Cheap And Easy Ways To Promote Your Business Using VideoLooking for an easy, effective and affordable way to promote your business online?  Online video may be the answer.  Online video viewership continues to grow at an astonishing rate. According to a recent ComScore report, the average American consumer watched a record 231 online videos in December 2011, and there were a total of 43.5 billion content videos viewed that month. That figure rises every month.

The emergence of broadband has made online video more accessible and popular than ever. Video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo provide free hosting and sharing capabilities including html embed codes that make it possible to share your videos across a wide array of platforms including Web sites, blogs and Facebook fan pages.

Still, most small businesses are reluctant to take the online video plunge. Most consider video production to be too costly, complicated and time-consuming.  The truth is, online video is among the easiest and most affordable types of online content to create provided you follow a few simple guidelines.

Keep it Simple

You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars on a video camera and lighting package. Video technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years.

Small, consumer-grade cameras are available for around $200 at your local big-box discount or home entertainment center. The image quality produced by these small, inexpensive devices is equal to many professional-grade video cameras. Most record High Definition video and can offer ample storage capacities. They also feature USB connectivity to make downloading your videos plug-and-play simple.

Audio capture can be a little tricky when using onboard microphones, but the challenge can be overcome with the use of an external microphone or by maintaining a short distance to your subject when shooting.

Editing your content can also be a challenge.  Most consumer camcorders offer basic editing software, and there are a number of low cost video editing packages available. Apple users have the advantage over PC users in that every Mac computer comes loaded with iMovie audio and video editing software.

Now that you have some technical tips down, the question is – what to videotape? Here are some ideas to get you started.

FAQ Videos

Most Web sites feature a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page. Why not create an FAQ video in which you answer your customers’ and prospects’ most-commonly asked questions? In addition to addressing their concerns, you’ll also be establishing your business’ identity in an engaging way.

Product Demo Videos

If your business manufactures products, video is a great way to demonstrate their value and ease of use. Product demo videos can double as sales and customer support tools.

About Us Videos

Most Web sites also feature an “About Us” page where visitors can learn about the business. Imagine how much more engaging an About Us video would be as compared to simple text and static images. The About Us video can be used to feature key employees, products, services or even a walk-through of your offices or facilities to acquaint visitors with your company and build your brand.

Customer Testimonial Videos

Video testimonials are far more engaging and believable than the brief text endorsements featured on most Web sites.

Begin by approaching a few of your most loyal customers and simply ask if they would be willing to help you out by saying a few words about your business on-camera. Take the pressure off of your customers by preparing a few questions to ask them ahead of time.

Once they become comfortable speaking on-camera, most people will open up and give you more material than you need. The challenge then becomes deciding which sound-bites to include in the published video, which brings us to one final and very important point . . .

Keep it Short

Don’t create long, rambling videos. Conventional wisdom says that the most effective online videos are between two and three minutes in length.

If your subject requires more time, break your longer videos into shorter ones and use the “Part 1”, “Part 2”, etc. convention. Remember that viewers can see the total running time of your videos when they load on the page. Visitors who might be reluctant to click “Play” on a six minute video will be willing to watch shorter “installments” of the same video.

Once you get started, you’ll likely find that creating videos to promote your business is actually fun. You’ll also likely find that visitor traffic and conversions, including phone calls, emails, form completions and sales will increase.

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