Hardly anyone uses video as a marketing tool, which is a shame because it’s effective for many reasons. First of all, the video site YouTube (www.youtube.com) is the second most popular search engine. It’s listed right behind Google, which purchased YouTube in 2006 and has heavily promoted the site since. Second, videos are great for SEO – they help get you to the front page of Google. Third, videos make excellent sharable content for your customers. Finally, videos establish your expertise and authority.
Before making a video, there are three questions to ask:
(1) What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish with this video? You might want to increase sales, promote brand awareness, create valuable content, improve SEO, attract a new audience, target a niche, or highlight new products.
(2) Who is your target audience? Are you creating content for your everyday customers or for a niche customer? Consider the target audience when creating content – it helps focus the material.
(3) What action do you want the audience to take? Think about your “call to action.” Do you want the viewers to give you their email address, go to your website, or view other videos? You can choose more than one call to action, but don’t make it so overwhelming people do nothing instead.
Guidelines for making a video
First, keep it short. Promotional videos should be 30 seconds or less. Informational videos should range 1-2 minutes and DIY or “how to” videos are usually 3-5 minutes. Don’t go over five minutes on a video because most people won’t even bother watching it.
Film several segments in one day then schedule them to publish later. You want to publish content consistently so always have several videos queued up. Study other popular videos about your topic on YouTube. Find ones with high viewings and positive ratings. What are they doing well? Can you learn anything from them?
If you post videos to YouTube, create a “channel.” Why? Channels collect all your videos in one spot, making it easy for others to see all the videos you’ve created. Anyone can “subscribe” to your channel and be alerted when you post new videos. Name the channel and choose a username that describes the business and what you do (e.g., “GreenRibbonDesigns.”) You could even say, “GreenRibbonDesignsdotcom” to lead people directly to your website.
Types of video content
Your videos don’t have to be slick and filled with graphics. The most powerful, sharable videos are often the simplest ones. Just be your authentic, creative self and make content that’s valuable to your audience. Not all videos have to be about your products either. Entertain people with funny messages, cute animals, beautiful quotes, delicious recipes, and compelling stories.
Consider the potential purposes of your video. Can you make one for your About page so people get to know you and why you’re in business? How about videos that feature your products or services used in real life? Interview other people who inspire you. Film it if you can, or just make a video with audio and some pictures.
“How-to” or DIY videos are really popular, even if it’s not related to your products. Share a delicious recipe or easy car detailing tips. Remember, the video doesn’t have to be about your business, it just has to be relevant or interesting to your audience.
Finally, take your frequently asked questions and answer them in videos. My business makes custom bags, and our customers frequently ask about the features of our bags, the durability of our materials, and if our bags are machine washable. Each of these questions can be answered in a short video for easy and compelling marketing content.
Video making tools
First, you’ll want a decent video recorder and a good audio source. Audio quality is just as important as video quality, so think about the microphone. Lots of digital cameras have perfectly adequate video recorders and microphones. You could also record on your computer with a webcam and microphone, most laptops have these built in. Test a short video first to see how you like it. I bought a lapel (a.k.a. “lavalier”) microphone for $60 and it’s been a great investment for quality audio.
If you’re making informational videos, you could just talk over a PowerPoint. Try CamStudio (www.camstudio.org) or Jing (www.techsmith.com/download/jing) for free screen capture software. If you’re making DIY videos, film at an angle that’s useful for your viewers, like over your shoulder or in front of your hands.
Edit content with free video editing software. Try Windows Movie Maker or the super easy Kate’s Video Toolkit (search online for “Windows Movie Maker” or “Kate’s Video Toolkit” to find a free download button, they’re everywhere).
When the video is finished, upload it to YouTube (www.youtube.com) and/or the popular video site Vimeo (www.vimeo.com). Include it on your website and in marketing materials too.
Videos make effective SEO tools. Here’s some tips:
(1) Put keywords in your video description. Ideally have a set of keywords in mind while making the video. Also think about the words or phrases people would use to find your video.
(2) Embed the video on your blog, website, and anywhere else that will accept your content. For example, if you make a “How to” video, turn it into an article for a popular website.
(3) Make a transcript of your video. This is awesome for SEO and not a lot of people know about it. Create a transcript of your video and post it on your blog – not only for quality content, but Google will read it and rank your site higher in search results.
Emily Worden – Entrepreneur, Business Strategist, Impossible Optimist – Cambridge, MA
Emily Worden is a Boston-based entrepreneur, consultant, and writer. She started her custom handbag business eThreads.com in 2006 while pursuing an MBA and working 3 jobs. After a particularly awful shift at her weekend catering gig, Emily threw down the apron and said, “Screw it, I’m going to do something I love!” She graduated in 2008 and quit everything to pursue eThreads full time. Emily started the cat lifestyle business Ferocious Friends in 2012 with her husband Case to satisfy the needs of their cats Lulu, Smoke and every feline around. She started her consulting business emilyworden.com in 2013 to assist other businesses with persuasive writing, strategic vision, and customer satisfaction.
Emily is an avid DIYer and loves making things with her hands. Her happy place is the library where she walks once a week; she’s always excited to learn something new. Her extra happy place is a great view of sunset with music pumping in her ears. Emily is grateful everyday for following her dreams and hopes to inspire others to do the same.