You’ve probably heard all about video marketing and its purported benefits. “Videos connect businesses with customers! They help you rank organically! They boost customer confidence! You’re missing out if you don’t make videos!”
None of these are false statements. You might even have considered video marketing seriously. But problem is, you just don’t know where to start, or how to start. Do I need to a cameraman? Should I host the video? What should I say? What if it turns out tacky?
If this sounds like you, then we (or rather, Shia LaBeouf) have just one word of advice for you:
Nobody gets from 0 to 100 straightaway. But once you’re over the “getting started” bump, you’ll start to see what video is all about, all the things you can do with it, and get a clearer sense of how video can fit into your content marketing strategy.
”Ok, but what about the cost?
Do you have a smartphone? An internet connection? Great. Download a free video editing mobile app, and you’ll be all set.
Fact is, social media is becoming an increasingly significant avenue for generating traffic and leads. Depending on which social media platform you’re using, raw camera footages and the absence of editing can actually be an advantage.
For small businesses in particular, it’s not about splashing out on lavishly produced videos. It’s about reaching out to customers in ways that matter to them!
”Fine, but what about the time it takes me to make a video?
We know that time comes at a premium for small businesses. But thankfully, short-form videos have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they are exceptionally well suited to social media.
So, one viable video marketing strategy is this: Dedicate a day each month to filming, and then edit your footage into multiple bite-size, standalone fragments. As we will see later in this article, this is precisely the strategy adopted by one of the success examples.
”I still don’t know what I should put into my video!
Here are some other videos you can make right away:
1. Categorize your customer queries and respond to them in a video Q&A
2. Demonstrate hacks and tricks that might benefit your customers
3. Introduce your team members. You’d be surprised at how far a sincere smile can go towards humanizing your business!
”But my business doesn’t lend itself well to video content
Is it really? Or is it just the case that businesses in your industry aren’t huge on videos?
The case is more often than not the latter. As we will see later from the success stories, most of these businesses don’t exactly lend themselves well to visual representation. Nonetheless, they’ve made video work for them.
There is, in fact, a hidden advantage to using videos in an industry where most of the businesses have not yet caught on to video marketing. It means that if you create a video marketing strategy and establish yourself in this domain first, you stand a higher chance of maximizing your returns.
Put in other words, you stand to gain first-mover advantage.
In any case, inspiration doesn’t just come out of the blue. If you still need convincing, then we hope the three success stories below suffice!
Three success stories
In this section, we’ve hand-picked three success stories to show you that video marketing, when used right, yields formidable results for small businesses.
For this purpose, we’ve steered clear of famous examples like BlendTec and GoPro. If you’re interested, we’ve written all about them in a previous article.
The success stories here are meant to show that even modestly successful videos can have a significant impact on generating new sales and leads for your business.
Our focus here is not just on end results. Our focus here is on ROI – what you put in, relative to what you get out of it. And video marketing is often your best bet for maximizing ROI.
How? You’ll see!
1. Roll Out Mat
Roll Out Mat is a manufacturer and supplier of wrestling mats and gym padding products.
According to Metro Studios, the marketing agency that was responsible for coming up with a digital marketing plan for Roll Out Mat, the business had zero content built around its products1. As a result, its search engine rankings were low, and website traffic was dismal.
To boost the website’s rankings, Metro Studios took to keyword research to find out what Roll Out Mat’s prospective customers were looking for. The first thing they were looking for were product reviews for wrestling mats. The second thing they were looking for were tutorials for carrying out specific wrestling moves.
Metro Studios caught on to the latter. A quick search on Youtube revealed that wrestling tutorials tend to be outdated.
And this naturally led to a video marketing strategy based around tutorials of the searched-for wrestling moves. In just one trip, Metro Studios shot all the tutorials, which they then segmented into a collection of bite-size videos. These videos were later uploaded periodically onto Youtube.
To get the most out of these videos, they were also posted, along with transcriptions, on Roll Out Mat’s website and all its other social media channels.
To date, the channel has close to 150,000 views. Its most popular video has 34,000 views.
Although Roll Out Mat’s channel is now defunct, its SEO effects remain. A quick search of the term “roll out mat” on Google shows the website ranking near the top. According to Metro Studios, Roll Out Mat’s YouTube videos bumped its website up by more than 40 search engine rankings.
The key takeaway here? Have a video strategy that you can apply across all your social media platforms. That’s how you milk your content to the fullest!
2. Wasp Barcode Technologies
Wasp Barcode Technologies makes barcode scanners and complementary asset/inventory management softwares. “Super non-sexy product(s)”, in the words of Jeremy Vest, then senior SEM and online manager of Wasp. 2
Admittedly, a barcode scanner is something the average person would never need. But with more than 2.5 million total views on its Youtube channel, Wasp Barcode shows that it is entirely possible, advantageous even, for businesses whose products aren’t readily made for visual titillation to engage in successful video marketing strategies.
How did Wasp achieve this?
To begin, Wasp’s YouTube channel has all the run-of-the-mill product introduction and demo videos.
But perhaps non-incidentally, the most popular video on Wasp’s channel is a testimonial-type video that talks about how its inventory control software benefitted another small business. Unlike Wasp, the beneficiary did lend itself well to the video format.
This video boasts over 250,000 views, which is an impressive figure for a small business. But more importantly, Wasp’s video marketing strategy yielded tangible marketing results. Vest attributes the 63% increase in demo leads, 450,000 increase in website visitors, and 87.1% of total website referrals to Wasp’s YouTube strategy.3
Vest further summarises 5 content marketing tips that we can all learn from Wasp’s video marketing success4:
- Create a variety of content to build a dynamic but thematically coherent video channel.
- Understand what your audience want, what they search for, and then make content that caters to them.
- SEO your videos by going into the technical details. This includes writing your meta-tags and meta-descriptions according to best practices.
- Advertise. While SEO helps to promote traffic organically, other parts of online marketing remain a ‘pay to play’ game.
- Treat YouTube as a social media platform, not just a video-hosting platform. Afterall, it’s on-par (if not bigger5) than Facebook.
What’s the takeaway here? Well, if a business can build its video marketing strategy around products as unsexy as inventory management softwares, then we don’t see any reasons why other businesses can’t do the same, too.
3. River Pools and Spas
River Pools makes and installs inground fiberglass pools.
Swimming pools lend themselves well to visual representation. When prospective customers think about installing a pool in their backyard, one of the first things they consider is how the pool looks with the surrounding landscapes.
It’s obvious in retrospect that a video marketing strategy would be well-suited to River Pools.
To start off, it would be worthwhile to subscribe to a performance analysis tool, such as those provided by Wistia, Brightcove and Vidyard. 35% of businesses are already using intermediate or advanced analytic tools to help measure video performance.
But River Pools didn’t always have a video marketing strategy. Co-owner Marcus Sheridan spoke of a time before River Pools began on its video marketing journey, when the marketing budget was dedicated solely to outbound marketing. Spendings on direct mail, yellow page ads, radio ads etc. totaled more than $150,000.
After establishing its inbound marketing strategies, which included a YouTube strategy, River Pools managed to cut marketing spendings to less than $50,000, while increasing their website traffic by 300% – 400%. They also increased new business leads by over 400%, making this their best year6. All these happened in 2009 – an economically disastrous year for others in the industry, but not for River Pools.
River Pools’ YouTube channel, which now goes by Sheridan’s name, has over 1 million total views. It boasts a comprehensive assortment of videos, including 360 degree videos of their fiberglass pools, and practical advice for first-time buyers and pool owners alike.
The most popular video on the channel, which has 300,000 views currently, is an informational video about “how to open your inground swimming pool”. This video is useful to River Pools’ customers at least once a year, right around pool season.
Does it take time to create content? Of course!
But for small business owners who are constantly bemoaning the lack of time, just take a look at Sheridan’s experience.
Sheridan said that he spent between 10 to 20 hours a week on his inbound marketing efforts, which afforded him enough time to write 2 to 3 blog posts, work on the website’s search engine rankings, and teach himself how to analyze website traffic.
Was it worth it? Just look at the results garnered by River Pools’ YouTube channel!
The key takeaway here is this: If your competitors do not have a comprehensive video marketing strategy yet, it doesn’t mean that your industry is unfit for it. More often than not, it means you’re in luck!
All the examples we just looked at share certain similarities.
For one, these businesses never tried to sell their products explicitly in their videos. Some of their videos don’t even contain direct references to their brands.
Instead, their main focus has always been on providing useful and entertaining information to their viewers. Which is just what it means to engage in inbound content marketing – instead of pushing your products out to people, you pull them in with valuable content!
Where do all of these leave us?
For now, forget that expensive camera (that you’re probably never going to use), or that professional video-editing software (that you’ll probably never need).
Put these concerns down, and start creating now!