Promoting your small business on a budget can be tough but creating a YouTube marketing strategy can help significantly. You can maximize the potential of YouTube by understanding the following:

Key takeaways

  • YouTube had 2.2 billion active users in 2021 spanning most age groups in a relatively even manner
  • The share of YouTube as a social media marketing channel was more than 50% in 2021
  • Using a Google business account to create a YouTube channel increases efficiency and credibility
  • Video quality is a significant factor in increasing viewership for YouTube channels
  • Optimizing a YouTube channel follows similar principles as SEO on other platforms save for the watch history

Why a YouTube Marketing Strategy Is Important for Your Small Business

  • YouTube has better SEO
  • YouTube gives you a global reach
  • You can expect improved engagement from your YouTube channel
  • You have more choices when promoting your brand or business

YouTube is nearly two decades old, but it remained the most popular video platform in 2021 and the top social media marketing platform with a 50.9% market share. It has more than 2.2 billion active users worldwide (247 million in the United States), spanning all age groups relatively consistently.

Youtube user stats in U.S. and Wordwide
Source: Statista

Aside from impressive market penetration in the U.S. and worldwide, creating a YouTube marketing strategy for your small business is an excellent move for many reasons.

YouTube Has Better SEO

Google owns YouTube, so a two-pronged approach to SEO — site content and YouTube videos — likely increases your ranking in a Google search simply on the strength of backlinks between the two platforms. It also helps your website’s authority if you have a YouTube channel that you promote on other social media platforms.

YouTube Gives You a Global Reach

We primarily focus on the U.S. for marketing, but YouTube is popular everywhere, meaning your business could get eyeballs in more than 88 countries. India leads in the number of active viewers, and YouTube’s market penetration is 90% in some countries, such as the United Kingdom.

You Can Expect Improved Engagement from YouTube

One of the toughest marketing tasks is explaining the benefits of a product or service without losing the audience’s attention. Most people can grasp a concept or explanation more readily through YouTube videos than text, so 83% prefer videos when they want to know more about something. They also recall what they watched better than what they read, thus improving engagement and, hopefully, conversion.

More Choices When Promoting Your Brand or Business

You can create videos to promote your brand in different ways. You can make an explainer or sales video using screenshots, animation, or demonstration. Interviews, testimonials, and behind-the-scenes videos are great ways to promote your brand. If you’re feeling confident, you can also consider going live.

How To Create a YouTube Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business

  • Step 1: Set up a business YouTube channel
  • Step 2: Identify your audience
  • Step 3: Do competitive research
  • Step 4: Edit your video
  • Step 5: Optimize your channel
  • Step 6: Find the best time to schedule videos
  • Step 7: Consider advertising
  • Step 8: Monitor your data

Creating a YouTube marketing strategy mainly requires understanding who watches YouTube videos and why. Once you acquire those insights, you should have no trouble developing your channel and marketing your small business. Let’s dig right in.

Step 1: Set Up a Business YouTube Channel

The first step is to create a business channel for your YouTube videos. Google owns YouTube, so you need a Google account to sign up for a channel.

Some people use an existing personal Gmail account or create one for this step, and you can certainly do that. But it’s smarter to create a brand account, so others can manage the account when necessary.

A brand account is a separate entity from your personal account, so it protects your privacy. It also allows you to use your domain name, such as [email protected], making it more credible as a business channel. Finally, a paid business Google Workspace has better security than the free version.

Google offers lower rates for new Google Workspace users, starting from $4.20 a month per user for 12 months ― cancel anytime, for up to 20 users per account ― and $6 a month, per user, after that. You can integrate your business email addresses easilywith most website hosting platforms by following our guidelines.

Google Workspace Pricing
Source: Google Workspace

Signing up for Google Workspace and your business account is easy. Select your preferred plan, click on “Get Started,” and follow the on-page instructions.

You can complete step one of creating a YouTube marketing strategy with either a personal or business account. To create a YouTube channel with your account:

  1. Log in to YouTube using your target Gmail account.
  2. Choose “Settings on your profile icon.”
  3. Select “Create a new channel.”
creating channel screenshot
Source: YouTube
  1. Decide on a channel name. You can start uploading videos after this point.
  2. On the next page, click on “Customize my channel.” Specify your basic information, branding, and layout based on YouTube. Note that you can also add your logo, header image, and social media links.
schannel customization screenshot
Source: YouTube

Now that you have a working YouTube channel, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Identify Your Audience

It stands to reason that before creating a promotion strategy for your audience, you must first identify them. When it comes to YouTube marketing, your primary concern is identifying segments of your target audience that use the platform. We say segments and not the entirety of your target market because not everyone uses YouTube.

Once you identify the section of your target audience who watch YouTube, the next step is finding out what they watch. You can do both using data.

If you have an existing channel, you already have the data you need in your Analytics tab. If you don’t have a channel yet, you can use social media analytics tools instead. Hootsuite, for example, has several tools for social listening, including Insights.

data analysis graph
Source: Hootsuite

Analytics and social listening get you insights into who is watching what online with respect to your brand, niche, or industry. Continue using these tools even after your channel goes live to stay on top of trends and changes affecting your content and business.

Step 3: Do Competitive Research

Breaking into a new channel is always tough, so the fastest route to getting traction on YouTube is to look at your competition. What are they doing right? What can you do better?

Of course, only research popular channels in your niche or industry. A “good” number of subscribers depends on the industry but look for anything higher than 500 for a small business channel. Don’t knock channels with less than 1,000 subscribers, which represents about 32 million (approximately 62%) of all active channels in 2020.

Doing competitor research for YouTube marketing is pretty straightforward. Go to their YouTube channel and browse it for the following information:

  • Number of subscribers
  • Views
  • Posting frequency
  • Video quality
  • Comments
  • Topics

Watching the videos gives you a good idea of what’s working for your market. You can also use the Competitors Tool from vidIQ to find the most popular videos. You can track as many as three competitor channels with the free version of vidIQ.

Use the insights from competitor analysis to tailor your content and grow your subscriber base. It may be agonizingly slow going at first, but you can help it go faster by optimizing your channel and promoting it as much as possible.

Step 4: Edit Your Video

When creating content for YouTube, your goal is to create high-quality video and audio.

The resources you need depend on the types of videos you want to upload. You can work with a smartphone equipped with a (high-definition (HD) camera and external mic to shoot the video in a pinch, but then you’ll need to edit it.

Get ideas on what your video should look and sound like from competitors and your favorite YouTube channels. Pay particular attention to where and how they insert special effects and text popups.

We reviewed the best video editing software for 2022, any one of which can help you create excellent videos for your channel. Most people recognize Adobe Premiere for its excellent tools, but it isn’t easy to use for beginners. You might want to start with iMovie, a free video editor for Mac and iPhone users, or Shotcut, an open-source and free video editor for Mac, Linux, and Windows.

Shotcut Video Editor
Source: Shotcut

Once you’re confident about your video editing chops, try using more advanced software. Most offer free trials of which you can take advantage.

Uploading the final cut is the first part of optimizing your video. The next step is to add custom video thumbnails.

video thumbnail example
Source: Adobe

Pay special attention to video thumbnails because they’re the first thing potential subscribers see in a search. They also play a significant role in traffic. YouTube creates thumbnails automatically, but you want to stay on top of this to increase your chances of someone clicking and watching your video.

Last but not least, put a call to action (CTA) and links to your posts and products in the description of your video. Keep in mind that YouTube is a marketing channel for your brand, so you’re promoting your business, not your YouTube channel ― unless your YouTube Channel is your business. As such, you don’t want to neglect the opportunity to point the viewer to your business website.

Step 5: Optimize Your Channel

Optimizing your YouTube channel follows the general principles of SEO for any type of content. If you’re already using best practices for your site’s SEO on Google, doing the same thing for your YouTube channel should be a breeze as they use roughly the same algorithm. The big difference between optimizing for Google and YouTube is personalization.

YouTube shows search results based on the usual factors, such as keywords, location, and content quality. But it also tweaks the search results based on watch history. For example, if two people in the same room type the exact search term on Google, they probably get the same results. But when they do the same thing on YouTube, they get different search results.

There’s not much you can do about tapping into the watch history of your target market except to be on it. Here are some things that can increase views and channel visits:

  • Find trending keywords
  • Add relevant keywords in the title, description, and tags of each video
  • Break up your video by using timestamps, essentially creating chapters (include relevant keywords in the title of each chapter)
  • Respond to all comments
  • Group videos by topic (playlists)
  • Create a channel trailer
  • Solicit subscriptions for each video
  • Engage the audience, such as mentioning specific subscribers for their questions and comments
  • Enable closed captions in multiple languages
  • Add custom end screens to each video to encourage viewers to stay longer

Step 6: Find The Best Time To Schedule Videos

Social media marketing best practices dictate scheduling your posts when your target audience is likely to look for them. The best time to post on YouTube (or any social media platform, for that matter) isn’t precise. But various surveys suggest it’s the same time as when people watch television.

Best Times to publish Youtube Videos in 2021
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub

You don’t have to worry much about uploading videos because you can schedule when they go live. The best social media management tools can help automate these tasks according to your preferred settings. SEMrush, for example, automates scheduling not only for YouTube but other social media platforms. The challenge is choosing the right schedules, so a large percent of your target market sees them.

SOcial Media Poster Hero
Source: SEMrush

The frequency of your uploads is also a factor. A daily upload would be great but probably not sustainable for a small business unless all you do is create videos.

Keep in mind that frequency only matters if you’re consistent. You can keep subscribers engaged if they can count on a new video coming out at predictable intervals. If you can only handle uploading videos once a week, make sure you do so consistently.

Step 7: Consider Advertising

Manage your expectations about growing your YouTube subscriber list. It likely takes a long time to reach even 100 subscribers, but you’ll get there with a good marketing strategy. But you can kick-start your campaign with the following YouTube ads:

The goal is to tell people about your channel and encourage them to visit. You can also use YouTube ads to go directly to your business, your ultimate goal anyway.

Another way to create awareness is to partner with YouTube influencers in your niche. You can probably find some nano creators (1,000 to 10,000 views) and microcreators (10,000 to 25,000 views) that charge as little as $20 to as much as $1,000 per video.

Step 8: Monitor Your Data

Any strategy is as good as the results. While you might be convinced you’ve hit on a winning combination for your YouTube marketing, the proof is in the analytics. YouTube comes with Analytics tools, so use them to determine if you’re hitting your marks. Check your stats minimum once a month for the following:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Impressions
  • Subscribers
  • Top videos
  • Views and view duration
  • Viewing day and time

The data helps you determine when most of your audience is watching, what they’re watching, and for how long. This helps you tweak your strategy to get better results.

What To Do Next

Create a Google Workspace business account and get cracking on creating a YouTube channel for your small business right away. The right YouTube marketing strategy can increase brand awareness for your site, while you have fun doing it!

If you need more help with your small business or are starting one, check out our comprehensive list of resources on Digital.com. We tackle everything from 401(k) plans to using colors for your site.