Updated March 5 at 6:05pm

Getting the picture on video

As online video gets cheaper and easier to produce, and its effectiveness as a marketing method grows, more and more small businesses are jumping in. Business owners who’ve stuck largely to text-based marketing channels such as search ads, blogs and social networks are discovering that video can be a compelling addition to a marketing mix. More

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MARKETING

Getting the picture on video

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As online video gets cheaper and easier to produce, and its effectiveness as a marketing method grows, more and more small businesses are jumping in. Business owners who’ve stuck largely to text-based marketing channels such as search ads, blogs and social networks are discovering that video can be a compelling addition to a marketing mix.

And customers and prospects – both in the consumer and business-to-business realms – are gobbling up video and now even expect it in many circumstances. In a single month, 179 million Internet users in the U.S. watch more than 30 billion videos, according to industry research.

For small businesses, however, one big catch with video in past was cost. But that’s changed. You no longer need expensive video-production experts to produce effective, good-looking videos.

Here are tips and strategies to help you jump-start video-marketing program of your own.

• Change how you think about video. Many of us are still ingrained with how old-style “network television” first defined video as a story with a beginning, middle and end that people watch passively. That’s changed dramatically. Online video can be super-short, highly interactive, incredibly creative and a million other things.

• Use a divide-and-conquer approach to your videos. Divide them into three categories: showpiece, workhorse and long-tail videos. Showpiece videos are the splashy pieces that show off your business. Workhorse videos explain your most important products and services. Long-tail videos delve more deeply into special topics.

• Make workhorse videos shareable. These videos should have a super-clear message and a well-defined target audience. They should be the kind of informative, authoritative video that people like to pass along. These don’t have to be slick. But they must be clear, focused and true to the particular personality of your business.

Go for a deeper dive with long-tail videos. Use these videos to dig deeper into specific topics, answer frequently asked questions, provide detailed data or feature yourself or others in your business as subject-matter experts. Talk about specific solutions and customer needs.

• Marry your video content with a call to action. The days of creating a video and then plunking a Web address or phone number in the last frame and saying “Call us or visit our website” are over. New techniques let you easily add interactive polls, surveys, live forms and other lead-generation techniques, so use them. You don’t want prospects watching your video and then asking, “What now?” •


Daniel Kehrer can be reached at

editor@bizbest.com.

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