How small businesses can use video for brand exposure

Here's why video can be an effective medium for small businesses to market themselves.

For any size of organisation, effectively demonstrating a product’s features to new customers is the key to driving sales and growing the business. Whilst large companies might be able to employ an entire team dedicated to marketing, either inhouse or via an external agency, for the average small SME, these resources are simply out of their reach. But does an SME need them to attract new customers and remain competitive in the market? The short answer is no.

Technology-savvy SMEs have discovered that developing in-house video and visual content to showcase a new product is a cost and time-effective option. One way SMEs can create engaging video marketing content is by using screencasting technology. Screencasting uses dedicated software to record a video of your computer screen. Everything from applications to mouse clicks to your audio commentary can be captured and edited into a video. These types of videos can provide clear product information, in short and easy-to-digest sections, without potential customers having to rely on lengthy written manuals and guides, long telephone calls or face-to-face demonstrations. James McQuivey from Forrester Research makes the point eloquently: ‘One minute of video is worth up to 1.8 million words.’

A recent survey by aMarketer finds that 64 per cent of survey respondents said that they plan to use more video content in marketing. So businesses, both large and small, are increasingly waking up to the benefits of this type of marketing. As a result, making your content stand out is now more important than ever. Recent research by Techsmith exploring video viewing habits finds that the key to a good marketing video is to keep it short, engaging, searchable and shareable.

Understand your audience

The better you, as the creator, understand what will be of interest to your viewers, the more effective you will be at keeping their attention and creating preference for your products and services. The first step in planning a video is to think about who your intended audience is. Who will be watching, what are the main product features that they will be interested in and what is the best way to deliver this information? A video that can keep one person’s attention for three minutes might turn someone else off after five seconds.

Optimising video length

Respondents to our video viewership survey stated that marketers have less than 50 seconds of video in which to capture and intrigue them before they skip the content altogether. Assessing how long any video should be is a significant factor in the planning stage. Marketing videos should try to reflect this need for short and snappy information, given that the average attention span of an adult is just 2.8 seconds. For those looking at videos to train or learn, they will expect to watch longer videos but potential customers visiting your website are likely to have less time.

If your new product has a number of features that you want your customers to learn about, it is worth creating a series of videos that cover each new feature. These short videos can then be grouped together on a product page on your website. As long as your marketing content is clearly labelled, chunking videos up into ‘snackable’ content enables potential customers to go straight to the new product feature that is important to them, without having to fast-forward through a ten-minute video.

Adding the extra sparkle

It is one thing to create a video that simply shows a new product’s features, but it is another to create a video that is engaging for your audience. The great thing about today’s editing tools is that they now include a range of sophisticated features that can bring any video to life. Examples include hotspots, which embed links to additional content in videos, interactive quizzes and annotations. These features can help increase engagement and, ultimately, the likelihood of generating a sales lead.

The trick, however, is not to overload a video with these features. As tempting as it might be to use every special effect available to make your video stand out, over-using them could be counter-productive and put your viewer off. Viewers simply might not have enough time to interact with the video, visit an accompanying website or read annotations. Knowing where and when it is appropriate to include these features is key to creating an engaging video.

Learning for next time

Once your marketing video is live and being watched by potential customers far and wide, either on your own website or a platform such as YouTube, you can use a number of web analytic tools to assess how successful your video is at engaging potential customers. Google Analytics, Salesforce and Optimizely are great tools that enable you to understand how your viewers are interacting with your content. These tools can highlight exactly where in the video people stop watching, which sections are most effective at eliciting a response and when people choose to share a video on social networks. This can be a great way to find out what is working well and what isn’t, which is useful if you are planning a series of marketing videos.

As increasing numbers of SMEs switch on to the uses of video marketing, it is vital to ensure that your content stands out. By creating content that is personable, to the point and measurable, you can make sure you are one step ahead of the crowd. Making video doesn’t have to be hard and there are many instructional tools available to ensure success.

Further reading on marketing


Matt Pierce

Matt Pierce is Learning and Video Ambassador for TechSmith Corporation.

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