You don’t need a big budget to get results online

To have a highly produced video from Toyota go viral is not all that shocking. After all, they have the best and brightest working with an enormous budget to produce a music video on par with those on MTV (the video has enjoyed more than 7 million views).But really? Who has that type of budget?

You don’t need it. A church in Tulsa, Okla., has garnered more than 3 million views on YouTube by featuring a diverse group of rapping dads lamenting the woes of fatherhood. The church produced a video called “Dad Life” that is funny, witty and clever. It struck an emotional chord with all of us mom and dad types.

If you want an example of an even lower-budget success, take a look at Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” video series ( This viral marketing campaign has been seen by more than 100 million people on the Internet and has been reported on by traditional media outlets such as the “Today” show, “The Tonight Show,” and many more. With a mere $50 initial investment, the company has enjoyed a 700 percent increase in sales. Not bad for a small Utah-based blender manufacturer.

With the creative use of social media, you don’t need to be a big brand with a huge budget; you just need to introduce a big idea in a clever, creative and compelling way.

So, how can you harness the power of video on the Web? Start with great content. Here are just a few ideas:

• Create a “how-to” video series.

• Start a vlog (a video log or blog).

• Create a tips or tricks video series.

• Produce a behind-the-scenes video.

• Show how your product works in a creative and compelling way (like Blendtec).

How powerful can Web videos be for your business? I’ll answer that after I return from the Toyota dealer in my new “Swagger Wagon.”

Debi Hammond is president and chief executive officer of Sacramento-based Merlot Marketing Inc. Reach her at

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