The enduring myth about YouTube is that if you simply upload a video, customers will see it. According to the video site's marketing, this illusion drives more than 120,000 hours of new YouTube video each week.
That all sounds exciting. Except this massive video overload also shows the gap between myth and reality. Companies can easily post videos. But if that's all they do, it's unlikely anyone will ever find them.
But there's good news. Direct marketers can break through the video noise and benefit from YouTube. Increasing profit with YouTube, however, takes a combination of strategy and tactics in four critical areas.
1. Identify YouTube's Role in Your Marketing
Online video is used most reliably and profitably when it uniquely moves the sale ahead. Most commonly, this means demonstrating products and services to show how they work and how they affect people's lives. In other cases, it means simplifying complicated concepts to help potential prospects grasp them instantly.
You also can use YouTube to help new prospects discover your product. A "how-to" posting may capture people searching for solutions to a problem. And viral video can attract new prospects as it is passed around. But with 120,000 hours of new video on YouTube weekly, there's only a narrow chance these approaches will find dramatic numbers of new prospects.
A third role is giving prospects a branded video library they can browse—enjoying a "treasure hunt" for useful and convincing details. This works well for high involvement hobby or B-to-B products. Atomic Direct's woodworking client Kreg Tool and metal detector client White's Electronics both have highly effective branded YouTube areas.
Regardless of approach, all your video work should drive to a central Web site and call center where prospects can read the fine print, have live operators answer questions, and order the products or services.