Marketing

Small Business Video: 16 Tips for Creating Great Video On a Budget

Want to make a great advertising video on a budget? These 16 small business video marketing tips will help you achieve your goal without breaking the bank.

Mariana Santiago Mariana Santiago on February 15, 2021 (last modified on February 10, 2021) • 23 minute read

Most small business owners are fully aware of the effect a well-made marketing video could have on their bottom line.

Video is one of the best-converting media available to marketers today – and with the proliferation of YouTube channels, TikTok streams, and live streams on every social media platform imaginable, it’s clear that video isn’t going anywhere.

But how does one make a great small business video on a budget?

We compiled a list of 16 small business video marketing tips that’ll make a positive impact on your financials without breaking open the piggy bank.

  1. Highlight your employees
  2. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to promote your video
  3. Be authentic
  4. Showcase your unique company culture
  5. Repurpose written assets
  6. Use a video tool
  7. Film the project you’re already working on
  8. Show your process
  9. Use evergreen content in your small business’s videos
  10. Perform keyword research
  11. Let your customers do the talking
  12. Distribute wisely
  13. Broadcast live events
  14. Create a slideshow
  15. Repurpose your Zoom meetings
  16. Whatever you do – JUST START

1. Highlight your employees

One of the things that makes any interaction with a small business special is the experience of working with that small business’s employees. We’ve all had a favorite barista at a particular local coffee shop or a specific mechanic at the body shop whose skill we trusted above everyone else.

Those employees made patronizing that small business worth it. If your small business has employees like these, it’s worth showcasing these special souls in your marketing videos.

More Meaningful Marketing‘s Tiffany Lewis says, “In my experience, small businesses can best use video to grow their business by giving their viewers an authentic experience that uses storytelling to emphasize a personal experience. If the company has many employees, highlighting each employee with experience and fun facts is a great way to help businesses grow outside of the traditional marketing approaches.”

You hired your employees because they’re the best at what they do, right? Advertise that fact in your small business’s marketing videos.

2. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to promote your video

Social media isn’t just where the kids are hanging out these days. It’s where the adults and the senior citizens spend their time, too – and it’s where they first get inspired to open up their wallets.

Using the “Live” features on your favorite social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can help your small business video reach a larger audience than it would have if you’d simply chosen to host it on your website – and only on your website. 

*Editor’s note: Want to view the effectiveness of your video ads and viewer reactions on Facebook in a single, easy-to-understand dashboard? Download this free Facebook Video Completion Metrics Dashboard to get started.

Facebook Video Completion Metrics Dashboard

Mindi Rosser, from eponymous Mindi Rosser Marketing, says, “Going live on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn is one of the best ways to start building trust and raise brand awareness for your company.

This medium is one of the most efficient ways to start growing your brand — as long as you are consistent in the types of content and the frequency with which you post.

The nice thing about going live is that you can come across as more authentic, and you are not required to do extensive video setup and video post-production.”

One of the fundamental rules of marketing is as follows: “Go where your customers already are.” Your customers are likely already on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. Your videos should be there, too.

Related: 39 LinkedIn Video Tips to Boost Your Marketing Strategy

3. Be authentic

Have you seen the 2000s high school comedy Mean Girls? If not, don’t fret: no spoilers shall be revealed here today. All we’ll say is that the popular clique, known as “the Plastics”, in that fictional high school wouldn’t have made a great leadership team for a small business.

Besides their youth, lack of apparent business acumen, and a dearth of work history, there’s one other factor that makes us suspect a small business run by the Plastics wouldn’t have been one you would have wanted to patronize: the members of that clique were woefully inauthentic.

One of the things consumers love about small businesses is that they’re often run by people following their authentic passions. So be authentic in your small business marketing videos!

Digital Growth Hackers‘ Jonathan Aufray says, “As a small business, you have some advantages over large businesses. Like what? You can be closer to your customers and you’re in a better position to build strong relationships with them.

You should leverage that by building rapport with your prospects and clients. Creating authentic videos about yourself, your team, your business, or your products can be powerful.

People will appreciate that you don’t have a huge budget for video production and that you just took your phone to show the “backstage” of your business. Do not hesitate to create live, authentic videos and share them on social media or via email with your prospects, leads, and customers.”

Commusoft‘s Cristina Maria adds, “Don’t be afraid to be casual on video. Most business owners and managers think that in order to make a good video, you need high production values and professional speakers but if YouTube influencers (some commanding larger audiences than well-known TV channels) have taught us anything, is that oftentimes, a friendly persona with an engaging message is all it takes.

At Commusoft, we started out with LinkedIn videos shot with phone cameras around the office that resembled a one-take vlog more than a company video, but managed to get almost 3000 views on our first one.

The key was keeping the message valuable and giving our audience actionable advice.

Once you experiment with a few formats and can tell what your target market wants, then you can start investing little by little in better equipment, freelance videographers, or even full-time staff, but by no means should a lack of these deter you from trying.”

Look, your small business might not be able to compete with MegaCorp on shipping prices. But you can provide a different experience to your customers – a more authentic one. That’s something you can definitely incorporate into a small business marketing video without breaking the bank.

4. Showcase your unique company culture

What makes your small business different from MegaCorp besides the fact that they’re an enterprise and yours is a small business?

It’s your company culture – the way your employees treat each other; the way your employees treat your customers and clients; and the things your company values.

Values can get lost when a business hits enterprise-level.

After all, it’s difficult to ensure everyone employed cares about the same things once you have a few hundred or a few thousand employees.

But small businesses can maintain a strong sense of company culture easily – and that’s something you can highlight in your small business marketing video without blowing your budget.

Deepak Shukla from Pearl Lemon says, ”A really underrated aspect of small businesses is the unique company cultures. Videos are a great way to show off that culture and create ‘culture content’ to elevate your brand image”

5. Repurpose written assets

Having trouble finding the cash to hire a copywriter or playwright to create a fresh script for your latest small business marketing video?

There might be a simpler solution than attempting to film a sitcom based upon your small business’s office shenanigans – and there’s a good chance it’ll be a lot more effective as far as your small business’s marketing goals go, too.

Repurpose the written marketing assets, like blog posts and white papers, that your small business already owns and use those to inspire your video marketing.

Crystal Statskey of the aptly-named organization Crystal Statskey OBM says, “As an online business manager and visibility strategist, I believe video is outperforming any other written content out there.

In my profession, I focus on content creation and copywriting. Yet, I still see time and time again that video outperforms anything else I write, create, or design.

It’s more personable, it gives a face and personality to the brand, and draws people in way more than having to read something.

One of my favorite ways to utilize videos to grow my business and my clients is by reusing my written content whether that be my blog, social media posts, or past email blasts, and turning them into live streams. Those live streams then get recreated into YouTube clips, IGTV, stories, and so much more.”

There are few things thriftier than recycling – and using a good idea as many times as you possibly can, will help your small business keep making marketing videos at an affordable price.

Related: 11 Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Existing Content & Drive More Traffic

6. Use a video tool

Interested in making a marketing video for your small business, but getting worried about the expense of hiring a videographer or buying your own video equipment?

There’s an app for that. No, we’re not just paraphrasing a commercial from a decade ago – there really is an app for that.

A group of recently released video tools has made it easy for small business owners like yourself to release professional-looking marketing videos for their small business without hiring a videographer or buying your own green screen.

best video hosting and creation tools for small business

Mostly Blogging’s Janice Wald briefly advised us how to make a small business video from scratch:

Start by using a video tool “such as Lumen5, Instasize, or Canva. Make the video.”

Afraid that your video won’t be interesting? “Show demonstrations or feature testimonials. There are many ideas like these to interest viewers.” Whatever you decide, “use both sound and text. The companies provide royalty-free music. The video tools also let you narrate. Since people listen to videos in noisy places or watch videos with sound off, having captions on the frames is vital.”

Time-wise, “the video should be shorter than 7 minutes.” Lastly, “Use the video across channels such as on your website, YouTube, and Instagram.”

Kristin Hope from Prismatic adds, “SMBs face tremendous marketing challenges – so tons of low or no-cost solutions were built to meet those needs! Promo, Waymark, and Ripl all offer options for under $100.

Armed with your smartphone, you can leverage those tools to create short videos to use in an eye-catching social post. But, the best advice is to be yourself and show your audience the passion behind your business.

Bakery Sister Pie in Detroit grew to receive national acclaim in part from the fun dance videos they posted. Sioux Falls-based chef Sanaa Abourezk was invited to collaborate with Glossier, thanks to her creative Instagram account that brings the viewer into her flavorful, colorful world.”

That’s right: if you already own a smartphone, you’re already most of the way there on possessing the necessary tech stack to create a killer marketing video for your small business. This way seems much more cost-effective than renting out a film studio for a day!

Related: The Best Video Gear & Tools for Marketers

7. Film the project you’re already working on

Another cost-effective way for small businesses to really shine in marketing videos is for small businesses to highlight the projects they’re currently working on in their marketing videos.

This is a smart way to showcase the work you do, the skill with which you do it, and the fabulous end results to the entire world.

If someone’s trying to find a video on a project like one of the ones your business is working on, there’s a good chance they’re in the market for a merchant like you.

There’s no reason to create an insane plotline and use Hollywood’s most expensive special effects to market your small business through email – just film your everyday progress.

Drewbie Wilson from John the Plumber says, “The best way to grow a small business using video is to create and share content that is engaging with the ideal customer base. Show projects you’re currently working on that would resonate with someone in your audience who has a similar problem that needs solving.

Showing your company as more than just a business, but sharing your personal stories and what goes on inside with the humans who work there. People buy from people, not corporations. So, if you can create entertaining or educational videos that showcase the human element of your business, the Know, Like, and Trust factor can easily be created through video.”

Wilson hits the nail on the head when he mentions the “Know, Like, and Trust” factor. When audiences see your employees working on the exact sort of project they want to hire a business to work on for themselves, they’ll know your small business handles this type of work.

They’ll like your employees because we’re sure they’re personable enough on camera, and they’ll trust you know what you’re doing because you wouldn’t have allowed a camera near a worksite otherwise.

8. Show your process

If you’re still having problems finding budget-friendly things to film in order to market your small business, think about filming your business’s process.

You can explain how it is that you came up with a specific product, the journey you took to finalize that product’s invention, and the thought process behind the original idea.

Jing Gao from Fly By Jing says, “We love to use video to market our products. We like to take advantage of the popularity we’ve gained on our Instagram page to share the videos we make.

We created a video series that highlighted our journey with Sichuanese food, from coming up with the idea and testing ingredients to gaining notoriety and combating negative stigmas about our culture’s food in America.

The series gained us new customers, along with newfound respect from our peers and critics. We also love to show off our sauce through videos, of course.

We use high-quality cameras to capture all the visible ingredients in our sauce, from the chili crisp to the beautiful color. We have a motto that “yes, you can put our sauce on anything”.

We use video to further that, by capturing people putting our sauce on yes, literally anything. It’s a fun and creative way to get consumers excited about our product and create some buzz around our company!”

As your process is likely proprietary, you won’t have to pay for any licensing fees to show the process in your small business marketing videos. This is definitely a budget-friendly way to advertise your small business!

9. Use evergreen content in your small business’s videos

Want one video to stretch as far as it possibly can for all of your small business’s video marketing needs?

Make sure that video focuses on evergreen content, which is another way of saying content that’s relevant year-round, no matter what’s going on in the world or what’s happening in this wild economy at that particular moment.

Andrew Chwalik from Twillful says, “Video is and has been the king of content over the past few years with no indication that it will abdicate the throne anytime soon. That means small businesses should be investing time and money into creating various types of video content. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to break the bank to create videos and see a positive result.

The best way a small business can use video to grow their business is by creating simple “explainer videos” that explain the value their product or service provides to customers.

Are you a local tax preparer? Create a simple video that tells potential customers how the process will work when they walk in the door.

What about an RV dealer? Create short walkthrough videos of the campers that you are selling so your audience can see how cool your products are.

Video does not and should not be a big production. Once you have these simple explainer videos created, you can share them on social, develop them into ads, add them to a landing page, and email them to your list of potential customers.

The best thing about these explainer videos is that they are evergreen content, meaning they can be re-shared a number of times and still offer value to your audience!”

By focusing your small business video marketing on evergreen content, you’ll be able to make each one of your marketing videos applicable in a number of situations. That means fewer videos overall that your business will feel obligated to film – and that’ll cut down on your filming expenses, guaranteed!

10. Perform keyword research

Another way to save money on your small business’s video marketing is by performing keyword research before you pick a topic.

When you ensure that your small business’s marketing video is on a topic that people are actually searching for, you eliminate the risk of filming a video that no one will ever find – and therefore having to film another video that people actually will find.

James Canzanella from imnights.com says, “Small businesses can best use video by creating short, and straight-to-the-point videos that are based on specific keywords.

Doing this is beneficial for a few reasons:

  • First, it allows you to get traction by targeting keywords (on YouTube) that don’t have a lot of competition.
  • Next, it also allows you to really get specific for targeting your audience, what they’re searching for, and the problems that need to be solved.

Video marketing tools have really advanced over the years that these videos can be created in less than 30 minutes. So, when small businesses are getting up and running with video, start by cranking out the videos. You can always make changes and adapt after you have a good number of videos released to your perfect audience.”

Short, straight-to-the-point videos tend to be more cost-effective than long, cinematic movies like Titanic. Would you rather your small business pay for a quick explainer video based on a topic you know your customers are searching for or would you prefer to waste your small business’s marketing dollars on meeting the budget required by a typical James Cameron film? Yeah, that’s what we thought.

11. Let your customers do the talking

Customer testimonials and other forms of social proof are pivotal to the success of your business – the more people report what a great job your small business does, the more people will flock to purchase your products or services in the future!

Social proof can also be a boon to your small business marketing video’s budget. If you let your customers do the talking – as in, film customer testimonials from actual, real-life, pleased customers and clients instead of actors – you’ll save on union dues AND create more effective small business marketing videos.

Shaye Smith from the Center for Sales Strategy + LeadG2 says, “One of the best ways I’ve seen small businesses use video is by leveraging their satisfied and happy customers and letting them do the talking. This provides social proof for their products, services, and brand, and can be achieved simply and on a smaller budget.

Case study videos are beneficial for marketing purposes and also for sales enablement. These might be produced in-house or by utilizing a video production company and would have a thorough story with results to showcase.

Testimonial videos are also beneficial for marketing and sales and can be achieved more simply by just requesting a client to share a short video on why they love your product or service and it doesn’t need to be professionally-produced.

Using video to show social proof can then be shared on websites, social media, and other digital platforms. Plus, it’s great sales enablement content to support a sales process.”

Prospective customers are best convinced by existing customers. So save on the expensive actors and actresses and just film your existing customers talking about the fabulous experience they’ve had with your small business. It’s great for your marketing budget and even better for the success of your sales team.

12. Distribute wisely

Think carefully about where you’ll distribute your small business’s marketing video. A great distribution plan can make up for a low-budget, poorly-edited small business marketing video.

Unfortunately, even the best-edited, beautifully filmed marketing video won’t do much for your bottom line if no one sees it. So, if you have to pick between spending your resources on distributing your marketing video and allocating those resources to make the most fabulous small business marketing video that ever was, choose the former. It’s better everyone sees whatever you filmed on your early-model iPhone than no one sees what you filmed on the finest video camera in the world.

Vye‘s Clare Richards says, “This might sound obvious, but one of the most important things to do when creating a video is creating a plan for how you will distribute that video.

Many companies will spend a lot of time and money on crafting a video, only for that video to receive 30 views and collect dust on YouTube. You should be creating versions of that video optimized for the various social platforms. You should also think about all the places within your website (including blogs) the video could be embedded.

These are just a few ways to make sure you’re leveraging your video content to its full potential!”

*Editor’s note: Want to track the metrics from your YouTube channel’s top-performing video on one sleek, sophisticated dashboard? Download this YouTube Top Videos Dashboard Template.

YouTube Top Videos Dashboard Template

13. Broadcast live events

Does your small business sponsor a live event like a convention, a conference, or even a local high school sports game? You should definitely broadcast that live event! This is a great way to make your small business’ marketing budget spread further and to make a low-budget small business marketing film that’ll still reap positive repercussions for your business’s bottom line.

Nitesh Gupta from Project PQAI says, “Broadcasting live events is a great example of the use of videos for your brand awareness. Strategic broadcasting ensures higher audiences for paid events. Live streams are certainly an addition to customer experience. Businesses can also provide educational industry knowledge through video content. It could be teaching customers some life hacks or telling them how to use your product. The audience certainly does come for more if you keep adding value through videos.”

The money your small business already spent on sponsoring the aforementioned live event might as well be used to its fullest potential. Pull out your smartphone, broadcast that live event to the world using Facebook or LinkedIn Live, and watch the benefits from sponsoring an in-person event multiply as even more people gain access to the event through the wonders of the World Wide Web. That’s cost-effective video marketing!

14. Create a slideshow

If you’re having trouble creating images for your small business marketing video, don’t feel like you have to splurge on a super-expensive, highly-skilled graphic designer.

In fact, a simple slideshow can be just as effective as the most glamorous graphics in the world – provided that your simple slideshow, of course, is relevant to your customers.

10x digital‘s Holly Rollins says, “Create a how-to or explainer video that is differentiated from your competitors. A professional slideshow type video can even work, if the message is clear, concise, and meets the need(s) of a majority of your clients.”

Rollins has a great point. By differentiating your product or service from your competitors, you’re setting your business apart as the obvious choice for solving whatever problems your customers or clients face – and slideshows cost no more to create than the time it takes to wrangle with Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides. That’s a great way to make a cost-effective small business marketing video!

15. Repurpose your Zoom meetings

How much are you paying for that monthly Zoom membership?

Did you splurge for your very own Zoom room?

If you did, that’s another way you can make sure to spread your small business’s limited budget as far as it can go when planning your small business’s marketing videos.

If you have any recordings from phone calls with clients or customers, “there’s likely gold in them their files”, as an old-timey gold prospector would say.  The conversations between you or your employees and your customers are ripe for repurposing into a marketing video.

Yoram Baltinester from Decisive Action Workshops says, “These days, most business interaction happens on Zoom and other video conferencing platforms.

  1. Record (with permission!) all appropriate conversations.
  2. Extract snippets that reflect your personal value, the benefits of working with you, and relevant information. These can be as short as 30-second soundbites (think: Tiktok) or longer (Think: YouTube). Use it to create brand awareness.
  3. Use these assets to build marketing pieces (“did you like this tip? Want more? Like/Subscribe/connect for a call/get on my email list/other CTA).
  4. Direct all responses to your sales and marketing assets.”

Your small business prides itself on the way you communicate with your customers, right?

What better way to showcase that than a clip of unscripted communication between clientele and your staff upcycled into a marketing video?

As long as you have consent from the filmed client and the video demonstrates you or your employees to be reasonably decent conversationalists, this is a great way to make a low-budget small business marketing video.

16. Whatever you do – JUST START

If you’ve been tearing your hair out over how to best make a fantastic small business marketing video on a budget, we’ve got news for you: you’ll never make a wonderful video if you don’t try. At some point, you’ll have to stop stressing and start doing.

Pyrpaw Marketing‘s Joe Akers says, “Simply put: JUST START. You don’t have to have a big budget or a wealth of resources to record video and post it online.

A smartphone with a decent camera is all you really need to get started. At the end of the day, whether you’re marketing B2B or B2C, a human being will still see your video and make a decision from there.

So, being personable, helpful, and providing a solution that your audience is looking for is the most important thing.

Bonus tip: Even though you don’t need a production company behind your videos when starting out, you do need a goal. And contrary to what you might think, it’s not selling your product or services. You’re going to see much better results when your videos focus directly on the consumer.

Creating content focused more on how to answer the most common questions your audience has within the ecosphere of your product or service will be viewed in a more positive way.

For example, a company that sells eco-friendly laundry detergent wouldn’t create videos strictly about their detergent. Instead, creating a video about “How laundry detergent works” or “Best Laundry detergents for sensitive skin” is a much better approach.”


Yes, your first attempt at video might not be Oscar-worthy – or it might even be embarrassing. But practice makes perfect, and you’ll never make that great small business video if you don’t get going and press that intimidating record button on your iPhone or on your camcorder if you’ve decided to level up your camera equipment.

So, make the plunge! Take our tips for creating a great small business video on a budget and use the ones you like best today.

 

About the author
Mariana Santiago
Mariana Santiago Mariana Santiago is a copywriter, email marketer, theatre geek, and adventurer. While she's redoing her website, you can find her on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you're looking for someone to obsess over the power of CRM-ESP integrations with, she'd be happy to oblige.

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