YouTube is a relatively new marketing tool, but it offers small businesses a free, affordable way to advertise their products or services and build a community of followers. It works especially well when paired with other marketing tools, such as company websites. As with any marketing tool, it’s important that you know exactly what you want to accomplish through YouTube marketing before you launch a campaign.
YouTube marketing can help small businesses save time and money, especially for freelance professionals or solo entrepreneurs. Alabama-based pottery artist Charles Smith says before he started using YouTube, he had to attend art shows around the state, which he said was too expensive considering the rising price of gas, according to the article "Marketing Your Business on YouTube" in Inc. magazine. In addition to being budget-friendly, YouTube marketing can allow professionals to focus more of their energy on honing their skills and refining their products, rather than spending much of their time on the road.
Some businesses use YouTube to help them more effectively reach potential customers outside their immediate geographic areas. Smith told Inc. magazine that uploading instructional videos to YouTube helped him reach a wider audience than he had access to attending nearby art fairs. After including YouTube into his marketing mix, he started hearing from collectors and galleries all around the world, even as far away as Japan.
You can use YouTube visitors to draw traffic to your company website, either through videos you upload or by placing advertising on other users’ videos. By placing your own videos on the site, especially if they’re instructional or educational, you enhance your credibility and authority and entice viewers to visit your site to learn more or order your products or services. You can still reap those benefits without creating videos of your own by buying YouTube advertising. These ads typically run between 15 and 30 seconds, and by placing them on videos or content channels your target demographic is likely to view, you can reach the specific audience who is most likely to be interested in what you’re offering.
YouTube offers detailed information about how viewers interact with the content you upload, through statistics like total pageviews and times shared. You can also gain feedback by monitoring comments left by viewers and by how many people mark your videos as a “favorite.” This is the same kind of information you might pay a market research firm to conduct through customer surveys and focus groups. With YouTube, you get the same information for free and can test it on a smaller scale. Marketing consultant Travis Campbell says “no other social networking site provides this kind of data for free," according to an article in “Small Business Trends” magazine.