Promotional Videos for Small Businesses: a Worthwhile Investment?

The landscape of promotional videos is ever-changing, but their prevalence continues to rise across virtually every industry. In 2017, the world witnessed a 67% increase over the previous year in spending on digital video advertising, and for good reason. Corporate decision makers have become acutely aware of the value of a quality video.

The benefits of promo videos are obvious for mid-sized and enterprise level businesses, but for many of the smaller fish the same vital question remains at top of mind—does the value of a promotional video outweigh the costs of production?

We’ll answer this, along with some other frequently asked questions and hesitations that tend to arise for business owners, and often delay or prevent execution:

First, are the costs to produce a promotional video worth it?

Sometimes you need to spend money to make money. You should be able to produce a video of quality for a few thousand dollars, which may seem intimidating at first, but in reality, this is far cheaper than other modern-day investments, like a website or a media buying campaign.

If you come to see this as an investment in the future, and leverage your content wisely, it will turn out to be more than worth your while. Not only do promo videos function as an avenue for getting your name out there– they also establish credibility. Potential customers who have viewed a business’ video are significantly more likely to make a purchase than those who haven’t.

Self-shoot vs. hire out?

If you are truly strapped for cash, it may be tempting to self-shoot, and hire a professional to edit for you. This short-sighted approach often ends up backfiring, as a multitude of self-shot footage issues (poor sound quality tends to be the biggest culprit, followed by lighting and storage issues) creates additional needs for fixes and edits. This ultimately turns into a more time-intensive and expensive process than it would have been to have a production team shoot in the first place.

People are more likely to take your proposition seriously if it looks professional and well thought out. A “selfie” style video gives off the appearance of a webinar, or even worse YouTube personality spam, and results in a lower likelihood of engagement.

Format: animation vs. live-action or screencast?

This really depends on the product or service that you’re selling. If your product is an app, an online platform, or anything that takes more than a few seconds to explain to a stranger, a screencast or animation might be the way to go. Otherwise, live action is probably your best and easiest option.  If you decide to take the route of the screencast, interspersing bits and pieces of live action footage or animation can be a good way to liven things up and break up the monotony.

What to cover in your promotional videos?

The concept of promotional videos is pretty straight-forward. Acknowledge your target audience’s pain points, and what your service or product does to address them. If you don’t want to come across as overly salesy, take the story-telling approach and focus on personalizing your brand.

Alternatively, customer testimonial videos are an incredibly manageable, effective option for anyone who doesn’t want to be on camera themselves, or doesn’t have time to write an elaborate script

How long?

Keep it brief—generally, videos should be no longer than 90 seconds in length. Some of the most effective videos are less than 30 seconds long. Brands such as Campbell’s soup have mastered the concept of the ultra-short, ultra-targeted, 6 second “bumper ads,” indicating that the digital video advertising game is definitely changing.

Remember, the goal here is simply to establish a presence on your prospects’ radar. This is not a pitch meeting.

How to keep it affordable?

If you’re a small business owner, you should obviously take this undertaking seriously–quality is of the utmost importance, but there’s still a need to end up within budget. One way to accomplish this is to hire a small production shop or reputable DP, who should easily be able to check both boxes without cutting corners. Just make sure you do your due diligence and research the company or vendor you’re about to work with, and establish a specific budget before pre-production begins.

Another way to significantly cut costs for live-action videos is to capture all of the necessary footage in one day of shooting. Once that’s done, you can use it to create multiple videos, different versions of the same video (e.g. fragmented clips tailored for social media), or archive some of the footage to be repurposed for later endeavors down the road.

Organization and foresight are key here. You do not want to hastily jump into production, only to realize later on that you’ve forgotten to include a vital piece of information, necessitating a reshoot.

This post was published by Woge Media, a boutique video production firm in Washington DC. 

For inquiries, contact us at

Posted on March 13, 2018 in Misc, Uncategorized

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