youtube marketing

YouTube is the place to be for businesses. Whether you’re creating your own channel or simply using YouTube to advertise, it’s a valuable addition to any marketer’s toolkit in today’s highly visual world. Unfortunately, many small businesses tend to shy away from spending on video, deeming it too expensive – but with the right small business YouTube marketing strategy, it’s a worthwhile investment.

There’s plenty of data to back up that claim, too. According to Hubspot, mobile ads on YouTube are 84% more likely to hold a viewer’s attention than TV ads, and 68% of YouTube users watch videos to help them make purchase decisions.

First Things First: Do Your Homework

Is there already a YouTube channel out there creating similar content? Build off of what they do well and change what they don’t. Find videos that have the most views and interactions to see what your audience will be interested in.

It would also be wise to look at their video descriptions to see what keywords they’re using. There are also free browser extensions like VidIQ that allow you to see helpful information about another channel’s videos, such as demographics and which videos drove the most subscriptions.

Creating a YouTube Profile & Writing a Channel Description

Your YouTube profile page is often the deciding factor for subscribers, so you’ll want to make a good impression. Including a large banner image (2560 x 1440 pixels) at the top of your page and uploading a profile picture (ideally an 800 x 800-pixel image to ensure clarity) will make you appear more credible to channel lurkers.

Your channel description is located under the “About” tab on your profile. It should include:

  • A keyword-rich bio
  • Links to your website and social media profiles
  • Location and contact information

It’s important to remember that YouTube is a community. Networking with similar channels is highly beneficial to both parties – you can endorse each other’s channels by adding them to your Featured Channels box on your profile, and vice versa.

The way you organize the videos on your profile is important, too. Arranging your videos into playlists is an easy way to keep your channel neat and tidy. And when someone clicks on one video in a playlist, the next will autoplay, keeping that person on your channel longer and giving you more views.

YouTube SEO for Small Businesses

YouTube, like Google, is a search engine. That means SEO, or search engine optimization, is going to be part of your small business YouTube marketing strategy.

YouTube SEO includes things like titles, thumbnails, and descriptions. The best practices for each ranking factor are listed below.


Video titles can be up to 70 characters long, although no more than 60 is recommended to prevent it from being cut off on search engines. When creating a title, you want to use words that are commonly searched. Put yourself in someone’s shoes who may know nothing about a topic when searching for it.

Avoid “clickbait” titles that aren’t related to your content, as these will only hurt your channel in the long run. YouTube monitors how long your videos are watched, and if people are initially drawn in by your title but click away quickly, YouTube may penalize you for it.


A thumbnail is a photo that represents your video, appearing in search results or the recommended sidebar. The thumbnail photo you choose should be clear, eye-catching, and hint to what the video is about. Research shows people respond well when a human face (often a very expressive one) is included in the thumbnail.


The descriptions you write for your video help YouTube’s AI better understand your content. For this reason, vivid descriptions of what the video is about will help your videos rank higher. Place key search terms toward the beginning of your description, don’t resort to unnatural-sounding keyword stuffing.

If your video is particularly long, use your description to link to important timestamps so that viewers can skip to the parts they want. This space can also be used to link to similar videos, add hashtags, and link to your brand’s other social media channels.


Tags are a major factor in YouTube SEO. Choose tags that include the keywords you used in your title and description, and be sure to only include tags that are relevant to your video. Tags are not visible on videos by default, so you’ll need to use an extension like the previously mentioned VidIQ to mine your competitors for tags.

Call to action

If you watch a lot of YouTube videos, you’re probably tired of hearing the words “like, comment, and subscribe” over and over again. That’s because the reminder works! You can also place custom subscribe buttons visible only to non-subscribers on your videos.


A card is a small, clickable button that appears in the top right corner of a video at the time you choose. You can use cards to link to your other videos, giving your viewers somewhere to go next.

Pro Tip: YouTube also highly favors videos that have closed captions available. While YouTube auto-captions videos, these captions typically aren’t very accurate, so it’s better to do them yourself or hire someone else to do them for you.

Content is King, but Consistency is Queen

YouTube favors channels that post frequently over channels that post sporadically. Uploading regularly also gives you more opportunities to learn YouTube’s algorithm and perfect your marketing strategy.

Consistency builds credibility. Even if you can only manage one video per month, letting viewers know that it will always go up on the first Wednesday of each month helps to create a more loyal following.

Consider Influencer Marketing

Along the same lines of networking, it may be in your business’s best interest to work with an influencer in your niche. They already have a following, which means you have the potential to easily reach more potential customers. Research has shown 60% of YouTube viewers trust the opinions of those they subscribe to.

Advertising on YouTube

Creating content isn’t the only way to promote your brand on YouTube. You can also pay to place ads on other people’s videos. You’ll need to do some research to determine which of the following types of ads best fit your brand’s voice and budget:

  • Skippable video ads
  • Non-skippable video ads
  • Bumper ads
  • Overlay ads
  • Display ads
  • Sponsored cards

The key to YouTube advertising is to make the viewer forget that they’re watching an ad. The better your ads blend into the publisher’s content, the more likely they’ll pay attention.

Measuring and Reporting

Your YouTube channel is set up, your titles and descriptions are optimized, and you’re posting regularly, so that’s all there is to it, right? Not exactly.

You should be monitoring different aspects of your channel to see what’s working and what’s not Here are some important metrics you’ll want to keep a close eye on:

  • Subscribers gained/lost
  • Shifting audience demographics
  • Traffic sources (are people finding you organically, or through referral channels?)
  • Device type (mobile, desktop, smart TVs, etc.)

While you probably won’t make a big splash right away, the small business YouTube marketing tips laid out in this guide will put you on an accelerated track to success.

But knowing how to optimize your content for YouTube is only half the battle – the other half is, of course, making great content. If you’re a business owner in the Tampa Bay area, you can turn to Slice for all of your video production and post-production needs. We work with companies large and small to bring their brands to life – contact us today for more information.