Television commercials are considered the most effective advertising method, reflected in the high prices commercial stations charge for running one. This is not just because a lot of people watching TV will see the ad - the medium itself engages more senses than radio or print and can make a greater impact on viewers.
The internet has made it possible for businesses to avoid the hassle and expense of television networks by screening video commercials themselves. Your business website is a channel of information that your customers will seek out to learn about the products or services you sell.
You can use a video to show satisfied customers recommending your business; demonstrate a product in action; or use music and images to create an emotional connection with potential customers that will encourage them to buy. One of the most popular video categories are ‘how to’ guides. A list of the most common questions fielded by your sales or support staff may offer inspiration.
Unlike a television commercial, you can make the video as long as necessary or host a series of videos. If your video is amusing or impressive in some way, it can ‘go viral’ and receive enormous amounts of traffic, with ensuing publicity.
A growing trend among new software companies is to show nothing else on their home page but an introduction video that explains in simple terms why the software is worth using. This direct method of communicating with potential customers is far more engaging than filling the page with detailed explanations of the software’s features and pricing.
Businesses can host a video on their website itself but this can be technically challenging. If your business website receives a spike in visitors - in response to a sale or over Christmas, for example - your video might take too long to load on visitors’ computers.
There are several services which will host video for you with the ability to scale up resources to make sure the video doesn’t slow or stutter.
YouTube is by far the biggest and best known, but some may consider it inappropriate for hosting a business video that displays a YouTube logo.
Amazon Web Services (a division of the online shopping behemoth) can host video without any branding, but it requires more effort to set up. Once hosted, you can promote your video through social media sites such as Facebook.
The required tools for creating videos have become more affordable with prices of digital video cameras plummeting. Simple-to-use, high-definition units can be found for a few hundred dollars.
But before you rush out and start filming, consider hiring an actor or a studio to help write the script and shoot the video for you. Done well, video is a very effective tool for marketing your business. Done poorly and you could look unprofessional, cheap or worse.