5 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Video in Unexpected and Effective Ways

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Think about the most likely and most popular search terms that potential customers use in order to find you or your competition online. You can probably get a list of these from your webmaster, your website’s control panel or your Google Analytics account. By creating a short video that is tailor-made to be the answer to a specific search inquiry and promoting it on your website and through social media, you greatly increase the chances of being discovered by those same potential customers.

Today alone, 82 million Americans will watch 1.6 billion videos on the Internet…

Small businesses succeed by being the solution to a problem. By expressing in a video just how you can do that, you stand to target and capture customers.

In the war for consumer attention, a video strategy has become essential to small businesses because video is where you will find today’s modern consumer. Today alone, 82 million Americans will watch 1.6 billion videos on the Internet. Internet video reaches more than 83 percent of all Internet users across all age groups. We live in a society where the modern digital consumer is connected 24/7. Smartphones rule our mornings, desktops give us access during the workday and we spend evenings consuming content from our tablets.

More than half of all mobile data traffic is made up of video. By 2017, that figure is projected to hit two thirds. When only a quarter of mobile traffic is used to browse the web, it’s obvious what mobile users overwhelmingly want is video.

And because mobile search favors local results, it is a small business’ best friend. With all this in mind, small businesses that aren’t leveraging the power of video are fated to suffer less engagement, lost customers and missed opportunities. Here are a few strategies you can use to leverage video to gain more customers.

1. Try Product Placement

Product placement is a strategy that can help expose your brand to new audiences. Sure product placement is very prevalent in TV, film and music videos, but there’s no reason your small business can’t take advantage of the benefits that product placement has to offer.

Placement, when done right, allows your product to be seen, and often featured, by someone else’s audience, exposing your brand to new potential customers. Best of all, you get the benefit of exposure without having to expend all the resources necessary for your own video production. If you’re really lucky, you can barter free product for placement. Even if you have to go into your pocket a little, you may reap the advantage of being part of someone else’s video that costs more to produce than you would be willing to spend on your own for the same exposure.

One thing, make absolutely sure you approve of how your product will be shown. A video featuring kids hitting each other over the head with your company’s brand new signature skateboard is a disaster. One that shows top skaters going through hot tricks while riding it is a huge win. If you can’t be at the shoot when your product is being used, get written assurances that your product will be used in a brand-positive manner. Also try to get a mention or an onscreen link back to your company in the end credits or somewhere in the video.

2. Sponsor Someone Else’s Video or Show

This is where you help defray some or all of the cost of video production in exchange for maximum promotional consideration. An announcement that tells the viewer, “This video is brought to you by…” along with the right visuals and the proper links can help build positive branding and attract new customers.

3. Get Independent Testimonials and Reviews

If your brand has loyal customers, find the most trustworthy and put them on camera to give you a review. Even better if you ask them to create one themselves and post it online it may seem more authentic. Make sure the name of your brand or business goes in the video’s title so that it can be found by search engines. Social proof can be a very powerful tool for creating customers and conversions.

4. Email Your Video

If consumers aren’t finding your videos, place them where you know your audience will look — like their email inbox. Email marketing solutions like VerticalResponse allow you to create HTML encoded messages for rich functionality. This means you can embed your Internet video in them the same way you would on a standard webpage.

If that sounds too complicated, there’s an easier low-tech solution. Take a screenshot of your video’s unique page. Crop out everything except the video window. Position a “play” button (usually just a black rectangle with a white sideways triangle in the middle) in the middle. Insert the image into your email and then link that image to your video’s page. Here’s another tip. If you take a screenshot of a paused YouTube video that has already been embedded in another webpage, a “play” button will appear in the video window, eliminating one step from the above process.

5. Make Yourself “Share-worthy” and Jump on a Fad

If your previous video efforts have fallen flat, there’s a good chance you’re doing it wrong. Nobody wants to watch your commercial unless it aired during the Super Bowl. For certain, nobody is going to post it to their Facebook page, unless they’re a friend of yours, in which case none of their friends will watch it either.

In order to be effective online, any video content you create needs to interesting, enlightening or funny, in short, it needs to be share-worthy. With this in mind, there is one more unexpected video strategy for you to implement that involves showing off your lighter side.

Take advantage of the fact that Internet users love things that are funny because they are somewhat ridiculous. Internet memes are fads that come and go all the time, but are wildly popular during the short time they burn bright. Whether its last season’s “Harlem Shake” dancing videos or a musical lipdub, your parody or imitation may look ridiculous at first blush, but you’ll be the one with the last laugh when the sharing of your silly videos leads people back to your website and business. Plus, because these crazes come and go quickly, you don’t have to create these things as permanent assets. Just remember that online video audiences reward relevance so jump on today’s bandwagon today, not next month when the crackle is gone from the fire.

Those who can adapt quickly to video’s dynamically-changing digital landscape are those who stand the best chance for success. Some businesses and brands lack a video strategy, not because they have zero desire to be in this dynamic space where today’s modern consumers have flocked, but instead because of the vexing problem of how to implement such content to generate leads, customers and results. Luckily, there are simple solutions to be found even in some methods that are off the beaten path.

The key is to make sure you promote your videos, through your own website as well as other social media channels to gain the greatest amount of exposure. And of course, make sure you have a relevant and informative website on a trusted domain like .com or .net (or even .tv if you primarily have video content) to drive those customers to once you capture their attention. Then you will see those video views turn into leads and revenue.

Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff is a bestselling and award-winning author, TV host, voice-over artist and journalist.