greatson-media-marketingThere are a zillion ways to use video for business, varying from stylish, high-priced ad crusade commercials to complex landing page pieces designed to pull someone into a purchase. What are the greatest types of video for Small Business owners that can be created cost-effectively and published quickly and produce leads? Here are the Elite Eight.

Introductory Clip

Well-known and regularly underused, the video Intro to the Business is a brief, 5 minute or less (2-3 works well) homepage introduction that tells who you are, what you do and why customers should care. This can be done using a narrative in a commercial replete with lots of motion shots of the shop floor, the office, and merchandise; a talking head of the CEO to a blank camera; or use the 3rd party perspective of an authentic Video interview (see below) Business FAQ.

Development costs can range from free (CEO riffing into a webcam) through a few hundred dollars to thousands for a videographer shot commercial. Google doesn’t care; either will index well given the suitable keyword tags. The question you have to answer is, what is going to be quickly informative, entertaining, and referable (as in Re-tweeted).

Product Demonstration

Specific to demonstrable products, especially ones that move, like machines, toys, electronic devices, and, considering the medium, software. These again shouldn’t run on too long but may be longer than an introductory commercial. A software-based demo may take up to 8 minutes, but you should be able to say it in less time than that. When it comes to demos, sometimes less is more. Most often either a narrative led demo showing strictly merchandise or a spokesperson paced demo (think QVC or Home Shopping Channel) works the best. Just make sure to show the BEST features of your product and explain repeatedly (3x) how this addresses a problem for your prospects.

Professional Abilities

This is very similar to a product demo and works best for suppliers, specifically those in developed countries, trying to demonstrate their superior technology will in reality cost less money or provide better quality merchandise for a customer engaging them with a contract for ongoing services. Machine shops and laser houses love this stuff, showing programmed machinery cutting steel while a guy with a hardhat and safety specs controls the process. This can run 5-10 minutes tops. The key here is, make sure that your ability really is something unique (as in a True Competitive Advantage that others don’t have) and that your video captures its uniqueness.

Company Headlines

This is more of a tug on the heartstrings video that spotlights either what your company has achieved that is noteworthy or what your employees have done for your company. If it’s about the business, it MUST be legitimized by 3rd party reference, as in an accolade won from a prominent registrar (Best in Class, Malcolm Baldridge quality), a status obtained (ISO 9001 certification, etc.) or a cat saved from a tree on the news. When discussing employees, the old Employee of the Month style headline adds a nice human element and speaks to what your company values in its people, and that can make a big difference to prospects with the same value system. For these types of videos, keep them brief (2-4 minutes) and keep them current, particularly for the employee notoriety videos. An Employee of the Month surmises that next month, we’ll see a new one.

Video Landing Page Combination

I could write pages on this one and to be truthful, I’m not a professional at it, but I am sure you’ve experienced pages that have these videos. These are designed to be easy for the vendor of a product or service, meaning, don’t call me, take the action explained on the video. That means enter your email address to get something for FRÉE for agreement to market to you, or sign up for the thing (whatever it is) immediately! Just like text-only sales landing pages, these are long-form videos, with Squeeze Pages (get the email address) videos stretching from 3-7 minutes, and Sales Pages running all the way up to 30 minutes (that is too long in my view, with 10-12 being enough). The most important stuff here: limit options to only this with no other on-page interruptions and make multiple calls to action to the viewer.

Vlog Posts

All about providing info this one is. It comes in the form of a training video, which is conveniently done for things like software applications using screen capture software, or talking head telling something she knows, and often is the Expert Interview (I’ve done a bunch of these in my blog, see sample). The goal is expert positioning for your company while providing real value for the view. These videos can run from 5-30 minutes or longer (think of a book author interview), but I prefer to keep them between 7 and 15 minutes (YouTube has a 15 minute max until you are a recurring video poster). Tickets to success are to limit the subject matter to prevent rambling, don’t provide fluff with a sales pitch to get more, and add some written text fore and aft of the video to set it up and summarize.

estimonials and Case Studies

Very self-explanatory here, this is 3rd party Reliability Building 101. Take the same things that marketers value about written examples and testimonials and put them on steroids. This definitely MUST be a person unrelated to the business telling about what the company did for him or her, and it can NOT be anonymous (just like those absurd fake reviews you see, “JL from Tampa says …”). Use foresight if the person doing the talking is not good on camera. It shouldn’t make a difference but it does. He doesn’t need to be Ben Affleck, but he can’t be a stiff either. These run no more than 3 minutes in length and follow my rules for great reviews. Quality can’t be weak, but a webcam with reasonable quality can be used effectively, as the subject matter of the person’s referral is the principal piece.

Video Interview

I saved this for last and, as you probably know by now, Smart Company Growth does these in packages for the right type of clients. Video interviews work well for any company that wants to put a human face on its brand, so consider if that is you. They work extremely well when your organization has these three aspects:

1. No physical product – Right for consultants, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, IT people and anyone else offering professional services. You sell intellectual property and that is difficult to show by showing a video shot of your report (although you can show results charts, but the people who can use this method the most, financial advisors, usually have rules stopping it).

2. Trust is the key to business – Same group, right? If you’re an attorney, how can you start to break the trust hurdle down without ever meeting someone? Show some face time with the 3rd party legitimacy that comes from being interviewed.

3. Sameness in Brand – If you look at your rivals’ websites and they look like yours does – competent yet non-distinguishable – you’re a good prospect for a video interview to set yourself apart. Once more, this is why professional service companies fall so nicely into video interview candidates.

By Karl Walinskas (c) 2011