The numbers are so large, it is almost impossible to wrap your mind around it. Every day, people watch more than 1 billion hours of video on YouTube. That’s more than Netflix and Facebook videos combined.
It’s a video platform, a social network, and a search engine rolled into one. It has the second most traffic of any website (behind only Google, its parent company) and is the second most popular search engine.
3 billion searches happen on YouTube every month. This provides an opportunity for B2B marketers to provide their audience with relevant content. If potential customers are searching for something, they have an interest. You want them to find your content and not your competitors.
Your competition is likely there already. 70 percent of marketers surveyed say they are using online video as part of their sales process.
“Online video can serve digital business strategy professionals by increasing brand awareness, educating customers about products and services, and helping with lead generation, cross-selling, and upselling,” said Nick Barber, Forrester Analyst.
B2B buyers are increasingly doing research online before connecting with companies. 70% of B2B buyers report watching a video during their buying process. Smart companies know they need to be in the mix where their customers are searching.
Despite all of this, many B2B businesses have struggled to understand how to grow a video channel on what has typically been a customer-centric platform. In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at successful case studies, best practices, and actionable tactics that B2B companies can use to see measurable results in their channel growth and engagement.
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Grow Your B2B YouTube Channel
Before you get started, you have to make a commitment to creating content consistently. It takes time, research, and money to produce engaging, high-quality videos that can engage, influence, and convert B2B customers. It will take video professionals that can help you tell powerful stories, solve customer problems, and showcase why they should choose your company.
The companies that have built successful audiences employ a 7-step strategy to grow their YouTube channel:
1. Define Your Goal
2. Define Your Audience
3. Research Your Content
4. Create Your Content Calendar
5. Create Your Content
6. Promote Your Content
7. Measure Your Content
It may help to think of producing B2B videos in the same way you produce your other online content marketing. In reality, video is just another variation. You will want to make sure your written materials and videos align with company goals and represent your brand value.
Define Your Goals
For each piece of B2B video content you want to produce, you need to first ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Your approach may vary greatly if you are trying to accomplish one of these goals:
- Generate brand awareness
- Educate and inform
- Drive traffic to your website or landing page
- Capture emails
- Create “shareable” content for social media
- Generate qualified leads
Define Your Audience
You also want to put together a snapshot of your target customer. Your sales and marketing teams can help provide an overview of your high-value customers and you can create personas.
If you use Google Analytics on your website, you can look under Audience Insights to see who visits your site. This will help flush out market segments. You can get similar demographic and psychographic profiles from your organization’s social media followers as well.
Creating the profile of your target customer helps you determine the kind of content your audience responds to, as well as the style in which you present the information.
Now, it’s time to find the right content to showcase. A great place to start is by finding out what B2B buyers are searching for in your niche. Google’s free Keyword Planner tool can show you the popularity of various keywords and search phrases. If B2B buyers search for specific content in your industry regularly, it’s likely a good topic for your content generation.
If you are planning to use your videos as paid content or ads on YouTube, the platform provides a free tool for measuring your potential audience reach. Enter information about your ideal customer and you can see the extent of how far your YouTube video will reach at different spending levels.
Another place you might want to explore is SEMRush. You can audit your own website or your competition to see which pages get the most engagement or backlinks. It’s a great way to find shareable content ideas. SEMRush is a paid service, but they allow you to do research free for the first 10 websites.
Create A Content Calendar
Once you’ve found content ideas, lay them out in a calendar.
Look at the year ahead and break down content planning into months and quarters. Start by filling in key company events, such as product launches or focused selling events. Look for natural tie-ins to capitalize on holidays or seasonal events if appropriate. Focus on peak times to market products discounts offered throughout the year.
One of the keys to growing a B2B YouTube channel is consistent production of new video content. You’ll need to determine how often you want to create content. With your key events laid in, look at the gaps in video creation and examine the times in-between for additional content creation. One of the keys to growing your YouTube channel is to post content regularly on a schedule.
This frames up when you need content. The next step is to determine the proper type of content. You’ll want a mix of videos to attract customers. Your content should address B2B buyers at each stage of their customer journey through the sales funnel.
Video Content Throughout The Sales Funnel
Awareness: Industry insights, answers to high search volume topics, common problems facing customers
Engagement: Product demos, customer testimonials, solutions to customer problems
Evaluation: Unique benefits of your solutions, case studies, comparison to competitors
Purchase: How to buy, onboarding videos, validation of the value
After-Purchase: In-depth product guides, additional products or services for evaluation, thank you messages
Make sure each piece of content aligns with your overall marketing strategies.
Developing the calendar is an important step, but often overlooked. Producing video content when you get around to it is a poor strategy for success. Develop the calendar and build in enough time to develop concepts and create the video content you need.
Once you’ve set up your content calendar, it’s time to create the content you need.
While sitting the CEO down for a talk or filming a tradeshow presentation may get you some clicks, you’ll need to employ better tactics to engage viewers. While these can be part of your overall marketing strategy, they aren’t the way B2B sellers are growing their YouTube channels. They are doing it by employing similar techniques the world’s best brands have used to capture attention:
- Creating a consistent look and feel that’s aligned with the brand
- Capturing their attention within the first 5-10 seconds
- Utilizing strong storytelling with a compelling narrative
- Creating unique characters
- Tapping into emotional triggers
You will want to create content in each of these seven most-consumed B2B categories:
2. Customer testimonials
4. Case studies
5. How-To videos
6. Company culture
7. Trending topics
Case studies are powerful tools. 55% of B2B decision-makers surveyed said case studies are the most effective way to lead prospects through the purchase funnel. When Frank Cespedes, a lecturer at the Harvard Business School, analyzed more than 30 million online interactions between companies and customers, he determined that B2B buyers’ biggest motivator is learning how others are using a product.
B2B buyers need a justification for making a purchase and reinforcement that the product works for others.
Webinars, live events, product walkthroughs, and feature announcements also work well.
After you’ve created your B2B video content, it’s time to let people know you’ve got something worthy of their attention. Use whatever means you have at your disposal: social media, email newsletters, blogs, industry influencers, and cross-promotion efforts. Depending on your budget, you can also use paid advertising channels in both traditional media and online media.
Part of the promotion strategy means taking advantage of the tools YouTube gives you. Make sure you optimize your video for search by fully filling out the metadata with the right keywords and use compelling thumbnail photos.
Just as important as the video itself is the distribution plan.
If your B2B video content gets shared or goes viral, that’s great. However, you can’t depend on it. Buzzsumo’s Content Trends Report details the incredible drop-off in organic shares on social media. It is less than half what it was just a few short years ago. Algorithm changes make reaching your target audience without spending money very difficult unless they are already connected to your brand.
Often overlooked is the crucial measurement phase. You need to constantly measure whether the content you are creating is meeting your goals. Views are great, but if you’re striving for conversions, that’s what really matters.
Data is going to be your friend. Most marketers will A/B test various approaches to determine which content performs the best. Tracking metrics such as total minutes viewed, drop-off rate, engagements, conversions, and actions can help you create better content in the future.
Building Customer Trust
Trust is the number one factor in closing deals. It’s ultimately more important than price and ROI. After all, would you buy from a salesperson or a company you didn’t trust? High-quality, professionally produced B2B videos can position your company as a trusted resource.
B2B videos can entice, engage, entertain, enlighten, and educate your customers and potential customers. They can showcase who you are and what you are all about. They can build your brand awareness and drive prospects through the buying funnel. They can engender trust.
Employing these seven steps in your video content marketing strategy can help establish your business as a major player and grow your YouTube channel.