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The 8 Best Types of Video Promotion for Small Business

There are umpteen ways to use video for business, ranging from sophisticated, high-priced ad campaign commercials to complex landing page pieces designed to pull someone into a sale.  What are the best types of video for Small Business owners that can be produced economically and published rapidly and generate leads?  Here are the Elite Eight.

Intro Commercial

Well-known and often underused, the video Intro to the Business is a short, 5 minute or less (2-3 works well) homepage introduction that tells who you are, what you do and why customers should care.  This can be done using a narrative in a commercial replete with lots of motion shots of the shop floor, the office, and products; a talking head of the CEO to a blank camera; or use the 3rd party perspective of an authentic Video interview (see below) Business FAQ.  Production costs can range from FREE (CEO riffing into a webcam) through a few hundred bucks to thousands for a videographer shot commercial.  Google doesn’t care, either will index well given the appropriate keyword tags.  The question you have to answer is, what is going to be quickly informative, entertaining, and referable (as in Re-tweeted).

Product Demonstration

Specific to demonstrable products, especially ones that move, like machines, toys, electronic devices, and, considering the medium, software.  These again should not run on too long but can be longer than an intro commercial.  A software-based demo may take up to 8 minutes, but you should be able to say it in less time than that.  When it comes to demos, sometimes less is more.  Most often either a narrative led demo showing strictly products or a spokesperson paced demo (think QVC or Home Shopping Channel) works the best.  Just make sure to show the BEST features of your product and lay out repeatedly (3x) how this solves a problem for your prospects.

Technical Capabilities

This is very similar to a product demonstration and works best for manufacturers, particularly those in developed countries, trying to show how their superior technology will actually cost less money or provide better quality product for a customer engaging them with a contract for ongoing services.  Machine shops and laser houses love this stuff, showing automated machinery cutting steel while a dude with a hardhat and safety specs controls the process.  This can run 5-10 minutes tops.  The key here is, make sure that your capability really is something special (as in a True Competitive Advantage that others don’t have) and that your video captures its uniqueness.

Company Spotlights

This is more of a touchy-feely video that highlights either what your company has achieved that is noteworthy or what your employees have done for your company.  If it’s about the company, it MUST be validated by 3rd party reference, as in an award won from a prestigious registrar (Best in Class, Malcolm Baldridge quality), a status attained (ISO 9001 certification, etc.) or a cat saved from a tree on the news.  When talking about employees, the old Employee of the Month style headline adds a nice human factor and speaks to what your company values in it’s people, and that can make a big difference to prospects with the same value system.  For these types of videos, keep them short (2-4 minutes) and keep them recent, especially for the employee notoriety videos.  An Employee of the Month presupposes that next month, we’ll see a new one.

Video Landing Page Combo

I could write pages on this one and frankly, I ain’t an expert at it, but I am sure you’ve experienced pages that have this videos.  These are designed to be hands-free on the part of the seller of a product or service, meaning, don’t call me, take the action stated on the video.  That means enter your email address to get something for FREE in exchange for permission to market to you, or sign up for the thing (whatever it is) right now!  Just like text-only sales landing pages, these are long-form videos, with Squeeze Pages (get the email address) videos ranging from 3-7 minutes, and Sales Pages running all the way up to 30 minutes (that is too long in my view, with 10-12 being enough).  The most important stuff here:  limit options to only this with no other on-page distractions and make multiple calls to action to the viewer.

Vlog Posts

All about providing information this one is.  It comes in the form of a training video, which is easily done for things like software applications using screen capture software (see my LinkedIn training course, sidebar right), or talking head telling something she knows, and often is the Expert Interview (I’ve done a ton of these in my blog, see sample).  The goal is expert positioning for your company while providing real value for the view.  These videos can run from 5-30 minutes or longer (think of a book author interview), but I like to keep them between 7 and 15 minutes (Youtube has a 15 minute max until you are a frequent video poster).  Keys to success are to limit the subject matter to prevent rambling, don’t provide fluff with a sales pitch to get more, and include some written text fore and aft of the video to set it up and summarize.

Testimonials and Case Studies

Very self-explanatory here, this is 3rd party Credibility Building 101.  Take the same things that marketers value about written case studies and testimonials and put them on steroids.  This absolutely MUST be a person outside the company telling about what the company did for him or her, and it can NOT be anonymous (just like those ridiculous made up testimonials you see, “JL from Tampa says…”).  Use discretion is the person doing the talking is not good on camera.  It shouldn’t make a difference but it does.  He doesn’t have to be Ben Affleck, but he can’t be a stiff either.  These run no more than 3 minutes in length and follow my rules for great testimonials.  Quality can’t be poor, but a webcam with decent quality can be used effectively, as the content of the person’s referral is the key piece.

Video Interview

I saved this one for last and, as you likely know by now, Smart Company Growth does these in packages for the right type of clients.  Video interviews work well for any business that wants to put a human face on its brand, so consider if that is you.  They work exceptionally well when your business has these three characteristics:

  1. No physical product – That’s right consultants, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, IT people and anyone else selling professional services, I’m talking to you.  You sell intellectual property and that is tough to demonstrate by showing a video shot of your report (although you can show results charts, but the people who can use this tact the most, financial advisors, usually have rules preventing it).
  2. Trust is the key to business – Same group, right?  If you’re an attorney, how can you start to break the trust barrier down without ever meeting someone?  Show some face time with the 3rd party authenticity that comes from being interviewed.
  3. Sameness in Brand – If you look at your competitors’ websites and they look like yours does–professional yet non-distinguishable–you’re a good candidate for a video interview to set yourself apart.  Again, this is why professional service firms fall so neatly into video interview candidates.

For promotional purposes the longest video interview (we call them SmartVu) we do runs about 12 minutes.  That’s pretty in-depth.  The shortest you can reasonably do with any genuine dialog is about 2-3 minutes.  The important success factors here are that the interviewer is good and that the structure of the content is planned in advance.  A lame interviewer will lead to a lame interview and weak video.  A solid interviewer with planned content will lead to authentic questions that portray you in the very best light.  Although I cannot convince all of my clients of this, DO NOT READ FROM A SCRIPT!  If you’re a subject matter expert on your product or topic, a good interviewer’s questions will lead to natural responses with you looking right into the camera.  Script readers have their eyes averted to wherever the script is posted and come across as wooden, with only the skilled few able to fool people into believing they are responding ad hoc.

There is a time and place to use any of the 8 best types of video promotion for your small business video.  The information here should serve to produce ideas on what type of video you can create for your own video marketing and video SEO campaign to yield superb results.


Post your comments or different types of video promotion ideas below!

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  1. Bill Macready September 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Lawyer bios need video.


    • Karl Walinskas October 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

      Agreed Bill. Lawyers have a credibility and trust issue that video can help break down the barriers for.

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