YouTube can generate a consistent flow of leads to your consulting business every month. This article highlights common video marketing mistakes while uncovering the core process required to leverage YouTube to it's full potential.
Important note: You MUST see YouTube as your strategic video partner. Short-term strategies (hacks, tricks, and other workarounds) damage your relationship with the platform. If you give YouTube what it wants (quality content), YouTube will give you what you want (traffic, leads, and sales).
This post will show you:
- How most consultants use video (Don't do this)
- How you SHOULD use video (Please do this)
- A simple 5-step checklist to improve your video strategy
HOW MOST CONSULTANTS USE VIDEO
Most consultants assume "making a video and posting it" will somehow create an influx of leads.
This plan is great. Except for the fact that it is incredibly vague and requires pixie dust.
WHY USE VIDEO AT ALL?
Why did you even get interested in using video in the first place?
Display. You need a method of displaying your expertise. You sell services. Services are invisible. Services are intangible. Video presents an opportunity to help a prospective client see and appreciate how your services are used and the value he can get from them.
Differentiate. You need a strategy to differentiate yourself. We live in the age where anyone can throw up a shingle and call themselves an expert. Therefore, a new expert is born every day. You need a clear way of differentiating yourself from the pretenders that exist in the marketplace.
Dominate. You want to be on the dominant video platform. YouTube is the biggest game in town. It's the second biggest search engine in the world. If you're going to be making video, you should be on YouTube.
THE CLASSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION MISTAKE
What happens when you create a video? When it's all said and done, you create the most corporate video the world has ever seen. You know the kind I'm talking about.
What is this persona you put on? What is that VOICE you use? Your goal was to present yourself in a professional way, but the end video product is dry, stodgy, and awkward.
What is more damaging than the corporate video is the cost you incur to create it. First, you hire an agency and buy fancy technology. Second, you edit (and re-edit) the script 29 times. Third, you shoot (and re-shoot) to make everything "perfect". What should have been a three hour project ends up becoming a three month project because you corporate-ized the entire process.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIDEO MARKETING GOALS?
What are the promotion objectives for the typical consultant who wants to use video?
- You want to be seen.
- You want to build your authority.
- You want to grow your audience.
- You want to establish a brand.
Hard question alert: You don't really know how to measure success on any of these metrics, do you?
These are fancy terms people use in business circles because they sound good. For most consultants these topics involve very fuzzy math.
Beyond the fancy business jargon, you want clients. And you want those clients to come inbound to you.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the goal of inbound leads, but we need metrics we believe in. Keep reading.
THE CLASSIC VIDEO PROMOTION MISTAKE(S)
Once you finish creating your corporate-ized video, how do you promote it? Here are the two most common methods.
Bad Promotion Method #1 - Post and pray
Bad Promotion Method #2 - Spam (dump and run)
Post and pray = Since you are so worn out from your lengthy content creation efforts, you only have enough energy to upload the video...and pray it gets traffic.
Spam = You go to every forum you know about, every group you've ever joined, every network you're a part of...DUMP the link...and run off. This is also affectionately known as the "dump and run".
Is this how you planned to represent your company on the internet? Are either of these strategies symbolic of your care/concern for clients? I highly doubt it.
Still, you get caught using strategies because you never truly saw "video" as a process to be leveraged. You never really thought strategically about how to connect "video" to the goals of your company.
In the end, you don't like your results and conclude that "video doesn't work".
A BETTER PROCESS
With that said, is there a blueprint for success? Is there a way of making all the puzzle pieces fit together? Absolutely. But you've got to change your core thought process. Here is a better approach:
YouTube is your strategic video partner. The platform WANTS to show your video content to more people. In fact, when executed properly, your content will be binge-watched by your ideal client.
Not only will your prospective client watch multiple videos, but he will THANK YOU as he makes payment for services.
Sound good? Keep reading.
1: YOU NEED FOCUSED EXPERTISE
Your video strategy can die before it even gets started. Here are two common mistakes.
Mistake #1 - You are using video to promote services you THINK will sell well.
Video does no good if you are guessing at what your clients need. Don't get caught up selling the "idea of the day". Go back to basics. Offer services that fit directly inside your proven expertise.
Mistake #2 - You are offering generic services because you are afraid to focus.
Terms like business coach, marketing agency, software developer, leadership consultant, etc are VAGUE and USELESS to your prospective client. Instead, focus on a precise problem and offer to resolve it with your specific services.
Note: This topic is extremely important and could be an entire article all by itself. For now, understand that if you are unclear here, the remaining steps become incredibly more difficult.
2: CREATE CONTENT PROSPECTS WANT TO WATCH
If your prospective client doesn't want to watch the FIRST video she certainly won't want to watch the second, fifth, or eighth video. Create content a prospective client will enjoy as their "first watch".
You can eliminate the corporate-ized video content and long production times. Instead, simplify the entire content creation process by following these guidelines.
Dedicate a place to create your videos. Use a very simple environment. Wherever you do your work is probably where you should make your videos. Your videos should feel like a one on one meeting with you. If your environment is indoors, use an indoor setting. If your environment is outdoors, use an outdoor setting. In any case, the viewer should feel he is enjoying a private conversation...with you...in your natural working environment.
Just answer the question. It is not your job to explain everything you know about the topic. Your prospective clients have questions, answer them. You don't need fancy setups, backgrounds, or props. In fact, you only need one core teaching tool. Whatever tool you need to make the point is the only tool you need. You can show your flare, personality, and charisma by choosing your teaching tool intentionally.
Educate or entertain. People come to YouTube for one of two reasons: education (to learn something) or entertainment (to feel an emotion). Your content MUST hit one of these two goals.
In my business, I chose the whiteboard environment. It's my natural working environment. I use it when I'm not making videos. It's my core teaching tool. It allows me to quickly answer questions. This environment also allows me to sprinkle in my personality to keep the content fun.
3: PROMOTE CONTENT TO GET YOUR FIRST-WATCH...FASTER
Brutal Truth: Keyword research alone is NOT good enough.
To be fair, one of the reasons you got caught using promotional strategies like the "post and pray" and "dump and run" is because you thought using keywords in your content was enough.
The old standard was:
a) find relevant keywords
b) make content to match those keywords
c) wait for the traffic to come flowing in
That advice held for years. However, it is not 100% true anymore. There is exponentially more competition for popular search terms and increased difficulty in finding niche search terms with enough relevant traffic. You will need to do more than target keywords.
A tried and true approach I've used for YEARS is posting my video content in public places with context. I would post my video in a group or forum with a short summary (or introduction).
By telling people what they can expect before they watch the video, I've greatly limited their risk of experiencing spam (or simply useless) content. By intentionally limiting the risk to my potential viewer, I am drastically increasing the "first watch potential" every time I promote a video.
Below is an example of my promotional strategy on Quora. I answered questions using my content as responses. I always provided some context for the reader/watcher. I got plenty of views, shares, comments following this process. This effort gave my video content initial momentum because I was answering real questions from real people.Note: Once you've established a baseline of promotion with organic strategies, advertising can be used to give the promotional process speed. You can get those same quality of views for pennies, literal pennies.
Either way, you must appreciate that active content promotion (beyond keyword research) is important. Simply decided how much you want to invest in one particular strategy or another.
4: GET PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS TO BINGE-WATCH
Did you know the average user session on YouTube is 40 minutes long? When people go to YouTube, they hang out. If your content is there, they'll hang out with your content too.
But don't forget: You have to meet the education or entertainment standard. People aren't on YouTube just to watch your content. They're on YouTube to be educated or entertained. Your videos must satisfy at least one of those two criteria.
"Watch Time" is YouTube's unfair competitive advantage. The time and level of attention people give to YouTube makes this platform specifically different from Facebook or LinkedIn. To that end, YouTube continues to do everything it can to continue (if not extend) the average user session time.
All of this is good news for you.
These platform features don't just work for YouTube, they work for you!
- "Search" - The first place your prospective client goes to find content that solves their problems. Your content should be here, if at all possible.
- "Recommended" - Is shown when your prospective client first logs-in to YouTube. It is a collection of the latest videos from the channels she is subscribed to. If she is subscribed to your channel, your content will be there too.
- "Up Next" - automatically plays the next relevant video for your prospective client. Do everything in your power to ensure your video is always up next.
- "Playlists" - Creator generated lists of content making it easier for a prospective client to watch consecutive videos on their topic of choice. This is one of the easiest ways to help a prospective client watch two, three, or nine of your videos in a row. Create a playlist today!
The math here is pretty simple: You CREATE relevant content. Youtube SHOWS relevant content. Prospective WATCHES relevant content.
5: LET THE PROCESS WORK
The best part? When you work this process the way you're supposed to, this process happens automatically.
- YouTube will put your good content in front of the right person (a potential client).
- Your potential client will watch multiple videos of yours (binge-watch)
- Your prospective client will decide for themselves that YOU offer the best solution for the problem they are facing.
This happens to me often. People even request help from me inside the comments. It's not because I'm some sort of genius. It's because I leverage YouTube as part of a complete system to attract great clientele.
IS VIDEO (YOUTUBE) THE RIGHT PLATFORM FOR YOU? TAKE THE QUIZ
At this point, we've covered what most consultants do (and why that is bad).
We've also covered an approached I've used for years (and why it's better).
Here you can download the five-step checklist in order to decide if YouTube is the platform you should keep investing in.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
As you finish reading this article (and consider your results from the quiz), You probably fall in one of three categories:
Category 1 - This article makes immediate sense to you. It clarifies some things you've been thinking about for a while. You are feeling excitement and momentum just by reading. If so, YouTube is your platform of choice. Keep building and get the value you're after.
Category 2 - This article frustrated you. Something about this strategy feels off. Maybe you thought "making video" was enough. Maybe you expected a hack or trick to immediately leverage and profit from. Perhaps, it all just seems like more work than you want to put in. If so, you should not use YouTube. Please leverage some other platform.
Category 3 - Or you may find yourself somewhere in the middle. Some parts of the article make instant sense to you. Other parts may leave you curious with more questions. I'll tell you this: if you think YouTube can work for you as a platform...you are probably right...and it's worth the effort to figure it out. Read this post again. Look at some of the tips you've been offered in each section. Use this article as a guide to identify the next step for you and your business.
YouTube could absolutely generate the pipeline you want, but it's a system and you've got to work it like a real system.