Canadians of all ages are noted for their enthusiastic consumption of online videos. Our Social Media Use in Canada report reveals that 72 percent of Millennials, 67 percent of GenX and 50 percent of Baby Boomers are on YouTube. Sixteen percent of Canadians follow businesses on YouTube. Many more find companies at random as they search the network, or discover products through their favourite YouTube influencers.
Yet video production is one of the most cited marketing challenges in this country, to a point where many businesses avoid it altogether. At this point in Canada’s digital evolution, there are more pressing matters. Almost half of businesses in this country don’t have a website, let alone advanced functionality or an online marketing strategy.
Video can become a critical part of online promotion, especially when used as part of a proven marketing strategy that includes digital sales funnels. Thrive Themes Funnels offers plenty of funnel functionality for small businesses on a tight budget. You can also improve engagement and sales conversions, along with cutting customer support costs with visual FAQs.
There is a misconception of how difficult and expensive video production can be. The truth is, making videos can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, and you can spend as little or as much as you want on making the video itself. Solopreneurs use it all the time and most of them don’t have anything resembling a production team. They invest in basic equipment, use readily-available software that’s designed for non-techie use, and get it done. Small or home-based businesses can do the same.
YouTube Marketing for Your Small Business
Searching for information about video marketing brings so many scattered and confusing results, it’s little wonder that people decide it’s too complicated to bother with. That’s why we’ve kept it simple here, providing the basic steps you need to start taking advantage of this powerful tool. You can go as far as you like with it or keep it basic, but you have to get started.
Equipment You’ll Need
You don’t have to equip a new studio with fancy equipment. In fact, I urge you to keep it as simple as possible in the beginning. A nice bookcase with relevant books makes a fine background in a bright room.
You can wing it with your smartphone at first, like many others do. When you decide to kick it up a notch, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on equipment. Most of it isn’t necessary for basic video, and it may even be less suitable for the purpose of video marketing for small businesses. We recommend the Logitech Pro Stream Webcam for quality video streaming or recording, the Blue Yeti USB Mic for vocals, voiceovers or commentary, and MAONO Lavalier wireless lapel microphones for when you’re live and/or on the move. All have lots of online video and blogger-friendly features, at a reasonable price.
How Do I Start a Business Channel on YouTube?
The infographic below illustrates the steps, if you need a visual.
- Sign into YouTube with a Google account.
- Click your picture and go to My Channel
- At the prompt, click on Use a business or other name
- Choose a name for the business account (60 characters or less to ensure full display in search results)
- Select Customize Channel to add information about your business.
- Create a channel icon with your logo and add a banner
- Add custom links to key areas of your website or social media channels
- Add relevant Featured Channels (such as industry resources or partners)
How Do I Optimize my Videos on YouTube?
Select Create a Video or click the Post button (video camera icon). Your video should be about 2 minutes in length, according to research done by HubSpot. Other studies have shown the average length of a top-ranking videos is 14 minutes and 50 seconds. Test and track results to find out what length is preferred by your particular audience.
- Use natural keywords in your video title
- Select Upload Video
- Drag & drop, select your video, or import from Google Photos.
- Add information about your video to the Description section.
- Customize the settings to allow or not allow comments
- Select Publish when you’re done.
How Do I Get More Views & Subscribers on YouTube?
Just being there isn’t enough. Luckily, the only thing that’s really difficult about attracting views and channel subscribers, is the patience required while you wait for it to happen. Following are some clever ways to attract and engage video enthusiasts.
- Create Playlists to keep viewers on your channel, which contributes to your channel rank. Themed, related playlists help YouTube define the subject matter and improve search results.
- Joe Penna, a YouTube Influencer, suggests you stick to a regular schedule so your subscribers know when to expect new videos.
- Use a Call to Action (CTA) to increase subscribers. According to YouTube, subscribers spend more time watching videos on channels they’re subscribed to than those they aren’t subscribed to.
- When sharing your YouTube link, Shopify recommends you enable the automatic subscription prompt by adding ?sub_confirmation=1 to the end of the link. A “Subscribe” prompt will automatically appear on your channel when people click the link.
- If your audience regularly stops watching at a certain point in your video, try adding a card to keep them on your channel.
“Cards are interactive elements added to YouTube videos that can be used to promote videos, playlists, websites, merchandise or channels,” explains Backlinko.
- The number of comments your video has may influence rank on the network, but you should also respond to those comments. Influencer Jeff Rose reported that responding to every comment helped him gain 100,000 subscribers in six months flat.
- Manually upload transcripts so Google can include transcripts and closed captions in search results.
- Utilize the end screen (last frame) of your video to encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel and visit your website.
- Use the Featured Content section to choose which videos to promote with your other videos.
- Use data in YouTube Studio to identify which of your videos resulted in the most channel subscriptions and make additional similar videos.
- Place your channel link on your website and in your email signature. Share it on other social media networks.
I hope you find this starter guide to be more manageable, as you venture onto YouTube. It’s really not as difficult as it looks. Even the most basic channel is going to benefit your small business, it’s the actual content that matters most. If you need more direction, you’ll find excellent video production courses available online for under $20 on Udemy.
Click to enlarge
Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.