"Follow up" -- the very phrase elicits either rolling eyeballs or waves of nausea.

Why? Because in our automated and metrics-driven world, follow up has evolved into a series of canned emails, scripted phone calls and customer-relationship management follow-up reports for managers.

Look, I have nothing against making phone calls or sending email as part of your follow-up routine. But what if there was a way to stand out so vibrantly that people would not only pay attention -- they would talk about you to their peers, family and friends?

Related: 7 Tips for Mastering the Fine Art of Following Up

I am here to tell you that there is a better way! It’s a lot easier than you think. It takes less than two minutes. And it is entirely free. The answer is video email (or video SMS), and once you master the skill it will transform your follow up. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth?

I remember exactly two things from my last birthday: a card from my mother-in-law (there was a check inside) and a personalized video email greeting from my friend Mike Lyon. Video messages are second nature to Mike and you can master this skill as well. Here's how.

1. Determine your audience and message.

Keep it simple and short. This video needs to clock in under 30 seconds. Anything longer and you risk a file size that is too large to send. This might be a simple “thank you” message for a recent meeting, a video showing a new feature or your product being used in a cool way. It could also be you and a team member (or the entire team) with a message to a client or prospect. Be creative and have fun with this!

Related: The Simple Email Trick That Makes Following Up Effective

2. Launch the camera app on your smartphone and record.

Remember to shoot the video horizontally -- that way it will play back correctly on the other end. It is best to hold the camera so you’re looking slightly up, not down. It’s easy to crop the beginning and end using the edit feature so you can set up the camera and then walk into the frame to begin. You’re not looking for perfection here and no one expects Hollywood-quality production value. The impact is in the personalization.

3. Click the share button.

You’ll see an option to text or email the video. Simply enter the recipient’s information and hit send. It really is that easy.

Now, you try it. I recommend you practice on a friend, peer or family member first. Send your child or spouse a video email and see how it works.

Think of the benefits of video email:

  • You will stand out in a major way to your customer.
  • Your customer can forward your message to others.
  • Your customer will watch your video multiple times over.

All that at a cost of zero, and it could change your view of follow up forever.

Related: Why You Can't Afford Not to Do Video