A Quick Guide to YouTube Marketing for Small Businesses

If you want to increase online visibility for your business, earn the trust of your target market, and convert more prospects into regular customers, then you definitely need to include YouTube marketing in your overall online marketing strategy. YouTube can be a very powerful marketing platform, even for small businesses. It has the potential for reaching millions of people at once, and involves minimal cost. And with the unlimited hosting and faster connection speeds we enjoy today, it has become much easier and a lot more affordable to harness the power of YouTube in promoting small businesses online.

Why YouTube Is an Important Marketing Channel

Other than the fact that it can help you reach millions of people from all over the world at very little cost, there are several factors that make YouTube a very important online marketing channel. If you often conduct online searches, then you may have noticed that videos tend to appear on the first page of SERPs, and most of these videos are hosted on YouTube. And if you’ve taken the time to observe people’s online behavior, then you’d have noticed that those who search for videos almost always go to YouTube for that purpose.

YouTube has the distinction of being a video hosting site, a search engine, a social networking site, an advertising platform, and a community site all at the same time. It is, in fact, the world’s second most popular search engine; it is second to Google, of course, which just happens to own it as well. Yet, despite the fact that it is so many things at once, people love going to YouTube because they generally find it very easy to use and less convoluted than other platforms. This high preference for YouTube is definitely good news to small businesses like yours.

Here’s another proof of the importance of YouTube as a marketing platform: Jake Larsen, who owns Video Power Marketing, did a little research and found that marketers typically paid about $4 million to have a 30-second ad played during a Super Bowl match, which draws around 114 million viewers. YouTube, on the other hand, has about 1 billion users and averages more than 4 billion views each day. Advertising on YouTube is therefore akin to advertising on 40 Super Bowl matches each day! This means the return on your minimal investment on YouTube marketing can be substantial.

YouTube also allows you to incorporate clickable calls to action in your videos, which encourages further engagement with your audience. Furthermore, the platform allows you to include a hyperlink to your website towards the end of your video. Did you know that video has a click-through rate that’s 43 times higher than that of text-based content? Even better news is that those who click through to your site after watching your video are likelier to spend more time on your site and actually buy something. The mere fact that they clicked through to your website means you’ve successfully caught their interest and earned their trust with the video.

Hyperlinking in YouTube

YouTube allows you to include a hyperlink to your website towards the end of each video you upload.

YouTube Mistakes to Avoid

Now that you know just how important YouTube is as a marketing platform for small businesses, perhaps you’re excited to start creating your videos and marketing your business on this site. But don’t rush! Take heed of the most common mistakes small businesses make when they start marketing on YouTube and make sure you don’t fall into the same traps.

1. Failure to set realistic goals.

Sure, YouTube can be a very powerful marketing platform, but you can’t expect to attain success simply by uploading a couple of videos and then waiting for people to view them. Note that about 35 hours of video is uploaded to the site every minute, which means you have plenty of competition for views. Bear in mind that only a fraction of all videos uploaded to YouTube go viral, so going viral shouldn’t be your measure of success. Besides, you can’t expect to go viral without putting a good promotion and distribution plan in place. A better strategy would be to aim for a specific number of views/click-through rates and then promote your videos on popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

2. Failure to think big.

Keeping expectations and goals realistic doesn’t necessarily mean thinking small. Just because you’re operating a small business doesn’t mean you can’t aim high. You don’t have to be an established brand to earn a hundred thousand views on YouTube and thousands of shares on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Thinking of online videos as commercials.

Never forget that aside from being a video hosting site, YouTube is a social networking and community site. Do not go into YouTube marketing with the sole purpose of bombarding viewers with one sales pitch after another. You’re only setting yourself up for failure if you do that. Rather, you should post videos that reflect your brand’s personality, provides viewers with valuable information, inspires some sort of reaction from viewers, and encourages engagement.

4. Measuring success based solely on view counts.

Although view counts can be a good measure of success, it shouldn’t be the only metric you consider when measuring YouTube marketing performance. In many cases, the real value lies in the click-through rates and brand engagement. How many times have your videos been shared across social platforms? How much time do people spend on your videos? These are other things that need to be considered.

5. Relying exclusively on YouTube.

Although it is currently the most popular video hosting site, YouTube certainly isn’t the only one you can use for marketing purposes. There are instances wherein other online video platforms actually offer a better chance for you to achieve video marketing success. For example, if your brand has a fun personality, then perhaps the comedy site Funny or Die would be a better platform for your videos, as it presents your videos to a more targeted demographic.

Options for Video Marketing

It is often ill-advised to keep all your eggs in one basket, and the same is true in video marketing; YouTube isn’t the only platform to consider.

By keeping these potential potholes in mind, you should be in a much better position to embark on a successful video marketing campaign.

YouTube Marketing Tips

Okay, now you know why YouTube is an important online marketing tool and you’re also aware of the most common mistakes small businesses make when they start marketing their brands on YouTube. You should be ready for some quick tips on how to launch a successful YouTube marketing campaign.

1. Conduct Keyword Analysis

Remember that YouTube is also a search engine (the world’s second largest!), which means keywords are a big help in optimizing your videos for search. Think about what words and phrases your target audience will likely use in online searches and then incorporate these words and phrases into your video title, description, narratives, and tags.

2. Create Compelling Video Content

As mentioned earlier, going viral isn’t a requirement for success in YouTube marketing. What’s important is for you to regularly post videos that address your target audience’s needs. These are the kinds of video that get viewed and shared by exactly the kind of people you want to reach. You can post simple informative videos that depict you as an industry thought leader, tutorials and how-to videos that offer practical help, or creative short story videos that define your brand’s personality.

3. Utilize Google Hangouts on Air

This Google feature allows you to connect with existing customers and prospects via real-time video tutorials and interactions. This also presents the easiest way to start a YouTube marketing campaign. You could simply record your live video interaction, incorporate keywords in the title, description, and tags, and then post it on YouTube.

4. Include Calls to Action

Since YouTube allows you to place hyperlinks at the end of each video, why shouldn’t you take advantage of it? People are more likely to take action when they are told to do so. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. So don’t be afraid to tell viewers what you want them to do after they watch your video. A simple, “For more information on (subject of the video), visit our website at (URL)” should do the trick.

5. Promote! Promote! Promote!

Again, your videos aren’t going to promote themselves. You have to actively promote them so as to achieve your video marketing goals, and among the best places to promote your videos are social networking sites. Embed the videos on your Facebook Page. Post a short teaser and a link to the video on Twitter. Create a short blog post about the subject discussed in the video and then embed the video itself in the post. Let as many people as possible know about the video’s existence.

No matter how small your business is, you have something to gain from building your brand and reputation online. YouTube can be one of the best platforms you can use for building brand awareness and establishing a solid reputation within your niche, but you have to make sure you do things right. By keeping the above tips in mind, you should be off to a good start.

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