Some of the biggest marketing challenges facing small businesses today are building trust and establishing a loyal customer base. Once visitors are on your website, how can you convince them that your product or service is the best choice for them? What can you do to instill that sense of credibility and leave a positive first impression?
If you're a small business, you might not be able to tout the big brand names that make people say to themselves, "Wow, [impressive company X] uses them? They must be good!" But lucky for us, the rise of online video in recent years has made establishing trust much easier for businesses of all sizes. And of course, the demand for video isn’t going anywhere. According to research from the folks at HubSpot, 54% of consumers want to see more video from marketers in the future. So if you haven't started investing in video, now's the time!
How can a small business with a small budget get started with video marketing? The answer is actually pretty simple: start with the videos that will have the biggest impact on your business. With that framework in mind, let's take a look at the first three videos your business should start making today!
1. Product explainer video
If you don't make any other video this year (though we're confident you've got what it takes), start with a product explainer video. Think about the last time you surfed around a company's website and thought to yourself, "Is this business even legit? What the heck do they do?" This is the last impression you want to leave on a site visitor or potential customer, which is why a product explainer video is the first video you should make.
Remember that the content of your video is far more important than how shiny or professional it looks. You don't need to break the bank to make an effective product explainer video—in fact, before you invest in a big production, try making a video that’s a little more on the DIY side and see how it works for your business. You can always upgrade your video later or even test other versions against it to see which one resonates most with your audience.
Take a look at this product explainer video from Basecamp, a project management and team communication software. Small budget? No problem.
This video doesn't simply showcase all the best features Basecamp has to offer. Instead, it paints a picture (or in this case, draws one) that clearly points to a problem the software can solve (if you’re a busy project manager, use this tool to make your job easier).
It's easy to focus on your product's features, but what you really want to do is hone in on the problem your business solves. Appeal to viewers’ emotions and explain how your solution can help make their lives easier, better, more fulfilling—whatever the case may be—and you’re on your way to seeing success with video.
Types of explainer videos you can make
Now that you’ve hopefully seen the value of product explainer videos, let's dive into a few different types of videos your small business can start investing in. Depending on what resources are currently available to you, not to mention how much time you want to put in to the final product, there are a number of avenues you can take.
Arguably one of the most popular types of explainer videos a business can make, animated videos are easy to outsource thanks to services like GoAnimate or Powtoon, who can turn your script into an imaginative video.
If you plan on shooting the video yourself (whether you have an in-house video producer or not), consider the following tips for making your video as effective as it can be:
- Start with a great script. As odd as it might seem, the written word is the foundation for any great explainer video.
- Keep it short and sweet—60 seconds or less is perfect.
- Use simple, conversational language. No business jargon allowed!
- Incorporate some shots of what you’re actually selling in your video—show and tell.
Is your small business in the SaaS space? A simple screencast video works particularly well in this context; plus, it also happens to be super budget-friendly. Check out this example from the team at Volusion, a software platform for ecommerce sites.
Notice how key slides are interspersed throughout the screencast, making it easy to understand how their product works? That’s exactly what you’re looking for.
If you want to simplify the screencast process as much as possible, we just happen to offer a nifty screen recording tool that lets you make high-quality product explainer videos in a snap. Try Soapbox for free today!
2. Customer testimonial video
Some businesses tend to shy away from collecting testimonials, and who can blame them? The task can feel scary and intimidating, and ROI is difficult to predict at the outset. But what's so great about testimonial videos is that you only need one or two solid ones in your catalogue to see the difference they can make.
Start by interviewing some of your long-term customers that have seen tangible results thanks to your product, and share those videos on a prominent page on your site. Again, building trust can be a tricky part of marketing a small business. But with an effective testimonial video, you can go above and beyond that goal.
When it comes time to brainstorm who you might reach out to for these interviews, think about who your ideal customer is. Make sure the customers you feature in your testimonials are aligned with your target audience. Ideally, your prospects will be able to see themselves and their businesses in the testimonial videos you create.
Ultimately, video testimonials help visitors feel more confident in your business and the services you provide. And why wouldn’t they? Your most authentic subjects are your actual customers. This testimonial from Quip, a software service that combines documents, spreadsheets, checklists, and team chat in one place, shows us how it's done in this video.
After watching this video, the viewer has a better understanding of how Instacart uses Quip, what they like most about it, and how using this tool has impacted their business.
Tips for making video testimonials
Ready to produce your very own video testimonials? Here are some of our favorite tips for making a compelling testimonial that builds trust and looks great:
- Before the interview, give your customer an idea of what topics you'll cover, but don't share all of your questions just yet! You want their responses to sound as natural and unrehearsed as possible.
- Shoot the video at the customer's own workplace if possible, as it helps drive home the authenticity factor.
- Capture additional B-roll footage throughout the shoot, whether you think you’ll need the shots or not. These small moments can round out your video and make it more cohesive.
- Let the camera run, and edit the takes later. Ask your interviewee to repeat what they've said if they fumble over their words, but for the most part, try to keep your footage natural.
- Keep it conversational so your subject feels comfortable. This can often lead to more emotional, authentic responses.
- Crowdsource a simple video featuring current employees. Empower your peers to tell their own stories by submitting video clips that can be compiled into one video.
- Interview some of your own employees. Think "customer testimonials" but from your employees. Ask them some questions about their day-to-day life at your company and record their responses.
- Use B-roll footage from a company event or party and record a voiceover after the fact. This is a super low-budget way to make a video that emphasizes what your company culture is all about, with virtually no pre-production effort involved.
3. Company story video
If your small business has a particularly interesting background, company story videos are the way to go. How did your business get started? What was your motivation for starting the company? By featuring the friendly faces of your teammates, you can make your prospects feel right at home. After all, people are buying more products and services based on emotion rather than logic, which is one reason why appealing to a visitor's psyche is so important.
A company story video lets you show off what makes your business so special and unique on a human level like no other medium can. When people are able to associate familiar faces and names with a business, they’re more likely to feel a strong connection to it—and ultimately have a positive experience with your brand.
In this video, find out the history behind Redbarn Pet Products, a healthy, wholesome dog food company.
I don't even have a dog and I'd give Redbarn my money! But in all seriousness, this two-minute video gives you a solid understanding of what matters most to Redbarn as a business. You learn how this family-owned dog food company got its start, what it believes in, and how it views running a business. An all-around success!
Types of company stories
What if your story isn't as cute and wholesome as Redbarn's? Not to worry, because there are some other types of videos you can make to achieve a similar goal. Your company's culture and how team members feel about working there today are just as important as the story behind how you got your start. Here are a few ways to underline that:
Video success for small businesses
Marketers know that testing new channels and tactics before going all-in on one is the best way to make informed decisions. And when you work at a small business where resources can run thin, you want to make sure you're spending your time wisely. That's why, as a video software company built by marketers, we recommend getting started with these three types of videos.
Easily build trust, establish credibility, and show the people who work at your company, and you'll be on your way to building an even more reputable and buzzworthy business.