Chances are, you watched video on the Internet this week – and, you’re not alone. Just today, 82 million people watched 1.2 billion videos online. And it’s not just people killing time watching funny videos on YouTube.

Businesses are also getting into the action. For starters, adding videos about your products can help you drive up sales. Studies have shown that consumers who watch product videos are 144% more likely to add products to their carts and 85% more likely to buy.

Videos can also help you engage more sophisticated audiences and potentially help deliver more complex messages. In fact, a study by Forbes in October 2010 found that 59% of senior executives would end up watching a video instead of reading text if both are on the same web page. It also found 65% of U.S. execs surveyed would visit a vendor’s website after viewing a work-related online video. If your company isn’t taking advantage of this growing trend, you’re really missing out on a huge opportunity to reach and better engage your audience.

Think about it this way. When someone lands on your site, they decide whether to stay or leave in two seconds. If you have video, you just bought yourself two minutes!

Now the question is, what’s the best way to use video for your business? We will explore this question and more in the issues to come. For now, we will leave you with these important tips:

Stay away from commercials

Commercials are a great way to drive sales when they are placed strategically, but on your company website, not so much. People have itchy clicker fingers when they see shameless promotion on the web. As soon as they feel they’re being sold, they’re gone.

Provide real value

Provide the viewer with information that they can actually use – either in their business or personal life. It can certainly relate to the products or services you provide but you’ll get more viewers to actually watch if the video stays away from promoting your product specifically.

Be engaging

Whether you are watching videos for business or fun, don’t forget to put yourself in the viewer’s seat. Is this something you would honestly watch? Be engaging by using interesting angles, captivating content, moving music and powerful voiceovers.

Keep it short

Time is money these days and people are easily distracted. Aim to captivate your viewer in the first 10 seconds of the video and try to limit the total length of your average video to two minutes.