YouTube and Business

Mention YouTube and most people will picture cats playing piano. But amongst a certain type of small-business person, title conjures another image: Dollar indicators.

Such entrepreneurs can often sound like brainwashed cult members, in a good way. For example, Scott Imbrie, owner of Unique YouTube Skateboards, a brand that has been built largely on its YouTube presence, says the platform is better for entrepreneurs than even Facebook.

Another Youtube . com proselytizer is Jeffrey Harmon, chief marketing officer for Orabrush, a Provo, Utah-based oral care brand that recently parlayed a series of prosperous YouTube videos into a national submission deal at Walmart. Original Skateboards, which joined YouTube in 2006 and Orabrush, which dropped the first YouTube video in 2009, were obviously ahead of the curve, but YouTube continues to be a great place to launch or develop a brand.

Below are some tips through entrepreneurs who have thrived on YouTube, and several from Lane Shackleton, product manager for YouTube (and, yes, a distant relative of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton).
Buy some ads

Since your video’s probably not going to move viral on its own (or at all), you should consider buying some ads online. Fortunately, rates are pretty good when compared with AdWords. Harmon says that at this time search ads on YouTube are going for fifty cents per click vs . $1. 50 per click on AdWords. That said, you don’t have to sink a fortune into it. Within Orabrush’s early days, the company spent $30 a day on YouTube search ads. Though Orabrush got a lot more bang for the buck back then, Harmon says you are able to still do pretty well today buying “promoted videos, ” the ads that will pop up when you do a YouTube search. However , no matter what you spend on advertisements, make sure the content is relevant to the search term. Google will base the ad’s position on that relevance.

No longer expect your video to go viral

Are you ready to become the next Orabrush? Probably it’s time to reset your anticipations. Harmon helpfully points out that forty eight hours of video are packed to YouTube every minute, therefore you’re probably better off playing Powerball than waiting for your clip to consider off.

“Anyone who thinks they will have a video go crazy on YouTube is dreaming, ” says Harmon.
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“Think base hits, not home runs. ” Raw numbers usually are as important as reaching the proper customers, so don’t freak out should you be nowhere near a million views.

Use comments, hot spots and A/B screening as your focus group

If you hire a Madison Avenue ad company to run a TV spot, could possibly be likely going to want to subject the ad to focus group testing. But if you’re a small DIY advertiser, your best approximation of a focus group-aside out of your wife and her Rotary Membership friends-are the comments below your video. Granted, many will be insipid and/or obscene, but some just may have several insight.

Beyond that, YouTube has its own other tools to help you gauge exactly how your video is being received. Key among these is Hot Spots, the technology that lets you see when folks are tuning in and out of your video.

Another option is A/B testing. Big ad firms do this, too, but you can do it on a smaller level by running two different versions of your clip as an unlisted video backed by search ads and watching to see which one gets the much better response. Then, you choose the winner.

Finally, there’s Google Analytics, which will at least tell you how much referral visitors you’re getting from YouTube. Shackleton says on average, people who come to your internet site from YouTube spend more time there compared to if they came from somewhere else.

Watch a lot of YouTube

If you’re serious about using Youtube . com as a marketing platform, then do your research. Forget about watching TV ads, and spend a couple of hours discovering what’s hot on YouTube. Harmon says he and his staff invest several hours every day doing just that. Harmon says the goal is to start to “recognize good ideas. ”

Track that ROI
If you’re spending money on YouTube ads, you will likely want to know what you have to display for it. The fact that people have clicked through your ads is great, but the novelty can wear off quickly if could possibly be not actually buying anything.

Right now here’s the surprising part: Even though Google owns YouTube and marketing on YouTube is, by definition, modern world digital and cutting edge, you still have to rely on a fairly improvisational, analog kind of ROI tracking.

“We count the amount of views, of course , the combined complete for the videos on our YouTube approach was close to a million last period I added them up, and we track the traffic to our websites from the videos, but that’s regarding all we’ve got in terms of hard data, ” says Ed Davis, leader of Ceilume, a Graton, Calif. -based company that makes ceiling tiles and has more than one million views on its YouTube channel. “We furthermore rely heavily upon what the customer service people tell us they hear from on the phones every day and exactly what they hear is that customers watch the videos, and the videos assist. ”

Find your niche

In case you followed step 4 and watched large amounts of YouTube programming, you should be getting a sense of what will and is not going to fly on YouTube. Guess what? No one really wants to watch an ad unless it’s really, really good. But rather than try to split the code on a spectacular ad (something that the ad industry is generally unable to do with any regularity), Shackleton suggests either positioning yourself as an expert in your particular field (as Ceilume has) or attaching your brand to a particular life style (Original Skateboards’s approach).

“Pick an interesting part of your brand and concentrate on it, ” Shackleton says.

Yet what if you sell something actually boring, like plumbing supplies? Chances are this is interesting to someone, perhaps someone who has to fix their toilet in a hurry. Get inside their head and make a video directed to their likely problems. Whatever you do, don’t think like a conventional advertiser.

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