Video May Have Killed The Radio Star, But It’s Creating Small Business Rock Stars

By Steve Robinson
Director of National Organizations, Constant Contact

Video MarketingYou’ve probably noticed that a lot more videos are popping up online, especially on social media. That’s because more people are watching videos and there’s no signs of it slowing down. Facebook reports that viewers are watching 100 million hours of video every day. Meanwhile, the number of people watching YouTube videos has increased 40 percent year over year since March 2014.

This means there’s a huge opportunity for small businesses to use video to engage customers and attract new ones. Videos are also a great way to tell your story in less than two minutes, which is especially appealing to those of you who don’t relish the idea of writing content. And when you pair video with email marketing, you’ll see click-through rates (CTR) soar. In fact, analysts at Forrester Research reported that including video in an email leads to a 200-300% increase in CTR. If you’re curious about how to effectively use video to market your small business, here is everything you need to get rolling.

Setting the Stage: Cameras and Action

Who needs big studios, big budgets and temperamental actors when you already have everything you need to create a great video. Let’s start with the tools. For the video aficionados out there, or former high school A/V experts, you probably know that you can record a video on a DSLR or a camcorder and transfer and edit the footage for online use. If you don’t know how to do that, whip out your smartphone. Most smartphones record in High Definition, giving even novice users high quality videos. You can take the smartphone video up a notch and use apps like 8mm (Nexvio, Inc.) and Paper Camera (JFDP Labs), that let you choose distinctive filters to give your videos an array of stylistic options. 

Now that you have the right tools, you have to think about what makes a compelling video. The best ones have a beginning, middle and end and are no longer than two minutes, with the sweet spot being between 60-90 seconds. If you have an idea that you know will take more than 1-2 minutes, consider turning it into a video series. For example, instead of using a 10-minute video in one email, create five 2-minute videos, and promote them over the course of a month.

The Script

What makes a video worth watching? Start by thinking about the videos that you click on and share. They could be funny, inspiring, or smart tips for the do-it-yourselfer. To get your creative juices flowing, here are five ideas for video content.

1. Go behind-the-scenes of your business. You can show how a product is made, offer tips on how to do something using your products, or post other behind-the-scenes moments to build trust with your audience.

2. Share event highlights. After the big splash is over, post video highlights from the event. It allows guests to relive the great time and inspires those who missed it to show up the following year.

3. Offer a sneak peek of an upcoming product, promotion or event. Like effective movie trailers, your videos can generate excitement and buzz before your big launch. For example, a restaurant could shoot a video of a taste test as the staff prepares to introduce a new menu item. Also, a boutique could take a quick video of a new shipment arriving with just a peek at what’s to come.

4. Create a tutorial. Show off your expertise and connect with visual learners by creating a helpful tutorial. It’s a great way to show your products in action and educate your audience on best practices. By empowering them to do something on their own, you’re making sure your business will be their first stop when they need help.

5. Say thanks. It’s no secret that customers and supporters love to be appreciated. A personal and heartfelt video expressing your gratitude can be a real “wow” moment for them that leaves a lasting impression.

Red Carpet Rollout: Promoting Your Video

After you put the time into creating that fantastic video, you want to get as many eyes on it as possible. Start with your existing customers by including the video in your email. Yet don’t just insert a link. Insert a clear, intriguing image from the video, and include a compelling description to entice viewers to watch it on your website, social media pages, or YouTube. And don’t forget to include a sharing button and a direct call to action such as “Like this video? Share it with your friends!”

Now that you’ve been behind the scenes to learn how to create great videos, you’re ready to take the spotlight and start experimenting with your own.

That’s a wrap!