Video continues to rise in popularity. YouTube attracts more than a billion visitors each month, and people of all ages and backgrounds watch videos on a weekly, if not a daily, basis.

An estimate by Cisco reveals that video will drive 69% of all internet traffic by 2017. This has prompted businesses to up their spend on video marketing by 68%.

Video marketing is the next big thing that’s already arrived, but those are empty words if you do not know what it entails, how it is carried out, and the results a small business can expect to gain from it.

Video marketing is an important SEO trend in 2016

Watching YouTube videos online on mobile devices grew 100% over the last year. Such a ready and enthusiastic viewership is one big opportunity for businesses.

This realization is leading to an increasing number of brands and bloggers embracing the video marketing medium. Expect this trend to continue, especially on mobile. Videos are engaging and easy to consume on the go. They are also easier to process – apparently, up to 60,000 times faster than text!

So how can a small business tap into the power of the video? Here are some of the biggest and the most common challenges faced by businesses with limited resources to spend on fancy videos, along with ideas on what to do about it.

Devising a video content strategy

Just because videos are now everywhere does not mean businesses should start producing copious amounts of video to make the most of this trend.

A video needs a purpose and a business would need to be clear about how to incorporate it in its marketing mix.

If your content is primarily driven by the written word, ditching that format entirely and moving to the audio-visual medium just because it is trending is not recommended. However, the following suggestions might help:

  • Begin by introducing one video per week. This is doable for most business owners and will give you enough time to hone your technique.
  • Use videos to announce new developments or the launch of upcoming products.
  • Make videos on topics that you feel are more suited to the format. This would lead to a mix of written and visual content on your blog.
  • Introduce a new section for videos. Think of topics that would gain from the super-interactive nature of videos. Reviews, product demonstrations and user Q&As are good ideas. Tech blogs do this all the time. Some of them offer reviews in both the written as well as the video format, so that people can pick whichever medium they prefer.
  • Encourage loyal followers to send in their personal videos explaining how your service/product has helped them.

How to shoot videos

Thanks to the proliferation of affordable smartphone technology, anyone can shoot and upload a video. A video doesn’t necessarily have to be 4K, shot in perfect light, and professionally edited in order to go viral. Any video can go viral, but from a marketing perspective, it helps to be familiar with the rudimentary technology involved in shooting professional videos.

While smartphones are great and a number of big Instagram and YouTube celebrities have made their fame with images/videos shot on their phone cameras, a decent DSLR can be of great help.

If you cannot afford to hire someone to shoot, edit and produce videos, you’d have to take out the time to do so yourself. This need not be a challenge but it will require investing some time in learning the basic shooting and editing technology. Thankfully this is not difficult to do. There are a number of excellent dedicated communities online to help people of all levels achieve better results with their DSLRs.

What should your videos be about?

This depends entirely on what a business wants to accomplish with video marketing.

Refer to the strategies mentioned above.

Regardless of the aim, however, videos would still need to be personalized. Viewers should feel you are speaking to them. The principles of great written content apply here as well. Choose topics backed by audience and keyword research.

A rule of thumb to guide a business through most marketing challenges is to put people over products. Either create content that directly helps the consumer, or put the customers in spotlight.

Dove has been doing this for ages and to great effect.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches | You’re more beautiful than you think (3mins)

(One of Dove’s viral video campaigns from 2013)

Another reliable technique is to create an absorbing narrative. Few messages make greater impact than those delivered via a memorable story. Take a look at some of the hugely popular indie videos on YouTube and you will find most of them tell a story.

This, however, would require greater effort on the part of the video creator. You might want to save this for a product launch or event.

How to promote videos

You do this much the same way as you promote your other content – via blog, social, and third-party sites.

However, with YouTube added to the mix, the potential of what you can achieve with videos is greater than ever.

  • Optimize your videos for YouTube as well as search engines to maximize their chances of being found. This involves paying attention to the titles, keywords, and descriptions as you upload the videos to YouTube. Include a link to your website and encourage people to like, share, and hit the subscribe button. Make it a point to include clear and prominent, but non-intrusive CTAs.
  • Notify subscribers each time a new video is up, but don’t stop there. For those on your email list, send out a few lines about why they should check out this video. The benefits of doing so should be clearly spelled out.
  • Mention in the email as well what you want the viewers to do after they have seen the video. Do you want them to comment, hit ‘like’, or share the video with their friends? Clear and relatable CTAs can be the difference between users merely consuming content and actually doing something with it.
  • Here’s a long list of ways in which a YouTube channel can be promoted.

How to measure the ROI

Add up all the expenses related to producing and promoting a video campaign. This includes the number of hours spent brainstorming on ideas, shooting/reshooting and editing videos, as well as marketing/promoting them.

When you have the amount of dollars invested in a campaign, come up with a sales figure you would need the campaign to produce in order to justify its cost, and eventually determine the profit/loss.

For individual videos that you produce for the blog on a weekly basis, and not a dedicated campaign, once again look at the total number of hours and dollars invested and the increase in sales resulting from the effort. This, however, would be a gradual climb than a spike as one would expect from a campaign.

Give your efforts a few months to derive a reliable ROI figure from it.

For the video to shine

Much the same as content of other types, video marketing needs a detailed and thoughtful strategy to make an impact. Wanting to tap into the popularity of this medium is one thing and being able to do justice to the format quite another. Videos being highly interpersonal in nature, they can be a charming addition to your content arsenal. Whether you want videos to be a part of the greater content mix or have them lead your content marketing efforts depends entirely on the ease of producing them, the cost involved, and the returns gained.

A well-shot video can make a great impact on the minds of the user. Think of the last ad film or a movie that made a deep impression on you. You won’t have to think too hard. At the same time, many of us can also clearly recall the vivid impressions a great book made on us. Instead of pitting the two forms of content against one another, find out which one is more suited to your business, or rather the one you can better use. It could be both, which is great, too.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Please share them in the comments below!


Pete Peranzo

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