YouTube has now hit a billion monthly users, according to the company’s official blog. Tens of thousands of channel partners have a presence on the platform. To put the numbers in perspective, if YouTube were a country, it's population would be the largest in the world after China and India — the platform’s monthly viewership is ten times larger than that of the Super Bowl.
As a small business owner, YouTube may be far removed from your existing marketing strategy. Even if you’re convinced that the platform is valuable, you may be wondering how to get started without a huge video production budget.
Believe it or not, there are a number of cost-effective ways to leverage YouTube as a marketing channel. What’s key is that you focus on the strategies that forge strong bonds with your customers and prospects. You should start with some research about what your target audience is seeking out. How-to's? Technical tutorials? Product Info? You can then produce videos that directly address those needs.
Here are some ideas for getting started:
1. Let Prospects Hear From Your Customers
If you’re planning to position your YouTube channel as a way to generate new business, consider adding customer testimonials into the mix. There is no better way to gain consumer confidence than to let them hear from other consumers that selected your company over the competition.
Don’t push a sales pitch. These videos are not about you. They are about your customer and the benefit(s) they realized. Ensure that your customer stories clearly explain their situation before they encountered your product/service, what made them select your company, what their experience was while working with you, and what the end result was.
2. Create Educational Videos by Recording Webinars
It’s common for marketers and business owners to host webinars to connect with their customers and prospects. Preparing a webinar requires a substantial time commitment — especially for a one-time only event. It’s inevitable that your webinars won’t reach everyone in your desired audience — busy schedules tend to be the norm as opposed to the exception.
One way to extend the lifespan and reach of your webinar is to record it. Post it to your YouTube channel and syndicate the content on your blog or website to ensure that your customers and prospects can find it and watch it at their convenience. These sessions can function as high-value, standalone teaching tools that your community can share over and over.
3. Demo Your Products or Services
Sometimes standard photos and product descriptions are not enough to sell a product, or service. Demo videos are a great way to show a potential customer exactly what they would be getting from your company. Creating a video that clearly depicts the features and benefits of your products, or services may be exactly what is needed to show a buyer how you are superior to the competition.
You can also embed your YouTube videos on your website's product, or services pages. Many website visitors would prefer to experience your offering through interactive video, rather than reading blocks of text. If you're showcasing videos that demo your products, or services, it is that much easier for a visitor to select you over the guy down the street.
4. Syndicate Others' Videos with Your Blog
Don’t have the time to produce new videos? No problem — there are likely thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of options that already exist on YouTube. One solution is to position your brand as a curator or aggregator. Collect videos that you know your customers will connect with, and share them with your customers via social media, email marketing, or on your blog.
Over time, your customers and prospects will learn to trust your brand as a high-quality resource for valuable learning materials. Just make sure to give credit where credit is due.
5. Focus on the SEO Value
SEO should be a core part of your video marketing strategy. This will help to ensure that you're maximizing the ability for people to find what you have created and to find you. Make sure to optimize your titles, descriptions, and tags around a target keyword, or keyword phrase— just as you would do with a typical blog post on your website.
An important but sometimes overlooked strategy is the need to integrate your online videos with your social media channels. Make sure to syndicate your videos with your Facebook and Twitter pages. Social activity is a powerful signal to search engines like Google.
Don’t be a perfectionist. When it comes to marketing your company with YouTube videos, Hollywood quality is not needed. Don’t let your video quality standards hold you back from making your first video. Focus on content and substance and the rest will work itself out.
Image Credit: jonsson