When most people think about how to build a mailing list with web traffic, they think about driving that traffic from the search engines, solo ads, safelists and their web sites to their squeeze pages.
Few think about using YouTube to drive their traffic.
Making videos is much, much easier today than it was, say 10 years ago. It seems like almost everyone has a smartphone with a decent camera that can record video.
So recording yourself talking about whatever you’re offering is not a problem. You don’t need a studio, lighting, production expertise as you did before.
Even doing green-screen video is easy these days and you can look like you’re in another country or have animated graphics play behind you. All you need is a green screen and some software to replace that green background with your desired graphics and hey, voila, you’ve got a video that looks like it was created in a studio.
You can go another route if you just hate the idea of appearing on camera yourself and use an online video creation tool like Content Samurai. I’ve talked about how I use it here.
Another option for creating short videos is the new Flickstr PC/Mac software tool. This contains a large number of studio-produced visual elements that you can combine to make your own adverts.
Video Elements You Should Consider Using
If you can, it’s always a good idea to add a watermark to your videos. This is either a small logo that will brand your videos, or it can be your website address. It should be small, discreet, semi-transparent, and sit in one corner of your video.
Another tip is to add an intro that’s a couple of seconds long. Again, this brands your video and gives viewers a couple of seconds to switch their speakers on or turn up the volume. It takes most people a few seconds to latch onto what’s being said (if you use a voice over) so an intro gives them that time.
It’s also a very good idea to add an outro (odd name) – this is another section of video at the end that displays your squeeze page link, web page link or affiliate offer link.
While you can add clickable links in YouTube’s video editor, they’re not always guaranteed to work if someone ends up embedding your video on their website.
Some video players allow a lot of video customization and that can include removal of video overlay elements like links and announcements. So it pays to advertise your squeeze page link as part of the actual video itself.
Use YouTube’s Card feature to add link overlays to your videos and add somewhere for viewers to go after they’ve watched your video. The usual thing to do here is to direct them to another video or playlist. And it’s best if that’s a video or playlist that you own.
Uploading Your Own Videos To Your Channel
To make use of video to drive traffic, obviously you need to have your own YouTube account and video channel.
The first thing to do is to upload your video(s) to your channel.
Give it a meaningful Title – don’t just use the default video file name. If you have a keyword you’re trying to target (remember, YouTube is as much a search engine as anything else) work it into your video title.
Very important: the first thing to add into your video description is your squeeze page link. Add it before any other text. This means the link will be visible and clickable when someone looks at your video page without having to expand or scroll the description box.
Work your keywords into the text description as well. Make the description as detailed as you can. It can even be a transcript of the text or voice over used in your video.
Finally, add relevant tags – again including your keywords – to your video.
It’s now ready to be published and indexed.
The reason to use your keywords is that videos often rank highly in Google. They’re easier to get ranked than traditional text-based content. And people prefer visual-based content to text-based content. It’s easier to absorb. So why not leverage the power of Google as well as YouTube in getting your videos in front of as many eyeballs as possible?
That’s where most marketers leave things. They may also embed their videos in blog posts and share them on social media to get some more visitors.
But there is another way to increase the number of viewers you can get…
Using Your Videos As Ads
Did you know that you can turn your videos into ads themselves?
I’m sure you’ve seen the skippable ads that appear before the main video you want to watch. You have to watch 4-5 seconds of the video ad before the Skip Ad button appears.
Those video ads are actually other videos on YouTube!
If you look (on Desktop) at the list of recommended videos down the right of the YouTube page, there’s likely also one video ad in that list. Again, this is another YouTube video.
Both of these ads are also known as TrueView Video Ads.
So how do you get these ad placements?
You have to buy them.
YouTube has an advertising platform where you bid on keywords for ad placements. It’s very similar to how you’d buy text ads on Google Adwords. In fact, you buy video ad placements in Adwords too. So you will need an Adwords account.
The best bang for your buck seems to come from skippable ads. You may be the kind of person who finds them intrusive and always click the Skip Ad button once it appears. But lots of viewers do in fact watch these ads. So don’t let your attitude toward them skew your use of them as an advertising channel.
Skippable ads can be at most 30 seconds long, so it’s best to create videos ads with that in mind from the outset.
However, you only have to pay for an ad view if some watches the entire video ad. You don’t pay for the ad displays where someone clicks the Skip Ad button after a few seconds.
As with any form of paid advertising, you will need to fine tune your ads over time to increase conversions and drive down advertising costs.
This could involve trying a number of video ads to see which one performs the best and then rinsing and repeating that process.
YouTube ad view costs are one of the lowest around at the moment and you can get views for as low as a couple of cents. Even Facebook can’t match that these days as their ad costs have been rising.
Top internet marketer Sarah Staar uses these types of video ad almost exclusively these days because they’re so effective. If you need in-depth training on advertising on YouTube she details all her strategies in her YouTube Advertising Course.
Software For Creating Videos
If you’re happy being on camera, you don’t need any software to create your videos. Use a tripod to get a stable recording rather than creating shaky hand-held video that can induce motion sickness in your viewers!
Record your video in a quiet environment so that there’s no extraneous noise like passing cars, dogs barking, wind blowing, etc. People who are hard of hearing will find it difficult to make out what you’re saying over all the noise.
If you want to go the green-screen route, you can pick up green screens for as little as $10 on Amazon. To make the most of this technology you will need some software to replace the green screen with a graphic or animated background. Green Screen Wizard is one of the best at $199. A cheaper alternative is the Savage Green Screen Photo Creator Kit at $73.
If you’d prefer not to be on camera, then Content Samurai is a very good option for creating videos of any length. It’s an online video creation tool and I reviewed it here so you have a better idea of what you can create with it. But, essentially, it turns a text script into an animated video with image backgrounds and a music track. You can add a voice over too if you want.
Another option, especially if you’re looking specifically at creating video ads, is the new Flickstr software. This is a tool that runs on your PC or Mac rather than online. It comes with a large number of professionally produced video elements that you can put together however yo want to create a video ad.
Videos are limited to a maximum length of 6 minutes so the tool can be used for creating short video presentations. And it’s a great tool for creating 30-second ads or ads up to that 6 minute length.
Instant Video Wizard is another tool but this one’s more high-end. Like Content Samurai, it’s an online video creation tool. It’s a bit more expensive and complex to use than Content Samurai which is very easy to use. However, Instant Video Wizard does provide a huge number of additional resources over Content Samurai including fonts, images, videos and royalty-free music. It also includes a text-to-speech processor for adding computer-voice type voice over tracks.
I have a comparison between the two tools on this post (on another of my websites).
Screen Capture Software
Screen capture software records what’s happening on your computer’s screen. If you’ve ever watched video tutorials where someone is showing you what they’re doing on their own computer, that video was created with this kind of software tool.
If you like the idea of creating those over-the-shoulder style tutorial videos, then Camtasia is the best screen capture software available. Yes, it’s expensive but if you plan to create a lot of these types of video, it’s well worth the investment.
A less expensive alternative (from the same company) is the Snagit screen capture software. It will probably provide all the features that a regular user will need (Camtasia includes a full video editing suite that you may not need).
And for those on a very tight (or no) budget, there’s the free Jing screen capture tool.
Buying Expired Domain Names Used In Video Descriptions
This is a strategy that not many people know about.
The smartest marketers know to put the link to their offer or squeeze page into their video descriptions, especially at the start of descriptions as I outlined above.
But, you know what? Some video channel owners let their domain names expire. Maybe that’s because they forgot to renew their domains or they’ve given up on video marketing, left YouTube or whatever.
All the videos they posted are still on YouTube. And all their video links still feature those – now dead – links. And people are still watching those videos.
What if you could find video channels that have lots of subscribers and views, are still getting them, but whose domain names have expired?
What if you could register those domain names yourself and direct viewers to your own websites, squeeze pages and affiliate offers?
How much traffic do you think you could send your way for the price of buying a domain?
Imagine finding a YouTube channel which has thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of views but where the domain name used in the video descriptions has expired.
Now imagine if you can buy that domain for $10-$15 and what that could mean for your online business – redirect the domain to one of your own domains to get more traffic; forward the domain name to an affiliate offer or squeeze page to get subscribers to your mailing list. What other ways can you think of to use such traffic?
There are currently two tools that will mine YouTube for this kind of information. As you can imagine, manually checking YouTube video descriptions for dud links would be a pretty time-consuming and soul-destroying task.
The second solution is a tool called Video Traffic Genie Pro. This only mines for expired domains on YouTube. It costs a one-time payment of $47 but it is an older tool having been released 2 years ago.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to use YouTube to drive traffic to your squeeze pages, affiliate offers, websites and blog posts.
Simply recording your videos on your smartphone and uploading those to YouTube will drive a small amount of traffic to the links you use in your video descriptions.
You could hit a home run and have a video go viral but, let’s be honest, that’s not the most likely outcome of uploading a video.
The other methods require you to stump up some cash, either for an advertising budget or for a software tool to mine for expired domains that you can buy to hijack traffic going to the videos showing those domain links in their descriptions.
The most common use of videos is to drive traffic to traditional websites, blogs and affiliate offers. Fewer marketers drive traffic to their squeeze pages and optin forms to build their lists.
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If you’ve any questions about how to build a mailing list with YouTube or experience of marketing on YouTube, please leave a comment below. I’m usually very quick in responding…