6 Data-Backed Ways to Promote Your Business on YouTube
People love watching videos, and YouTube is the internet's home for this visual format. If your brand isn't already on the video hosting platform, you’re missing out on invaluable consumer attention. The YouTube trends report revealed that channels trying to build an audience were up by 95% year-on-year on the platform.
In this article, I’ll share five effective strategies to start promoting your brand on YouTube this year to get new subscribers, brand advocates, and even paying customers.
- Create a YouTube channel with a trailer
- YouTube Shorts
- Influencer partnerships
- Paid ads
- Merch shelf
- Branded series
Let’s start with a new kind of video experience YouTube launched last year: YouTube Shorts.
1. Create a YouTube channel with a trailer
YouTube is used by 55% of marketers and thousands of brands, making it a competitive marketing environment. So first and foremost, you need a YouTube channel as opposed to just an account. Your channel provides a library of all your content that visitors can choose from, and gives you more branding and customization options.
In addition, a compelling channel trailer that sums up your channel and gives sneak previews can turn visitors into subscribers.
And perhaps most importantly, videos that show up in user's sidebars when viewing your videos are most likely to be more of your videos, rather than those of your competitors.
2. Create YouTube Shorts
Shorts are quick, vertical videos with a duration of one minute or less. If you have access to the “Shorts” camera (it's in beta), you can directly upload them from your phone.
This content type will show up on a channel's “Shorts” shelf:
Jake Fellman, for instance, has pivoted from educational content to entertaining YouTube short videos. In a few months, his channel has blown up to over half a billion views. Note the contrasting viewership on his channel since modifying his strategy (marking shorts with #shorts vs leaving them unmarked):
Sure. Jake’s success could be attributed to him hijacking a viral game trend on YouTube: “Among Us.” However, he’s used the “Shorts” format for all of his new videos.
If the feature hasn’t rolled out to your account, you can still upload any vertical video under 60 seconds and use #shorts in your video description or title. You don’t even need to design a custom thumbnail for Shorts as it is a rather raw video format.
Do you find Shorts too “risky” to experiment with your existing subscriber base? You can always create a new channel focused exclusively on the Shorts format.
3. Partner with YouTube creators
Influencer partnerships are a great way to promote your YouTube channel. YouTube creators are 4x more effective than celebrities at driving a lift in brand familiarity—due in large part to their approachability and closer engagement with their audience. This leads to the formation of a community around the influencers’ YouTube channels.
As influencer marketing has gained momentum, most creators are open to collaboration with brands as it helps them make money. Piggybacking on the influence of such niche creators could be a great way to grow your brand awareness and even generate direct product sales.
While those with a huge following will be expensive for partnering up, you can consider micro and nano influencers with under 100k and even 10k subscribers. If they have an engaged niche following, your product’s review by them could even start ranking in YouTube search — thereby lending you evergreen exposure and traffic.
Here’s an example of Jergens All Purpose Face Cream review by a creator with almost 5.4k subscribers.
Nano and micro-influencers may charge up to $1000 for a video. Some influencers also charge based on video views.
Depending on your niche, some influencers might be willing to form a value exchange partnership to create an 'unboxing' video of your product. Sending them your products for free to get genuine feedback could work.
Such partnerships work best when:
- You let influencers create content because they know their audience’s preferences: You can also consider hiring an influencer to create videos for your channel to earn a new audience that stays on your channel even after the end of the partnership.
Here’s an example of Indian YouTube influencer Dhruv Rathee who created a video for DW Travel:
- You don’t force them to “sell” your products: An honest review about your offerings by an influencer where they share their experience—mentioning its pros and cons—will attract the right kind of audience to your product’s landing page.
4. Experiment with paid ads
With a few top channels eating the majority of the pie, the competition on YouTube is fierce:
It’s a great way to generate some brand awareness and get product sales early on. Here’s an example 45-second video of Moroccanoil that featured as an advertisement:
Here are two specific kinds of ads I recommend you to get started with:
- Search ads: This is where you target YouTube users when they search for specific keywords. Ahrefs tried running such ads on their SEO videos that were already generating a great watch time, and they managed a CPM of .07 SGN per view.
Image via Ahrefs
These ads are a fit for your educational and informational videos. For commercial intent keywords, you can create videos that pitch your products and run ads on them.
- Remarketing ads: If you want to make your existing viewers—who have interacted with your channel and videos in the past—aware of a new product or offering from your brand, these ads are a great fit.
Take a look at the other video ad formats that you can consider.
You can start running paid ads for as low as $10 per day and then ramp it up based on your results. The requirements for your ads depend on their type, though there are broad guidelines of not using copyrighted material, shocking and adult content, and the like. View them here before you launch a video campaign.
5. Try the YouTube merch shelf
Your content marketing efforts need not be limited to branding and generating leads for your business. They could even serve as a direct line of revenue. BuzzFeed, for instance, monetizes their huge following from their proprietary media brands exceptionally. They were expected to generate $260 million from Buzzfeed-branded product sales in 2019.
Coming back to YouTube—Google has already indicated the video hosting platform is central to their ecommerce ambitions. It could even become a shopping destination as a spokesperson confirmed they were testing integrations with Shopify.
You can participate in the search giant’s early social commerce efforts by selling your branded products directly on your channel. Here’s a snapshot of the GoPro store displayed below one of their videos:
Even if you’re a software company or sell other kinds of digital products, you can sell your merchandise, including T-shirts, hoodies, caps, and the like, on your merch shelf. It can get you a decent number of sales from your casual viewers. Don’t forget, your branded merchandise carries your logo and acts as a branding tool whenever your viewers wear them.
You can sell your branded merchandise through the merch shelf on the video page of your channel, once you’re eligible and turn on the feature. Here are some other places on your YouTube channel where you can showcase and sell your products:
- Store tab: If you have at least one eligible product to show on the merch shelf, then the store tab will get activated on your channel homepage.
- End screens: Your videos could contain links to products on your merchandise shelf at your designated time and place on the end screen.
- Live stream: Whenever you go live, a merch item can be pinned at the top of your feed from the Live control room. What’s more? If you have Teespring turned on for your channel, and a user buys a merch from their website, it triggers a notification in your live chat.
You’ll need to be a part of the YouTube Partner Program (which requires you to have 4000 hours of public watch time and at least 10k subscribers). You can create your merchandise on TeeSpring and start selling with links in your YouTube description without satisfying these criteria, though.
6. Launch a branded series
The number one way in which people consume videos right now is by binge-watching Netflix shows. You could leverage this viewing habit by producing a web series on YouTube around a specific theme. If you provide value on a subject that your audience is interested in, people will look forward to new episodes—tuning in week-after-week.
A great example is the unscripted 13-episode docuseries “Onboarding Joei” by 360Learning. It follows the journey of the protagonist as she joins the company as their new director of content. The show lowered the company’s marketing qualified leads value from €900 to €25.
While Netflix shows are entertaining or informational, your brand’s high-quality videos could also be educational. That’s because YouTube is also a search engine where people log on to learn new skills and search for solutions to their problems.
Mailchimp launched a dedicated production called “Presents” around their brand where they create series around the interests of their audience of small business owners.
What’s more? YouTube loves to recommend related videos from your channel to your viewers in its “Suggested videos” section.
For instance, when I’m watching the series “Monkey Thieves” on the Beastly YouTube channel, most of the suggested videos in the right-hand sidebar are from the same channel—from the same series or otherwise.
Given that 70% of views are generated on the video platform from their artificial intelligence-driven recommendations, such a video series is a great way to increase your watch time, thereby growing your channel. Chanel, for instance, creates short beauty tutorials that are clubbed inside a playlist.
You could later pull together your video series into a playlist—there’s even a specific “series playlist” feature if you want to recommend a set of videos for viewing together.
It can cost $5000 to even $50,000 for creating a premium show. You’ll need to onboard talent for filming, producing, and comfortable getting on the camera for your videos as well.
If you have budget and resource constraints, you may want to launch a podcast first. It will still give your audience something to tune into week after week. You can use a professional podcast hosting platform such as Podbean that directly syncs/uploads your episodes to YouTube.
Start your YouTube promotion with these strategies
Whether you’re starved of resources or have a dedicated budget for YouTube, there are many ways to promote your brand on this massive platform. I’ve shared six strategies in the article and recommend that you start with the one that excites you the most and fits with your brand’s requirements.
Once you evaluate the results from one strategy, experiment with another one. Combining the ones that work together could add momentum to your YouTube channel promotion efforts this year.