If your small business isn't reaching customers through video, you're missing out on a powerful marketing opportunity. Seventy-one percent of Americans who are online engage with video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, according to a 2011 Pew Center study. Shoppers are also more likely to seek out information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video.
That's why Los Angeles digital solutions provider Xivic recommends video as a valuable customer engagement tool.
"Video is a great educational tool," says Jesse Bouman, Xivic's director of content strategy. "A large focus of content marketing is to add value to your audience. Video can easily convey complex ideas that might be difficult to illustrate with only copy. Integrating simple video into a content strategy would be easy for just about any company."
Getting Started: Easier Than You Think
According to Bouman, video marketing can be as simple as a supplement to existing social media efforts. Minimal technology is required to get up and running.
"Twitter just released Vine, which allows users to upload 6-second video clips," he says. "These clips are easy to produce, and the short air time lowers expectations of quality. Business can use these bursts of video for fun, creative ways to entertain and add value."
Can't afford a professional videographer? No problem, says Bouman.
"Video doesn't mean you need an expensive, professional setup to be successful," he says. "I really like SEOMoz's 'Whiteboard Friday' content. They use a high-quality videocamera and offer online marketing tutorials on a whiteboard. It blends visual teaching elements and a personal element with SEOMoz (and the presenter, who is usually a CEO). It creates value while building brand affinity. No crazy special effects or editing needed."
Supplement Your Sales
For online gadgets storefront Wrappled, video is a core part of the sales funnel.
"We're selling innovative products from Kickstarter and Indiegogo that consumers typically wouldn't know about," says Vicki Chan, the company's sales and marketing director. "Video is the primary method of connecting and sharing information with our audience. We communicate information that a static image simply cannot."
According to Chan, video is essential for communicating value to customers.
"We want our consumers to make educated decisions about their purchase," she says. "That's exactly the value we incorporate into our videos. We're not interested in delivering an empty sales pitch."
Spread the Word
Wrappled is a new small business aggressively trying to build its customer base. The team relies on video to bring in new prospects.
"When our videos are being shared, site traffic greatly increases from that particular source," Chan says. "People love to share great content with their social networks. It allows them to build their personal reputation by sharing great content. We intend to continue capitalizing on that idea."
As Chan points out, however, audience quality is more important than quantity—especially for sales.
"Our biggest obstacles involved putting our content in front of the right people," she says. "Those are the people who are most likely to engage with our products and ultimately buy."
Just Jump In
Not sure where to start? Make sure to do your due diligence before turning on the camera.
"My personal advice would be to do some research beforehand," Chan says. "Vimeo Video School is a great starting point. Shooting and editing a good video is much more difficult than taking a good photograph, and I'm not sure most people understand that. But once you do some research on how to shoot and how to write a storyboard, grab a camera and shoot! There is no better teacher than experience."
Be future-focused, recommends Chan. "We feel that in the future, video will slowly, but surely, replace static images as the primary source of retail items," she says. "So, we figured, why not stay ahead of the curve?"
Looking for more content marketing tips and advice? Check out these content marketing articles.