How you can use video to bring your business to life

If a good picture is worth a thousand words, then how many words is a good video worth? According to statistics from YouTube, over six billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube with a further 100 hours of video uploaded every minute – that’s a lot of words. And hands up if you’ve watched the Gangnam Style video? You’re not alone. In 2012, it became the first YouTube video to reach a billion views.

Safe to say then that video still fascinates and amuses, but can it deliver results for small businesses looking for new and inventive ways to cut through the marketing chatter when it comes to selling and marketing?


Let me entertain you

The answer in short is yes. Video can be a highly effective marketing channel for SMEs particularly now the production costs have fallen so dramatically. Good quality cameras are cheaply available while the software needed to edit a video and make it look professional is also readily accessible and easy to use.

Before you leap into the director’s chair though, the starting point for any small business thinking of using video is in thinking about what you want to achieve. Is it about awareness of your business? Is it about educating your audience around a particularly complex product/service area? Or is it simply about improving customer service? What style of video would work for your business and your brand?


Lights, camera, action…

Once you’re clear in your own mind about your goals, then comes the creative bit.

We’ve all got short attention spans and video is only really going to work if it can quickly grab the viewer’s attention and even then, you’ve probably only got three or four minutes to get your point across before your audience’s attention wanders elsewhere.

Then you need to think about:

  • the look, feel and tone of voice – how do you want your business to be portrayed?
  • the key messages you want to get across
  • how will it engage your audience? Why should your target audience click on it?


They can’t see what they can’t find

So, you’ve shot the perfect video promoting your new product; it’s witty, entertaining and all it needs now is to be posted on your website and your work is done. Well, no. Given the vast amount of video content out there, the biggest challenge is not in the making but in ensuring your target audience actually gets to see your handiwork. If your video is all about raising awareness, there is little point in putting it on your website or a video hosting site like YouTube and hoping that passing potential customers will take a look.

The first route might be to think about the websites that your potential customers go to and see if you can buy some advertising space – it might be a video banner for instance which links back to your site. Social media also provides great opportunities to publicise your video whether it’s through your Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or Facebook pages. Find any relevant online communities that might be interested and think about posting a link. Make that space at the end of your email sign off work harder too by including a direct link.

Optimising the video for search engines is important, so spend some time thinking about relevant tags and titles that will help the video show up if your target audience search on specific terms. Don’t write off more conventional marketing channels either. Any direct marketing – online or print – you do can publicise the video.

If the video is about brand awareness or selling specific products/services, you should reckon to spend up to 80% of the budget you put aside for your video on promoting it with the other 20% on the production costs.


Who’s watching?

The great thing about this type of marketing activity is that it is easily measurable and knowing how many views and click throughs to your website have taken place will help you understand whether the investment has been worthwhile.

Videos engage and entertain. They can be invaluable in getting both simple and more complex messages across in a way that could generate revenue for your business. But if you’re still not sure, here are some more ideas for using video content from Mashable.