Be A YouTube Star

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Be A YouTube Star

8 Pointers To Producing A Great Business Video

By Mollie Neal

Most people associate YouTube, the video sharing website, with zany pet tricks, the antics of silly children and the latest releases from pop stars like Lady Gaga.

But, resourceful micro-business owners are finding that posting videos is great for business, too. 

Marketing expert Michael Miller, author of “YouTube for Business: Online Video Marketing for Any Business” (Que Publishing, 2011), calls this video sharing community a high impact, low-cost marketing vehicle. Individuals watch more than 3 billion YouTube videos every day, and it doesn’t cost one cent to post yours to the site.

“You have a very large potential audience and extremely low cost for reaching it,” says Miller. “It’s one of the lowest cost forms of marketing. The only real investment small-business owners need to make is in their time.” 

By posting videos, landscapers, electricians, realtors and other small-business owners can build credibility, develop relationships, generate leads and even boost sales. 

Lisa Stanfield, owner of the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchise in Chandler, Ariz., says regularly posting new content on her YouTube channel has become an integral part of her marketing mix.

The content includes plumbing maintenance tips for homeowners and landlords as well as demonstrations of do-it-yourself projects such as changing a showerhead. 

Viewers get to see Stanfield, her professional team and the company’s fleet of well-maintained trucks firsthand. They also learn about Stanfield’s guaranteed timeliness and strict hiring practices.

“Networking and building relationships are extremely important in this business,” says Stanfield.

Stanfield says that her YouTube recordings:

  • Help build credibility and trust
  • Dispel negative stereotypes about plumbers
  • Demonstrate the company’s expertise and professionalism
  • Keep her business top of mind in case of a plumbing emergency

And she believes her efforts are paying off.

Customers mention the videos when scheduling appointments and while talking with their repairmen. The videos are often the topic of conversation at networking events. They’ve even led to invitations from local media for interviews about plumbing tips, which is great public relations, says Stanfield.

Some small businesses spend money to have videos professionally produced. They also pay to have the videos placed online at regional and local news sites, as well as on interactive Yellow Pages.

Fortunately, you don’t have to hire a team of expensive professionals or have great technical skills to produce and upload videos on YouTube. It’s fairly easy to do yourself. 

Here are eight pointers to help you get started. 

  1. Prepare the equipment
    The only thing you need to get started is a basic video camera. If you don’t own one, you can purchase a simple model for a couple of hundred dollars.

    Miller suggests purchasing a tripod, an external microphone that clips onto your shirt and some external lighting. You can purchase all of these accessories for around $100 total. 

    “They aren’t necessary, but they will greatly improve the sight and sound of your video.”

  2. Engage the viewer
    You don’t need the poise and charisma of a celebrity to create a video that people will enjoy.

    “The ones that work best for businesses offer real value to the viewer and are informative, educational and entertaining,” says Miller.

  3. Share valuable information
    Viewers won’t sit through your video unless they think it will be worth their time.

    The how-to format can be successful when you teach something or help solve a problem, such as a pet shop owner demonstrating grooming techniques, says Miller.

    The talking head format can also be well received. A marketing consultant, accountant or other professional can use this technique to share news, trends or advice while simply standing in front of a camera. 

    You can also use product demonstrations, presentations and video press releases. Unlike overtly promotional infomercials, videos should be a softer sell or you could risk turning off viewers, says Miller.

  4. Stick to basics
    Consider your personality and the message you want to convey when choosing which type of video to create.

    “Most importantly, be yourself,” says Miller.

    Most people have short attention spans online. Keep the video length to two to three minutes. If it’s longer, break it into parts. 

  5. Upload the video
    After you complete your video, create a YouTube account or channel where all your recordings can be housed on a single Web page.

    Select a user name and password. Then follow the simple prompts to assign a name to the channel. Try to choose a name that reflects your business. Customize the page using your business colors, add your logo and upload videos.

    YouTube offers numerous helpful tips and, of course, instructional videos.

  6. Maximize the impact of your text
    You can add a headline and a description to each video and a profile detailing your location, personal expertise and product or service. Use keywords that your prospects or customers may be searching online. That will help them find your videos through Google and directly from the YouTube site. 

    The key is attracting the viewers who are most interested in what you have to offer.

    “You don’t need to attract millions of viewers to be successful,” says Miller.
  7. Include a call to action
    Like all other marketing efforts, it’s important to include a simple call to action such as asking viewers to phone your office or visit your website for more information.

  8. Promote your video
    Announce new video posts and share the links on your website, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as in emails. 

Mollie Neal is a Long Island-based freelance writer who uses the Internet to find to local service providers.

A YouTube Success Story

A few years ago, John Tuggle was a struggling musician making $20,000 a year playing wedding gigs and teaching guitar lessons in Decatur, Ga.

In an effort to expand his student base, he grabbed his camcorder and began filming himself teaching slide and blues guitar techniques. He then uploaded the recordings on YouTube.

As he built a following of viewers, he began offering DVDs and downloadable video tutorials for purchase through his website, Learning Guitar Now.

Tuggle quickly realized that he could teach more individuals through his DVDs and generate a much larger revenue stream.

Since 2008 he’s been posting two or three videos a month on YouTube. The videos feature various techniques that demonstrate his skills as a professional guitar teacher, along with his website address so viewers know how to reach him.

Thanks to YouTube, Tuggle has been able to change his entire business model and evolve from a cash-starved guitar teacher into the owner of a profitable business.

He’s generated more than 4 million YouTube views and has boosted sales to $100,000 annually, with orders coming from the U.S., Japan, China, Germany, Australia and other countries.

“It has opened up a whole new world,” says Tuggle. “My business wouldn’t exist if YouTube wasn’t part of the equation.”

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