Online Video Marketing: The Small Business Strategy Guide

In his piece, James also quite correctly noted the ‘explosive’ popularity of web video and we know this is a popularity which is manifesting itself as a financial juggernaut in terms of advertising spending. 
Here in the UK, companies now lavish more on online ads than they do on TV ones, ours having this year become the first major economy where this is the case.
Here, Paul Martin, from Internet videos specialist Spectrecom responds explaining that a recent report by the Internet Advertising Bureau, and accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers advises that web advertising accounted for 27% of all advertising in the UK during the first six months of 2011 (equating to £2.26billion spent), compared to television’s 26.1%.
The picture is even more arresting globally, with a recent survey by eMarketer indicating that just shy of half-a-trillion-dollars will be lavished on web advertising in total this year.  
And helping to power this overall growth is a rapid expansion in online video advertising, with the IAB/PWC survey telling us that UK spending in this sector has grown by 100% over the course of the last 12 months.  
So the money is very much following this phenomenon, a term it is neither facile nor hyperbolic to apply to the irresistible rise of online video. But the question which remains for businesses – particularly those small and medium-sized firms which still constitute the majority of employers in this country – is how best they might harness this apparently boundless power source? 
Well, James’s primary suggestion is both the most simple and easily effective one: you, the SME owner, should begin by integrating video content of some description into your firm’s existing website. This is need not be an intimidating task, and certainly doesn’t require a spend of tens of thousands of pounds, even if you engage a fully professional firm like the one I work for, the Waterloo-based Spectrecom Films. Polished, broadcast-quality video can be delivered for a relatively modest initial outlay. 
But just as important as the content itself is the strategy that will inform what you do with your video once it has been shot, cut and is ready for viewing. 
Let’s begin with some basics, starting with SEO, an acronym I assume most reading this will be eminently familiar with but which I will nonetheless take the time and space to spell out to you: Search Engine Optimisation, i.e. the largely arcane process by which your particular website is rendered more attractive to internet search engines such as Bing and the great god Google. 
Indeed, so esoteric can SEO often seem, particularly to the uninitiated, that the whole business has been sullied with something of a bad name over recent years. SEO consultancy has experienced almost as seismic a boom as internet advertising, with the worst such consultants coming over like the 21st century equivalent of the fast-talking travelling huckster, taking money hand over fist in exchange for promises that never materialise.  
But while the slippery snakes lurk, the flipside is that if you can get a good grip on one or more of the SEO ladders then they are well-worth the effort to climb. Getting your firm’s website to number one in the Google rankings for your chosen key term(s) is as sure-fire a guarantee to boosting your business as getting to number one in the pop charts is to boosting your sex-life. 
How, though, to actually begin working towards that end? (Er, maximising your search engine ranking, that is. Not becoming the next Take That.) After all, the fabled Google algorithm which dictates the Big G’s search engine rankings is about as likely to be conclusively deciphered as the markings on the Phaistos Disc. 
Then again, we do know certain things definitely are important to its perennially-changing mix: for example, on a very basic level, the speed at which your site loads. Or, as James noted in his article, ‘Using video on your website or blog has also proven to boost search engine traffic, because search engines tend to prioritise video above text in search results.’   
But though that is all true, fine, and fair enough, it is also accepted that further steps can be taken to bolster your site’s cachet with internet search engines. For while a homepage video is an excellent addition to any website, regular postings of content – probably accomplished via a dedicated YouTube or Vimeo channel – will help you gain the exposure for your own site through social media which can, in turn, lead to those prized links from ‘authority websites’. 
Just to explain, an authority website is effectively one of the powerhouse mainstays of the ‘net, specially privileged in the eyes of Google and the other search engines as solid, sturdy and beyond reproach (the BBC and The Guardian are two examples). And if such a website – particularly one with related content – links to yours, then that golden link is accepted as carrying serious SEO value. 
Of course, generating those links is neither quick nor easy; rather, it is a process that will likely take time and effort to deliver any kind of results, and will need you to get people talking about your site through social media, which means offering web-users regular content they will like and want to share with others. 
Yet this further content need not be anything complicated or overly-ambitious, certainly to start with; some simple, cannily-targeted clips might be enough to get you going. Your company sells frying pans? Then how about posting a series of ‘How to’ videos about various fried foods? All showcasing your own pans, naturally. Whatever your business, begin building your brand. Begin building your audience.  
Worth noting, that it is important to include your key term(s), whatever they may be, in the titling and tagging of your videos. And I cannot overstate the importance of spreading the word! Every time you post any new video content, get on Facebook and Twitter and link to it, and get your friends and family and employees to do likewise.     
These are small steps, admittedly, but small steps are a necessary start of any long journey. By building a solid base, your firm will have the bedrock it needs when you feel happy and ready to take that ambitious leap forward with your company’s video strategy.