Everybody knows that video is a great marketing tool that can be uploaded and distributed to every social networking site. Video content is highly shareable and offers a significant return on investment. So why are so few small businesses using professional video production to their advantage?

The answer is a simple one; for most businesses, the cost of video is just too high. Even if you have a video marketing budget, it can be challenging to figure out where and how to spend your money. So, we’ve put a few tips together on how you can take advantage of professional video production on a budget.

Think strategically

Like all types of marketing, you need to have a strategy. And more importantly, you need to stick with it. Understanding your message and target audience is key to a successful video marketing campaign.

In our experience, businesses concentrate on what the video will look like, rather than what it will do for them. While no professional video production company will set out to ‘rip you off,’ not understanding the type of video most beneficial for your business can lead to you being sold things you just don’t need. Or more specifically, you don’t need right now. Fortunately for public-facing marketing, there are only four types of video.

Cornerstone videos

Your cornerstone video tells your customers who you are and what you do. It should sit on your website’s homepage, welcoming web visitors and encouraging them to stay on your site. It should, in your own words, summarise your offering and why you are the company to choose.

Resource videos

Videos offering helpful tips, information and insights into your industry can help with both your return visitors as well as your organic page rankings. With resource videos, you are selling your visitors on your expertise, and by offering free helpful information, you become a trusted source of knowledge.

Bragging rights videos

Bragging rights are your chance to show off a little and let your visitors know why you are so great. For most businesses, a simple client testimonial can help you convert web visitors into customers. It’s like digital advertising combined with word of mouth advertising; your happy customers are the best advert for your product/service.

Active videos

Active videos are the short pieces of content you share on social media, that lead your followers back to your website. There are endless types of active video content, from a behind-the-scenes look at your business to a simple announcement about a new product. Your social accounts are the first thing a lot of potential customers will see, so it’s important to keep them regularly updated.

You can find out more about these four types of videos and how to use them by downloading this free video marketing strategy guide.

Our top tips for getting professional video production on a budget

Be prepared

When you get a quote from a video production company, they will base all costs on the information you give them. The more information you can provide, the more accurate the quote will be. Create a brief to send before asking for a quote. Include how long you think it will take to film and a draft script.

Cutting down on pre-production

Video production companies charge you pre-production time for any arrangements they have to make, including sourcing a filming location and hiring actors. If you need these elements for your video, you can save some money by sourcing them yourself.

Get a transparent quote

When you ask for a quote from a video production company, make sure you ask for it to be itemised. Some companies will give you a total package price for your project, but it can be difficult to see what you are being charged for. Don’t get charged for things you don’t need;

4K – Unless you plan for your video to be shown on TV or a cinema screen, or you require drone work, there is simply no need to be shooting in 4K. For web videos, you just need an HD resolution.

Crew – Remember you are not producing a Hollywood blockbuster, you don’t need hair, make-up, and wardrobe. In our experience, a simple cornerstone video can be produced with 2-3 crew members.

Storyboarding – If you are producing a narrative story, you will need a storyboard. If you are shooting talking heads with some cutaway shots, you don’t.

Reuse content

A lot of clients are surprised when we tell them just how much footage can be reused. Filming is the most costly part of the production process, so get as much out of your shoot as possible. Bragging rights videos, for example, can be cut into shorter sound bite videos to share on social media.

Film your own

For videos that appear on your website, we would always suggest you bring in a professional video production company. For social media, you can create much of your own content with your smartphone. Some video production companies offer workshops on how to get the most out of your device and how to edit on your phone.

Ask about paying in instalments

Even with all these cost-saving tips, the video you want might still be beyond your budget; talk to your production company about payment terms. Remember, your video production company will likely be a small business as well, and fully understand the limitations of your budget.

So there you have it, a selection of advice, tips, and a dash of common sense to help you get the most out of your budget without skimping on the quality of your film.