YouTube is not just a forum for finger-biting babies, dogs on skateboards, and kids who really like Star Wars.
It’s also an opportunity to market your business to millions of people for next to nothing.
Lots of companies are now using web videos to reach out to current and potential customers. They’re building more personal relationships with their client base and reaping the benefits of this creative indirect marketing strategy.
This platform is perfect for small businesses. There are no big budgets required — just a video camera, a little creativity, and this handy guide.
Click here to find out what you need to know about using online videos to drive business >
Image: ZapTheDingbat (Flickr)
YouTube videos are a cheap, fun, and effective way to market your business -- they offer you a lot of potential bang for your (pretty small) buck, says Michael Miller, author of YouTube For Business.
'You can reach tens of millions of people with online videos, and it costs absolutely nothing to put them up.'
And all it takes is a video camera and a plan.
Miller highlights the three main goals for corporate YouTube videos:
- Inform. These videos inform the viewer about the company or industry (i.e. a mission statement or company news).
- Educate. These are meant to service the viewer in some way (i.e. a 'how-to' video or product demo).
- Entertain. Of course, this type of video is pure entertainment (i.e. Roxy's snowboarding video, to follow) -- but the best also help build a relationship with your target customer.
Ashlene Nand, Brand Manager for Girl Scouts of the USA, says that the non-profit has a wide range of marketing campaigns, but it chose to do this viral video to get more creative and reach the new digital audience that their girls are a part of.
For others with a somewhat limited budget, YouTube offers the perfect platform for cheap advertising with a wide potential distribution.
Check out the Girl Scouts' YouTube channel.
Home Depot has earned recognition for its great 'how-to' videos, which cover basically any domestic project you could think of.
How-to videos like those on Home Depot's YouTube channel serve as a resource for current and potential customers. Cultivating a reputation as the destination for your target audience whenever they need information is an excellent way to market your brand.
Companies like SalesForce use video to demo their software, allowing potential customers to see how their products work, anytime and from anywhere.
Grenney tells us that SalesForce's B2B video tutorials, such as this one, show how to set up and use the company's products, and greatly reduce customer support needs. Additionally, their videos make salespeople more efficient: instead of spending time demo-ing and selling to various people within one business, a salesperson can tell one point of contact to watch the videos and share it with their colleagues.
Check out salesforce.com's YouTube channel.
Zappos recently revealed that the addition of video product descriptions, such as this one, increases their sales conversions by 6% - 30%. That's huge.
Online shoppers feel more comfortable with a product when they see more than just an image, Grenney says. Accompanying a product description with a video offers a more realistic and tangible shopping experience, and it can clearly boost sales.
Check out Zappos' YouTube channel.
1. Good content. You want to tell the consumer important information in an engaging way and make them want to share your video with their friends, Nand tells us. And above all, you should try to entertain your viewers -- whether you shock or surprise them, or make them laugh, or cry.
2. Plan ahead. Start out with a clear vision of the reason you're making the video, and what you want to end up with. If you go into it with a plan, you'll save time and energy and make better content.
3. Don't blatantly market yourself. You can't just put a commercial up and call it a day, Miller says. People don't come to YouTube to watch commercials (SuperBowl ads aside). Your videos have to be a 'soft sell' -- entertain them or offer them some information of value, and market yourself indirectly.
4. High-quality production. For YouTube standards, all this really takes is a basic video camera. A tripod can help, too.
5. Keep it short! The audience on YouTube has a very short attention span. Keep your video under two or three minutes, Grenney advises. If you need to make longer videos, break them up into separate segments, each on a specific element of the larger topic.
You can't just make a video, throw it out there, and expect to get a huge return.
'The biggest mistake I see businesses making is not taking the time to market their videos,' Nand comments. 'You have to be willing to invest the time and energy it takes to promote it.'
Miller describes a few ways you can do this:
- Put links to your videos everywhere. Link to them on your main site and your Facebook page, tweet about them, and even put your YouTube channel on your business cards.
- Focus on SEO. SEO for videos is just like regular SEO. You have to take the time to optimise your text descriptions associated with the videos with keywords and links back to your site.
- You can buy ads on YouTube. If you have an appropriate budget, you can purchase a keyword, and your video will come up first when someone searches for it (a lot like Google AdWords)
...is hard to figure out exactly. ROI with most online and social media marketing strategies is an inexact science because these methods are so indirect.
Grenney describes how his company 'took a big bet on YouTube in the past year. We went from 50 videos to 600 -- and we went from 350 views a day to 6000 a day.' salesforce.com looks at their ROI this way: If they get 6000 views a day, and each customer is spending 2 minutes on each view, those results would be equivalent to hiring 35 people to deliver the company messages over and over again, each day.
A few tactics to help you better understand your ROI, from Miller:
- Take advantage of the analytics and demographics information that YouTube offers
- Use conversion rates to track how many people come to your site from your videos
- Build a specific landing page for people coming from your YouTube channel to your main page -- it creates a seamless experience for the viewer, and it gives you a clearer picture of how many customers from YouTube are coming to your site
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