This post was originally posted to American Express Open Forum by the vADz COO Carol Meinhardt
Business, especially small business, is all about people and how they relate to one another. So why not present the personal side of your business to your customers through video?
In an earlier OPEN Forum article, Why Your Small Business Needs Video Marketing, I outlined several tips on getting started. Here, I want to talk about a way to enhance your videos with features and techniques called SmartVideo.
What is a SmartVideo?
A SmartVideo is one that leads your customer to take an action that will result in a sale for your business. Like all business videos, you’ll want to include relevant facts about your product or service, a product demo, a personal message from the founder, customer testimonials and whatever else might is relevant. What differentiates a “SmartVideo” from any other video is that you give your customer the ability make a decision and execute the sale immediately, rather than sending them to a store, website or showroom to close the deal. How? By incorporating any or all of the following “smart” features:
- Coupon: With SmartVideo, you can attach a coupon to your video which users can download right upon viewing.
- Downloadable attachments: This could be a menu, fact sheet, founder bio, press coverage or any other piece of information that can help close the sale or drive traffic to your business.
- Map: Viewers of your video can click on a map to find out your exact location.
- Buy Now: SmartVideos may also contain an ability to let users buy your product straight from the video.
- Tracking: Some video hosting companies will be able to set up online ad placements for you and track the viewership to your videos.
Here is an example of a SmartVideo of a cooking demonstration for a restaurant client created with our editing software, vADz, containing a coupon, chef bio and map. As discussed in my last post, you can use a simple software or online video service to create your video. Video editors vary on ease of use and options offered, but are generally much less expensive than if you were to hire your own production team.
Preparing your SmartVideo
Before you select a video editor or distribution platform, consider the following:
- Determine what content you’ll want to show. Grab your digital camera and take some pictures and short videos of your business or your products. You can also use videos and pictures supplied by vendors and manufacturers you represent.
- Decide on the message you would like to send to your customer. Think about the best and unique features that make your product, service, food and/or activity very special. Tell that story! Are you introducing a new product or service? Do you have a “special offer” you are promoting? Maybe you want to sell yourself. SmartVideo can be used to make a terrific video resume.
- Extra tip: Download your pictures, videos, text and any music files to which you own the rights to your Desktop or folder on your computer.
Now you are ready to register with your video-editing provider and upload your pictures and videos per their instructions. Drag and drop your content to create the order and flow of your video and try out some techniques for dissolving images into one another and inserting and formatting text. Most video editing software will allow you to preview your video and make changes, so don’t be afraid to try different things out.
You made a SmartVideo, now what?
Once you have your content and call to action packed into an engaging video, distribute it “smartly” by letting as many people see it as possible. E-mail it, blog it, advertise it, display it everywhere you can—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your website, etc. Additionally, make sure it is optimized for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
If people are searching for a business of your type, they might be searching on YouTube. You can easily create a YouTube channel for your business where you can upload all of your videos. Then, be sure to include a link to your YouTube channel on your website so that your patrons can have a one-stop place to see all of your video messages.
Social media has become increasingly important to business and video is key to social sharing—make it work for you. The more people who not only see your video, but can interact with you directly as a result, the more potential customers you will have. So get busy!
Have you created a SmartVideo?
OPEN Cardmember Carol Meinhardt is co-Managing Member of Chicago West Pullman, an investment holding company and the COO of vADz, Inc, a social video advertising platform, and OurTown Media, a hyper-local news network.