The Beginner’s Guide to YouTube Marketing for Small Businesses

Are you looking for alternative ways to promote your business online? Look no further: YouTube is one of the biggest, most popular websites in the world, which is what makes it an incredibly powerful marketing tool.

Youtube marketing ecosystem

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In this guide to getting started with YouTube marketing, you’ll learn:

  • Whether YouTube is the right solution for your business and promotional strategy
  • How to create a YouTube video marketing strategy
  • How to launch your strategy with video tips and ideas
  • How to manage your YouTube channel
  • How to optimize your videos for the YouTube search engine

Is YouTube marketing the right solution for your business?

As I mentioned, YouTube is one of the biggest websites around – to be more specific, it’s currently the second most popular website in the world. And even though most people don’t think of YouTube primarily as a search engine, that’s exactly what most visitors do on the site. YouTube’s not just the second most popular website; it’s also the second most popular search engine – topped only by Google. This means that the platform presents a huge potential for reach for your business.

The fact that YouTube is such a hugely popular platform also means that there is a lot of competition. According to Statista, as of July 2015, 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. So, if you want to be successful on YouTube, you need to make sure that you have the time and the resources to publish quality content on a consistent basis. In other words, you’ll need a good YouTube marketing plan.

Another big reason why YouTube is such an attractive option for marketing purposes is that it’s all about video – and video marketing is all the rage right now. Video has consistently proven itself as one of the best-performing forms of content in terms of engagement, and just because you’re creating them for YouTube doesn’t mean that you can’t repurpose your videos. These videos would be great for your other social profiles, your email marketing campaigns, your website and landing pages, and any other platforms or channels you might be using.

Editing marketing videos professional video shoot

As for the issue of video production, it’s not as difficult as it may seem to create marketing videos. You don’t need a huge budget and you don’t even need to make substantial investments in equipment – but we’ll discuss video production and all that it entails further on in this guide.  

So, the short of it: is YouTube the right solution for your business? Yes, in most cases. If you sell products, it’s a great way to showcase and promote them and all of their uses. If you’re a B2B company, it’s a great platform for expanding your reach and for generating more leads.

Developing a YouTube marketing strategy

Marketing on YouTube is like marketing on other social platforms: the first step is to create your strategy. In order to create your YouTube marketing strategy, you’ll want to start by defining your goals.

YouTube marketing phone

Write down the specific targets you want to achieve, such as:

  • Clicks/traffic
  • Engagement
  • Reach/subscriber numbers

Use the SMART model to help you put together good objectives: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help make sure that your objectives are specific, have a deadline, and are do-able.

 Of course, you also need to be able to measure your progress accurately. At this stage of strategizing, establish what your KPIs (key performance indicators) are to help you measure your results.

Commit to a schedule

Consistency is very important on YouTube if you want to keep growing your channel. As with blogging, the more content you put out there, the better the chances you’ll reach a wider audience.

Most successful YouTubers have a very strict publishing schedule – and they stick to it.  These YouTubers also promote new videos to their audience on other social media platforms so that even those who haven’t subscribed to their channel can still know when a new video is coming out. While you’re setting up a YouTube marketing strategy for your business, consider how often you can realistically commit to posting new content and make sure you can stick to it.

Once you determine how often you can post, you should also consider when you release your videos. According to Oberlo, most viewers watch YouTube videos in the evenings and on weekends. The best time to post your content is early afternoons during the week or early Saturday and Sunday mornings so that your videos will be indexed by the time your potential viewers are searching.

YouTube marketing best time to post

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Plus, at this stage, make a note of all the holidays and events coming up that are relevant to your audience so you’ll know in advance about any opportunities to create any special content.

Types of marketing videos

So, now that you know what your goals are and when you want to publish, the question is, what types of videos can you create?

It’s important to keep things varied in order to keep your audience entertained and coming back for more. Plus, it’s worth experimenting early with different types of videos so you can understand which ones work best and which ones don’t.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Listicles: Listicles are a very popular content format, both as blog posts and as media (videos, images, infographics, etc.). You can create listicles that highlight your products or services – like “The 10 most innovative ways you can use (your product)” – or they can be educational, informational, or entertaining. Just remember, the lists should always be relevant to your audiences’ interests and your business niche.
  • How-to videos: How-to videos tend to perform very well because they provide a lot of value to the viewer. For example, if you were selling social media software, you could create how-to videos showing your viewers how to get started with Twitter marketing or how to grow your Facebook following. You can look to top performing blog posts for material for these videos, or you can develop a plan for a recurring series. JetBlue has a series of “Flight Etiquette” videos that emphasize how not to travel:
  • Behind-the-scenes videos: YouTube is a social network – the keyword here being “social.” One of the ways to humanize your brand and show that you’re more than just a product or service is to share some behind-the-scenes videos. For example, Sprout Social has an entire collection of videos with members of their team:
YouTube marketing team sprout
  • Product videos: Video is a great way to showcase your own products or services. These product videos could walk viewers how to use certain features, highlighting new product updates, or announce new offerings for your business. Mailchimp often publishes videos talking about their products:
  • Case studies: Another way you can promote your business and your products or services is to create video case studies of your clients. These case studies don’t need to deal exclusively with your product: they can focus on client origin stories, recent achievements, or plans for the future. Hootsuite publishes videos of their work with different brands:
YouTube marketing Hootsuite customer stories
  • Interviews: Interviewing well-known experts and influencers from your niche is another good way to attract new viewers. These experts will have their own following, so if they’re promoting the video as well, they can help drive traffic to your YouTube channel.

Managing your YouTube channel

Now that you have a YouTube marketing strategy and some video ideas to get started, you want to focus on managing your channel. Engagement is a big part of YouTube, so it’s extremely important to take the time to not only respond to any comments you get, but also to drive engagement in other ways.

A good way to manage your account is to use a tool to help automate the process. Agorapulse lets you pre-moderate your comments, check and respond to comments from your dashboard’s social inbox (which you can do as part of a team + you can assign tasks), as well as monitor YouTube for mentions of your brand in videos and comments. Other useful management features include saved replies (to respond to comments with a few clicks) and a social CRM tool to help keep track of your subscribers and connections.

YouTube marketing Agorapulse dashboard

Another good option for channel management is VidIQ, which you can use to keep track of comments and respond when necessary, to collaborate with your team members, and to discover useful keywords and tags for optimizing your videos.

Here are a few more YouTube tips to boost your engagement and views:

  • Check your comments every day so you can respond promptly
  • Use monitoring to find other mentions of your brand and identify engagement opportunities
  • Ask questions of your viewers in your videos, as well as in your video descriptions to encourage them to leave a comment
  • Use the “Community” tab (located in your channel’s main page) to post images, GIFs, and video previews, as well as to poll your subscribers. For example, Evan Carmichael regularly posts polls asking his subscribers what they want to see in his upcoming videos: 
YouTube marketing Evan Carmichael

YouTube video SEO: what you need to know

As I mentioned earlier, YouTube is one of the top search engines in the world, which is one of the reasons why it’s such an attractive promotional tool for businesses. Just imagine all the potential reach with almost two billion monthly users!

What this means is, quite simply, that if you take the time to optimize your videos and you produce quality video content on a regular basis, you can dramatically increase your chances of reaching a wide and targeted audience. 

So, how exactly do you optimize your YouTube videos?

There are several important factors that count towards your search results ranking; some are completely in your control – like the keywords you use and how you use them – while with others, you don’t have as much power over them (like how many people subscribe immediately after viewing one of your videos).

Video SEO YouTube titles

Here are some of the most important video ranking factors that you need to know about:

  • Your channel’s keywords: Use the right tags to make sure that YouTube knows what your channel is about.
  • Video headlines and descriptions: Research keywords to find out what your audience is looking for and use these keywords in your video headlines and your descriptions. (Quick tip: the closer the keyword is to the beginning of the headline, the better!)
  • Video tags: In addition to keywords, you need to add tags to your videos – research tags to find out which ones perform best.
  • Video transcript: Including a video transcript is a great way to make your video more scrapable by search bots. It’s also good for viewers: if they need to check spelling of a word or can’t increase the volume to hear the video, they can still access the content.
  • Watch time: Your total video watch time (how many minutes/hours/etc. people watched of your videos) also counts towards your ranking. The bigger the watch time, the better!
  • Thumbnail Image: The thumbnail image will be visible whenever your video is indexed, so this should be compelling and relevant.
  • Engagement: YouTube also looks at your channel’s engagement, including how many likes/dislikes you get, as well as how many comments and shares.
  • Subscriber numbers: This doesn’t just mean how many YouTube subscribers you have. As I mentioned earlier, how many people subscribe after viewing one of your videos also matters. These subscribers show that your video was relevant and provided value to the viewer.

In terms of useful SEO tools, TubeBuddy is one of the best options because it has so many video SEO features, including:

  • Keyword research tools to help you find the right long-tail keywords to target
YouTube marketing keyword search explorer
  • Tag explorer, for discovering popular tags for your channel and your videos
  • Keyword rank tracking to easily track your videos’ ranking and success
  • A/B testing for videos
  • View and copy video tags

This last feature that allows you to check videos and see what tags they used. This is very useful as you can check very popular videos that rank highly (and are relevant to your own niche/videos) and see which tags helped them get to this stage.

When you’re using your YouTube content on your other channels or on your website, make sure the video is the feature of the page for the best chance of ranking. Search crawlers won’t go searching for a video hidden low on a page, and Google will typically only index the first video.

Optimizing your video content is important for establishing your YouTube marketing strategy, and it can also help with content while you’re getting started. Keyword research is a great tool for finding video ideas. Before you create any new videos, take the time to research keywords and create videos based on the keywords you want to target.

Next step: YouTube marketing success

If it’s used right, YouTube can be a great way to promote brand awareness and reach more potential customers.  You can make sure your YouTube marketing strategy is bound for success by getting started with these key steps:

  • Strategize your YouTube presence ahead of time and plan your videos in advance to make sure you publish new content regularly
  • Create different types of videos to appeal to a wider audience
  • Take the time to engage with your subscribers and viewers, as well as try to boost engagement with every video
  • Optimize your channel and your videos for the YouTube search engine to boost your reach

About the author

Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach Bullock has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. She is listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers, named one of 10 top digital marketers by Brand24 and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.


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