The truth is that most marketplaces are becoming media saturated and any young startup looking to etch out a presence in this digital environment simply cannot afford to ignore video.
YouTube alone has over a billion users, with users viewing over six billion hours of video each month. Facebook has recently entered the video arena in a huge way, with video views growing over 50 per cent in 2014, reaching a billion views per day. A film of Beyoncé received 2.4 million hits within 24 hours of being posted on Facebook, and 10,000 views within the first four hours on YouTube. It is no wonder, with figures like this, that video advertising grew 76 per cent in the 2014 financial year.
The growth of online videos is great news for small businesses and startups. It has helped equalise the marketing arena as platforms like YouTube and Facebook become a universal platform where low budget video campaigns can compete with major brands with the promise of potentially massive audience exposure. There is no better time for small businesses to become involved in video marketing, and there are some great online resources for creating your own DIY style video campaigns on a tight budget.
In fact, producing and sharing creative videos for a marketing campaign can cost next to nothing. Remember, your content doesn’t need to be fancy and full of expensive special effects to connect with the audience. Here are a few ideas for businesses with a small marketing budget to get started on creating a successful online video campaign.
No need to bust your head against the wall trying to come up with original ideas. There are plenty of existing video campaigns that you can learn from. Take a look at videos from similar industries as your own. You will see a trend of popular ideas to focus on, and best of all, most of them are free. Here are just a few content ideas and editing tips.
- Keep the video short and sweet. Three minutes or less should be your goal.
- Be informative and helpful. Don’t push. Consider DIY and How-to style videos that feature company employees, as well as your products.
- Keep your material up to date and fresh by producing weekly tips and advice features with industry experts. Plug the feature and link to it on your website.
- The content should always satisfy at least one of the three ‘e’s and be entertaining, educational, or engaging.
- Don’t make the viewer guess what the video is about. The title should say it all.
- Insure that the video’s message is congruent with the image and status your business wants to project.
- Focus on the content and don’t stress over the production value. Viewers tend to appreciate honesty, originality and relevancy over big budgets.
There is no need to purchase fancy equipment. Most modern smartphones and digital camcorders have plenty of megapixels and come standard with either 720p or 1080 HD ability. Stabilise any potential camera shaking by getting a tripod. If you are really low budget, you can always use a table, box, or whatever else you have lying about the office.
Audio is going to be just as important as visual, so you may want to make the small invest in a microphone, such as a low-cost shotgun mic. If your iPhone or camcorder isn’t getting you the high definition results you really wanted, you can always hire some professional equipment. Renting can be the perfect, and affordable, alternative for the low budget production.
Studio and post-production
You don’t need a fancy studio to get excellent results. Build your own backdrops using a white sheet or plain wall. Use office lamps to create three point lighting for indoor scenes, or head outdoors to find scenic locations with great natural lighting. Working environments are perfect for producing ‘how-to’ videos. Use whatever you have at your disposal.
Your business doesn’t need to spend big bucks on professional editing software. Programmes like Windows Movie Maker and iMovie are included on most computer systems and are easy to use. They may not contain a plethora of special effects, but they can create a seamless end result.
Your business has put in the time and resources to make great video content but that’s only half the journey. The next step is making your material as discoverable as possible and YouTube is a great place to start. It’s extremely easy for even the least tech-savvy individual to upload content, create and organize channels, and begin building an online video presence.
Optimising your content for YouTube and the web in general, as well as ensuring you have the tools in place to measure your success, involves a lot of preparation, a fair degree of research and will cost you time more than money. But keep at it and learn from your mistakes and eventually your initial modest investment will pay dividends as your online fan base grows and with it, so too will your brand.
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