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Video Marketing 101

Small business is flocking to online video as a powerful marketing tool, and with good reason. Online video viewing is skyrocketing, with uber-video juggernaut YouTube leading the way. In fact, both YouTube and Cisco are making the bold prediction that soon 90% of all web traffic will be video. Video marketing is here to stay, so entrepreneurs must lead, follow or get out of the way!

Online video is very effective because it creates a strong, personal connection, helping to increase the “know, like and trust” factor among your prospects and clients. Video can also help you enhance your online visibility and make you stand out in a crowded and competitive environment.

Here are a few video marketing basics to get you on the right track:

What are some of the best ways to get started?

How you approach video depends totally on your overall marketing strategy. Your video marketing plan should be based on your specific goals. With that in mind, some “must haves” include a video for your home page. This “welcome” video should be a short introduction to you and your services for anyone who visits your web site. This is your first impression video, so make it count.

You should also have a version of this video on your “About Me” page. And even though this is your about me video, you should make it about them! In other words, focus on your viewer and let them know what you can do for them and why they should work with you. Keep it short and sweet, and always remember that your web visitor is thinking “WIIFM?” (What’s in it for me?)

What other types are effective?

In addition to your “welcome” video, another excellent use of video is a “tips series” based on your particular area of expertise. Create a short series of 1 – 2 minute videos and share your best tips for your niche. Your tips series can be posted on YouTube and on your own website. These videos are great for establishing trust and credibility with your target market.

Since these videos are meant to build credibility, don’t make a pitch or an offer just yet. Remember to serve first, sell second. And because you’re establishing a personal connection with your viewer, it’s usually best to be on camera to deliver your tips. (As opposed to “screencast” videos like PowerPoint or screen captures where you’re not on camera).

What types of video content create the most engagement?

With so much video content available online, it’s crucial that your videos are engaging and compelling. The best way to break through the clutter is to make sure your video is relevant to your target market. In short, don’t be boring!

Whether or not you should be on camera or off camera again depends on your objectives. On camera videos are more personal and are usually best for touting your services or sharing your expertise. Off camera videos like screencasts or instructional videos can be very effective for teaching, product demos or sharing ideas.

What is the best length?

In today’s attention-deficit society, the shorter your video, the better. Your video should be no longer than it takes to effectively express your idea or message. As a general rule for promotional videos, 2 minutes or less is best. The exception is for instructional or demo videos, where you may need longer to teach or demonstrate your idea. So get right to the point and get on with it.

What about equipment and editing?

When it comes to video, we tend to get hung up on technology. The truth is all the equipment and technical know-how in the world is useless without a video marketing strategy. A low tech video shot with a $50 webcam that features great content is far more effective than a fancy video that doesn’t contain a compelling message. Focus on your content; the technology is less important.

Having said that, you can get started doing video with a simple webcam, or even by using the video feature on your iPhone or mobile device. As for editing, the same “keep it simple” rules apply. If you don’t have your own editing program like iMovie, use YouTube’s easy video editor to trim the front and back of your video and make it look more spiffy!

How often should I post?

You may see a theme developing here but, once again, how often you post depends on your strategy. Develop a video marketing plan that addresses your goals, whether that’s visibility, list-building, driving web traffic or conversions. Plan your videos so that they support those goals.

I use a Video Marketing Editorial Calendar to map out my video activities. You can get a free copy of my Video Editorial Calendar template at This will help you think more strategically about video and make sure your videos are tied to your business objectives.