Have you built a loyal following around your products? Have you been gaining followers steadily on social media? Already consistently putting out great content on your blog?
Then maybe it’s time to move on to video marketing.
Video adds a whole new dimension to your marketing mix. Done properly, you can use video to add depth to your product’s features and stories, tell the history of how your company has come to be, or explain how your product might be used in ways that can’t be captured in web copy or in print. And that translates to more sales. According to MultiVisionDigital, a video production company, consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.
When your product is just too cool, or you want to make sure that people really get the best use out of it, it’s time to grab a camera.
Before we get too deep into the specifics of video and YouTube marketing, it’s important to understand that you don’t need a viral hit to see results. You’re telling a story about yourself or your products, not producing a viral hit for personal fame. Focus on engagement, not on simply getting a huge number of views.
In a future post we’ll share some common traits of compelling videos produced by ecommerce businesses. In the meantime, here are YouTube strategies that get views.
1. Shoot Short Videos
According to one recent analysis, YouTube videos under 2 minutes in length get almost 50% of all views. That should be no surprise. No one wants a long slog through the entire history of how your store was founded or the every detail of where your product was sourced. Don’t rush what you have to say, but it’s better to err on the side of brevity when possible.
There’s another great reason that you should tell your story succinctly. YouTube has recently made a change in its rankings algorithm to favor videos that engage viewers. So videos that are often watched until the very end will be given greater visibility than videos that are abandoned early. Take this as another reminder that the quality of engagement is more important than the number of views.
All the more reason to keep your videos short and to make every detail relevant.
2. Create a Branded Channel
Unless your video is truly a one-off, you should set up a dedicated store channel.
Not only does it look more professional for a video to be coming from an account with your store name (rather than, say, frednelson86), you’ll have a more active web presence. Having your own YouTube channel will give you yet another way for people to find your products. Upload a banner, and your logo, to make it even more professional.
For best results, segment your videos so that viewers can better find what they’re looking for. You can organize your videos into different playlists and into different series. Consider segmenting them along the lines of product features, the history of your store, tutorials for your products, or something else you’d care to share.
Beardbrand, an online store that offers “grooming kits for the urban beardsman,” is a great example of a channel that has checked all the boxes of an amazing channel. Take a look specifically at its logo placed right in a banner ad, and its series of reviews and tutorials. Also check out its advice series on how to be a more free individual; these videos are entertaining and offer one more way to connect with the products. Eric Brandholz, the owner of Beardbrand, has used YouTube to introduce not only his products but also to dispense personal advice. With over 10,000 subscribers, it’s a clear success story.
3. Be Consistent With Content Production
A well-designed channel isn’t much use if there’s no content.
If you choose to do YouTube marketing, it’s best to be committed to the long term. Think carefully whether you can commit to posting regular content, and then come up with a multi-pronged strategy to engage viewers.
Once you decide that it’s worth it, be consistent about posting. Remember, YouTube is a social media channel, and just like other forms of social media, long periods of silence are no fun.
You can decide on the frequency of posting. We recommend a video once a month, or once every two weeks if you can manage it. And once you figure out something that works, commit to it.
4. Use Analytics to Understand What Works
YouTube provides a wealth of data on your video performance. Take full advantage of it.
The data is nearly comprehensive enough for you to know exactly what works and what doesn’t work.
We’ve recently published a detailed post on how to analyze your videos. It shows you how to take a much deeper dive beyond looking at the total number of views.
Look it through to figure out how to monitor your views over time, discover a breakdown of your sources of traffic, and analyze the demographics of your viewers.
On that post you’ll also find tips on using the Audience Retention page. With the change in the rankings algorithm described above, you’ll find it useful to know exactly how many people finish your video. Not only can you find the retention rate, you can often pinpoint the particular points in which people drop off. Use it to figure out whether any piece of your video isn’t really working.
(Analytics on Audience Retention.)
5. Use Annotations to Keep And Engage Your Audience
Those little boxes that pop up as commentary or ‘Subscribe’ links? They’re called Annotations.
Annotations are a YouTube feature that let you put text and links over your videos. These can be humorous interjections, after-the-fact comments, appeals to subscribe, or links outside of YouTube. Used properly, annotations can give you a boost in subscriptions and views.
It’s easy to add them to your videos. Simply go to your Video Manager, choose the video you want to edit, and use the down arrow on the Edit button to enter the Annotation manager.
There are two general types of annotations available. The first are little speech bubbles that appear as interjections or commentary on the video. You can adjust their font, box size, and length.
The second type of annotations are active links. These are further broken down into different categories. You can link to another video, to your channel, to a fundraising cause, or to a particular playlist. You may also direct people to subscribe to your channel; subscribers get notified every time you post a new video. You’re also able to link to external sites, but only sites that you own. You’ll need to associate your account through Google Webmasters to verify that. YouTube provides more detailed instructions for posting external links here.
Caution: Be careful about including too many links and text boxes in your video. They start losing their effectiveness if they start to clutter. Remember, your viewers are here to watch a video, not to read a book. We recommend a light touch: a few note boxes here and there, a subscribe button, and perhaps a link to your store at the very end.
6. Advertise with AdWords
You can also promote your videos through paid advertising. YouTube is owned by Google, and so it’s simply a matter of using AdWords for Video.
You’re able to advertise on three domains: as a pre-roll ad before the videos that people watch; as a banner ad when you’re browsing the web; or as a promoted video when people search for similar videos on YouTube.
Just like Google AdWords, you’re able to select your daily budget and choose the demographics for your audience.
Most importantly, you need to have a fine sense of the relevant keywords. If you’re already using Google AdWords to advertise, you may want to just tweak your campaigns for video advertising.
7. Regular Tricks Still Apply
Treat your videos as you would a blog post, and propagate it through all your channels. So: tweet it, Facebook it, and blog about it. Don’t expect it to go viral, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t actively promote it. Share the video out on social media, reach out to bloggers to link to you, and just try to find it the audience it deserves.
Keep in mind that YouTube is a search engine, and just as you’d search engine optimize a blog post, you should search engine optimize a video. You’re familiar with the rules by now: a compelling title, a thorough description, the right keywords, and all the rest.
Just as you’d encourage people to follow you on Facebook and Twitter, you can encourage your viewers to check out your other videos or subscribe to your channel.
And don’t forget: the most thorough SEO work won’t save a terrible piece of content. The best way to rank well is to focus on creating compelling content that people want to link to.
Still trying to figure out whether you should start producing videos? Check out this short guide on why videos can increase sales.
And keep in mind that while YouTube is the largest video distributor, Vimeo is another great option for video hosting and distribution.
Stay tuned for a future post on ecommerce stores doing video marketing right.
– Dan Wang
About the Author: Dan Wang is a Content Specialist at Shopify. Get more from Dan on Twitter.