The Small Business Cheat Sheet to Video Marketing

Video marketing is huge. And the best part is that with today’s technology it is not only for big companies with fat budgets. With its growing popularity, video marketing has become the small business’ best marketing friend.


In today’s article, we will talk more about how to put together a video that will give your marketing the punch it needs.


Begin with asking why

ask-whyAlways start any content marketing campaign by thinking about what you would like to achieve. This is no different with video marketing. Just because it is popular and everyone else is doing it, does not mean that you have to immediately jump on the bandwagon just to compete. Quality content always trumps quantity, so before you get too caught up in the excitement, take the time to think about the goals and objectives you have for your video.


There are many ways in which you can use video marketing for your small business, the point is to think strategically about your business goals for the video. Do you want to create awareness, educate your audience, drive web traffic, launch a product? Whatever your goal is, make sure that your editorial copy, footage and call-to-action match this goal.


Also consider whether this video would be part of a series or if you intend to make a follow-up. This would help you structure your story and edit your video for maximum impact.


Tell a compelling story

story-tellingThe big advantage of video over other forms of content is that it can tell a great story that is visually engaging. Video has an incredible emotive power, so use that to your advantage. All good stories have an intriguing beginning that makes us want to hear more, a compelling middle that keeps our attention throughout, and a powerful ending that makes us think about and remember the entire message.


The most obvious stories you can tell are about your brand – how you got started, what you stand for, where you are heading – but you can also tell great stories about your team and how you work or how your product is produced. Client stories are a great way for people to make an emotional connection to your product or service.


Whatever story you decide to tell, spend time on the introduction. Make sure that you grab your audience’s attention in the first five seconds of your video. It should let your audience know what the video is about and make them want to continue to watch to the end.


Andrew Stanton, writer of ‘Toy Story’ and producer of ‘Wall-E’, sums it up perfectly in his TED Talk: “It’s making a promise to you that this story will lead somewhere that’s worth your time. And that’s what all good stories should do at the beginning, is they should give you a promise.”


Add value

Andrew Stanton also talks about what he refers to as the “greatest story commandment”: “’Make me care’ – please, emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically, just make me care.” Tell stories that are relevant to your audience and that would add value to them. Take the time to understand your ideal audience and what kind of stories would appeal to them.


Does the end result of your video solve a problem they may have or give them a competitive edge? If people can see the benefit of watching your video, they will share it more easily with others.


Think about the popularity of how-to videos. Not only does it solve the viewer’s problem, it also shows off the company’s knowledge and expertise.


media-assetsConsider your other media assets

What other media assets do you already have that you can work into your video? Photos, existing short video clips, images from your company profile, visually appealing presentation slides, existing user guides – all these assets can help you get your message across and keep your brand identity consistent.


Remember that not all videos have to be made up of footage alone. You can put together slideshows, animations, infographics and many other formats using your existing media assets.


Work from a script

video-scriptI always propose working from a script – even if is just a general outline. This will help you to formulate the story you want to tell, as well as indicate what type of footage or other media assets you would need to bring the story to life.


The script will guide you and your marketing team in how to communicate your message and get your viewers to take the desired action. When writing your script, remember the points above about telling a compelling story and keep in mind that people have limited attention spans. Keep your message short and simple and make it clear what you want your audience to do after having watched the video.


Add a clear call-to-action

ctaA call-to-action is the specific action you want your audience to take. This could be subscribing to your YouTube channel or your email list; browsing through your catalogue or sharing, liking or commenting on your video.


YouTube offers Call-to-action Overlays or you can simply verbally request the desired action at the end of the video. Display your CTA visually and prominently. Just don’t let your video simply fade to black at the end without prompting your audience to take some action. You will be missing a golden opportunity to convert them into leads.


Set up your budget

Make sure that you have the budget to produce a quality video. You don’t have to create a Hollywood masterpiece, but do consider investing in professional voice-overs and quality video equipment. You can outsource the shooting and production or do it in-house, but don’t skimp on the quality.


Some other factors you would need to consider is digitising footage, music and image royalties, transport, accommodation, actors and PPC costs. If you work from a script, you should have a good idea of what kind of footage you would need and how long it would take. Would you need to travel off-site for the footage? Would you need to bring in actors? How will you promote your video?


These are all important considerations before you embark on your video campaign. Make sure that you can realistically produce the vision you have on the budget you have.


Create a stand-out title

Just like with a blog post, you need to grab your audience’s attention with your headline. Try to include keywords naturally, because this will help your video show up in search results. Just don’t overdo it. Keyword stuffing is never a good tactic.


Don’t use click-bait or misleading headlines. This is a sure-fire way to turn your audience off and to damage your brand. Deliver what you promise in your headline.


Limit your headline to a maximum of 66 characters as Google truncates longer titles when delivering search results.


Show your brand personality

personalityDon’t be afraid to let your brand’s personality shine through. It makes your company more human and relatable. Be true to your brand and be authentic and you have a much better chance of appealing to and connecting with your ideal audience on an emotional level.


Your unique personality is what makes your company stand out from all the other similar companies using video marketing to get the attention of your market. Think about your own buying behaviour. How many times have you made a purchasing decision simply because you connected to the brand’s personality?


You can show off your brand personality through your editing style or by giving people a behind-the-scenes look at how you work or how your product is produced. Humour can also go a long way toward humanising your brand. Just make sure it is appropriate for your intended audience.


Use real people that represent your target audience

realistic-personalitiesAuthenticity is a key element in today’s marketing. Thankfully, the days of eye candy or unrealistic characters are over. If you want to connect with your audience, focus on using real people that reflect your audience demographic.


When possible and practical, try recording in your real business environment and use your own employees or your actual clients in the video. While you want to produce a good quality video, it shouldn’t be over-polished. Keep it as real and relatable as possible.


I love this video created by Chatbooks. While the video features actors, it still speaks to most busy moms, recognising their daily struggles with a great sense of humour.


Pay attention to SEO

Don’t forget to optimise your videos for search engines. Fill in the metadata information that describes what your video is about and allows search engines to index it accordingly. Keep the title under 66 characters and choose the best thumbnail. Also make sure that your video filename is something recognisable and relevant as this is another way to describe your content to search engines.


You can also make use of transcripts – a text-based version of your video. This also helps search engines identify and discover your content.


Make it mobile friendly

mobile-friendlyMore and more people are accessing content – and particularly video content – on their mobile phones or tablets, so it is important to make sure that your video is mobile friendly. When creating your video, think about its size and the time it might take to download. There is nothing worse than trying to watch a video that takes forever to download.


Also consider the rise of video sharing on Facebook. Many Facebook users have video content muted by default, so consider adding subtitles to supplement the audio. This way people can watch your video without needing to turn on the sound first.


If you embed your videos into your website, make sure that your video player is responsive – meaning that it will adjust its size according the size of the medium it is watched on. Again, consider its download size and the length of the video.


Promote and market

social-mediaOnce again, the same goes for video marketing as for all other content – promote, promote, promote. Don’t just upload your video to YouTube and hope for the best. Embed your videos on your own site as well and promote it further through social media channels. You can also promote your video through your email list or your email newsletter.


Always make sure that your embedding or sharing options are enabled for your videos. If people like your content, help them spread the word by embedding it on their sites or sharing it with their followers.


Engage with your viewers

Allow your audience to comment on your videos and reply to those comments in a polite and engaging manner. Put some time aside each day to respond to some of the comments. Even if you don’t get to all of them, people will see that you are willing to be engaged. Just be careful of the trolls and don’t let them draw you into a public spat that will embarrass you and your brand.


You can also engage with your viewers on their own channels. Show your willingness to watch their content and engage with them on it and they will be more likely to return the favour.


You don’t have to wait for someone else to comment on your video. Open the discussion yourself by asking a question of your viewers that is relevant to the video itself.


Thank those who share your video and reward your most active contributors. Perhaps you can offer some freebies or just a fun gift. Try to encourage interaction as much as possible. It is a great way to learn about your audience and what kind of content appeals to them.


Review your performance

analyticsReview how each of your videos have performed. Most video hosts such as YouTube, Wistia and Vimeo offers analytics to help you track the performance of your videos. You can also use Google Analytics.


The kind of things you would want to look at are the obvious ones such as how many views, shares and likes your video received, but you should also look at who watched your videos. This can give you valuable insights on your leads and what kind of content they are interested in.


You might also want to analyse how many times a person watched your video and for how long they watched it. The amount of times they watched the video gives a good indication of their interest in the content and if you are creating content aligned to the sales funnel, you can also get a glimpse of where they are in the sales funnel.


The duration for which they watched can give you some insights in their level of interest or whether you may need to make some changes to how you structure your content. Perhaps you need a punchier introduction or perhaps your middle is sagging a bit.


You would also want to know how many people clicked on your call-to-action. This will also help you to discover how effective your call-to-action is and whether your content is appealing enough to encourage viewers to take the desired action.


Video is one of the fastest-growing and most engaging forms of content available and it is suitable and affordable to any business. The trick is to produce quality content that is relevant to your audience and authentic to your brand. With this cheat sheet in hand, there is nothing stopping you from creating great video content!


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