How Video Can Help Your Business

This week, I’m teaching a module on video to my classes at BCIT. I believe that video is one of the most under-utilized marketing tools out there for small businesses and bloggers. People are just terrified of it for some reason–of being on camera, of the technical side of shooting and editing video.

However, video, as we all know, is incredibly powerful. The most recent example of this is the “Hero Cat” video from last week. It went viral because it was surprising and unexpected, and also because it evoked emotions in all of us: the little cat who attacked a much bigger dog to save her “person” can’t help but pull an “awwww…” from the hardest heart.

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Today, I interview Colette Nichol of Story Envelope Media, an online video creation company.

RC: Video is incredibly powerful: YouTube alone gets 3-4 Billion hits per day! Yet I feel like I hardly know any businesses that are using video as a marketing tool. Why do you think that is? 

CN: It’s definitely true that when it comes to small and micro businesses, the majority have yet to start using online video as a way to promote their products or services.  And those small businesses that are using video are usually run by early adopters. On the other hand, most big and medium-sized businesses are onboard with video.  WestJet is a great example of a Canadian company that fully understands the power of online video.  (Their YouTube channel has 259 videos.)

So why are small business so late to the game?  There are a lot of reasons, most of which are about psychology and money.

But here are what I believe to be the top five reasons.

1. Many small business owners don’t realize how powerful online video actually is at converting prospects into customers.

2. Most small business owners are so busy they don’t even have time to think about online video, let alone what they are going to eat for dinner.

3. The majority of small business owners think that getting a professional online video made will cost them around $5000, so they don’t bother to even entertain the idea. (P.S. It doesn’t cost that much!)

4. Most people tend to be afraid of new technology, and thus don’t want to go through the learning curve involved in DIY small-business video.

5. And finally, some enthusiastic small business owners really want a video made, so they go looking for a production company that specializes in small business video, and instead they find a huge number of wedding videographers and corporate videographers, and nothing else.  So they give up.

RC: What do I need to get started if I want to use video as a marketing tool? 

CN: The most important thing is that you have a clear understanding of your market or client base.  The first rule of comedy is also the first rule of video making: Know Your Audience. You must know who will be watching your video before you even begin to make your video.  You also need to have a clear vision of what you want your video (or videos) to do on both an emotional level and in terms of action.  Knowing that your audience is women in their early 40s to late 60s who love gardens isn’t enough.  You need to know what you want these women to feel when they watch your video and then what action you want them to take.

RC: How important is high-quality video? Or can I shoot something with my iPhone, and edit it with iMovie or Windows Movie Maker? 

CN: Whether or not to make your own video is something that does seem to plague many small  business owners.  But the answer is actually pretty simple.  You  know who your clients/customers are.  So you know what they expect of you.  Imagine your clients.  Now imagine them watching a video you made yourself.  Are they into it?  If your business is an online store selling luxury stationary to women with discerning taste, then you should definitely not make your own video.  Your clients expect everything on your website to give them a certain feeling.  Having a video that looks beautiful and tells your story will give them the emotional resonance they need to justify spending $40 on writing paper; a home-made video won’t.

However, if you are in a more low key business, and you aren’t necessarily selling to a high end client, then making your own videos is a great idea.

RC: What are your top 3 tips for creating videos for business? 

1. Plan like you’ve never planned before.  Planning is the single most important part of the video-making process, and it will make or break your video.  Unless of course you’re a brilliant improviser.  And as a side note, planning involves thinking about the publishing platform for your video as well.  Know where your video is going to go before making it.

2. This is repetitive, but it’s because it is so important: know who your video is for and know what they expect from you!

3. Make sure your audio is as amazing as your visuals.  People will not tolerate bad sound, especially not if they are listening to this bad sound through ear buds as they attempt to watch your video on their iPhone.  So great sound is very very important!

RC: What if I decide I want to do video, but I want to outsource it. Do you offer that service? 

CN: Of course!  Story Envelope creates online videos that capture the essence of you and your business.  The goal with every online video is to create a piece that is both enjoyable to watch and to listen to, and that does the job.  So if your video is designed to get people excited about a new product or service, then that’s what it will do.

RC: Thanks, Colette! 

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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