No Excuses: Why Any Small Business Can Create Video
Video can be a powerful marketing tool. It humanizes your message, connects your prospects and customers to your brand, and educates and engages your leads in a powerful way.
More and more, people consume content in video form. In fact, according to YouTube, three billion hours of video is watched each month on their platform alone. But it’s not just for entertainment. Many consumers find video to be a powerful research tool for purchasing decisions. In fact, “Enjoyment of video ads increase purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139% according to Unruly.”
Yet, we found out from our 2017 Small Business Marketing Trends Report that less than a quarter of small businesses utilizing video in their marketing. That means there is a huge opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
For a small business, however, it may seem like creating a video is a daunting task, requiring special skills and knowledge, or the money to hire a production company to do the work for you. While some of these hurdles may be tough to tackle, with some creative thinking you can be making videos that will boost your marketing efforts in no time.
Hurdle 1: Budget and equipment
When you picture an ad being filmed, you probably picture something like this.
If you are putting a lot of money into an ad, traditionally you want to make sure the production quality is as high as possible in order to guarantee you get your money’s worth. That means a lot of money getting dumped into video. There are a lot of other ways, however, to use video without getting sucked into the expensive ad creation cycle.
A much easier place to start is with simpler videos, like how-to’s, testimonials, welcome videos, or personalized video messages. There is something special about a CEO or employee reaching out to your audience via video, where your audience can see your face and your passion. These are low-risk videos that are very engaging when well targeted to your prospects and customers, and they require much less money to produce.
Here is one example of a how-to video, scripted, shot and edited in a single workday. An even simpler video could take even less time. Now you have a video that can be used on your website, in email marketing, or even giving your new customers a few first steps.
A video like this could easily be shot on your smartphone. Getting a small tripod for your phone can really help it look good, and using lots of natural light is a cheap way to get great results. Set yourself up close to a window (but not in direct sunlight), and you’re set. To get the lowdown on the gear you’ll need for any budget (including $0.00) check our guide on “How to Do Video on a Budget.”
To get the word out, you can get free accounts from YouTube, Wistia, and Vimeo to host your videos and make the accessible. YouTube, in particular, is a great place to start building a community of customers or people interested in your product, and Wistia has easy to read statistics and integrations with marketing automation software. All of these services can be used effectively in email marketing or by embedding the video on your website.
Hurdle 2: Time
Video production can be time-intensive. You have to script, setup, film, import, edit, export, post, and embed your video every time you have an idea. The fastest way to start using video in your marketing without hiring a production company (or sometimes even faster than hiring one!) is to think of quick videos you can make that will have a lot of impact on your business. Testimonials are probably the easiest place to start because all you need is a customer who loves your business to take a couple minutes and film themselves raving about your business, like the video below.
Alternatively, if you want just a little higher production value, all it takes is your phone, a cheap tripod, and microphone to get more professional results, like in this testimonial.
Hurdle 3: Ideas
It can be hard to come up with ideas for videos. Start by taking a look at some lists if different types of videos that might be useful to your business, like this or this. Keep in mind what you are trying to accomplish with your video, your brand identity, and the tone or mood you want to set. Once you’ve done that, write a script or storyboard, and read it out loud (a table read.) If you are having trouble coming up with creative ideas for some of your larger or more important pieces, check out the video below, which will walk you through how to concept your video.
Hurdle 4: Technical skills
While it’s true that in a big production there are a lot of people with very specialized skills, the good news is every day it’s getting easier to make your own high-quality videos. You no longer need to know how to operate a complicated camera. Most smartphones made in the last few years take great HD video and are very easy to use. If you’ve bought a camera to take still photos recently, chances are it also takes great video. Heck, even your laptop camera can work well and is easy to use.
Perhaps the biggest technical hurdle is editing your videos. One easy way to get around this is to try to shoot your entire video in one take. This can be difficult depending on the type of video you are shooting, but it’s also ok to break your video up into smaller videos if that makes it easier. On most phones you can trim the beginning and end of your videos off to get rid of those awkward pauses. There is also some very easy to use editing software out there, like iMovie or Animoto, that makes basic editing a breeze on your computer or your phone.
If you really want to up your game, there hasn’t been a better time to learn video production. There are a plethora of great free and paid resources out there to get started.
Hurdle 5: Getting comfy
For some people, the hardest part of making video is standing in front of the camera. There is no substitute for practice, but if you’re feeling nervous, do your first few recordings alone and keep the scripts short. Rehearse before your step in front of the camera. Take a deep breath and remember no matter what happens, someone has posted a worse video somewhere on Youtube. If you’re still feeling trepidatious, check out our video “7 Tips to Feel Comfortable on Camera.”
Check out our 2017 Small Business Marketing Trends Report to gain more insights about marketing your small business.
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