For a prime time TV advertising slot the airtime alone could run to £30,000 or more. If you factor in the cost of production and potential costs of an ongoing campaign, it’s no surprise that this kind of marketing is a seriously expensive business.

With internet data speeds now allowing real time high quality video streaming, businesses who can’t afford TV ads now have other options. But are those options viable?

You might assume that a self-filmed clip uploaded to Facebook or YouTube for your followers bears no comparison to conventional TV ads broadcast to an entire nation.

But you might be wrong – depending on who you want to market to and how many sales you want to generate.

Anyone with a smartphone can now film and upload video instantly. Videos can be hosted permanently online at no cost. What’s more, social media platforms allow interaction with potential customers that conventional TV ads were never designed to do.

People who enjoy an online video can simply click “Like” to say so. And that’s the first step in the process of engaging with a potential client. Social media sites are set up to allow this two-way interaction.

Large organisations are now using video marketing campaigns to get in on the act. When a video goes viral it can open up completely new marketing opportunities. Video becomes part of an ongoing conversation between the advertiser and the rest of the world.

TV ads still have their place. But for small businesses looking to engage with potential customers, online video is only second best  to actually meeting all those people in person.

Meet them online. Through video.