Spencer Haws, the creator of Long Tail Pro, has long shared very specific case studies and a play by play of the different ideas and tactics he’s trying in his businesses over at the Niche Pursuits blog.
Today I thought we’d do something similar on the Long Tail Pro blog by giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re trying with Youtube marketing.
My hope is that you can experiment with some of these strategies in your own business.
Our YouTube Inspiration
If you’ve never heard of YouTube (pronounced “U – toob”)…
I know we’re really late to the YouTube party. After all, it is the 3rd most visited site on the web and considered to be the second largest search engine behind Google.
So the reasons for using YouTube as part of your marketing strategy are obvious, but we wanted to have some kind of plan or template to follow before spending much time with video marketing.
Enter Digital Marketer.
In February 2015 our team had an opportunity to attend Digital Marketer’s Traffic & Conversion Summit in San Diego.
It was an impressive event chock full of useful strategies for marketers.
After the event, I dove into some of the more in-depth trainings in their membership area called the “Lab.” Finally, I felt like we had a practical YouTube marketing strategy that would work for Long Tail Pro.
YouTube Strategy Highlights
The exact strategy actually came from a couple of guys who built a huge YouTube channel about basketball (ILoveBasketballTV is their YouTube channel). Specifically, one guy who goes by “Coach Rock” would use YouTube to provide really specific tips on how to jump higher, shoot better, and much more. Because of their success, they’ve actually started a blog at Get More Views which is all about getting more views on YouTube.
I really connected with this plan because it was so similar to what we talk to bloggers about with Long Tail Pro – focus on more targeted, long tail searches and really hone in on those problems with your content. By doing that, you’ll tend to rank better for these terms that get lower search volume, but they are also much lower competition for that exact search phrase.
Here were our takeaway steps that we wanted to implement:
1. Write Down Things Our Audience Wants To Know How to Do.
A big part of what the guys at Get More Views describe as a “bracelet and charm” approach is to find a general topic like “Blogging” which would be a “bracelet” or a bigger category.
Then, use YouTube suggested searches to get the longer tail versions of that – which would be like the “charms” on a bracelet.
Here is a look at suggested searches for “Blogging:”
We took some time to identify 6 big category “bracelets” and then wrote out all the relevant long tail “charms” based on YouTube suggestions.
2. Create Specific Lead Magnets For Each Topic
Our main goal in using YouTube is to get new leads for Long Tail Pro.
It’s not that our videos wouldn’t be useful to current customers of Long Tail Pro, but we really wanted to focus most of them on drawing new people into our marketing funnel.
We’re trying to do that by offering a lead magnet that is super relevant to the content in the video. A lead magnet is something of value that you can offer someone (usually for free) in exchange for their email address.
I’d done a blog post about making more as an Amazon Affiliate, and one of our topics (AKA bracelets) for YouTube is Amazon Affiliates. Things like how to get started, how to implement with WordPress, etc.
So I took our blog post and transformed it into a formatted, downloadable pdf so we could offer it as a lead magnet on YouTube.
The idea is pretty simple; if someone went to YouTube to search for videos like ‘how to make money as an Amazon affiliate” and they find my video, there is a strong chance they’d be interested in a free report with tips on maximizing your earnings as an Amazon affiliate.
So before I recorded anything, I created landing pages (via Leadpages) and downloads that would be my call to action.
3. Use Visual and Verbal Calls To Action
The main reason I created lead magnets ahead of time is because I wanted to verbally mention the call to action in my videos.
This was one tip from the guys at Get More Views that we really liked.
Many people put a link in the description of their video and use that as a sole call to action (CTA):
We go a step further by ending every video by verbally calling people to action and pointing them to the link in the corner of the video (a YouTube card) or by clicking the link in the description.
The idea is that by doing both, people who like your video and really do want more related content simply can’t miss it because I’m instructing them on what to do next.
Tips For Your Videos
In addition to the high level process, we also picked up some tips for the videos themselves that we thought were important.
Here are a few key things we try to stick to:
One Long Video, Many Short Videos
This is the “bracelet and charm” idea in practice. Each long tail keyword video we try to just share one tip with the viewer, rather than taking a deep dive into the topic.
In a recent recording, we did a video that was targeted at “marketing ideas for restaurants.”
I gave a brief intro of myself, then I shared one marketing idea from our list of 17 free marketing ideas that I thought was most relevant for restaurants, and finally I made a brief call to action at the end that they could download 16 other ideas to market their business. Like before, this would take them to a landing page asking for their email, and then send them a PDF of all 17 ideas.
These “charm” or what I’ve referred to as long tail keyword videos generally last 2 – 3 minutes.
Ideally, we want to offer a quick solution and keep that person engaged for the duration of the video so they stick around (which can help your search position on YouTube.)
For the overall bracelet video, you’ll typically put together a very long video that covers the entire topic.
For the marketing series, I did a 25 minute video that talks through about 10 of the 17 ideas, and still ended with a call to action to download the full list.
The idea behind this approach is that by covering all of the long tail ‘charms’ of a topic, you are demonstrating some level of expertise. Then when you do a long video on the much more competitive larger topic, you tend to rank well because you’ve got videos that thoroughly cover the entire topic.
This approach is why the guys at ILoveBasketballTV believe they rank number 1 for highly competitive terms like “How to shoot a basketball.”
2. CTA At Beginning and End
As mentioned earlier we use YouTube cards as our call to action.
Cards are newer than the ugly text boxes known as “annotations” and they are mobile friendly. Plus, many expect that cards will eventually replace annotations altogether, so we do cards only. Here is a look at a “card” in our video:
Once you click on the card, it expands to show you the details:
Mine actually shows twice, because we put a card about 10 – 20 seconds into the video and then one near the very end, while I’m verbally telling them to look for the link in the corner of the video.
This way, we can catch both people who might leave early and those who stick to the end and want more content.
3. Cover Your Keywords
Kind of like with on-page SEO for a blog post, every YouTube video we do has a keyword in mind.
So we make sure to include the primary keyword in the video title, video description, and the tags of the video.
For good measure, I usually have my video file name and my custom thumbnail image named something related to the keyword as well. Maybe ‘AmazonAffiliateTips.MP4’ and ‘AmazonAffiliateTips.jpg.’
I still want the title and description to be engaging and make people want to click on the video, but I want to make sure there is no doubt what the video is about. Here is an example in one video where we are targeting “Weebly SEO”
4. Custom Thumbnails
Something I always take the time to do is create a custom thumbnail for my videos, so I can overlay text on an image that will catch someone’s attention.
If you don’t do that, YouTube will let you pick from some screen captures of your recording – which usually aren’t something that grabs your attention in a sea of thumbnail images.
For instance, in the image above, check out our video thumbnail compared to the one right below us.
Both are on Weebly SEO, but when someone is scanning the page I like our chances of getting the visitor to click our video over theirs.
Here is my quick approach to creating these images for free:
- Find high quality stock photos for free.
- Use Canva to add large text to that image. (If your image isn’t very relevant to your topic, you can use their editor to add a “blur” effect.)
Once you start uploading a video to YouTube, you’ll see the option to add this custom thumbnail.
5. Schedule Videos Consistently
Though we’ve been recording in batches, we use YouTube’s scheduling option to release videos every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This is optional of course, but was another suggestion we picked up from the guys at ILoveBasketballTV. Basically they say it’s better to release on a schedule to show YouTube that you are a long term content producer – so pick a practical release schedule rather than dumping out one huge batch of videos.
I don’t know if there is significant evidence to show that scheduling helps you get more views that doing a bulk release, but this is one of those things where we just took the word of somebody who has over 25 million views on their channel and went with it…
How’s It Going?
What I’ve shared with you are mostly things that we learned from the Digital Marketer conference and blog. We’ve basically taken what they shared as a strategy in the basketball space and added our own spin to it and used it in the website building/online marketing space.
Our first video went live about 1 month ago.
Currently we have 80 subscribers and a little over 12,000 views. The vast majority of those views are for our Long Tail Pro demo videos, which are sent to people who buy our software.
When you look at the videos we created for the purpose of getting new leads, we’ve got 21 videos live and 12 that are scheduled to be released in the coming weeks.
From those 21 videos, we’ve had approximately 500 views.
From those 500 views, we’ve had 26 new leads that have downloaded our pdfs and entered our marketing funnel.
That’s about a 5% conversion rate.
I don’t know any true bench marks to compare to, but we feel like that is excellent.
Obviously some of our 21 videos are only a couple days old – so as more videos get published and have some time on YouTube, we expect that these numbers of views and leads will continue to grow with virtually no additional effort on our part.
That’s one of the benefits of YouTube compared to Twitter of Facebook is that your recordings can be more evergreen and produce results for years to come as opposed to being buried in a newsfeed within days or even minutes.
So while we don’t necessarily anticipate a huge avalanche of leads from YouTube, we are optimistic that it can produce a steady stream of prospects we weren’t reaching before.
What about you?
Have you tried using YouTube for your business? What advice would you share?