Home Advertising How Small-Business Owners Use YouTube for SEO-Driven Marketing

How Small-Business Owners Use YouTube for SEO-Driven Marketing

  • Starting a YouTube channel can be a heavy lift but can have big marketing benefits.
  • To get the most out of it, optimize it for customer questions and search-engine optimization.
  • Delegate the more technical aspects, and monetize your videos to offset costs, if possible.
  • This article is part of “Marketing for Small Business,” a series exploring the basics of marketing strategy for SBOs to earn new customers and grow their business.

The first time Mariah Liszewski, a search-engine optimization consultant, started a YouTube channel for her business, Mariah Magazine, she burned out after a few dozen videos. 

After the exhausting process of learning all the technology — including microphones and editing software — she wasn’t using her videos strategically or seeing a return on her investment.

That was until 2021, when she made a video about Google’s new analytics platform in response to client questions about it and published it on YouTube. The video went viral (it has over 47,000 views), which inspired Liszewski to rethink her YouTube approach. 

Since then, she’s found a way to make it work for her — and her business. Liszewski now publishes just two videos a month and has seen YouTube become one of the biggest sources of organic traffic to her website, which has led to more email subscribers, digital-product purchases, and leads for SEO projects.

Photo of Mariah Liszewski, who is wearing glasses and a denim jacket.

Mariah Liszewski, a consultant for search-engine optimization.

Mariah Magazine

Her favorite thing about the platform, she said, is that videos can keep getting traction for months or years, making YouTube a more sustainable marketing channel in the long run.

“It takes the pressure off of having to consistently create content for the faster-moving platforms like Instagram or TikTok,” Liszewski said.

Dielle Charon, a sales coach who started her YouTube channel at the start of this year and has grown to over 500 subscribers in eight months, agreed that YouTube had been an evergreen way to grow her email list. It has allowed customers to connect with her and help them convert to her high-ticket offers, she said.

Insider chatted with Liszewski and Charon about the best ways to use YouTube to market a business.

Choose topics that are easy for you and compelling to your customers

Charon said she’d found success by choosing basic topics for her videos. These are not only easy for her to talk about (meaning less work has to go into scripting) but also ideal for the YouTube audience. 

“People are beginners on YouTube — that’s why they’re searching, because they don’t know how to do it,” Charon said. She discourages founders from putting out advanced content. She’s found that basic “how-to,” “dos and don’ts,” and “common mistakes” videos do well.

Another valuable way to plan YouTube content is based on the questions your clients — or viewers in the comments of your other videos — are asking you. “My clients joke around that if you have a question, I’ve probably got a YouTube video on it,” Liszewski said. 

Finally, Liszewski encourages founders to choose topics that feel fun to create versus thinking soley about the strategy, which can lead to burnout. 

Maximize the SEO benefits

One of the best ways to grow your YouTube channel — and business — is to tap into its SEO potential. “When people search for a sales coach or business coach or my name, YouTube videos come up, and they can really see me in action and know if I’m the coach for them,” Charon said.

Liszewski also makes sure to maximize the search potential of each video. Once she brainstorms video ideas based on her interests and audience questions, she’ll run them through an SEO tool such as TubeBuddy to see whether there are any keywords she can target that don’t have a lot of competition.

Then she makes sure to say the keyword throughout her video. Since YouTube automatically transcribes videos, the algorithm picks up on the words that she’s saying. Liszewski also mentions the keyword in the title and video description and adds tags with the keyword to the video.

“People are going to YouTube to search for a solution to the problem,” Liszewski said. “How can you show up and be the best solution to that problem? We essentially have to give the YouTube algorithm context clues about what this video is about.”  

Monetize if you can, but don’t make that the goal

Liszewski said things really changed for her when she reached the threshold of subscribers and views to be able to start monetizing her videos with ads. “I literally get paid monthly by YouTube ads in order to create content for my business to market my business — that’s amazing,” she said, adding that this amounted to about $500 a month in revenue.  

While monetization can be a nice perk (and help offset any costs associated with creating YouTube videos), Liszewski said it shouldn’t be the primary goal for business owners using YouTube as a marketing channel.

Instead, Charon encourages business owners to think about how they can use YouTube to inspire customers to take the next step with them. She uses all her videos to drive people to her lead magnet, a free training webinar.

“The first link that somebody sees on my channel page is my freebie,” she said. “Then, in each video, we have it in the description, have it in my end slide for all of our videos, and I also refer to it when I’m talking.”

Liszewski has found success driving sales from YouTube to her digital products by dropping a short commercial about them in the middle of her videos.

Streamline the process as much as possible

While creating long-form videos can be a heavy lift, both Liszewski and Charon have found ways to make the process easier on their schedules as business owners.

At a minimum, both of them suggest outsourcing video editing. “It felt impossible when I had to edit videos myself. I ended up going on to Upwork and finding somebody to edit my videos for me,” said Liszewski, who pays $50 to $60 a video for editing (a cost now covered by her ad revenue).

Charon swears by batching her YouTube content creation. She films all the videos she needs for a quarter in a single day, hiring a film team to do the technical work and even getting a rental house to have a professional filming location. She has also opted to pay $2,000 a month for a YouTube management team, which posts and optimizes the videos for her.

“I don’t have to touch them for a whole quarter, which is really sustainable and easy for me to do,” she said.