YouTube is often overlooked by many marketers because they don’t take it very seriously. It’s true that most people use it for leisure and fun, but there are also brands taking advantage of the platform and using it to grow their businesses. Sure, you can pay for YouTube ads, which could be effective, but creating a great video that people are searching for is preferable.
If you have no video making experience, you will probably immediately write off this idea, but I urge you to consider it. With the popularity of smartphones, most people are walking around with a fairly powerful camera right in their pocket. Additionally, whether you have a Mac or PC, almost every computer comes with free video editing software that is pretty easy to understand. All you need is a great idea and some time to execute it. The benefits of using YouTube for marketing include:
- Increased brand exposure: The more people that view your video = the more people exposed to your brand and business. Contrary to TV commercials which only have a limited running time, YouTube videos stay online and can continue to rack up views for years.
- Free promotion: Once on YouTube, you can cross promote your video on social media and on your website. Additionally, other people will have the ability to share your video. You don’t have to pay to upload your video to the site.
- Help your search ranking: Because Google owns YouTube, videos often do very well in Google search results. You can edit the video description with relevant keywords and tag it properly, which will help it rank organically.
Big brands like GoPro, Nike, and LEGO are unsurprisingly popular because of their massive followers, so can small companies even compete? Yes! If you create something amazing, you have every chance to go viral. Now let’s take a look at some real small businesses that are using YouTube as part of their marketing strategy and see what we can learn.
1. U.S. Pest Protection: This pest control company has served the greater Nashville area for over 30 years. Just this month this company released a hilarious YouTube video that gained a lot of attention entitled, “Eagle Steve” (Click the title to watch it!). Pest companies are often considered pretty boring or gross, but U.S. Pest Protection fought back against the stereotypes with this creative and catchy video promoting the company’s free inspections. The video is only 30 seconds, but it has a strong call to action, and it’s silly and funny.
Key Takeaways: Any business has the potential to make a great video. This company used their business name as inspiration for a bizarre mascot, which works perfectly for their industry. Creativity is key! While most pest control videos are barely even getting 1,000 views (if that), “Eagle Steve” amassed 115,000 in just three weeks.2. Blendtec: Blendtec is probably a bit bigger than the average “small business” but they are definitely not super popular either. They specialize in high quality blenders that range from about $300 to over $1000. This company is one of the first to really use YouTube to its fullest capabilities and have been making popular videos for years. They created the insanely popular “Will it Blend?” series where the host, Tom, blends something weird or unexpected to show how powerful the blenders are.
Who would have thought to market blenders on YouTube? It definitely wouldn’t have been my first thought, but Blendtec has been a staple in the YouTube community since 2006. They have almost 900,000 subscribers tuning in each week to watch what is essentially an infomercial, and they have an astounding total of over 273,000,000 views on all their videos.
Key Takeaways: Identify what makes your product unique or interesting and think of creative ways to present this to the public. People aren’t often interested in blenders, but people apparently love to watch a blender that can blend an iPhone or a shoe. Blendtec also shows us the importance of staying up to date on cultural trends and current events. During Halloween, they blend appropriately themed things and when new products like video games are released, they blend those.3. Frijoles & Frescas Grilled Tacos: This Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas created one the funniest and most creative videos I have ever seen. The restaurant was robbed by a group of men and rather than simply calling the police, Frijoles & Frescas took it to another level with this video called “Burglars Just Want Tacos.” They used their security cam footage, some clever commentary, and simple music to create an awesome viral video. The video served a dual purpose of promotion and seeking to catch the robbers.
Key Takeaways: You don’t need great camera equipment to make a great video. The grainy, black and white CCTV footage doesn’t take away from this brilliant idea and video. With over 4,400,000 views, it is clear that camera quality is not as important as idea quality. These videos aren’t just entertaining; they can help grow your business. In a news interview, the owner of Frijoles & Frescas reported “an uptick in customers since the break-in, with many saying they wanted to come in after watching his YouTube video.”4. Windcatcher: This company was seen on the show Shark Tank. Their product is a special valve allowing you to inflate things 10x faster than traditional methods. Their AirPad is an inflatable mattress and seat, which is great for campers. The YouTube video for this product called “Windcatcher AirPad 2” is a bit different than the others in the list. Rather than being funny, bizarre, or silly, this video is a simple product demonstration. However, the product is so interesting that the video went viral and has over 830,000 views so far.
Key Takeaways: You don’t always need to try super hard because sometimes the product speaks for itself. If your business provides a unique service or product that you invented or maybe that just isn’t well-known, consider a demonstration video like this one. A text description of the Windcatcher AirPad would be nowhere near as effective as this video. Some things just make more sense visually, so think about whether this applies to your product as well.5. Pacific Ocean Pediatrics: This doctor’s office in Santa Monica, CA put out one of the most popular videos last year called “How To Calm A Crying Baby.” The video was a massive hit and was shared all over social media and news sites. It currently has over 18,600,000 views and continues to grow. This video is not directly advertising anything, instead it is sharing helpful knowledge. It is a great example of content marketing, which seeks to produce great content with the hopes that the people searching for that content will want to become customers eventually.
Key Takeaway: You don’t always need to promote something. If you have been in your industry for a long time, you probably have valuable knowledge that others want to know. The man in the video, Dr. Robert Hamilton, commented to Today news that “his patients urged him ‘a million times’ to share his advice online.” If you have any great or useful tips or tricks, YouTube is a wonderful place to show them off.
Hope these examples demonstrate the power of YouTube for smaller brands, and maybe you will consider it when planning your next marketing campaign!