Did you know that more than 10 BILLION YouTube videos are watched each month? That exceeds the number of searches that Google gets monthly! (And the Google search engine is now reported to be the power behind 81% of ALL searches on the Web!!!)
With that amount of traffic, YouTube obviously offers potential. But, how do you take advantage of it?
I think there are three primary marketing goals for videos posted on YouTube.
1. Extending a Brand—An example is the Red Bull Channel of YouTube. Red Bull, of course, is an energy drink. The company is well-known for sponsoring a number of extreme-sports competitions, as well as being one of Olympic snowboarding champion Shaun White’s major sponsors. So, the Red Bull Channel includes exciting videos from sponsored competitions in surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking, etc. These are professional videos that are fun to watch. In fact, you really can’t watch without exclaiming out loud about some of the amazing feats displayed! Red Bull does not expect viewers to visit the Red Bull website. The goal of extending their brand is met whenever someone views one of their videos on YouTube—or shares a link to one with friends. As a product sold in retail outlets, the additional brand visibility is enough to translate into additional sales for this company.
2. Answering a Customer Need or Creating a Market—An example is The Lowes Channel. The Lowes Channel is chock-full of how-to videos. You can learn how to build a deck by watching a series of videos. Or how to make-over your bathroom. Or build an Adirondack chair. You can subscribe to the Lowe’s videos, so that you receive a notification via email anytime they post a new video. The retailer includes prominent links to their Facebook page and Twitter account, which encourages viewers to share a Lowes video with their social networks. They also use YouTube to build a dialog with customers by encouraging comments on the videos. The Lowes YouTube Channel page includes links to featured products with “Buy Now” buttons and a store locator. Except for these links to specific products, however, the Lowes page on YouTube is not set up to drive a lot of web traffic. Instead, the goal seems to be to build the do-it-yourself confidence of potential customers, so that they visit their local store to make purchases. In this way, they are almost creating customers for their store.
3. Driving Web Traffic—The previous two examples are well-known companies. If you are not nationally (or internationally) known, or do not sell your product through well-known retailers, you need to drive visitors from YouTube to your own website. Obviously, this is a situation that requires creativity. But there are some good examples on YouTube. One is Harmony Ridge Lodge. (See! It just worked for them!) Harmony Ridge Lodge is a weekend getaway in California’s Gold Country that attracts people in the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento and Reno. The owners realized that the fact that their property is “pet-friendly” is a major draw for many visitors. So, they created a couple of cute videos featuring their golden retriever, Monarch. The two videos have been downloaded more than 4,000 times over the past two years, and the owners report that they are now booked solid on weekends. The video gives those who discover it (either by browsing YouTube for pet videos or through the Lodge’s website), something that they can share with others. This is the viral element that makes the video successful in building the Lodge’s bookings.
For most small businesses, the best way to use YouTube is to create a video that could go viral and use that to increase web traffic. Here are some tips to get your creative juices going:
1. Think visual. Your video needs to have visual interest. People. Action. An appealing backdrop. These are elements needed to create a visually interesting video.
2. Think YouTube categories. Take a look at YouTube’s categories and try to find one of them that relates to your business in some way. (Remember the way that Harmony Ridge Lodge used the pets category.) If you create a video that fits one of the categories well, you have a better chance of being found by those just browsing the YouTube site. Here are some of the categories available:
• Autos & Vehicles
• How-To & Style
• Pets & Animals
• Science & Technology
• Travel & Events
3. Think interesting. Your video needs to be funny or informative –or both! Brainstorm ideas for creating a video that people will want to share with friends. A video about your company’s history probably isn’t it. A video of your company’s drivers competing in a “truck rodeo” might be—especially if the video includes voice-overs that reinforce the excellent safety record of the drivers.
For assistance in developing a YouTube video strategy and creating viral videos, contact me.