Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
Online video has become an integral part of the business marketing toolkit, especially in an era when the use of mobile devices is commonplace.
Despite this fact, small businesses often consider the use of video to be a difficult and expensive undertaking. Business owners worry about everything from the skills needed to produce video content to camera-shy employees to promotion and distribution costs.
The 11 tools contained in this list can help your business overcome the obstacles required to produce engaging online videos, and do so affordably.
Animoto allows you to take your photos, text, and video clips, add music from its library, and quickly create videos, which you can then post to your company website, social media sites, and email. It offers a number of customizable video templates, and hosting is available.
Cost: Premium options start at $19.99 per month, billed annually. A free trial is available.
With GoAnimate, you can create professional-looking animated videos in minutes. The drag and drop functionality permits you to select multiple backgrounds, settings, characters, and props. If you assign dialog to a character, it will lip sync automatically.
Animation uses include “explainer” videos to convey concepts, product demonstrations, news releases, training, portfolios, and customer service FAQs.
Cost: Pricing starts at $299.00 per year. A free trial is available.
Powtoon uses drag and drop functionality to create videos from a variety of library images, props, shapes, and animated characters. You can use text and photos from your computer or import screen captures. The software even allows you to use a human hand to bring in the image, for added visual interest.
Cost: Free with Powtoon branding. Pro plans, which do not contain Powtoon branding, start at $19.00 per month, billed annually.
Sellamations produces customized, eye-catching whiteboard “doodle” animations where viewers watch the drawings being created as the video runs. In addition to the animation, Sellamations offers turnkey services that include scriptwriting, storyboarding, and professional voiceovers.
Cost: Videos up to 60-seconds in length cost $297.00. Packages that use the turnkey services, mentioned above, start at $497.00.
VideoScribe automatically animates anything you place on its canvas and contains a large selection of graphics in its library that you can use. Other features consist of voiceover recording, soundtracks, calls to action, and the ability to add text. Publish the video on your website, or share it on social media and in emails.
Cost: Pricing starts at $198.00 per year. A free trial is available.
With Evaer, PC users can record Skype video and audio calls using picture-in-picture, side-by-side, separate files, audio-only, local-webcam-only, and remote-webcam-only modes.
Business uses include conducting interviews with experts, client interaction — such as online lessons, with feedback — and field interviews with support personnel, for charity events.
Cost: Evaer is free to use for video recordings up to five minutes in length. A lifetime license costs $19.95 and comes with 12 months of technical support and updates.
Ecamm Call Recorder allows Mac users to record video of Skype calls in HD, with side-by-side and split-screen views.
The service has a multi-track recording feature to let you split tracks for easier editing. Convert calls to MP3 for podcasting or upload the videos to your website, YouTube, or Vimeo. Additional software is available for recording FaceTime sessions.
Cost: $29.95 with free lifetime updates. A free trial is available.
Google Hangouts on Air takes Google Hangouts’ video capability a step further by giving you a platform to broadcast live in HD to Google, Google Plus, YouTube, and your company website. You can also edit and post the recordings to your YouTube Channel.
Take advantage of extra features, such as gathering audience questions before broadcast, and use apps to add banner titles and screen sharing of documents.
Hangouts on Air takes some preparation and experimentation to perfect its use, so run a few private test broadcasts prior to going live.
Camtasia, from Techsmith, provides recordings of screen movements and actions. Anything that’s visible on your computer screen can be captured, edited, and published. A “green screen” feature lets you put yourself into the video. Voiceover capability is also included.
You can also use TechSmith Fuse, a free mobile app, to record real-world content while you’re away from your computer.
The software is available for PC and Mac.
Cost: Camtasia for PC is $299.00. The Mac version, which has fewer features, is $99.00.
Screenflow is a full-service, professional-grade screen capture and editing software program for Mac users. Capture video content from your desktop computer monitor, iPhone or iPad screen, or a video camera, and audio from a microphone or computer.
Split-track editing is available for audio and video. Other features include built-in transitions, annotations, green screen, callouts, close captioning, and audio and video filters. Users can export videos directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Google Drive, Dropbox, or Facebook.
Cost: The program comes with a free trial. A premium version costs $99.00. Other options are available for an additional fee.
Wirecast’s live-streaming video software is useful for conferences, news gathering services, sporting events, educational facilities, and houses of worship.
The software captures feeds from multiple devices, including live camera feeds, iOS 8 cameras, microphones, and web feeds. It also comes with live production software and encoding capabilities. Features are dependent on the software version used.
Cost: Wirecast comes with a free trial. Two premium versions — Wirecast Studio and Wirecast Pro — are available for $495.00 and $995.00, respectively.