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Show and Tell – How Video and Maybe Even LIVE Video Are Important for Small Town Business

By Jason Freely / a couple of months ago
Small Town Business Lights

Creating a warm welcome to your business can include sharing simple videos online. Here are some simple ways to get started. Photo by Chris Brogan.

By Chris Brogan

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes, it might be worth a thousand dollars, too. Over the last ten years, restaurants and bars who post their best dishes or drinks as photos on sites like Instagram have learned that people love seeing examples of what they’ll get if they drop by for a drink or a bite. As great as a photograph might be, I thought I’d talk a moment about why you should consider video as part of your selling toolkit, even if that feels a little scary to think about at first.

Video Shows People Your Business in Special Ways

No matter what you sell, a video goes a long way to giving your prospects and customers new opportunities to experience your business. If you have a service business, like plumbing or landscaping, spend time interviewing the team and give people a sense of the folks who work there. If you sell a product, show off that product, the making of, the behind the scenes. All that.

There are a few ways to do this. You can shoot videos that are somewhat generic to the business at large, which are great. But you might even consider putting together a few “for special customer” videos. Instead of a product video, it can be “Claire, I know you love when we get in new fabrics. You’re going to love this batch we just got from South Dakota.” My friend Mick sends kids that collect various comic books photos and videos of their specific Wednesday deliveries and that ups his sales a lot!

Is Video Hard to Make?

No. (Boy, I wish I could end this section right there.) You use a smartphone. There’s a video camera in there. If you practice even a little bit and learn to hold the phone sideways (landscape, they call it), you can probably shoot a video. There are free editor apps for iOS or Android aplenty. And you can upload it for free to YouTube (which is also free).

If you want to edit on your computer, Microsoft Photos has editing tools on a PC and iMovie works easily on a Mac. When I say “edit,” realize that most of the time, I don’t mean much more than learning how to cut and paste a little bit. That’s all. (You can search YouTube for “how to edit movies using ____” and you’ll see tons of free tutorials.)

Small Town Business Runs Better on Video

When I was a kid, my grandfather lived out on a farm in rural Maine. There was an old timey general store about two miles from the house, but any full-line stores were about 45 minutes away. “Going into town” was something of a pilgrimage. Sometimes, we’d be smart and call ahead to a store if we wanted something specific, like when we needed rock salt to make a hand churned ice cream turn out just right. Other times, we’d forget and drive all the way into town to find they didn’t have what we needed.

The world searches online before they go anywhere these days. And that means big companies try to take your customers at every turn. One way to compete is to get video of your products and of the people in your company up online so that people develop a relationship with you. If it’s a choice between some faceless corporation and “Old Alva’s Garden Supply,” there’s a chance you can win over buyers who will trust your advice over some faceless competition.

Let’s Run This Down Really Quick

Pretend I’ve convinced you. Here’s what to do:

  1. Get a free YouTube account (name it after your business or yourself – either way.)
  2. Practice shooting brief videos (1-3 minutes tops usually goes best)
  3. OPTIONAL – If you’re you’re feeling clever, learn to edit a little, and turn a series of clips into one video.
  4. Upload your videos to YouTube
  5. Promote them by posting on your website where it makes sense, and/or by pointing to the videos through your email marketing efforts.

And that’s it. If you ever get stuck or have a question, you know you can always ask me. My email is [email protected] . Feel free to drop me a line. And hey, show me your videos!

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