biz ladies: using video for business

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Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Biz Ladies regular, Megan Auman. Megan has previously contributed posts on Getting It Made and The Top 10 Biz Books. In 2009, Megan founded Crafting an MBA to help designers and makers develop their business skills, and she also crafts her own jewelry line. Her latest project is Auman Video Productions, a full-service video firm she co-founded with her brother. Today she shares with us some of those video production skills and offers some tips on how to utilize videos for your business. Thanks, Megan, for another helpful post! — Stephanie

Read the full Biz Ladies post after the jump . . .

I love video as a tool for marketing your business. It can help create customer engagement, drive traffic and even help improve your sales-conversion rates.

A lot of business owners are often hesitant to add video to their marketing strategies because it seems complicated or because they’re nervous about appearing on camera. But video doesn’t have to be overwhelming or scary.

During the month of May, I challenged plenty of biz ladies (and a few biz men) to create videos for their businesses, and now I want you to do the same.

Check out the video I made to help highlight why video is such an important tool for marketing your business. Below that, you’ll find some of my favorite tips for making video work for your business.

 

Set goals for your video marketing.

Like all types of marketing, you’ll have the best results if you start with some clear goals in mind. What is it that you’re hoping video will do for your business? Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Do you want to use video to sell more products? Or are you looking to establish yourself as an authority in your industry?

Each of these goals will require you to make different kinds of videos, so it’s important that you know up front what it is you’re trying to achieve. And while you may want to pursue more than one of these goals, focus on one at a time to start, especially if you’re a small company. Trying to focus on all of them at once could lead to feeling overwhelmed or burned out or just a lack of focus in your video-marketing efforts.

Have a plan.

Once you’ve established your goals, it’s important to come up with a plan for how you’ll achieve them. Use your goals to determine the type and frequency of videos you’ll be creating. If your goal is to sell more products, focus on creating videos that highlight the features and benefits of your products. If you’re looking to increase your authority in your industry, try video blogging on a regular basis. And if your goal is to bring more traffic to your site, you’ll want to focus on videos with a greater chance of going viral.

It’s also important to have a plan any time you sit down to record a video. Take a few minutes to work out what it is you want to talk about or cover in your video. Is there a point you’re trying to make? Are there certain visuals you want to include? Depending on the type of video you’ll be creating, your planning could range from some notes in a notebook (which I prop up under my camera when I’m recording) to a full storyboard.

Keep your audience in mind.

When you’re making videos, it’s not about you. It’s about your audience. Think about the target market for your products or services. What kinds of videos are they interested in seeing? Are they looking for humor or entertainment, or maybe how-tos on decorating or style?

You might also want to look at the types of videos your target market is already watching online to get a feel for the mood and style you’d like to evoke in your videos.

Start with what you’ve got.

Creating video doesn’t have to be expensive. When you’re first starting out, use the equipment that you already have on hand. The camera on your phone, laptop or digital camera is often more than adequate for your first few videos. Just make sure you stabilize it with a tripod or a sturdy surface. And you can shoot a lot of great video with natural light.

YouTube has trained us to be pretty forgiving when it comes to the quality of videos we see online. While you want to portray a polished and professional image (this is your business after all), cut yourself some slack if your first videos don’t look like a Hollywood production.

Be yourself.

As the face behind your brand, you’re likely to star in many of your videos. When you’re recording video, don’t worry about coming off like your favorite TV personality. Trying to be someone you aren’t will only make you more uncomfortable. Instead, treat the camera as if you were talking to a friend. (And that means looking directly at the camera, as if you were looking it in the eye). Let your humor, sarcasm or any other personality traits shine through.

And don’t get too hung up on the “ums,” stutters and slips of the tongue. The human brain is actually a lot more forgiving of these little missteps when listening to spoken language than it is when reading. If you say something other than what you were meaning to say, shake it off and keep going.

Even though you want to be yourself, don’t be afraid to dress up a little. (This is especially true if your usual, work-from-home uniform is sweats.) A little makeup, a nice shirt or even cute shoes can go a long way toward helping you feel confident in front of the camera.

Know when to DIY and when to hire a pro.

There’s a lot you can do with video without ever needing to work with a professional. Inexpensive, high-quality video cameras and iMovie enable even an amateur videographer to produce a professional-looking product.

If your goal is to produce a lot of video, then more often than not, you’ll be going the DIY route. But don’t underestimate the power that a few beautifully shot, professionally edited videos can have for your business. These videos can serve as a calling card for your company, and that can help you get found.

Get inspired.

If you want to make video part of your business, it helps to look at what’s out there. Spend some time browsing YouTube and Vimeo, and take a look at what your competitors are doing. Also look at videos outside your industry for a fresh perspective. And if you want more inspiration, you can check out some of my favorite business video finds over on Crafting an MBA.

Video is one of those things that is always easy to put off for another day. But if you aren’t making video for your business, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Don’t be afraid to just dive in, turn on the camera and see what happens. It can have a huge impact on your business.

martine@martinelouisedesign

great article! I’m looking to develop my own design business and I love the female community out there. Video is a great way to develop your brand (you!). The content can be used in so many ways, on your website, your blog, on other peoples blogs (as part of your PR campaign) you tube, email marketing.

Liz

Awesome! I am just getting started doing some video for our company. This is very helpful. Thank you!

Tonya

Thank you so much for writing this article! This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about for the next step of developing my brand and I’m pleased to read your advice. Now, I need to gather my friends to model merchandise for the video! :)

shelly

This was great. Thanks so much. I love the part about talking to the camera like it’s a friend. I want to make more videos, but have a huge fear to overcome. It’s like when you want to volunteer to be the first one to give your speech in Speech class, but you’re so afraid to raise your hand when the teacher asks who wants to go first. Thanks again.

Barry Peterson

This was very helpful and I have owned a video production company for 20 years.
You are correct that it can be intimadating..it is easier for me to be on the filming side of the camera..but I believe you are right about getting over the fear. Thanks for your article.

Candi

Yikes! Was my first reaction, but on second thought, I find the idea of promoting my work and myself on video kind of exciting and intriguing.

Laura

Great post, Megan! I was inspired by the video tutorials on your site and just today shot a stop-action video with an audio-visual student to help me, letting my products be the ‘stars’ of the video and tell a story. The next step is editing, and I’m eager to learn.

Julie

Nice post Megan! Thank you for your continued guidance. Your last video post inspired me to make a video for a coffee table I made. I want to send it out to the blogosphere soon but am hesitating because of length (over 2 minutes). I might contact you for some feedback. Love love love Crafting an MBA.

@MichelleDrewes

This is awesome! I am a photographer who also makes little films. Until I read this I never thought about recording myself to promote my business. Thank you so much for sharing.

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