We all know that YouTube is the number 2 search engine on the Web in terms of query volume. It sounds impressive, but what does that mean for local businesses trying to reach customers? After all, aren't most of the 13+ billion clips watched each month on the site Lady Gaga videos?
It turns out that while many views are purely for entertainment, a substantial number of videos are watched by people seeking help and information. In fact, there are more than 35 million searches each month on YouTube for "how to" videos. That's at least 35 million opportunities for businesses to reach people that may need their product or service. (Not to mention the opportunity to show up in parent-company Google's search results.) But how do local businesses capitalize on this trend? Here are 5 easy ways small businesses can make YouTube work for business.
Create Content that Meets a Need
To reach people that need help you need to create content that satisfies their need. Simply uploading your existing cable TV ad or shaky footage of a walkthrough of your shop is not going to capture any attention or create any interest in your business. It helps to keep the old marketing acronym AIDA in mind when making and using video for your business. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Capture attention and create interest by meeting the information need of your audience.
For example, if you're a plumber, a how-to video on fixing a leaky toilet is a great way to get the attention of someone with that problem. You create interest in your service by not only showing how to fix their problem but also providing some additional tips that the viewer might not have considered.
Pay Attention to Production Value
You don't have to be the next Spielberg, but your videos should be professional and easy to watch. Shaky hand-held camera work, poor audio quality, bad lighting or lack of coherence in the story all lead to viewers changing the virtual channel. Pay attention to the lighting. Use a tripod to create smooth viewing experience. Use microphones and pay attention to the audio. Try to tell a story or clearly walk viewers through the video and what you're doing. By paying attention to these basics you'll standout from the massive amounts of poor quality content on the site – earning you more attention and more interest from viewers.
Optimize for YouTube Search
Nearly 24 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day. In order to be found you need to optimize your video so that it can be found on the site. Here are just a few things to think about when adding your video to YouTube. Include important keywords in the title and be sure your tags include those keywords as well. Choose an appealing thumbnail that clearly depicts what your video is about.
To continue the plumber example, you may want to title your video "How to fix a leaky toilet. XYZ Plumbing top tips for fixing a leaky toilet." Your tags might be "how to, toilet, toilets, leaky toilets, running toilet, plumbing, DIY" etc. The thumbnail could be a shot of you holding the flushing mechanism (assuming that YouTube gives you that as an option). Your title, keywords and thumbnail all gives your viewers the information they need to decide whether your video will help meet their need and solve their problem.
Give the Viewers a Follow-Up Action
Following the AIDA model you want to create a desire for viewers to take a follow up action. If you've created an informational video about fixing leaking toilets you want to give the viewer a compelling reason to follow up with you and a clear path to do so. One way to do this is to provide a special offer and a unique web address in the video.
For example a call to action such as "Print step by step instructions and receive 10% off our in-home evaluation by visiting MySite.com/youtube," gives your viewers an actionable next step with clear value. The unique URL and discount will also provide you one measurable way to determine how successful your YouTube video is.
Let them Know Who You Are
Don't be afraid to create awareness about who you are and what you do; it's important to let people know who they're getting this valuable information from. You should encourage users to take a step towards a relationship with your company by having them subscribe to your YouTube channel or company email newsletter (if you have one). By building your YouTube subscriber base you'll automatically reach a built-in audience of potential customers who have opted-in to seeing your latest videos.
Our plumber in the above example could say "Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more moneysaving tips on how to eliminate leaks around your home,” and include that call to action graphically in the video. Alternatively, driving people to a newsletter is another way to form the start of a relationship with that viewer.
Those are just five quick ways local businesses can take advantage of YouTube. There are dozens more, but starting with the basics will put you in front of potential customers who need your help. What tips do you have for making YouTube work for business? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!