In the last decade, you may have noticed a paradigm shift in how users consume online content. Websites that used to publish lengthy product guides and listicles have all of a sudden focused on posting videos. Why is that?
For one, technology and online habits in the past ten years have improved drastically, allowing us to watch full-length movies on the subway. Even the websites we frequent have changed— social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have prioritized auto-playing videos in their feed over text posts.
Second, the value of video marketing has skyrocketed. Nutrition e-commerce TigerFitness reported a 60% returning customer rate after employing a video marketing strategy, reportedly three times the industry standard. Video marketing has also helped countless businesses with overall lead generation, traffic, and sales.
But smaller companies tend to avoid video marketing altogether, believing it to be too large of an investment. In this post, we’ll cover how a small business can use video marketing to grow, without having to take out a loan.
What is video marketing?
As the name implies, video marketing involves any campaign or strategy that uses the medium of video to attract users or generate sales. Webinars, product guides/reviews, tutorials, vlogs, and short advertisements all fall under this category.
But why is video marketing important, and how exactly can video marketing help you grow? The answer lies in its ability to engage, educate, and compel users to action. Consider the following statistics:
Video marketing statistics
– 30% of mobile shoppers say video is the best medium for discovering new products. (Facebook)
– Tweets with video attract 10x more engagements than Tweets without video. (Twitter)
– LinkedIn users are 20x more likely to share a video on the platform than any other type of post. (Marketing Land)
– Video generates more engagement than any other content type on Instagram. (Mention)
– 92% of marketers who use video say that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy. This was 91% in 2019, 85% in 2018, 82% in 2017, 88% in 2016 and 78% in 2015. (Wyzowl)
Types of videos small businesses can produce
In such a media-dominated world, companies must carefully tailor their videos to their brand identity, core offerings, target audience, and medium of delivery. Consider some of the following ways your own business can create videos that increase engagement or sales:
- –Explainer videos/Tutorials
- –Company vision/About Us
- –Product or Service Showcase
Salesforce is known for offering some of the best CRM software solutions, with major clients such as BBVA, Unilever, T-Mobile. But with any major software company, there’s always the risk that the app becomes too large and complex for people to understand or use efficiently.
Realizing this, Salesforce now offers monthly webinars with product experts and Salesforce team members that showcase new updates or important features. Their videos (which are free to watch with a user sign up), cover the gamut of their product offering, from best practices to new additions.
Recommended for: Companies with complex/feature-rich products and services, such as marketing suites or proprietary technology.
In one study, 72% of customers say positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business more. This makes total sense— after all, real customer stories and reviews always seem more useful in one’s purchasing decision.
You may be able to find actors for hire on places like Fiverr or Upwork, who will read a script in front of a green screen or take a selfie video for low rates. But if you want quality and authenticity to be your main goals, then you may be better off hiring a professional production company and using real customers. Check out some of the example testimonial videos created by Epic Productions, LLC for some inspiration.
Recommended for: Companies where trust and authenticity are paramount— law firms, household products, pet food, healthcare services.
3. Explainer videos and tutorials
Similar to webinars, tutorial/explainer videos are an effective means of educating an audience. The only difference is that webinars are live events, typically with a host and Q&A section afterward. Tutorial videos are more straightforward, showing you a step by step guide on how to do something. Explainer videos break down complicated topics in simple terms.
One example of a well-known tutorial video channel comes from YouTuber NikkieTutorials. Nikkie has garnered a following for her in-depth and high-quality makeup tutorials. Her videos have proven tremendously popular, generating views in the millions.
Recommended for: Companies that are seeking to inform or educate an audience on a product, service, or practice.
4. Company vision or about us
These days it’s not uncommon to land on a homepage with a short video describing the company— their core values, a brief history, and their main offerings. In many ways, it is a more engaging way to introduce the brand to the customer.
Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, created a video describing its Research & Advisory team to attract potential clients and partners. Mike Harris, EVP Research & Advisory, discusses the importance of digital transformation initiatives, and how his team is uniquely designed to assist companies with data-driven insights.
Recommended for: Companies with low brand awareness or visibility.
5. Product or service showcase
Companies can spend millions promoting and advertising a new addition to their menu or a new product line. But other strategies can be equally engaging and more cost-effective. Video is one such way.
Consider many of the products on Kickstarter. Many of these companies must find ways to entice potential investors to buy into their vision. That’s why videos are usually placed at the top, demonstrating how it works. Take the Nebia by Moen, a unique take on the showerhead design. Using images alone, the product may not be able to build as much of an interest as it has.
Recommended for: Companies introducing new products, services, or features — startups and small businesses.
Video production tips for small brands
1. Create videos that enhance your brand
This may go without saying, but it’s important to produce only the type of videos that work with your brand and your target audience. For example, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for an accounting services startup to suddenly hold webinars.
Think long and hard about the kind of content that you believe your customers may find most useful. You may even want to repurpose popular content (such as blog posts) as videos. Investigate the kind of videos they view on YouTube, and how you can develop content that appeals to their immediate needs.
2. Develop a creative brief
A standard in the creative industry, a brief ensures that everyone on the team is on the same page in terms of the project scope. You needn’t make a long or in-depth manual. Cover the main objective of the video, the key points to hit, the necessary equipment, overall budget, and a timeline. During this time, you may also want to develop a script for your video.
3. Make a list of the required equipment and software
If being produced in-house, you’ll need to keep track of what tools you need, both physically and digitally. That means figuring out the type of camera (you can use your phone!) for your shoot. If you are using a voiceover, you’ll need a high-quality microphone. Consider whether you will need special lighting kits and backdrops.
In terms of software, you will need something to edit the final video. Adobe Premiere is largely considered the best option for Windows, while Final Cut Pro is the best option for Mac. There is also a variety of free editing software available for you to choose from, as well as the option of hiring freelance editors. If you are creating an animated video, you will need animation software.
4. Choose an appropriate setting
Your shooting location will affect everything from the space you have to work with to the lighting of your shot. Typically, it is the most expensive aspect of your shoot, besides the camera and hired talent. Check out Peerspace for a list of venues that fit your needs and budget.
5. Set up early and keep things on track
On the actual day of the shoot, there will be a lot of moving parts to keep track of— from keeping talent happy to setting up cameras and lights. Get a headstart and put up everything early on, and it will make your shoot that much smoother. Keep your crew and cast happy by giving them frequent breaks and food to snack on.
6. Consider hiring an agency
If your company is not in the creative or production business, you will want to hire professionals to take care of the video. It may seem expensive, but with the time and money you save, it may pay for itself. Search around the area for reputable production companies, or ask other businesses about the services they used for their videos.
Examples of videos from small business
Now that you have an inkling of how video marketing can be used to strengthen your brand awareness and improve customer engagement, you may want to seek inspiration from other small businesses. Here are just three examples:
Example #1: On Legacy – Artifact Uprising
Artifact Uprising offers photo printing services, allowing users to print their memories as calendars, photo books or cards. But their video “On Legacy” is less about their services and more about the stories of their customers. In the campaign, 95-year-old Joe Bucholt shares glimpses of his life, particularly his love for his late wife Pearl, with whom he had been married for 70 years. It goes to show that the most authentic stories are the ones that can resonate most with us.
Example #2: Scribit – Kickstarter Campaign Video
“Why choose one decor,” the video starts, “when you can turn your wall into an interactive canvas?” That’s the premise behind Scribit, a “Write & Erase Robot” that creates wall art, murals, even to-do lists on the fly, straight from your phone. All you need is the Scribit robot, two nails, and some wire. The Kickstarter campaign video explains the concept behind Scribit clearly and elegantly.
Example #3: Breakdancing Gorilla Enjoys Pool Behind-the-Scenes
Sometimes total simplicity is what works best. The Dallas Zoo saw an opportunity to promote themselves when zookeeper, Ashley Orr, took a quick video on her phone of a gorilla dancing. Almost overnight, Zola, the gorilla became an Internet celebrity, and they didn’t need much more than a YouTube account and a phone.
Video marketing is here to stay. You don’t need expensive equipment or a production department. All you need is a subject, a camera, and editing software, and you could find a way to reach millions. How will your business captivate its next customer through the power of video?