Marketing for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) is its own beast.

Whereas larger enterprise-size companies have more room to splurge and pursue adventurous marketing initiatives, small and medium business owners are typically forced to approach the topic more conservatively. With tighter pockets, small businesses are driven to invest in ventures and tactics that have a clear, proven track record.

That being said, one marketing avenue has distinguished itself as a clear favorite amongst modern SMB marketers:

Video.

According to a recent Promo.com research, 64% of SMB owners found video to be the most effective online promotional content, leaving text (which garnered a mere 6%!) far in the dust.

It took awhile to get here, however.

Simmering under the surface for a while, it was only during the last few years that SMBs have truly begun embracing video.

The meteoric rise of Instagram seemed to signal-in a new video-driven era, suddenly exposing prevailing conceptions regarding video (‘video is too expensive!) as nothing more than myths.

Today, equipped with nothing more than a run-of-the-mill mobile phone, anyone can produce high-quality, engaging video content.

With such a low entry price, it’s no surprise SMBs have enthusiastically jumped aboard the video marketing train:

62% of SMB owners create up to 5 videos every month!

So, if you haven’t already incorporated video into your marketing strategy, or want to fine-tune or elevate your existing video marketing efforts, we’re here to help.

We’ll break down everything you’ll need to know about video marketing for small and medium businesses. We’ll show you how to get started, dive deeper into the benefits of video marketing and show different ways in which you can measure your videos’ performance.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to reach your video marketing potential!

The benefits of video marketing for SMBs: A deep dive

Whether it be ESPN.com or a local bakery’s site, the average consumer in 2020 expects, nay, more or less demands to be met with video when reaching a website.

According to HubSpot, 85% of consumers want to see more video content from brands.

If your website features video content, potential customers’ visits to it will be 60% longer than if it merely showcases images and text.

If you don’t showcase videos?

25% of your site visitors are likely to lose interest and bounce.

Homepages videos are great.

However they are merely the beginning. 

Adding video to every marketing channel available to you and in a way which is compatible to any user, will see you  truly benefiting from video’s SMB marketing potential.

Major boost in SEO:

SMBs are often tasked with the unfair challenge of competing with far bigger, more widely-recognized brands.

If they want to compete successfully, SMBs need to be visible in areas in which their competitors are.

Google structures its search engine results to reward sites that feature videos. Any given video in an index of searchable keywords has a 53 times higher chance of appearing on the first page of a Google search result, compared to a page featuring only text.

If you sell shoes and want to be featured on Google search engine results pages (SERPs) that routinely feature Nike, Adidas and Under Armor, you’d be wise to heavily incorporate videos on strategic webpages.

For more practical advice on improving SEO through video, you can check this article. 

Huge boost in social media marketing

Video and social media are a match made in heaven:

And that’s before we mentioned the ‘gram…

Videos on Instagram generate twice the level of engagement than Instagram photos.

86.6% of Instagram users post Stories and 70% of Instagram users watch stories on a daily basis.

If you’re looking to up your social media marketing game, incorporating video is a complete no brainer. Complementing your traditional text-based posts, video will go a long way in mixing up your social media content.

High engagement rates on mobile devices

This one is closely-tied to (and partially leads to) the boost in social media marketing.

Social media is engaged with and consumed via mobile at an overwhelming rate.

79.2% of Facebook users access the godfather of social networks exclusively via mobile.

Twitter boasts a near identical users’ pattern, while 60% of LinkedIn visits are done on mobile devices.

Instagram has only made it possible to post anything via desktop in April of 2020. Together with Tik Tok, these platforms are mobile networks.

All of that, juxtaposed with the fact that 75% of all video plays are on mobile devices leaves little doubt to the fact that if video simply boosts your mobile marketing initiatives.

Source: Yoni Yampolsky

How SMBs can create quality videos without breaking the bank

Now that the case for video marketing for SMBs has been made, let’s move on to more practical matters:

How do you create the kind of stimulating videos that’ll capture your audience’s attention?

This is a critical question.

Many SMBs are forced to compete in arenas occupied by deep-pocketed enterprises.

When the latter showcase videos, they are usually impressive.

Prospects are likely to be lured by content that resonates with them. Expecting them to view your lackluster video content generously because you operate under tighter budgets is…well, unrealistic.

Here’s the good news:

You can create stellar videos at considerably low costs.

It isn’t 1997 any more. Hiring a production team and outsourcing the project is no longer mandatory.

Let’s break it down:

Start thinking like a YouTube creator

YouTube creators’ do-it-yourself approach has redefined how companies approach video marketing.

Even the more generic smartphones are capable of capturing footage that viewers would think was shot using high-end cameras. All you’ll need to worry about is finding a well-lit (but not too bright) room, and a stationary pod to hold up your iPhone or Android.

Having a company employee appear on screen is a prevailing trend, especially within the world of SMBs, and with good reason.

It’s simply a win-win.

Besides the obvious cut in costs, having the camera directed internally gives a video an air of authenticity even a highly skilled presenter would find difficult to replicate.

Explore using high quality stock footage and audio

You’d be amazed by the number of high profile companies who regularly rely on high quality stock and audio vendors, such as Artgrid, Shutterstock, Pond5, Epidemic Sound and Soundstripe.

Need some proof?

Here’s Centrical’s homepage explainer video:

A B2B SME (small to medium enterprise), the employee engagement platform created a stimulating video constructed completely out of stock footage procured from Pond5

Check it out:

A stimulating video constructed completely out of stock footage procured from Pond5

Pond5 stock audio

The same is true for stock audio.

If it’s good enough for enterprises,  it should suffice for SMBs.

Finally, don’t forget about narrating your video.

Thanks to sites such as Fiverr, you can find quality voiceover actors for a literal steal.

Explore using easy, intuitive video editors

The most intimidating (and therefore costly) aspect of creating a video has been editing it.

Much like with everything else regarding video, that simply is no longer the case.

With easy-to-use online platforms, such as Biteable, Adobe Premiere Rush, Lumen5 and Renderforest, you can jazz up your footage or create uber professional videos at a very reasonable price.

Offering thousands of templates, you can create videos that look wholly original.

You will also be able to manipulate the graphic layout and arrange for a given template to match your brand to a tee.

Video marketing for SMBs: Best practices

Keep it simple

Even with video creation and production being far cheaper today than ever before, the fact that you’ll more than likely be operating under a tight budget still stands. It would be wise to opt for   POV (point-of-view), single narrator presentations. You can use the aforementioned mobile cameras to create footage. Depending on your script, the finalized video should be respectable at worst, or flat-out amazing, at best.

Keep it short

The average human attention span as early as 2000 was 12 seconds.
Cut to today and it has shrunk to 8 seconds.

That’s 33.3% shorter.

If you’re wondering, a goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds

Expecting a potential customer to sit through even a 2 minute video is a stretch.

Do what you can to keep your videos’ runtime under two minutes.

The drop in viewership past the two minute mark is significant.

Follow in the footsteps of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

There have been more than a dozen Marvel movies.

Almost all rake in around $1B at the box office.

Their plot dynamics, tone, characters and overall structure are very similar.

This is no coincidence.

Constructing successful content properties (or segment blocks) is common practice within the world of video and film production. When you find that winning video concept, it’s important you stylize it in a way that will lend itself to being serialized. Shooting a few videos in bulk (and keeping a few in the can) is a great way of achieving this. You can then roll these videos out strategically at high leverage moments (i.e. leading up to Black Friday).

Incorporate video in emails

Video has a transformative effect on email engagement.

Emails containing (embedded) videos boast 2-3X click through rates (CTR).

Merely mentioning the word video in an email’s title has proven to increase open rates.

Copying and embedding videos within your email marketing platform (or marketing automation platform) is pretty straightforward. With a video hosting solution, such as Cincopa, it becomes incredibly easy.

How to measure SMB video marketing success

Just like with any other marketing initiatives, it’s critical to measure your video marketing efforts’ success rate.

How will you know whether you’re seeing a return on your investment?

How can you know whether the videos you’ve made are winning your customers?

Key video metrics will indicate whether your videos are living up to your expectations.

They will also show you whether you should explore shifting gears and creating different videos.

Pay attention to the following metrics: 

  • Views: Defined as the number of people who clicked play on your video. Some platforms require the video to run for a defined period before a click is counted as a video. On YouTube, for example, a click is counted after a video is played for at least 30 seconds.
  • View length: The amount of time a viewer watched your video.
  • Play rates: Defined as impressions divided by views. If you’re a little confused, consider this example: A video with 600 impressions and 60 views, would have a play rate of 10%.
  • Engagement rate: Defined by the number of viewers at a given point during the video divided, by the number of viewers at the beginning of the video.
  • Like-to-dislike ratio
  • Number of likes and number of dislikes
  • Drop-off viewing rates at half, three-quarters, and end of video

These metrics, by and large, are available when using YouTube to present your marketing videos. However, if you really want to learn how your videos are performing, YouTube embeds will not suffice. With purpose-built, business-oriented video hosting solutions, you’ll be introduced to every individual member of your video audience. You’ll know who each viewer is, where in the world they watched your video and which device they used to do so.

Most importantly, you’ll see how each viewer engaged with your video.

You’ll see how many times each viewer watched your video, when and if they dropped off, and the exact moment in the video they came back to later.

Features such as Cincopa’s video heatmaps, will provide you with an aggregated view viewers’ engagement with a given video. You’ll see if and when major drop-offs in viewership occur and make strategic decisions accordingly. You can cut out the part that leads up to a major dropoff, or think of a way to add more excitement to prevent viewers from checking out.

Cincopa’s heatmap

Here’s what Cincopa’s heatmap looks like

Final thoughts and takeaways

By the end of 2022, more than 80% of internet consumer traffic will be video.

SMBs looking to thrive in this environment would be wise to expand their video-based tool arsenal. Along with video conferencing solutions, such as RingCentral Office, video should be heavily injected into modern SMBs marketing strategy. Already a preferred avenue for marketers, even risk averse small business owners can benefit from video marketing. With admission fees drastically lower than they were just a few years ago, SMBs can enter the video marketing arena knowing they’re likely to see ROI.