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Creating a how-to video strategy for your business

how-to video strategyMy son is very ambitious. At the age of 9 he’s determined to build a home theatre in our cellar. It used to be a finished playroom, but an especially rainy spring about 10 years ago meant we had to tear it all out because of a flood. Now it’s just an empty storage space. But I’m digressing.

I’m the type of parent who encourages her kids to figure things out. So I challenged my son to research home theatres and come back to me when he understood what it would take to build a home theatre. He turned to Google and found video after video, and article after article on the topic. He watched many of the videos on YouTube, then reported back to me.

That’s kind of how life goes with my son. If he wants to know how to do something, the first thing he does is look for a video on it. And 98% of the time that video is on YouTube. And there’s good reason for that. According to a recent report from Google, how-to videos on YouTube have increased 70% year on year.

The videos cover all types of topics from cooking to practical. Having recently acquired some baby chickens I can tell you there are even ones on how to build your own chicken coop! But Google’s data shows that millennials are the most likely to be looking for the videos. About 67% of them believe they can learn how to do anything on YouTube.  My son is the next generation beyond that and I can confirm his first instinct is to look for videos using Google, which of course usually returns YouTube videos in the first few search results.

But what can businesses do to take advantage of this trend? Well, another nugget from the Google study is: “nearly one in three millennials say they’ve purchased a product as a result of watching a how-to video.”

So these how-to video searchers are also likely to become buyers. That means creating videos that help people understand how to use your products or services is a great investment. And it’s also a great idea to put some of those videos on YouTube. It’s the perfect place to gain visibility and build a brand. But it’s only part of a video strategy.

For example, you can post on YouTube a 30-second video using your product in the how-to instructions. Maybe even a shorter one depending on the product. But viewers, even if they are interested in buying, can’t do that from YouTube. So you provide links back to your website.

Once those viewers get to your website, they may be ready to buy. But they may also be interested in learning more. This is where your more in-depth product demonstration videos come into play. Or it might be video testimonials, or expert reviews. These videos you want to host on your own site so you have complete control over them. This way you’ll be able to provide the potential buyer – no longer just someone searching on YouTube – a clear path to purchasing your product.

Think of a how-to video posted on YouTube as the doorway to your store. Once they open that door, you want to have shelves of products to show them. In this analogy, your additional self-hosted videos are the “products” for them to look at on their way to making a purchase. It’s not a perfect comparison, but it does demonstrate the concept. Videos help your buyers “see” what they are buying in a way they can’t when just reading a product description. The strategy can work for all age groups, but it does appear to particularly important to anyone marketing to millennials.

And just to round things out, our family summer project is building a home theatre. I know we’ll probably be buying supplies and equipment at stores that have videos helping us understand what we’re doing. What do you think video can do for your business?

Oliver Burt

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