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Category: Marketing, Video

How to Make a Great Business Video with No Budget

If you work at a nonprofit, run a small business, or do anything that involves selling goods or services, you should be using video in your marketing strategy.

Studies show that by 2020, video will make up over 80% of all consumer internet traffic.

But if you’re a small business, or a local nonprofit, you may be struggling to find the time, energy, resources, or MONEY to do that.

The good news is: you definitely have the ability to enhance your video marketing game, even if you’re budget is small!


Here are a few tips to help increase your engagement and maximize your impact:

Use what you have

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez famously made his $7000 student film, El Mariachi (which went on to win the audience award at Sundance and launch his career), by using interesting props and places that he already had access to.  

He had a turtle, a guitar case, and a relative with a ranch in Texas.  Rodriguez used what he had around him (and a good deal of creativity) to tell a completely unique story.

So, look around you.

What do you have access to (for FREE) that you could use creatively? 

Robert also had students and family work on the film.  

Who do you have access to?

Start with what and who you have, and then weave a story from there.

Keep it Short

While Youtube users still love long form video, most other platforms get the best user engagement with short-form content.

On Instagram feed, the limit for video is 60 seconds; on Instagram Stories, it’s 15 seconds!

People are scrolling faster and faster, so we don’t have a lot of time to catch their attention.  In order to get people to listen, we need to keep it simple and keep it moving.

  1. Go straight into the story. You don’t need a long intro or preamble.  
  2. Lose any redundancies.  Don’t beat your audience over the head with the same message.  Assume that they will pick up what you’re putting down the first time around.
  3. Be clear about your Call To Action.  What is it that you want the person watching your video to do?  Tell them.  Be direct.

Inspire with your story and ask your audience to act.  And make sure you have a place to direct them, once they are ready to act.

Tell a Story

Creating a narrative for your video is the simplest, most effective way to connect to your audience.

A good story has three pieces: a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Each sequence of events builds tension, that takes us from one part to the next.  

Also, every story needs a challenge that creates conflict.  Then we need a way to resolve that conflict.


It is important to think about whose story we are following.  The character(s) that your audience follows should be relatable enough to empathize with because stories that create empathy are scientifically more engaging.


And nothing is better to create empathy than emotion.

Raw, human emotion.

Be Authentic

When you don’t have the money to make a high-production video, just keep it real.  Use the three tips above and speak directly to your audience.

There are several ways to do this:

  • Make it about your community.  

The hero should be someone you impact or serve.  YOU should be the guru leading them to victory. Tell your story best by telling the success stories of the people you help.

  • Show your “why.”

Think about your video as a mission statement.  Let them know your origin story, how your business came about, and why you put all your energy into making it happen.

  • Most importantly, be vulnerable and open.

Don’t be afraid to show people behind the scenes. Many traditional marketers may disagree, but that’s not the direction the world is heading.

People are sick of being scammed and crave something real.


Show them your struggles, but more importantly, show them how you work tirelessly together as a team to overcome those struggles.

They will root for you and want to join your movement.


There are so many outlets and platforms and social media tools out there now that it’s overwhelming to try and keep up.  Almost every month there is a new best practice or an algorithm change that causes us to shift our whole marketing strategy.


But if we keep it simple, use what’s around us, and tell great stories, we can make powerful videos that impact our audiences deeply, no matter what platform we use.

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