Online marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow brand recognition today.
Your customers are spending hours every day on the internet, on social media, keeping up with the lives of their friends, consuming content, and of course, watching videos. It’s likely that you have already dabbled in online marketing through email subscription lists, written content, or even traditional advertisement. Since smartphones have now become the most common method of accessing the internet; it is important that as a small business owner or individual you create online marketing materials suited to them. Your content has to be easy to find, shared, and always remain interesting so as not to lose the attention of your viewers/potential consumers. With this in mind, what medium is most easily consumed on the tiny screen of a mobile platform? What medium is easiest to share and view on social media?
The answer to this is videos.
You might believe it might be difficult to decide on what type of video and marketing you should use to best serve your business. After all, videos are expensive to produce and you want to be sure that your money is being invested wisely. A quick google search can tell you how many times commercials for local businesses have publicly shared and made fun of for their poor budget and low-quality graphics. There are entire YouTube compilations dedicated to them. This not to say that this strategy does not have its merits and limited efficacy. The shirtless man on top of a horse is, in fact, getting you to remember his name and that of his company. You will probably remember it when you are looking to buy that product, but this is not the type of video marketing you are looking for. The new form of online video marketing asks you to not to produce those dated examples but to produce videos that tell stories which engage viewers, videos that teach them something beyond your brand name and a catchy slogan. Videos like this will make people not only remember the name of your business but why they want to support you. Here are five ways you can use video marketing to grow your local business in 2018.
1. Why did you decide to make a difference?
It sometimes seems that consumers now are more conscientious than ever in what they buy and the brands they buy from. How many times have you or a friend declared that you wouldn’t purchase from a particular brand or use a particular service because you did not agree with their business practices or the personality of the CEO? Global brands like Uber, Hobby Lobby, Starbucks, and Abercrombie & Fitch have seen their customer bases rise and fall based on public opinion not of their product but of their image.
A video is the perfect opportunity to create your own image. Customers love to put a face and a narrative to a product. Although you may think that the story of your small business is boring or staid, your consumers likely won’t. Consider this: how much more charming are the cafés that include a sweet story about the owners on the back page of the menu? Talk about how you got the idea to start your business in the first place. What niche were you hoping to fill? Do you use innovative techniques that make your business more sustainable than that of your competitor? How did you find out there was a need which you had to fill?
Local businesses are in a particularly good position to use this form of digital storytelling to increase their consumer base. Building recognition alone can increase consumer engagement and translate into increased business. Personifying the brand of your small business, however, can add an additional component, emotion. Your consumers will want to support you more when there is a face they can associate with your brand, all the better if that face is one they may already know. Remember, you want them to feel like they should be with you.
2. Video Testimonials
Even after you have personified your brand by telling your story, your consumers will trust other consumers more than you. In the ‘us vs. them’ dynamic between the seller of a product and the buyers, a potential buyer will naturally trust the words of one of your past customers, a fellow buyer, than your own. It is for good reason that Amazon’s customer review and rating system is so popular; a business may lie but a fellow customer feels less likely to (even a customer paid to give their testimony). Take advantage of this in your video marketing strategy. Ask your users/customers to give interviews, talk about why they like your product and what they use it for. Their personal touch is important. Say you sell children’s clothing. What is more compelling? A video showcasing all of the new styles that have come in that season or a video of a grandmother detailing how she found the perfect gift, intercut with footage of the happy kid wearing your designs?
3. Show off your product
Use video as an opportunity to tell your viewers what they are not willing to read. Your potential consumers have a limited amount of time before they lose interest, so you have a limited amount of time to use it. Creating a short video about your product presents you with opportunities that you wouldn’t get when writing a lengthy product description. Particularly, when considering mobile users, a video is a much more efficient way to convey a product than even pictures. A short, 10-second video posted to Instagram can show the nuances of a fresh haircut much better than even static videos. Clothes can be shown hanging and moving as they are meant to be. Food can be shown steaming and fresh, still in the pan. Furthermore, pages with videos regularly rank higher than those with simple pictures and descriptions. This is an opportunity to both show your product or service in action and bring their image to the top of the search result.
Film a behind the scenes look at the creative process or, if your product is physical, the manufacturing process. A business that provides a service can show what they do in action. For instance, a company that manufactures video cameras would use footage taken using their equipment to show off crisp images and vibrant colors. This can be a short animated film or even dynamic shots of employees at work.
The most important point is to use the video that you have produced to explain and display whatever it is you are trying to sell. Be sure to remember that it should be the star of this sort of video. You don’t want your viewers to be distracted by too many gimmicks and flashy colors on the side. Consider even removing sound, or at least make it so your video still gets its point across when silent. Many of your viewers will be watching passively through social media and will choose to watch with the sound off. You do not want to miss out on these potential consumers. Even by posting instructions on how to use your product or how it works can be a great way to show off the functionality of your creation.
4. Teach something
We’ve already spoken about interviewing your customers. Now is your chance to interview your team. This is in the same vein as “Tell your story” but instead you can tell the story of your industry. This is a great way to attract viewers that may not yet even be shopping around for your services.
With an educational video, viewers looking to learn more about your industry will be introduced to it through you. This can build trust in your viewers, putting you and your business in a position of knowledge and authority. Again, videos such as this can create and maintain brand recognition which, might not generate immediate sales, can go a long way towards solidifying your brand presence. For instance, a business selling makeup services might make a video detailing historical beauty fads This is also a great opportunity to show off your product. A tutorial video on the basics of photography may, at first, seem like it would hurt the business of a photographer but can also be a great way to show off their skills, an example of their work. You may even try attracting more viewers by interviewing others in your industry with a little more star power. Use their name and ability to draw clicks to your own brand.
5. Make it fun
Remember, video marketing can be greatly beneficial to a small business and present you with numerous possibilities to express yourself and your vision for your company but most of all you have to have fun in making them. If you aren’t passionate and interested in what you are creating, even if you see it as nothing more than a commercial, it will show in what you end up producing. You have this opportunity to communicate with your customer base in new and innovative ways, enjoy it!