The sheer volume of online video available these days can be both intimidating and encouraging to today’s small business owner.
Intimidating when you see the amount of talent (not to mention budget!) involved in producing some of the most famous branded videos out there.
But encouraging when you realize that you really, honestly, truly can create content that will be interesting to your consumer base…using nothing more than your camera phone and laptop!
So, at the risk of intimidating you, I’m first going to show you some examples of fantastically-done online video.
Yes, they probably cost more to produce than your entire annual marketing budget and yes, they come from some extremely well known brands. But they can still offer inspiration and maybe even a few tips that would be beneficial to your own online video marketing efforts.
Fisher Price’s New Year’s Babies
Fisher Price took on a pretty daunting project on New Year’s Day.
It invited parents from all over the planet to send them footage of their New Years’ babies delivery. Then it took all that footage (which came in from cities as far-flung as Boston, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Bangladesh, Nairobi and Warsaw) and edited it within 24 hours.
Lessons to be learned: You don’t need to sell product at all on your videos. You don’t even need to watermark the heck out of it with your logo. Let the message and the content capture your customers’ attention and hearts. The brand glow will follow.
Another brilliant aspect of this video is that Fisher Price didn’t shoot the actual content. It was shot by their consumers! This is something worth considering when you create your own video. Try to find ways to incorporate UGC (User Generated Content) in your own video efforts.
Not only will it save you in content-production costs, but it will also make your content more interesting and engaging to your audience… because it’s all about them!
Ikea: Experience the Power of The Bookbook
This is so simple it boggles the mind. Yet this video garnered over 15 million views so far! Clever, clean and focused on an unusual topic. Many videos either focus too much on the product itself, which usually leads to very boring, un-engaging content. Or it focuses completely on the customer which can be very engaging and fun…but risks losing the marketing message that the company wants to deliver.
In the Ikea example above, the focus isn’t on the products, or on the consumers of those products. Its on one of Ikea’s most popular marketing tools – its catalog!
And even more interestingly, it does so in a very tongue-in-cheek way. One that co-opts another brand’s marketing style. By announcing the “Bookbook” Ikea has mimicked, in a good-natured way, the way Apple launches and announces its new products. Creative, humorous and engaging!
Lessons to be learned: Don’t shy away from humor. People love videos that make them smile. It won’t diminish your brand and in fact, can help folks warm up to it. Another lesson is to play with ideas/themes/styles that are already immensely popular. Even if they were created by another brand!
Zappos: Why Do People Work There?
It’s so crazy. When you’re a small business, you are always trying to look larger than you are. You write emails on behalf of “we” versus I. You talk about “your team” when maybe that team consists of one part time admin and your dog who “works” in your home office with you.
But once a brand gets big enough, it sometimes seems as though it’s harder to get customers to relate to you. They begin to think of you as a big moneymaking machine, a cold corporate entity. The ecommerce giant Zappos.com knows that its customers may forget that there are real, live humans making that site tick.
Its why they crow more about their exemplary customer service than anything else they offer (fast shipping, lower prices, etc.) It’s why they put out video after video showcasing the weird, wonderful, wacky people who take care of Zappos’ customers every single day.
Lesson to be learned: If you want to strengthen the bond between yourself and your customer base, do like Zappos did. Produce videos celebrating the people that make your business tick. People don’t buy from companies…they buy from other people.
Now. I hope you are properly inspired. Now let’s talk how to approach creating your online videos. I won’t go into exactly what you should be producing because each small business’s needs and customer issues are so very different. Maybe your customers need some DIY advice and you’re just the tool shop to supply it. Or maybe your customers have discipline issues with their teenage children and you, as a family psychology author, are the perfect person to help them with those issues.
Whatever the topic, whatever the video content, you need to keep the following goals in mind. Make sure all of your video content adheres to these goals:
#1 Build Credibility
Videos are a fantastic way to differentiate yourself from your competition and elevate yourself as not just a seller of goods, but an expert in your field! Unless you are going for straight, ‘viral’ bait goofy humor – try to keep in mind that all of your online video should be helping you become more and more credible in your field.
Leverage your expertise and show it off as much as you can in your videos. Ideally, you’d actually include footage of you helping one of your customers and them looking to you for help.
#2 Humanize brand
I touched on this earlier but videos are one the best, easiest ways to humanize your brand. By seeing your face, your customers face (ideally smiling) – your prospects can literally ‘put a face to the name.’
Even if the bulk of you content is of a non-talking head nature, try to find ways to sneak in at least one smiling face or two. Your customers will connect and warm to your brand in ways you never thought possible.
#3 Attract Buyers
There’s a reason I listed this one last is because while it’s important, it should not be your focus when you are creating online video. Sure, everything you put out there in video format should be attractive to buyers. It should include a mention or two (at least) of your brand and/or logo.
You need to be attractive to buyers, and you need to be clear where they can find you, should they want to buy from you. But notice I said “Attract Buyers” and not “Sell to Buyers.” Big difference. If you keep the first two goals in mind: building credibility and humanizing your brand, that alone will go a long way to attracting buyers.
But if you try too hard to pitch, to sell, to overtly promote yourself, you’re dead in the water. All that video production time and money…wasted. Because your viewers will be rolling along, enjoying a fantastically fun or fascinating video and suddenly it becomes nothing but a TV commercial to them. And what do we do with commercials? We turn them off.
I’ll leave you with one more fantastic example of online video. Branded – just barely – video that focuses on one of its customers. One of its extremely cute four legged customers: Kama the surfing pig! What an engaging and funny but still subtly persuasive sales pitch for their camera.
I found out about it via this great article about branded content, which I highly recommend you reading. Not only does the author talk about the value of ‘showing versus telling’ and how videos can help you do just that.
But it’s also worth noting that the author, having viewed this video, admits to buying one of the GoPro cameras. Talk about effective!
So tell me. Or rather – show me! Show me examples of your own online videos in the comments below. Link to your online videos or examples of ones that you love and admire. Ask for feedback and help. That’s what we are all here for!
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