As a small business owner, using online video helps you to stand out. It allows you to attract new customers, gain additional rankings in the search engines, and to offer content in a more digestible format. You know this. But what are some ways you can get even move from video as a small business owner? Here are some online video techniques that are getting me excited right now.
1. Optimize Everything: The easiest way to get MORE from your online videos is to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make them findable by optimizing them for users and the search engines. When it comes to optimizing your video, you want to pay special attention to your Title, Description, Tags, and Captions/Annotations. The more keyword-rich and engaging you can make them, the better.
2. Test your Thumbnails: Once you upload your video, YouTube will allow you to pick from three video stills to use as that video’s thumbnail image. You may want to test what works best for you. Does a human face get more clicks than a slate of text? Does a smiling woman get more clicks than an image of your CEO (probably)? These are things you’ll want to experiment with to make sure picking the thumbnail that will lead to the most conversions.
3. Add Transcripts: A few weeks ago I offered some tips on how to add transcripts to your YouTube videos. This is a really easy way to increase the benefit you’re seeing from your videos by making them more findable and search-engine friendly.
4. End with a call to action: Make sure your video closes with some type of call to action. Someone sat there and watched your entire two minute video – now what do you want them to do? Include a call to action that encourages them to continue their interaction with your brand and gets them to DO something, whether it’s to visit your site, check out a blog post or even to share the video with their friends. If you’re not including a call to action at the end of your video, you’re missing out on a great marketing opportunity.
5. Make an offer: Want to increase views and comments on your video? Offer an incentive for customers to do so. Maybe there’s a free discount code in the video or something that will give them special access to your brand. Include an offer to incentivize the video.
6. Make it easy to share: Encourage people to share your video by including calls to action for them to do so, uploading it on Facebook and, of course, tweeting it! The new version of Twitter is designed to put media right in the forefront of the service. That means prime real estate for your video content.
7. Experiment with different platforms: While it’s the biggest, YouTube isn’t the only video game in town. Try uploading your video content to sites like Vimeo, Viddler, Blip.tv, iTunes and others to increase your audience and monopolize more room on the search engines results page. When you upload your content to both YouTube AND another platform, you can make them both rank for keyword-searches. Don’t have time to upload the same video to multiple sites? TubeMogul will do it for you at no cost.
8. Alter the content for each platform: Or, instead of uploading the same content to different platforms, tailor the content to the different audiences to increase conversion rates.
9. Put videos on high-conversion pages: Help increase sales by using online video on conversion pages. At last year’s Streaming Media West show, Zappos Content Team Senior Manager Ric Nasol talked about how Zappos was using video on product pages to help drive sales. And they seemed to have worked. Ric reported a sales impact of 6 to 30 percent.
10. Create playlists: If you’ve ever gotten stuck in an endless loop on YouTube watching one funny video after another, you know that video is addicting. Luckily, it’s also addicting for your customers. Help feel their addiction by creating playlists for them to watch and subscribe to. By going to your My Videos page and linking your videos, you help your customers kill their entire day watching content about your brand. Like potato chips, when it comes to online video, you can’t have just one.
11. Use the Insight: YouTube Insights is a free tool that allows video creators to see detailed statistics about the videos they upload to the site. You can see how often the videos are viewed, how popular they are relative to other videos, what the community engagement is like, how many subscribers you get daily, and lots of other important information. Just like with anything, knowing the numbers behind what you’re doing can help you to make smarter decisions down the road.
Those are my eleven tips for getting more out of YouTube. What’s working for you?