YouTube is a powerful tool. It is the second most visited website in the world according to Google (the first most visited website). And according to Pew Research Center, 74.5% of adults in the United States use YouTube. But have you ever considered using YouTube to grow your sales? Likely not, but you really should.
At this point, YouTube is a cultural entity of its own — part social media platform and part search engine. It makes sense that your small business should have some sort of presence in a place so important and visible, right? But just having a profile isn’t enough.
You have to give potential customers the information they need to make an informed decision about your business before they leave YouTube to make a purchase.
Top 5 YouTube videos to grow your sales
There are five key videos you need on your channel to make sure that customers get a well-rounded impression of your business (and to grow your sales):
- Your origin story.
- Customer testimonials.
- Product highlight videos.
- Entertaining or humorous videos.
- Behind the scenes.
Let’s dive in.
1. Your origin story
Like your favorite superhero, your business needs an origin story. You need to answer a few questions or tell the story of what got you here. You may have an interesting or exciting story or maybe you think your story is boring — whatever it is, it’s authentic! People want to see that authenticity, especially in a small business. If you don’t have an origin story, think about these points:
- Who are you?
- Where did you come from?
- What got you started?
- Why is this the business you started?
- What got you interested in this line of work?
- What were some obstacles you overcame?
This video doesn’t have to be long or professionally edited. Here is a great example from Lavendaire, a professional YouTuber. Even as a professional YouTuber, you can see she is mainly using a simple setup of just her speaking to the camera. That is all you need as well!
2. Customer testimonials
To build up that social proof, you will want to include customer testimonials on your YouTube channel. These are videos that are simply customers reviewing your products, services or experiences in video form.
You can upload each testimonial as a separate video or cut them together and upload a few at a time together.
Here is an example of a simple and effective client video testimonial for my agency, Bryan Caplan Marketing.
These will likely not be long or complicated, just simple setups of a person speaking to a camera. You might feel awkward asking for these kinds of videos from customers, but you don’t need many! Ask those who you feel like you have a strong relationship with and who have had an excellent experience with your business. Including a customer testimonial on YouTube will add a bit of legitimacy to your business in this space. A prospective customer won’t have to go far to find a positive customer experience to round out their impression of your business.
3. Product highlight videos
Of course, you will want to highlight what you are selling as well! Choose a product or line or products that are new, that are trending or are best sellers and highlight them with a video. Maybe show how they work, a recipe, how to use them in a certain setting, a fun hack or something else. This is where you can be creative! Here’s an example of a product highlight video we just created for Country Paint and Hardware in North Branford, Connecticut. They are just starting out their YouTube Channel and wanted to highlight their seasonal products in an innovative way.
Start off with one video and update them with more products that become relevant to the seasons and changes in taste. You can always make more about different products or even the same product, there is no limit!
4. Entertaining or humorous videos
To add a bit of levity, create a humorous or entertaining video to add to your channel. For my channel, I usually invite my kids to join me for this kind of content. This shows that you are light and have a sense of humor, which is always refreshing. (Bonus: I get to teach them about confidence and how dad makes videos)
You can involve employees and even the product or service in these videos — it is up to you and your creativity. Just make sure you keep it classy and light.
5. Behind the scenes
Sometimes people do want to see how the sausage gets made. In fact, behind-the-scenes videos are quite popular and engaging, depending on your business of course. This short behind-the-scenes video of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s tequila brand is a great example of the power of this kind of video.
Even if you don’t make something on-site you still have some kind of process that goes into your work that you can share with your customers. How do you prepare your business for the day? If your business is service-based, how do you perform those services? How do you prepare? What does that look like? Give your viewers a peek behind the scenes to get to know you, your business and what that looks like — that builds trust and familiarity.
Though these videos will be uploaded to YouTube, they can and should be used in many other places, namely your website and online store.
This way, you can leverage YouTube to grow your sales both on and off the YouTube platform.
Your origin story video is the perfect addition to your About page on your website along with a written piece about your business. Video puts a face to the business, which makes it feel more personal and builds trust. You can add your “Behind the Scenes” video to this page as well, if it makes sense.
Add customer testimonials to your homepage or to a page where your other customer reviews live, this will be a nice change from a sea of written reviews. Include any videos highlighting products on those specific product pages in your online store. Seeing a product in motion in a video is incredibly useful when making an online purchase and will be helpful to customers making that decision.
Seems simple enough, right? Creating a set of five simple YouTube videos is key to establishing a favorable impression of your business on YouTube to grow your sales both on the platform and off — and it’s a great way to get started and get comfortable making videos. Once you see how easy it can be, you won’t want to stop!
The post Top 5 videos you need to be adding to YouTube to grow your sales appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
3 Ways Marketers Can Earn — and Keep — Customer Trust
A 2021 survey of 1,000 consumers concluded that more than 80% consider trust a deciding factor in their buying decisions, despite the fact that only 34% trust the brands they use. As trust in institutions diminishes, consumers are increasingly skeptical of where they put their money and receive their information. The author recommends three marketing strategies for brands to maintain and foster trust in their brands: 1) Do not overspin, 2) Avoid half-truths, and 3) Read the room and adjust.
It is no big secret that our world has a trust problem. Amid a global pandemic, economic crisis, and political instability set against a backdrop of deep cultural malaise, people no longer know where (or whom) to turn to for dependable information amid widespread disinformation and propaganda.
Similarly, government leaders, briefly seen as the most trusted institutions at the beginning of the pandemic per the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, squandered that goodwill when they could not halt the virus or restore economic stability. And per the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in U.S. CEOs is at 47%, and credibility has basically hit rock bottom in Japan (18%) and France (22%) as consumers wake up to the indignities and absurdities of unfettered capitalism.
Yes, trust is in short supply, yet it remains a vital currency in sustainable customer relationships. A 2021 survey of 1,000 consumers concluded that more than 80% consider trust a deciding factor in their buying decisions, despite the fact that only 34% trust the brands they use. Consumers, of course, are not a monolith. And as it so happens, age is a key differentiator in understanding the intricacies of the public’s confidence in and perception of the news media, in particular.
Per a Gallup/Knight Foundation survey, older Americans tend to rely on maybe one or two sources for all their information, and they prioritize brand reputation and political slant when evaluating an outlet’s credibility. Conversely, younger adults (18- to 34-year-olds) are more likely to gather information from numerous sources and place more of a premium on how open that outlet is with its facts, research, and processes.
Younger consumers also view national news outlets with more skepticism, with just 29% saying they trust them compared to 41% of adults over 55. A credible media landscape is always critical, but with the line between marketing and media blurring each day, news organizations’ morale fiber can sometimes be linked to that of a brand.
To summarize, older adults are more brand-conscious, while younger adults are more process-conscious. As marketing experts, we can apply these findings to our brand messaging to develop credibility with our intended audiences as they age and evolve. Here is how.
1. Do not overspin.
Though Edelman found that trust in CEOs hit an all-time low in 2021, the same study revealed that businesses are still considered more trustworthy than governments, NGOs, and the news media. With such power comes great responsibility. CEOs and other business leaders must address today’s most pressing challenges and focus on societal engagement with great fervor. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 53% of respondents believe that business leaders have a duty to fill the information void left by the news media.
This is not the time for corporate platitudes. People are smarter than you think. If you attempt to fool them, they will find out — and the hit to your credibility will outweigh any short-term gains that you made.
Think back to summer 2020, when PR teams across industries jumped to distribute public denouncements of systemic racism. People were quick to call out the performative allyship of companies such as Glossier, whose public anti-racism pledge was at odds with former employees’ recounts of on-the-job discrimination and toxicity. So make sure you back up any announcements with actual steps. For example, Ben & Jerry’s is not one for empty promises, and its statement on racial injustice held a lot more weight because company leaders have a track record of on-the-ground activism.
Keeping your message free of excessive spin goes a long way with the public and protects you from potential PR gaffes down the line.
2. Avoid half-truths.
Pfizer has been in the news a lot this past year — mostly for good reasons. CEO Albert Bourla and his team cleared myriad hurdles to develop an innovative, effective Covid-19 vaccine in record time. But back in 2006, Pfizer was in the news for less-than-glowing reasons after launching a $258 million ad campaign for a cholesterol drug with Robert Jarvik, inventor of the first permanent artificial heart, as the face of it.
The tagline — “Just because I’m a doctor doesn’t mean I don’t worry about my cholesterol” — was catchy, but there was one problem: Jarvik was not licensed to practice medicine and, in fact, had never practiced medicine. The ads drew swift criticism that resulted in a congressional investigation and millions in monetary losses for Pfizer.
In the court of public opinion, omission is akin to lying. If a claim requires omission, then do not use it; and if you do make a mistake, own up to it. In fact, you may find consumers more forgiving if you show any semblance of contrition. Being vulnerable about where you have fallen short in the past suggests honesty, which sits at the foundation of consumer trust, brand affinity, and long-term engagement.
3. Read the room and adjust.
When was the last time you checked the pulse of your customer base? You should be continually evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by asking yourself these key questions:
- What is our customer sentiment? Negative? Positive?
- What are our favorability ratings? Are they rising? Dropping?
- Is our audience engaging with our content?
- And did we follow through on our promises?
By regularly checking whether consumers are picking up what you are putting down, you will find that you can more easily meet and even exceed their ever-evolving preferences. For example, Bryanna Evans, the social media manager at home fragrance brand SECC, told Buffer that her team’s social media-powered strategy focuses on in-feed customer engagement. Not only does the social team respond whenever someone leaves a comment, but it also nurtures consumer interest by regularly posting quizzes, contests, and giveaways. As a result, SECC has built an army of loyalists and grown its monthly revenue from $20,000-$30,000 to more than $100,000.
The fight for consumer trust is ongoing — and it will not be going away anytime soon. But savvy marketers can use authentic brand messaging to engender stronger customer relationships that stand the test of time. Implement these three steps to begin building a reputation as a reliable information source that people depend on.
How to Improve Email Deliverability
If you’re running a business, you need an email list. And you need to send great emails, obviously. But if those great emails aren’t making it to people’s inboxes, then what’s the point?
If you’ve been putting a lot of hard work into your email marketing but not seeing the results you want, then maybe your email deliverability could use some help. I’m going to share the four key factors that will help make sure more of your emails stay out of spam and land in the inbox.
And if you don’t have an email list yet, this will set you up for success right from the start!
The Four Pillars of Email Deliverability
When it comes to email, it’s all about deliverability. You can have the fanciest automations, the best copy, the best upsells, downsells, follow-ups… But if nobody’s getting those emails in their inbox, then it’s all for nothing.
This is where you’re up against the algorithms of the email giants that control more than 50 percent of the world’s inboxes: Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!. You’ve got to understand what they’re looking for—and play by their rules.
The good news is that it’s not that difficult to stay on the good side of the algorithms. Anyone can avoid the spam folder as long as they follow a few key guidelines.
There are four main pillars of email deliverability, and they form the acronym RACE:
Pat and email deliverability expert Adrian Savage covered these four pillars in depth in SPI episode 498:
In business, as in everything, reputation matters. If you’ve got a lousy reputation, no one’s going to want to listen to you.
When it comes to email marketing, you need to focus on what’s known as your sending reputation.
You see, the big mailbox providers are monitoring the emails you’re sending, and most importantly, how people are reacting to them.
The more they see people marking your emails as spam or ignoring or deleting them, the more they’re going to mark down your sending reputation. And they’re more likely to send your emails right to the spam folder.
That’s the simple version, but it means that everything you do with your email marketing has to be focused on preserving and improving your sending reputation.
How to Improve Your Sending Reputation
So what can you do to improve and maintain your reputation with the big email services?
First, use common sense. If you feel like you’re gaming the system, you probably are—and you’re eventually going to get found out.
A (not so) great example is downloading lists of email addresses from the internet.
The only legitimate way to get ahead now with your email list is to send emails only to people who have specifically asked you to contact them.
If you buy a list and start emailing people who haven’t given you permission, you’re much more likely to get spam complaints, which will hurt your sending reputation.
And what’s the only definition of spam that matters in the eyes of the mailbox providers? Whatever the recipient thinks it is.
There are also businesses out there, like Spamhaus and Cloudmark, that operate email addresses called spam traps. If you send an email to a spam trap address, then you may be added to blocklists that tell the world you’re a low-reputation sender.
If you do decide to buy a list of addresses for some reason, make sure you really trust the person providing the data—it’s much better to control it yourself.
Next, you’ll want to clean your email list regularly. That way, you’ll avoid hitting what’s called a recycled spam trap.
Here’s how that works.
Suppose 10 years ago you had a Hotmail address that you’d stopped using, and Microsoft canceled your account. For the next few months, if anyone tried to email you, they’d receive an error saying the mailbox didn’t exist. But a few months later, Microsoft might reopen that address and repurpose it to catch senders who weren’t looking after the hygiene of their email list.
Send enough emails to spam trap addresses, and you’ll end up on a blocklist.
So, only send emails to people who have said they want to hear from you, and keep your email list clean so you don’t get caught in recycled spam traps.
Authentication is the second crucial piece of improving your email deliverability.
It’s all about telling the world that you’re sending legitimate emails.
You’ve probably received spam from someone spoofing an email address that isn’t theirs. It’s relatively easy to spoof an address you don’t own—what’s not so easy is to authenticate one.
Authentication is what sets you apart from the spammers, and there are two steps you need to take to authenticate your email address.
The good thing is, this is usually a one-time thing you do when you’re setting up your email platform.
The two authentication steps involve a couple of acronyms.
Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)
The first one is domain keys identified mail, or DKIM. This is how you get your email platform to digitally sign every email that you send.
You’ll need to look at your platform to determine how exactly to configure DKIM, because they all do it slightly differently. If you’re stuck, then find someone who can help you, because it is probably the most important single thing that will make the difference between hitting the spam folder and hitting the inbox.
Here’s guidance on setting up DKIM with some of the most popular email service providers (ESPs):
Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
The second side of authentication is something called sender policy framework, or SPF.
SPF helps identify which mail servers are allowed to send email on behalf of your domain. This communicates which platforms you trust to send emails on your behalf, which can reduce the incidence of email spoofing—people pretending to send mail as you. Like DKIM, it’s a one-time thing, but crucial.
Doing those two things—setting up your SPF and DKIM settings—is going to make a huge difference in deliverability. And don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it.
Here’s guidance on setting up SPF with the popular ESPs:
In the recent past, it was relatively easy to avoid the spam folder by being careful about the content in your emails: don’t use swear words, don’t mention Viagra, and don’t mention “free.”
Today’s spam filters are much more sophisticated, and the big email providers use a ton of artificial intelligence to figure out what’s junk and what’s legit.
In 2005, you might have gotten away with writing “free” as “fr.e–e” in an email, but today that’s a one-way ticket to the spam folder.
Making it to the inbox in 2022 is a lot more about being authentic with your email content. Here, another acronym comes in handy: WILF, which stands for:
Words are important, obviously. And when it comes to email deliverability, it means writing emails the way you’d have a conversation with someone.
Write like yourself. The more your emails sound like they’ve been coming from you, the more authentic it sounds, the more likely those big sophisticated algorithms are going to recognize it as authentic.
In most cases, shorter is also better. Don’t cut it down at the expense of not getting your message across, but don’t waffle unnecessarily. Because, let’s face it, people’s attention spans are getting shorter.
At the same time, don’t stress too much about content either. There are no hard and fast rules here, and you don’t want to follow a rule at the risk of ruining your message.
You can always send a few test emails and see what happens. Just remember, however, that email has evolved, and no two people have exactly the same email experience anymore. The same email might end up in Spongebob’s inbox and Squidward’s spam folder.
But you can still learn some things by looking at the big picture of what you’re sending over time. If you notice that emails written a certain way are getting delivered more often than others, use that as a data point to guide how to craft your email content going forward.
Images and Links
Here’s where things get even more interesting. To include images or not include images in your emails? And what about links? One? None? Many?
First, remember that there are exceptions to every rule. But in general—and testing bears this out—the more images you’ve got in an email, the more likely it’s headed to the junk folder. And the same goes for the number of links.
One of the quickest ways for an email to be viewed as a promotion by Google is if it has a graphical banner at the top, because that makes it look like a promo. So just cut to the chase with your message.
If you need images in the middle of the email to reinforce or illustrate things, that’s a different story. But only include them if they’re going to actually add value, not just for the sake of it. If you can manage three or fewer images in total, perfect.
It’s the same with links: the more you use, the more your email looks like a promotion. One of the biggest mistakes people make is using a bunch of little social media icons in their email signature. Before you know it, you’ve got five additional images with links in your email, you’re in the promotions tab.
When it comes to links, also be careful about linking to websites you don’t control. You can’t always be certain whether the domain you’re linking to has a good domain reputation or not. It’s much better to only link to content that you’re in control of—like the stuff on your own website.
Finally, there’s frequency. The more frequently you send emails to the people who want to receive them, the better you’re going to do. In the good old days, it was sufficient to send an email newsletter out once a month, but these days, mailbox providers are looking for consistency and engagement (which we’ll talk about in a second).
The more frequently you send emails to the people that want to read them, the better it’s going to look for your engagement. If you’re sending out an email three times a week, then you’re a lot more likely to reach more of your audience more quickly than if you’re sending one email a month.
That doesn’t mean you need to send an email every day—if you can, then great, if you’ve got enough to talk about—but the more frequently you can share some really cool value, the more people are going to love you, and more importantly, the more the mailbox providers will love you as well.
While authentication is something you set up once and pretty much forget, engagement is something you need to pay attention to on an ongoing basis.
By engagement we’re talking about, are people reading your emails? Are they opening them? Are they clicking the links? Are they actually reading them properly? Or are they just deleting it without reading?
One of the worst ways to hurt your engagement is when you send something out, it lands in the spam folder, and no one rescues it.
When someone signs up to your email list for the first time, that may be the only chance you’ve got to keep your emails out of their spam folder. So direct them to a thank-you page that instructs them to check the spam folder for your first email and move it to their inbox if need be. If they don’t, they may never see another email from you in their inbox again.
That’s the most important thing.
The other is maximizing the number of people engaging by improving your open rates. Here’s where it’s important to clean your email list regularly, so you’re only sending email to the people who are likely to read it.
It can be scary to clean your email list regularly—because it means deleting people from your list—but it’s absolutely a great thing to do for your email engagement, and for the health of your email list.
Why? It will show Google and Microsoft and Yahoo! that what you’re sending is of greater interest to your subscribers. The higher they see your open rate, the more likely they are to increase your domain reputation. The better your reputation, guess what? The next email you send is more likely to land in the inbox. It’s a virtuous cycle.
More Email Marketing Resources
If you’re just getting started building your email list, the best time to start thinking about and implementing these email deliverability best practices is now.
And if you’ve had a list for a while and things have gotten stagnant, the best time to start is… also now.
If you need more support with your email marketing, you’re in the right place! Here are a few more resources to help you build an audience and create more revenue with a robust email marketing practice:
Branding Mistakes That Can Cripple Small Businesses
Small businesses operate in a highly competitive market, and branding can be vital in standing out. The branding process should be done thoughtfully and deliberately.
Small businesses need to invest in their brands keenly to create a winning identity. However, in branding, emerging businesses need to avoid common mistakes like lack of brand strategy and failure to research market competition.
Lack of a Brand Strategy
You need to develop a brand strategy while detailing your business objectives. The strategy should be comprehensive and understand the business landscape while highlighting your competition. You also need to define your brand alongside your type of customers.
Note that an ideal brand strategy is developed as a creative partnership involving the client, the strategist, and the designer. In some cases, you can leverage services of third parties like Agency Boon to get ideas on different strategies.
A comprehensive strategy will assist you in working out what products and services you should focus on. From this position, you can make the right decisions to enter and grow in the market. With a strategy, every team member is aware of their role in advancing your business goals. Even when you are alone, the strategy will guide you on how to win over customers.
Not Researching Your Competition
A new small business should understand its competition since it acts as a guide to attracting customers. Researching the competition enables you to understand what other established companies in your niche have done. Understanding competition allows you to determine where other businesses have failed and how you can avoid their mistakes in your new venture. While reviewing your competition, look at products, services, target audiences, websites and social media platforms.
Note that failure to consider these factors will likely result in you being unable to understand the competition better alongside running the risk of replicating their strategy, which might fail.
Not Understanding the Target Audience
Before you start selling your products into the market, you need to understand who your right audience is and how you plan to satisfy their needs. Generally, understand their demands and expectations. Once you do identify your target audience, designing the brand message becomes easier. Additionally, having knowledge of your audience is an indicator that your customers feel valued and likely to engage with your business.
Inconsistency in any business sends a message that you don’t understand what you are offering. Small businesses need to present a consistent identity mainly due to benefits like fostering a sense of trust and comfort for clients. In most cases, starting a business with an inconsistent image can be viewed as unprofessional and untrustworthy.
To meet consistency, consider having a style guide for your business’s visual and verbal elements.
Failure to Collect Feedback
Feedback is key to improving your business. If you have feedback channels, your customers will feel at home as they consider your business trustworthy. Additionally, you need to focus on collecting feedback from the proper channels and sources. However, limiting your sources to positive reviews will not give you an accurate picture of the business.
Avoid feedback from friends, family members, employees, and relatives.
Managing a brand has its challenges, especially for small businesses. However, following the right branding strategies will likely elevate your business, especially if you have the right strategy in place.
Nina Acosta, Founder & CEO of Transcend the Light-Transformational Life Coach & Energy Healer, Interviewed on Podcast Discussing Emotional Trigger Management
ReliefNow™ Laser Methods© Drs. Robert Hanopole and Dr. Michael Rubenstein Interviewed on Optimal Health
Herndon Laser Pain Center Dr. Bruce Short Interviewed on Optimal Health about Class IV Laser Therapy
The Moment These 7 Entrepreneurs Turned Their Hobby Into a Business
How to Scale Your Sales Team Quickly
Tips for scaling up your Etsy business
News4 days ago
Kevin Coffey, Founder, and CEO of Complete Spectrum Financial Services, was Interviewed on the Influential Entrepreneurs Podcast, Discussing How to Avoid Market Losses
News6 days ago
Not All Superheroes Wear Capes: Honoring Humanitarian Heroes At 2022 Be Great! Humanitarian Awards Following Opening Day Of D23 Expo
News6 days ago
Real Estate Markets Cooling: Julie Brittain, Atlanta Real Estate Advisor Focused on Luxury Living, Discusses How She Sells Listings in a Weekend
News2 days ago
ReliefNow™ Laser Methods© Drs. Robert Hanopole and Dr. Michael Rubenstein Interviewed on Optimal Health
News7 days ago
IANDS 2022 Conference Honors Disabled Veterans and Military NDE With Free of Charge Admission
News2 days ago
Brenda Flick, Owner & Managing Broker of RealPro Real Estate Professionals, Interviewed on the Colorado Real Estate Leaders Podcast
News2 days ago
Attorney Stacy T. Forchetti Discusses ‘Harnessing Fear, Gathering Power’ on Soulfully Blonde Live August 16
News2 days ago
Herndon Laser Pain Center Dr. Bruce Short Interviewed on Optimal Health about Class IV Laser Therapy