Marketing Advice For Small Businesses

(Recently our response to Upcity's Expert Newsletter about video marketing tips was selected to be featured on an article published on February 9, 2022. Below is a reproduction of the story).

Hear from industry experts as they discuss content, tools, optimization, and more for crafting an effective video marketing strategy. We are officially in the digital era where visuals are the key to grabbing your prospective customers’ attention. Short, fun, and informative videos are now every industry’s market to grab their customer’s attention. In this article, we have asked some of our experts to share tips and tricks of the trade on how small businesses can effectively use video marketing as part of their marketing strategy.

Format appropriately

When creating videos, think of the platform that this video will be sitting on. Formatting includes size, aspect ratio, use of filters, setting, and audience. For example, when posting a video on Instagram, think of the aspect ratio and duration. You can’t put a 1-hour video on an Instagram post. 

    Be sure you know the format that is best for the platform you are using. Do not post a horizontal video if the best one for the platform is vertical or square. I use a tool called Zubtitle for adding captions and converting video format shapes.” —Dotty Scott, Owner at Premium Websites, LLC, Premium Websites, LLC

Repurpose content

As a startup or small business owner, we understand that you may not have the time to create brand new video content on a regular basis. Reusing pillar content and/or repurposing content from one platform into another takes much less effort and brainpower to do. 

Video marketing is big right now with the high tell of it coming from Tiktok. One of the easiest things you can do is repurpose blog posts into videos. If you’re already writing the content for your blogs, then you won’t have to come up with anything new (idea-wise) for your video marketing. Then it will also work in your favor to record teaser videos, on the subject line of your blog post. Creating a spark of interest or buzz about what’s coming next.” —Alexandra Van Doren, Co-founder & Senior Dynamic Social & Content Integrator, Agency onethree

Know your audience

When creating a video strategy, it is easy to get into the trap of thinking “what video would I like to make?” or “I use LinkedIn, so I’ll post video content there.” However, you may not be your target audience. Your behaviors, demographic, wants, needs and aesthetic could be dramatically different from the target audience you are pursuing when creating your strategy. Before doing anything, it is key to understand who your customer persona is and adopt your video strategy and content from there.

You must first analyze your target market: who will buy into your offer, what do they need or want, how do they go about finding the solution to their problem, etc. Once you understand what your audience wants and needs, you can begin developing video content that speaks to them directly. It’s important that you stand out from your competition, while also choosing a style that fits both your brand and your goals.” —Brandon Roudebush, Founder & Executive Producer, Pixelab Studios

Be consistent

As with traditional marketing, you should have narrowed down your audience, keywords, and overall brand. All of these tenants are consistent in all marketing materials – video is no different. Do not launch tutorials and share it all over social media and then the following week create a Tik Tok video on one of your customer success stories from 2 years ago. Make sure that your first video and on connect with each other and make sense to your audience who is following you.

    When starting out (first few months), your goal should be consistency—getting up a new video once per week is more important than what’s in the video or how “good” it is.  Consistency will make your content more visible on social platforms, and consistency will make you better at it.” —Dan Novalis, CEO, 2Novas

Shorter is better than longer

In a sea of constant visuals within social media, you need to be able to grab your audience’s attention quickly and keep it until your message has been delivered. For most platforms, a short video (under 2 minutes) is ideal. 

    My #1 video marketing tip for small business owners is to keep it short.  Our attention span is only 3 to 5 seconds while we are online. As a result, you only have a few seconds to catch people’s attention before they move on. There’s no time for nonsense. Your video should be brief and to the point. In addition, every business employs fascinating and engaging people. All you have to do is dig beneath the surface. So use the talent that you already have. There is always a narrative that will pique the curiosity of potential clients.”Gio Toninelo, Producer/Creative Director, Rocket House Pictures



All aspects of your marketing tools, including Youtube, should be aligned with your Search Engine Optimization strategy. In this case, when uploading a video to YouTube, you do not want to just create a title, upload the video and that is it. The title, script, and caption should be aligned with your SEO keywords, and the link should drive potential customers to a landing page that can be tracked.

    Don’t forget to optimize your YouTube videos. Sometimes small businesses forget that they need to post more than just their videos. Treat these like your website in regards to SEO optimization. Optimize your video title and description, add hashtags, and add calls to action in the descriptions that lead back to your website or appointment page. They just watched your awesome content—make sure they get directed where you want them to go!” —Ben Capa, President, Fu Dog Media

Hear From Industry Experts

Your viewers do not want to feel like they are being “sold to.” They want to be on a journey through your content and feel a connection to your business’s mission and vision. Examples of authenticity are testimonials from existing customers or staff members, or case studies of previous success stories. Having a professional-looking or high-quality video is not always necessary, as long as the purpose and call to action of the video are clear.

    My top video marketing tips for small business owners is to make high-quality, authentic videos and to post consistent video content. With video marketing, the more creative you are featuring and promoting your business the better.” —Allison Gappa, Marketing Specialist, ALLYEXIA

Use the tools you already have

Using the tools at your disposal, including the information and persona your business has created, can become a viral sensation. Smartphones have likely become your number one tool in your daily life, so use them! Cameras, lighting, and applications on your phone make it easy to create the video that you need that can be used as support for your marketing strategy. Things to consider when creating your own videos—rule of thirds, horizontal (or landscape) orientation, natural or full lighting, and keeping the camera relatively stable. Stability is relative because you want the video to feel genuine, which means that if you are posting a video that is meant to feel homemade, a little “shake” is okay.

    Small business owners often stress about video marketing, but the truth is that top video content can be done with all the production values that you’re keeping in your pocket. The modern smartphone can take perfect video for modern marketing efforts. Point it at your face, and answer the most common questions you get from customers or clients about your business. It’s a common mistake that business owners think video marketing requires high production values. The most viral and useful videos are instead people sharing simple information, or engaging stories, in a 1:1 format. That doesn’t mean that your video doesn’t look good. It’s helpful to make smart lighting choices that complement your face and present you and your business in the best light. Consider shooting your video outside, and make sure that you and any gestures are clearly visible. You should also have good audio recording while making sure to utilize every app’s auto-captioning tools.” —Flynn Zaiger, CEO, Online Optimism

Use subtitles or captions

As we mentioned previously, audiences have short attention spans and are multitasking more and more. If they can watch a video with subtitles, while listening to a podcast or a webinar, they will do it. Captions are a great way to make sure that your target audience is seeing your video in a way that works for them. 

Include sub-titles in your videos for voiceovers and key information being shared. Many users will be scrolling feeds as your video starts playing and the audio won’t kick in until they actually click the video. Having sub-titles can be a hook to catch their attention and get them to engage.” —Colton de Vos, Marketing Specialist, Resolute Technology Solutions

One size does not fit all

While repurposing content is an easy strategy for a budget and time-strapped startup, do not get in the crutch of using one video for all platforms or using the same exact messaging in each video you create.

    Thinking that doing “one” video is all you need.  Businesses create different types of content for different business objectives and that is the same methodology you should have with video. One video is not a video marketing strategy and if you plan for just doing one video that will not be a one size fits all solution.” —Robert Weiss, President, MultiVision Digital

Create a rollout plan

You have researched, written the script, and produced the video. So you are done, right? No. Once the video is created and ready to launch, refer to your strategy and ensure that you have a timeline and budget for ads and shares. Just because you launch on Instagram, it doesn’t mean it ends there. Look to see when it should be reshared and tagged, evaluate the effectiveness through your analytics, then tweak some more if necessary. 

    Company often make videos without understanding how they are going to promote it, a video that people don’t watch isn’t worth the investment. Have a plan on how to optimize and target your videos, or find a vendor who can.” —Joseph Malinski, Creative Director, ATB Productions

Set clear objectives and act

As you can see, using videos to support small businesses is not so tricky. Being authentic, repurposing content, and creating short and specific videos are all easy tricks that any business owner can do. The most important thing is to always look at your business goals and create a video marketing strategy. If you are looking to educate and support your clients, then tailor your video content in that direction. If you are looking to boost lead generation and support SEO, then your strategy for videos will be different.


This article was written by Haldis Toppen and originally appeared here. Haldis is the Director of Communications of the cultural exchange organization, Greenheart International. With 10 years of experience in leading marketing and communication teams, Haldis has a proven record of successfully leading national campaigns and international programming. She is passionate about bringing the right message to the masses and finding those audiences who need to hear it!
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