YouTube Marketing: Top Tools & ToDos for Small Business Marketers

Video can be intimidating, especially for anyone over the age of thirty. The “YouTube generation” has come of age, and if you’re not Jenna Marbles and don’t have 15,000,000 subscribers to your YouTube channel, well you feel like a) you’ve missed the boat, b) missing the boat is a metaphor only someone over the age of thirty would use, and c) YouTube is just a crazy hang out for teenagers and maybe it will just go away. It won’t. YouTube will not go away.

And you haven’t missed the boat: video, in general, and YouTube in particular is an amazing marketing opportunity with just some simple tips, tools, todos, and tactics (any other things that start with T). Here goes: the shortest, quickest, easiest guide to marketing success on YouTube: ToDos & Tools edition.

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No Brainer: Get a YouTube Channel for Your Brand

YouTube MarketingOK, no brainer #1. You’ll need a YouTube channel for your brand.  (Brand is what smarty pants marketers say instead of company. You’ll have to get hip, so from now on say “brand” and not “company”).  Here are the recommended steps

  1. If your brand doesn’t have a Google+ identity, yet, sign into your Google account (or create a Gmail at Click on the + (plus) sign in the top right, then the home button top left, then pages.  Either “manage your page” or create a page for your company.
  2. Next go to YouTube’s nifty create a channel link at At the bottom click on “To use a business or other name, click here.”
  3. Follow the instructions to create your channel.  Don’t worry about other elements of the set-up, we’ll return to those later.

At this point, TODO #1 is done: you have a YouTube channel!  For more help, visit the official YouTube site on brand channels, here.

Understand the Three Purposes of YouTube Videos

Next, you’ll need to grasp the three – and only three – marketing purposes of YouTube video. As we live in the shadow of the Double Rainbow Videos and Girls Don’t Poop,  your boss (and fellow marketers) might think that all YouTube is about is “going viral” and getting “millions of views.” That’s one purpose (sharing / viral) but not the only purpose for a good YouTube Video for marketing.  Here are the three reasons why your company should make YouTube videos:

  1. Supportive Videos. Next up, for best video in a supporting role: Your Video. By supportive, we mean a video that explains what your company does in simple English, a video of your sales rep at the National Conference walking customers through your latest and greatest, or a video that is used “as content” for sharing on Social Media. These videos do not really promote your company; they support it, by using the power of video to convey a message in simple (and often) emotional tones.
  2. SEO Videos. YouTube is the #2 search engine (Sorry, Bing!), and especially in the “how to” arena, people often turn to video. So if your company has a shot at explaining “how to” do something, you can use search engine optimization techniques to optimize a video to show up in Google and/or YouTube searches.
  3. Sharing is Caring Videos. Sharing is caring, as they say, and some videos are meant to be shared.  Will it blend? Dear Future Mom? Dear 16 Year Old Me? Your videos don’t have to “go viral,” but they have to be clever, fun, useful and/or emotional enough for user #1 to want to share it with friends, family, and colleagues.

Those are the three basic purposes of a YouTube video for marketing purposes. Check out some competitors, do searches on YouTube for your keywords, browse leading companies as examples of “best practices” for YouTube. Remember: you don’t have to be Taylor Swift, Mike Tompkins, Nigahiga or others “stars,” nor Whole Foods or REI, you can be Analog Devices or Canadian Tire.

  • Think like a user: what kind of videos would they want to see, that touch on your brand?
  • Think like a marketer. What’s the purpose of your video? Make sure you have annotations, embedded links, YouTube cards, and even call-to-action overlays to get people FROM your video to a desired action such as to sign up for your eLetter, or (gasp) to buy your stuff.

Once you have your raw footage… how can you edit it (for free, next to nothing, cheaply)? Fortunately, there are some video editing tools that will help you create your videos after you get your raw footage:

  • iMovie (by Apple), Windows Movie Maker (by Microsoft) and other third party video editing tools such as Wideo.  Choose one, and get good at video editing. Remember: YouTube is all about authenticity, so your videos don’t have to be perfect to be successful! You can do “good enough” videos for marketing purposes, and do just fine. (Check out our channel, for example, at – and we know that the production leaves a LOT to be desired, and yet our channel is pretty successful on its own terms).
  • YouTube Capture. This nifty program will let you use your iPhone to capture and edit videos, right on the spot. Great if you are a retail store.
  • PowToon. This is an example of animation programs out there; so you don’t have to actually star in the video, you can use animation software to produce it.

Promote It: Now You’ve Got a Channel and Some Videos…

Now that you have a channel and a video (or hopefully a few videos), what’s your next step: PROMOTE IT.  Get people to watch your videos, subscribe to your channel, build your audience. But how?

  • Cross-promote Your Channel. Use your website to link to your channel, your Twitter to link to your channel, Facebook to your channel, etc.  Make sure it’s easy and obvious for a user to ho from one social network to another.
  • The Real World. There is this amazing social network: called the REAL WORLD. If you have a real world space, use it to promote your videos. Heck, ask your customers to participate by being “in” your videos. Use your real world presence to promote your social (and vice-versa).
  • SEO-Optimize Your Video. If your video is something people search for, you should have already SEO-‘d the video.
  • Use Social Media. Promote your own video on your own social networks (e.g., Facebook), and look for influencers who could also promote it.
  • Advertise. Gasp! Yes, I said it: advertise your video (at first) to get the view count up, the thumbs up / thumbs down count up, and the minutes watched up. YouTube and Google pay great attention to this, so by advertising (early) you can get organic (later). Click here to learn about YouTube advertising.  (Oh, and click here for TubeChop which is a great way to share a particular moment in a video).

Measure your results with YouTube Analytics and Google Analytics.

Never Stop Learning: Pay Attention to Free Learning Resources on YouTube

A motto near and dear to my heart: never stop learning. Fortunately for you as a YouTuber, there are some great, free, resources to stay informed on YouTube and learn how to become a better video producer.  Here are some of my favorites:

Now, get out there and make some videos! To get a full list of available YouTube resources and tools, sign up for our free email alerts as we are working on a NEW edition of the Social Media Toolbook. When it comes out, all subscribers will get a free copy. (Everyone else will have to pay).



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About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.