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Why Your Small Business Should Be Doing Video Marketing



Why Your Small Business Should Be Doing Video Marketing

If you’ve spent any time at all learning about marketing, hopefully one thing that has jumped out to you is the focus of video marketing. It makes sense. We all carry in our pockets everything we need to create, edit, and publish our own video content. 

Prior to the smartphone, the cost of producing and distributing video was immense. Most small businesses couldn’t afford to do video marketing. Video was dominated by major brands that had the budgets to make professional videos and air them during commercial time on TV.

In so many ways, the smartphone changed the rules of the game. And for once, it stacked them in favor of the little guy, not massive corporations. No where is that more evident than with video. 

Now, a small business owner can create and publish a video in a matter of minutes and reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people.

In this article, we’ll discuss why video is so effective for small businesses and ways your small business can take small steps to begin video marketing.

Do Your Customers Really Care About Video?

While video marketing can be low effort, it’s certainly not no effort. And let’s face it, as a small business you already have more on your plate than you can handle. 

Why should you invest your time and resources into video marketing?

The answer is simple: because you’ll get more customers if you use video.

We recently conducted a survey to try and better understand how, why, and where consumers went about researching and ultimately patronizing small businesses. We wanted to hear from the consumers themselves what was important to them, so that we could help small businesses better understand where they should focus their limited resources.

One of the most startling insights we gleaned from the survey was just how important video is for most customers.

51% of consumers said they were more likely to patronize a small business if they were able to watch videos introducing the company and/or highlighting their products/services. Only 16% of respondents said the opposite.

So whether you are a retail store selling jewelry, a catering business selling wonderfully curated meals, or a dentist selling healthy teeth and gums, video should be a part of your marketing strategy! 

Why is Video so Effective?

Clearly video works, but why? Much of it has to do with how our brains are wired. 

Video can elicit an emotional response that other mediums simply can’t and studies indicate as much as 95% of purchasing decisions are done subconsciously on an emotional level. 

Reason No. 1: We Process Images Faster Than Words

One clear reason video works better than other forms of communication is that our brains can process images much faster than words. In fact, MIT researchers discovered the human brain can process an image in just 13 milliseconds.

Not only that, but our brains can process images simultaneously, whereas it processes words in a linear manner. Why does that matter?

Because if it’s easier to process information, it’s easier to retain information. 

Studies show that we retain 95% of information from video versus only 10% from text. And when it comes to advertising, what good is it if they don’t remember it?

Reason No. 2: Seeing People’s Faces Evokes Empathy

Again, it comes down to how we are wired. Our brains have what are called mirror neurons. These neurons fire when we observe the facial expressions of others, causing us to empathize with them. 

We basically see ourselves in their shoes. 

And speaking of shoes, now do you see why Nike commercials are so powerful? For a few brief seconds, you can literally feel greatness because they so artfully portray people and acts of greatness. 

Here’s a great example of a small business creating the same psychological effect. How can you not envision yourself enjoying this winery after seeing the joy on the faces of their customers in the video?

How Can Your Small Business Get Videos In Front Of Potential Customers? 

Before we jump into the how-to’s, let’s be clear: videos don’t need to be professionally produced and edited. This article isn’t about creating a commercial for TV. We’re talking about making and distributing videos where your customers are most likely to be found. Unlike the good ol’ days of TV dinners, consumers are likely not glued to the TV screen during commercial breaks.

Understand Who Your Customers Are

Hopefully you’ve already created a customer avatar and understand who your customer is. Understanding who your customer is is the first step in understanding where they spend their time.

For example, a CPA offering tax services for wealthy individuals has an audience that looks vastly different from someone selling beauty products directly to consumers. 

Who They Are Informs Where They Are

Once you know who your customers are, you can then start to understand where they spend their time online. 

In the example above, which small business owner is better served creating a weekly insights & advice video series and promoting it on LinkedIn?

And which owner should be pumping out quick video testimonials of happy customers and product reviews on Facebook and TikTok?

Remember, video is a form of content marketing, which is designed to attract and retain an audience. That way, when it comes time to buy, you’re top of mind. 

That can’t happen if you don’t get your video in front of the right people.

So Where Are Customers These Days?

While there’s well over a billion websites online these days, the reality is that a majority of people’s time online is spent in one or multiple of the following places:

  • Google
  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo
  • Reddit
  • Email inbox
  • TikTok
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest

All of these channels provide the ability for you to reach your audience en masse with whatever videos you wish to create. There’s no shortage of resources out there to help you understand how to optimize your video strategy to reach more of your target audience for each of these platforms. Make sure you understand the best practices for whichever platform(s) you choose.

What Types of Videos Can Your Small Business Create to Attract New Customers?

Now you know why videos work. You’ve done your homework to find where your customers spend their time. You’ve even educated yourself on how best to get your videos in front of them. Now you need to decide what type(s) of videos you want to make.

Here are 4 of the most effective low cost and low effort videos you can produce:

Demo/Explainer Video

If your small business sells products, create short demo videos allowing people to see how those products solve their problems. Video is the perfect way to explain how those products work, so that people can see them in action.

Testimonial Video

Remember when we talked about potential customers putting themselves in the shoes of the person in the video they are watching? What better way to sell your products or services than to allow potential customers to imagine themselves in the shoes of one of your happy customers. 

Next time you’re with a happy customer, plop out your cell phone and ask a couple of simple questions about their experience with your company.

Informational Video

These can be great if your small business offers a service of some type. As a service professional, you obviously have a wealth of knowledge that people pay you for. Offering up some of that knowledge in the form of a video allows people to better understand their situation, but also allows them to see you know your stuff. 

When it comes time to hire a professional, you will have already created a level of trust with the potential customer that makes it more likely they will come to you for help.

Company Story Video

Especially when it comes to small businesses, people buy from people. You aren’t some massive, stale corporation. You’re a small business with a unique story to tell. Use video to tell customers…

  • Who you are
  • Why you are so passionate about your business
  • What they can expect from you

Let them see and feel how much you love what you do. There is simply no better way to do that than with video!

Now It’s Time To Push Record

So what are you waiting for? While diving into video can feel daunting, there’s no better time than the present to begin. Your customers prefer video over other mediums. And you can create a huge advantage amongst your competitors by making the type of content they want! So get that iPhone out, press record, and start having more meaningful engagements with your potential customers.

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Before Deciding Where Your Content Team Reports, Pay Attention to This



Before Deciding Where Your Content Team Reports, Pay Attention to This

When a brand creates a new content marketing or content strategy team, they often ask, “What function or department should the content team report to?”

My answer? “Yes!”

Now, I’m not trying to be a smart aleck. (Well, I am a little bit, do you even know me?) But seriously, my yes comes from years of helping implement content teams in dozens of businesses. My affirmative response indicates the most important thing isn’t to whom content reports; it’s that content teams report to the business.

When it reports into a function, such as brand, marketing, sales enablement, demand gen, PR/comms, or even (yes, really in one case) finance, the business acknowledges content marketing is a real thing with real responsibilities, power, and capabilities to affect business outcomes.

“What outcomes?” you might ask.

Well, that depends on where content marketing reports.

Now you have the real conundrum.

You can’t figure out where content marketing and content strategy should report without knowing the expected business outcomes, and you can’t know the business outcomes until you know where they’re reporting.

The most important thing isn’t to whom #content reports; it’s that content teams report to the business, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

It’s tricky.

Content’s pervasiveness creates the challenge

Content as a strategic function in business affects almost everything. That pervasiveness means nearly any function in the business could “own” content as a strategy.

For example, we recently worked with a company about a year into its enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy. They have a content team, and we were to help them assemble a governance and operational approach for their website content.

When we determined the right operational processes, we got into trouble. A content team leader asked, “What if someone proposed a new AI chatbot as part of this digital transformation for the website? Is it a content project with a technology component or a technology project with a content component?”

The question isn’t semantics. Instead, the answer determines the process for development, the team owning implementation, and the measurement by which it’s deemed successful.

Knowing where a #content project is assigned determines its development process, implementation owner, and success metric, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

It’s not just a technology challenge, either. The company also wanted to create new brand content guidelines for the website. Is that a content team project informed by the brand team or a brand project in consultation with the content team?

Given content’s pervasiveness, you can argue it is part of any meaningful communications initiative the business takes on. But sales’ needs are different from marketing’s, and HR’s requirements are different from the demand-gen team’s. However, to achieve consistency in content and communication, it doesn’t make sense to let each function determine its content strategy.

To achieve the balance between an enterprise-wide content strategy and the unique needs of every function in the business, the leaders and practitioners must decide to whom content reports. Again, the agreement is important, not the where or what of the agreement.

3 key attributes to identify in the decision-making process

As you and the leadership ponder how to balance the enterprise content strategy and where it should sit, consider these three key attributes that play an essential role in success.

1. Develop a content operations backbone

I don’t care if you have two people and one blog and a website or a team of 50 who operate on 35 content platforms across multiple channels. A content operations infrastructure creates consistent success across your digital content experiences. Content operations is an enterprise-recognized set of integrated and shared systems (meaning technologies), standards, guidelines, playbooks, and processes to ensure reliable, consistent, scalable, and measurable content across the business.

Content operations acts as the backbone – the foundation – to ensure the content is created, managed, activated, and measured the same way across whatever audience and whichever channel the brand presents to.

2. Connect with the audience across platforms

You can no longer expect to create one optimal experience that makes up for a bunch of sub-optimal ones.No matter your size, it’s not good enough to have your blog subscribers separate from your marketing automation database and all that separated from your CRM system. This goes for all of your audiences – from new employees to external parties such as analysts, journalists, partners, vendors, etc.

In this approach, the goal is to engage, build, and develop relationships with audiences. Thus, connecting audience behavior with insights on how to communicate better is not a siloed functional need; it is an enterprise need.

3. Build an accountability framework

This attribute in one word? Standards (and a team to keep them.) In a truly fascinating way, one of the earliest activities in building a content strategy makes the biggest impact on larger businesses: Come to terms with what words around content strategy and marketing mean. What is a campaign? What is the difference between a campaign and an initiative? What is an e-book? What is an article vs. a blog post? How long should a white paper take to write? Most businesses assume these things or create meanings based on contextual needs.

At a recent client, one group expected the content team to produce white papers within a week of the request. Another group expected them to be delivered in six weeks at double the length that the other group thought.

An accountability framework – and its ongoing evolution – presents clear ownership and coordination of content standards (roles, responsibilities, processes, types) across the enterprise. This model should not detail the definitions and standards but identify how they will enforce them.

Start your content decisions by deciding together

Where should you begin?

Well, just like in the beginning, my answer is yes. Independent of where you start, the critical point happens in the deciding of the elements. To be clear, these are institutional decisions, not simply “what you think.” In other words, it doesn’t matter what you believe the definitions, roles, or processes should be if the other parts of the organization don’t know, believe, or care.

A great first step is to create that accountability framework and make people care about its existence. At first, it might create a language of content that everybody in your business understands. When someone says, “I’d like to do a campaign,” or, “I think we should write a white paper,” everyone understands what that means and what it takes to do it. Then, the benefits of an accountability framework will start to become clear.

It makes the case for a team assigned to lead this consistency easier. And that enables the team to connect those experiences and audiences in a way that makes sense for everyone.

In the end, you have found determining the where, how, and what of a content strategy implementation isn’t the most important. The act of deciding is.

It’s a strange combination. In isolation, the reason for deciding seems straightforward. So why wouldn’t anybody want a clear definition of what a campaign is or a single source of the truth when it comes to the tone of your content?

But stacked together, those decisions feel like they are bigger than the content team and really should involve the entire enterprise. (Spoiler alert: They do.)

If you want any desired consequence, you had better decide on all the things that would help create it.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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