It seems as though a new video goes viral on YouTube each day. But how can small businesses take advantage of this new video age? It’s pretty simple: including videos on your website can allow you to connect with customers, catch their attention, and even boost ranking from search engines, writes Lisa Barone in “Online Video and Small Business Go Hand-In-Hand.” Additionally, Barone says that including videos on your website shows customers that your company is current and technologically up to date, not to mention it establishes an invaluable personal connection that a website alone lacks. Jeff White from Dynamic Post, a video production company in Nashville, TN, also points out that it can help lower calls to customer service if the video includes answers to frequently asked questions. But most importantly, White reports that potential customers actually spend more time on websites that contain video. Thus, this unique touch point can certainly help your company to stand out against competitors.

The idea of adding a video to your business’s homepage may seem daunting, but it need not be so. In “A Guide to Video Search Marketing for Small Businesses,” David Ingram breaks down creating a video into three simple sections: video production, landing page (what you are generating traffic for), and distribution (think of this as publicity for your video). Jeff White outlines basic steps in the first part of the process, video production:

  1. Determine your goal and outline content that you wish to appear in the video
  2. Write a script for the video with goals and content in mind, and organize it with two columns, one for audio and one for video
  3. Establish a “shot list” that includes all of the clips you will need
  4. Completely plan for production, making sure that you have accounted for necessary people and equipment
  5. Capture the footage with proper lighting and sound
  6. Edit the footage, first producing a “rough-cut,” then adding graphics, sounds, and effects
  7. Convert the video to proper formatting, depending on final destination

Actually filming the video may seem overwhelming, but you have many options according to Ingram: local video specialists, larger corporate companies, local videographers, and doing it yourself. A professionally made video is not necessarily a successful video. In fact, Barone writes that by showing customers a “DIY” video, you are actually your customers to relate to you and showing them the similarities you share. However, White warns not to overlook the simple things, like lighting and sound quality, which are even more important than your choice of camera equipment. Overall, he suggests this rule of thumb: “The amount of money spent on a video should not be more than the value that you expect to receive from the video. But don’t be too frugal…sometimes having no video is better than having a bad video.”

When you have finished filming, you have to consider distribution, and Ingram writes that this is just as important as production and the landing page. Uploading your video to YouTube is the first step, but it’s just as important to drive viewers to the video. Be sure to utilize YouTube keywords and tags as well as including the video on your website.

As a general rule, Ingram recommends keeping the video between thirty seconds and three minutes. Types of videos include photo montages, question and answer (like a mini-interview), documentary, and custom. Another way to utilize video includes “how to” tutorials, which according to Barone can boost your business’s search engine rankings if someone uses a universal search and finds your tutorial. Another tip from Jeff White of Dynamic Post is not to bog down your video with a great deal of text; it’s not meant to be a PowerPoint presentation. Instead, he suggests capitalizing on videos’ abilities to show something that might be hard to convey with words. Here lies a video’s true worth; White says, “a picture is worth a thousand words, while a video can be worth a hundred thousand.”

Thus, videos can be an inexpensive, simple way to generate website traffic and create relationships between your business and potential customers. Below is a sample video that we produced for a healthcare client.

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