There’s a growing number of sources offering online small business and marketing courses. As a result it’s becoming easier to learn the strategies a small business needs to successfully market in the new reality. With this in mind, I’ve listed five here, including two that I’ve taken myself and three that come recommended.
The Udemy Online Learning Platform
Udemy is an online learning platform aimed at professional adults. They have nearly two thousand courses in marketing including courses in marketing strategy and email marketing.
I’ve taken the course there taught by Seth Godin, a guru in the field of marketing in the internet age. If you’re a freelancer, Seth’s course for freelancers and how to market freelance work is excellent. I recommend it. Seth also offers courses titled “Presenting to Persuade” and “Value Creation Master Class”.
Lynda.com Courses Using Video
Lynda.com was one of the first sites that used video to teach courses. The original courses taught how to use editing programs for photography and video such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere.
Since they started offering online video courses in 2002, Lynda.com has been the go to site for photographers and videographers looking for courses on software and on techniques for photography and video.
Lynda.com has now expanded their selection to include small business and marketing courses.
Hubspot for Inbound Marketing and Sales
There are a number of good Customer Relationship Management platforms available today. A CRM is needed for managing email marketing campaigns as well as social media and advertising campaigns.
Some good CRMs include:
Here at LumaVox we’ve used both Insightly and Base in the past. Now we’re using HubSpot to both manage our client relationships and grow our business.
HubSpot hosts a learning academy at their site with small business and marketing courses. I earned certification at the HubSpot Academy for the methodology of inbound marketing and can highly recommend them.
Copyblogger Content Creation Course
Copyblogger was recommended to me as a site for learning content creation. For instance, they offer courses and information about copywriting for blogging as well as information about podcasting.
Google Marketing Course
Google continuously changes their search algorithm. Therefore, it’s necessary to stay on top of the best practices for ranking in Google. Certainly Google rank still matters, even with the changes taking place that affect search results such as your location and search history.
Of course the most direct and measurable marketing on Google continues to be with paid ads using Adwords. In fact, an Adwords campaign gives you the numbers to measure your ROI. Generally speaking, the more sophisticated you are at running an Adwords campaign, the lower the cost of converting a lead.
Get Started With Small Business and Marketing Courses
The old adage about seminars and courses is true; if you learn just one new thing it’s worth the time and effort. So decide on one thing that you need to improve on in marketing your business and then find an online course to help you get up to speed with skills to execute that change.
Any type of construction or production should start with a blueprint or a plan of what you’re building. Therefore, the same is true for video production for small business. Start with some basic foundations and your final video will be much more successful.
Determine the Right Length of Your Video
The length of your video matters, especially for video production for small business. You have only a few seconds to capture your audience’s attention at the start of your video. Then you have to keep that engagement.
More and more of your viewers will watch your video on their mobile device. So you have to consider the format for presenting your video.
The options for viewing video on mobile devices are:
A hybrid of horizontal or square formatted with text or graphics above and below the video
There is no one right answer. If you’re publishing one video for viewing on both desktop and mobile devices, then choose a format that will work well, if not ideally, on both. A horizontal format might be best for this.
If you have the capability of serving different videos to different types of devices, then format the video for each device. For example, you could format a horizontal video for use on a desktop, while formatting that same video with graphics above and below the video to serve on a mobile device. Remember, most views on a mobile device will be done with the smartphone or tablet being held vertically.
And finally, remember that many views on a mobile device, as well as on desktops, will be started with the sound off. They might be completely viewed with the sound off. So consider adding subtitles to your video.
Plan Your Video According to Your Budget
The budget for your video does matter, but it’s not the only factor in producing a good video. If you have the budget for professional video production, then your video will most certainly have higher production values, and be more effective at producing the results you’re looking for.
The most important thing is to have a story to tell and then to tell it well.
Good Storytelling Makes for Good Video
Great video is about the art of storytelling. Think about the story in almost any movie. There’s an arc to the story. Usually you’re first introduced to the main character. Then the character has a problem. Following that, most of the movie is about the character solving the problem. Then everything seems fine, but oops there’s one more problem. Then the character solves that and usually everyone lives happily ever after.
Videos for small business should also have an arc to their story. A small business video isn’t like a feature film, but it should lead the viewer on a journey through the arc of the video’s story.
Anyone producing video for small business can learn a lot by studying screenwriting. One of the best books for learning the craft of screenwriting is “The Screenwriter’s Bible” by David Trottier. In the book, Trottier helps filmmakers think in terms of “showing” instead of “telling”, and helps think in terms of a story’s arc. All of this can help create small business videos that are more compelling and that keep the viewer more engaged.
Optimize Your Video For Search Engines
Finally to help ensure that your video production for small business is seen, you need to optimize the video for search engines.
Things you should optimize in your video include:
Cards and Endscreens
All of these will help search engines understand what your video is about and help your video rank higher on search engine results pages.
Start Creating Your Video Production for Small Business
Just as with any type of construction or production, video production for small business takes planning.
I’ve suggested five things to consider in your production. Again, the most important is to tell a story and tell it well.
In online marketing today, content is king. Most of all, video content is a key component of small business marketing. So how effective is video marketing for small business?
Video content is increasing across all social media channels. In addition, this is true for both organic posts as well as for paid advertising. Businesses spend significant time and money now producing video for their online marketing campaigns. Seems like something must be working right.
Here are some video and video marketing trends that we’ll see going forward.
Finally, how effective is video marketing for small business? It is not only very effective, but most of all it is necessary for small business marketing going forward. The written word will not go away, therefore you should be continuously creating written content. Yet video will continue to play an increasing role in marketing your small business.