Before YouTube, online videos were relatively few and far between.But with YouTube?s popularity and the explosion of video clip sites like Vimeo, online videos are nearly everywhere. We use them to get how to? demos, watch movie trailers, funny clips from TV shows, and the latest crazy blooper. The explosion of these clips have been enabled by the fact that today video clips are very easier to upload and circulate. Just one example is this fantastic wedding video from a few summers ago that went viral big time. This is one example of how easy it is to get a video uploaded and circulated (this video has had over 70 Million views. Yes, I said 70 million!). So it is really surprising that small businesses do not do more with online videos as a method for promoting a business, the management team, and products and services.

 

I generally hear one common excuse that small businesses use for not using videos for their small business. The common thinking is that the videos need to be professionally done and therefore they are too expensive to create for a small business. The good thing is that now with the rise of even better video phones and video cameras that run below $350, a good professionally created video can often be made on a very streamlined budget. Frankly, the only impediment is the imagination of the business owner on how to get a nice professional looking background (can even be a plain white wall with the owner sitting at a table/desk). Now more than ever, small businesses can now do the video filming themselves thereby avoiding the big spend for creating their own marketing video.

 

One additional excuse that small businesses make is they do not know what to create a video about that will help them market their business. So now that small businesses can create their own video themselves, here are some ideas for how your business can start using videos:

 

1. Introduce your business to shoppers, website visitors and others with a video backgrounder Every business can get rolling with an online video by creating an introductory video for your website. The introductory video about your business can help you introduce yourself and your company to shoppers. An important benefit of these types of introductory videos is that they can help really personalize your small business to website visitors. Some of the most effective introductory videos about small businesses actually have the business owner telling the audience the story behind why they started their business. These types of very authentic video introductions help build credibility with shoppers or potential leads that do not know anything about the business or the owners. Also everyone likes a good story so if you can tell a story about your business in 30-60 seconds that can make for a very effective introductory video. Here is an excellent post by Zachery Sniderman showing 4 Inspiring Small Business Video Successes that I recommend checking out.

2. Give your customers a test-drive with a product video ? How many times have you found a website and are looking for a tool or new product, but have no idea how the product actually works? Many shoppers visit sites and because they become confused about what a product or service may do, they just leave and try to find a site that explains the product/service in a more straightforward manner. This gives business owners a great opportunity to try a short product video that describes your company’s product. The video can be as easy as a video or a computer screen as a member of the company walks through the product/service and narrates how and why to use the product. A product can even be a lot more appealing if the customer hears a passionate voice that is describing the product in detail and the reasons for how that product may make a customer’s life easier.

3. How about showing some real live customers videos where they talk about your product ? This may be the most underrated video marketing tool for small businesses. With the rise of smartphones and even flip-cameras, every time you meet a customer you have an opportunity to film a quick customer testimonial. Consider using a customer meeting or your next industry conference to shoot a quick video of the customer. Don’t be shy to ask because what is the worst that the customer can say?.no!? Chances are the customer, especially if he/she is knows you, will be more than willing to do a short 30 second to 2 minute video testimonial. Even if you do not have an opportunity to see a customer in person, you can always ask one of your customers to film a short video with their own smartphone and have them send that video to you. The quality may vary, but with all the tools that are available especially on many of Apple’s products an online video can now be cleaned up very quickly. After you get these videos, then you can create a ?Testimonial? section of your small business website and add these videos here.

4. Use video to help educate customers, the industry and website visitors ? There is a concept of educating your customers or the community as a way to build up credibility and a good reputation that you know what you are talking about as a business. So small businesses should use this concept to consider creating and distributing their own educational videos for customers and the greater community. In fact, these types of videos are often underrated but can really be helpful for potential customers. For these types of educational videos, you can take the time to shoot short videos that can contain educational tips. One way to really help educate customers is using this as an opportunity to have employees or product managers film helpful tips for your customer community. Also using your employees allows your videos to be even more authentic and actually allows them to use real world examples in those videos. These real world examples create educational tips and tremendously valuable video content to not only help customers but also promote the small business itself.

5. Show the world the videos where you are a thought leader that is presenting to audiences about an important topic As an extension of educational videos, there is a rise of what is called thought leadership videos. These videos are different from educational videos in that these videos come from conference speeches, presentations, webinars and related activities. These videos can be as easy to make as thenext time you are at a conference or an event speaking, make sure your speech/presentation is recorded. Then go get that recording of yourself speaking and add that to your website. The value of these thought leadership videos is that these videos typically show a business owner as an expert in a field. That helps demonstrate to potential and actual customers that you are credible and that other people consider you to have something important to say about your industry, your product/services or your business. This goes a long way to establishing your reputation as a dependable source of information. Once potential customers look at you and your business as a dependable place for information that will be tremendously useful for your reputation and the way your business is perceived in the market.

 

These are just a few of the ways your business can start effectively using online videos to market your small business. Please tell us in the comments how your company plans to use video in the future.