video_iconHaving a video that tells prospective customers about your products or services is now considered a must have for businesses of all sizes. But what if you are a small business with a small business marketing budget? Is it possible to create a video that looks like a million bucks for only a few thousand, or a few hundred, dollars?

The short answer is “yes” — as I learned from creating my first video, for my company Prepster Pineapple Clothing — if you follow these simple tips from video marketing experts.

10 Tips for Creating a Successful Business Video

1. Know who your target audience is.

2. Have a solid concept and script (before you start shooting).

3. Have a clear, simple message — and minimize (or cut) the corporate jargon.

4. Keep it short — typically under two minutes (though there are exceptions).

5. Film in a quiet place (preferably with professional-grade equipment) with good lighting — or hire someone who knows how to shoot a video.

6. Add music.

7. Include a call to action — and a link to your website or preferred landing page.

8. Brand your video with your logo.

9. Post your video to YouTube.

10. Share your video(s) on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ — and with existing and prospective customers (via email newsletters).

For explanations of each tip, as well as additional tips, read my article “14 Tips for Creating Business Videos Customers Will Want to Watch.” For video marketing tips, check out my article “How to Make Video Marketing Work for Your Business.”

By the way, as one small business learned, your video doesn’t have to go viral to be successful. It just needs to get to the right people.

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A bad video — one that is poorly lit, that you can barely hear or is deafening, that rambles or doesn’t make a point — is worse than not having any video on your website (or YouTube). So to help you create a video that will get customers talking and clicking are 12 helpful tips from the experts.

1. Know who your target audience is. “Think how your video can help your end user, the customer,” says John Sarkisian, CEO, SKLZ, a sports training product manufacturer. In SKLZ’s case, its how-to videos, which showcase its sports training products, are geared to customer representatives at sporting goods retailers. That exposure – or brand awareness – led to SKLZ getting increased shelf space at national sporting goods retailers, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, which boosted sales.

2. Script it. “A script for a video is like a blueprint when building a house,” explains Edward Schlesinger, script writer, “It will let you see what the finished product will look like before you start.” In addition, “changes on paper are much easier and cheaper to do than once production starts.”

3. Have a clear call to action. “What do you want people to do after they’ve watched your video?” asks Schlesinger. No matter how short your video is, “make it clear what you want people to do – pick up the phone, sign up online, walk through your doors. Don’t throw away this opportunity to convert potential customers.” (For a great example of how to get your message – or call to action – across in 1:34, see Dollar Shave Club’s recent viral video, which was viewed over 2 million times in just over 48 hours, and is prominently featured on Dollar Shave Club’s home page.)

4. Shoot in a quiet place. “Always try to shoot in a quiet place away from machines, large crowds and traffic noise,” says Rob Ciampa, vice president of Marketing, Pixability, a video marketing company and the authors of Video Marketing for Dummies. Also keep in mind that “putting the right [or wrong] microphone on your subject can make a big difference.”

5. Light it well. “Make sure you are using all available light sources,” advises Ciampa. Remember that right – or wrong – lighting “will shape the mood of your video.”

6. Choose the right music. “A widely ignored but great way to move the needle for brands through video marketing is to integrate music,” argues Bryan Boettger, Chief Creative Officer, The Buddy Group, a digital engagement agency. Brands “should budget at least 5 percent of their video spend on professional music,” he argues. Though that doesn’t mean you need to feature The Who or One Direction; someone no one’s ever heard of is fine – better even – if it’s the right song to help get your message across. “By choosing the right music, brands have an opportunity to not only… engage consumers, but they also come across surprisingly relevant if they break an artist who has yet to connect with a larger audience.”

7. Less is often more when it comes to effects. “Building a story is the editor’s number one objective,” explains Ciampa. “Stay away from snazzy effects and [focus on delivering] a professional and polished story.”

8. Keep it short. Try to keep your videos to around a minute and a half. Although if it takes 30 seconds or two minutes more to properly demonstrate your product, use the extra time. Just remember that many (if not most) of the people you are trying to reach are at work, and have short attention spans.

9. Use your customers – especially if they are well known and/or social media influencers. Do your customers love your product or service? Ask them to star in a video for you. In order to reach its target demographic, young first-time home buyers, Oak Mortgage Group of Dallas, Texas, shot video testimonials of every loan it closed with clients who fit its target market. Then the mortgage bank inserted the video testimonials in its newsletter and posted them on its Facebook and Twitter pages (with the customers’ permission). Clients loved it and shared the videos – and told their friends about Oak Mortgage Group. Indeed, because of the customer video testimonials, “word of mouth grew and Oak Mortgage Group became a leading mortgage bank in Texas,” says Merrick Pickens, PR & Marketing director, Oak Mortgage Group.

D’Artagnan Foods, an international fine foods purveyor, also has enthusiastic customers, many of whom are well-known celebrity chefs. So in order to help promote D’Artagnan, its owner and founder, Ariane Daguin, a personality and chef herself, enlisted fellow chefs Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert and Marcus Samuelsson (among others) to star in a series of how-to videos with her – showing food lovers how to recreate some of their favorite dishes, using D’Artagnan products. To date, the videos have been very successful, helping to increase brand awareness and sales for the company.

10. Use humor – if or where appropriate. To advertise the fact that its food is fresh, not microwaved, Moe’s Southwest Grill created an entertaining video titled “Microwaves Ruin Everything.” The video reached more than 1.5 million views on YouTube in only a few weeks, going viral faster than anyone anticipated. Soon after the video’s release, sales jumped 8.5 percent. And while Moe’s Southwest Grill cannot directly attribute that increase in sales to the video alone, the company believes it definitely contributed.

11. You don’t need to hire James Cameron to produce (or direct) your video. While it’s a good idea to work with a professional videographer or video production agency that knows what they’re doing, if you don’t have someone on staff, don’t go overboard. “Too many organizations feel compelled to produce Hollywood-grade corporate videos,” says Ciampa. “Unless you’re a luxury brand, most prospects not only don’t care,” they may be turned off by over-produced, overly slick videos. “Focus on great content and clear presentation while ensuring the proper lighting, audio and camera techniques. With this approach, you’ll be able shoot more video much more economically,” he says.

12. Include a video sitemap on your website. “Ensure videos are indexed by Google by submitting a video sitemap,” says Melody King, vice president of marketing for Treepodia, a provider of e-commerce video solutions. (Instructions for how to do this are available on Google’s Webmaster Tools’ page.)

For more information about video making and marketing, read my article, “How to Make Video Marketing Work for Your Business.”

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Posted on March 9, 2012
Filed Under (Marketing, Video) by jennifer

More small businesses are using video to help sell their product or service. But does having a great video — one with thousands or millions of hits on YouTube — translate (or convert) into great sales?

On a related note, are you more likely to buy a product or service if you like the video?

Let’s take, for example, this brilliant YouTube video for Dollar Shave Club:

I love this video ad — and it did make me go to, which has a very attractive, easy-to-use e-commerce site. Another big plus. So, will I subscribe? Would you, based on the YouTube video?

Let me know what you think about the Dollar Shave Club video, and if it caused you to subscribe — and your thoughts on whether a great video can generate great sales numbers. I am particularly interested to hear from business owners as I’m planning on writing a feature article on this topic and could use sources.

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Posted on January 11, 2011
Filed Under (Marketing, Video) by jennifer

This blog post, on the importance of small business owners taking an active role in company videos, was written by Bettina Hein, the founder and CEO of Pixability.
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For many small business owners, getting in front of a video camera (even a little Flip) can be scary. Sure, you had enough courage to start a business, but performing on camera, on cue, that’s an entirely different matter. But as the owner — and face — of your business, it’s important when making a video about your company (or your products or services) that you take the lead. Here’s why.

You are the face of your business

As the owner or founder of a growing business, chances are you are the reason (or a large part of the reason) why people buy from you. While you can’t be everywhere, a video of you can. You don’t have to look like a supermodel or be able to act like a movie star, just be the person your customers know and trust. (If you’re worried about looking good on camera, check out this blog post on “How To Look Good On Camera.”)

Your passion shows

Video is the perfect medium to leverage the passion that you have for your company. If viewers see and feel that you love what you do, they will pick up on it — and will want to buy from you.

People trust you

Surveys show more Americans trust in small businesses than they trust in their church or synagogue. Your customers buy from you because they believe that you are being honest and straight with them. They know their loyalty is important to you and that you will respond to their questions or problems. That’s why you see so many owners of local furniture stores and car dealerships featured in those local cable TV ads. They know that being on camera helps build a relationship with their company or brand before you enter their store or dealership.

To demonstrate what I’m talking about, here’s an example of a video for a furniture store called Bernie & Phyl’s, featuring Bernie & Phyl’s whole family:

You don’t have to go it alone

What the Bernie & Phyl’s video shows is that even though you may be the face of your business, you are not the only face. And it’s good business to get others involved. Ask customers that rave about your product to say so on camera. And include team members that service your customers. For example, we recently created this super simple but polished looking team video that introduces our customers to the Pixability team. And it was a huge hit. (And I only had to be in it for a few seconds!)

For more great video production and video marketing tips, or to find out how Pixability can help you, visit Pixability at

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Posted on February 4, 2010

Adding search-engine optimized (SEO) video to your web- or e-commerce site can not only help you stand out from the crowd, it can increase traffic to your site and improve sales.

Indeed, according to studies conducted by Forrester Research, having an SEO video on your e-commerce site increases your odds of showing up on the first page of Google in an organic search dramatically more than 50 times greater than if you just had text on the page. Not only can a good product or promotional video increase your Google ranking, it can increase your sales. Just ask Zappos, which recently revealed that it typically sells between six and 30 percent more merchandise when a product also includes a descriptive video.

But it’s not just large companies that are benefiting from video., an online furniture store that specializes in vintage-style, environmentally friendly pieces, saw a 25 percent increase in sales after owner Karl Miller added videos to the site (and to the Hudson Goods blog). And Miller is far from alone.

However, simply embedding a video on your e-commerce site is no guarantee of success. Indeed, a bad video (one that bores viewers, has bad production values or is unrelated to your products or company) can do more harm than good.

To learn how you can create a great SEO video on a small budget, check out my latest article for — a fantastic resource for small and mid-sized business owners — titled “How to Boost Sales with SEO Video.”

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