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Is your small business using online video for marketing yet? Creating online videos can seem intimidating, but as any preteen can tell you, it’s really not that hard to do. Today, the average smartphone has tools that can record and edit a professional-looking video, even adding special effects, titles and captioning.

If the idea of creating online videos still scares you, you’d better get over your fears. Online video is not going away anytime soon—and whether you sell to consumers or other businesses, there’s good reason to incorporate it into your business’s marketing efforts.

Not only is online video popular, it's also influential.

According to Forbes:

  • 90 percent of customers say product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • 64 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  • 65 percent of business decision-makers visit a marketer’s website after viewing a branded video.

How to Succeed With Online Videos

Now that you know why you should use online video, try these tips to succeed.

  • Set goals for your online video. As with any other type of marketing, you need to know what you want to achieve. For example, maybe you want to drive viewers to your webpage to learn more about your product, or get them to sign up for a webinar. Create your video with these goals in mind.
  • Decide what type of video to make. According to Vidyard, the four most common types of videos are explainers, product demonstrations, how-to videos and testimonials. You can also create longer tutorial videos to help customers learn how to get the most from your products or services. However, the type of video you choose should ultimately be driven by what your customers prefer and what their needs are. Paying attention to what they like, share and interact with on social media can help here.
  • Focus on quality, not quantity. It’s better to create a few, high-quality and highly effective videos than a raft of blurry, ineffective ones. As long as your video is acceptable quality, don’t stress too much. You don’t have to create an Oscar-worthy film; for business videos, the content and message matter more than the look.
  • Make your video mobile friendly. The average internet user spends 29 minutes a day watching videos on a mobile device. That figure is expected to grow by 25 percent next year and 29 percent in 2019, when almost 72 percent of all online video viewing will take place on mobile devices.
  • Use captioning. Some 85 percent of video on Facebook is watched without sound. Captioning allows users to watch the videos they want without disturbing others (or alerting the boss that they’re goofing around on Facebook). Captions can also stand in for narration if you don’t feel comfortable speaking on video. Add some background music and captions, and you’re good to go.  
  • Keep it short and sweet. While some videos (such as how-tos or tutorials) can be longer; in general, shorter is better. According to a study by Wibbitz, the ideal length for a video is 51 seconds.
  • Use search engine optimization (SEO). Once you’ve taken all the time to create your video, help ensure the search engines can find it by including relevant keywords in the title, description and tags.

Where to Share Videos

  • Consider adding videos to your marketing emails. Forbes reports doing so can boost click-through rates by up to 300 percent.
  • Share your videos on social media. According to Wibbitz, Facebook videos receive 375 percent more clicks and generate 291 percent more reach than Facebook images. To get the biggest reach for your Facebook videos, Wibbitz says, post them on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Use videos on your website’s landing pages. Strategic use of videos on key pages of your website can help increase conversions. Just be sure you don't put too many videos on one page: This can dramatically slow down your website’s load time.