Video for Small Business—Why It’s Important and What It Takes

Videographer With Video Camera Filming Movie In White Studio

This article was originally posted on Small Business B.C.

For years, Devyn and I have worked with corporate clients in a wide variety of settings to produce video for small businesses. Although the businesses we’ve worked with and their storytelling needs varied tremendously, we’ve found that the concerns of entrepreneurs are generally the same, and are as follows:

  • How much will it cost, and will I see a return in my investment?
  • Will this particular videographer/agency tell my story in an effective way?
  • Will the process take up a lot of my time/energy?

Early in my career, I’ve certainly had my share of unstructured and bumpy experiences, which have left both myself and the client frustrated.  For example, we once pre-scripted for a promo video with a brief meeting that didn’t yield a functional script. This particular client was in a rush to shoot, hadn’t identified their key audience, and was in a stage of their business development that I wouldn’t describe as ideal for taking on a video project. Additionally, her budget limitations didn’t allow for professional talent, but she had a son-in-law “who used to be an actor”.

This type of scenario can work certainly – at times no one is better positioned to share your passion with your audience in the world then you- but after six hours of takes and retakes to deliver lines for a simple five-minute video, I vowed to come up with a process that made video painless for both myself and the client.

Why Do You Need Video for Small Business?

Before hiring a digital content creator you should ask yourself a few questions.  Where does video fit into your overall marketing plan/business objectives? What exactly is your budget? Can you achieve what you want creatively within that budget? Should you focus on video content marketing or short Instagram splashes? Are you trying to drive conversions – or simply building brand awareness? Answers to these questions can, and should, drive the process.

Consider the following statistics (Source)

  • Video ads are 600% more effective that print and direct mail combined
  • Click through rates improve by 13% simply by mentioning the word “video”
  • 80% of all consumer internet traffic is video based
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than images and text combined

Increasingly the algorithms of search engines and social media platforms prioritize video content, and with statistics like these, it’s an indispensable part of your marketing plan.

What Will it Cost? How to Measure ROI?

A builder or engineer costing out a large building project needs a set of tools and a process for accurately communicating to clients what the steps are and what it might all cost. Video is no different. When working with a video production company, pay attention to their process. Do they listen carefully to your needs as an entrepreneur and have a set of tools, such as a creative brief, to give you (and them) a sense of expectations, scale and budget it all might require?

Have they explained how your dollars show up on screen? For smaller budgets, I find it’s important to delineate as well with my clients what the roles are. For example, you can save money on a video project by taking on tasks that are labour intensive but don’t require specialized skills , such as sourcing locations and learning the lines of a script to be the  host of your video.

And what about ROI? A production company could add value to your video project if they have tools to measure the impact of the project you’ve worked on creatively. This is particularly true for those businesses that don’t have large marketing teams behind them. Things such as “heat maps”, SEO tools and the like can help you measure the value of your investment more accurately.

And what about the time investment for busy entrepreneurs? A video project can be as simple as an hour shoot, but many products/services are more complex, requiring multiple locations, lighting set-ups etc…

Regardless of the size of your project, take the time to fill out a creative brief and identify your most critical messages that need to come across. Knowing one’s key messages is a prerequisite to embarking on a video project. Be open to creative ways an agency might have to communicate that key message.

I once had a client who insisted on massive amounts of text on screen to explain a product. I felt this would decrease engagement and redirected her to share this information in text format on her website. A video can sometimes just be an introduction and can be more effective if it doesn’t try to fulfill too many purposes at once.

Lights, Camera, Action

Like anything else in an entrepreneur’s toolkit, video must fit into the overall structure of what you are doing. Business owners lucky enough to find content creation agencies/individual creatives that understand and work well with them find that these can become long term relationships that serve them well as they grow.

So get started on your key messages today!

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