Video on a Small Business Budget
The year of the video!
Every year since 2005 when Steve Jobs proclaimed it the year of the video with Final Cut Pro, every year digital marketers say, “This is the year of the video.”
More than a decade later it’s still the year of the video. Probably, not even Steve Jobs imagined just how much impact on the digital world video has.
Video is a way to communicate in a personal way with many people in visually. Use video as part of your marketing strategy, your competitors are likely doing so.
Years ago, producing videos was something only expensive productions companies could do. Today, even your smartphone can make decent videos on a small business budget.
People always ask, how can I make a viral video. Not every video will go viral. Some videos will go viral for no other reason than they catch a funny moment, like a cat falling off a TV or kids coming on the set of a BBC interview.
Spontaneous moments that capture the fancy of millions of people are a great thing. However, to succeed with video marketing you need to have a strategy in place and communication tools that help drive users to your video. Some people can get lucky but in reality, it takes practice.
Is video really for me?
People will say, “I created a video and only 4 people watched it. I’m wondering if video is really for me.” Just creating a video thinking somebody is just going to come across it without promoting it doesn’t work.
There are many ways to promote your video on social media and with paid advertising. PPC ads can quickly grow an audience. Then as your audience grows, you can watch clicks on your video grow organically.
Here is the thing about “going viral” though – If you reach the hundred people you want to reach through the video, you really don’t care if 23,944,424 people are watching. The more niche your business is, the more value you’ll have with reaching a smaller audience.
If 100 people in out of thousands watch your video – you’re doing well. The video need not be a viral sensation to bring new customers. Just follow the ten steps presented later here and you can have some good results.
Your video doesn’t have to be an expensive slick production with all kinds of fancy effects. It is the content that counts. It’s difficult to create a video that goes viral, but doable if that is your goal, as shown in the following example/case study.
$100 Viral Video
Maybe you’ve seen the Blendtec “Will it Blend?” series of videos where things you would never put into a blender such as an iPhone are smashed to smithereens.
These viral videos started when the Marketing Director saw the R&D team blending up wooden boards to test product toughness. He had an idea to shoot a video of the operation and post it online.
With only a $100 in supplies, they made a video in the company break and blended up various non-food items – crazy things like marbles and a garden rake. Within five days of posting their videos on YouTube and on their own website, they had SIX MILLION YouTube views.
The take away here is to think of video as storytelling. Unlike viral videos that are often coincidental and just by chance, in the Blendtec case, it is a clear-cut strategy to say – how can we draw attention to the product, without talking just about the product?
If you listen to music, most songs are 3 minutes long and you can apply that as well to video. Anything more than that, if you look at that the trends in the graphs, after 3 minutes people fall off.
You want to have your 3 acts in 3 minutes when you tell a story with video. You can always go much longer, but it needs to be engaging to the audience.
One strategy is to design a campaign that is a series of short videos that if played in full would be 30 or 40 minutes long. Record ten or twelve 3-minute videos at the same time and then release one every week.
Google puts videos into the organic search results. If you have a video, you have a better chance of getting on the front page of the search results for your keywords because of your video content far more than just text. Another reason video is an important marketing tool.
10 steps to creating and promoting your video
Step 1: What is your story?
Number one – you will tell your story. For example:
- Why are you the best in the area you serve?
- What is your story about customer experience?
- What do customers think of you?
- What is your company culture?
- Who works for you what do they do?
- What kind of awards have you won?
You need to have a clear idea of what your story is and what are the theme and the purpose of your video. Making a video just for the sake of making a video is not a good reason. Take your story and connect it with the business objective.
What is the objective or your video? Are you looking to create an awareness of your business and promote it? Maybe you are trying to get more reviews or improve SEO for increased web traffic, leads, and sales. You could be looking for new employees.
All of these are possible reasons for the video, but the number one reason you’re creating videos is to tell YOUR STORY – and everything here is tied to the number one objective of all marketing – you want to grow your business.
SEO/content value and increasing traffic
If one of your motives for making a video is SEO content and keywords, you can add keywords when you upload your video and that will drive your SEO.
Step 2: Who are you trying to reach?
Step two – determine exactly who your audience is.
Do you want to reach business owners? Are you targeting a certain age group? Most businesses don’t have just one audience. Is there a segment of the population you wish to reach but have not done so successfully? Maybe a video aimed towards them will help.
Often people are searching for answers on how to do or fix something. Create a video to reach people who need content for education. Show them a “how to video” that shows what you are doing for your specialty.
Step 3: Plan your production
Plan your shoot and then – shoot your plan!
There was a time when all the new video social networks had started that just shooting a real-time video interviewing people while walking was enough, that’s OK for a live video shoot.
However, when you’re going to tell a story, be prepared and think – what are the themes and stories that match your objective. Be clear about the purpose of the video and the intended audience.
Gather a team in your company and brainstorm on what the video story will be. You could create 3 versions and vote on which one is best. Look at other videos that have been very successful and learn from them.
Use a script to know exactly what it is you are going to say so you can deliver your message in a clean and concise manner. Decide whether you can produce in-house or if will you need a pro, and set a budget.
You can make videos nowadays easily on your Smartphone with video editing apps. Use the resources you have within your company and you can produce a video at very low costs. Remember – it doesn’t have to be really fancy – it is the content that counts mainly.
Step 4: Upload your video to YouTube and Facebook
The most important step is number 4. You can’t just shoot the video, leave it on your phone for months and months, and decide one day to upload it. You need to take action and tell the world your story.
YouTube and Facebook are two of the biggest and have tremendous viewership. People still watch TV, but they watch considerably more TV and video on YouTube, Netflix, and other Internet sources, especially teens and young adults. You need to upload your video to both YouTube and Facebook.
If you don’t have a Facebook page, which is different from a profile page, you need to create one. Every business should have a Facebook business page. Just go to “Create Page” on Facebook and select:
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Organization or Institution
- Brand or Product
Tips for increasing your video’s online visibility
To increase traffic to your website, put in information that gets people to go to your website in the description areas when you post a video on YouTube or Facebook, even if they’re watching the video in the in the YouTube or Facebook ecosystem itself.
When posting your video to YouTube and filling out descriptions and titles, think about the people who are looking for your story. Your title shouldn’t be something like – video taken May 9, 2017. It should be something like:
How to Lite a Fireplace – When to Replace Your Roof – Best Way to Remodel Your Kitchen.
Be direct with your title. Add your brand name and relevant tags about the subject of the video. These are the things that Google and other search engines are going to look at.
Here are some more tips to get your video delivering results:
- Add the URL to your website in the description, best if it is in the first 6 words. This way people don’t have to scroll down and search for it.
- Search for similar videos on YouTube and add a comment letting them know about YOUR video.
- Engage and respond to people who comment (positive and negative) about your video. The number of comments helps increase the video’s visibility.
- Post short videos or teasers on Instagram, which will let you syndicate to other sites.
- Embed the videos on your website. This works as a backlink to YouTube.
- Upload the video to your company Facebook page.
- Post from personal pages to increase reach (employees can help a lot)
Step 5: Click once and share all over
Your website should not be your whole web presence. Your web presence should work in symphony with social media, maps, and other local listings to give you a large web footprint. You will want to share your videos on as many social networks as possible.
If you have a Yelp channel or Google My Business or some of the other hundreds of directories, it can be very time-consuming logging into every single one and your social media to add videos. Then, if you need to update anything you have to go back and do it all again.
There are many publishing tools that allow you to just click once and your video goes across your entire web presence. Then signals come back so you can monitor your video’s web presence and see things such as how many views it has, how long it’s being watched and more.
Whether it’s a video or a photo, make sure that you have Metadata turned on, if you’re taking a video with your phone make sure geographical location is turned on. These are all signals that tell Google and other search engines this is really a local business.
Step 6: Create ad campaigns
When you spend a lot of time and effort creating a video, make sure that you get as much of your audience as quickly as possible. Especially if there’s a call to action. The way to do this is advertise on YouTube, Facebook, and the Google Display Network.
Create a Google ad campaign
TrueView video ads
Google’s TrueView Ads are a great way to promote your video. Everyone by now who watches YouTube is familiar with the advertisements that appear before many videos start and the “skip” button that appears to go straight to the video.
With TrueView video ads you’ll pay only when users engage (watch for 30+ seconds)
You can laser target your videos to any audience you choose in the Google Network using keywords, demographics, affinity groups, shopping behavior, remarketing list and more.
Step 7: Connect with community and industry influencers
Connecting with the community of others in your industry is a good way to promote your video. Show people in your community the video, get their feedback and ask them to share it on social, blog posts, and emails. Share it on the Facebook pages of industry influencers.
- Work with your community
- Let them know you’re working on something big
- Remind them when your video goes live
- Engage influencers via social media
Step 8: Create a specific email marketing campaign
Emails are one more way to get people to watch your video and reinforce your brand’s story and one of the most effective tools for generating sales. Another advantage is that unlike using paid advertising to boost your video views – emails are free!
Social media is a very busy and noisy environment with many messages coming across. Emails are a more personal one-on-one conversation that if done right can be more effective than social media.
Don’t just tell them about your video, embed it in the email by using the embed function from your video host. Marketers who use video in email campaigns see increased click-through rates, increased time spent reading the email, and increased sharing and forwarding.
- Send a special update to your email list
- Include a link to the video in your next newsletter
- Share the video with your employees internally
- Have your team add a link to the video in their email signatures
Step 9: Prepare for any crisis or controversy
Did you see the 2017 Super Bowl ad from 84 – Lumber? Here is a perfect example of why you should have a plan to deal with negative feedback or controversy on a video you are ready to launch. Have a focus group, discuss possible concerns, and prepare responses.
- Accept that you can’t please everybody
- Consider all possible negative feedback ahead of time
- Prepare various responses to possible concerns, then tailor the reply to the platform (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, email etc…)
Step 10: Post-release promotion
Finally, when you release your video, create a press release and send it out saying – Hey, everyone, watch our story. To make it more interesting you could interview the CEO of your company or perhaps a customer that was in the video and include your video in the Press Release.
- Send press releases
- Create a post and share the results
- Send a thank you email to everyone who worked on the project
- Submit your video to industry award contests
If you’re running a pay per click campaign with Google Ads, advertising with video works the same way – it is showing a video as the ad. With the pre-roll (an ad that appears before of a video), you won’t have to pay if no one clicks it.
You need something short, it could be 5 seconds or 15 seconds long. Don’t put up an entire video that would run 15 minutes. The probability a viewer will click and watch the whole thing goes down quickly
With video ads, just think about what you’re trying to say and deliver the message in the first 5 seconds.
If you have a dental practice, for example, a person uses the search term on Google or YouTube “bleeding gums treatment,” you could have a pre-roll video show up that talks about the common causes of bleeding gums.
That’s a chance to get in front of somebody interested in what you do. There are also ads that appear in the video as pop-ups and in search results.
How much does video advertising cost?
Just like pay per click, you have control over a daily budget. You may work with an account manager that manages this for you, so the cost is between you and the business that handles your account.
If you want to do it yourself and you understand AdWords a little, again, the one thing you need to remember is you only pay when someone engages your ad. If they skip BEFORE 30 seconds or the end, you don’t pay.
Say you’ve got a longer video that was 2 to 3 minutes long and they watch beyond the 5-second pre-roll and they go to 24 seconds, you’re still not paying YouTube for that advertising. For this reason, it’s good to get your message in as soon as possible.
Whether you’re doing a campaign on YouTube or Facebook, just like Ad Words, with video advertising you target who you want to see the ad.
There’s a variety of targeting options that can help you reach the right customers for your business. Age, gender, location, interests and other subcategories allow you to say – I want my video in front of these people. Tailor your ad to the exact crowd you want to target.
Reach out and touch someone!
When you make a video to reach out to a potential client, you want to make it something that’s personal. Something they can easily understand and feel like you’re talking directly to them. Human to human – this is the mantra you need to attract customers.
You will want to talk about who you are, what you can do for clients and how they can contact you. 3 simple things that you can put into your video.
What’s great about YouTube is the analytics built in so you can see the ad performance. You can make adjustments throughout it live and run multiple ads for A-B testing. You can also tell how long somebody’s engaged and watching.
Say you have a 5-minute video of an overview of how you do a project or job. If it’s 5 minutes long and you’re losing people at 3 minutes, what’s going on that people stop viewing? This information is powerful for knowing what is working and what’s not.
With analytics you can also see:
- How many views are paid for?
- Where your ads getting viewed
- How many clicks the ads getting
Analytics helps you see if your advertising’s working if you need to tweak anything or are if you in front of the right audience. These are all things you can change up.
If you are communicating via video, you want to build trust with the viewer. You are showing your story about your business one on one. You are showing what you do and how you do it.
Make sure that your logo, contact information – phone number, email, your website all get into the video. Even if it’s a short video, people will be watching to the end if they are engaged.