In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to use video to market your company and acquire customers. They break down how to do it, to get the best results and share examples and success stories to help you decide if this could add to the success of your startup.

It’s hard to stand out from the crowd these days, but when using video marketing as a tool, a startup can not only stand out from the crowd, but also compete with much larger organisations. Video is an important medium to use despite the size of your business. A key tool in the progression towards increased visibility and reach.

Tune into this week’s episode of The Startup Chat to learn how to incorporate video marketing into your overall marketing strategy. As well as Steli and Hiten’s top tips for getting started, optimising your results and examples of how you can overcome some of the challenges that might present themselves as you get started.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:44 Introduction to Video Marketing.

01:31 The psychology of Video.

02:17 How to create impactful videos.

03:10 Where can you post videos aside from YouTube.

04:07 One tip for what you can do right now.

04:22 Pitfalls to avoid.

05:36 The most powerful video advantage.

09:30  An easy solution to get started.

10:25  How to integrate your products with video.

12:20 Steli and Hiten’s hacks to great video.

3 Key Points:

  • The most impactful video is when you see someones face and they are talking to you.
  • The biggest thing to make you look good is great lighting.
  • When you have recorded your video ask yourself if you would watch it.


Steli: Hey, everybody. This is Steli.



Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah on today on the Startup Chat. What are we going to talk about, Steli? I think it might be one of your favorite topics.



Steli: It’s one of my favorite topics. We’re going to talk about video and how to use video to market your company and to acquire customers. Using video in your content and in the way that you’re trying to market and sell your product today. First of all, let’s just say it, it sounds so cliché, but I actually believe this in this case, video is a fucking huge deal today when it comes to marketing and sales. It’s always been big, but it’s getting bigger and bigger. There’s some unique things that make video really powerful and we’re not going to waste any time talking about big trends and covering some of the super basic stuff, I want to get into the nitty gritty of if you have a startup today, and you want to use video, how do you do that? What are some good examples? How to utilize that? How do you overcome some of the challenges that people have with video. Maybe what we’ll do is touch on some of the challenges. Why some startups are not using it or not using it enough and then shift to talk about ways to use video to really crush it.



Hiten: Awesome. One thing I want to say about video is that it really hits on literally, for all of us humans, the first thing that we saw when we were born, which is someone else’s face.



Steli: Ooh.



Hiten: Someone is looking at you when you are born. It’s your … It’s the doctor, the nurse, whoever helped you come out of the womb. And then right away, as soon as possible, your father, your mother, whomever, right? You see faces all your life. Video … Again, we can talk about trends, we’re not going to talk about trends. Lets just talk about humans. Video is such a human to human thing. I want to be specific and say the kind of video that’s most impactful is when you see someones face and they’re talking to you.



Steli: Yes.



Hiten: So to you, not at you, which is a nuance we can get into. But to you, as if you are in the room with them and they are speaking to you personally. This is one of the ways that I think about it … If you’re doing video, put your face on it as much as you can. This is why selfies are such a big deal when it comes to photo. This is why there is video everywhere around us now. This is why, on Instagram Stories, we’re not going to talk about Snapchat, but on Instagram Stories there’s video and a majority of the video in their Stories product is faces, people speaking, talking as if you are there in front if them and they are in front of you and they are talking to you personally. I can not stress how important that is. To the point where my co-founder Neil … One of my co-founders, Neil, he has his face on Facebook everywhere. It is on so many different videos, all about marketing. They’re quick videos, and literally, it’s his face. He’s just speaking at you about marketing and telling you what’s up. He is arguable, probably not arguably, the most recognizable face in marketing because he got on video, he put his face everywhere. Even before he got on video, his face was all over his blogs. In fact, we learned that putting his face on the blogs was a good thing. They really associated with him and his brand, now that it’s a brand, Neil Patel. The videos have been helping a lot. He’s one to not do something repeatedly, unless it’s working for him. So, I can’t stress the importance of faces in video and I have one example. Which is my co-founder, Neil, and the fact that his face is everywhere and on video and he’s giving you tips and my big idea for anybody here … That’s not that big of an idea is just start telling people … Speaking to them, not at them, about whatever problem you’re trying to solve and how you can help them and put it on video. The pitfall I see most people do is they try to make a high production value and all kinds of stuff, but even if you just use your camera and you start. Put it on YouTube. Share it with a bunch of people. You’ll start getting feedback. Things like that. You’ll start understanding whether it’s working or not. People think of it as this whole high production thing when really, it’s about the content. It’s about seeing your face. Just having the proper lighting and that’s it.



Steli: That is it. Yeah. I want to highlight the human to human thing because for a minute, there was a big trend going on in the web with these explainer videos, the animated videos that explains what your service or product does, right?



Hiten: Yeah.



Steli: That was really cool, when the first few companies did that and really novel. People were like, “Wow. This is such a cool concept. I can’t believe nobody thought about that.” Then there was a million companies selling explainer videos to you, so explainer videos exploded. I think that very quickly got a little saturated. Today, I think some of the best brands I know. They don’t use animated explainer videos anymore. I was never that hot on it. Not to hate on it. But the … When we talk about video, we’re talking about streaming or recording you or people in your company talking with your customers or potential customers, the market. The humanizing part of it is such a powerful proposition. You’re making yourself stand out because you put actual humans in contact with your customers. You put a face on the brand that you’re trying to build. So, people can make a connection with that. It’s much harder to fake shit with video, than it is with other channels. I’ll give you an example. I could … a company could easily say, “We want to start a blog. Nobody here likes to write. We don’t have any unique ideas. We don’t know anything of note to say or any stories that we want to share, but let’s do this. Let’s start a blog anyways. Lets just hire some freelance writers. Tell them: here’s the five topics we want you to write.” These freelance writers will do a bunch of Google searches and write some very generic stuff about this and we’ll publish it on our blog. Voila. We have a thing that’s called a blog and there’s blog posts on there. It’s very hard for somebody who just visited our site to know who wrote this. If this is ghostwritten or not. You can have ghostwriters. Lots of CEO’s and founders have ghostwriters that write the articles for them.



Hiten: Yup.



Steli: It’s hard to tell who stands behind all this writing. It’s easy to fake. It’s very, very hard to fake anything in a video. Blog posts, I can write, “We’re very excited about this announcement.” You don’t know how excited I really am. In a video, you can watch me say, “I’m so excited.” And you can call bullshit in a second. You can just watch me and go, “Don’t buy it. Bullshit. Don’t believe it.” We actually just had this discussion internally. A very big company, not big company, but very prominent startup just launched up a very big feature and they made a video about it. It was shared in our company chat. Instantly, a bunch of people in our company said, “Well, I just watched 10 seconds and I could tell this founder is insincere.” Or, “I didn’t like the energy of the founder.” It’s hard to fake that, right? It’s hard to outsource. You can’t just say, “Hey, freelancer, create a video and say you’re the founder of this company announcing a new feature.” That’s hard to do. You can not fake sincerity. You can’t fake charisma. You can’t fake enthusiasm. You are … Video is going to share a raw light on the humanity that represents your company. That can be … That’s hard to fake. I would say that is the biggest advantage of video, because if you are authentic in your company, if you have real stories to tell, real enthusiasm, then you’re going to stand out from the competition. Your competitors are not going to be able to quickly copy whatever video you created to “compete” with you. Were, it might be very easy for them to compete with some large article that you have that ranks highly in Google. They could just say, “Lets copy this and make it even better.” And outsource that work. But if you have a really powerful video, where you share a tactic or a strategy or you announce something in a very charismatic way or a powerful, intimate human way, it’s going to be much harder for your competitor to say, “Lets just create a better video.” I think the challenge of faking it in video is its biggest advantage. It’s one of the most powerful things, competitively, of video, if you truly embrace it and make it your own.



Hiten: I couldn’t agree more. Even the voice, even a voice can … You can detect so much in a voice, whether it’s genuine or not. Authentic. If someone is super excited or not. Even though I ranted on faces, voice and video are such a big deal too. You talking through your inner face, even if your face isn’t there, is such a powerful thing. I do want to give a quick shout out on this, because I’m sure people are wondering, “Okay, great. You’re saying it’s easy. You’re saying I should do it.” If you are struggling with figuring this out, go download Loom. It’s at, I think,, and it’s a browser extension and they invented this concept of quick video. Where you can record a video really quickly and then use it for many different purposes. So, today, I would say, you have no excuse. The coolest thing about Loom is you get your face in the corner and you can show your screen. It’s a really powerful way to record things when it come to like … You want to demonstrate what’s going on with your product and put it on your website and embed it in and let people see it. It’s used for customer support as well as you can use it on a homepage and things like that. You can use it in your marketing. I would highly recommend just finding a simple way, and Loom is one of the simplest ways to do that. In addition to that, I think it’s super powerful today, partly because what I’m noticing, and this is just a data point really quickly, is that when I go show people a home page, or user test a homepage, or do research a home page, people aren’t usually wanting to see an anime. They want to see the screenshots and then move around. Usually that’s video. Imagine that video plus voice. People really want to see that. They want to basically see what this product is going to do for them before they sign up for it. I would say that that’s always been the case, but the sentiment I’m hearing these days, is if they like the copy, that’s great. But they really want to see what it can do for them and how it works, right on a home page, before they sign up for something.



Steli: Beautiful. Alright, so I’m going to give one more shout out and then I’m going to give a tip and you can close the show with your tip for this episode today.



Hiten: Great.



Steli: One more shout out to our friends at These guys … Hiten gave you a powerful tool if you want to do quick video in a really, really beautiful way. You see the screen. You can show people how to use the product. You’re nice … They see your face as well and you as well, in the corner. If you want to do something more high level production, either doing customer testimonials or any kind of other thing that’s higher quality of production, without having to buy cameras and hire sound equipment guys full-time and all that stuff. You go to, it’s a startup from a friend of ours. They actually recorded us with a bunch of episodes online and on YouTube where we did a live, the Startup Chat video recording that firstcut did. Theses guys are basically trying to democratize high quality video production. They will bring the videographer and the audio guys and all of that for a fraction of the cost. And take all of that pain away from your hands. Big shout out to our friends at With that being said, let me give you a simple tip when it comes to video. I recorded myself … I don’t know … getting close to 1,000 videos on our YouTube channel. Right? So, we’ve recorded a shit ton of video. Probably out of those 900 and something, probably 700, 800 are just me talking. My face speaking to you for like 10 minutes, telling you some strategy or story. I get emails every week asking me, “Steli, can you tell me your video/audio setup? The quality seems so amazing.” My video/audio setup is so fucking basic. It’s a Logitech webcam. It’s the Logitech HD 1080p. It was like a $200 webcam. It’s an expensive webcam, but it cheap and small. I can take it anywhere with me. And it’s just, fucking, my Apple laptop. The biggest thing in video, to make you look good, when you don’t want to have to do with high production costs, is good lighting. My simple hack, when it comes to good lighting is to find a setup where you are in front of a big window. So you have lots of natural light hitting your face. You put the laptop up and you record it there. People will be amazed by the quality of your video. If you have somewhat of a good webcam … Your Apple headphones are good enough in terms of audio, and then you were in front of a big window, with lots of light, you’re going to look great. People are going to be impressed by your video quality, although you spent zero amount of money and time, really setting something complicated up. There’s my secret of how I do videos today.



Hiten: I’m going to double down on that one and say, “Don’t be stupid.” Record 10 seconds of the video and see if you like it. Not what you’re saying or anything, focus on does it look good. Do I look good in this video. What I mean is, would I watch myself? I know it sucks to watch yourself, but would you watch yourself? Is the lighting right? Keep adjusting until you get it right. It’s not that hard. I think Steli’s tip is killer. Make sure your face is getting light. That’s the whole key to lighting. That’s it. The sun is some of the best light. Find a window. Sit down. Make sure the sun’s shining on you. Record for three to five, 10 seconds, and play it back. See if it looks good. If it looks good, keep going. If it doesn’t look good, try again.



Steli: Boom. That’s it from us. Video, it’s huge, people. Use it. Alright.



Hiten: Your face is bigger. See ya.



Steli: See ya.