YouTube Marketing for Retail: 7 Pro Tips to Increase Your Reach With Standout Videos

YouTube marketing for retailers | Shopify Retail blog

Just when you thought you knew which social media platform to leverage, you hear about a brand slaying on (insert social media channel here), and why you need to be playing in that channel too.

Choice: It’s a wonderful thing, especially as a retailer attempting to reach your target customers. But too much choice can become overwhelming and confusing (decision fatigue, anyone?). The trick is deciding which channels make the most sense for your brand and then doubling down on one or two of them. (Did you catch that? Social media experts agree that it’s best to focus your resources on one social media channel, and a maximum of two. More on this later.)

So, let’s discuss YouTube, shall we? As one of the first social media channels to emerge (it was founded in 2005), YouTube isn’t just for watching music videos or highlights of your favorite TV show. Here’s a fun fact about YouTube: it’s actually the second-largest search engine in the world.

Google acquired YouTube back in 2006, giving it powerful search and keyword capabilities. Once you wrap your head around that, the sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can do with the video-based network.

For starters, YouTube is a great way to build brand awareness and get your target customer to feel connected to your products or services. And with standout content, you have a higher chance of your videos going viral. Boom.  

True: You can create standout videos with your iPhone video camera.

False: It’s simply a matter of posting your video ad campaign on your branded YouTube channel and hoping for the best.

Let’s take a look at how you can create a successful YouTube strategy and get inspired by three retail brands making a strong impression on YouTube.

Why YouTube?

Is YouTube right for your brand? For starters, assess where your customers hang out online. Here are some general demographics and stats about the video platform, according to a 2015 Digiday study:

  • YouTube has a huge audience, reaching 81.2% of Internet users in the U.S., according to comScore data.
  • Younger visitors tend to spend more time on YouTube. In March 2015, YouTube drew 31.8 million users aged 18 to 24 (98.3% of U.S. Internet users in that age bracket), who spent an average of 10 hours and 15 minutes on the site.
  • Baby boomers are also an important demographic for YouTube: It attracted 19.4 million visitors 65 and older (74.4% of Internet users in that demo), who spent an average of three hours and 54 minutes using the video-streaming service.
  • 300 hours of videos are uploaded per minute.
  • Now let’s talk gender: YouTube attracts an even split of women and men, but it is still fairly male dominated.
  • Men spend 44% more time on the site per month than women.

As for the industries that lend themselves best to YouTube? No surprises here: Beauty, food/cooking, fashion, wellness, fitness, sports, and gaming — to name a few.

Social media strategy and planning templates

Ready to get started with your social media strategy? These free, customizable templates give you tools to plan and execute a strategy that connects you with your target audience while keeping your content calendar organized.

We spoke with Andrea Corson, digital video strategist, consultant and producer who helps business owners grow their brands using video, with her company, Video Pop.

Corson’s first important point when it comes to industries that work best on YouTube.

If approached correctly, pretty much any industry can massively benefit from YouTube. It all lies in the storytelling and showing your customers/audience how you're helping to solve their problems.

And when it comes to content and storytelling, the objective of your YouTube videos should always be one of these three things:

  • Inspiring
  • Educational
  • Entertaining

Corson gave us the step-by-step rundown of YouTube tips for creating stellar content, to help you make an impact, increase your traffic, and ultimately increase sales.

7 Tips To Create Strong YouTube Content

Intrigued? Leveraging the power of YouTube and its capabilities is an opportunity that you as a retailer can hone in on too. Consider the following tips to be your cheat-sheet to YouTube success.

1. Be consistent

Posting a video at least once a week is crucial when it comes to YouTube success. This means consistency in terms of cadence and posting time. Post at the exact same time every week and put this schedule directly in your channel banner artwork (i.e. the photo at the very top of your channel) so that people know when to expect your content. If you post Tuesdays at 7pm, your subscribers should know that. So yes, this means you need to commit to rolling out new content on the regular.

One example of this is Beardbrand, which clearly states in its YouTube banner that viewers can expect new videos on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays:

YouTube marketing for retailer, BeardBrand | Shopify Retail blog

“The ideal day or time? There’s no right or wrong, as long as you are consistent!” Corson explains. “The YouTube community, more so than any other community, demands frequency and consistency. I've seen more than a few creators/brands with large followings lose a significant percentage of their subscribers the moment their consistency or frequency takes a hit.”

2. Invest in Sound, Lighting, and Editing

Wondering where to invest your money? Here you go, in order of priority:

A: Killer sound: If your viewers can't hear you clearly, they won’t make it past the first 30 seconds of your video. And all of that work will be for nothing.

B: Fantastic lighting: Great lighting makes the difference between homemade and truly spectacular. But not to worry — you don’t need to break the bank to achieve great sound and lighting. Corson clarifies: “Budget-friendly yet totally proficient sound and lighting equipment will cost you about $400 to $500, but keep in mind that this equipment will last quite a while, typically about 3 to 5 years.”

C: Top-notch editing software: A subscription to Adobe Premiere is always Corson’s third recommendation. “It’s the most user-friendly editing software to get you up and running, and comfortable quickly — and I've used every editing software under the sun ALL during my time in television — but Premiere also has all of the necessary bells and whistles that can take your video up to commercial grade.”

3. Stick to the Ideal Length

So what’s the “sweet spot” in terms of YouTube video length? You can keep your audience interested and engaged for three and a half to four minutes. After that, your audience will likely lose interest.

Oh and by the way, many of them won't even make it to the three-minute mark.

People's attention spans are unbelievable short these days — so you have to hook their interest and keep them along for the ride. What story would you want to hear? What would pique your interest? It's important to put yourself in your viewers’ shoes. If you wouldn't want to watch your video, then surely no one else will either.

4. Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Stock up on at least three to four videos before your launch, so in the case of a content or marketing emergency, you have a backup or “stash,” and make sure you stick to your video publishing calendar. And if it makes you feel better, remember that you don't need to reinvent the wheel.

Corson elaborates:

Start with a simple concept that makes for a great story, but doesn't have you managing 10,000 variables. Stick to one location. Focus on demonstrating your value. Simple and clever often performs best anyway.

5. Keep YouTube SEO in Mind

As mentioned, YouTube is the second-largest search engine, even though most of us don't think of it that way. Searchability is important: Your customers need to be able to find you. After all, you’re solving their problems. As a result, optimize your title's keywords and make sure you use all the tags you can (tags are the HTML elements that provide information about a web page for search engines and website visitors, such as meta tags, title tags and meta descriptions, making your video highly searchable).

Corson shares this tip: “My favorite tool for this is TubeBuddy (a YouTube channel management toolkit). It's incredible what a difference these details make in your channel's performance. Don't go to the trouble of taking on YouTube if you're going to drop the ball where it counts: keywords.”

6. Repurpose the Content You’re Putting on YouTube

Get that return on your investment, friends! You've already gone to the trouble of putting this video together, so you should be using it in as many ways as possible. The reality is that your YouTube subscribers are YouTube people, your Instagram subscribers are people who love Instagram, and so forth. Everyone has a favorite social platform, and they typically find and connect with you on one, two tops. So, reach as many people as you can with each video.

That said, your YouTube videos should be cut into 60- and 30- second trailers for your other social platforms: 30 seconds for Instagram and 60 seconds for Facebook. Since your YouTube videos should be part of your overall marketing strategy, they should complement your efforts elsewhere, such as on your other social channels and your website.

Sadly, I've seen brands and businesses launch channels that are too far from their typical branding and they never do well," Corson says. "People want to put you in a box. They want to know what they're coming to you for. If you're an enigma, they simply stop trying to figure you out. And that means no more visits to your channel.

7. Have a Plan for Your Channel

YouTube success is never by accident or happenstance. Channels are constructed with purpose and direction, even if you are simply using an iPhone camera to shoot the videos.

Since there is a lot of strategy and planning that goes into launching a successful YouTube channel, seek out the help of an expert to make sure you have all of your i's dotted and t's crossed. You want to set yourself up for success! Andrea Corson, for example, holds an 8-week masterclass called YouTube Academy, which walks people through creating and launching a successful YouTube channel.

Best In Class: 4 Brands With Standout YouTube Content


3 Million Subscribers

Why they’re nailing it: Tutorials reign supreme on YouTube, which lend themselves well to beauty and hair brands.

Stat alert: According to the aforementioned Digiday article, makeup and cosmetics garner 89% of female viewership on YouTube. And with step-by-step instructions on curling and styling hair, there’s clearly an audience for this type of content. Yes, parts of these tutorials can be posted as Instagram Videos, but remember that videos on Instagram have a 60-second maximum. As a result, YouTube is a rich platform to serve up this kind of educational content.


240K Subscribers

Why they’re nailing it: The premium men’s grooming company offers up YouTube content with four new videos per week (they specify their posting days right there on the banner image at the top of their channel) — talk about frequency!

BeardBrand’s YouTube channel focuses on grooming and lifestyle; their content is in line with their core values (freedom, hunger, and trust). With self-improvement and beard/hair/body grooming tips, as well as style-related content, they have become the brand equivalent of GQ and Esquire on YouTube.


280K Subscribers

Why they’re nailing it: For starters, they know their audience and as a result, their content is focused: they offer sneaker cleaning tutorials on a weekly basis. No fancy footwork here; this “Ultimate Sneaker Cleaner” brand showcases step-by-step tutorials on restoring sneakers using their shoe care kits, set to a guy-centric score or soundtrack. Bonus points for strong editing skills!

It’s interesting to note that Reshoevn8r offers a promo code in the video description and mentions it during the video; this is a great way to direct viewers to your website with a direct call-to-action.

Hit Record

Here’s hoping you feel inspired to consider YouTube as part of your marketing strategy. There’s a huge opportunity for brands thinking of venturing into video territory; just remember to press “pause” before diving right in. Consider your target audience, what kind of content you can churn out regularly, and the tips for YouTube success. And then enjoy watching the “brand love” and sales pour in!