Guest Column | December 5, 2013

Use YouTube At Your Own Risk

By Clint Hofer, Owner, Slingfly Media

YouTube rivals Google as one of the most searched and visited sites on the Internet today. If you are banking on using YouTube in hopes of generating leads, be careful that all of your time and effort are not being wasted. As a video platform, YouTube is easy to use, and it is recognized as one of the most popular and trusted video sharing sites. Since Google purchased YouTube a few years ago, it created a powerhouse of search engine possibilities. In fact, there are legitimate reasons and strategies for using it to host and even rank your videos in Google using YouTube.

 Remember the goal of your online marketing efforts is to expand your brand and create leads. In a previous article, I brought out a few points on expanding your brand online. Your research and content creation should be done with the end users in mind. Creating content that connects and providing an easy way to reach your business should be job number one for your online initiatives.

Posting your videos directly in YouTube and directing traffic to them has a few negative aspects that you should be aware of. When visitors watch videos directly in YouTube, there are so many distractions being thrown at them you may easily loose their attention. How many times have you been on YouTube yourself, only to find that an hour has passed and you now watching videos of alligators fighting hippos in Africa?

Another distraction to avoid is by allowing advertisements to run on your videos. Although the dream of making easy money by placing ads on your video sounds like a cash cow, please change this options on your video settings and remove yet another unneeded distraction.

Another disadvantage of directing traffic directly to YouTube is the limited description field. While it allows enough room for a description — and perhaps some contact info — the best-case scenario of using an easy contact form is non-existent.

Now that I covered a few disadvantages to pushing your website visitors directly to YouTube, here are some tips on using that same video sharing site to your advantage.

YouTube allows you to embed your posted videos within your own website. What this means is that although your video is being hosted on YouTube’s website, you can take a code they provide and easily play this video on any desired page of your corporate website.

Not only does this keep your visitors’ attention on your brand, it gives you the opportunity to create a call to action by using a contact form or phone number next to the embedded video.

It’s a known fact that the longer visitors stay on your website, the more chance there will be that they will engage with you or reach out for more information. Keeping them on your site rather than letting them browse through dozens of random videos on YouTube will drastically increase your lead generation percentages.

Now that I covered the best ways to use videos, what type of content is useful for capturing potential client attention? Keep in mind that most people these days have a short attention span; so keeping any video to a few minutes will serve you best. If your video is a longer demo, consider breaking the video into multiple segments.

There is a recent trend for creating animated and entertaining explainer videos, which basically — as the name entails — explains your business service or solutions in an upbeat way.  This can include voiceover and background music with sound effects to present a professional overview of your offering.

Perhaps you want to show a brief demo of your software? Make sure to add a few items to your video in order to expand your brand. This includes your company name, logo, phone number, and website within the video itself. It may seem like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how many companies are so focused on creating the video itself, they forget to brand the content before sending it out for the world to see.

Sometimes there may be a reason to use YouTube directly. This would be if you are focusing on getting your video to rank in Google for a particular search query. Not only can you rank your website in Google, but you can also push videos up to display on the first page of search engines, too.

This has a two-fold effect, as it increases you brand awareness and at the same time it pushes one of your competitors website of page one, back onto page two. Remember, there is only so much room on page one.

If you send out newsletters to your client base — as you should be — using those same videos embedded on your website is another great use of this content. You have already spent the time and effort making this video, why not get multiple usages out of it and share it with your core clients and prospects?

So, if you utilize video in your lead generation efforts, please make sure you take away as many distractions as possible in order to increase the chances of turning website visitors into new leads.