old video cameraAmong small business owners, the one of the top hesitations to video marketing is cost. Unlike Coca-Cola and Red Bull, you probably don’t have the budget to hire an expensive production team. All you may have at your disposal is high definition camera and a computer — but that’s probably all that you need.

There’s always the option of working with a professional videographer, but look at some the most compelling content on YouTube. From college students to product reviewers and amateur tutors, it seems that anyone can communicate a compelling message, regardless of cost.

More important than your production budget is a strong content marketing strategy. What goals should your video marketing accomplish? How will you leverage your videos to connect with your prospects? How should your video marketing pieces connect back into your customer engagement and sales goals?

Here are six high-value, low-budget points of inspiration for getting started.

1. Landing Page Intros

Using video on a landing page can dramatically increase conversion rates. Videos keep people’s attention longer, which is especially important when you’re giving the value points prior to a conversion. You can even A/B test your landing pages with long and short videos, or different messages to see which option yields the outcome you want.

  • Which keeps visitors engaged longer?
  • Which boosts your lead generation efforts?

Just make sure that you pay close attention to user experience — avoid surprising your prospects with autoplay, and instead, let them decide whether or not to play the video.

For inspiration, check out this Unbounce blog post with examples from Intuit, Google, Optimizely, and Path. Keep an eye out for how these companies integrate videos with their calls to action (CTAs).

2. Customer Testimonials

Social proof is invaluable for new customer acquisition. Regardless of whether you’re B2B or B2C, you need to build a positive reputation in the communities you’re targeting. Why not deliver this social proof in the form of a video that communicates real stories from real people?

It’s one thing to show that your product or service yields results, but you can communicate a more compelling marketing message when showcasing the faces behind your customer community. You know that word-of-mouth referrals are powerful, so why not memorialize them and host them on your website?

For inspiration, check out these customer success stories that Salesforce hosts on Pinterest.

3. Video Blogs (vlogs)

If you don’t like writing but want to maintain a company blog, a video blog may be perfect for you. Even if your already writing a traditional blog, the addition of a video blog can provide a competitive edge to your content strategy.

Whether you’re publishing a video every day or every so often, video blogs are a unique offering to bring to your customer community. Provide a tutorial, introduce your customers to a new product, or simply say what you would otherwise write in a blog.

Through YouTube and other custom partnerships, you can also syndicate your content to widen your reach and attract new audiences. Getting your video to the masses is impostant, but make sure you provide a way to connect with prospects and bring them back you you.

For inspiration, check out the Credit Karma Blog, which publishes videos on topics related to personal finance.

4. Social Media

Social media is a great place to post your video content to further connect with customers and prospects alike. You can distribute your video content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Instead of limiting your status updates to text and photos, why not include short videos? This communication medium can help your customers and prospects spend more time with your brand and gain a greater understanding of what you bring to the table. How-tos, tips & tricks, and tutorials are strong candidates for this type of distribution.

Don’t have time to produce your own videos? No problem. Just browse YouTube’s inventory to find content worth sharing. Just make sure to give credit where it’s due. Remember that at the end of the day, social media is also a powerful content curation tool.

5. Yelp Integration

If you’re running a brick and mortar business and trying to reach a local audience, you probably know that your business needs to be on Yelp. If you’re already paying for, or considering paying for, Yelp’s paid platform, you should know that one of the included features is support for video integration. On your Yelp profile, you can actually host a short introductory video for your brand.

As an example, check out the Yelp profile for Naturally Organic Sleep, a luxury bed, mattress and sleep store in Burlingame, California.

6. Product and Service Descriptions

The Internet has empowered consumers with the power of information and choice. Chances are, your prospects will do their homework before they jump in and do business with you. Why not preempt this process by addressing their needs and questions directly on your website or through a peer-to-peer channel like YouTube? Video does more than communicate the basics — it contextualizes your business within your prospects’ own circumstances and lives. Your website visitors are always asking themselves —  “how can this company help me?”

For inspiration, check out the video product descriptions on Wrappled, a small eCommerce business that sells unique gadgets.

The Most Important Component: A Plan

Whatever you do, don’t start filming until you have a marketing plan ready for the end product. You need to make the most of your on-camera time. You need to deliver content that it is interesting, unique, and compelling. Whatever you do, don’t come off as an infomercial. Be informative and entertaining, and you’ll keep your customer community engaged.

Image Credit: whosdadog