Most business owners follow a predictable path of hearing that some form of advertising worked wonders for someone's business, and then attempting to do the same. The problem is that simply producing the same form of advertising that another successful business has used is not going to get the same results unless you understand what factors led to that successful campaign. A perfect example of this form of failure is the use of YouTube (or should I say misuse) to advertise businesses. Most owners have heard from someone that their business needs to use Facebook or YouTube, and how thousands of new customers were gained by another business who did exactly that. They then use the medium as they understand it, creating a Facebook business page or uploading a video to YouTube, only to wonder why that other business got thousands of views and theirs only gets a few. They then become frustrated with the medium and abandon the project.
One year ago, Wax Hair Removal Bar began using YouTube in order to market itself all over the world. Although this small waxing salon chain only had two physical locations, one in Las Vegas and one In Vancouver, the desire to promote the existence of the business outside it's local markets was born from the desire to franchise in areas where there was no existing store. This would be a very expensive project for a small business, essentially advertising in areas that it will not get physical customers due to a lack of presence, that marketing geared only toward selling franchises. Discussions with the strategic marketing firm led to the decision to attempt to create viewership on a YouTube channel globally, then push those viewers back to the websites where franchise information would be found. Using this method, the advertising is not done per market, but instead is achieved in a way that anyone can find it no matter where they are located. The initial campaign was to film a few videos showing the waxing procedure, leveraging the interesting nature of the subject to inflate view counts and therefore increase rankings on Google for searches for terms like "waxing salon" or waxing franchise" all over the world. This roundabout approach of using the viewer counts of people who are not interested in the products in order to reach those who are interested is based on the fact that YouTube is owned by Google and YouTube videos have an effect on the rankings in search for websites that are linked to them. Essentially you can increase the rankings of websites by using YouTube videos, but this will only work if the viewer counts are high.
The best competition on YouTube in the waxing space was a rival salon who had used a PR strategy in order to get featured on a television show about Las Vegas pool parties, using that footage and recognition to boost viewer counts of the YouTube channel into the hundred-thousands. This benchmark was very ambitious to discuss as a comparison, due to the fact that large-scale PR was the reason behind the high viewership. In order to produce something that would be engaging and interesting, and something that might be shared from person to person in a viral way, the footage produced for the videos for Wax Hair Removal Bar was shot in a way that people searching for waxing videos would be interested. Although these people were not directly the target audience that would potentially buy franchises, it was understood that if a few thousand views could be produced then the rankings on search engines would increase.
The campaign for Wax Hair Removal Bar is now one year in the making, and the YouTube channel has seen more than 4.5 million views to ten videos. More than four-thousand people have subscribed to the channel, which gives new videos an immediate boost in views due to the notifications that these people receive. The latest video was released fourteen days ago and has been viewed more than 75,000 times within that timeframe. Rankings for the searches that are targeted within the campaign are at or near number one for 100% or the targets. The YouTube channel now averages more than 60,000 new views every month, with no outside promotion. The channel has gone viral due to a process of filming and promoting engaging content, spreading the word through social media channels, and producing new videos regularly. This is the "secret formula" that so many business owners do not take into consideration when attempting to use YouTube for promotion. Your commercials are not interesting, and nobody is going to share them with friends. You must rethink your strategy if you are going to get the successes that you read about.
Raymond Santopietro is Lead Strategist for Focus Internet Services in Las Vegas.