Over 75% of Americans ages 15 and up are on YouTube. They are part of the 2 billion active users who make YouTube the second most popular website in the world behind Google.
This fact alone makes it imperative that your business is on YouTube and that you’re actively creating, posting and working to optimize your YouTube presence.
However, just being on YouTube won’t help your business grow. As with everything, you need a strategy before you start messing around with the platform.
Here are eight ways to ramp up your YouTube marketing if you want to leverage the platform to drive leads for your business.
Not only is YouTube the second-largest website (in terms of visitors) but it’s also the second most popular search engine. People are searching for video content. Your prospects are searching for video content, and if you’re not there, your business is invisible.
The first step is to create your YouTube channel, which is going to be easier than you think.
You’ll need a Google account and from there you can create your YouTube account. If you already have a Google account, you can use that to set up your YouTube channel.
You should consider setting up a brand account, as that will allow you to have multiple people access, post and manage the YouTube account and channel. This is good when you have several people at the company creating videos, posting videos or going in and working to optimize your channel.
The rest of the way, YouTube is going to walk you through the channel setup process. Don’t skip any steps. The channel art, descriptive copy, website links and other assets are important to making your channel rank and present well to your new viewers. For a step-by-step guide, check out this article.
Once your channel is set up, you’re still not ready to start creating videos or posting videos. There are a couple of additional steps you’ll need to make this channel an effective one for your company.
Just like any of the marketing you’d be undertaking, you have to understand your target audience before you start creating content or, in this case, videos.
Who would be watching these videos? What industry are they in? What is their role? What is their general attention span? What is their educational background? What are the challenges facing them in their roles? How do they currently go about finding information for the solutions they need in their roles?
You might be able to find out what they’re already watching on YouTube. That would be extremely helpful in deciding what to create and how to get their attention.
This is always my favorite part of the process. Start looking at what your competitors are doing on YouTube. What are they calling their channel? How frequently are they posting? What are they posting about? How long are their videos? What level of production are they using (graphics, captions, fly-ins)?
Finally, what kind of engagement are they getting? Are they getting views? Are they receiving comments? Are people subscribing to their channel?
Don’t forget to look at substitute competitors too and industry resources, as these are potential competitors from a content perspective. They might not be beating you for business, but they may be beating you for audience and attention.
Now that the business is done, it’s time to have some fun. Take a look at your favorite channels. These can be business or personal channels.
Why do you like them? What is it about the videos that you find engaging? Are they funny or serious? How frequently do they post? Do you get notified when new videos are up, or do you stop by to see them on your own?
You’re not really doing this to get ideas for your channel. You’re not the target persona for your videos and your channels, but by looking at unrelated channels, you can uncover interesting ideas and applications that might be useful or trigger thinking for your channel.
Here’s an example: You like when videos highlight key points with graphics. These are commonly referred to as fly-ins. They help emphasize the most important points. People tend to drift off and these pull them back in by getting their attention.
If you like this, you can use this for your videos, too.
Here’s something to keep in mind: A report from Verizon Media and ad buyer Publicis Media found that 92% of U.S. consumers view videos with the sound off on mobile and 83% overall watch with sound off.
The report recommends that advertisers caption their advertisements because 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available. The report also found that 50% of consumers said captions are important because they watch videos with the sound off.
This is a feature you absolutely must use.
Now that you’re on YouTube and regularly posting new videos, your job is to get these videos found and people viewing them.
Since YouTube is the second most popular search engine, you can take a lot of tips from your general search engine optimization (SEO) work and apply them to your YouTube channel.
Here are a couple of areas you should be working to optimize on a monthly basis.
Start with keywords. Determine which keywords your prospects might be using to do a search on YouTube and make sure those are used in the description of your channel and the description of your video content.
Consider using the Google Keyword Planner tool to find other related keywords. The richer the list of keywords, the more people will find your new channel and your videos. Make sure you use those keywords in your video titles, tags, video description text and subtitles.
Here’s a pro tip: YouTube can scan your subtitles and closed captioning. Make sure the keywords you want to be found for are used prominently in the scripts you’re writing for your videos and that you use closed captioning for every video.
Work to leverage the YouTube algorithm. The algorithm takes these points into consideration – the videos that are often watched together, the videos users have watched in the past and if there are topically related videos.
The only point you can control here is the last one. When you’re choosing keywords, think like a librarian. Describe your video’s topic and its overall category. Try to think of other words a person might use to search for that topic. For a few more tips on effective YouTube descriptions and keywords, check out this article.
You know when your favorite shows are available, you know when your favorite blog articles are posted and you know when your favorite content comes into your inbox.
People love rhythms, and that’s exactly why Netflix, Hulu and Amazon all post new content for your favorite shows on the same day of the week.
You should consider something similar for your video content on your YouTube page. Start thinking about it like it’s a streaming service.
Especially if you can drive subscriptions to your channel, those subscribers will start getting notified, just like you get notified when Netflix adds a new show.
The key is to be able to create enough content to start setting those expectations. Square 2 posts something new to our YouTube channel every Thursday morning. Our subscribers get notified and they check out the new video later that day.
You should do the same.
Unfortunately, relying on YouTube, search optimization and a regular content publication schedule might not be enough to turn YouTube into a lead generation tactic.
To better leverage your new channel, you should design a campaign to promote it and the content on your channel.
There are a couple of ways to think about these campaigns. First, you should definitely highlight when new content is added by emailing your current contact database – both prospects and customers.
This should include a recommendation for them to subscribe to your channel so they can be notified by YouTube when new content is posted. This campaign might include up to three emails, each highlighting one of the more popular or relevant videos on the channel.
Next, make sure videos are prominently featured on your website. On the pages that relate to each of these videos, you can promote that more videos are available on your YouTube channel. This might drive new people who recently stopped by your site to your new channel.
Finally, if you want to aggressively promote your new channel and your new video content on YouTube, you can run paid social campaigns on the appropriate social platforms, run paid search campaigns on Google or Bing and even consider a remarketing campaign for people who visit specific video-related pages on your website.
All three of these options would definitely cost money and be early buyer journey offers, meaning these won’t generate sales-ready leads. Go into this with your eyes open. All these campaigns are brand awareness and demand generation campaigns, not lead-generating campaigns.
That’s not to say they are less important, just that the goals and expectations should not be leads but rather views and subscribers. If your content is solid, if you post it regularly and if you nail the content and solve a pain, it’s likely that over time this awareness can turn into lead generation — but set your expectations accordingly.
Finally, nothing is a set-it-and-forget-it tactic today. Your YouTube channel should be treated as such. Someone in your company needs to check in on the site.
They should be monitoring comments and tracking likes, subscribers and views. They should be going into the channel and making adjustments, posting new videos, adding keywords and optimizing descriptions and titles.
Based on the analytics and data, new video content can be created and tailored accordingly. Getting a lot of views for a specific topic? Do more of that type. Getting fewer views for some types of content? Stop doing videos that address that specific issue.
One takeaway from YouTube is to stick with it. Anyone with any success on YouTube will tell you that you need to do 100 videos before you give up. It takes that long to figure out what works, to have YouTube optimize your channel and for your videos to get found.
You have to play the long game, and this is an excellent lesson for almost every marketing tactic in the playbook today. If you think it’s going to trigger an avalanche of leads in the first few days or even the first few weeks, think again.
Go into it with at least a year of ideas and stick it out. The people with stamina and persistence are the winners. Those who post a few videos, get tired and then quit are the ones who lose.