7 Tips for marketing your business on YouTube
If you are trying to boost your customer reach without breaking the bank, try tapping into the 1 billion watch-hours sparked by YouTube each day. The social media giant costs nothing to access and has more than 2.2 billion subscribers who use the platform to navigate everything from personal care purchases to setting up a last will and testament. As the second largest search engine in the world, it’s also a go-to resource for virtually every demographic. Yours included.
Most YouTubers will tell you that a strong channel can generate a buzz that rivals – or surpasses - paid advertising. Sixty-eight percent of marketers surveyed by Biteable.com found videos had a greater ROI than Google ads. Here are seven things to consider if you want to make them work for your business.
1. Video has never been hotter for marketing
America’s love affair with video has only accelerated during the pandemic, according to a 2021 report prepared by Wyzowl. One key finding: 68 percent of consumers surveyed said they changed their online video viewing habits in 2020-- with 96 percent saying they watched more videos. Business responded with a 24 percent uptick in first-time video use by marketers.
And the businesses who held out? Sixty-nine percent vowed to invest in video marketing in 2021.
2. If a skateboarding dog can do it, so can your business
Setting up a YouTube channel for your business is relatively simple. The first step involves setting up a new ‘brand account’ on Google. It’s best to keep this account separate from your personal Google account, as this will serve as the central command for your business. As your channel takes off, you can easily delegate channel management to one of your colleagues through this brand account.
Be prepared. In addition to your videos, the set-up process will prompt you to market your channel with three key assets:
- Channel trailer. This snippet of video is a sneak peek at your channel’s content. It will auto-play for new visitors. Make it short and make it shine. It can make the difference between subscribing to, and passing on, your YouTube channel. Check out this YouTube video for some great pointers.
- Channel art. The banner that greets all visitors to your channel – subscribers and newbies. Make it colorful and impressive. It should be large (YouTube recommends 2560x1440 pixels) but not exceed 4 MB. You can find helpful templates at fotor.com, Canva, Adobe Spark, or Shopify’s taler.app
- Channel icon. This is a thumbnail graphic or photo badge that is linked to your brand account. This might be where you add in your headshot. Whatever you choose, it should be a high-resolution jpg, bmp, or png file that is readily identifiable with your business.
3. Start simply: lights, cellphone, action
Producing a high-quality video has never been easier or cheaper. Your own smart phone - and a plethora of free or low-cost video editing software tools - can get you started.
As your channel takes off, consider incremental equipment upgrades. A DSLR camera and a gimbal are two greater starter pieces. Or you may decide to invest in better lighting. If you are not sure where to begin, Uscreen has put together a 12-point checklist of suggested equipment purchases with price points for every budget.
4. Optimize your YouTube channel to make it competitive
YouTube is a powerful search engine, but if you want your business to show up in more YouTube searches, you’ve got a lot of competition. According to a 2019 study by Statista, more than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute. The single most effective way to stand out is to include well-researched keywords in your channel - including your video’s file name, title, description, and tags.
Keywords are simply words and phrases that would likely be used by your target market when searching for information related to your product or service. They lead search engines to your channel.
Not sure what qualifies as a keyword? Check your competition to see which words show up most frequently on their websites. Then brainstorm a list of your own ideas and feed it into programs like TubeBuddy or Keywords Everywhere. You’ll be able to see how many times each term has been used each month, what the competition for it is, and even how much it will cost to advertise against it.
5. Regularly review your YouTube marketing strategy
Once you’ve optimized your channel, remember to check the accuracy of your plan by logging onto YouTube Analytics on a regular basis. As the name suggests, this program allows you to analyze your channel’s overall traffic, the popularity of different videos, and the demographics that connect with it the most. It will also allow you to spot emerging trends in your market. All of this information will help you refine your video marketing strategy. The YouTube Creator Academy has put together a great video course on how to use YouTube analytics.
6. Choose a video style that speaks to your target market
All the keywords in the world won’t woo potential customers away from your competitors’ channels if you don’t have great videos. Content is king. Beyond the colorful banner and the great videography, does your video strike a chord with your target audience? Does it tell them something they want or need to know?
Does it inspire them? Does it appeal to them?
This is where the analytics and marketing plans you’ve already developed for your website and social media platforms can give you helpful insights on your messaging. The data will quickly sketch out a profile of the customers that your video needs to reach.
With your audience in mind, here are a few formats worth considering:
- How-to and tutorial videos. Show your viewers not just how to use your product, but how to be successful in a related endeavor. YouTube reports that 82 percent of people used YouTube to learn how to do something in 2020. And a HubSpot report found that 84 percent of the people who watched how-to videos went ahead and purchased the product. For pointers on how to make an effective instructional video, check out TechSmith’s primer.
- Self-improvement videos. Produce a video that demonstrates a connection between your company and a personal or professional improvement goal of your target audience, and you will see results. Not convinced? In 2020, 72 percent of people used a YouTube video to help them exercise from home. Channels with the keyword ‘home workout’ saw their traffic spike by 515 percent during the first month of the pandemic.
- Customer testimonials. If you have amassed a lot of great feedback from your existing customers, consider using it on your YouTube channel. You can display these boasts using an infographic that features snapshots of your customers alongside their endorsements (with their consent, of course). Or, you can solicit video endorsements from your loyal customers for inclusion in your video. Either way, you should always use your YouTube channel to solicit feedback from visitors – fodder for future marketing efforts.
- Influencer-led videos. Is there a high-profile blogger or other social media personality who would be willing to endorse your product? What about a loyal customer who wants to build their brand with product endorsements? A video by someone like that can be a big boost for your channel.
- Hobby videos. The market for leisure-time activity videos is always strong. Does your company have a credible connection or resource that would support hobbyists? According to Hootsuite, videos that had ’beginner‘ as a keyword increased by more than 50 percent between March and July 2020. YouTube reports that the keyword ‘beginner’ generated 10 billion views in 2020.
- Problem-solving videos. If your service or product can address a new problem, challenge, or situation faced by consumers, get the word out on your YouTube channel. There are bound to be people searching for answers. If your product or service can impact a new trend, be ready to include that in your video content.
Using some or all of these formats will keep your content fresh and interesting. And compelling content can pay off big for a start-up.
7. Give your customers a reason to smile
At the end of the day, you want to sell your product, but the hard sell does not always make the sale. Consider this: 50% of Gen Z and millennials said they ‘don’t know how they’d get though life’ without video. And a YouTube Culture & Trend report found that 53 percent of people used videos to ‘help them feel like they were in a different place’ in 2020. Both of these findings strongly suggest that videos succeed best when they appeal to broad concerns about well-being.
In fact, a Thinking with Google poll found that the number one reason people clicked onto videos is “helps me to relax and unwind.”
Rounding out the top 4 reasons for video watching are some other great content prompts:
- Teaches me something new
- Allows me to dig deeper into my interests
- Makes me laugh
- Relates to my passions
If your YouTube channel produces videos that speak to the curiosity, interests, passions, or humor of your viewers, then your product will become associated with a sentiment that sticks around long after the video is played. That’s marketing that you can take to the bank.