If you’re looking for a digital platform with a low threshold of entry but limitless marketing potential, look no further than YouTube. Just consider some of the statistics: After Facebook, YouTube is the second largest social media channel, with more than a billion users every single month. And, as YouTube retains its status as the go-to site for online video, more and more consumers say they prefer online video to traditional television. Truly, YouTube is rich with marketing possibilities—but in order to tap into those possibilities, your videos have to be optimized and spot-on.
How do you make that happen? There are several key elements that every effective YouTube video needs to have. We’ve got a brief checklist for you, which we hope is useful in ensuring your videos are everything they need to be.
What Every YouTube Video Needs
In no particular order…
Branded Intro Footage
One of the best things about online video is that it can help you build loyalty to your business—and nothing fosters loyalty quite like smart, consistent branding. You can include branding at the start of each YouTube video, which will immediately let the viewer know that they are watching your work. Branding also helps make your videos “stickier”—that is, easy for viewers to remember and to tell their friends about later on. Your branded intro footage doesn’t have to be long, fancy, or complex—but it does need to be included consistently in every video.
A Strong Hook
Following that branded intro footage, move directly into a compelling opening. The reason for this is simple: Most people will make up their minds about whether or not to continue watching a YouTube video just 10-20 seconds in. You need to immediately hook them, and that means conveying the value your video is going to offer. Include your intro footage and then get to the point. Make it clear why viewers should stick around. Show what’s in it for them.
This would almost seem to go without saying, yet many amateur video makers neglect this key point: Your viewers need to be able to clearly understand what’s being said in your videos. This means having good sound quality. You don’t have to invest in Hollywood-status mics for this, but you do need to film in a place where there’s not a lot of background noise; you need to speak clearly; and you need to review your videos before you post them, making sure viewers aren’t going to have to strain in order to pick up on what’s being said.
We’re not going to give a set time limit here, but we will note that, generally, keeping things succinct is better. YouTube allows users to filter their search results by length, which means people can choose not to even see your 25-minute cinematic opus. Whenever you can, keep your videos short and snappy. If you have a lot to say, consider turning it into a video series or playlist.
This is really the crux of things: When you’re making videos to promote your business, you need to convey your authority, your knowledge, and your ability to help the consumer address his or her pain points. Yet, you also need to keep your videos entertaining. You don’t want them to come across like lectures or sales pitches, so instead keep things focused on action steps. Provide insights that your viewers can act on right now to make their lives better—and if possible, entertain them, while you’re at it!
A Call to Action
Calls to action aren’t just for blog posts and marketing emails. They belong on every piece of marketing collateral you create, and that includes your videos. Don’t forget to end your videos with an invitation for the viewer to subscribe to the channel, visit your website, buy your product, or call your company. (Crucially, you need to pick just one of these goals—a good call to action is singular and focused.) Don’t forget to include the pertinent contact information!
What You DON’T Need for Effective Videos
Those are the basic ingredients you need for a successful YouTube video—but what about the things you don’t need? Here it’s important for us to note that YouTube success does not depend on you having professional recording equipment or a Hollywood movie set—though of course, such things are fine. A lot of business owners are able to create great, effective videos with little more than an iPhone. You may wish to invest in higher standards of quality down the road, but don’t be afraid to jump into YouTube on a fairly small scale. The low bar for entry remains one of the most appealing things about marketing on YouTube.
Make Videos That Get Results
YouTube can be an effective place to market your business—but remember that your video marketing efforts should be within the context of a broader marketing plan, including SEO, website, and more. In a vacuum, YouTube isn’t going to be a game-changer or a silver bullet.
If you need help putting together that integrative marketing plan, or in producing effective YouTube videos, we encourage you to give us a call. The enCOMPASS team is here to consult in all aspects of online marketing, including video!
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