Everyone wants to create the next viral video.

That’s just the way it is.

Dollar Shave Club hit it big, getting 14,671,323 on their first video, and everyone wants to be next in line. But how realistic is that?


For every video that goes viral, millions of other videos get posted and don’t have the same success. In fact, 100 hours of video get posted to YouTube every minute. The greater majority of those videos won’t go viral.

So how can you get a good return on the money you invest in creating videos without attempting to create the next viral sensation. Let’s talk about that now.

#1: Instructional Videos

The first type of video you can consider are instructional videos.

With these videos, you create content that’s educational and informative as a way to capture new customers. First, you identify a need your customers have. Then you create a video to help them with that problem or need.

Advance Auto Parts provides a great example of this. They have a multi-part series of videos on how to change disc brakes (among other topics) that includes a fourth step on how to know when to change your brakes.

This kind of series is educational and informative and helps prospective customers with a project they’re interested in completing. Here are some other benefits for these types of videos:

  1. It creates a feeling of reciprocity where customers are less likely to shop around for a lower price because you’ve provided a service in teaching them something they wanted to learn in the first place.
  2. You create a new video that can be found on YouTube. The next time someone searches for “how to change my disc brakes,” there’s a chance the Advance Auto Parts video series will get found and watched, giving the company a good branding opportunity.

In another similar example, John Lawson of 3rd Power Outlet created a Youtube video on how to fold a bandanna that received 160,644 views and resulted in 10,281 sales, all from single video that took 30 minutes to create. This simple video goes to show how much of a return can be made from educational videos.

#2: Product Reviews

The next type of video you can consider are product reviews.

With a product review, you simply do exactly as described—you provide a review of a product to give your customers a better idea about what they’re buying.

Crutchfield provides a great example of this. They create both written and video reviews as a way to engage their customers and to better inform them about the products they’re about to buy. In the example below, they provide a video review of the Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones.

BoseQuietComfort

Another benefit of these types of reviews, in addition to assisting your customers with making a decision, is that they create more content that can be found by search engines. In fact, according to Forrester Research, videos have a 50 times better chance of showing up on the first result page for search engines than written content, making another reason to create video reviews.

#3: Product Recommendations

Another type of video content you can consider are product recommendations.

With this kind of video, you recommend products to your customers in order to help them to make a purchasing decision.

SimplyPiste, for example, created a video to help customers decide which ski goggles are right for them.

If you think about it for a moment, this kind of video makes a lot of sense. How many people know what they’re looking for when it comes to goggles? They know that some pairs are more expensive and others are cheaper, but they really don’t know what they’re looking at or how to decide which pair to buy.

Thus, a recommendation video helps customers to not only understand what they’re looking at, but also helps them to make a decision, which increases the chances that they’ll buy from the company that took the time to create a recommendation video.

Another great example of this is Wine Library TV. With Wine Library TV, Gary Vaynerchuk used recommendation videos to grow a multi-million dollar wine business. He simply answered questions people had about wine pairings and then released the videos on YouTube. The result is one of the most classic examples of how to use product recommendation videos to grow a business.

#4: Answer Frequently Asked Questions

Another type of video you can consider are ones that answer frequently asked questions. Instead of typing up yet another answer to the same question, why not record a video and add it to YouTube and your FAQ page?

REI does something similar with their videos that answer commonly asked questions. In the example below, they explain how to pick the right bike height and how to figure out the right seat placement for your bike, something we’d guess they get asked about a lot.

Once you record a video like this, you can use it in a lot of places. You can add it to YouTube, embed it on your frequently asked questions page, share it on Facebook, etc. And the next time someone searches or “how to choose the right bike size” on YouTube or Google, they may just find your video and learn a little more about your brand.

One thing to keep in mind with these types of videos is that you really want to make sure and answer questions your customers actually ask. Write down a list of questions you commonly get asked or search the “FAQ” section of some forums to learn what questions people are asking.

It’s much better to answer the kinds of questions people actually ask than it is to just make up questions you think are important or that people might be asking about. And if one customer is asking a certain question (or a handful), there’s a good chance more people have the exact same question.

#5: Promotional Videos

The last kind of video you can make are promotional videos, which is probably pretty obvious.

You can create these types of videos to advertise your store on other sites, and especially on YouTube. On one hand, this type of video advertising can get expensive really fast, but on the other hand, YouTube ads are a cost effective way to get your business in front of customers at a rate of $0.05 to $0.25 per view.

One such example is OraBrush. They created a really unique promotional video (see below) and were able to get a good return on the money they spent for YouTube advertising (see here).

What might come as a surprise is that OraBrush purchased 11 million of the 18 million or so views this video received. They sold $1 million worth of products in the first year of the campaign and kept buying ads since the video was so successful (source here).

These kinds of videos are like regular video ads (although you can create longer, more engaging videos for YouTube than you can for T.V.). Instead of paying millions of dollars to get your commercial onto cable television, you can pay pennies per view to share your video on YouTube.

This kind of video may work better for unique products than for an entire store, but it still represents are great video marketing opportunity for a lot of businesses.

Wrapping It Up

Here are some points to keep in mind as you consider making one of these five types of videos:

  • It’s much better to create videos that get watched and shared organically than to buy ad space and interrupt people, especially if you’re a brand new company with a small advertising budget. The good news is that YouTube and search engines can be your friend if you choose the right topic and create videos that get found and ranked organically.
  • Something else to keep in mind is that it’s better not to attempt to close right away with most of these types of videos (all of them except for option #5). You should create a branded intro and outro to get a good exposure for your brand, but these kinds of videos aren’t all about selling and directing people to “BUY NOW!!!” It’s ok to have a call to action, just don’t try to close sales on every single one of your videos. It’s alright to take your time and to trust that over time your videos will deliver a good return on the money you invest to create them.
  • Also keep in mind that people will be willing to pay more after watching these kinds of videos. Instead of shopping around, they’ll be ok paying $5 or $10 more to the company that took the time to create a video that really matched what they’re looking for. These kinds of videos create a sense of reciprocity that will pay you back when it comes to discouraging customers from shopping around to pay a bottom-dollar price.

In the end, it takes time and money to create these kinds of videos, but if you invest in the right ones, you’ll get a good return on the money you invest. And who knows, maybe you’ll create a viral video in the process, but if you’re smart, you won’t bank on that being the case.