How to grow your business with video (on a budget)
How many videos have you watched online in the last week?
If you’re anything like us, the number is probably high. From YouTube to LinkedIn, video is taking over the world of content – even in the world of business education.
According to MarketingSherpa, videos attract 300% more traffic and help to nurture leads. Furthermore, including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80% (according to Eyeview).
The challenge is, there are so many options and formats that getting started can seem overwhelming. But you don’t need a huge budget and days worth of studio time to tap into the power of video marketing.
In this guide, you’ll learn why you should be using video marketing to grow your small business, how to create video content on a budget and the best methods to convert viewers into customers.
- Why is video marketing an effective strategy for small businesses?
- Is video marketing expensive?
- How to produce video content on a budget
- 5 effective video formats to build your audience
- How to promote your video content
- How to use video on social media
- Expert insights
- Wrapping things up
Why is video marketing an effective strategy for small businesses?
From expanding your reach to driving site visits, video marketing is an effective way to fuel the growth of your small business. In fact, 88% of marketers are happy with the ROI on their social media video marketing efforts:
Furthermore, video also makes customers happy and more engaged. According to Wyzowl, 72% of people prefer to learn about a service or product through video content when presented on a page accompanied by text. In other words, use both text and video on your product pages to maximise on your audience’s attention.
While your website is the most obvious place to showcase your video content, don’t forget about social media. Indeed, 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos (Tubular Insights).
Using video in all areas of your marketing strategy is a great way to promote your business, but how does it tie to business results? Let’s look at the three biggest benefits of using video marketing to grow your small business:
Drive customers and increase your sales
In 2011, Dollar Shave Club produced a video to market their affordable razors. Their video ‘’Our Blades Are F***ing Great’’ went viral and scored 14 million views and 12,000 new orders within the first 48 hours of it being uploaded:
Their CEO, Michael Dubin, wrote the script, co-directed with his friend and acted as the face for the video. It cost about $4,500 to make, and was shot in one day at their factory.
As a small business, creating something of this magnitude can seem daunting. Don’t fret over the production value, and instead focus on the message. Put your personality forward and share a message that resonates with your audience.
Coming up with a great script can introduce your ideas to a whole new audience eager to purchase what you have to offer.
You don’t need to start off with a huge budget like Dollar Shave Club did. As you’ll learn later in this guide, you can tell engaging and powerful stories using the equipment and gadgets you already have.
Share company stories and product information
As we learned earlier, consumers prefer video over text when learning about a business (and their products). This is especially true if you sell complex or high-ticket products.
Simba, an online mattress retailer based in the UK, regularly create videos to explain how their mattresses are made:
These videos showcase the benefits of their product, making the content easier to digest than technical product descriptions. Furthermore, they let their product team do the talking. They’re the experts on the product and how it leads to a better night’s sleep, which makes them the perfect face for this video.
To do this for your small business, all you need is the right expertise. If you’re knowledgeable in your industry, you can put your personality forward and share what you know.
You could also document your business journey. For example, Foundr used a vlogging format to share a sneak peek of their new NYC offices:
This doesn’t require a huge production budget. Hit record, share what you’re working on and you’re good to go.
Pro Tip: Video is the perfect way to generate interest with potential customers. Learn more about how to get your product in front of an audience with our complete go-to-market strategy guide.
Educate your audience, show your expertise & add value
While it can be tempting to focus on pushing your products and services, video marketing is arguably most effective when educating, empowering and adding value to your audience.
Take HubSpot, for example. They use their YouTube channel to share a mixture of entertaining and educational videos around various marketing and sales topics. In this particular video, they teach their audience how to extend the reach of their Facebook content:
These videos can be cheap to make while capturing a wider audience not yet familiar with your product. How? Because it’s likely that your audience is interested in content around topics unrelated to your product or service.
To apply this principle yourself, become a thought leader in your industry. Create informative content for your audience and share your expertise. By empowering your customers to solve their problems, you become a trusted authority in their eyes.
Is video marketing expensive?
Considering that the average small business spends just above £300 a month on marketing, it’s easy to see why many business owners assume that professional video marketing is out of their price range.
But video marketing doesn’t need to be expensive. So don’t worry about investing in the right gear. Instead, focus on telling a compelling story that adds value to your audience.
Take Alex Brown, co-founder of The Beard Club, as an example. His savvy video marketing efforts have helped his company generate over $10 million in revenue:
He says that you don’t need a big budget to get quality results. Hire freelancers, interns or students to help you craft powerful, high-quality content:
“It’s definitely tough when you’re starting out. It’s a question I get all the time. People ask how we initially afforded to hire a cameraman and video editor. Though that can be a challenge to navigate, there are lots of opportunities to find creative people that like working on commercials that would work for sweat equity and exposure. You just have to be really good at pitching your vision and having them get excited about what you’re creating.”
Alex Brown, co-founder The Beard Club
Pro Tip: Not sure if you can afford video marketing? Here is our starter guide to small business accounting to help you find out if you can!
How to produce video content on a budget
Now you know that video marketing can be an affordable channel for your small business. The question remains; how can you execute it on a small budget?
While expensive equipment isn’t required, you’ll still need something to film with. Here, we’ll share five inexpensive apps, tools and techniques to help you build a simple video marketing studio from your own office.
1. Use your smartphone
Your most affordable asset sits right in your pocket. If it’s good enough for YouTube superstars, it will likely be good enough for your first film productions.
Using your smartphone to shoot videos is a huge cost saver. Most smartphones (from the iPhone 6 to the Samsung Galaxy) come built-in with high-quality cameras that can be used for creating high-quality video content. Here’s how to get the most out of it:
- Use a tripod to position your camera from an elevated position. You can find some affordable options online.
- Look at the camera lens while you’re recording and stay near the mic. This replicates eye contact, building rapport with your audience. If you have the budget, it’s well worth investing in a smart phone-friendly microphone.
- Don’t use your device’s digital zoom. Since you’re not technically zooming with a lens, you’ll just risk shooting a low-quality video.
- Use the exposure lock. This will help to keep the focus and exposure constant throughout your shot and avoid jittery-looking footage.
- Take care of the lighting. Natural light is free and works well. So shoot outside during “golden hour” or near a window.
2. Create a video without extra equipment
Instead of putting a “live” scene together, create some slides and use royalty-free photography from sources like Unsplash to tell your story.
You can also add royalty free music and add some free stock videos as “b-roll footage” to make it look even more professional.
To record your screen as part of your video, use a screen capture software like Camtasia. This can work well when communicating ideas and in-depth, how-to content. Take our member Ian Anderson Gray, who ran a webinar with BuzzSumo. Here, they used this format to run regular webinars around their product:
Webinars can also help with your lead generation efforts. Create a landing page, offer your webinar in exchange for lead details and voila – you have a new lead generation channel.
3. Use free editing software
If you have a Mac, then you already have a video editing software that comes for free with your device. Just search for iMovie in your apps. If you’re using a PC running on Windows, make sure you have Windows Movie Maker installed.
There is a learning curve that comes with editing yourself. But generally speaking, both software packages are easy to use. You can check out various tutorial videos online to accelerate your training and learn how to edit your videos.
4. Turn customers into content creators
User-generated content are social posts, videos and other formats that your customers create about your brand. Unboxing videos are a great example of this, where YouTubers “unbox” new gadgets, fashion and other products:
On many occasions, your customers will create content without having to be prompted. You can also run contests or find other ways to incentivise them. However, be sure to read the guidelines of each channel before promoting your contests, as each may have their own rules.
Organise an Instagram giveaway and give free products to the winners who came up with the best videos. Offer a coupon, discount or free product to customers who send video testimonials, or create content around a specific theme.
For example, women’s wear brand Aerie capitalize on posts of their customers wearing their products, re-sharing their posts on their own Instagram account:
Emulate this approach by branding your own hashtag, and encourage customers to share their purchases and tag your handle. Include this call-to-action on your packaging, receipts and other post-purchase collateral.
5. Showcase your brands with animated videos
Animated explainer videos are everywhere and can be expensive to produce. Using tools like Power Animate will help you put together simple animations at a fraction of the cost. There’s also Moovly, Vyond, or Animaker if you want other options.
Check out this example from Power Animate to see how this looks like in action:
Pro Tip: Interested in more software and tools to save you time and money? Here are the best 25 small business software in 2019.
5 effective video formats to build your audience
Now you know a few ways video can be used in your marketing, it’s time to figure out which is best for your audience and business goals.
Let’s look at five of the most common video marketing formats to get you started:
Showcase your product with demo videos
Demo videos or product videos are short, educational formats that explain how your product or service works. They present your product in action and urge your audience to buy or use your service by showing how you solve their problems.
Here’s a video we made to explain what Tide is about:
You can use animated videos to explain complex ideas, or record an unboxing video to showcase your products in use. For example, SaaS brand PandaDoc uses animated video to explain how their product works:
If animated video seems expensive, then direct-to-camera works well, too. This is what Stitch Fix did to explain how their fashion service works:
Capitalise on your events
If your business hosts events, such as meet-ups or conferences, then you should record as much as you can to repurpose for your video marketing strategy.
For example, In 2017 we hosted our “The Future of Fintech” event. We produced a highlight reel and shared it on our YouTube channel:
Most events and keynotes take place in lower lit rooms, so it’s important to bring a reliable DSLR camera that performs well in low light. When live streaming on Instagram or Facebook, find a room with great natural lighting.
Build social proof with case studies
By sharing stories of how you help your customers, you build trust and credibility that you deliver on your promises. Use case studies to attract new customers, and fuel your sales process to convince skeptical buyers you can get results.
For example, we’re regularly talking to our members to feature them on the blog. These face-to-face meetings are the perfect chance to get their thoughts on the Tide app and collect valuable feedback, which is exactly what we’ve done in this member spotlight:
You don’t need to visit your customers to capture this type of video content. Ask them to send video reviews about why they’d recommend your business. Include instructions on how to record their video with high-quality lighting, backgrounds and sound.
Demonstrate authenticity with behind-the-scenes videos
Give your audience the opportunity to meet the people behind your brand and understand how your product is made. Authenticity isn’t something you should try to fake. It is an effective way to build an emotional connection with your customers.
To showcase who we are, we made a video titled “Meet the Tide team!” to introduce the people behind our brand:
When filming behind-the-scenes content, it’s important to capture as much as possible. Even if what you’re filming seems unusable, keep shooting. You can use editing software to create a cohesive story later. Besides, adding in some bloopers will help make you more relatable.
Expand your audience with expert interviews
Interviewing thought leaders can be a great way to create added value to your customers while tapping into a new audience. It’s a different take on the traditional influencer marketing model that creates deeper, more strategic relationships with movers-and-shakers in your industry.
We did this with our “Tide Talks” series, where we interviewed various industry experts to share their experiences with our audience:
How to promote your video content
Now you know how to create awesome video content that engages, adds value and entertains your audience.
But video marketing is no good if you don’t generate views and business results. The more qualified traffic you drive to your videos, the bigger the impact will be for your brand awareness and the more sales you’re likely to generate.
Let’s run through three of the best ways to promote and boost your video to achieve an incredible ROI.
1. Paid media
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn all allow you to connect with your audience directly through video. And you can use this same video content to fuel your paid promotion efforts.
With that in mind, let’s look at how to use three of the biggest social ad platforms to promote your video content.
How to create Facebook video ads
A study by Quintly found that Facebook videos outperformed YouTube by 478%. They also found that Facebook native videos have up to 86% higher reach.
With Facebook ads, you can target specific audiences based on their location, age, gender and interests. If you’re interested in learning more, Shopify has written a great guide on Facebook Marketing.
By getting your targeting right, you’re more likely to generate more qualified traffic to your videos and thus, more customers.
How to create Instagram video ads
According to Instagram, 400 million people use Instagram stories every day, and a third of the most viewed stories are from brands and businesses. By promoting your videos through Instagram, you can build brand awareness, gain followers and capture new customers.
Take TIJN eyewear as an example. The brand showcased eight different products through a GIF-styled Instagram story. This tactic doesn’t require any budget dedicated to video and can be easily made using your product photography:
Sponsored Instagram stories are an effective way to get your products in front of the right audience and draw them back to your website. It’s quick, simple and will help you build brand awareness.
How to create LinkedIn video ads
LinkedIn video ads appear as sponsored posts natively within the newsfeed. They allow brands to engage with a professional target audience and is ideal for B2B small businesses looking to make the most out of their video marketing and attract new clients.
While LinkedIn might be known as a professional platform, it doesn’t mean you can’t show your personal side. Use storytelling to connect with your audience and inspire prospects to put trust and confidence in your brand.
2. Optimise your videos for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the act (and art) of optimising web pages and content for a chance to rank for specific topics and keywords in Google.
For specific queries YouTube videos often prominently appear on the search engine results page (SERP) in Google:
There’s also a dedicated tab within Google where users can search through relevant videos. And let’s not forget that YouTube is
To increase the chances of getting your video in front of as many users as possible, follow these tips:
- Perform video keyword research: Include relevant keywords and phrases in your video headline and description to appear in relevant searches. Use a tool like Keyword Tool to find the words you need to incorporate to be relevant for a specific topic.
- Include video transcripts: This provides Google with “crawlable” data, allowing it to understand the content of the video and learn exactly what it is about. Transcripts are also very much needed for improved accessibility to help people with different abilities to be able to consume your content.
- Provide value to your audience: The more people like, watch and engage with your video, the more it’s likely to rank.
3. Share your content in niche communities
Sharing your videos in online groups, forums and communities can drive a fresh burst of traffic to your content. Community members are already interested in the topics you’re covering, and are more likely to share your video or buy your products.
You can also bring value to the community by joining the conversations and participating in relevant discussions.
For example, if you’re selling pet snacks, a quick search for ‘dog’ groups on Facebook turns up countless options:
Pro Tip: Before you dive into the world of video marketing, it’s important that you start with an overall marketing plan. Read more here: Marketing strategy for my startup… Where do I start?
How to use video on social media
As you can see, video is great for putting your brand personality and values forward while attracting customers who share the same beliefs. So what better place to connect with these people than social media?
Social video can be an effective medium for telling your brand story. But before you get started, you should know the maximum video lengths that each platform allows (these apply to both organic posts and sponsored posts):
- Facebook: 120 minutes
- Twitter: recommends keeping videos under 30 seconds
- Instagram: 60 seconds
- Snapchat: 10 seconds
- LinkedIn: 10 minutes
With this in mind, here are four tips to use social media to improve your video content marketing.
Leverage the power of live video
According to Facebook, viewers spend 3x more time watching live videos than those that aren’t broadcasting in real time. Instagram and Facebook live videos can last up to an hour, allowing your followers to engage, ask questions and catch up on the latest updates from your brand.
Once your live stream has ended, people who missed it can re-watch it later. This adds to your library of video content, making your live video “evergreen”.
For example, Food and Wine use live video to teach their audience how to cook various dishes. The live Instagram video pictured below features a professional chef guiding viewers through an at-home cooking session:
Show viewers how your product or service works and how your customers use it. Get your audience eager to try it for themselves while building brand awareness and loyalty.
Make your video searchable
As we discussed earlier, optimising your video’s meta data, headline and description is key when increasing the chance of it appearing in Google. This ensures that the video content you’ve put your heart and soul into will get seen.
The same applies when optimising your content for social media. Explore each platform to find out which features you can use and what additional information you can add to help your video campaign to be featured more prominently.
Include keywords that help potential customers to find your content and where possible, link to more detail on your website to make the connection and drive traffic to your own platform rather than keeping all engagement on the various social media channels.
YouTube, for example, allows you to add tags to your videos. This helps users find your content based on relevant keywords and topics they search for. You can also add a transcript and detailed video description as well as links to specifics showcased within the video or to your other social media channels. Hire a freelancer to transcribe your video, publish it on your blog and embed the video within the content.
Then there’s Twitter and Instagram, which allow you to add relevant hashtags to your content:
This extends your reach to people who follow and search for those relevant hashtags. You can use tools like Hashtagify to find them.
Include a strong call-to-action (CTA)
What are you trying to achieve through your video marketing efforts? Typical campaign objectives include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Growing your social media following
- Generating subscribers to your newsletter
- Generating qualified leads
- Generating new customers
- Retaining existing customers
Before starting your journey, sit down and figure out what you’d like to achieve.
Once you’ve decided on a goal, include calls-to-action within your video content and descriptions that get viewers to take the right action. This could be to subscribe to your YouTube channel, visit your website or a discount for a product you feature.
Generate hype around new launches
To generate excitement around their Spring Fashion Show, Burberry revealed their latest clothing line on Snapchat through a series of snaps.
They did this by creating pictures and videos featuring their designers and models. They also live-streamed their launch party, providing a sneak peak to fans who couldn’t attend:
There are several ways you can do this without a fancy event. As we mentioned earlier, giving a sneak peek behind the scenes can build hype around your product by showing progress of it in development. You can also share an exclusive preview before their public launch.
You can also run webinars that show your audience the benefits of your product while providing actionable information. This works particularly well with brands in the B2B and SaaS space.
💡 Expert insights
Insights author: Suds Singh is the founder of Interesting Content, they are a specialist video production agency that only works with predominantly SME’s and B2B brands. Since being established they have worked with scores of companies including Tide! They are also one of our proud members.
Our 3 top video marketing tips
Whenever we work with our b2b clients we start with a single customer in mind, what is her biggest headache, what business problem/ issue could this piece of content help her with. By adopting this approach we find our message is distilled and succinct.
Having said that here are 3 practical tips you should consider:
- What is most important to the person you are aiming the video at?
- What action would you like them to take once they have finished watching your video? (This could be calling you to find out more about your product or service or something simple like signing up to your newsletter)
- Keep it short, fun, simple and snackable
How small businesses can get started with video marketing
Ensure all content you create; including video has a key message that is central to all your marketing collateral. A video that sits within your overall marketing efforts that drive leads down the funnel is highly effective that one that is not.
- Think about what business issue you’d like the video to address. At which point of the funnel are your customers at? An intro video would aid you to increase interest, whereas a customer testimonial would help push that client over the edge and sign on the dotted line.
- Take your time to write up a script with your audience in mind. Make it relevant, relatable and succinct. You don’t have to have a huge budget to dip your toe into the ocean of video.
- Like with everything you buy right or buy twice. You’d be surprised at how much a good video production agency can make sure your budget goes as far as possible.
- Remember a video is an investment if done well, you should see a good return of investment even long after the content has been delivered.
How we have used video to grow our business
As a video production company want to lead by example and road test ideas before recommending them to our customers. We use the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action), principle to help us to engage with our customers.
Attention: We created an intro video to be the face of our website. This video alone has helped us win business with a number of household names:
Interest: At this point, we know our customers are interested, so we publish snackable content to not only stay top of mind but also to nudge and gently push people along the funnel. And have fun with our content to give the impression we are a fun easy to work with. Here is what this video looks like:
Decision/ Action: Once we have a firm confirmation of interest, or if we have sent over a quote to get our customers over the line we would send them a testimonial video like the one below. This not only shows an independent testimonial of our work but by being associated with a well known brand we develop instant credibility:
Wrapping things up
Creating great video content can seem expensive and daunting. By now, you know that this doesn’t have to be the case. All you need to get started is a smartphone and a compelling story.
With the right planning and a strong message, you can expand your audience and motivate them to take action. Even if your videos don’t feel perfect the first time, keep testing new formats. If necessary, test new approaches based on the feedback from your customers.
Pro Tip: If you’re keen on learning more about how to get new customers and build your business, download our free eBook: The small business guide to marketing on a budget.
Photo by Vanilla Bear Films, published on Unsplash