Many people don’t really figure YouTube into their online marketing strategy, but you should. You need to realize that people are very visual by nature and videos are probably the best forms of presentation because they make use of both audio and visuals. If you’re concerned about your skill (or lack of it) in making a video presentation, you really shouldn’t be. After all, some of the most popular YouTube videos aren’t created by professional production outfits; they’re made by the average individual using standard equipment. So, how exactly can you use YouTube to promote your business? Here are a few tips:
1. Do Your Research
You can get the best results from any marketing campaign only if it is backed by research and based on a solid plan. Among the first things you need to find out is the type of videos that are most popular or get the most views from your target audience. You should also check which videos get the most likes and positive comments, and which channels have the most subscribers. Once you’ve gathered all these data, fashion your videos after them and design your YouTube channel in a similar manner as the most popular ones. Why invent a new wheel when there’s already a very effective one available, right?
Bonus Tip: To find out which videos are popular on YouTube, simply type a query for videos in your niche. If you’re in the health supplement business, for example, you could search for “health supplement videos.” When the search results come up, you may then adjust the filters. You could sort according to View Count, Rating, Relevance, or Upload Date. You could also choose between short and long videos.
2. Use Keywords Wisely
You know how important keywords are in content marketing. Since videos are just another type of content, keywords are still important when you’re promoting your business via YouTube. In the first step, we already told you to look for the most popular videos and channels in your niche. Check these videos and channels a second time to see what keywords and tags they use. Choose the keywords and tags that are most closely related to the video content you plan to create and then use them. Include these keywords in your title, in your video description, and of course, in your tags. You may also use variations of the keywords with the help of Google’s Keyword Tool. The fact that you use the same or similar keywords will increase the likelihood of your videos being included in the suggestions when users view the popular videos.
Bonus Tip: It’s pretty simple to view what keywords a YouTube video is using. Follow these steps:
- Right click on the page.
- Choose “View Page Source” from the drop-down menu that pops up.
- Search (Ctrl + F) for “keywords.”
The main purpose of setting up your own YouTube channel is to promote your business, so you wouldn’t want it to have a generic appearance. Before you even upload your first video, make sure you’ve already customized your channel and made it as attractive as possible. Provide important details about you and your business, and don’t forget to add a link to your official website.
4. Choose Your Thumbnails Well
Other than the title, the thumbnail is the first thing people see of your video. Make sure it’s attractive enough to make people want to see the video itself. Take note that when you upload a video, YouTube will automatically “assign” a thumbnail to it. You don’t have to keep that thumbnail if you don’t think it’s attractive enough, though. Simply click on My Account, choose My Videos, and then click on Edit. You may then choose from a number of thumbnails to make sure you’re using the one that can attract the most attention.
When the results page of a YouTube video search comes up, the thumbnail is
the first thing a person sees other than the title, so make sure you choose
the best thumbnail for each of your videos. Flickr.com photo by Dominic’s Pics
5. Soft Sell
There’s probably nothing people hate more than being asked to buy stuff before, during, or after the video. That’ll only get people to stop watching any more of your videos and will definitely discourage them from subscribing to your channel. Soft selling is the name of the game where promoting your business through YouTube is concerned. What you need to do is make sure the first 10 seconds of your videos can effectively grab your audience’s attention, as it is usually during these first few seconds that people decide whether they’ll continue watching or not. You may then insert your soft sell pitch at the end of the video by subtly asking viewers to click through to your website or go to your blog if they want to watch more videos.
Check out this video:
In the above video, Alfonso Moretti doesn’t really tell you to buy anything or do anything that’ll directly benefit his business. All he does is give sound advice about taking supplements and address the issue of what supplements people should take. If you notice, however, he introduces himself as “The Angry Trainer” at the beginning of the video and then the end of the video simply says, “Angry Trainer Fitness” with the slogan “Fitness Facts Not Fiction.” Chances are great that people who find the video useful will click on the link below that leads to Moretti’s YouTube channel and when you get there, that’s when you’ll see the “Go to Website” link alongside the Facebook Like and Twitter Follow buttons. This is a perfect example of soft selling.
6. Use Several Calls to Action
You’re aware that it’s important to have a strong call to action in any content that you post online. It is, after all, your call to action that’ll give you the results you need in order to achieve your marketing goals. In the case of YouTube videos, it’s best to have more than one call to action in every video. One call to action that should be on all of your videos is the “Subscribe to My Channel” call. You could also insert a “Find me on Facebook” or “Follow Me on Twitter” call towards the end of the video. Additionally, you could ask viewers to share the video with their friends, to post comments, to embed the video on their site, or to visit your official website or blog. You could incorporate some calls to action in the narrative of the video and post the others in the form of overlay text. Three to five calls to action should do the trick.
7. Create Playlists
Just as people are naturally drawn to visual presentations, they are also naturally drawn to lists of any kind. This is why you find thousands of “Top 10,” “Top Hits,” “Top Tips,” and other articles in the form of lists on the Internet. Where videos are concerned, a playlist is the way to go. Create a playlist for a general topic related to your niche and then add your related videos to that playlist. Make sure the name of your playlist is catchy and use keywords wherever possible. Look for well-made videos from other people that cover the same topic and add them to your playlist as well. When people search for videos on the topic or view any of the videos you’ve included in your playlist, they’re likely to see your videos in the suggestions, thus increasing your chance of getting more views.
Bonus Tip: It’s easy enough to create a playlist on YouTube. All you need to do is:
- Go to your YouTube channel.
- Click on the “Playlists” tab on the left menu bar.
- Click on the “Create Playlist” tab in the middle of the page.
- Choose the videos to include in your playlist.
Make sure your viewers get something useful from every video you upload. The giveaway could be in the form of products or discounts if they click through to your website from the video. The giveaway may even be nothing more than information as long as the information you provide is something your target audience finds useful. If you’re a fitness trainer, for example, you can’t give away an actual product, since you’re not selling anything other than your expertise. What you can do instead is offer valuable fitness tips in every video to encourage viewers to learn more about you and perhaps hire you or any member of your team to be their trainer.
When you’re using videos to give away valuable information, it’s best to do it in a series. As a fitness trainer, you could
upload videos covering the following topics:
- The proper diet for bulking up
- The proper diet for slimming down
- What supplements to take
- The best time of day to take supplements
- The best time of day to exercise
In a separate series of videos, you may then cover different exercises and what they can do for the body. You could perhaps upload a series of videos for people who want to bulk up and another series for those who want to slim down. In due time, these series of videos should help you establish yourself as an authority in the fitness industry. When that happens, you may even want to consider selling a collection of your videos in DVD format. How’s that for branching out?
9. Be Consistent
Consistency is a major factor that can help you gain regular viewers on YouTube. Let’s say you’re in the dog training business and you plan to promote your business by posting a series of YouTube videos where you give out advice in caring for dogs. A posting schedule should be part of your YouTube marketing plan. If you’ve already spread the word that you’ll be uploading a new video each week, then you should make sure there’s a new video on your channel every single week. It’s important to send the message that you’re not only offering something of value, but you’re also keen on keeping your promises. This makes your audience feel that you’re giving them importance and will automatically increase your credibility in their eyes.
Another way to exhibit consistency is to post basically the same types of video for each series. For example, if you choose to make a series of videos on potty training dogs and the first video features a pug, it’s a good idea to feature the same pug throughout the entire series. This helps viewers identify each video as part of your series. You may then feature another dog when you start a new series covering another topic such as teaching a dog not to eat food off of your table.
10. Promote Your Videos
You can’t just post videos on YouTube, follow the above tips, and then expect to see excellent results right away. You need to get the word out about your YouTube channel and videos as well. Include some of the videos in your blog posts, embed them in your company website, share them on your Facebook Page, post a link to your videos on Twitter, and send out an email to your family, friends, and social media contacts asking them to spread the word.
Bonus Tip: If you’re in the business of reviewing products and/or making guides about them, you can post links to your videos on the products’ official forums. Doing so gives you a robust visibility boost almost overnight. Just make sure your videos are informative and you don’t sound spammy; that’s one surefire way of killing your audience way before they become one.
At the very least, your YouTube channel and videos should help you establish your credibility and build a reputation as an industry authority. Once you’ve achieved this, it can be easy enough to extend the reach of your business and earn a larger customer base.
Image courtesy of jm3, Flickr.