What would you rather do? Read another long bio or watch a video? Me too.

With just a few seconds to make an impression, video enables us to connect and communicate our brand message much more quickly and effectively. We give our potential clients the opportunity to get to know us and decide whether we might be a good fit for them (yes, it really does happen that quickly!)

When I launched my coaching business, I decided to create my first ever brand video. Even though the lighting and sound weren’t great (something I later learned is a big deal in video), people really responded to the content and medium. Four years, and many clients, later I was ready to refine my message and up-level the quality. Today, I’d like to share 7 things that I learned along the way. If you’re thinking about using video in your marketing communications, I hope that my experiences might help you create the best possible video for your budget and avoid some of the mistakes that I made.

1) Set an intention for your video. Ask yourself why you’re creating the video. What do you want your viewer to take away from it? What do you want them to do once they’ve watched it? Not sure? Here are a few kinds of video you might make, along with reasons why:

  • About us – Build the ‘know, like and trust’ factor
  • Free offer/newsletter – Grow your list
  • Product or event launch – Advertise your product/workshop/event
  • How-to videos – Showcase expertise. Build the ‘know, like and trust’ factor
  • Video newsletters – Build the ‘know, like and trust’ factor
  • Description of your services – Educate potential clients
  • Client testimonials – Offer social proof

2) Create high-quality, high-content value. You’re asking people to give you a few minutes of their valuable time, don’t make them regret it. Creating high-quality content is key. Be honest – is what you’re sharing informative and valuable? Do people understand what you’re offering and what you’d like them to do next? Get your thoughts down on paper and run it by your trusted circle of supporters and advisors. If they’re confused by anything at all, go back to the drawing board. A good video producer will also give you advice on your content, as well as ways to shoot it. Which brings me to my next point…

3) Hire the best videographer or video producer you can afford. You might have the best content in the world, but if the sound and lighting aren’t great, the impression you make is seriously diminished. Good video doesn’t come cheap, so you might have to get creative to get what you want within your price range. When I was introduced to a video producer with extensive experience in the arts, I knew I wanted to work with him. Even though I’m a much smaller client than the non-profit, healthcare and educational clients that he typically worked with, we were able to strike a deal. I coach him for the rest of his natural born days and he did my promotional video. Done!

4) Choose your environment carefully. The environment should feel very consistent with the image you want to create. Even if you work out of your spare bedroom, you don’t want people to know that. Finding a great space doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money, but you might have to get creative. Do you have a friend who has a great loft or office space that they’d let you use for half a day? I guarantee if you put your thinking cap on, you’ll find the perfect spot.

5) Maximize your shoot. You’ve hired a video producer, his crew and all the equipment, so think of ways you can make the most of the shoot and increase the impact you can make with video. For example: Say you’re shooting an ‘about’ video, you might also choose to shoot some client testimonials or a services video for your site. In my case, I decided to shoot a six-part video series titled ‘How to get more dream clients’. It will be up on my website soon, so watch this space!

6) Get in the right mindset. When I go for a run in the morning I feel sharper, more energetic and generally happier, so I made sure I went for a run the morning of my shoot. Do whatever you need to do to feel relaxed and creative.

7) Get your make-up done by a pro. This comes from the woman who did her own wedding make up! But I knew that if I was going to be shot up-close, I was going to need all the help I could get. My makeup artist got me camera-ready, which boosted my confidence and helped me feel prepared.

While I’m very much in the beginning stages of using video to market my small business, I’m absolutely convinced that it’s the most effective way to build connection with your ideal clients and grow your brand. How do you feel about it? Are you considering incorporating into your business? If you do decide to take the leap, or you’re already a pro, do share your experiences with others. You’ll be helping your fellow entrepreneurs grow too!

Successful entrepreneurs understand the power of video for marketing their business. Justine Clay is a business coach for creative entrepreneurs who need help marketing themselves more effectively and growing their business. To download her free guide to building a thriving and fulfilling creative business visit Pitch Perfect Presentation and sign up.