After Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world with 2 billion monthly active users (Source: YouTube) – that’s nearly 25% of the world population!
Safe to say, some of your target audience hangs out on YouTube. And, whilst many of the course creation platforms have built in marketing tools, direct promotion will yield the best results.
There is a significant opportunity to drive visitors to your online course, grow your email list and generate new sales. But, knowing what you need to do and actually doing it are not the same thing.
How do you catch people’s attention? How do you get your videos to really engage with viewers? How can you vary your content so it appeals to a broader audience?
Here’s five tips to level up your online course marketing on YouTube.
Let’s dive in.
1. Customer testimonials
Have you bought a product online recently? Did you seek out reviews? Did your purchase have lots of good testimonials?
Most of us would answer these questions with a resounding ‘yes’. This is because we’ve got used to seeking out social proof for pretty much every type of product and service that can be bought online (and offline in many cases).
The power of real-world customer feedback is enormous and should never be underestimated. Equally, customer service has to be at the forefront of everything a business does, otherwise you risk a dreaded negative review which will put people off. It’s that simple.
When it comes to testimonials, a video is simply more powerful because they’re so authentic. Viewers feel the expressions and emotions of your customers and thus identify and connect with how your online course has helped them.
Creating powerful testimonials will increase your YouTube views and, in turn, enable you to grow your email list and traffic back to your course sales page.
Pro tip – keep testimonials short and sweet and show a snippet of your course footage (so many people don’t do this!). Also, get a few loyal customers to talk about the ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenarios to really bring alive what your elearning does for people.
2. Value added teasers
We’ve all watched a sneak peek or teaser video about new content at some point. Think of those two minute trailers for big movie releases which are incredibly engaging but without giving anything away.
A video teaser for your online course needs to do the same kind of thing but with one big difference – you have to give something away.
The best course trailers provide lots of insight on the course and clearly explain what students will learn with a sales link at the start and end. But, they also must include a short subject related lesson that adds value to the viewer and helps them out.
Typically, the more value provided in the preview results in more traffic to your course sales page and, in turn, higher conversion rates.
Alternatively, previews are a great promotional tool if your course is not yet live, not to mention pre-selling some of the content to test what people make of it. These kinds of short and snappy videos don’t need to cost the earth to produce and can be created on a budget.
Just remember to get viewers to sign up to your email list in the video content itself (i.e. say it to them) and enclose a link to a sign up form (on your course website usually) in the description.
When you’re nearing launch send out an email inviting enrollments and watch the conversions come in.
Pro tip – keep the course preview as short as possible (2-3 minutes), and always ask for comments (in the footage) related to the mini-lesson.
3. Lite bites
This builds on the idea of the teasers in that each video has to provide some real-world help, without giving too much away.
In other words, you need to assess what small packets of content to give away versus the bulk of it that will remain on the paid course. Once this is planned out properly, record brand new videos for each lite bite.
These should be pacy and succinct but wholesome enough to impart real learning and add genuine value. There is no ideal length but I’d aim for under five minutes each, and, if possible, organise them into topic-based series for easy navigation.
Obviously, include links to your course sales page and email list in the content itself (i.e. say them) and description. Equally, always ask for comments and suggest that viewers subscribe to the channel.
Pro tip – never create lite videos by using actual content from the main course because it degrades its perceived value. Also, ask for comments in the middle of the video when viewer attention and engagement is peaking.
4. Exciting updates
As you build an audience on YouTube it makes sense to keep everyone posted about what is going on with new courses and content, but also to consistently encourage them to take action.
These are similar to email newsletters and could include a variety of different things. Ultimately, I’d always take a similar approach to the teaser type video and ensure any video you publish also gives away something useful.
All too often, promotional videos ‘tell’ viewers to take them seriously which is much less effective than engaging with them, as a quote by Benjamin Franklin perfectly illustrates.
By actively teaching your viewers something you exponentially increase the likelihood they’ll respond either by joining your mailing list or purchasing a course.
So, if you have added new content to an existing course, explain what a learner can look forward to, include a short lesson and finish with a call to action. If it’s a brand new course, you might create multiple promotional videos, each including a relevant lesson to really capture a prospective customer’s attention.
Aside from new course content, you could update your audience with industry specific news.
Pro tip – this is not about regurgitating what they could just find by searching Google. Try to teach them something specific that relates to a given newsworthy development so that it means more and applies to them.
5. Live sessions
It’s fair to say a more sizable audience is required for this to be a realistic option and to benefit anyone. But, when enough people participate, live sessions can be a very powerful tool to promote new course developments and deepen your brand’s influence.
Maybe you want to host a live Q&A session for a brilliant new course, or deal with a flurry of queries from learners on an existing one.
The key is to give people a reason to tune in. This could be something like a half-price one-off discount which you promise to deliver after a new course Q&A session. Alternatively, you might set up a live session as part of a pre-selling exercise to get valuable feedback from students.
The ultimate goal is to leverage live sessions for rapport building with existing learners whilst simultaneously increasing course sales.
Pro tip – record the live event then upload it on your channel for a limited time for all those that wanted to be there to maximise its effectiveness.
Bringing it all together
The whole point of content marketing is to stimulate interest in your products and services by engaging prospective customers with engaging material.
For this reason, YouTube can be a phenomenally powerful marketing tool, but only when you know what type of content to create and how to use it. Take some time to digest the guidance in this post and then focus on creating one content type at a time. Don’t expect to build Rome in a day; be realistic and persevere.
As your audience on YouTube grows, you’ll begin to understand what works best for your specific niche, and, most importantly, how to capitalize on it.