Web Videos for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

Web videos for SMEs…do it, but do it right.

by Alex Hudd of Dreambase Studios Limited

To say that we live in fast changing times is an often overused phrase. But to put it in context let’s take a brief glance at the development of the World Wide Web.

Year

Event

Websites

1990

World Wide Web invented by Tim Berners Lee

1

1992

First video multicast

1993

Businesses began to take notice of the Internet as a tool

623

1994

Netscape released the first commercial web browser (became Firefox in 2002) and you could order your pizza from Pizza Hut online!

1995

Microsoft released Internet Explorer

23,000

2000

Wireless devices emerged

>10 mill

2002

Blogging started to become fashionable.

2004

Social networking emerged popularised by sites such as LinkedIn, MySpace and Flickr

2005

YouTube created

2008

Google’s crawlers indexed 1 trillion pages (a mere fraction of the total!)

>160 mill

When I talk with companies and business owners about promoting themselves using video I am often asked how it will make a difference to their sales. One look at the timeline above and it is obvious to most that the Internet has quickly become a vital business tool and with millions of transactions taking place online every day it is a vast market place. Remember too that the generation entering the workplace now, and your future colleagues and customers, have grown up with the web around them. It is the first place they turn when needing information or advice and more and more they expect their experience to be interactive. Why read pages of information when a video can tell them what they want to know in two minutes?

Since YouTube emerged in 2005 video content on the World Wide Web has increased dramatically. Tens of thousands of new videos are added to YouTube every day; that’s 24 hours of video uploaded every minute. The sheer accessibility of YouTube and other video channels and hosting systems mean that company advertising on a worldwide scale is now only an upload away. Companies, especially SMEs, now have the same potential advertising exposure previously reserved for the world’s largest brands such as Coca Cola or Intel. One example of the popularity of online advertising came in December 2009 when Pepsi turned its advertising focus to online media. From spending $33 million on advertising its products during the 2009 Super Bowl it’s now turning its advertising budgets to online media citing more flexibility and opportunities in the online market place.

Today’s web users don’t just consume content on YouTube like they would a soap or commercial on TV – they are much more likely to analyse it and decide whether or not to pass it on – spreading your message virally and doing much of the marketing work for you.

Web video costs far less than traditional TV commercials as there’s no advertising fee. There are also no worries about when to advertise as the user chooses their own prime time. There will be some costs associated with video and website hosting services but websites such as YouTube and Vimeo are completely free. They also have a familiar interface and can be very easily embedded into web pages and the quality of encoding on these channels is improving all the time allowing better picture and sound quality.

Using web video to promote your company can enable the product or service to be targeted far more effectively than traditional methods of marketing such as print advertising, mail-shots and leaflet drops. Everything can be tracked, analysed and measured on the Internet and reported back in an extremely detailed manner and videos are no exception. Someone told me recently that if you can’t measure it there’s no point in doing it. Internet marketing is totally measurable. Find out how many times your video has been viewed, how many people watched it to the end, and the all important ‘click through’ to your website. This is the kind of marketing information that was previously unknown to businesses.

Web video can also enable companies to deliver their message using methods simply not possible with printed media. They can demonstrate the quality of their products and workmanship or the facilities and premises they work from. They can also be used to demonstrate the human side of the business by allowing potential customers to meet the faces behind the name. People buy from people and an interview with the CEO or other key workers as part of the presentation can help with the initial steps of engaging the customer and building trust. The latest video hosting platforms also allow interactivity such as hotspots, voting, and forms and much more to be included with your content.

We already know that anyone with a suitable mobile phone and a video editing package, that comes as standard on all major computer operating systems, can produce video content with minimum effort. But there is no denying the quality of much of the content on YouTube is far below what any business would consider using to showcase their products and services, as the quality of the content will be a reflection of the company. And there are millions of videos out there, so how do you stand out in the information haze that is the Web?

Think about why you remember specific advertising campaigns, sometimes for years.  Remember that ‘content is king’. Give your company the best chance of exposure by producing a professional film with high production values. A professional video production company should offer free advice and pre-planning for the production to cover such items as script, shot composition, voiceovers, music and effects, and will have experience in the film industry as well as access to professional equipment, including cameras, lighting, sound recording equipment, cranes and dollies.

By producing the best content possible you’re more likely to stand out from the crowd and if you combine your company video with email marketing, a blog and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, you stand an extremely good chance of getting your message across, by engaging with your audience and potential customers and allowing them to interact with you.

Alex Hudd is a Director at Dreambase Studios Limited, a company providing corporate video production along with film sound post production services, engineering and innovation from their base in North Wiltshire. For more information visit www.dreambasestudios.com

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12 thoughts on “Web Videos for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

  1. Thanks for your comment. I have been following your posts for some while now and your blog is very interesting. I like the fact that you have now moved into using video.

  2. I think i need to make your readers aware that “on paper” you are not allowed to post “non personal” videos onto the Vimeo website with their Free offering. Alot of small company’s do, but please be aware that Vimeo have the right to delete your videos if they deem them for “business purposes”. Have a good look through their T&C’s and you will see it on there.

    I think its also worth pointing out that Corporate DVD productions are very different to Web Video clips that actually work. There’s a reason for certain videos online either going viral, or becoming very popular, and to assume that “profesional looking video” is going to make your media effective is a mistake. The web is a totally different platform, with a new style of viewing other than that of TV or Film. You ask the majority of people if they watch after 30-40 seconds of a video online for example!

    I suggest to my clients that they go out there and make their “own” personal talking head videos with Flip Cam’s to sell themselves because guess what.. people buy from people, and keeping it “real” online where everything is transparent is crucial. This is the fundamental reason why Social Networking sites are so popular, its real people talking to real people.. and video should be treated the same way.

  3. Hi Phil
    Thank you for your comment. You make a very good point and I am sure our readers will find your comment very useful. It is a good idea to carry a Filp Cam or similar small video camera to record those special moments that can be used on a website.
    Roland

  4. I still cannot believe that Youtube and Facebook etc. are all so very young, yet Facebook (at least on Christmas day, not sure about now) surpassed Google in amount of hits!

  5. This is the power of social media Shane – no coincidence that YouTube and Facebook are both in the top 4 sites on the net for total traffic and new visitors per month.
    So much so that one of my mentors and Google Adwords (the ‘pay per click’ paid listings that you can see on the right hand side on Google) Perry Marshall is now moving into working with Facebook Ads which is a similar concept.
    Social media is only going to grow and grow in the future, so watch for more sites coming on board, or others adopting a similar approach.

  6. Thanks for your comments guys. This article was meant as a very brief overview of web video. Dreambase Studios certainly don’t try to compete with Flip Video users and we mainly do DVDs as the delivery method, but much of the material ends up on the web in some shape or form. Our skills are helping business and individuals get their message across in the most appropriate form and thank goodness there are plenty who want to use us! I must stress we are not a digital marketing agency but we have worked with some agencies to help get their messages across both in pictures and sound. It’s all changing so rapidly but certainly keeps us on our toes, so to speak!

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