8 Ways to Use Video to Market Your Small Business

by Karl Walinskas

There are numerous ways to use videos to market your product or service, and not all of them are expensive or time consuming. Here are the top eight ways for small businesses to use video marketing.

There are umpteen ways to use video for business, ranging from stylish, high-priced ad crusade commercials to complex landing page pieces designed to pull someone into a purchase. What are the best types of video for Small Business owners that can be created cost-effectively and presented quickly and produce leads? Here are the Elite Eight.

Intro Commercial

Well-known and often underused, the video Intro to the Business is a short, 5 minute or less (2-3 works well) homepage introduction that tells who you are, what you do and why customers should care. This can be done using a narrative in a commercial loaded with lots of movement shots of the shop floor, the office, and products; a talking head of the CEO to a blank camera; or use the third party perspective of a genuine video interview. Production costs can range from FREE (CEO riffing into a webcam) through a few hundred dollars to thousands for a videographer shot advertisement. Google doesn't care; either will index well given the appropriate keyword tags. The question you have to answer is, what is going to be instantly informational, interesting, and referable (as in Re-tweeted).

Product Demonstration

Specific to demonstrable product or services, especially ones that move, like machinery, toys, electronic devices, and, considering the medium, software. These again should not run on too long but may be longer than an introductory commercial. A software-based demo may take up to 8 minutes, but you should be able to say it in less time than that. When it comes to demos, in some cases less is more. Most often either a narrative led demo showing only merchandise or a spokesperson paced demo (think QVC or Home Shopping Channel) works the best. Just make sure to show the BEST features of your product and lay out consistently (3x) how this resolves an issue for your prospects.



Technical Skills

This is very similar to a product demo and works best for manufacturers, specifically those in developed countries, trying to demonstrate their superior technology will actually cost less money or offer better quality product for a prospect engaging them with an arrangement for ongoing services. Machine shops and laser houses prefer this stuff, showing automated machinery cutting steel while a dude with a hardhat and safety specs manages the process. This can run 5-10 minutes max. The key here is, making sure that your capability really is something memorable and that your video captures its originality.

Company Spotlights

This is more of a tug on the heartstrings video that spotlights either what your company has accomplished that is remarkable or what your staff members have done for your company. If it's about the company, it MUST be verified by 3rd party reference, as in an accolade won from a renowned registrar (Best in Class, Malcolm Baldridge quality), a status attained (ISO 9001 certification, etc.) or a cat saved from a tree on the news. When discussing employees, the old Employee of the Month style heading adds a nice human factor and speaks to what your company values in its people, and that can make a big difference to customers with the same value system. For these types of videos, keep them short (2-4 minutes) and keep them recent, specifically for the employee notoriety videos. An Employee of the Month surmises that next month, we'll see a new one.

Video Landing Page Combination

I could write pages on this one and to be truthful, I ain't an expert at it, but I am sure you've encountered pages that have these videos. These are purposed to be hands-free on the part of the vendor of a product or service, which implies, don't call me, take the steps explained on the video. That means enter your email address to get something for FREE for permission to advertise to you, or sign up for the thing (whatever it is) immediately! Just like text-only sales landing pages, these are long-form videos, with Squeeze Pages (get the email address) videos varying from 3-7 minutes, and Sales Pages running all the way up to 30 minutes (that is too long in my opinion, with 10-12 being adequate). The most important stuff here: curb options to only this with no other on-page distractions and make several calls to action to the viewer.

Video Blogs

All about offering information this one is. It comes in the form of a training video, which is conveniently done for things like software applications utilizing screen capture software, or talking head telling something she knows, and typically is the Expert Interview (I've done a bunch of these in my blog, see sample). The goal is expert placement for your company while giving real value for the view. These videos can go from 5-30 minutes or more (think of a book author interview), but I prefer to keep them between 7 and 15 minutes (YouTube has a 15 minute max until you are a frequent video poster). Keys to success are to set the subject matter to avoid rambling, don't provide fluff with a sales pitch to get more, and add some written text fore and aft of the video to set it up and summarize.

Personal References and Experiences

Very self-explanatory here, this is 3rd party Credibility Building 101. Take the same things that marketers value about written examples and testimonials and put them on steroids. This positively MUST be a person foreign to the company telling about what the business did for him or her, and it can NOT be confidential (just like those absurd fake references you see, "JL from Tampa says ..."). Use discretion if the person doing the talking is not good on camera. It shouldn't matter but it does. He doesn't have to be Ben Affleck, but he can't be a stiff either. These run no more than 3 minutes in length. Quality can't be weak, but a webcam with reasonable quality can be used effectively, as the content of the person's referral is the principal piece.

Interviews

I saved this for last and, as you surely know by now, Smart Company Growth does these in packages for the right type of clients. Video dialogues work well for any company that wants to put a human face on its product, so consider if that is you. They work incredibly well when your business has these three characteristics:

  1. No physical product-- That's right consultants, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, IT people and anyone else providing professional services, I'm looking at you. You sell intellectual property and that is difficult to show by showing a video shot of your report (although you can show results charts, but the people who can use this tactic the most, financial advisors, usually have rules preventing it).
  2. Trust is the key to business-- Same group, right? If you're an attorney, how can you start to break the trust hurdle down without ever meeting someone? Show some face time with the 3rd party credibility that comes from being interviewed.
  3. Sameness in Brand-- If you look at your competitors' websites and they look like yours does-- professional yet non-distinguishable-- you're a good prospect for a video interview to set yourself apart. Again, this is why professional service firms fall so nicely into video interview prospects.

For marketing purposes the longest video interview we do is about 12 minutes. That's pretty thorough. The shortest you can sensibly do with any bona fide dialog is about 2-3 minutes. The important success elements here are that the interviewer is good and that the structure of the subject matter is planned in advance. A faltering interviewer will cause a lame interview and fragile video. A strong interviewer with planned content will lead to authentic questions that depict you in the very best light. Although I cannot persuade all of my clients of this, DO NOT READ FROM A SCRIPT! If you're a category specialist on your product or topic, a good interviewer's questions will lead to natural responses with you looking right into the camera. Script readers have their eyes turned away to wherever the script is located and come across as wooden, with only the skilled few able to fool people into believing they are responding ad hoc.

There is a time and place to use any of the 8 best types of video marketing for your small company video. The information here should serve to produce concepts on what kind of video you can produce for your own video marketing and video SEO campaign to turnout outstanding results.

Find more great non-traditional marketing tips at the Smart Blog. Post your case-studies you might find yourself in the next post. Karl Walinskas runs Smart Company Growth, a management consulting firm for small companies. His books, audio and other cool stuff can be found at the Shop Smart link.
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