By Brad Jefferson, CEO and co-founder, Animoto

The benefits of using video to build up businesses are clear. Video improves marketing, boosts sales and strengthens customer rapport. A study by Animoto found that 96  percent of consumers consider video helpful when making purchase decisions online, and 73 percent are more likely to purchase after watching a video that explains a product or service. These numbers speak for themselves, and here’s the good news: video isn’t only for Old Spice, VW, and Dollar Shave Club any more. The tools are at your fingertips as a small or medium-size business to make video a simple, affordable sales and marketing tactic.

Video is a proven asset, but simply posting it online with your fingers crossed doesn’t guarantee you’ll get what you want from it: eyeballs and engagement. What’s next after creating a great video? Here are the five places to publish video to increase views and connect with customers:

  1. Website / Homepage: A video on your website signals to visitors it’s an important part of your message. Make sure to give your video a prominent place — if it’s a business overview or short-term promotion, post it at the top of the page so it’s one of the first things visitors will see. If you’re highlighting a product, clearly display the video next to its description. Remember, 71 percent of consumers say that videos leave them with a positive impression of a company.
  2. Social Media: Where do you engage with your customers? Today that may be on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, depending on your business and desired audience. Video can be a great way to drive engagement around promotional activities, and can get your customers to interact. When posting to social, make sure you’ve considered video length and format. For example, videos on Instagram are limited to 15 seconds.
  3. YouTube: If you’re investing in video, YouTube is imperative. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, and placing a video there increases the chances of your brand appearing in search results. Additionally, as you venture into your second and third video, a YouTube channel is a must-have. Why? A YouTube channel is an extension of your brand. Take the time to make sure each part of your user page is consistent, accurate, and compelling.
  4. Email:  Video is a great way to engage customers in email, especially in newsletters. It’s been shown to increase click-through rates and can support big campaigns like a product launch or special event. Embed a thumbnail of your video in the body of your email — YouTube calls thumbnails “miniature marketing posters” and has tips to optimizing them. Make sure the video delivers a clear message and that it’s published online, preferably at a link your customers can easily share.
  5. Offline: Your video doesn’t have to exist solely online. There are plenty of successful uses for video offline. If you have a captive audience, such as customers visiting your store or trade show booth, consider displaying your video there. You can also create DVDs and include them with a sales proposal or product sample.

Today’s most innovative brands use video to differentiate themselves, and it’s a proven way to reach consumers. With online video creation tools, any small to medium-size business can create professional, quality content. Keep each of these five channels in mind when you’re creating your video, and make sure to track your videos’ performance to learn when, where, and what types of videos do best. You’ve got the tools, the instructions, and the proof to make video part of your business plan, so dig in and reap the benefits.

As founding CEO of Animoto, Brad leads the charge in driving Animoto to be the global standard for automated video creation. Follow him at @Animoto.