Let’s face it: People love watching videos. Small companies know this and are using them with increasing frequency to reach customers and prospects. They’ve also found that search engines love videos, too. The more videos you post, the higher your website is likely to rise in search results.
The good news for small businesses is that it’s easier and less expensive to produce and distribute a video than ever before. Here are six steps to help make sure your videos are a success:
1. Define Your Goal
Do you want to build awareness of your company or focus on a particular product, service or promotion? Are your products difficult to explain, like a software solution? In that case, you may need to educate people about your products' benefits. Is your offering familiar, like an aerobics class? Then you may want to showcase its unique qualities or advantages. Write down what you want to achieve in 75 words or less. Your goal should include a measure of success, such as 1,000 “likes” on a Facebook company page or 500 views of a corporate overview.
2. Choose a Video Type
Think about what kind of video has the best chance of meeting your goal. The answer may be a mix of one or more. Options include:
Customer experience videos. Testimonials and case studies
Product or service videos. Product demonstrations and instructions on how to do something
Corporate videos. Company overviews and office tours
Marketing and promotional videos. Commercials and branded entertainment
PR videos. Video press releases that showcase a company’s community work
Event videos. Roundtable discussions and expert presentations
3. Determine How to Produce It
One way to help keep costs low is to tape the video yourself. Many smartphones can now record high-quality video. If you decide to use a professional, look for a company that has created videos for businesses similar to yours. Ideally, the company will be able to make the video and not disrupt your business. Video producers can charge anywhere from $800 to $2,000 per finished minute, or more for complex shoots. Expect to pay a portion of the fee upfront. The producer might then ask for another portion at the end of filming and for the remainder upon delivery.
4. Keep It Short
The exact length of your video will depend on your goal, the type of video you want to make and where you want to post it. For example, a Q&A session with you or another company executive will probably run longer than a product demonstration. Whatever the type, keep your video short, especially if you want to post it to YouTube. Most viewers lose interest after a minute or two. In addition, short videos load faster and are easier to send by e-mail. You could also divide a longer video into parts. For example, an expert presentation that addresses several topics might be better packaged as two or three separate videos.
5. Distribute It
Posting the video on your website is just the beginning. Consider using a free uploading service to post to YouTube and video sites like Metacafe and Yahoo! Screen. You may want to create a channel on YouTube if you expect to produce videos regularly. Can you include it in an e-mail campaign targeting smartphone users or post it on your Facebook page? Keep search engine optimization (SEO) in mind as you choose the keywords to use with your videos. This involves identifying words that viewers are most likely to use when they look for content like yours. Search engines may gravitate toward your website if it includes videos that have been tagged with relevant keywords.
6. Tell the World
Use every channel you can afford to help make your video a success. You might want to take advantage of a low-cost service that delivers press releases to media outlets. Promote the video on your social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Include links to the video on Internet forums and the comment areas in blogs. Ask customers to submit links to content-sharing sites like Digg and Delicious. Update your video clip if you change a product or service or remove it, since an out-of-date clip could harm your business.
Business owners often want to create a “viral” video, one that spreads like wildfire across the Internet. Instead of focusing on that, make a video that helps your customers and meets the goal you started with. AT&T offers a range of tools and services to help you display and promote your videos, including web hosting solutions for both full and mobile websites and mobile marketing services to send videos to smartphones and other mobile devices.
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