Publicize your small business with videos on YouTube
Many people view YouTube solely as a resource for wacky practical jokers looking to post humorous video clips of their latest exploits. But for entrepreneurs, the Web site can also form a key part of marketing strategies. Steph Williams, project administrator at the National B2B Centre, explains to our sister site, BusinessZone.co.uk, how YouTube can benefit your business. 
YouTube  is not just for big companies; an increasing number of small business owners are posting video clips to share their expertise and promote their firm nationally and internationally.
And you don't need to spend loads of money on high tech equipment to create your videos. Just a simple webcam or video recorder is sufficient. The Web site has a simple tool that allows easy and manageable upload with no hassle.
Depending on your business, your video can demonstrate your expertise, get your brand known, show off your products and, more importantly, boost your search engine ranking because you can write a keyword-rich piece of text to describe what you do.
What to include in your videos
- Talk about your knowledge in a given area, which may be useful to others. A question and answer session is useful. Write down a set of questions and ask a volunteer to read the questions out loud like in an interview.
- Instead of ordinary blogging you could use YouTube to create a video blog.
- Create a simple PowerPoint slide presentation about your business and what it can offer.
- Create humorous clips to get potential customers smiling.
- Demonstrate how a particular product or service works, giving the user a better visual indication of how to use it. The demonstration will also show that you know what you're talking about and develop a sense of friendliness by allowing potential customers to "meet" you before their initial phone call or purchase.
- Once you have uploaded a video, you will be provided with HTML code which can be used to embed clips on other Web sites.
Dawn Crystal, a small family firm in Stourbridge, UK, specializes in cutting and engraving crystal glass. The company has captured short video clips demonstrating their skills and capabilities:
The video provides interesting content to showcase on the company's own Web site, develops a presence on one of the world's leading content aggregators, and increases search engine visibility. The entry on YouTube is indexed like other inbound links and, for some searches, the company gets a specific video reference at the top of the page (type "English Hand Cut Crystal" into Google).
You may think, Why would anyone want to see a clip of how to engrave crystal glass? Well some of the footage has had thousands of hits which has provided the firm with an opportunity to access previously untapped customers. The video demonstrates expertise in the sector and the quality of the end-product. In a way, the company is using the snippets to replicate the process of "peeking in through the shop window" for people who are based some distance from their shop and have to buy online or make contact through phone or e-mail.
Dave Chaffey, a well known eMarketing expert, uses YouTube to talk about Web site design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Pay-Per-Click:
Online video is particularly suitable for anybody running consulting, training, or coaching businesses to put across offers, expertise, and experience. A head and shoulders shot is really all that is required although graphics (such as PowerPoint slides) can be inserted with ease. This kind of material is great for anybody who enjoys networking (face-to-face or online) because you can tell people about it or point to the videos using links.
The National Business to Business Centre
The National B2B Centre has created a series of video clips  on three different themes: e-collaboration, e-commerce, and e-marketing. Working with Guruonline, which provides valuable business knowledge on a variety of different business topics via streams of videos, three experienced and knowledgeable consultants are asked a series of questions on their given subject in which they share their advice and expertise. The videos give viewers confidence that the experts actually know what they are talking about and thus they might feel more confident to call or visit the company Web site. The B2B Centre is now looking at the rest of its material to see what can be posted on YouTube and other sites, to promote their capability further.
Web 2.0 is here to stay so why not join the revolution and promote your business?
Of course there are positive and negatives to marketing online. Before posting your content, think about how it comes across. There are no rules, but make sure your clip is of a reasonable quality, the background is appropriate and clean (a white or plain background is advised); plan and, if possible, rehearse the delivery.
It costs only your time, the search engines will love it, and you could tap into a stream of new customers. So what have you got to lose? Get your video camera at the ready!
For more information on the National B2B Centre please click here .