YouTube can be a great marketing tool, and most major companies have an active presence on the video hosting service. It can boost your email marketing efforts, raise your brand profile, engage new customers, direct them to your landing pages, and reach out to mobile users.
All of those things look great on the surface, but if you dig deeper, YouTube marketing becomes more complicated. The costs and risks involved in setting up a YouTube marketing channel make it important to weighthe pros and cons. Here are some of the things that any budding YouTube marketer needs to consider:
What is your YouTube strategy, and what do you want to achieve?
Before you even touch the button on your camera, it’s vital for you to think about strategy. Why are you starting a YouTube channel? Not every business has the resources or drive to post regular, high-quality videos. Unless you can formulate a clear set of objectives, there’s no point in continuing.
Draw up a YouTube marketing strategy before you start. Work out how many videos you’ll be able to post every week, and how much you are willing to spend creating them. Establish the metrics you will use to tell whether your channel is performing, and set a cut-off point so you know when to bail out.
Do you have the skills and energy to succeed on YouTube?
You also need to be honest with yourself about whether you have the skills, time, and energy to succeed on YouTube. Successful businesses post on a regular basis, and they interact with their channel subscribers. They spend time replying to comments, writing informative and SEO-optimized descriptions, organizing their videos into playlists, and promoting their content. If you aren’t willing to do all of these things, perhaps YouTube just isn’t for you.
Is YouTube suited to your customer base?
Just as importantly, you need to be sure that YouTube is the right marketing channel for your company. Does your customer base use YouTube to find out about products and services? Lawyers and accountants may provide a great service, but their work rarely translates into compelling video. The opposite may well be the case with restaurants or fashion labels. If your audience doesn’t use YouTube, think hard about whether to continue. You might be able to grow an audience or attract current customers to your videos, but will it be worth the effort?
Can you successfully promote your brand on YouTube?
YouTube doesn’t suit every brand. Most companies that use YouTube can effectively target a youthful audience, and they prize creativity, humor, and spontaneity. They also can tailor their brand message to changing events, and don’t rely on the ability to transmit large amounts of detailed information. It’s all about image, sound, and energy. If your brand is more formal and systematic, YouTube may not be a great fit.
Then again, you could use YouTube to add appeal to your other social media or web platforms. Even straitlaced consultancies can find a reason to add YouTube videos to their Twitter stream or home pages. In that case, there’s a case for maintaining a low profile YouTube channel, but there are other hosting services like Vimeo that may be more appropriate.
Are there any alternatives to YouTube marketing to consider?
YouTube doesn’t necessarily suit heavy social media users. If you plan to populate your Facebook and Twitter feed with video, Vine provides a platform for publishing shorter, punchier footage. It’s made to share, while YouTube channels usually remain standalone operations. Vine postings have an immediacy that YouTube videos can’t match. If you plan to appeal to customers with humor, it might be a much more effective place to concentrate your resources.
If you are selling technical products or services, Vimeo may be a better choice. The audience on Vimeo tends to be more mature and technically focused, with a longer concentration span, making them a more fertile target group for higher-end or complex products.
Are you willing to invest?
Running a profitable YouTube marketing operation requires investment, and this has to be taken into account before you begin. Remember, you’ll need to provide attractive, professionally produced videos if you want to compete, and not every company has the budget or time to do so.
How do your competitors use YouTube to sell their products?
Another thing to think about is how your competitors use YouTube. You can learn a great deal about how to set up your own channel by tracking the most successful channels in your niche. However, you also need to ask yourself whether you can match their efforts. You might be the only local café or skate shop with a YouTube, in which case, a channel could be a valuable competitive advantage. However, if you are competing with slick, beautifully produced channels, a poorly put together YouTube channel can damage your brand.
There are plenty of things to think about before starting a YouTube marketing campaign, so don’t rush things. Promoting your company with short videos might sound great, but for every campaign that goes viral, there are plenty that fail to ignite. YouTube marketing is an investment and a risk, like any other marketing option, so do some thoughtful planning and make a wise decision.