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      Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:26:00 PM
      Technology has created many video marketing opportunities, such as cable TV, email marketing, websites and video, for small businesses to be on a level playing field with large companies. From an inexpensive video streaming in an email to the full-production TV ad with hired actors, even small companies and home-based businesses can include video advertising in their budget.

      You may ask why you should consider it at all if your current advertising is working just fine. Besides the fact that adding another strategy to your marketing plan is a good idea, videos are also viewed as very personal. Who better to discuss your product or service than you? It brings familiarity to you and your company, which allows the potential customer to feel like they already know you. If the message is directed to your current customer base, seeing and hearing you gives the feeling that you are presenting your message directly to them.

      There are professional videos and, far too often, not very professional videos. Many of us cringe when we hear a loud car salesman screaming about a wonderful deal waiting for you if you'll come down RIGHT NOW! Or the windows and siding guy who screams about the amazing savings if you call
      within the next 30 minutes (but the ad runs all day long). These are usual stereotypes of TV advertising available for the small business owner. But it doesn't have to be that way!

      Cable TV ads can be fairly cost effective because you can specify where your ad dollars are spent. The cable company provides demographic statistics so you can learn what programs are viewed most frequently by your target market, then select where (usually as specific as the zip code(s)) and when you want your ads to run. The variety of shows cable companies have in their lineup provides a great choice for the advertiser. In addition, they can also play your ad during the large networks' shows as well.

      Videos aren't only just for television. There are many companies that develop videos which can be included in websites, newsletters, social networking sites and email signature lines. They serve many purposes from standard advertising to introducing new products or services to just a 'keeping-in-touch' message targeted for current clients. These videos are also used for on-line training and even instructions to learn how to use a new website. Some are scripted, while others are produced to replicate a talk show format. Compare cost as well as professionalism. This form of advertising can be extremely high-quality or can be an embarrassment to your company's image. View some of the finished productions of each company you are evaluating before signing any contract.

      You can even create your own video while sitting in your office. Do you have a video camera or a high quality web-cam connected to your computer? You're all set to create your own video stream to be placed in email signatures or on your website. A word of caution:  make sure it's not too long. Keep it less than 90 seconds and you'll generally keep the viewer's interest.

      Video has created the opportunity for business owners to star in their own commercials. Consider the scenarios mentioned earlier of what video advertising could, but shouldn't be. Thankfully, these are the exception and not the rule; most ads are professional from writing the ad copy to the production. Of course, it's important to remember that the mantra, "garbage in, garbage out" holds true for video more than any other media. You're dealing with three methods of presenting the message: content, visual and audio.

      Therefore, if you choose to take part in your videos, it's best to receive some coaching and guidance prior to the production. There are many companies that specialize in this service. Public speakers, politicians, sports figures, CEOs and others consult with a professional voice and speech coach; so should you. You will have total control over what needs to be said, but they will help you say it with the professionalism that will provide the image you want to present.

      New technology has made video marketing very affordable even for the smallest budget. There are a variety of opportunities and one will certainly fit your budget. Consider video in your next marketing plan. You'll find a new media that will present your company with a fresh message and make it personal.
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