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How to start a YouTube channel

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There’s no denying the power of YouTube. It’s the second-largest search engine in the world with over 2 billion monthly active users and 500 hours of video uploaded every single minute. And, 68 percent of YouTube users watch videos to make purchasing decisions. With usage statistics like that, you might be wondering how to start a YouTube channel yourself.

Consider this: If YouTube is responsible for one-third of all internet traffic — reaching nearly 95 percent of online users every month — then how can your business afford to not have a presence on the platform?

To get in front of your consumers when they are searching for information and forming buying decisions on your products and services, you simply need to be on YouTube.

Today we’ll explore how to start a YouTube channel to attract new viewers and convert them into customers in the following sections:

  • What is a YouTube channel?
  • Frequently asked questions about YouTube channels.
  • How to start a YouTube channel.
  • Important YouTube channel elements.

Let’s jump in.

What is a YouTube channel?

I still remember the first YouTube video I ever watched back in 2005. My friend booted up his laptop to show me this site where some random guy posted a video about how cool elephants are because they have long trunks.

I was mesmerized by the video and asked my friend to play it over and over again. It wasn’t the charismatic elephant expert who kept me coming back for more, but the idea that he was able to take a video from his camcorder and upload it to the internet for everyone to see.

Back then, video stars like our zoo host (and famed YouTube co-creator) Jawed Karim, would record their video, log in to YouTube.com and upload their finished work to their YouTube channel, which was more like a basic Myspace profile with name, age, gender, relationship status, and last time logged in.

Graphic showing how YouTube looked in 2005 versus 2022

In 2006, YouTube was purchased by Google and has dramatically improved over the years, now offering a more robust YouTube channel experience for creators and viewers alike.

YouTube channel frequently asked questions

Before we can dive into how to create a YouTube channel, I’ll take you through some frequently asked questions about YouTube.

What is a YouTube Creator?

YouTube Creators (sometimes referred to as YouTubers) are the heart of YouTube. They are individuals who produce content for the YouTube platform. If you upload a video to YouTube, you’re officially a Youtube Creator.

What kinds of videos can I upload to YouTube?

You can upload almost any type of video to YouTube. Creators make YouTube videos about everything from personal vlogs, to how-to videos, to travel and lifestyle journals, to comedy skits and much more. Keep in mind, there are community guidelines for YouTube Creators which prohibit adding videos with deceptive content, nudity, violence, hate speech, or misinformation.

Do I need to create a YouTube channel to upload videos?

Yes! Although you can watch and like videos and subscribe to channels on YouTube with a Google account, you need a YouTube channel to upload your own videos, comment on others’ videos, or make playlists.

What if I just want to make YouTube videos?

The world’s your oyster when it comes to your presence on YouTube. Some business owners upload videos randomly in hopes of them going viral while others leverage their YouTube channels to strengthen their brand and drive repeat viewers.

Humans are creatures of habit, and the concept of channels reinforces the habit of consuming video content.

For example, as a kid in the 90’s, my favorite show was ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” I can’t recall the exact day and time it aired, but every week, I knew when to plop down on the couch, so I could watch Will from Philadelphia navigate through the cosmopolitan life of Bel-Air like a fish out of water. If Fresh Prince hadn’t been on NBC, how would I have known where to watch it? Instead, I would have endlessly hit the channel up button until I happened to see the last five minutes of the episode.

Why is a YouTube channel good for my brand?

There are three main benefits in starting a YouTube channel:

1. YouTube channels build a community around your brand

When viewers repeatedly see your logo, your products and services, and your team on screen, it breeds familiarity with your brand. As a result, there’s a stronger sense of community, which helps to drive word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business. The larger the community, the more likely viewers will become customers.

2. YouTube channels allow you to educate customers

In marketing, it’s important to know your cost of acquiring new customers (also known as COA.) By creating a YouTube channel with videos that educate consumers on your products and services, you’re bolstering their trust in your brand and reducing the amount of time you will have to spend selling to them, thus reducing your COA.

3. Your YouTube channel feeds branded content directly to Google

Last, but certainly not least, we can’t forget that YouTube is owned by Google and acts as the second largest search engine in the world. When you upload videos by themselves, it’s like giving Google a gift straight out of the Amazon box. When you add your videos to a branded channel (following the best practices below) it’s like wrapping your gift in search engine optimized wrapping paper with a sparkly, custom-branded bow.

How to start a YouTube channel

If you’re still with me, then you’re probably wondering how to start a YouTube channel for your business. If you’re a visual learner, feel free to play, pause, and put into action this helpful video tutorial:

Otherwise, I’ve created a step-by-step walkthrough (and a free downloadable checklist) to help you start your YouTube channel.

Creating Your YouTube channel

You can get this done in three steps:

  1. Sign into your Google account in order to create and/or manage your channels. If you don’t have a Google account, you can create one at http://www.google.com/accounts.
  2. To create your channel, head to YouTube.com. You can either create a channel under your Personal Name (i.e. Bryan Caplan) or your brand name (i.e. Bigger Better Biz.) Choose whichever fits your marketing strategy best.
  3. Bookmark this link to easily switch between channels and create new ones in a flash: https://www.youtube.com/channel_switcher

The three essentials of your YouTube channel

Once your channel is set up, you need to remember the three essentials:

Channel name

Your YouTube channel name should give the audience an idea of what your channel is about. Your channel name can be the name of your business, or it can play to a big picture topic. For instance, my business name is Bryan Caplan Marketing, but we opted for Bigger Better Biz as our channel name because it conveys our goal in helping viewers to grow a bigger, better small business.

The process of naming a channel on YouTube can be very similar in practice to how you would name a company, especially when it comes down to determining what the main focus of your channel will be. Good brands often devote substantial resources to brainstorming their brand names to give the audience a particular impression of their products and services. This rings true for a YouTube channel as well.

If you have an existing business or have spent the time to build a buyer persona, you have an idea of who your core audience will be and what they might expect from watching your videos.

Channel description

Does your channel description (also known as the “About” section) even help the YouTube algorithm? Heck yes, it does! The YouTube search crawler reads and indexes your channel’s description, video titles, video descriptions, video tags, and more to determine if your content is relevant to a viewer’s search.

Crawling your channel’s description helps YouTube comprehend what your channel is about. As a result, YouTube gives you priority by showing your video to the YouTube searchers using those particular terms mentioned in your description.

But make sure not to stuff keywords! Try writing a lucid and honest channel description that includes keywords but speaks to your viewers.

Write a unique value proposition for your viewers. Explain why people should watch your videos over someone else’s channel. Clearly explain the value your audience will get from watching your videos.

Channel email

When your channel exceeds 10,000 subscribers (which is very possible) you may find that companies and brand sponsors will reach out to you for sponsored content. You don’t want to miss such an opportunity to monetize your channel.

Your channel email is your gateway to networking with your audience and earning through potential brand deals. Make sure to include your email address, as it helps your audience, brands/sponsors approach you.

Other important YouTube channel elements

The following elements can be added under the “Customization” tab in the YouTube Studio. These items show on your YouTube Channel homepage and can play a major role in your ability to drive video views, gain subscribers, and get clicks to your website and social media profiles.

Example of a creator’s YouTube landing page

Channel logo

Your channel logo is important because it shows up next to each of your videos in YouTube search results. Your logo can be your actual business logo, a professional headshot, or a photo of your product.

YouTube logo example

Related: How to create a logo in 12 steps — a DIY guide

Video watermark

The video watermark is an image that shows up on the bottom right of your videos in an attempt to help you gain more subscribers. This can be any image you choose, but to increase your click-through rate, be sure to use an image that will catch viewers’ attention.

Example of video watermark on YouTube

Website and social media links

You’re able to include links to your website and social media accounts — Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat — in your channel banner. This will help the YouTube audience to connect and engage with you around the web.

If your audience lands on your Instagram or Facebook page and loves it, then you just bagged one loyal follower. Hence, social widgets help boost your social media reach & engagement.

Channel art

Adding channel art to your profile hugely aids your channel branding because it sets an expectation for your viewers. The ideal size for a YouTube channel art image is 2560px by 1440px. The safe area that will display on all devices is the central area of 1546px by 423px. Keep any logos, text, or image focal points in this area.

Related: The ultimate guide to social media image sizes

Channel trailer

Imagine you run a YouTube channel that covers diverse topics (like vlogging or interviewing). When YouTube users come across your channel, the video trailer gives them a brief idea of what your channel is about and why they should watch your videos.

Be sure to instruct channel trailer viewers to watch your other videos and subscribe to the channel so they don’t miss any new videos you publish. This is a great way to build your subscriber count.

I used the Bigger Better Biz channel trailer to welcome new viewers while pointing out my video playlists and prompting them to subscribe to the channel.

In this article, I’ve taken you through the process of how to start a YouTube channel for your business. With nearly seven out of 10 consumers consulting YouTube to help them make purchasing decisions, there’s no better time than now to create your YouTube channel to promote your products and services.

Be sure to choose a channel name that either mirrors your business name or reflects the nature of your business. Also, put some time into your channel graphics including your logo and channel art, as they’ll help you to win new views.

Share your Youtube channel everywhere

Once you follow the best practices above to optimize your YouTube channel (and improve your chances of showing up in YouTube search results) be sure to share your channel around the web. Some of the best online places to share your channel include:

  • On your website
  • In your blog posts
  • In your email marketing campaigns
  • In social media posts
  • On your Google Business profile

Hopefully, this guide can help you with how to start a YouTube channel of your own. Good luck and see you online!



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Growing a Business

Shopping Video – New Marketing Trend

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One of the best ways for marketers and business owners to increase sales and engage customers is video shopping. This new marketing trend involves using video content to promote and sell your products.

Here is everything you need to know about shopping videos for business owners.

What is Video Shopping

Video shopping involves using video content to promote your products/services with the aim of increasing sales. With a shopping video, business owners can show off their brand and give relevant information about their products and services. Also, videos help influence the decision-making process of buyers and increase sales.

Types of Shopping Videos

There are two main categories of shopping videos, and they are:

Live Video Shopping

This type of video shopping involves creating a live presentation of your products. It is not pre-recorded, thus making it easy for customers to interact in real-time.

Non-Live Video Shopping

In this case, you record the video and then upload it on platforms where customers can find them. While you can’t get real-time responses from customers, non-live videos are easily accessible, unlike live videos.

Engaging social video ads

Benefits of Video Shopping

Video shopping can provide many benefits for business owners and their customers. Some of the advantages of video shopping are:

1. Engaging Visuals That Increase Sales

Consumers generally prefer video content over text because they are a more expressive form of content. With video shopping, business owners can create an interactive environment where customers can engage. This form of engaging content increases your chance of converting visitors to actual customers.

2. Increase Brand Awareness

Business owners can increase the chance of being seen by their target audience through impressive shopping videos. Shopping videos prove to be a convenient way to promote your business and increase brand awareness.

3. Convenient Customer Interaction

Video shopping helps engage with customers in real-time, thus making them feel seen. You can chat with customers one-on-one, which makes it easier to serve their needs. Whether it’s a car dealer chat or a skincare consultation, you can count on video shopping to improve rapport.

4. Bring Products to Live

With video shopping, shoppers can easily browse products in real-time. For example, fashion brands often bring clothes to life by making a video of how it looks on a real person. This will help customers have a feel of how the item will look on them, and this can increase sales.

5. Easy to Create

Creating shopping videos doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. Shopping videos tend to be short and easy to make without requiring a professional. With a smartphone or camera, anyone can make a marketing video that converts. Also, there are many channels and platforms available to create videos that will persuade visitors into being actual customers.

6. Increased SEO Ranking

Videos tend to perform better than other forms of content, and having them on your website will increase your SEO rankings. This makes it easy for customers to find you and do business with you.

Video marketing

If you are running an online business, you need to keep up with new marketing trends to boost your brand. One of the latest marketing trends to implement is video shopping. When done correctly, video can help provide valuable information for customers, boost engagement, and increase sales.

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In Business, Image Matters. How to Improve Yours?

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Your business may boast of excellent products and/or services. However, nowadays, excellent products and services simply aren’t enough to help a business survive and thrive in the long run. What your business also needs is a strong image – one that can help it stand out from its competitors.

But how exactly do you go about improving the image of your business? To know the answer to this question, read on as we take you through all the steps you can and must take to take your business forward towards success.

photo credit: August de Richeliu / Pexels

1. Face-to-face interactions with people

We may be living in the digital age, but nothing can beat face-to-face interactions when it comes to telling people about your business. Here are some ways through which you can inform people about your business and what it’s all about:

Meet people and start conversations

It’s unrealistic to expect that people will know about your business if you don’t reach out to them. So, start going out and attending events.

Business-centric open meetings and conferences would be the best place to start. At these events, you’ll run into several businessmen like yourself. You should make the most of these opportunities to start conversations with others from the world of business. This will gradually let people know about your business and the products and/or services it has to offer.

Prepare a pitch

When you meet potential customers, you have to be prepared to speak spontaneously about your business. At this juncture, it’s important that you don’t fumble or sound unconfident. After all, what you tell people about your business will form impressions in their minds – and you’d want those impressions to be positive, wouldn’t you?

This is where preparing a pitch can come in incredibly handy. Write it down first and then keep practicing it out loud, and make changes where necessary.

Participate in community events

Your local community is the first pillar of support for your business. So, get out there and try playing a role in all community events. At these events, you should promote your business in a friendly and welcoming manner.

This should encourage members of your local community to take an interest in your business and what it has to offer. Sure, this may not result in immediate sales, but it will definitely improve your business’s public visibility.

Businessman in a fancy coffee shop

2. Make your business appear professional

A surprising fact is that the modern-day consumer values professionalism more than the quality of products and services. Of course, product and service quality is important, but if your business lacks professionalism, it will lose out on customers.

So, to make your business appear professional, you can put the following steps into practice:

Invest in a business website

The internet is arguably the biggest platform for businesses nowadays, which is why you should invest in a dedicated website for your business. We recommend hiring professional web developers and designers to curate your business website. This will ensure that your website looks and feels professional.

Apart from setting up a website, you should also pay attention to its content. Quite simply, it should have all the information that your target audience may want to know, i.e., contact information and information about the business. Your business website should also have a blog with consistent posts. This can go a long way towards ensuring your expertise within your niche.

Set up a dedicated email account for your business

Using your personal email account as your business’s email account is nothing short of a criminal offense. That’s why you should set up a dedicated business email account. It’ll help you achieve consistency with your branding, and it’ll also allow your business to look professional to the people who subscribe to your business newsletters.

To set up a business email account, you need to first create a domain name and then get in touch with an email provider. Two of the best email providers out there include Office 365 for Business and Google Apps for Business. Both options provide business-class email along with features such as online storage and document editing. The best thing about these options is that they’re quite inexpensive.

Provide 24/7 Customer Service

These days, consumers expect the companies they buy products and services from to be available for them 24/7. Fortunately, the widely availble virtual assistant and reception services such as those provided by www.virtualreception.com.au can do that for you – both on and off office hours – to any types and sizes of business, from freelancing digital nomads to multinational corporations.

Social media manager

3. Set up your social media for success

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are excellent places to market your business and its products. Here are a few ways to make your business succeed on social media:

Create business profiles

On all major social media platforms, you have the option of setting up personal profiles and business profiles. It’s best to create the latter type of profile as it is designed specifically for business purposes.

During the setup process, make sure that you include relevant info in the bio sections. Don’t forget to add links to your official website and other social media handles as well.

Post relevant content regularly

All social media algorithms tend to favor accounts that post relevant content on a consistent basis. So, irrespective of the social media platforms you’re active on, make sure that you’re posting new content as much as possible.

Not posting regularly can limit your business account’s reach and stall its growth on social media.

Keep branding elements consistent across all platforms

If your Instagram page looks drastically different from your Facebook page, your target audience is bound to get confused. That’s why it’s vital to use similar branding elements across all social media platforms.

The branding elements you should focus on keeping consistent include your business’s logo, its imagery, and its voice, i.e., the tone of communicating with your audience.

Encourage users to engage with you on social media and interact with them: Through the use of call-to-action (CTA) messages, you can encourage your followers on social media to engage with your posts. You should also spare time to respond to your followers’ comments.

Business owner in the Portugal-based office
photo credit: Fauxels / Pexels

Takeaway

There are quite some things to consider in your endeavor to increase your buisness image. However, focusing on the three above is more than sufficient to get started: Meet people and tell the about your business; make an effort to be professional, especially in your online presence; and lastly, make use of social media platforms to your advantage.

Be sure to do a lot of trials-and-errors so that you can form the best practices for your company.

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5 Ways Virtual Headquarters Pandemic-Proof Your Business

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The coronavirus pandemic battered many businesses to the ground. At its peak, we saw businesses either shutting down or struggling to make ends meet. We had job cuts and salary cuts left, right and center. Businesses across the world, especially small businesses, are still suffering from the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic. Even now, with things finally opening up, many businesses are skeptical of the times and have gone into planning mode.

Every business now wants to create a contingency plan for when things start to go out of hand. Many businesses which were able to survive the pandemic were the ones that were prepared. The ones that had a contingency plan and a disaster management plan ready to roll out.

photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Solutions / Unsplash

Taking a cue from this, all every company wants to plan for right now is this: What to do if and when a pandemic hits again? Is there a way to pandemic proof your business?

One step that most businesses have taken is setting up a virtual headquarters.

What is a Virtual Headquarters?

Virtual headquarters or a virtual office is a physical address of your online business. At this physical address, you can create shared workspaces, meeting rooms, and set up a virtual assistant. You and your employees can continue working from home, but you still have a physical address for your place of work.

But why would you go to all that trouble when everyone is working from home? A number of factors come into play here, the biggest of them being the pandemic. As more and more businesses attempt to pandemic proof their businesses, they are striving to find the right balance between remote working and having a physical office. For a lot of businesses, a model that works better is having a watered-down version of a physical space up and running.

Remote working

 

photo credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Here are some of the main advantages of opting to have a virtual headquarter for your business in order to keep it as pandemic proof as possible.

1. You get a prestigious office address

First impressions matter. And having a prestigious office address on your business card certainly makes the right impression. This point becomes even more significant if you are a small business that’s trying to make it big. A calling card with a flashy office address sends a positive sign to potential clients — about your seriousness regarding the business and your credibility and professionalism. A prestigious office address is also something your employees will be proud of.

So you get a great address without the long lease and the major utilities and upkeep costs involved. An absolute win-win.

2. Expansion is easy

It is a lot easier to expand or even downsize your business when you have a virtual headquarter. This is because you do not need to think about the physical space aspect of it. Need to hire more people? Go ahead without worrying about where they will sit, if you will need to lease a new floor, or if the office space is enough.

Thinking of moving a department offshore? No need to redo your office space lease to physically downsize. Having a virtual headquarters gives you the flexibility without the constraints.

3. Your employees can keep working remotely

Having a virtual headquarters does not mean a proper office space that employees will eventually return to. You and your employees will continue to work remotely while being associated with that one physical address.

Depending on how big or small your virtual headquarters are, you can make room for monthly in-person team meets. You can even give some employees to have the option to book up a terminal and work from the office once a week. Or you could simply reserve your physical address as a place to forward mail and work calls. The possibilities are endless.

Excellent customer service

4. Customer service are made easy

When the pandemic hit, too many companies had to suddenly shut shop and move everything online. While the transition came with its own hurdles, one of the bigger issues was customer service.

Shutting shop completely may cause some technical issues with providing customer service. Having a virtual headquarters means that you can now use the available virtual services, such as 24/7 customer service – which can be a critical success factor in winning customers during the pandemic.

5. Better work-life balance

Just knowing there is a demarcation between your work life and your personal life helps a lot in trying to strike a balance. As great as working from home is, many find it very hard to disconnect completely from work. This happens when the place you work from and the place where you relax overlap.

A lot of employees are prone to giving out their personal details more easily while working from home. This may be to receive official correspondence via postal mail or receive calls on their personal mobile number. While this may seem like part and parcel of remote working, it makes disconnecting difficult. Things seem tougher when you proceed to go on leave or a holiday but are constantly being bombarded with work calls, emails and postal mails.

When you have a physical headquarters, employees are able to make use of the virtual receptionist to handle calls and also have an address to forward relevant mail in their absence. This provides a much-needed demarcation between personal and professional life.

Business team meeting in a Virtual Headquarters

Takeaway

A virtual headquarters may not work for a particular business type. On the other hand, it may be the thing another business needs to flourish. It is important to evaluate all the pros and cons before you make a decision for your business.

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