Nearly everyone knows that the world’s biggest search engine is Google. But which company is in the No. 2 spot? Many people are surprised to discover that honor belongs to YouTube.
Digital Sherpa, a content marketing agency, has done research that reveals a third of all time spent online is spent watching video. YouTube reports that more than one billion people visit the site each month, viewing more than six billion hours of video.
“These numbers can be both exciting and overwhelming for the small business owner,” says Karyn Buxman, who researches, speaks, and writes about the impact of emotional states on physical health and effective leadership style. “On one hand, there’s obviously a huge interest for video. But with so many out there, how can the video you’re making to promote your business possibly stand out?”
The odds are seemingly rough enough to make any small business owner think twice about trying video marketing, but that’s a mistake, according to Buxman. “Strategically creating and sharing videos takes effort, but it’s worth it,” she says. “Video content is memorable. It helps you or your products take up some prime territory in your customer’s mind—especially if you use humor.”
Brevity is critical for video marketing success
If you want people to watch your small business videos, keep them brief. “Viewers have short attention spans, so keep your videos as short as possible, preferably under two minutes,” says Jonathan Stefansky, co-founder and CEO of Viewbix.com, a company that produces call to action and email forms that can be embedded in video marketing campaigns. “Marketing videos don’t need to be professionally produced to be effective, but it is important that they are entertaining, educational, and that the quality is as good as possible.”
As a rule of thumb, the longer the video is, the higher the viewer’s expectations of production values will be. Camera shake and less than perfect focus might be intolerable in a six-minute YouTube video, but go completely unnoticed in a six-second VINE video.
”As a business owner, you should have specific goals you’re trying to reach with your videos,” says Buxman. “There’s an entire journey you’re taking your viewers on. First you have to capture their attention, then you show them something compelling, leading them to the point where they want to do business with you right now.”
Strong calls to action are essential, according to Stefansky. “Having people watch your video is nice, but if your viewers don’t take action afterwards, then you’ve lost an opportunity to make a new sale or lead.” Be sure to end your video by telling viewers what you want them to do next, he says.
For instance, if you want them to call and book an appointment, put that phone number front and center, advises Buxman. “If you want them to buy a product, give them an easy way to do that,” she adds. “Simplicity sells.”
Be sure to promote your video
The final component to effective video marketing is effective promotion. What movies are box office hits? “Often it’s the ones with the biggest ad campaigns,” Buxman said. “When you’re asking someone to give you three minutes of their attention, they want to know that it’s going to be worth it.” The most compelling form of video promotion is the number of views a video already has, she adds. “If 25,000 people have watched a video, you’re going to get viewers who watch it simply to see what the fuss is all about.”
“Be sure to share your video across all your social media networks, on your website, and with your email list,” advises Stefansky. Over 40 percent of all videos are watched on mobile devices, which makes social media one of the most logical places to promote your videos. “Consider running ads on Facebook or YouTube to promote your video to your precise target audience” Stefansky says. Both Facebook and YouTube ads can be targeted by age, geographic location, and interests.
“Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to the people in your networks,” Buxman says. “Ask them to watch your video, and if they like it or find it to be of value, to share it with their friends.” She has found this approach to work particularly well in professional networks, such as LinkedIn. “When you give people the chance to be the source of useful information, or at least a few laughs, they’ll take advantage of it by sharing it with their friends.”