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The complete YouTube marketing guide for your business

YouTube marketing

YouTube marketing is useful for almost any aspect of your small business’s marketing strategy. In addition to deciding how to create a website, being active on YouTube is a great way to build your online presence and generate awareness of your brand. Opening a channel for your business will help you bolster your marketing efforts, engage with your users while building up your own YouTube community and reach new audiences.

If you’re like most businesses, your social media strategy probably prioritizes Facebook and Instagram. There’s a good chance you’re also active on Twitter and LinkedIn. However, many companies tend to overlook YouTube - and that’s a big mistake.

That said, an effective YouTube marketing strategy requires planning and research. A lot of your marketing budget and precious time can get wasted if you don’t know what you’re doing on this platform, so knowing how to optimize your YouTube channels and videos is the key to success. To help you make the most of the platform, we’ve broken down some of the top tips you need to know when marketing your business on YouTube.

Why should you be marketing on YouTube?

YouTube is the second most visited website in the world after Google. If that alone doesn’t have you convinced, then maybe these stats will:

Video marketing and mobile marketing have exploded in popularity over the last few years. If you’re not taking advantage of this type of content, you risk falling behind your competition.

YouTube is not only a good way to market your brand or your products, but it comes with a number of other advantages as well. You can use your YouTube channel to showcase new products, add product reviews, highlight case studies and more.

Not only that, but considering how far-reaching YouTube is in terms of its users around the world, optimizing your YouTube channel can also help you reach a more diverse audience.

YouTube should be an integral part of your social media marketing strategy, just like Facebook and Instagram. Keep in mind that content can be repurposed across multiple platforms. For example, you can upload the same videos to Facebook and YouTube, or upload snippets of your YouTube video ideas as Instagram stories and direct your followers to your YouTube channel for the full clip.

YouTube marketing versus social media marketing

If you’re confused, we get it. We already mentioned that YouTube is a part of a successful social media marketing strategy, and while that’s still true, the nature of how you should go about implementing your campaigns and releasing content is quite different. That’s not to say that YouTube should be separate from your social media campaigns - it just means that the rules that apply to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook don’t necessarily apply here.

By nature, YouTube marketing is similar to content marketing. Most social media platforms are just that: social. However, YouTube doesn’t have as much of a social aspect to it on the platform itself. People don’t upload instant posts or photos, they don’t tag their friends, and they don’t digest content in the same way.

Consider how you use a platform like Instagram. You probably open the app and scroll mindlessly, maybe like a few posts and upload Stories. But when you’re on YouTube, you most likely go there with a goal already in mind - whether that’s finding a specific video, answering a particular question, or keeping yourself entertained.

Users on YouTube aren’t as passive; they typically have a clear intent when using the platform, and they search for what they want to see. YouTube videos operate more like search results on Google in terms of the content that gets found, and the actual videos are more like blog posts where users go to get information on a topic, comment on the content and send it to their friends.

When you create content for YouTube, it’s critical that you keep these factors in mind. While the ultimate goal of YouTube and any social platform is to create content that engages, engagement on YouTube looks different.

9 tips for creating a successful YouTube marketing strategy

There’s a lot that goes into making a video great, but we won’t get into the details of that here. Instead, we’ll cover all the basics of operating a successful YouTube channel and what you need to know about making a winning YouTube marketing strategy.

01. Research your competition

Before you go straight into making and uploading videos, it’s helpful to have a grasp of what your competitors are doing. If you haven’t done so yet, identify any direct or indirect competitors who are also active on YouTube. You can do this by searching for keywords you’d like to rank for on the platform and seeing whose videos come up first. Do this a few times for multiple search terms and see which channels come up most often.

After that, do some snooping on their channels to see what types of videos they make, how many subscribers they have, how frequently they upload new content, the keywords they use and any other details you find relevant.

While doing this research, pay special attention to the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. What do they do really well? What type of video content is missing from their channels? Answering these questions will help you gain a better idea of how to fill in the gaps with your own channel so that your videos perform well.

02. Optimize your channel

When you start a YouTube channel, you should make an effort to optimize it from the get-go. YouTube is a search engine, just like Google, so understanding the algorithm and optimizing your channel to match it will allow you to rank higher. Here are a few elements you don’t want to ignore when putting your channel together:

  • Channel description: Use your YouTube channel name and description to give viewers a concise but well-rounded overview of what they can expect to find on your channel. Be sure to include some keywords, and any links you want your audience to navigate to.

  • Visuals: Make the landing page of your channel visually appealing by uploading an icon that reflects your brand, such as your logo, as well as banners that match your brand’s aesthetic or promote things like new product launches or events.

  • Social links: Add links to your website, as well as your other social media pages, in your channel description. This will help draw awareness to your other pages so you can build your popularity on multiple platforms and drive traffic to your site.

  • Playlists: Organize your videos by category by sorting them into playlists. The videos in each playlist should be thematically related, as it will help your viewers decide what to watch next. For example, you might have a playlist dedicated entirely to product reviews.

youtube marketing example - Emily Fox Fitness

03. Create a featured video

A featured video is the one that’s highlighted on your channel’s page. It’s the first video someone sees when they land on your YouTube channel, so you want to be intentional about which video to promote here.

For that reason, pick a video that introduces your audience to your brand. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a generic video explaining your company, but rather, any video that you think accurately represents who you are and what you stand for. This can be a video of a positive customer testimonial, an ad for a new product, or any other video that speaks to your essence as a brand.

YouTube also lets you customize your featured video based on who is viewing your page. While it’s ideal to have a video that introduces your page to new viewers, you’ll want to be able to put your freshest content in that spot once they’ve already subscribed. On the section where you edit your profile, you have the option to select which video or playlist you want to highlight for new visitors, and which ones you want to display to your subscribers. This ensures that each type of viewer will see tailored content.

04. Perfect your video editing

Of course, the content of your video matters. But if you want to optimize each video to its maximum potential, you also need to edit it to satisfy YouTube’s algorithm. That means having certain parameters in mind when uploading your video in order to increase your chances of getting found in an endless sea of YouTube clips. Here are a few things you’ll want to add to your videos:

  • Catchy titles: Without any previews for your video, viewers judge each video by its title. You should, as much as possible, include keywords in the title so that it’s as relevant as possible to what your target audience is searching for.

  • Strong thumbnail: Aside from the title, users will also judge your video by the thumbnail. Always create a custom thumbnail for your video, and be creative with it. If you’re uploading a how-to video, show the end result in your thumbnail to entice users to watch your video through to the end.

  • Optimized descriptions: The description section of your videos is another place you’ll want to include keywords. You should also entice viewers and provide them with valuable information by summarizing your video and adding links to any relevant products or pages you discuss.

  • In-video features: Add additional YouTube features such as in-video buttons and tools, cards that act as CTAs, clickable frames that link to your other videos, and subscribe buttons. Add as many as possible to your video (without seeming too intrusive) in order to encourage viewers to take action.

  • Add captions: Adding captions helps you reach a wider audience. Since YouTube is global, non-English speakers will be able to watch and translate the captions once you add them. Not only that, but it’s also helpful for the hearing-impaired and for those who prefer to watch videos with the sound off.

  • Reminder to subscribe: In the video itself, you always want to engage with your viewers at the beginning and end of your video by reminding them to subscribe to your channel and to comment on, like and share your video.

05. Don’t forget YouTube SEO

SEO, short for search engine optimization, is the practice of implementing strategies for ranking on search engines. Since YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet, you shouldn’t ignore adding SEO elements to your videos and channel. Make sure you’re paying close attention to the following elements to help your videos rank higher:

  • Tags: Tag your videos and your channel appropriately so YouTube understands the nature of your channel and can recommend it to users with similar interests.

  • Keywords: Do your research on competing videos and look at what terms rank highly on topics related to your business. Begin your research by typing a few words into the YouTube search bar and seeing what kind of content comes up. Once you have a list of keywords, make sure you’re using them in tags, titles and descriptions.

  • Transcript: Include a transcript when you upload a video to YouTube in order to help Google’s bots scrape the content and understand what your video is about.

  • Total subscribers: Your YouTube subscribers are as good for engagement as they are for SEO. The more you have, the more YouTube thinks your channel is of good quality and the more it will recommend your videos to other users. Additionally, when users subscribe to your channel after viewing a video, it shows that your content was relevant to their search. This signals to YouTube’s algorithm to display your content in response to future search queries.

There are other elements that can go into your YouTube SEO strategy, but if you’re a new business with a small team, it can be tricky to get it done all on your own. Try out some different YouTube SEO tools to help you out along the way. Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that’s great for researching keywords. Check out TubeBuddy for a more complete YouTube SEO tool that helps you with all aspects of publishing and optimizing your videos.

06. Make videos that convert

It may seem like hard work to optimize your content for YouTube’s algorithm, while simultaneously trying to make videos that convert viewers. However, the good news is that these two goals go hand-in-hand. Often, what’s good for mastering the algorithm is also good for conversion, and vice versa.

For example, some of the strategies we’ve already looked at also help with conversions, such as:

  • Adding a CTA button to your videos with action items like asking viewers to subscribe

  • Putting reminders in your video script to like, share, comment and subscribe to your channel

  • Creating playlists of related videos that drive users further down the product funnel

That said, these aren’t the only strategies you’ll need to implement. Relevant, creative and well-thought-out content is still the number one way to convert your viewers into lifelong customers. Creating videos that resonate deeply with your target audience is the key to success.

If you’re not sure how to do this, start by brainstorming what problems your target audience may be facing. Think about how your product or brand offers them a solution, and then create videos that reflect that. If your videos show users that your brand meets their needs, they’ll be more likely to convert through your business.

youtube marketing video example

07. Host YouTube contests

YouTube contests and giveaways are a great way to increase engagement and gain new subscribers, particularly when you’re just starting out on the platform.

Run a contest that requires people to like your videos, subscribe to your channel, and leave a comment in order to gain an entry. Encourage users to get creative by uploading their own content as a way to participate. This is a fantastic way to get more user-generated content while also generating leads.

Make sure you’re following YouTube’s policies so that your account doesn’t get penalized, and don’t run contests too often. You want to make sure the cost of each contest pays off and that you’re not blowing your budget on prizes and contest promotion when those valuable dollars can also go towards creating stronger video content.

08. Advertise your business on YouTube

Sure, your videos act as an advertisement for your business, but YouTube gives you the possibility to also run more traditional ads, so why not do both? Running YouTube ads helps attract even more people to your channel and is also a way to promote specific products and events. The number of SMBs advertising on YouTube over the last two years has doubled, making marketing on YouTube a business essential.

There are a few different types of ads you can run:

  • Skippable video ads: Ads that play before or during a video and can be skipped by the viewer after five seconds

  • Non-skippable video ads: Ads that need to be watched before a video can be viewed

  • Bumper ads: 6-second non-skippable video ads that appear before a video

  • Overlay ads: Banners, image or text ads that appear on the bottom of a video

To begin running a campaign, you’ll need a Google Ads account. From there, you can create a new video campaign, set parameters like goals, tracking and budget, and then add the URL of your video for the ad you want to run.

09. Track your success

Find out if your YouTube marketing strategy has been paying off by regularly checking in with YouTube analytics. In the YouTube Analytics tab, you’ll be able to track different metrics to see if you’re meeting your goals. You’ll regularly need to test and assess in order to optimize your campaigns and see what resonates with your audience and what needs to be tweaked. Some of the YouTube KPIs you should pay close attention to include:

  • Fluctuations in the number of subscribers

  • Audience demographics

  • Sources of traffic and views

  • Watch time

  • Retention rate

  • Devices your videos are being watched on

Any discrepancies in these metrics might mean you need to go back to the drawing board to either review the type of videos you’re creating, the audience you’re targeting or even the keywords you’re using. These metrics will allow you to update your YouTube marketing strategy so that you can succeed in the future.

YouTube marketing tools

From embedding your YouTube videos on your website, to verifying your site with Google Search Console in order to associate your YouTube video with your Wix site, there are a number of tools to help you manage your YouTube marketing.

Some of the most popular current YouTube marketing tools include:

vidIQ - this online platform offers YouTube tutorials on how to use YouTube effectively for your business

Social Blade - allows you to track social media metrics across YouTube as well as other platforms, so you can make decisions about specific videos and promotions running on the channel.

Ahrefs - with this popular tool you can conduct keyword research for YouTube and understand potential traffic and intent.

Youtube marketing FAQ

Is YouTube good for marketing?

In terms of the large numbers of users it has, and how much time they spend on the platform, yes. YouTube is one of the largest video-sharing platforms in the world, with over 2 billion monthly active users, which makes it a powerful platform to reach a large audience. YouTube also has a highly engaged audience, with viewers watching over a billion hours of video each day. However, to make the most of this potential, you'll need a well-planned marketing strategy and stellar content.

How to make money from YouTube marketing?

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