For small businesses, getting noticed online is a challenge, particularly when competing with big brands with large marketing departments and seemingly endless marketing budgets. But more and more local companies are finding success cutting through the clutter with online video. Statistics show that video improves online visibility and drives more action online than plain images and text. For example, according to the BIA Kelsey Group, viewers engage more after watching a video, with clicks for more information increasing by 30-40% and phone inquiries by 16-20%.
Unlike the hefty price tags associated with TV advertising, online video is affordable for businesses of any size. And you don't have to be Scorsese to make video work either. There are companies out there who's sole mission is to help you with your online video efforts. At Flip or Kodak Z-series) make it easy to shoot and share video.we allow small businesses to create professional quality, customized video for free with a 'try before you buy' model. And for the aspiring filmmaker in each of us, new classes of video cameras (such as the popular
Whether you choose to do-it-yourself or hire a pro, marketing your business with online video doesn't end with the production. Remember, videos need to be seen. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your video marketing:
1. Aim for Authentic, Actionable Content
Don't worry about stock photography, templates, or videographers who will make you look like all their other clients. Be authentic. Be personal. After all, this is your big chance to highlight your strengths and show what really makes you different. Keep the video short and the less scripted, the better — since customers are jaded by typical sales pitches and marketing buzzwords. Creating authentic video that captures the human element behind any business allows customers to connect on a personal level.
And don't forget to incorporate a call to action. While your authentic video builds trust and drives action, viewers must be given a reason and a way to call you, visit your website, or stop by your store. Be sure to include some action path — for example, a trackable URL, a coupon, discount code, or unique phone number to call. This not only encourages viewers to engage with you, but also provides a tangible way to measure the results of your video.
2. Optimize Video for Google Search
The advent of blended or universal search has changed the search game. Search engines now display more and more videos, images, blogs, maps, and books in their results. These new search algorithms weigh video heavily, giving you a great opportunity to increase your relevance in search results (and even achieve that coveted first page ranking on Google). In fact, Forrester Research ran an experiment on the top-searched keywords and discovered that videos have an 11,000-to-1 chance of appearing on the first page of Google's results, while text has a 500,000-to-1 chance of making it on the first page — in short, video has a 50 times better chance than plain text for getting to the top of search rankings.
Even with this incredible opportunity, many marketers don't yet think about making their video Google-friendly. There are several simple steps you can take to optimize your online video content.
3. Add Video to Your Facebook Page
Most likely, your Facebook fans are already customers — the social network gives you the chance to strengthen existing relationships, build your brand, present special offers, as well as find some new customers as you reach into the extended networks of your current fan base. On Facebook, use video to show the human side of your company. Think fun and creative. Show a 'behind the scenes' peak at your office or shop. Use video to announce a new contest or special. Post video highlights of past events, customer testimonials, etc.
4. Put Video on YouTube and Other Video Sites
YouTube has quickly grown from a network of user-generated content to become an invaluable repository of content. Next to Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine, with more than 3.5 billion queries a month according to comScore. YouTube and other video sites are great vehicles to reach an audience who might not find you otherwise. Best of all, you can create a branded YouTube channel and host your videos without incurring any bandwidth costs. And don't worry — you don't necessarily have to create the next viral sensation to find success on YouTube. Small businesses can create valuable new relationships and build sales without generating a million views.
5. Add Video to Your Google Local Business Listing
By adding video to your business listing on Google Local, you'll be able to tell your story and connect with those people who are looking for your products or services, at the very point in time when they're actively researching or ready to buy. This ultra-targeted form of marketing is highly effective for driving clicks and calls. And amid a list of company names, addresses, and phone numbers, an engaging video brings your listing to life and sets you apart from the crowd.
Most Importantly - Get Started
There's no time like the present to get started with video. While spare time is always in short supply for the small business owner, online video can be less time intensive and is relatively low cost compared with other marketing initiatives. Most importantly, video will reap dividends in both the short and long term.