Telling the truth about SME life today

Connecting to an online audience with video will take British SMEs into the future

In order to provide insights to entrepreneurs and small businesses on the possibilities of video as a means of engaging with your online audience, as well as details on how to use this medium successfully, we have spoken with UK startups and SMEs in order to find out how you are engaging with your online audience using video content.

First up we have advice from Dave Furness, the director and co-founder of UnderstandingE, which creates educational video tutorials that show businesses how to use a Magento website in order to sell on multi-channels such as eBay and Amazon.

How important is engaging with your online audience to your business

Engaging with our audience is crucial to our business. Over the past three years we have built a high level of trust with our audience through a variety of mediums whether it be blogs, videos, podcasts, webinars or emails.

We find that this helps humanise our business and create a much more personal feel. It also encourages a two-way engagement with our audience. They get to tell us what their main struggles or problems might be and in turn this allows us to respond with our expertise to try and help them.

The beauty of using a video for this automatically takes this one-to-one style consulting and turns it into one-to-many. It means others facing the same problems get their answer or suggestion on how to fix them too.

How do you use video content to engage with your online audience

Video plays a huge part of our content strategy. We create educational tutorials using video as well as many quicker ‘How To’ videos. When dealing online the limitations of not being able to physically grab or speak to someone in person is a limitation which video is helping to answer.

Instead of reading a how to article, a video makes the whole experience much easier. The viewer can follow along by watching what you do. But video isn’t just a two-way street. We receive comments and emails from our audience which we can then go and record them a video for to answer them.

If one person has asked this question, chances are another member of your audience has been thinking the same question. We see video as a fantastic tool which greatly helps with the scalability of whatever it is you are delivering.

Read more on video marketing:

How does this form of content differ compared to other mediums you use for engagement

Put simply, video makes the whole engagement piece feel much more personal. It takes the engagement from customer to seller or from human to business to one of human to human. Everybody wants to feel important and that’s what video enables you to do with your audience, engage on a much more personal basis.

We see much greater interaction when we appear in videos physically but also just doing a voiceover can also endear you greater than an email or written content.

Another bonus worth mentioning about video content is its ‘sticky’ nature. What we have seen is that online audiences have horrendously short attention spans these days, but if you can keep their attention on a web page for a period of time whilst they watch a video they feel more ‘invested’ in the site and are much more likely to take progressive action, whether that be adding a product to a basket or whatever action it is you want them to take. The conversion rate is much higher on pages with videos over those without.

What advice do you have for startups looking to grow their business by connecting with their target audience online

My biggest piece of advice would be to look at your business and find opportunities for you to get in front of the camera. Most online businesses will have an about us page and if you don’t, you should and that is a perfect place to introduce yourself to your customers. Do your FAQ section in a video format is another possibility.

If you sell products, then product review videos are perfect, show them the key features and benefits of what it is you are selling. I know it might seem daunting at first but look around at your competition. I guarantee not many of them are doing video, or doing it well, and that is where you can stand out from them in the market.

Finally, don’t be scared of letting your personality shine through, let your enthusiasm show and don’t be scared of adding in some humour where appropriate. In my experience, people do business with people they like, and video is the perfect place to let your audience get to know you.

On the next page, we hear from James Nicholson of Rocket Marketing Hub, who says that video generates 300 per cent better results than text emails. Find out how you can embrace the trend.

Image: Shutterstock


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