Saturday, May 30, 2009

YouTube for additional advertising

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't."
-Anatole France

With every business looking for effective ways to advertise, you have to spend your money wisely. I have seen more people waste advertising dollars than any other expense dollars. I think the reason for this is that, unlike other types of expenses, it is hard to quantify the results of advertising.

Lately, I have seen many businesses using YouTube as a way of driving customers to their web sites. This is especially true for products or services that need to be seen and require some education or information for their use.

One such product is the Toyota Prius. I am interested in getting a new Prius. Compared to my older model, the new model has so many neat features, from a lane assist option that warns you if you drift out of your traffic lane to a solar panel that keeps the car cool when it is parked in the sun.

While I can see pictures or read about these features, going to YouTube and seeing them in a video is so much more effective for me. I was really able to get an understanding of what each feature is and what the associated benefits and limitations are. The videos on YouTube helped me decide which features to have on my new Prius once I decide to get one. Of course, I really would like to have one!

Another example is a relatively new Tallahassee business called Talon Training Group. They specialize in weapons training (which is excellent, and I have attended) for both law enforcement officers and the average citizen, as well as selling related products such as holsters and magazines. The business is owned and run by law enforcement officers, so they do not have much time or money for advertising campaigns. As an alternative, they have joined the numerous other companies that are using YouTube to raise their visibility.

You can view one of Talon’s videos at or just by typing “talontraininggroup” into the search box at YouTube. While their videos are not super slick – not very slick at all – they convey information in a very clear and honest fashion.

Their videos, like so many other good ones, are primarily educational and secondarily sales-oriented. This is just good marketing. You want to educate potential consumers so as to build trust and encourage them to visit your web site.

In order to be effective there are several rules of thumb to remember when creating your video. Firstly, it must not feel like a commercial. If it feels like an ad, people will not walk, but run from your video.

Secondly, because the sell has to be soft, a call to action will not work very well. The best thing you can do is show your web site. The goal is to get the user so excited about your product that their next stop is your web site.

Thirdly, the video needs to be short. Three minutes seems to be the ideal length. If the video is much longer than this, people will lose interest and move on.

Finally, the video must be both educational and engaging. Having 40 years of experience as a professor, I can tell you that education without some type of entertainment is not very successful.

Now go out and see if YouTube might be an effective way for you to advertise your products to potential customers.

You can do this!

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