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Engage Customers With Inexpensive DIY Videos

By Jaimy Ford for America's Backbone Weekly
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The research is in: Video marketing is an excellent way to build your brand and increase your business, and it's never been easier to shoot videos yourself using your smartphone.

Let's face it: The attention span of your average customer is waning, and once a customer visits your website, you have about eight seconds to capture his or her attention. Your chances of doing that increase if you include funny or informative videos on your small business' website. In addition, people love to watch and share videos through their social media accounts, so if you share valuable content through videos on Twitter and Facebook, you could put your brand in front of people you may never reach otherwise.

Video marketing provides positives for just about every type of business. Posting a meet-and-greet with the owner, providing a history of the business or sharing customer testimonials are all powerful ways to build confidence in your brand, and explainer videos have been proven to convert browsing customers into paying customers. For example, a construction business could post short clips offering DIYers tips for installing a backsplash or building a deck, while retail businesses could post videos of how customers use best-selling products.

The good news is that technology has made it possible for everyday small business owners to shoot professional-looking video to post and share using only their smartphones. Want to shoot videos for your small business? Follow these tips:

  • Use a tripod. If you don't use a tripod, you could end up with shaky videos. Smartphone tripods range in all styles and prices, so find one that suits your budget. Joby offers a range of fit-in-your-pocket options starting at $15.

  • Perfect the lighting. Smartphones have very small camera lenses, which can make it hard to capture light. You can avoid too-dark or overly contrasted pictures simply by filming outside in natural daylight in an area without shadows. If that ideal scenario isn't possible -- which is often the case -- you can purchase inexpensive LED backlights that will allow you to establish the perfect soft lighting for shooting. With a simple online search, you can find LED backlights in all shapes, sizes and price ranges.

  • Watch the sound. Voice and sound quality are still lacking on most smartphones' built-in microphones, so you may want to invest in an external microphone to ensure the best sound in your videos. The iRig MIC Cast is a great lightweight option that is relatively inexpensive at just $40.

  • Download an editing app. Cut down long videos to the good parts, add sound, and integrate cool transitions and graphical elements with one of the many video-editing applications available for download. iMovie ($5) for iOS allows you to create HD-quality movies with an easy drag-and-drop feature. For Android users, VidTrim (free) allows you to cut footage and add music or effects to your videos.

As you can see, it's highly possible to shoot professional-looking video with your smartphone and less than $100 of equipment. Pull out your phone and start shooting -- and sharing -- those videos today.

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Jaimy Ford is a professional business writer withnearly a decade's worth of experience developing newsletters, blogs, e-letters,training tools and webinars for business professionals. She contributes to bothThe Intuit Small Business Blog and Docstoc.com. She also serves as editor-in-chief of SalesMastery, a digital magazine writtenspecifically for sales professionals.
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