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Marketing Marketing

Video: The Unsung Hero

By Mack Hawthorne

Suppose you’re trying to convey a message to somebody. You could draft a text or email, sure, but the adage is true – “Some things are best told in person.” It’s easy enough to apply this rule to our more personal relationships, and most businesses already know the value of meeting their clients in person. What you may not have considered, is that this rule applies to engagement you aren’t even taking part in.

Social Media is Changing

Let’s step back to the mid-2000s. The internet has been well-established, and as social media booms and reaches one of the biggest audiences ever, marketing suddenly becomes easy – post some content on Facebook, and fill your website with some buzzwords to make Google happy, and your business was on easy street… A little too easy. The web market was so simple then that pictures and text ruled the roost, and with television’s decline for advertising effectiveness, video became isolated to only those most passionate about it. After all, why pay some money to get a video shot when you can just throw some words into a post and reach the same audience for a fifth the cost?

One word: complacency.

When social media was new and thriving, engagement was high and consistent – everyone wanted to explore the market, and when it was suddenly easy to find a business near you that had what you needed (no more Yellow Pages!), it didn’t really matter how good of quality their content was, so long as it conveyed the message right, but that time has passed. Your customer base is now aware of how easy it is to find a business near them, and with social media full of injected ads from the big boys who paid Meta directly, few people want to engage with a company that only advertises its services. Google, too, has completely changed its algorithm – there are still words that make it happy, but you can no longer shoot to the top of search results just by posting some text and nothing more.

Here’s the skinny of it – your website isn’t fun. Your Facebook page isn’t fun. And thanks to faux-personable content from big businesses, people are resisting aggressive salesmanship more than ever before. What, then, can crack the seal – what can convey your company’s core message to gain you new customers, while being fun enough to break through the veil of resistance social media has ingrained into many people?

The Text Blurb Trap

In the glorious future world of 2023, the internet has taken the reins when it comes to direct marketing, but it’s easy to recall a world just a few short decades ago. Let’s take a step back to 1989. How would a company market itself then? Some methods are universal – taking out print ads in newspapers, billboards, and more remains an option. Giving a phone call to each customer is a time-consuming process, but one that still holds a lot of value if you put in the effort. But the king back then, bar none, was the airwaves; invisible video and audio signals constantly careening over our heads, beaming their way to radios and televisions. When the TV (cable or otherwise) was the eye candy of choice, a video spot on a locally available channel that got some good viewership was the most straightforward way to get customers aware of what your business had to offer. 30 seconds of commercial showing you, your business, your location and more could convey more information about you than that two inches of space on a diner placemat ever could.

In the age of the internet, this has changed… Kind of. Television still has its diehard fans, but with the way most modern hookups work, local channels aren’t available or even of interest to most people. The TV ad is now subject to a harsh compromise – get your ad on a local or other low-interest channel, and it won’t reach that many people, meaning the money you spent won’t go to much use at all. But get your ad on a major network, and you’ll find that, in addition to the significantly greater sum of money you just dropped, you’re also reaching people who would never patronize your business to begin with – with the way network affiliation works, the ad will be shown over a wide enough area that the majority of potential customers who even see it will be well outside of driving distance.

TV’s commercial marketplace has become mostly a hotbed of personality pieces for companies that are already well-established – you know who Geico is, everybody does, so they focus on making funnier commercials with the same thin message… When you’re as big as Geico, you don’t need to make people aware you exist; you just need to remind them. This works on the scale of business they operate at, but for a small business, the message can’t be that thin and still succeed. You need a video that directly showcases what makes your business great, and you need it to reach people.

The Great Video Trick

Video is inherently fun.

Suddenly, those pictures of your company’s building have become a walkthrough tour. Suddenly, that mugshot of your employee in front of a wall has become an interview where their personality is able to shine through. Suddenly, that text post about your business that was too long for anyone to want to read has become a voiceover, which people pay attention to as the video on screen backs up what you’re saying! Video is still the greatest way to reach people and fill them in on what you have to offer.

Google and Meta sure seem to think so, too; having videos on your website and social media pages creates that diversity of content that the algorithm loves to see, boosting your SEO and getting you in front of that base you wanted to reach all along!

Video succeeds in cracking the veil in a way that no other marketing method does. Video has heart. You can make a great website with all the necessary information about your business, and this does help a lot in convincing your audience, but you need a hook, something to get people in the door and tell them outright why you may be the perfect solution for them. Video is that hook.

Video is personable without being in-person. It tells a story, and it doesn’t need to be attached to an official corporate blog or published and distributed in a book to do it.