We live in the Age of Video.
Technology and the internet have given individuals more reach than media companies, through platforms like YouTube. Videos are consumers’ favorite type of content to see from brands on social media, with 73% of them claiming video has influenced their purchasing decisions.
YouTube is the force multiplier for your video marketing strategy. Once you get the hang of it, you can achieve things that once seemed impossible.
This guide will help you market yourself on YouTube, with tips and examples from brands and creators doing it right.
Market yourself on YouTube 📹
Free Reading List: Video Marketing Tips and Tricks
Video marketing is a powerful tool you can’t afford to ignore. Get a crash course with our free, curated list of high-impact articles.
Get the reading list delivered right to your inbox.
Almost there: please enter your email below to gain instant access.
Is YouTube effective for marketing?
Short answer: yes. YouTube marketing is the best way to reach your audience as an online business.
YouTube is the second-most-visited website in the world. It has an international customer base, with 42.9% of the online global population accessing YouTube every month. More than one billion hours of content is watched on YouTube every single day.
YouTube has 2.3 billion users logging in every month, in over 100 countries and 80 languages. If your audience is anywhere on the web, chances are they’re on YouTube at least some of the time.
You might also be thinking YouTube is only for “big brands” who get millions of views. However, since it’s such an effective platform, even small businesses can get a share of the market—so much so that the number of small businesses advertising on YouTube has doubled in the last two years.
Finally, if you need any further convincing, having YouTube videos featuring your brand, products, and reviews can boost your bottom line, since 68% of YouTube users watched videos to help them make a purchase decision.
As you can see, YouTube presents significant opportunities to market your business to the world. Next, we’re going to walk you step by step through how to create a YouTube channel for your business, so you can start taking advantage of those opportunities.
How to create a YouTube channel
To create a YouTube channel for your business you need a Google account to manage the channel. You can use a personal account or a brand account associated with your business.
Having a brand account to manage your channel can help you scale in the future. You can add other users to a brand account through their own Google logins. No more password sharing for your personal email address.
Here’s an overview of the steps for setting up a new account for your YouTube channel.
1. Create a YouTube account
Log in to the Google account you want to manage your account with and go to the YouTube Channel Switcher.
You should see your personal account, any brand accounts you currently manage, and the option to create a new channel. Click CREATE A CHANNEL.
Choose a channel name and click CREATE.
Congrats! You’re now the proud owner of a YouTube channel for your business.
2. Create your channel art
At this point, you’ve got your channel set up. Let’s take some time to get it looking beautiful.
Take the following steps to give your channel a professional look and help customers find you online. To do this, you’ll want to access YouTube Studio by clicking CUSTOMIZE CHANNEL in the upper right corner.
You’ll land on the following page.
Click Branding to start your first step: creating your channel icon.
Follow the prompts under each section to upload your channel art. You’ll be asked to add a:
- Profile picture, which appears where your channel is presented on YouTube. Use an image that’s at least 98 x 98 pixels and 4 MB or smaller. Use a PNG or GIF (no animations) file.
- Banner image, which appears across your YouTube channel.Use an image that’s at least 2048 x 1152 pixels and 6 MB or smaller for the best results on all devices.
- Video watermark, which appears on your videos in the lower right corner. Use an image that’s 150 x 150 pixels. Use a PNG, GIF (no animations), BMP, or JPEG file that’s 1 MB or smaller.
Click Upload in each section and upload the files at their recommended sizes.
💡 Tip: Taler is a free tool from Shopify that can help you create a YouTube channel banner.
3. Fill out your profile
In the Channel customization tab, click over to Basic info.
Under Description, give a brief outline of your business, products, and mission. Keep any core keywords for your business in mind. Use them in your channel description to help people find you when they search YouTube.
Include your contact email as well. You should also include links to your social media accounts and your online store. These links can be set to appear over your channel art and will be highly visible to your audience.
Most of your links will default to just the favicon (the small image that shows up at the top of your browser). Yet the first link in the lineup will also show the link title, so make the most of those 30 characters. See what 100% Pure has done with its Shop Now call to action.
4. Bonus: Create your channel trailer
Before you go off planning and producing content for your new YouTube channel (it’s exciting, we understand!), click over to the Layout tab in Channel customization. Here you can customize the layout of your channel and include a channel trailer.
Think of your channel trailer like a movie trailer. It offers viewers who want to subscribe a chance to learn about your brand and channel. Start with something that hooks your viewers and gets them to subscribe to your channel. First impressions matter, and a captivating trailer can motivate viewers to take action.
Popular types of YouTube videos
So now that you’ve got your business set up with a channel on YouTube, let’s look at some video types you can post to serve your audience and social media marketing objectives.
This section will give you an overview of the different types of videos best for small businesses, with examples.
- Customer testimonials
- Product demos
- Explainers and tutorials
- Reviews and case studies
- YouTube Live
Starting with one of the best types of videos in your toolkit, customer testimonials are statements given by existing users of your product or service. Similar to why people read reviews, potential customers need assurance that someone has bought your product and that it’s worth spending money on.
An example of a video testimonial on YouTube would be Boom! by Cindy Joseph, reviewed by creator Beth Buchanon (2,590 subscribers), which has received over 220,000 views at the time of writing.
Authentic testimonials from real customers make the most impact, but you’ll also want to make sure they’re thorough. They should overcome objections, reinforce important product benefits, and tell a compelling story.
Another useful type of video you can create is a product demonstration.This video type involves demonstrating a single product’s features and use cases. Product demos help people see themselves using the product and getting similar results.
According to research by Wyzowl, 69% of customers felt that product demos would best assist them in making a purchase decision. So what do product demonstrations look like?
Here’s an example from Long & McQuade musical instruments (21,800 subscribers), showcasing the BOSS eBand JS-10 product:
At the time of this writing, the video has over 118,000 views and plenty of comments showing purchase intent as a result of watching it.
A good product demonstration should provide an overview of each of the product features and demonstrate how you can use the product in ways according to those features.
Explainers and tutorials
Next on the list are explainer or tutorial-type videos. Not to be confused with product demonstrations, these videos usually address specific questions or functions of your product rather than an overview.
Explainer videos are a great way to show off your product’s best features and how they can benefit viewers, while tutorials can help ensure both existing and potential customers use the product correctly for best results.
For an example of what a brand product tutorial video looks like, check out Snow Peak USA (1,200 subscribers), which shows viewers how to set up, use, and clean its range of charcoal grills:
The above example provides both elements of explainer and tutorial in one video, highlighting each of the grills’ best features before moving on to the tutorial section.
Reviews and case studies
Similar to testimonial videos are reviews and case studies. While testimonial videos usually only talk about a single product experience, reviews and case studies typically involve more than one product in side-by-side fashion.
Many review or case study type videos will be in the form of showdowns like “X product” versus “X product,” or are included in a list such as “top X products for Y.” Videos like these provide a ton of value by boosting revenue per online visit by 62%.
In the above example video, Jeremy is reviewing 10 different fragrances using the Top 10 listicle format, and to date has over 820,000 views. This video type works particularly well if it’s based on personal experiences with each product being reviewed.
Rather than just focusing on the content of the videos you create, you can also focus on the method of delivery. Going live on YouTube is a great way to grab immediate attention, thanks to push notifications as well as a dedicated Live tab on YouTube recommendations.
In fact, according to Google, some corporate livestreams have made it into the top 100 YouTube livestreams (ever). Going live on YouTube can include all different types of content, including live demos, behind-the-scenes footage, live Q&As, and more.
One brand that relies almost exclusively on going live on YouTube is Bésame Cosmetics, which posts live interviews and how-to videos:
The key to creating a smooth live video experience is planning ahead for both the content (and its timing) and thinking about any potential issues you might encounter.
Potentially the most well-known type of video on YouTube, the video blog (or vlog) lets your brand tell stories in a more relatable, authentic way.
In short, they are usually videos you post regularly that document events—either in a “day-in-the-life” style or specific events happening involving your brand. However, they can also be in the form of repurposed blog posts summarizing or highlighting main points as another way for your audience to take in content.
An example of this type of content is a video from BluMaan (1.6 million subscribers), where owner Joe Andrews, get his hair cut in three different styles:
This type of vlog is 100% on brand for BluMaan, considering Joe’s niche is hair products. This video demonstrates the balance between creating content that is entertaining or educational and relating the content back to the brand for potential sales opportunities.
The last type of content on this list is by no means the least effective: the educational video. These types of videos help your audience become more knowledgeable about a given topic in your brand niche or help them to solve a problem they have.
Educational videos typically don’t involve pushing hard on sales, which helps a lot when people are twice as likely to share them with their friends than any other type of content. Giving value this way (without the obvious sales pitch) also helps to establish trust for your brand.
An example of what an educational video looks like (versus explainers or tutorials) comes from Justine Leconte, a fashion designer, teaching women how to be stylish on a budget:
This video from Justine has over 1.2 million views and almost 2,000 comments, which shows just how engaging this type of video can be.
YouTube channel promotion tactics
At this point, you’ll have created your YouTube channel with ideas to fill up your content calendar for months. One mistake you can make from here is hoping viewers will come to new videos on their own.
The vast majority of the time, views and subscribers won’t come without effort, and you’ll need to find ways of promoting your YouTube content. So let’s take a look at different ways you can help your channel grow.
We mentioned earlier that YouTube is the second-most-used search engine in the world, and with search engine capabilities comes the need for SEO. You’ll want to plan your SEO before creating your videos.
Creating a YouTube SEO strategy first involves researching your keywords, your competitors, and popular tags. After that comes the more technical elements, such as the title, thumbnail, and description.
There two key benefits to creating a YouTube SEO strategy:
Google snippets and extra visibility
Since Google owns YouTube, if it decides a search query might be best answered with a video, it will list YouTube videos it thinks the user might click on.
Better chance to appear on YouTube recommendations
The better your video SEO is, the more likely it is that the YouTube algorithm will be able to recommend that video to your target audience.
One example of a store that does a great job of YouTube SEO is Chocolate Alchemy (under the username How To Make Chocolate At Home):
It uses specific keywords in the video description and titles (even its username) that YouTube can pick out when someone Google’s or YouTube searches different stages of the chocolate making process.
For more insight into YouTube SEO, read YouTube SEO 101: How to Build a Profitable YouTube Keyword Strategy.
After you create your SEO strategy, optimize your YouTube video, and post it, you’ll then want to spread the word. That’s where social media comes in. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all provide great opportunities for cross-posting and repurposing content.
This tactic of cross-posting content on social media has the following benefits (not limited to):
More reach. The three social networks already mentioned collectively have over 4.5 billion users, so posting about your video on these platforms will lead to greater reach than just posting on YouTube alone.
- Opportunity to intrigue. Creating a post on social media, if done well, can help create curiosity and serve as lead generating “previews” of your video—especially in the case of building up to a live video ahead of time.
One company that has a great track record of cross-posting its content across social platforms is Allbirds, as you can see below:
In this case, it created a YouTube video addressing leaders of the G7 summit. Then on Twitter, it created a thread with lead-in context linking to its YouTube video at the end.
Another way to promote your YouTube channel is to include your videos in blog posts. As we mentioned earlier, vlogs can be summary (or detailed) video versions of your blog posts, or they can be supplementary content.
The big bonus about including videos in your blog posts is not only can you get traffic from your website to your YouTube channel, but video content inside your blog posts also helps to boost the SEO of that page. So it’s a win-win situation for both your site and your YouTube channel.
One brand that is doing a great job with this is strategy is SUGAR Cosmetics:
In the above post, SUGAR Cosmetics makes use of text, infographics, and a YouTube video to show beginner viewers how to use makeup to contour and highlight. Notice how they placed the video at the bottom of the page where people who still aren’t sure can see it in action.
You might not have thought about it, but another great place to promote your channel is through email.
The magic of email marketing is that you own your email list and you can reach subscribers using any email service provider—you’re not relying on platforms of followers that frequently “go down” and become unusable.
You can approach promoting YouTube with email in a few different ways:
Embed a video in the email. You can either embed the video directly into your email for people to watch (which still counts as a view) or use a thumbnail of the video and hyperlink the image to YouTube.
- Link to your channel in your signature. You should have a business signature that features at the bottom of your emails—use that space for social icons, including YouTube.
- Feature in a newsletter. Sponsored or otherwise, featuring in a popular email newsletter can help you gain niche, targeted reach.
Here’s an example of the brand Too Many T-Shirts using a YouTube video embed in its email. It included an instructional video on how to label and arrange your t-Shirts for posting online.
Known as “collabs,” or collaborations, in the YouTube community, partnering up with other YouTube channels can be a great way to promote your channel.
Normally, you’ll want to collaborate with a channel that has similar content or audience to you, but that doesn’t always have to be the case (as you’ll see in the example). Essentially, you and the other channel owners will produce videos together, either doing an activity relevant to your products or talking about them. Each will then post their respective videos on their channels.
For example, Beardbrand decided to collaborate with Chili Klaus, a Danish chili pepper connoisseur, while in Denmark:
The above is a screenshot of Beardbrand’s video, and below you can see Klaus’s video:
At first, the partnership doesn’t seem relevant (i.e., haircuts and chili pepper tasting). However, it turns out that both have similar audiences—primarily men who enjoy challenging themselves.
You can also use YouTube ads to promote your channel on YouTube itself. Google’s data shows that brands that run YouTube video ad campaigns and Google Ads see 3% higher search conversion rates and a 4% lower search cost per acquisition compared to advertisers who run Google Ads alone.
Creating an ad for your channel can be as simple as re-using your channel introduction video. However, if you want to be more creative, you can narrow down your target audience specifically to people who watch your competitors and humorously coax them over to your channel in an “if you like this, you’ll love us!” manner.
Our last tip on this list for promoting your YouTube channel is to create playlists. Having playlists on your channel helps in several ways:
Better organization. If your subscribers only want to watch a specific type of content you create, playlists help them find those videos easier.
- Encourages people to watch more videos. When a viewer watches a video in a playlist, YouTube will autoplay the next video in the list, which keeps them on your channel instead of another one.
- Better discoverability. Even if your viewer doesn’t continue watching through autoplay, other videos in a playlist are more likely to appear in their suggested videos column.
Going back to our Beardbrand example, its playlists are even organized a step further by grouping types of playlists together:
This helps viewers even more if they, for example, prefer to watch a specific barber in a specific type of video, since they are organized by barber in the first playlist.
Now that you’ve got plenty of ideas for how to promote your YouTube channel, let’s take a look at what you can do to monetize your newfound audience.
For more ideas on promoting your YouTube channel, read How To Get More YouTube Subscribers and Take Your Channel to the Next Level.
How to make money on YouTube
Curious how you can make money on YouTube? It used to be as easy as uploading valuable content, getting millions of views, and earning ad revenue. But getting a million views isn’t always obtainable for accounts just starting out. Today, creators and brands can monetize their YouTube content in multiple ways.
In addition to advertising, there are six primary ways to earn money from YouTube:
- Start an online store and sell your own products.
- Become an affiliate marketer and sell other people’s products.
- Work as an influencer and post sponsored content from brands.
- Receive money through tips and fan funding.
- License your content to the media.
- Crowdfund your next creative project.
“My YouTube channel, Baby Got Bot, has made me a ton of money in terms of partnerships, speaking, and consulting,” says brand founder Kelly Noble Mirabella. “I’ve gained a large number of clients just because people find me on YouTube and watch my videos.”
Kelly also uses her online videos as a way to differentiate herself from competitors. When applying for speaking gigs, she’ll often send her YouTube channel as a portfolio. Event organizers can check out her style and expertise, then decide whether or not they want to work with her.
This proved valuable when she went up against the CEO of a well-known company for a big speaking event and landed the gig. “It was a really big opportunity for me. And it was not the first or last time where I’ve opened up opportunities because of my videos,” Kelly explains.
You don’t need to have a huge channel. You don’t need to have tons of subscribers. And you don’t need to be monetized to make money doing video. It’s an amazing way of getting your brand out there and building trust and repertoire. Whatever success as a creator looks like to you, video marketing can help.
Learn more about monetization opportunities and find tips by reading Lights, Camera, Cash: 7 Ways to Earn Money from YouTube Today.
YouTube marketing tips
Now you know all the different ways you can monetize your channel, but do you know how to build a following that’ll make you money?
Next, we’re going to cover digital marketing tips that don’t involve promoting your channel on different platforms.
Find your niche
When it comes to creating a brand, no matter what platform you use, you’ll need to make sure you find your angle in a niche market. Even online retailers that “sell some of everything” have a specific target audience.
On YouTube, the idea of finding your niche is even more important since it’s the home of people with unique interests and curiosities. It’s where they can find more information and community around a niche product category.
For example, the professional cookware brand Made In is targeted to both professional chefs and consumers looking for high-quality cookware.
Specifically, the tagline in its channel intro video reads: “Made In brings professional-quality cookware to the home cook.” As you can see from its view counts, targeting the high-end cookware niche/foodie helps Made In stand out among other brands.
Showing videos to a particular niche also favors the YouTube algorithm. If you present the right content to the right people, you’ll see higher view duration and click-throughs. It’ll also tell YouTube to show your content to relevant audiences based on their interests, which can move you higher in search results.
Among the other tips in this list, planning your content and being consistent with your schedule is arguably the most important. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a brand on YouTube is being inconsistent. If you’re consistent, it gives viewers a reason to get excited for your next video and let’s them know what they are getting.
How you plan and schedule your content is up to you and what you feel is relevant for your brand. Does it make sense to create and schedule holiday content? Could you create a recurring series where you post on a specific day of the week, every week?
Having a weekly content schedule is potentially the most popular posting format, which Beardbrand follow, for example:
As you can see, it posts its longer, professionally produced content each week, but since the arrival of YouTube Shorts (an attempt at replicating TikTok), Beardbrand has also posted at least one of these “shorts” every day.
If you go to your YouTube recommendations, chances are you’ll find that most of the videos have a custom thumbnail. There is one major reason that the majority of them are custom-made instead of using a single frame from the video itself—they grab people’s attention.
Some different ways you can customize your thumbnail is by adding either the title of the video as text on the image or a combination of supplementary text and graphics. Take a look at this example from BluMaan:
This thumbnail immediately draws attention to the differences between the creator’s hairstyle and the model, as well as prompting a question that the user might be asking themself.
One other area of design you’ll want to consider is the end screen. Even a simple “Thanks for watching!” ending helps to remove the jarring effect of the video ending abruptly and is a nicer way to end than a fade to black. Take Bésame’s end screen for example:
However, you can also get just as creative as you do with your thumbnail and encourage viewers to watch more of your videos using your end screen as a prompt.
Include product links
Another common mistake people make when developing their brand on YouTube is not including links to their products. After all, the biggest reason for promoting your brand on YouTube is to sell things.
If you don’t include links, you end up taking away the opportunity for your potential customers to discover what you sell. Thankfully, there are two main ways you can go about including links on YouTube videos:
Include the link in the description. By far the most common method, you can add plenty of links in video descriptions. This is useful if you want to reference multiple products you’ve mentioned in your video or if you just want to link to your storefront.
- Integrate your store on YouTube. This method is slightly more difficult because you need to be eligible for monetization and be in the YouTube Partner Program. However, if you meet the requirements, you can showcase your products underneath your videos and link them to your store.
As you can see in the above screenshot, Beardbrand has enabled the store tab on its channel, which allows it to display its products as links beneath its videos. It’s also included a link to its store in the video description for good measure.
Keep tabs on trends and competitors
It never hurts to be on the lookout for what competitors are doing and for new relevant trends—like Beardbrand has done with YouTube shorts.
By regularly checking on these two areas, you’ll be able to get in early on any trends—giving you the early adopter advantage. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to gain ideas and inspiration for your own videos by watching what competitors are doing.
One of the key pitfalls you’ll need to bear in mind is copying your competitors' video content or style—viewers are quick to make comparisons and shut you down for doing so. Instead, focus on bringing your brand’s (or your personal) perspective to the table.
With that being said, try to make time at least once a week to look around YouTube for trends and competitor videos and make notes on how you would cover a particular topic or how your brand might take a trend to the next level.
Follow the 3 keys to success
Our last tip is technically a three-in-one. In our Founder Stories section of the Shopify Blog, we interview Wil Yueng, a serial entrepreneur. In his more recent venture, Wil started a vegan cooking channel on YouTube and has since amassed over 470,000 subscribers.
In the interview he summarized what he believed were the three ingredients of YouTube success:
Consistency. Wil advocated that consistency should apply to the style of your videos and subject matter, as well as the frequency.
Listening. He says you have to learn from feedback and evolve your content based on what your customers and audience say.
- Adding value. As we touched on briefly in the previous tip, adding value is the remaining key to success. Wil says when you create your content, you need to consider what will bring value to your audience, then the money will follow.
Using these keys to success as overarching guides, and the more specific tips as stepping stones, you’ll be mastering your YouTube marketing strategy in no time. To help you get there, next we’ll be looking at different tools you can use for your video research and creation.
YouTube marketing tools
YouTube has its own analytics you can use to better understand your video and channel performance. YouTubers can access key metrics and reports in YouTube Studio.
With YouTube analytics, you’ll find different tabs to help you see how your channel is performing:
- Overview. Shows you a summary of your channel and individual video performance. You’ll see metrics including views, watch time, subscribers, and estimate revenue (if you’re in the YouTube Partner Program).
- Reach. Shows how your audience is finding your channel. You’ll discover metrics such as impressions, click-through rate, views, unique viewers, and traffic source types.
- Engagement. Gives you an overview of how your audience interacts with your content. Key metrics include top videos, watch time, average view duration, top playlists, and reports for audience retention at the video level.
- Audience. Shows you a summary of who is watching your videos. Metrics include returning and new viewers, unique viewers, total members, age and gender, other channels your audience watches, top geographies, and other demographic data.
YouTube analytics can be a treasure trove of information to improve your YouTube channel. To learn more about using this tool, read YouTube Analytics: 10 Key Metrics to Track and Improve Video Performance.
VideoWise is a Shopify app that lets you embed videos from YouTube on your product pages. It’s perfect for converting shoppers who may need a nudge to buy on your site.
They can easily check out any video you load, such as demos or customer testimonials, and decide if they want to make a purchase. You can also add video pop-ups or create shoppable videos to influence customers and sell more.
POWR YouTube Video Gallery helps turn your store into a beautiful video gallery. You can easily add YouTube videos to highlight product arrivals or show off testimonials, which helps improve time spent on page.
Videos are easy to customize with brandable buttons, colors, calls to action (CTAs), and text. POWR also lets you add product links to your gallery to send traffic to specific products related to your videos.
Tolstoy is a free video maker app and Shopify Staff Pick for May 2021. With Tolstoy, you can personalize videos for your store to welcome visitors, offer personal styling, answer FAQs, and collect videos. Once you collect video reviews, you can upload them to your YouTube channel to show social proof and boost sales.
TubeBuddy is a great YouTube channel management tool for brands and creators. It’s a browser extension that helps you get more views and increase subscribers through optimization tools for:
- Productivity, like card templates, thumbnail generators, end screen templates, and scheduled publishing to easily customize and embed videos
- Bulk processing, such as card updates and thumbnail overlays to save time managing cards on all your videos
- Video SEO, like keyword research, rank tracking, tag ranking, A/B tests, and more to help people find your channel
- Promotion, such as optimal post-time tools, promotion materials, and share trackers to get the word out about your channel
- Data and research, to monitor your videos, track comments, and retain your audience
If you want to be a happier, more productive YouTuber, it’s worth giving TubeBuddy a shot. Everyone gets a 30-day money back guarantee. If you’re a new channel with under 1,000 subscribers, you could also get 50% off the Pro plan to help you get started.
Free: Shopify Store Trust Checklist
Shopify’s research team conducted a series of in-depth interviews with North American shoppers to learn how customer trust is formed in online stores. This checklist is a summary of their findings, created to help business owners understand what essential aspects of their online store experience creates trust among customers, along with the trust-busting mistakes to avoid.
Get the checklist delivered right to your inbox.
Almost there: please enter your email below to gain instant access.
Building your YouTube marketing strategy
There’s no doubt that YouTube marketing is essential for ecommerce brands and content creators.
Whether you’re a seasoned business or starting your first venture, if you’re going to invest in content marketing for your brand, video is the way to go. With this guide in hand, you’ll be well on your way to starting and growing a YouTube channel that builds brand awareness, connects with your audience, and turns your audience into customers.
Ready to create your business? Start your free 3-day trial of Shopify—no credit card required.
YouTube marketing FAQ
What is YouTube marketing?
What are the benefits of YouTube marketing?
- YouTube is the second largest search engine
- Videos show up in Google search results
- You can reach new audiences globally
- Builds credibility for your business
- Assists organic sales
- Easy to run paid advertising
How do I promote my YouTube channel?
- Social media
- Blog posts
- YouTube ads
- Create playlists