Small Businesses Doing Big Things with Online Video

If you’re running a small business, online video advertising may seem overwhelming. For large companies, creating popular branded videos often requires a huge budget and professional filming and editing. However, money and professionalism aren’t the only elements that determine a video’s impact. Small businesses can utilize storytelling, innovative concepts and unique demonstrations to create meaningful, effective online videos.

On that note, having effective online video content is essential for any business. A recent survey from consulting firm Accenture found that 90% of global consumers watch video online. YouTube has 1 billion unique users every month who watch over 6 billion hours of content. Online video is exploding—you’ve no doubt been seen these statistics printed and reprinted in order to emphasize that fact.

Below you’ll see the ViralGains purchase intent funnel. Obviously, generating purchase intent is crucial for any business. The goal is to drive viewers through each of these levels and video can help you do that. Below we’ve listed a few examples of small businesses that have successfully used online video to increase awareness, engagement, discovery, purchase intent and retention.

SalesFunnel

HelloFlo                                                                            

Almost two months ago, HelloFlo launched an online video advertisement for their period care package service. The commercial tells a laughable story about the first girl to get her period at camp. She becomes the Camp Gyno, giving out tampons and other period-related advice. But the power goes to her head, and soon she’s losing followers to HelloFlo.

The video went viral, earning over 3 million YouTube views in its first week. To date, the video has over 6 million views and 200,000 social shares. The idea for this spot wasn’t thought up by some big advertising agency. The founder and CEO Naama Bloom and a couple of her friends came up with the concept over some takeout Thai food.

“We weren’t setting out to create this groundbreaking advertising,” Bloom says. “What we wanted to just do was tell an authentic, true story with a little bit of humor. No one used to watch the old tampon and pad commercials thinking, ‘Oh, this is a falsehood.’ But when they suddenly see girls talking about tampons and their period and what really happens, it casts a light on the blue fluid in the pad commercials.”

Bloom said that the spot not only helped sell the product, but it also started important conversations. The engagement generated by the spot encouraged viewers to move into the discovery phase and eventually the purchase phase. Hopefully, we’ll see more marketing efforts from HelloFlo that reinforce their message, thus increasing their ultimate retention rate.

Dollar Shave Club

In March 2012, Dollar Shave Club took YouTube by storm. The business released a video featuring founder Michael Dubin discussing why men should buy his razor blades on a subscription basis for as little as $2 a month. It’s simple, straightforward and extremely funny. The best part, it didn’t require a huge budget or professional production team.

“I have always believed in the power of videos to tell stories,” said Dubin. “I had been working on it for several months after we started. Then I met up with my friend Lucia Aniello, who I had studied comedy with in New York at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade. I asked her to help me shoot the video, which we filmed in our original warehouse in Gardena in October 2011. We spent about $4,500 on it.”

In the first hour after its launch, the video crashed the company’s server. In the first 48 hours, people placed over 12,000 orders. Today the spot has over 11 million views on YouTube and has been shared over 400,000 times. The company was able to expand to 24 full-time employees in the first year and received $10 million from investors.

This online video generated widespread awareness and engagement across multiple platforms. It drove purchases and ultimately made the company what it is today.

Blendtec

Blendtec sells blenders—now try coming up with a brilliant online video marketing campaign to promote them. It’s definitely not easy, so props to Blendtec for creating the Will it Blend? series in which random household objects are blended to shreds.

“The honest truth is that Will It Blend? started with us fooling around. I mean, we had an objective, but YouTube was brand new and at the time we didn’t really see the ‘marketing’ side of people posting silly videos on the Internet,” said producer Kels Goodman.

The team went forward with the idea and struck YouTube gold. People loved the concept and videos; in fact, almost every single one of them has over 1 million views on YouTube. This one below earned 16 million YouTube views and 500,000 social shares.

The unique concept and execution attracted viewers and drove them through the purchase intent funnel. In 2007, the videos increased Blendtec sales by 500%. The production was cheap and the return was immense. Online videos launched this company into the minds of consumers, driving awareness and sales through the roof.

Conclusion

Clearly, online video advertisements can be game-changers; these small businesses took off after their online videos went viral. The ideas and videos themselves are simple and effective—the companies didn’t have to spend millions of dollars on production or hire professional film crews.

You don’t have to be a multi-million dollar company to produce viral videos. If you’re a small business with a big idea, start using online video marketing to drive consumers through the purchase intent funnel, accomplishing business development objectives while maximizing growth.

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