The marketing channels available to you to market your firm continue to expand. From blogs to social media websites to e-marketing to old fashioned direct mail or television ads, you have many options. Video offers a flexible option to reach and educate prospective clients. While you can spend a large portion of your budget on professional videos, they are not always necessary. A January 2010 Nielsen survey showed that YouTube had over 100 million visitors who viewed over 6 billion videos. Google Places (formerly Google Local Business Center ) links YouTube video to your Google listing so that web visitors can learn more about you through video.

But isn’t video pricey? I’ll give you my favorite answer: “It depends.” Done properly, video can position you and your firm as the subject matter expert in the eyes of the viewer. Done poorly, you can position yourself as untrustworthy just by not having fine attention to detail. Proper planning, knowledge and doing it right the first time will help your return on investment. As an example, if you are an estate planning/elder law firm in a highly competitive market and are looking to be noticed, you might choose to professionally produce an educational video in a news program format. This video could also be made available to interested groups, giving them permission to run the program at a group meeting or event. On the other hand, many subjects lend themselves to a less formal video format. You might choose to create a short video (1-4 minutes) in your office with home equipment on a tripod that presents one of your attorneys offering “need to know” points on workers’ compensation in your state. Any video could be posted on YouTube (make sure to include appropriate keywords) and on the appropriate practice area page on your website. It should also be promoted through your other marketing channels.

Who’s using video? Many businesses and organizations are utilizing video to promote their messages. YouTube is a favorite place to post these videos. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has posted a number of boating safety videos on YouTube and promotes these videos on their website. The National Transportation Safety Board has also used YouTube to post informative video clips on such topics as how to choose a motorcycle helmet. That particular video was used as an integrated part of the May 2010 Share the Road motorcycle safety campaign. The campaign included a press kit with free photos, resources and links that supporting organizations could use on their own websites at no charge. And don’t forget—you may want to have your video set up in a loop on a screen in your waiting area for visitors to watch.

CNN’s Twitter posts recently showed that for the first time ever more viewers get their news online than from radio or newspapers . As peoples’ use of online media continues to increase, providing information in a video format will become even more commonplace. If your firm has not yet considered how video will play into your marketing mix, it’s time to do so.

When you’re ready to add video to the mix, here are some things you need to know:

  • Videos must be educational – consumers can spot a sales pitch a mile away. View some sample videos done for law firms.
  • The style, message and “look” of your video should support your brand
  • Determine your audience before you begin – audience should determine the presentation style, language and the content
  • Choose your presenter with your audience in mind – you want to find a good “match”, so that the viewer feels a comfort level with the presenter but still views your presenter as the subject matter expert
  • The length is not as important as content – when you watch the video, does it provide value to the audience? Keep in mind though, attention spans tend to be short, so lead with the important information.
  • Choose one topic for each video (or segment of a show) and provide a mid-range of data – you want to educate and add value but not so much that the viewer feels they don’t need you!
  • Make the video part of a multi-step marketing plan – if you do a monthly e-newsletter, add a link to the video and promote it; if you print your newsletter, provide the URL so interested viewers can watch it. Promote the video on your blog. And make it easy for readers to forward the link to their friends!
  • There are options to promote your video via paid advertising. The effectiveness will depend upon your market and the subject matter. You may wish to try a short test to see if it is effective.
  • Consider also using a dedicated phone number or website landing page to track business coming from the video.

Using video to market your company can be a great option to reach and educate potential new clients and to position yourself and your firm as the experts. It should be a part of your firm’s long-term marketing strategy.

Author: Jeanne Frazer heads up The Expert Speakers, a group that provides marketing, management and motivational speakers, writers, coaches and mentors with expertise in all facets of marketing and management across numerous industries for events, seminars and workshops. Frazer is also president of vitalink® a creative + strategic marketing think tank, and strategic partner for Lawyers Marketing Agency and Catalyst Group, Inc.  Jeanne may be reached at [email protected] or 919.850.0605.