Businesses miss a huge marketing opportunity when they don’t use video, experts say. “People like bite-sized nuggets,” says Sam Sprague, founder and CEO of Portland, OR-based Sprague Media LLC. “Video and social are all about gaining access and attention.” If a picture tells a thousand words, imagine just how many you can express with a short 30- or 60-second video. In fact, videos elicit a more visceral, immediate response from your viewers than reading a blog.

The biggest stumbling block for business owners though, Sprague says, is overthinking video. “They want perfect clips,” Sprague says. “However, the videos that do well across social media aren’t perfect. Most people realize over time that it’s not about perfection; it’s about getting it done and getting your message out there.”

Video Marketing by the Numbers

For those of you who aren’t sold on the idea of using video yet, take a look at the statistics:

The bottom line? Video reaches more and more people every day through laptops, smartphones and tablets. That’s a lot of potential customers you should tap into for decorated-apparel sales, and you don’t need a professional studio with a full production crew to make an effective video. In fact, many high-quality videos on YouTube are shot using simple smartphone cameras that record in HD or even 4K quality. (A growing number of movies are now being shot using iPhones.)

“Video is intimidating for many people because they don’t know how to edit,” says Patrick Black, president of Fort Walton Beach, FL-based Perfect Imprints. “There are so many free apps that allow people with very little experience to produce good-quality videos. Often, simple videos with a meaningful message are the most successful.” Here are some examples of how you can start using video today.

5 content ideas to inspire your video marketing:


BRANDING

If you’re planning a large video advertising campaign with many different types of videos under one umbrella, start with a branding video. This helps introduce your viewers to your company culture. Show them your physical location; interview employees and customers; and talk about your vision and mission. By humanizing your business, you can also increase sales.

DEMONSTRATIONS

One of the best ways to market merchandise is with a demonstration of the product’s capabilities. This doesn’t have to be a full-fledged Billy Mays-style infomercial. Black suggests producing videos that show off your equipment and decoration capabilities. “This builds trust with your viewers, letting them know you’ll do a good job on their projects in a timely fashion,” he says. Create a simple, short video showing the garment or accessory being worn to demonstrate why your customers should buy it.

HOW-TO’s

Instructional videos give viewers a way to know you and your apparel products. Your ideal customer watching your videos will remember your business when they need your product or services and call you. How-to videos generate brand awareness and bring in potential customers.

TESTIMONIALS

Black’s distributorship scored additional business from different departments, within a local high school, after one of the school employees recorded a spontaneous video testimonial raving about his services. “That video created instant trust toward our company among that person’s coworkers,” he says. “Also, we shared a video and photos of another client using their apparel during their event. That caused another company in the same industry to connect with us to order branded apparel.”

LIVE VIDEOS

Videos taken “in-the-moment” get tons of engagement on social media, and there are lots of ways to get in on the action. . You can center a live video around the opening of a new location or the roll-out of a new product. Some companies even do live behind-the-scenes videos. “If you’re pressing t-shirts, just show how you do it, because people are interested,” Sprague says. “They just don’t want an infomercial.” Regardless of which you use, live video streams actually net more viewers than pre-recorded videos.

Don’t limit yourself to only these ideas. Mix it up as much as possible with a variety of videos. Keep them between thirty seconds to two minutes long and include a link to your website. Also try to include some kind of  call-to-action at the end of the video encouraging viewers to sign up for your newsletter updates, follow your social media accounts, signup for a special offer. Once you’ve created your content, post it on all your social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, so you hit a range of different viewers and demographics.

What to Do After You’ve Posted Your Videos

Just like with any marketing campaign, it’s not enough to put your videos out there and magically expect an influx of customers to appear. Instead, analyze your metrics and look at your data to measure your campaign’s success. If the videos aren’t meeting your goals, reassess the quality or content of the videos

Ultimately, however, look at the following data:

  • Total views
  • Clickthrough rate/conversion rate
  • Social media engagement (such as likes on Facebook and re-tweets on Twitter)
  • Comments.

This last part can be especially telling. Viewers will let you know exactly what they thought of the videos, so you can tweak or completely revamp your style for the next set, depending on the feedback. This is an ongoing, organic process that requires agility and flexibility as you go. Sprague also notes that Facebook offers a page of its top-performing ads across many industries, so you can see how people engage with video content. “It’s pretty sweet,” he says. “You can drill down on the leaderboard by month, vertical and region.”

A quality video marketing campaign could be key to helping you establish your brand vs. your competitors. By combining simple phone-based editing software, and the power of your entire staff, you’re more than ready to get started. “With a smartphone, any employee can quickly shoot a video of something interesting, funny or educational that would benefit your clients,” Black says. “One dedicated person can’t be available to record all events during any given day, but an entire staff of people can divide and conquer: That allows your company to catch those random and spontaneous moments throughout an average day, on your home turf or at a trade show.”

Video production may require you to step out of your comfort zone, however, Black says the benefits are more than worth a little discomfort. “The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get comfortable being in front of a camera,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to get silly to make your videos memorable. This is a golden opportunity to score more exposure for your company.”

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