8 steps to boosting your lead funnel with a YouTube marketing strategy
You will learn:
- Why YouTube can nurture B2B lead generation
- How to create an integrated YouTube marketing plan
- Essential YouTube metrics to track your campaign
Picture this — six months from now your B2B marketing team has launched an educational YouTube channel for your customers. You’ve encouraged your team to create a YouTube marketing strategy with the sales and support team. Of course, you were nervous about taking on production processes with an external agency, but you produced your first two YouTube videos!
When you get your first analytics report back — you’re quickly humbled. The channel’s viewership is alarmingly low! How will you justify the investment to the C-Suite?
Introducing: Integrated marketing for YouTube
Allow me to bring you back to the present for a (reassuring) news flash: YouTube is both a long-term game, and the future of your B2B sales funnel.
If you’re worried about justifying the investment, consider the fact that 70% percent of YouTube viewers say they have purchased a product after seeing a YouTube ad about the product. This is why at Aimtal we encourage clients to start a YouTube marketing strategy as part of their long-term, integrated, and empathetic marketing strategy.
The tea: Is your audience really on YouTube?
There is a new, self-driven generation of decision-makers in B2B marketing, and they’re watching YouTube on a daily basis. In fact, YouTube is the second-most visited platform in the world, giving your company endless opportunities to attract, engage and delight customers.
As a medium, video is simply a more effective way for customers to remember your brand. In fact, audiences retain an astounding 95% of a message when they watch it on video, making it easier for your prospects to remember how your product or service resolves their pain points. Although blog content is still a foundational asset for your B2B marketing strategy in 2022, Insivia reports readers only retain 10% of a message when reading text.
Benefits of using YouTube for B2B marketing
The other benefit? Video caters to the new way customers research B2B purchases.
Gartner reports that the future of B2B sales is rapidly moving away from sales conversations and toward building relationships with customers through digital channels. Did you know 44% of millennials prefer no sales rep interaction at all in a B2B setting? When you couple that with B2B buyers spending significantly less time with sales reps on the buyer’s journey, then video is a prime way to churn your sales team’s lead funnel.
YouTube marketing is an opportunity to:
- Find your audience where they are looking for help
- Build trust with a new generation of decision-makers
- Promote client stories without an email list
- Establish your brand as the go-to source for decision-making
First and foremost, YouTube can showcase your company’s culture by humanizing complex B2B products and services. By making your team appear approachable and collaborative, you build the ‘Know, Like, Trust’ trifecta which we know drives conversions for your sales team.
Eight steps to developing your YouTube marketing strategy
Read on to uncover eight steps to developing a YouTube marketing strategy, including tips for a successful YouTube marketing framework.
Step one: Paint your YouTube picture with a customer story
Launching a YouTube channel is an ideal time to familiarize yourself with your company’s purpose and how your product offering helps your audience.
So it’s well worth the company-wide exercise before choosing a video format. Did you know the frisbee emerged when students at Yale began to fling tin pie pans at each other? Often, the customer’s ingenuity creates a use case that becomes subtlety associated with your brand. In fact, many of the products we buy today are the result of a brand awakening to their customer’s real story — and are rewarded with a notable increase in revenue.
The Golden Circle
Having a grasp on your company’s ‘Why’ statement will make your YouTube content much more authentic and relevant to your audience. Of course, as a for-profit business, your goal is to reach your sales quota. But ultimately, the pursuit of money is not what builds a business — value does.
For example, Salesforce’s mission statement, or their Why, is, “We build bridges between companies and customers. Businesses succeed when they create meaningful connections. Our mission is to deliver it.” As their purpose is to build bridges, they acknowledge the potential for a siloed app experience — which has been a huge pain point in a competitive, (and flooded) app market.
Sure enough, Salesforce’s YouTube content centers on streamlining processes for employees and customers. From video titles on breaking down silos to promoting their integrations, every aspect of their content lives and breathes their mission to make it easier to connect with your customers.
Your company mission: Does your audience care?
Before you start sharing stories with your customer on YouTube, ensure your mission lines up with how and why your customer is using your product. Even our own team was recently reminded of how much audience research should be a priority. When we polled Aimtal's community on social media, they agreed that when you’re writing a newsletter, the most time should be spent on audience research.
Your mission on YouTube is no different than any newsletter, blog, or podcast your team produces. Any marketer looking to integrate their efforts across teams can lean on audience research to keep messaging consistent. We’ll discuss more on how to align goals across teams in Step Two.
Try these tips for uncovering important audience insights for a targeted Youtube marketing strategy:
- Internal interviews: How can your expertise help your customers and leads on YouTube?
- Social listening: Observe what your customers are saying about your brand on social media
- Internal SWOT Analysis: What are your opportunities and barriers to creating a YouTube marketing plan?
- YouTube Competitor Analysis: What video content are your competitors sharing with their customers?
Step two: Are you ready for YouTube? Refine your company’s objectives and key results
We know aligning marketing initiatives is a driving force behind any successful content marketing strategy — especially video. Given that YouTube is a substantial investment, you’ll want to make sure all teams are on-board. The best way to do that? Create goals that are agnostic to departmental priorities.
Integrated marketing for YouTube: The role of OKRs (objectives and key results)
If refining your customer story is the first step to a new campaign, your integrated marketing strategy is the manuscript. Knowing when your company should incorporate YouTube with your marketing plan is not an exact science — but fortunately, this decision is not too dissimilar to starting any new marketing campaign.
To make sure your company focuses on the same goals across your organization, create one or two broad, qualitative objectives that all departments can play a role in achieving, such as building a community on Youtube. From sales, to support, and even your accounting department, everyone can contribute to community-driven content with their own goals, in this case, key results.
For your sales team, an objective could be turning 20% of net new leads from Youtube into hot leads by the end of Q1. For marketing, a relevant goal could be to convert 10% of Youtube channel viewers into newsletter subscribers. No matter what goals each department commits to, the key result should have a finite deadline to inspire action across team members.
How to know if you’re ready for YouTube
In a podcast interview with All About Digital Marketing, Aimtal CEO and Co-Founder Janet Mesh shared that “refining your company mission comes from speaking to customers in a direct way and really understanding what motivates them.”
Given this fact, when we began working with the Prisma Cloud team on their YouTube channel DevSecTalks, we shared an extensive client questionnaire to help them independently determine their customer wants and needs.
Even without committing to YouTube, Prisma Cloud knew they wanted to:
- Increase brand awareness to their DevOps/developer audience
- Showcase their knowledgeable, approachable, and warm community
- Get back to basic educational topics that their audience was craving
As content experts, we determined YouTube was the best option for them to showcase their commitment to empathetic education — for a few reasons.
For one, they wanted to build on the organic growth of their developer community. They were ready to create video content because there was a groundswell of feedback from their audience asking for advice in the field.
And second, their team already had an authentic mission to support the DevOps career of each member of their community.
Step three: Develop a YouTube concept informed by SEO
Now that you’ve refined your company’s goals, it’s time to ideate! As marketers, we love a good freeform brainstorming session with our team. After all, there is endless potential when creating video formats for YouTube! So to support the ideation process, let’s ground this exercise in some keyword methodology.
How do you become friends with the algorithm?
Every day 122 million people use Youtube’s search engine. There are endless words and phrases your audience could use to search for topics. To take the mystery out of YouTube SEO, try these two key YouTube marketing tools:
- SEMrush: When Aimtal’s resident YouTube pro, Dylan Rhudd, sat down to collaborate with Prisma Cloud on DevSecTalks, he turned to SEO tool, SEMrush, to perform keyword research and analyze the search volume for specific keywords relevant to the cybersecurity audience.
- CoSchedule Headline Analyzer: CoSchedule Headline Analyzer dissects the clarity, and sentiment of your headline, then generates an overall effectiveness score so you can find the best title for your topic. On top of knowing the right keywords, it’s important to write click-worthy headlines in your niche to really drive engagement with your channel. Dylan recommends aiming for a headline score of 75 or greater.
Even more ways to optimize your channel
There are several ways to amplify your channel’s exposure on YouTube. Be sure to use our tips for descriptions, hashtags, and timestamps before going live with your first video:
- Use target keywords in video descriptions: Including target keywords in your video description will help YouTube categorize and suggest your content to a relevant audience.
- Refine your metadata with tags: Ensure your video ranks well by including your video’s main target keyword, as well as secondary tags (broad and related keywords) in YouTube’s tags feature.
- Use video hashtags: Use the hashtag feature to increase the chance of your video showing up in the YouTube search engine.
Step four: Develop a comprehensive content plan
Now for the fun part! It’s time to come up with video content that inspires your audience to engage with your brand. At Aimtal, we’re currently working on developing our own YouTube channel, and plan on including separate playlists for company culture, marketing tips, webinars, and client features, the list goes on!
Quarterly planning: Content for every stage of the funnel
Alas, we eventually need to zone in on the content our marketing community most wants to see. Incorporating content at every stage of the funnel will ensure you’re educating from a high-level, while also catering to current customers with product-specific content. This also allows you to capture the report on how well your Youtube channel contributes to your potential and current customers.
Try this exercise for funnel-friendly content
Let’s pretend we’ve just launched our own B2B SaaS platform for course creation called Live2Learn. In the table below, we’ve worked with our fictional sales team to find out what kind of content they’re craving to see from marketing. Taking it one step further, we’ve mapped out where each piece of content fits in our hypothetical consultative sales process.
Here is how we broke down video concepts that work at each stage of the selling process, using our fictional company, Live2Learn:
Back to reality! Now it’s your turn — collaborate with your sales team to fill out this table and create content that aligns with both your marketing team, and sales. Huzzah!
Step five: Branding your YouTube channel
Although you’re starting a new adventure on YouTube with your team, you’re not starting from scratch on the branding. While customizing your channels look and feel, you’ll want to start by grounding your plan with your company’s positioning:
- Brand consistency: YouTube channel’s style conventions should be consistent with all of your marketing avenues, including your website, email, social media channels, ads, and promotional materials.
- Align OKRs with design: To ensure your brand plan integrates with your goals, be sure to communicate with your design team from the beginning. For example, if your objective is to attract Gen Z to your brand, you may want the look and feel of your channel to speak to their pain points and narrative.
- Share internally for feedback: To be sure your brand and brand identity on YouTube are complementary, ask for feedback from different departments and make relevant updates.
- Double-check your competitors’ branding: When branding your YouTube channel, you’ll want to reference your competitor analysis in the B2B arena to ensure your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is made clear.
Next up, keep reading to find out the assets you’ll need for your YouTube branding toolkit.
Comprehensive list of YouTube brand assets
Below is a brand asset list and our key tips for setting up your channel:
- Channel name: Your channel name will be juxtaposed with each video you create, so we recommend ensuring it’s consistent with your other social media sites and overall branding.
- Channel icon: Upload an 800 x 800 px square or round image to be used across all of your Google properties, including Gmail. This can be a video series logo, like DevSecTalks, or you can use a company logo.
- Brand visuals: You’ll need a 2560 x 1440 pixel image that will scale on a desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV.
- Channel description: Write a snazzy description of your channel to let readers know what they can expect from your content. Don’t forget to include keywords so audiences can find your videos!
- Channel trailer: Create a 30-60 second trailer so your audience knows what to expect from your content and brand
- Channel URL: If you have over 100 subscribers, a banner + icon, and have been active for 30 days, your channel may be eligible for a custom URL which helps apps identify your channel.
- Channel links: This is your opportunity to promote your newsletter, a landing page for a new product, or any campaign that you’d like to share with your audience. You can promote these links by including calls to action in your script.
If you need more inspiration, you can revisit your competitor research to see how other brands are speaking to their audience and structuring their channel’s content.
Develop a production process that is empathetic to your brand
To create a consistent brand message on YouTube, collaborating with your production team will be key. If production has too much control, your company’s goals could be outweighed by the creative ambitions of your team.
When we get started with a new client project, our team attends multiple brand meetings to grasp a firm understanding of what the client is trying to convey before jumping into the project action items. At Aimtal, we’ve learned through experience that committing to the bigger picture goes a long way in building trust between client and creative. And overall, the more communication you can have with their brand experts—the better!
When our team worked with Prisma Cloud on their YouTube Series, DevSecTalks, Account Manager and Content Strategist Dylan Rhudd worked to ensure there was a unifying connection between the brand and the production process at every stage of the relationship.
We recommend a pre-production checklist for each video to ensure you’re staying on track with your goals:
Pre-production YouTube video checklist
- Value Proposition: A defined promise to the audience on what the topic will cover
- Consistency: When will you deliver on that promise?
- Target Audience: Is the video for prospects or customers?
- Call-To-Action: What campaign makes sense for this video?
Customize your YouTube channel to drive leads
YouTube’s settings are built to drive traffic to your website or landing page. Maximize your return on investment by taking advantage of these built-in, interactive features:
CTA overlay banner
When you get an account with YouTube Advertising you can use this simple banner ad that sits on the lower third of your video ad. Your team can update the title, thumbnail, and landing page where you want to send your audience.
Did you know you can strategically overlay cards at any point during your video? They display on the right-hand side of the player, and provide a clickable link that can include a thumbnail. You can include a prompt in your script for the host to draw verbal attention to the CTA, or work with post-production to include a graphic arrow pointing toward the card.
Cards make it easier for viewers to navigate to the website by providing a clickable link, as opposed to making them search for the link in the description.
Both cards and end screens can significantly improve traffic to your website or landing page. You’ll want to be sure to have an emphasis on your CTA on the card to draw the viewer’s attention.
Check out how our client Prisma Cloud designed their end screen to continue engagement beyond the end of the video:
You’ll notice there is a prompt to subscribe to the channel and their video series branding, along with embedded YouTube cards that recommend other popular DevSecTalks videos. They’ve achieved a cohesive message from start to finish!
Step Six: Promote your YouTube channel
It’s time to start your YouTube marketing campaign! Given that social media users are four times more likely to use YouTube to research a brand, service, or product than other platforms — there are several ways to attract an audience to your channel once you hit the publish button.
Create a distribution campaign
What is your marketing team’s greatest strength? Perhaps you have a healthy newsletter audience or a large LinkedIn following — or maybe you’ve had the most luck with paid ads. Here is an exhaustive list of channels you can use to promote your YouTube channel:
- Channel hashtag: You can create buzz about your channel by developing a unique hashtag, and pointing people towards your YouTube channel on your social media channels. For Prisma Cloud’s DevOps community channel, they kept it simple by using the channel name #DevSecTalks as the hashtag.
- Newsletter: Include your Youtube playlists or latest videos in your newsletter, or even share with the team of your favorite industry newsletter. They’re always looking for new content!
- Social media: Collaborate with your social media team so they can generate excitement around the topics and thought leaders in congruence with your publishing schedule.
- Blog: You know the script you spent hours writing? It’s also a blog! Each Youtube video can be repurposed for your website and bolster your domain credibility, which is exactly what Prisma Cloud did with their dialogue series DevSecTalks.
- Cross-promotion with parent or sister brands, or partners: When DevSecTalks approached us with an integrated marketing campaign, they knew they could rely on umbrella company Palo Alto Networks to share content on the multinational company’s more established social media channels. This not only doubles the opportunity for content reach among a relevant audience, but also promotes their customer engagement efforts internally at the global level.
Step seven: Creative ways to repurpose YouTube videos for lead generation
Now that you’ve optimized your channel, it’s time for an internal campaign! After all, your YouTube channel is a part of an integrated marketing campaign. So it’s time to leverage your videos for both customer acquisition and satisfaction.
In fact, if you share this article with your team, be sure to flag to your sales team that Step 7 is a must-read.
Integrate video into the sales process
Although B2B customers are less likely to engage in conversations with sales — investing in video is actually an implicit love letter to your sales team. Vidyard reports that using video for lead engagement has increased response rates for more than 70% of sales reps. So creating a YouTube distribution strategy that’s aligned with your sales team can drive up the value of your investment.
Here are some hot tips that B2B sales teams are beginning to employ:
- Use a video marketing tool: Video marketing tools like Vidyard empower your sales team to record video introductions to a YouTube video link for leads. Sales reps have found that this increases sales conversations by four times.
- Create content catered to the consultative sales process: When developing your content strategy, work alongside your sales team to create a long-term plan for producing YouTube topics that speak to clients’ most relevant pain points.
Step eight: A beginner-friendly Youtube reporting method
An integrated marketing strategy means that everyone on your team will play a role in establishing your reporting method for YouTube. From production to sales, and even your company TikTok expert — everyone is fair game for giving weight to the numbers in your YouTube analytics report.
That’s why it’s apt to look to your production talent for their knowledge of what attracts, engages, and delights audiences. At Aimtal, our video editor, Jessie Martinez, strongly recommends audience retention rate as the real Youtube metric for B2B marketing. Viewership rate, “will not paint the right story — even though it’s considered the golden ticket,” shares Jessie.
Instead? Focus on audience retention rate
Did you know Hootsuite reports that viewers spend an average of 19 minutes during each visit to YouTube?
Rely on the audience retention rate to tell you if you are sustaining the attention of the viewer throughout the video. The longer they watch, the more relevant and engaging the content is.
Try the following tips for improving your audience retention rate:
- Observe the drop-off point: Identify if there is a particular topic that turns away the viewer’s attention.
- Have a good cold open: The first five seconds of your video are most important — be sure to have a good hook in your script to draw them into the story and content.
- Revisit customer story: Observe if your customer journey lines up with the messaging in your content.
Did your YouTube video attract, delight, and engage your audience?
When creating your first report, it’s helpful to organize YouTube analytics into three categories: attract, engage, and delight.
- Who is drawn to your Youtube channel? (Attract): Observe impressions, traffic source types, and demographics data to showcase new viewers for your internal report.
- Is your content valuable to your audience? (Engage): Assess how your content is valued by your audience by tracking the number of views, impressions, click-through rate, watch time, average percentage viewed, average view duration, comments, and likes.
- Are you viewed as a thought leader? (Delight): Review the number of returning viewers, and subscribers to identify if you’re becoming a strong influencer in your niche on Youtube.
Bonus reporting tips:
- Optimize for ‘suggested video’: Search Google Trends to identify topics growing in popularity and adapt previously published YouTube video descriptions to increase the likelihood of showing up on the “Suggested Video” feed.
- Add timestamps or chapters: When you add timestamps to your video, this increases the searchable keywords the YouTube audience can use to find your video.
Start your YouTube marketingadventure!
For a website that started with an 18-second video about elephant trunks, it’s extraordinary that we’re now creating vibrant, educational communities on the same platform. To this day, it’s still free to start your Youtube channel. Given how millennials and Gen Z are playing more of a role in the decision-making process for technology brands, you can count on Youtube as the future of your B2B sales funnel.
Of course, as marketers, we do have to play ball with the algorithm, and that’s exactly why we created this guide to YouTube marketing — to ease your hesitation in getting started. So now that you’re an expert, go forth, and create!