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Video Marketing for Small Businesses and Nonprofits: Your Complete Guide

Updated: May 26, 2021

In 2015, 33% of marketers stated that video marketing gives them a positive ROI. Now that is number is 87%.

Video marketing is one of the most popular and sought after marketing mediums, and the content created can greatly benefit your small business or nonprofit. The average person will spend 100 minutes daily watching online videos in 2021, and according to Hubspot:

  • 93% of marketers who use video say it’s an important part of their marketing strategy

  • 84% of video marketers say video has been effective for generating leads

  • More than 99% of current video marketers will continue to using video in 2021, and 96% of them will increase or maintain their spend

It’s no wonder why video marketing is considered an essential component of any marketing strategy. It’s also cheaper and easier than you think.

In this guide, we will cover:

  • Why video marketing is essential for your small business or nonprofit

  • What equipment you need and how it improves your video quality

  • How to make compelling video that encourages clicks and drives leads

Why Video Marketing is Essential

The most successful small businesses and nonprofits share two common qualities: a strong digital footprint and clear brand messaging. 66% of business owners rank video as the most effective form of content marketing because it helps you:

  • Build trust

  • Say more in less time

  • Improve your online presence and engagement

  • Establish brand awareness

Building Trust

Video marketing gives potential customers the opportunity to peak behind the curtain and meet the people behind the brand. They can meet you and your team, get an understanding of your company’s culture, and gives you the chance to show your authentic self. You can’t achieve this as effectively with other marketing content.

Saying More With Less

A picture is worth 1,000 words, but one minute of video is worth 1,800,000. Here’s what we mean:

  • 1 picture = 1,000 words

  • 1 second = 30 frames (approx.)

  • 1 minute = 60 seconds

  • 1,000 x 30 x 60 = 1,800,000 words

Basically, we’re saying that you can convey a lot in 60 seconds of video. Visuals paired with text tells a more impactful story, and viewers retain up to 95% of the information via video, as opposed to 10% when just reading the content.

Improve Your Online Presence

Your website, social platforms, and blog/vlog all benefit from video content.


  • Well executed videos place on your landing page an increase conversion by as much as 80%

  • 83% of marketing say video has increased the amount of time visitors spend on websites

  • 86% of video marketers say video has increased their web traffic

Social Platforms

  • 93% of brands acquired a new customer because of a video on social media

  • 88% of video marketers say they are satisfied with the ROI of social media video marketing efforts

  • Over 70% of viewers say YouTube makes them aware of new brands


  • 66% of business owners rank video as the most effective form of content marketing

  • 43% of consumers want more video content

  • Video content is 50x more likely to drive organic search traffic than plain text

Brand Awareness

Video marketing allows you to build brand awareness by showing, not telling your viewers who you are both visually and verbally. A single minute of video can establish trust, help your potential leads who you are and why you do you what you do, and can be repurposed across multiple social channels across the web.

Video Marketing Equipment

The Only Video Strategy You Need

“Videos don’t necessarily get results when you up production value. They get results when you know what you show on camera, when to show it, and most importantly, it’s all authentic and genuine and believable.”

Small businesses and nonprofits seldom have massive marketing budgets to hire a team of professionals for all of their video content.

Videos going on your landing page and other key aspects of your brands online profile should be professional grade to ensure that you’re getting a polished product. However, most of your other content, like what you’d put on social media, is easy and inexpensive to produce. All you need is your phone, good lighting, audio, and (in some cases) a tripod.

Your Phone

Gone are the days of grainy, poor quality video. Your phone makes for a great camera, and there are several apps out there for iOS and Android devices that are perfect for recording video. Some of them even let you edit and include graphics right in the app.


Lighting sets the mood and the look the subject(s) on screen. Natural lighting looks great, but you have to time your shoots to make the most of it. The best times to shoot outside are shortly after sunrise and before sunset. If it’s too bright, the light can create abrasive shadows and wash the color from your face.

If you’re shooting inside, set up next to a window to let the light illuminate your face. Depending on what you’re shooting and where, you may require additional lighting. Professional lighting can get very expensive very quickly. However, if you’re mostly shooting for social media, you should purchase a ring light. Ring lights form halo of flattering light without creating harsh lines or shadows. They’re also inexpensive, starting at low as $25-$30.


Perfect lighting and the best camera available will not suffice if your audio is terrible. Make sure that you’re filming somewhere quiet can be heard clearly. For better results, consider purchasing a shotgun mic and, depending on what you’re filming, a lavalier mic. You can purchase quality mics for well under $100.


Tripods will hold your camera in place so that your video won’t be shaky. You can rest your phone up against a book or another stable surface, but tripods are so cheap that it’s worth it to just buy one.

Between lighting, audio, and a tripod, your basic video marketing equipment shouldn’t cost you more than $200. Not bad, considering that professional lighting kits can cost well over $1500 by themselves.

How to Make Videos from Start to Finish

There are 4 phases in video production:

  • Pre-production

  • Production

  • Post production

  • Distribution


In this phase, you and your team plan the process and executive of every task that you must accomplish before filming a video. Keeping your audience in mind, you must first decide what kind of video you want to make. The main video types include:

Video Type And What It Accomplishes

  • Intros: Builds awareness and establishes your brand

  • How-tos/Explainers: Shows you how a product or service works or how to do something

  • Questions/Polls: Encourages audience engagement through interaction

  • Testimonials: Establishes social proof and builds trust in your company

  • Sales: Highlights a special sale or discount

  • Promos: Targeted ads that talk directly about your brand, product, or service; features your value proposition and a compelling call-to-action

  • Editorials/Listicles: Simplifies a more complex concept; often pairs well with other content, like blog posts

Next, you have to figure out what you’ll need to make the video. You have to answer questions like:

Where will you be filming, and when?

  • Do you need a permit?

  • Do you need to hire actors?

  • Are there props or additional equipment necessary?

  • What are your goals?

Answering these questions will help you establish a timeline and a budget, if you don’t have one already.

You will also need a storyboard and a video script.


A storyboard is a set of sequential drawings that tell your video’s story. It’s sort of like a comic strip. By looking at your story linearly and in small chunks, you can determine what works, what doesn’t, and what might need to be rearranged.


Writing a video script can be deceptively difficult. You need an attention-grabbing hook, and it the script needs to be easily read aloud. Avoid long sentences, tongue twisters, and polysyllabic words.

Lastly, set up a shooting schedule. This will include what shots you’ll be shooting, when, where, and with whom. Make sure everyone knows their call times and has everything they need. Once that’s establishing, you’re ready to begin filming a video.


By filming day, you should know what you’re shooting and in what order. Give yourself extra time to set up and pack up. All of your equipment should be secured. Tape or cover any wires, and weigh down your lights. If you deem it necessary, create an equipment checklist or sign in/sign out sheet. Also, keep in mind that filming usually takes longer than you’d think, so leave yourself a little extra time between scenes.

Be sure to test for lighting and sound. Also, make sure that there’s nothing in the frame that shouldn’t be, such as a Starbuck’s cup or a sleeping production assistant. When necessary, use cue cards or a teleprompter to help whoever’s in front of the camera with their lines.

Lastly, have fun!

Post Production

Post production can go quickly, or it can be the longest of the four phases. All of this depends on how much you’re shooting and how much editing is required.

Assemble all of your raw footage and begin piecing it together. Adjust sound quality, and include graphics or special effects if necessary. Also, make sure that each of your shots has a smooth transition. Once you’re satisfied with your final cut, you’re ready to distribute your video.

Depending on your distribution strategy, you might also want to make multiple videos with this content, such as teaser clips to put on social media with a call-to-action to view the full video.


Use a savvy search engine optimization (SEO) strategy so that your video(s) can reach their intended audience. Add a transcription to your video so that search engines can identify your relevant keywords so that can you get ranked when someone enters a query into the search bar. Google loves video content, so optimizing your video will really pay off.

Also make sure that you’re embedding your video(s). Embedding refers to “the integration of links, images, videos, gifs and other content into social media posts or other web media.” Ultimately, it’s what gives posts their visual element and encourages engagement.

Once you’re ready, distribute your video and engage with your audience!


Q. How long should my video be?

  1. Video lengths on your website can vary, but a good rule of thumb is to keep them under 3 minutes.

According to Sprout Social, these are the video length best practices for each social platform:

  • Facebook and Instagram Stories - 15 seconds max

  • Facebook newsfeed - 2-5 minutes for higher engagement

  • Instagram - 26 seconds

  • YouTube - Varies; videos of 10+ minutes get more engagement

  • Twitter - 15 seconds or less

  • LinkedIn - 30 seconds or less

  • Snapchat - 3 seconds

Q. How do I optimize my video?

  1. As we mentioned earlier, be sure to include a transcript. You also need to add a meta description. A meta description summarizes the video’s contents and appear right below the link of a search query.

Q. How do I make sure my videos are mobile-friendly?

  1. People are 1.5x more likely to watch videos on their phone than on a computer. Search Engine Watch suggests that you should use responsive video players like YouTube and Vimeo because they automatically increase or reduce video quality based on the viewers’ bandwidth. Always test your videos on both a computer and your phone before distributing them. Sometimes items, such as text, become too small and difficulty to see on smaller devices.

Q. How often should I make and post videos?

  1. How often you post videos is entirely up to you. Whether you’re posting daily, weekly, or monthly, be consistent. Don’t post your weekly video on a Monday morning one week and Wednesday evening the next. Your audience will want to know when they can expect new content from you.

Q. How else can I drive traffic to my videos?

  1. A couple final tips:

  • Create an attention-grabbing title with your main keyword(s)

  • Select a click-worthy thumbnail for your video, as it will be the first thing people notice

  • Post your videos on as many relevant social platforms as you can to get the best reach

  • Engage with your audience when they like, comment, and share your videos

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