Inexpensive Ways to Leverage YouTube for Your Business

by Tim Parker

3 min read

Have you been neglecting YouTube as a marketing vehicle? You shouldn’t.

Here’s why: The second most searched site on the internet (behind parent company Google) gets more than 1 billion unique monthly visitors and reaches more adults ages 18 to 34 than any cable network. Users watch more than 6 billion hours of video each month, it’s localized in 56 countries and 61 languages, and 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute.

With that kind of potential, ignoring YouTube as part of your marketing strategy is a mistake. Here are some expert tips for using YouTube to gain exposure without spending like a major media company.

1. Keep your budget low. According to Dane Atkinson, CEO of SumAll, “The average ROI of a self-created video is near $300, so don’t spend a fortune making your content.” Atkinson said that this figure is based on an internal SumAll study involving more than 50,000 of its member-businesses which shows that spending a lot doesn’t always produce better results.

2. Make your videos educational. Use your YouTube channel to provide value: Offer educational videos instead of advertisements. That’s how investment business Born to Sell grew its YouTube presence into a revenue driver. Along with videos that teach customers how to use his company’s site, Born to Sell provides “tutorials that aren’t about us but which show people that we know our space,” says CEO Mike Scanlin.

3. Make an explainer video. An explainer video is a fun and engaging way to tell your customers about your company in less than three minutes. You can make one yourself or hire somebody to do it for you. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Bill Elward, CMO of Castle Ink, says: “If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to build up the videos within your channel, consider For just five dollars, there are people out there that will create 30 to 60 second videos that follow your script. We’ve leveraged it on our channel and had great success.”

4. Answer customers’ questions. Adam Dukes, creative director at Social Sinergy, says he advises business owners to “write down all the questions they’ve been asked over the years about their product or service. Answer each question on video and share them on the social channels.”

5. Don’t aim to “go viral.” You can spend hours (or days) reading articles about how to make a video that goes viral, but the odds of it happening are exceedingly low. Even if a video does go viral, it’s unlikely to translate into sales. Companies with deep marketing pockets spend a lot of money in the hopes of creating a viral video. Your dollars are better spent producing content that viewers find helpful (see #2).

6. Promote your video on other sites. Your video may reside on YouTube, but if you aren’t promoting it on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels, you’re missing out on traffic. You don’t need to hire a PR expert, either. Simply promote your videos by using industry-specific hashtags and compelling descriptions in your tweets and status updates. The more exposure your video gains, the better return you’ll receive on your investment.

7. Use Animoto. According to Brooke Franks, content manager for ProSites, “Animoto allows you to add your own images and choose background music from [its] free library to create promotional videos. This is especially cool for business owners who don’t have time to record video footage, as you can use images you’ve compiled to make your video. Animoto also allows you to instantly share your video on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and Twitter.”

8. Focus on the first 10 seconds. Your video has only about 10 seconds to engage its viewer. Being with something that’s eye- and ear-catching, just like a story headline in a newspaper or on a website.

9. Think about quality. You don’t need expensive camera equipment or a production studio. On YouTube, the quality of the content is more important than the quality of the picture. After that, keep your video fast-paced and short (no longer than five minutes). Although quality that’s fit for a network TV show isn’t required, make sure the subject is well lit (but don’t record in front of a window) and keep your camera steady.

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