3 Ways to Use Online Video in Small Business Marketing

online video

If you’re not using online video content to draw in traffic and new customers for your small business, you’re behind the online marketing curve. Video is a huge platform in the online world—a 2013 survey from consulting firm Accenture finds that 90 percent of global consumers watch video content online.

The major video hosting websites are boasting some pretty impressive numbers, too. There are 13 million Vine users on Twitter, social video platform Vimeo has just announced 14 million members, and video giant YouTube has a viewership in the billions.

How can your small business tap in to the power of online video content?

3 Ways Your Small Business Can Use Online Video

Educate Beyond Your Brand

A lot of companies create educational videos that show how to use their products, or portray their services in action. It’s good to have this type of content, but there are a few problems with limiting educational videos to your business offerings.

First, you’re going to run out of content fairly quickly. Second, your videos will all look like what they are: Advertisements.

It’s important to remember that when online consumers look for video content, they’re not looking to be marketed to. They want something that adds value. So instead of focusing on education for your brand, think about any complementary ideas or services you can illustrate on video for your visitors. For example, a restaurant might offer cooking tips videos.

If your small business designs websites, put together a video on color theory to inform your audience. There are plenty of possibilities.

Go Behind the Scenes

Online video content is an opportunity to put a human face on your brand. When you show consumers what happens behind the scenes at your business, you help them realize that you’re offering more than just a product or service—there are real people they can relate to behind it all.

There are many different ways to present behind-the-scenes video. You can create a series of staff interviews, create a day-in-the-life scenario, do a walk-through of your office, production floor or warehouse and more.

Showing what your customers don’t usually see is a great way to generate interest in your small business through online video content.

Don’t Speak for Yourself

Your online audience trusts consumer reviews over any other form of marketing or advertising—so why not translate that trusted source to video?

Testimonials and customer interviews make for an interesting and convincing form of video content that goes over well with Internet viewers.

There are a few ways to go about getting video testimonials. You can put out a call on your website, through email marketing, or on social media and ask your customers to send in video clips—either talking about or using your products or services. If you have a retail location, you can record testimonials on-site (be sure to get your customers’ permission to use the video for marketing, of course).

How will you use video for your online marketing strategy?

Watching Video Photo via Shutterstock

50 Comments ▼

Megan Totka


Megan Totka Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for Chamber of Commerce. Chamber specializes in helping SMB's grow their business on the Web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources and provides advice through her column on the Chamber blog.

50 Reactions

  1. Thank you for your tips on how to use video in your business. This is something I need to start this month.

  2. Ooh I like the ideas. This is the main reason why all those youtube gurus have the most followers. They teach without expecting anything in return. And because they give, give and give. They receive a lot of money. We can learn a lot from this. As much as we try to deny it, this is the true nature of a business.

    • Megan Totka

      I couldn’t agree more, Aira! You’ve got to give (whether it’s time, energy, insights, or entertainment) in order to receive. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. As they say a picture is worth 1000 words, a video is worth much more. One of the best online marketing methods currently.

  4. At CareerFuel we love to show off successful small businesses! We use video to educate viewers, using the lessons existing small business owners have learned along the way. Here is my personal favorite, Mycoterra organic mushroom farm in MA: http://careerfuel.net/?p=7970

  5. The best success I’ve had with video is client teestimonials. I’ve been able to capture testimonials in person and using Skype for clients in other countries. One suggestion I would make is to give your customers a short list of questions to think about before you video them. They will be better prepared to talk about their experience and less likely to babble on becasue they are nervous. Bottom line- you get a much more convincing and marketable video.

  6. I need to incorporate videos into my creative practice. It’s well overdue and I’ve been stalling. Coming across this post has served as a reminder that I need to get on with it, so thanks. :)

  7. Martin Lindeskog

    Megan:

    How do you create the video testimonials so they will come across in good way, with a natural voice of the company?

  8. If you are interested in an easy way to capture, display and share video testimonials from your customers, I invite you to try out vocalreferences (available now on the appstore). We have just released display widgets which you can use to display your videos from within your website. Nothing could be easier.

    Try it out and let us know what you think.

  9. Nice take on this topic Megan. You bring up some valuable points. We encourage our users to leverage video as a way to get their best message (presentation) to more prospects using videos and automated webinars. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Before creating an online video for your small business (or any size business, for that matter)the first thing you have to figure out is who is your intended audience. In our case, we create videos for our existing customers who have expressed an interest in videos that demonstrate best ways to use equipment that we sell/rent. Even though these videos have absolutely no value to the general population (who are usually more interested in videos about celebrities, music or YouTube moments), we’ve discovered that these videos actually are promotional in that that they create more repeat business for our company.

  11. We have done a few educational videos and they were definitely effective. Clients definitely want to watch how-to videos. The idea of adding a human face to your brand is a good one.

  12. We’ve used video spokesmodels and “average person on the steet” vids to great success in our marketing. It’s a relatively cheap way to get some great testimonials and youtube content.

  13. Video is huge for building your brand, engaging with prospective customers, and helping your site’s SEO. When people can see you, and hear you, they will begin to trust you. Converting that prospect into a customer is the logical next step. Especially if your competition isn’t in the game. Want another huge reason for actively using video marketing? How about converting your short videos to text, and repurposing that content for blog posts? Then, chop up that blog post into juicy morsels of goodness and blast them all over social media land. You’re reinforcing your message, engaging your audience, and gaining huge SEO points.

  14. Great post, Megan.
    Straight to the point, friendly and informative (just like Business videos should also be).

    Another resource that we love to bring to video campaigns is Motion Graphics and Animations. In several cases, graphics translate so easily the concepts brands are talking about… I feel like Animations guide the audience while keep them focused on the message – even for hard to film industrial processes.

    Animation worked perfectly for several of our clients.
    Cheers

  15. I think the latter, the video testimonials, are the most neglected up to now. However, they can as easily be faked as the written ones (“Gerald M, Texas” says …). Only drawback in faking: you have to hire credible actors, they shouldn’t all look like your own family. That being said though, since most users that have the money to buy anything also have a web cam, it’s relatively easy now to get them to tape a little endorsement and certainly anyone showing their face on the Internet as a customer is much more trustworthy to the potential buyer than a written, really to all intents and purposes, anonymous witness.

    • Anita Campbell

      Darragh, I for one hope no one hires actors to fake testimonials!!! I strongly recommend against it.

      (1) Eventually the truth will out. Today it’s so easy to be found out. Someone can search pictures in Google — just take a still image of the actor and search for it. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

      (2) Faking testimonials is the WRONG use of time and resources. Think about how you could use that time to delight your customers and get real testimonials, instead.

      - Anita

  16. Online video is now becoming an important part of marketing activities day by day. It’s always easier to rank a Youtube video in a search result than an ordinary web page. Just make sure that proper title, description and tags based on your relevant keywords are used in the video before you upload it. If you video goes viral, you can’t even imagine where your business will go.

  17. John Follis

    Great post. And if folks want to know about a couple good types of video, read this:
    http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/08/video-to-build-your-business.html

    John

    Big Idea Video
    http://bigideavideo.biz

  18. I just read an article from an online marketer who gets the lion’s share of his traffic from Youtube. Video is a powerful tool for those who’ve learned to harness it.

  19. I agree that it’s best to inform and educate people about your product or service. Video is very powerful and statistics show that internet users prefer watching them over text.
    If you’re not trying to hard sell video can be a very powerful tool.

  20. “Go Behind The Scenes” is a great idea. I read somewhere recently people view extras on DVDs more than originally thought. I think people have a natural curiosity of how a product or service gets from point A to point B. Doing this with you business could be a highly profitable way to engage customers.

  21. Hi Megan! Great post. Animated videos help create a unique identity for brands in a persuasive way, get people excited about what the offer and inspire them to make a move. And best of all: they are a truly economical solution compared to traditional marketing tools and can be shared through many platforms such as emails, blogs, newsletters and websites.

    Kindest regards, Max.

  22. Megan, I’ve been brainstorming concepts for a video topic for awhile, and I like the idea of using customer testimonials (if they’re not too shy to do them)in the video. It can be a perfect addition to any content marketing strategy whether it’s for a solo entrepreneurship to a larger small business. Thanks for sharing the article.

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