As online video gets cheaper and easier to produce, and its effectiveness as a marketing method grows, more and more small businesses are jumping in. Business owners who’ve stuck largely to text-based marketing channels such as search ads, blogs and social networks are discovering that video can be a compelling addition to a marketing mix.
And customers and prospects – both in the consumer and business-to-business realms – are gobbling up video and now even expect it in many circumstances. In a single month, 179 million Internet users in the U.S. watch over 30 billion videos, according to industry research.
For small businesses, however, one big catch with video in past was cost. But that’s changed. You no longer need expensive video production experts to produce effective, good-looking videos. New, inexpensive web-based applications can turn PowerPoint presentations, audio, photos and other graphics into powerful lead generation videos. You can even add interactive features such as live forms right into the video, rather than simply flashing a web address and hoping people visit.
There are many different types of applications to choose from, involving a variety of skill levels from novice to expert. A great place to learn about them is at ReelSEO.com. Another good resource is KnowledgeVision.com.
Here are 10 tips and strategies to help you jumpstart a video marketing program of your own.
- First, change how you think about video. Many of us are still ingrained with how old-style “network television” first defined video as a story with a beginning, middle and end that people watch passively. That’s changed dramatically. Online video can be super-short, highly interactive, incredibly creative and a million other things.
- Use a divide and conquer approach to your videos. Divide them into three categories: showpiece, workhorse and long-tail videos. Showpiece videos are the splashy pieces that show off your business. Workhorse videos explain your most important products and services. Long-tail videos delve more deeply into special topics.
- Use showpiece videos sparingly. Don’t blow your entire budget on a few Hollywood style videos that cost a bundle. Focus on one that can perhaps play in your trade show booth or be an attention-grabber on your website. For this one you might consider hiring a video production company.
- Make workhorse videos shareable. These videos should have a super-clear message and a well-defined target audience. They should be the kind of informative, authoritative video that people like to pass along. These don’t have to be slick. But they must be clear, focused and true to the particular personality of your business.
- Go for a deeper dive with long-tail videos. Use these videos to dig deeper into specific topics, answer frequently asked questions, provide detailed data or feature yourself or others in your business as subject-matter experts. Talk about specific solutions and customer needs.
- Make bit-sized pieces. Don’t cram too much into one video. Break it up into a series of educational mini-segments that take on one piece at a time.
- Create a template you can replicate. For example, Zappos, the popular online shoe seller, creates simple 60-second videos following the same format to showcase individual products. Once the mold is set, such videos are cheap and quick to produce.
- Create videos with text and still images. Videos don’t need to have moving images. Many highly effective videos consist of a simple series of PowerPoint type slides with text and photos. Some have audio; some don’t. These are easy to create online.
- Make it local. Some businesses are having great success creating videos that feature impromptu “interviews” with people on “Main Street,” or in recognizable locations in the community. Today’s inexpensive hand-held cameras can produce amazingly good quality, and you can easily upload, edit and enhance the videos with online editing services.
- Marry your video content with a call to action. The days of creating a video and then plunking a web address or phone number in the last frame and saying “Call us or visit our website” are over. New techniques let you easily add interactive polls, surveys, live forms and other lead generation techniques, so use them. You don’t want prospects watching your video and then asking, “What now?”