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If you haven’t noticed yet, video content is taking over the Internet. Just a few years ago, video content simply meant YouTube. But now all the big social media sites – including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – have embraced video. Increasing the platforms to use video to sell. Making video the most popular form of content on the web today.

So if you’re a small business owner, how do you begin to add video to your overall digital marketing mix?

#1: Reasons to create a video

You’ll need to start off by thinking of the business case where you will use video to sell.

That’s right – there should be a real reason to create the video. Not just “because everyone else is doing it”.

For example. Some videos are created to reinforce an overall brand message. Other videos are designed to attract new leads. Still, other videos are pure traffic plays, designed to bring more traffic to your website.

The following are some of the most popular reasons to create a video:

  • Build your website’s traffic
  • Capture new leads
  • Build your overall brand
  • Make a direct sale

As you might have guessed…

Your goal is to match the content to your business reason for creating a video in the first place.

For example. A video designed to build your overall brand might not even mention a single product that you sell. The goal is not to get you to buy something (at least directly). The goal is to educate you about your company stands for. And what its mission is in the business world.

#2: Key elements of any video

Once you’ve decided to use video to sell your services. It’s time to consider some of the most important elements to include in these videos.

Here are just some of the elements that you can decide to include:

  • A brief intro that includes your company’s branding
  • A link back to your website
  • An opt-in offer (e.g. newsletter sign-up)
  • A call-to-action
  • A brief ending that includes your company’s branding

All of these elements can help to achieve your stated business goal.

For example. If the goal is to build website traffic, then you will definitely want to include a link back to your website. If the goal is to capture more leads. Then you will want to give the viewer the opportunity to opt-in to your company’s newsletter. And if your goal is to make a direct sale. Then use a call-to-action (CTA) that encourages viewers to buy your products.

#3: Themes, ideas and topics to include in your video

Think of the key elements of any video like this. They are the simple, functional elements that help to achieve your stated business goal. Now you will have to turn your attention to the actual creative content of the video.

What, exactly, should your video be about?

The good news is that you don’t have to be a Hollywood creative to come up with a great idea.

At the end of the day, there are really only two different types of videos your business can create:

(A) Videos that educate
(B) And videos that entertain.

If your goal is to educate your viewer, then the following can be the topic or theme of your video:

  • How customers can use your products to create value in their own lives
  • Why your products are better than the competition
  • How to use your products more effectively
  • Tips, advice or insights on how to use certain products

If you don’t have a huge marketing budget, these “educational” videos are among the easiest to create.

For example, one very common way to use video to sell is by creating “how-to” videos.

Let’s say you operate a small hardware store. You might create a series of “how-to” videos around typical home improvement projects. Alternatively, you might provide “expert” tips and insights on how to use certain power tools.

If your goal is to entertain the viewer. Then you will have to become more creative about the topic or theme of your video.

Here are some ideas for a video that entertains:

  • Scenes of your team using your products in unique situations
  • Interviews with team members or the CEO
  • Behind-the-scenes footage of your team at work
  • Behind-the-scenes footage of your team at play

The ultimate goal of any video that entertains is that it will go “viral”. This means that customers will share this video with their friends. Then, in turn, will share the video with their friends.

But in order for that to happen, the video has to be worth watching. That’s why many businesses try to use humor as much as possible in videos. If there’s one thing that people like sharing with others, it’s a funny moment.

#4: Warnings, watch-outs and final advice when you use video to sell

There are certain conventions that you should follow when you use video to sell for your small business. One of these involves time.

As a rule of thumb, the maximum length for any video is 3 minutes. But the shorter the better. Most people only start watching a video for the first 30 seconds. And will abandon it if it doesn’t capture their attention immediately.

You might want to experiment first with shorter 30-second video clips. Then move on to 2-minute videos that can be storyboarded for maximum effectiveness.

Another convention is that you need to include your call-to-action (CTA) at the very end. Build in some extra time at the end of the video for the CTA to remain on the screen.

Otherwise, viewers won’t have time to copy down your website URL. That’s why many video experts advise leaving “dead time” at the end of the video for emphasis.

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Now you know the four steps on how to use video to sell. You have the basis for creating and then optimizing a video that sells.

As you can see, it helps to break down a very amorphous goal…

Let’s go out there and start creating videos”.

Into one that is informed by very specific business goals. Such as driving more traffic back to your website.

Once settled on the business goal of the video. It’s much easier to decide on the functional and creative elements.