With an enormous user base of over 2 billion, one that shows no sign of slowing in its explosive growth, YouTube is securely placed in the top ten most visited websites globally. What’s more, 68% of said user base use YouTube to help make purchasing decisions. [Source: Google]
With such a vast number of users informing their purchasing decisions on YouTube content, it’s strikingly apparent – there has never been a better time to delve into YouTube marketing.
But, although the advantages to incorporating YouTube into your marketing strategy are clear, it’s easier said than done. Most businesses have some presence on YouTube, many with little effect, and growing a YouTube channel from scratch can overwhelm any unprepared business through sheer time investment. This article will detail some of the best practices that will enable you to make the most out of your YouTube marketing investment.
Know your audience
Knowing and understanding your audience is a cardinal rule of any marketing strategy, YouTube marketing being no exception. YouTube is about creating content that will strike a chord with your audience. To do that, you’ll need to know about your target audience, and ultimately, what they’re looking for.
For accurate information, you should turn to data analytics tools. YouTube comes with its own suite of data points, aptly named YouTube Analytics, but there are plenty of other alternatives if you feel YouTube’s own is lacking. By using such tools, you will have access to key data about your audience. This includes the location of your audience, their peak activity times, and what content they interact with, to name only a few. This information will show who your audience is and whether your content is hitting its targets.
An alternative method of data gathering is simply interacting with your audience. Plenty of businesses make posts on other social media platforms with a view to sparking audience interaction. This interaction could be to gauge the audience’s reaction to a particular type of content or ask questions about what should be included in future posts.
A similar tactic can be employed in YouTube marketing by directly addressing your audience in your videos. If you aren’t too keen on directing questions toward your audience, you can always take a look in the comment section of your videos. Your audience will let you know what they feel strongly about, for good or ill, so it can be a good gauge of sentiment. By touching base with your audience, alongside using the analytics tools mentioned above, you will be armed with a wealth of data invaluable to your YouTube marketing strategy.
Brand your channel appropriately
Branding is important. It decides how the world sees your business while also playing a role in what kind of audience you attract. Knowing your target audience then branding your business accordingly is an excellent approach to growing your YouTube presence. People interested in art are more likely to interact with a business that has art in its branding after all.
Appropriate branding on YouTube takes several forms. Of course, your main content will be what you’re known for most, but having a catchy name that meshes well with your product or service can be extremely helpful. Equally, channel art, headers, and music can give your brand its unique identity.
Don’t neglect YouTube SEO
While it might not seem it at first glance, YouTube is now practically a search engine of its own. People search for content using keywords, and YouTube serves a variety of high-performing, relevant content to them. While the top results are undoubtedly of high quality, the sheer volume of content on YouTube means high-quality alone isn’t usually enough to raise your videos to the top. You have to work with the YouTube algorithm.
Optimizing your YouTube content is no different from how you would conduct SEO normally. You’ll first need to do keyword research to identify what content you should make. Then, tailor your video titles, descriptions, thumbnails, and so on to be relevant to the content of your video. The closer you target your niche, the better. A scattershot approach might seem a good idea, but it will mean pitting your fledgling channel against more established ones. Provided you give your YouTube SEO the attention it deserves, your YouTube presence will grow as your channel becomes more established. Your audience is out there; you have to put the time and effort into placing it before them.
Invest time into competitor analysis
YouTube is a highly competitive landscape these days. Most businesses, large and small alike, have been building a YouTube presence in an effort to boost their traffic. Your new channel will have to compete with them.
Depending on your niche, competing with established brands will be some shade of difficult. Rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel, look to your competition for advice. They have been building their channel for some time and will have quite the repertoire of successes and failures you can examine. By doing so, you can get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t reasonably quickly. This information is critical to creating well-performing content, but it also saves time on trialing different types of content. This allows you to hone in on what should hit the mark with your audience without a significant investment of time and testing.
However, checking out your competition’s metrics isn’t the only method of gaining information. You can garner valuable information from their community too. Setting some time aside to look at comment sections, social media pages, and community interaction sections is an excellent way of gauging reception. Numbers are important, but hearing the thoughts of an audience directly is infinitely more valuable. For example, say your competition released a how-to video.
Maybe it doesn’t have a clear introduction, perhaps the description isn’t exactly descriptive of the content, or maybe they simply didn’t offer subtitles. A glance at the comment section will likely tell you what the audience thought if it registered at all. A passionate audience won’t be shy about voicing their thoughts. If none of the above points are addressed, it suggests the audience isn’t bothered. This can help considerably when making your content. Keep in mind the opinions of your competition’s audience, as it provides an insight into your industry’s audience as a whole.
Keep to a schedule
Our final point in this beginner’s guide to YouTube marketing is consistency. Naturally, quality content is the road to success, but it can be slow going at the start. Your audience won’t expect content every day, but they will expect some level of consistency. To achieve this, create a content schedule and stick to it, even if this means posting only once or twice a week.
The reasons behind consistent uploads are twofold. Firstly, it benefits you to have a plan of action. A schedule will show you what needs to be done and when making it easier to organize your content creation process. Secondly, your audience will come to know your upload schedule, boosting both engagement and retention as a result. If they know when to expect content from you, your brand will stick in their mind more than one with a sporadic upload schedule.
While not an exhaustive list, the points in this guide are vital to breaking into the landscape of YouTube marketing. Keep in mind that YouTube is an incredibly competitive and challenging platform for businesses to break into, especially for smaller brands. For the best results, your YouTube marketing strategy should serve a grander marketing strategy rather than be the strategy itself. Bolster your online presence with other social media platforms, reach out to content creators, and build a network. Each platform your brand is on can be an asset, one that benefits your other channels and pages, and ultimately, your business as a whole.