YouTube as part of your marketing mix? Maybe yes…and maybe no.
I’m often asked whether or not home improvement companies should post videos on YouTube, Google’s wildly popular video-sharing Web site. If you haven’t seen YouTube yet, “enormous” doesn’t begin to describe how big a phenomenon it’s become, particularly with the younger demographic. To provide some perspective, YouTube has more viewers every day than the three major TV networks…combined.
So should you use YouTube to generate leads? On this point, I sit squarely on the fence—there is a good case to be made for YouTube, and a good case against it. Allow me lay out the pros and cons:
YES! Use YouTube, but set your expectations. While YouTube is massively popular, and uploading your material is free, begin with realistic expectations. Homeowners often access YouTube solely for entertainment, not to find a home improvement company. On YouTube you won’t generate many immediate leads, but it is indeed free, and over time it will help you engage your target audience.
NO, if you’re looking only for leads from your efforts. I have seen little evidence that YouTube drives leads for MOST home improvement companies. With many organizations cutting back on internal staff and overburdened by other marketing projects, YouTube falls to low on the totem pole because it won’t drive significant, immediate revenue.
YES, if you are a brand-centric company. There are a number of older, well known home improvement companies throughout the country with fun, well-established brands built largely through their advertising on radio and TV. YouTube may not drive immediate revenue, but it can inexpensively help you support your brand.
NO, if you don’t have good video. There’s nothing worse than a bad YouTube video with shaky camera work, low visibility and a general lack of professionalism. You can get away with handheld camera work if you’re providing instruction or giving valuable information away. But consumers who want their home to look spectacular don’t want to see an unprofessional video from a home improvement company.
YES, if you have entertaining video material to share. Most brand-centric companies have access to great video footage that they can easily re-purpose for YouTube. And chances are that if you’re on TV, someone will check you out on YouTube as well. The more of a phenomenon you are in your local market, the more likely you will be searched for on YouTube.
NO, if you are going to spend time and money on YouTube in place of other more proven lead generation activities. Home shows, paid search and SFI arrangements are proven lead generators. YouTube—as big as it has become—is still in its infancy, and remains an unproven tool for lead generation.
So there you go. Use YouTube if you can, but don’t bet your bank account on it.