Video can be intimidating. No matter how easy video production and publishing becomes with digital cameras and YouTube, it can still be tough for a small business owner to take the leap. Video, after all, is the medium of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. How can a small business avoid looking like an amateur against such giants?

In his experience helping small businesses market themselves, Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion writes on his blog that the number one piece of advice he gives to entrepreneurs who are intimidated by video is simple:

'Just hit record. Get started,' he says. 'Some will always be better than none. As long as you try to get better and better, you’ll be just fine.”

Is video marketing really so important? Sheridan isn't alone in believing that it is, and here's why:

To Be Found

With all the resources you spend increasing your search engine optimization, leaving video out of the equation means you will never reap the full benefit of your efforts.

'If [businesses] aren't already thinking about what they're going to do with video, that's going to impact their search results,' says Chris Brogan, a popular blogger and the president of Human Business Works. 'People are going to YouTube for everything now....When you buy a new product and you're like, 'Gee, I'm not sure I understand how I'm using it.' You can find a how-to video that a user of the product -- not the company -- has shot.'

To Find New Customers

bbqguys logo And that's where clever entrepreneurs like the owners of Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based have taken great advantage of video. Kermit Pattison explains in a New York Times' Small Business Blog article how the one-time traditional, brick-and-mortar store regained its 'human touch' once it hit the Internet.

'The company does not just pitch products,' Pattison says, 'Rather, the goal is to establish its people as customer-friendly experts and provide a channel full of useful information about how to fry a turkey, grill a pizza or smoke a beef brisket. The hope is that the information will draw viewers — many of whom will become customers — and increase the site’s conversion rate.'

While the videos do feature their equipment, the key to their success has been capturing those Internet browsers searching for barbecuing advice, becoming the source of that advice and then retaining the browsers as customers.

Pattison writes that the owner of reports that site visitors who watch video are twice as likely to make a purchase as those who don't.'

To Stand Out in the Crowd

Grasshopper YouTube Video Just because everyone is doing video now doesn't mean your business will blend into the background. In fact, marketing with video can produce the opposite effect. While the goal of many marketing efforts is showing customers how you are different from your competitors, video allows you to add creativity, suspense and fun to the big reveal.

'If you have not seen the Back to the Start commercial for Chipotle, it is worth viewing,' writes John Brandon for 'The cartoon hits home the point that this taco chain is more environmentally responsible than most. This messaging is a bit unusual—probably because other chains are not as responsible. The lesson: Find a message that your competitors do not use or cannot use, and own it.'

Utilizing video marketing can do a lot for your small business. That's not to say it has to accomplish everything at once though.  We’ve seen a lot of success with our videos Entrepreneurs Can Change the World and The New Dork – Entrepreneur State of Mind. To get the greatest impact from marketing your business with online video, you just have to start by making something, and growing from there.

What are some of your favorite videos businesses have created to market their business?