Not so long ago, if you wanted to figure out how a product worked, the only thing to do was to weed through a lengthy printed technical manual. Today, we have other options as well, of which video is probably the most promising one.

Technical manuals are more than just a legal requirement. Today, they are a critical part of the customer experience. A well-crafted manual not only provides a first impression of the product, but it’s also an essential part of customer service and a means to improve customer loyalty.

When you think of technical manuals, typically the booklet or folder comes into mind. But today, text no longer has the monopoly in the world of instructional content. Images and video are picking up the torch.

Show, don’t tell

IKEA is probably the most striking example of how a company has almost eliminated the need for text by using only images in its manuals. If you think of how globalized a company like IKEA really is, it’s amazing how these pictorial manuals have allowed the company to save on localization costs. But there’s more to it than that. The real power of these pictorial manuals is the customer experience and how every home owner across the globe will know exactly how to assemble his or her IKEA cupboard without reading a word. IKEA is showing, not telling.

Another great example of the power of images, is the Point it: Traveler's Language Kit. This traveler dictionary is used by tourists, UN peacekeeping forces, Olympic athletes and speech therapists alike, and contains some 1,300 photos, maps and drawings to point at, whenever you’re abroad, vexed by language trouble. The Point It guide is the bestselling photo dictionary of all time, with over 2 million copies sold.

Video is the new black

Nowadays, when people look for information on home improvement, car repair or how to make a tie knot, they turn to Google and, increasingly so, to YouTube. How-to searches are growing year-over-year on YouTube. Video search is no longer the new kid on the block, but rather an established source of information and the amount of online instructional video content is growing at rapid pace.

But there’s more: according to HubSpot, an inbound marketing software provider, global internet users consume video thoroughly, instead of simply skimming it, as they often do with other forms of content. In other words, if you want to make a big impact and keep people's attention, video is the best form of online content.

Instructional video for your business

So, does instructional video make sense for your business as well? We like to think so, at least in three different ways.

1. Making the online sale

First of all, online instructional video makes perfect sense in the pre-sales phase, in order to win over the online prospect. When we want to buy something, the first thing we do is research our options online. When a product is explained well in an instructional video, it can lay out the red carpet towards a purchase.

2. Providing an offline customer experience

Similarly, offline videos can be watched at a point of sales as well, through a kiosk or digital signage. Visitors of brick & mortar stores can view instructional videos as a part of their offline purchasing process, independently or as a demonstration guided by the sales representative.

3. Training your sales representative

Instructional video content is a great way to train sales and service staff, be it in-store via digital signage, or online.  

How-to videos with Yamagata Europe

In contrast to what you might think, Yamagata Europe is not a translation agency by origin. In fact, we started as a printing and technical writing company. And we still do these activities today: we create, translate and publish all kinds of content, also video content.

We definitely believe in the power of video. That’s why Yamagata Europe is also offering a great way to convert technical documentation into animated “how-to” videos. Check out the following sample videos on how to change your bumper or your battery.

For Yamagata Europe, it is clear that instructional video content can support the entire customer journey, from helping your prospect with valuable ‘how-to’ information during information search, up to the point where your prospect needs that extra nudge to make a purchase decision. We recently discussed this topic during a presentation at the Google office in Brussels.

Are your curious about the possibilities of video content with Yamagata? Are you considering turning your technical manual into an instructional video? Then contact us now for a free consultation.