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How to Use Video to Market Your Business

Consider these tips to help you produce video that connects with your customers.

The average Internet user watches an astounding 186 videos a month, according to comScore Inc., a global digital market measurement service. This includes news and entertainment clips, personal videos, advertising videos gone viral -- you name it.

Video engages people in a way that photos and text alone can't. For small-business owners, using video in your marketing can bring faces, voices, personality and heart to your operation, while also demonstrating your authenticity. To top that, video in email is said to be able to boost conversion rates by as much as 50 percent.

Thanks to affordable video cameras and easy-to-use software, video has become a tool that nearly any small business can use to enhance their marketing efforts on any channel. Your videos don't have to be big Hollywood productions to be engaging and effective. You can even use your smartphone camera to create them. Here's a quick example:

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Types of Videos You Can Create
Not sure what you'd produce a video about? Here are six tips for video production that can help you create informative clips that also reveal your business's "human" side:

  1. Demonstrate your product or service: Don't just tell, show your customers how your business works. In other words, bring your how-to guides to life. In my experience, informed prospects are more likely to make purchases.
  2. Use customer testimonials: Your best fans can explain on video how using your products or services solved a problem or improved their lives. Help prospects see themselves in the stories of real people.
  3. Put donor dollars to work: Videos of how your charitable donations benefit a cause tell a compelling story, which makes a problem -- and how donations help remedy it -- more real.
  4. Introduce your staff: This simple method can help show your dedication, passion and commitment to customer satisfaction. It can also create a greater connection with customers by showing them the faces and personalities of your employees.
  5. Offer a video tour of your office or business location: Another option is to add some spice to your website's "About Us" page by providing an insider's look at your operation.
  6. Request to take a poll or survey: Add a personal touch to your "Tell us what you think" feedback requests by creating a video. In it, assure customers that their opinions matter.

Related: Five Qualities of Successful Online Videos

Tips for First-Time Video Producers
Are you camera shy? Producing marketing videos for your business doesn't have to be a daunting process. Here are a few things to keep in mind that should help make your video shoots simple, smooth and effective:

  • Don't make it too complicated. Pick a simple topic for your first video.
  • Relax. Work with a colleague you're comfortable with and speak to him or her as the video records.
  • Prepare notes but don't read them on camera. Video should be casual and conversational whether it's you, an employee or a customer talking.
  • Keep it brief. Determine which two or three bullet points you want to convey in a two-minute video. If you're interviewing a customer for a testimonial, it's usually a good idea to limit it to two or three questions.
  • Don't worry too much about "ums" and "ers." You're human. That's what video is about. But take time to do a few takes and then edit together the best segments.
  • Enable and encourage comments. Videos, email marketing and social media marketing go hand-in-hand-in-hand. Get your viewers talking and sharing. Good videos go viral and are great for building brand awareness.
  • Incorporate a call to action. This can add interactivity at the end of your video (i.e. "For more information...," "To take our survey...," "To share your story with us...").

Related: Digital Cameras Offer Fresh Perspectives

Video is a fun and effective marketing tool that's accessible to entrepreneurs -- even those who are on a budget. Think about which of your marketing messages could benefit most by the color that video brings to the mix. If a picture says 1,000 words, a video can say it bigger, brighter and better.
 

Gail Goodman is the author of Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins In a Socially Connected World (Wiley, 2012) and CEO of Waltham, Mass.-based Constant Contact Inc., a provider of email marketing, event marketing, social media marketing, local deal and online survey tools and services for small businesses, associations and nonprofits.

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