Businesses have used video for years to advertise their products and services. Where video advertising used to be limited to commercials on television, more businesses now choose to advertise on the Web.
That’s not all they’re doing with videos. Smart entrepreneurs are using Web-based video in new and effective ways. Here are five ideas for videos in your small business:
• Present yourself as a content expert.
Let’s pretend you are a divorce attorney. No one enjoys getting a divorce, but many online searches are conducted daily on various issues related to divorce.
Most of these searches aren’t done to find an attorney or purchase legal divorce services. The searches are done to get information.
If you want to reach potential customers and help them to find out more about you in the process, you can create a short video or series of videos where you give information that potential clients may need and are searching for. People will find you on the Web when they’re searching for that information and remember you when they decide to hire an attorney.
• Humanize your business.
Does the idea of surgery scare you? It does most people. Some doctors create videos, which are posted on their websites, where they introduce themselves to patients, answer commonly asked questions and explain procedures.
A patient facing surgery can watch the video and get to know more about the doctor who will be operating. The doctor becomes more human to the patient and has the opportunity to calm fears and reassure the patient that he or she is in good hands.
• Showcase your competitive advantage.
A small business that doesn’t have a way to differentiate itself from the competition really can’t compete. What makes your business special? Why should customers hire you or buy from you? A video can explain this much better than just words.
If you make a video that not only explains how you’re different, but also shows it, you communicate in a multi-dimensional way that you’re the best.
• Let your fans create your videos.
Every year, a popular television channel has a week dedicated to a single topic. To build anticipation and word of mouth about the upcoming programming, the channel sponsors a video contest. Hundreds of fans make videos and send them in to the producers, who post the videos and let viewers vote on the best.
The makers of the videos encourage their friends to log into the website to vote, which spreads news of the program, in addition to creating some pretty terrific free advertising.
Why not create a video contest of your own? You might find that your customers like your products and services in new and different ways, giving you material for your own advertising.
• Help search engines find you.
The world’s most popular search engine happens to own the world’s most popular video sharing site. The result is that videos figure highly in search results. A search engine can’t recognize words in a video, but it can recognize the words written to title, describe and tag the video.
To make a video even more effective to search engines, many video-hosting sites let you upload a transcript to go with the video. One thing to remember is that videos are more effective if they contain content valuable to the viewer, rather than advertising.
If you haven’t yet created a video for your business, it’s never been easier. You don’t need sophisticated equipment — smart phones make pretty good videos these days.
Don’t wait for the perfect time — just do it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth to your business?
Alisa Kirk is the area director of the Clayton State University SBDC. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.