Have you seen that cheeky video from that guy who sells razors online for $1? I watched it again today with my husband. Once he finished laughing, he said he was going to check out the website and look at the company’s programs. The savvy business owner recognized the power of video and within the first 48 hours of the video being live he had over 12,000 orders!

Today’s business owners know the power of “showing” vs. “telling” when it comes to marketing a business or selling products. Video has made this easier than ever, and new technologies have made production very affordable.

Honing your video chops

Think you don’t have the skills to make a video? That’s not the case – you only need a smartphone or pocket camera to make a simple clip. And today’s small business owners are some of the more savvy when it comes to video. In fact, the smallest of small businesses use video 59% more than larger ones, a recent poll found,* which shows just how accessible the medium is now.

Shoppers rely on video to make buying decisions. I know I’ve gone to YouTube many times to check out new products that I’m thinking of purchasing. However, videos provide more than product information—they can also give viewers a personal glimpse into their company and their customers.

Here are four ways you can use video to promote your business:

1. Demo your products

Video demos can paint a very vivid picture of your offerings. They’re especially useful when a product is new or unusual. Want to sell a pen-sized fishing rod? Most definitely, consider a demo.

Be sure to keep your demos short and sweet—two minutes tops—to satisfy decreasing attention spans. Present a clear case for your product’s benefits and note what sets it apart. Keep the presentation engaging. I’ve seen great products sold short by lackluster speakers. A touch of humor may help, as the videos for the shave club and fishing rod show.

2. Give a virtual tour

An inside glimpse of your staff and facilities may also help personalize your company. Take this video from Koala Tee Company, a small screen-printing shop based in Florida. The video’s low-tech production values are suitable for this type of business and actually add to its “mom and pop” appeal.

This type of video can be particularly effective for businesses that design or manufacture products, since they can help viewers understand the craftsmanship involved. They can also be a good way for restaurants, day care centers, and other service-oriented companies to help customers gain trust in the business.

3. Explain how to do something

Do you want to establish you and your business as an expert or authority in your industry? Then consider an instructional video to help make customers and prospects more comfortable with your offerings. This type of video may also help improve customer service—a top priority among small businesses this year, according to the poll.

Think about a skill you or your staff is equipped to teach, whether making guacamole, the basics of crocheting, or the proper way to do a tricep press. Remember to engage the viewer and ask for their feedback- this can help you build community and improve your future marketing efforts.

4. Spotlight customers

And finally, remember it’s not all about you. Consider turning the camera on your customers, too. Online testimonials can give your offerings a lot of credibility and provide a decisive nudge to wavering prospects. For me, testimonials are definitely an influence when I’m considering buying a product.

Is the thought of asking your customers to be in a video making you break out in a sweat? Don’t – It doesn’t have to be complicated. You might simply bring a smartphone to a meeting with a customer and ask him or her to talk for a few minutes (though it’s a good idea to give advance notice). Once you have a few testimonials, you can create a testimonials page on your website for featuring the clips, as this software company did. You might even consider creating a page on your website for customers to submit their own testimonials like this online education gaming company.

Videos give you an especially powerful way to enhance your company’s presence on mobile devices which are owned by over half of U.S. adult Internet users. With mobile technology now mainstream, it makes sense to adapt your marketing accordingly, and video provides a fast, low-cost way to do this.

Are you using video in your business? If so, what are your results? Share your experiences below.


*The Small Business Omnibus poll was fielded December 17-19, 2012, among 511 decision-makers in companies with 5-99 employees. Interviews were conducted online through the U.S. Research Now business panel. Panelists indicated that they participate in decisions to purchase supplies or services for their companies and that the companies have more than $100,000 in annual revenue.