find their way to you.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. You mentioned your background at Comedy Central.
Jason Hsiao: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: You also were a producer at MTV, if I’m not mistaken.
Jason Hsiao: Yep.
Chris Badgett: What did you bring from the music industry that you learned about making effective videos? Was there something you learned from MTV land? I was a child of the MTV generation. I watched that thing all the time as soon as I got home from school.
Jason Hsiao: I think what we’ve managed to do and pour it into Animoto, what I’ve realized is with videos like this, just this magical, way of communicating, it’s a combination of visual, audio, colors, text movement. There’s just so much that … Storytelling. There’s so much that goes into a video. When you do it right, it’s like a total multiplicative effect, like one plus one equals five or whatever. That’s not multiplication.
Jason Hsiao: What we wanted to do with Animoto is take a lot of the challenge of creating that magic and just make it just drag and drop simple. Something cool that we did with Animoto is we have this whole collection of what we call these starter templates that we call storyboards. We’ve been able to pour all our 20 plus years of experience in the TV and film industry and with Animoto, and all the videos we’ve seen and studied into structuring these storyboards that we see are successful on social media.
Jason Hsiao: All you have to do is open one of these if you think it seems interesting and just drag and drop and replace with your content. You can change the fonts and colors to match your brand. You can include your logo in the corner of the video or at the end of the video. We have a whole library of music that we did all the work to find and commercially license for you so you don’t even have to worry about any of that.
Chris Badgett: I just want to highlight that point. I see a lot of course creators get hung up on commercial reuse of images, video and audio. Do they not have to worry about they’re going to make money with this video on social media because-
Jason Hsiao: Totally. We just wanted to make it brain dead simple, right? We actually have, not only a ton of music, it’s real music. It’s not like crappy elevator music. Because as someone who came from MTV, I care about real quality music. But we also just, actually a few days ago announced a partnership with Getty. Now we also have included their whole collection of images and video clips. And that’s all available to us to.
Jason Hsiao: We’re just trying to make it super simple. You can just drag and drop, put together all these pieces. And then we do all the magic behind the scenes, and all the stuff that really makes it special. Like making sure that cuts are synced to the music. And that the levels are right. And that professionally animated stuff, whether it’s your logo or the text you’re using that it’s animated on a screen in a really interesting way or the colors are right.
Jason Hsiao: So, all those little little things that add up to what looks like a professional video, we take all that kind of expertise and put it into the technology so you don’t have to worry about. So, you can just worry about making sure that you’re communicating your message, your information, your content. And then we do all the beauty of that synergy. All that stuff that makes it magical, which is the music, the sound, the motion, all those effects. Those are some of the elements that go into videos that are successful on social media and the rest is really in these storyboards and these formats that really seem to be popular out there.
Chris Badgett: That is amazing. Now, when I think of the word SAS or software as a service, Animoto is going to start popping in my head because it’s literally like having a service of a production company, a stock photography consultant, a storyboard are all wrapped up into software. Which is, I commend you on your progress and the tool that you’ve created here. Because it’s a lot of value for the price.
Jason Hsiao: We actually took a lot of inspiration from what happened with websites, with all these website builders over the past 10 years. 10 years ago was like, you either had to know HTML, editors like-
Chris Badgett: Or [inaudible 00:29:50] $10000.
Jason Hsiao: Totally, right? Today, it’s like, if you don’t have a website, you’re not really a business. By the way anyone can make a professional looking website. You don’t need to go spend $10000. We think that same things happening with video. We’d love that idea of, with all these different website tools, that’s just like a building block paradigm where it’s like drag and drop. It’s like a toy. There’s like no way to actually create a failed website. With Animoto, there’s no way to create a failed video. You’re moving these blocks around, you can insert a video block or text block or a photo collage block, you can insert a logo block, you move them around.
Jason Hsiao: Not only is it like a toy in that there’s no way to create a failed video. I might even say dare I say, it’s actually fun because you see the video come to life right away and you press preview and the videos just comes to life right there. It’s actually fun.
Chris Badgett: I can use my own video clips and images too.
Jason Hsiao: Absolutely, yeah. When you were talking earlier about when we started with photos and music it’s because we thought well, that’s what everyone had at the time when these phones were just in the pre-iPhone days as people could take photos. So we were like, “Well, let’s start there. Let’s not mention anything about editing because that freaks people out.” It’s just like, “Drag and drop your photos and your music and we’ll create a great video.”
Jason Hsiao: Fast for today, people not only have photos, they have video clips. But we treat it the same. It’s just like building blocks, there’s no timelines or timeline editors or stuff like that. So, you can insert a video clip. It could be all photos, it could be all video clips, it could be a combination of texts, video clips and photos. Everyone has something that already works for them. Photos that are already on your website, or on your-
Chris Badgett: Course creators have a leg up like you were saying. They’re not new to content creation. They got video for days.
Jason Hsiao: Yeah. You could do a little highlight reel of some of your best, choice moments with all your various content. You can take some of your great photos or quotes or testimonials that you already have. In fact, with video, you don’t even need any photos or video clips. I’ve seen great videos that are just straight up quotes, testimonials. Here’s five testimonials from some of the raving fans of my community or whatever. This notion of video, I think some people get hung up because they’re like, “I need to go hire an expensive production crew to come shoot stuff. Now, you can start with whatever you have. You don’t even need … You can use photos. You don’t even need photos, it can be text. It’s really about anything that’s moving because that’s really what grabs people’s attention these days.
Chris Badgett: I’m not a big fan of the word hack. But I heard you say what I would consider a hack. So, I just want to share it. You just went over it really fast, which was you designed the tool so that users would be protected from themselves. There’s like a guardrail on it so you can’t make a bad video. As a course creator, I think that’s also jus, as an instructional designer, when you design a program, helping protect users from themselves so that they can get good quality results through a system, I think is really cool concept.
Jason Hsiao: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: I’m sure that goes into why you have so many users.
Jason Hsiao: I love that idea. This idea of as simple and fun as a toy, where you cannot break … If its designer, you can’t break it, and it can actually be fun. That means that anyone from a five year old to … It doesn’t matter your age or your experience, you can actually use it. That’s not just with software, but with anything if you can structure your world like that, and then provide the right guide rails. You need the balance, because people still need enough flexibility.
Jason Hsiao: For example in our world, we could create templates that are super rigid, but people need to be able that they might have more or less than what you need to put into that template. Us as businesses, we also care about making sure stuff is on brand. So, we care about the colors and the fonts and making sure our logo is in the right place in all the videos. It’s that balance of creating the right guard wells, but giving people just enough flexibility that they can make it their own.
Jason Hsiao: If they feel like they’ve made it their own, then they love it. But you have to give just enough flexibility that they can make it their own.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Well, as a product creator myself, software creator, I really appreciate that. And you’ve given me a strong example to really look at here. Because that is a hard balance to achieve flexibility and just protecting it from too much-
Jason Hsiao: Yep, yep. Yep.
Chris Badgett: You mentioned trust and authenticity. One of the hangouts that course creators get especially in their marketing videos, not so much in their lesson videos, although some do is they get this thing of perfection, it has to be perfect, lighting has to be perfect. I have to be perfect, whatever, my words has to be perfect. I need the script to be perfect. But in my experience, and I’m talking about software not courses, but when I ask people, why did they choose LifterLMS? The answer I get, I’m not always happy with because they say, “I do a ton of video.” They’re like, well, you seem like an authentic guy. You’re the same in every video. I trust you. And I just wanted to work … Basically, the community and the trust is why we bought your product.
Chris Badgett: What I want to hear is like, “Oh, the product’s amazing. The features are awesome. That’s why I bought your product.” Which we hear that some, but the overwhelming majority has to do with the authenticity of the brand, the approachability of the company, the engagement on social media. It’s just interesting. I was wondering if you could speak some more on how to do marketing videos with a keen eye on just being yourself?
Jason Hsiao: I’m still going through this growth myself and this even personal journey of getting comfortable with embracing all my imperfections, of which I have 1000. But as someone that came from TV, when I first started trying to you know put myself on camera and stuff, I would prepare for days get setting, and I have stuff like on a teleprompter. Basically, have it like on a screen in front of me, and we do take over take over take, and just making sure that I like it.
Jason Hsiao: But you can actually tell that it comes-
Chris Badgett: Scripted.
Jason Hsiao: Yeah, it sounds scripted, it looks scripted. You can actually see, even if they’re looking right at the camera, you can actually see if they’re reading. You can just tell that it comes across fake or in-authentic, whatever. I’ve learned especially with social media, because the difference is that video as we’re talking about it, it’s like a form of communication. So it’s not … The wrong way to think about video marketing is like, it’s this one off item on your marketing to do checklist, right? “I’ll have a video on my homepage, I’m done.” No, it’s a form of communication, right?
Jason Hsiao: The beauty of that is that you should be regularly doing video, and it’s not about this one perfect video that’s going to be your first and final video. It’s a form of communication. People … everything that you said, people want the raw authentic version of you and your brand. There’s nothing more authentic … I think that video is the most compelling way to really convey that most authentic version of you because you can capture you. I think it’s really just speaking from the heart, speaking, just being genuine to you, being true to you. It’s almost just like having a real conversation with someone who’s in the room with you. If they feel like they are talking to you and having a real conversation with you, they’ll trust you, they’ll love you.
Jason Hsiao: It doesn’t need to be perfect. Embrace your imperfections. People love that, that’s what makes us all human. Even I’ve had stuff where I’ve had a big piece of spinach in my teeth for the entire video. I’m like, “How come no one told me?” They’re like, “No, no, people are going to love it, trust me.” Sure enough they’re like, “But we love you for your spinach in your teeth.” I’m like, “Fine. All right.”
Chris Badgett: There’s a concept in the marketing world of your kryptonite. Just embrace your weakness, it’s just part of your brand, it’s part of your story. You try to hide it or pretend it’s not there, it makes things in-authentic.
Jason Hsiao: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: I think I heard another hack that I wanted to bring up, which is, you are talking about the music industry and comedy. You took what you learned from one industry and you brought it into another.
Jason Hsiao: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Chris Badgett: I see something on your website that as a software company, I wanted to see if you could describe in a general way to help add value to the course creation community. And what it is, is you have really clear, well thought out, well done segmentation on your website. You have the first three items on your menu are business, photography and family. I click on those and I go to a basically a custom landing page, where you’re selling the same thing, but you’re just positioning it for these very different things. Business, you listening to this today are an education entrepreneur. So, you’re probably really focused on the business part. But you also have photography and family.
Jason Hsiao: Yep.
Chris Badgett: If anything happens in the course creation world where we think we may know who our customer is, but then especially over time we find out, oh, I had these three different types of customers who can benefit from this course, and they’re very different, you can market to them differently. Can you talk about your segmentation and how it evolved and then just give me general tips-
Jason Hsiao: Absolutely. When we started Animoto, and this is probably not on a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners, we were very much in love with the technology and the product-
Chris Badgett: Future.
Jason Hsiao: Yeah. We were total technology nerds, and we had patents and all this kind of stuff. Half the stuff we built, it turned out people didn’t actually care about. So, that was one inch to tell. But as we learned to be more customer focused, the other thing we realized right is, I’d actually say in the beginning, we had a bunch of fools success because it was like, oh my gosh, it was like a little bit of everyone was using us. We had realtors, teachers, photographers, non-profits, culinary schools. We were like, this is great. But it just felt like we’re being pulled in 10000 different directions. We really needed to start to get focused.
Jason Hsiao: Part of what you’re seeing now is our ability to say, “Well, yeah, we’ve built this useful for a lot of people.” But people when they come to your site, and they’re trying to learn more, they really need to understand in their language, in their world [inaudible 00:41:31] When people are considering something, they want to know not just what it does, but what are the benefits and why it’s different, right?
Chris Badgett: There’s also a meta question there that I like to say is, the question in the visitors mind is, will this work for me?
Jason Hsiao: Will this work for me? We use this lingo call in the tech industry, this is popular. It’s like, there’s jobs to be done. So, it’s like, what’s the job that your customer’s trying to get done? And as we realized, it’s hard to really explain that in a generic way when you have all these different types of customers. We realize businesses have a very specific job they’re trying to get done. That’s different from photographers who are trying to sell their photography and their videos to their clients, which is different from families which are often about trying to capture memories and share memories, right?
Jason Hsiao: Yeah, maybe the features and moving blocks around is similar. But the way that you really convince them that this is beneficial and valuable to them, you need to really put yourself in their shoes and speak their language, and understand their world, and their context, and their challenges, and their pains, and what they’re trying to get done.
Jason Hsiao: Once we started doing that, even the example video, for us, the examples that we show, in our head it might make sense. Like, “Oh yeah, we’ll just show this video.” Any type of business should understand they could make this their own. But it’s actually not that easy for a lot of folks. Families need to see examples of other families. Businesses need to see examples of other businesses. It was just about-
Chris Badgett: A wedding video is not necessarily relevant to a business trying to-
Jason Hsiao: Yeah, even though underneath the hood it’s about transitioning from image to image, and maybe including some text. Technically and functionally, or feature wise, it’s the same thing. But the end product serves a totally different need. So, it’s getting all about just product and technology mindset, and really understanding what it is that your customers are trying to get done, and the job they’re trying to get done. That’s been a journey for us, is really not just talking to talk about being customer focused, but really walking the walk and really understanding what it is they need.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Thank you for that. Segmentation is such an important thing. I think if anybody’s trying to increase sales, a lot of times it’s just friction on your website of making sure you’re talking to the different types of people that come to check out your product. On your website, I believe I mentioned certified partnership with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, what does that mean?
Jason Hsiao: It just means that we’re a marketing partner with them. They talk about us in terms of a DIY video creation tool. But the benefit for us and our customers is we just get to have regular dialogues with YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, HubSpot, the Small Business Association. It’s just like, we’re sharing learnings with them, they’re sharing learnings with us. For us, it’s a way to make sure that we’re leading are helping to lead the conversation. Because what most business owners and entrepreneurs need to know is what works today.
Jason Hsiao: Everything is changing so quickly. Three years ago you told me it was Pinterest and last year you said it was Snapchat. So, everything’s changing. So, people just need to know what works today. That’s important for us to make sure we’re always keeping our finger on the pulse of what’s going on out there.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome. I’m just looking at your plans on These may change over time or whatever, but what are the main levels? How should people get started? Or how do they pick what they need?
Jason Hsiao: Well, the main plan we have for, I’d say probably most small businesses and entrepreneurs is our professional plan. It’s 264 bucks a year, or you can pay by month, 42 bucks a month. Obviously, you save more if you sign up for the year. But that’s it. That includes everything. We just try to make it … You can literally make as many videos as you want. You just pay once and make [inaudible 00:45:56] Just want to make it that simple. And that includes all the commercially licensed music that we did all the work to license for you. All the stock stuff from Getty. We just try to make it as simple as possible. You just sign up, and just go to town making videos.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Is there anything else about Animoto, the Animoto story that you think it’d be helpful to share?
Jason Hsiao: I think it’s really just understanding that the big change I think that’s going on with marketing is that … I’ll say the traditional marketing or old marketing or whatever, is this hoping people discover you or playing like the numbers game. Maybe for every 10000 emails I send out, this many will click through, or whatever phone calls if you have a sales team. But the cool thing today is you don’t have to sit around and hope and wait for people to discover you. You have the ability to take your message or information, or your content to where that conversation is already happening, and that’s on social media.
Jason Hsiao: If you can get familiar with, and I’ll just say specifically Facebook, so it’s not so overwhelming because there’s a lot of different social networks. And just experiment a little bit with some other targeting tools. You’re going to be like, “Wow, I can talk directly to who is already expressed interest in this stuff.” It’s like a win win win. It’s like you’re not interrupting people with stuff they don’t care about, they’re not being bothered, you’re not wasting your time or your money. You’re talking directly to people that already are interested in your world, so they should be interested in you.
Jason Hsiao: I think that’s the big picture takeaway of the power of what’s going on right now with social media marketing.
Chris Badgett: Jason, thank you so much.
Jason Hsiao: Thanks Chris, it’s been awesome.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, I love speaking out about marketing and video and just the changing times. This has been a really great conversation. Check out and check out what we’ve been talking about here if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s a really powerful tool. It’s a huge time saver. Because just going back to what I said about software as a service, to like, go get your stock photography, go get your stock video, get video editing skill, it’s a huge … There’s a lot of overhead, and it’s amazing what you’ve been able to provide here. So, Jason, thank you so much for coming and sharing with the course building community.
Jason Hsiao: Awesome. Thanks for having me Chris. I hope something I shared was useful for your audience.
Chris Badgett: That’s a wrap for this episode of LMSCast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed this show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling and protecting engaging online courses to help you get more revenue freedom and impact in your life. Head on over to and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging results getting courses on the internet.

Share This Episode

Know Your Value

Discover how much you can charge (no opt in required).

Stop Wasting Time Researching Tech

WordPress LMS Buyer's Guide Download Cover Images

Get FREE access to the official WordPress LMS Buyer’s Guide

Get the Best LMS Software Now

Get FREE instant access to the most powerful customizable LMS software

Create and Launch an Online Course with WordPress

Discover how to launch your online course website in 20 minutes.

WordPress LMS Growth Engine

5 secrets to create, launch, and scale your high value online training program website.

Try LifterLMS Before You Buy

Discover the world’s most powerful flexible learning management system (LMS) for WordPress.