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Janet Mesh Leveraging YouTube for B2B Marketing with Janet Mesh
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Unlock the power of video in your B2B marketing arsenal! Join marketing strategist Janet Mesh from Aimtal as she reveals the game-changing role of YouTube in boosting sales funnels for B2B clients. In this exclusive dive into video marketing, discover essential tips and tricks to elevate your strategy and maximize your impact.

Leveraging YouTube for B2B Marketing Summary

Key Takeaways

  • Video is an important marketing channel, but B2B companies have been slow to adopt it due to required investment.
  • B2B should focus videos on different stages of the funnel – awareness at the top, product demos at the bottom.
  • Remote teams can create high quality videos through collaboration platforms like Zoom and Streamyard.
  • Shorts perform well when they showcase people’s faces, but regular videos allow more opportunity to share expertise.
  • Consistency and series are important – aim for at least 1 video per month.
  • Focus on organic reach first through SEO best practices, then layer in paid promotion.

Leveraging YouTube for B2B Marketing Episode Transcript

Rich: My guest today is the CEO and co-founder of Aimtal, a fully remote integrated marketing and consulting agency for B2B tech companies like Cisco, Atlassian, Trello, and Prisma Cloud. She’s a remote work advocate who in the past five years has built and run a team of marketers located in six time zones all over the world.

She’s doubled the size and revenue of her agency year over year since its inception in 2018, and Aimtal won the Sprout Social Always Be Growing Award in 2022 in recognition of this growth. Her passion for integrated marketing with an agile approach is the key to her success and has led to over a million dollars in sales for clients in the last year.

Outside of work, you can find her trying new restaurants around the world, reading historical fiction novels, and hosting happy hours at home for family and friends. And today we’re going to be talking about how to use YouTube content for B2B marketing with none other than Janet Mesh. Janet, welcome to the podcast.

Janet: Hey Rich, and your audience, nice to meet you. Thank you. Excited to dive into all this today.

Rich: Do you think enough business in the B2B space take YouTube marketing seriously? And if not, what keeps those businesses from investing in the platform?

Janet: All right, so I would say yes and no. Of course, I think there are a lot of companies that are doing this well and seeing the potential of YouTube.

Just to start, what is YouTube? YouTube is first and foremost a video platform. That’s where all of the content is all video-centric, but it’s also a social media platform, and it’s also a search engine. It’s owned by Google so there’s a ton of potential. But in terms of the investment side of it, I think it’s been slow to… to put it into context, we work with companies and B2B technology so I’ll be speaking in that term, but I think it applies across industry. But there’s no doubt to create video is an investment. It takes time. It requires resources. But it doesn’t also mean that it always has to be this movie level production of the video you’re putting out.

So definitely, I think we can dig into what levels of production you should be committing to. But it’s interesting. I think over the years, every trend report that comes out at the beginning of the year, it’s always “focus on video”, “video is going to be the next big thing”. And that’s kind of been the conversation and the recommendation for the past years or more.

And I think that unfortunately, companies who haven’t invested in YouTube and video are starting to feel that they’re getting left behind in those ways and just starting to catch up and wonder how we’re going to get on the platform, how do we integrate this with our strategy? So to answer your question, yes and no.

Rich: Having been in this field for a little bit longer, a little bit older than you, I can say that it’s probably been since 2010 that this is the year of video. Except for this is the year of AI, it feels like every year they say this is the year of video. Some people pay attention, and unfortunately, many others don’t.

Now, as you mentioned, your focus is on B2B. What differences do you feel there are in marketing a B2B company on YouTube with video versus a B2C company? What are the kind of things that B2B companies should keep in mind?

Janet: Yeah, so I would say I think a big thing it always comes back to is the audience. It’s like, what kind of channels are your audience already consuming or looking into? There’s actually like a new tool that came out. I always plug them because we do use them. I feel like it’s really helpful for people who know that this exists. It’s called SparkToro, the founder of Moz, which is a search engine company, he left there and then created SparkToro. And it’s an audience research platform and tool. And so you can actually look up your audience persona and then identify which YouTube channels they’re following already or like podcasts even, which is really cool. We like to start there. It’s like okay, where is the audience? What are they already consuming and trying to make a connection to our clients? We’re an agency, so always doing that research first.

In terms of in B2B, it’s very much you kind of have to look at it from, we take a funnel perspective. So the top of the funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel of, awareness to interest consideration to conversion. So that’s where for our clients in B2B, the focus is a lot on that brain awareness affinity. It’s very much like that thought leadership content explaining a lot of them are like products or platforms.

And for example, it would be like a cybersecurity company. So you really want to be able to explain these pretty high-level in-depth conversations and concepts to your audience. So that’s where we see at the top of these thought leadership or like interview style, this would be a perfect example.

And then, the next level down as like webinars are definitely like a big. Part an area of the video content, really providing value bringing, focusing on a use case or a solution for your audience. And then at the kind of the bottom of the funnel is product demo videos, really showing the audience how to use your platform, kind of that educational training, but also like opportunities to make their job in a way easier and using your product or platform.

So I think then if you to answer your question on how does that compare on the B2C side, not my area necessarily of expertise on B2C, but it’s still humans, you’re marketing to humans. So I think some of it still applies. I think where you see the difference with B2C companies is they’re using a lot more, maybe instead of on the B2B side, we’re very much our strategy and approach is let’s showcase the experts in the company in the videos.

On the B2C side it’s very much let’s showcase the influencers or the people who are using our products. So you see a lot of vlogs or think of beauty brands you know you have the influencers who are doing makeup tutorials and things like that. And so you see a similar approach of there are experts in there talking on video sharing how they use the product, but in a little bit of a different style.

Rich: All right. Yeah, SparkToro is a very cool tool. Rand Fishkin, the guy who started it that you mentioned, he’s been on the show before. H

Janet: Oh, nice, yeah. Okay, I was like, I think you definitely know what I’m talking about, your audience will be very familiar. Yeah, it’s definitely been a bit of a game changer over there.

Rich: Yeah. As you’re working with these companies, so when you’re coming up with your strategies to help them engage their audience on YouTube, are you suggesting that we think about each stage of the funnel and create videos that fit into each stage?

Janet: I think that’s ideal state. But of course, you just have to take this in consideration of resourcing in terms of budget and who you have to create these videos. So I think it’s always nice to think of these as a roadmap. It’s like, all right, what kind of videos do we want to create, but taking it back one step.

What we look at is doing an audit assessment of where are the friction points in your funnel? Where are you maybe seeing drop offs? I think this is where marketing and sales can work really well together if you have that relationship already or you’re building. And it’s like, let’s take a look at the customer journey or the lead journey and see okay, when our audience have come in, where are we seeing the friction for them to consider a convert to be a customer, and then using that data and that analysis to make a decision on where to invest first in video.

I think sometimes you really want to be able to create the fun kind of YouTube reel, YouTube short, or of course it’s like Instagram, all the other platforms. We’ll talk about YouTube. Maybe you want to create the scrappy looking stuff, which actually may be what your audience needs. But if you’re seeing that someone hits your demo page, landing page, and they’re not converting, that could be a signal that they need a video.

And there’s actually a research report in 2023 – I’m curious to see what they come up with in 2024 – but by a company called Demand Science. And they found that one of the top pieces of content that B2B tech potential customer is using and looking for in their buying journey is first social media. They actually go to social media to check out what are they posting on social media?

And then the second was videos. So they’re looking to see what the videos are, trying to educate themselves. I think that’s what it comes down to is buyers now want to feel confident and educated before they’re making the connection with the company. So that very much just goes back to the best practices of inbound. Give your audience and your potential customer what they need up front so that they can then come to the conversation already interested in feeling like they really have at least a baseline understanding of what your product or solution is.

Rich: Now Janet, you mentioned you’re completely remote. And how does your agency work with businesses, because video seems to be one of those marketing channels that would require you to be in the room with them? I’m just curious about your business model and how you work with these companies that could be anywhere in the world.

Janet: Oh yeah, okay, I love this question. We do it all remotely, actually, creating the videos. So when we have interview style or your fireside chat style videos, we record everything online. There’s different platforms. You can use Zoom, but we also use one called StreamYard where you can have everyone jump in. If you haven’t checked out StreamYard, I definitely recommend it.

So we use tools like that to be able to facilitate and manage live videos for clients, and we also use the platform and then we take that recording and then turn it into a video. We’re also seeing a lot of success with some of the higher-level production videos, having people in the video and the voiceover, but then also layering that in with visuals, animation, and motion graphics. So we do it all and that’s actually our focus. We don’t do in-person interview style videos. We’re doing it all fully remotely.

Rich: All right. You had referenced before, you don’t have to go movie level or quality of the video. And certainly we see some YouTube experts saying all you need is your iPhone. And then you have other people who are like, you need lights, you need mics, and everything like that. How do you suggest businesses that are just getting started in this kind of find that right balance when it comes to the quality of the video, the quality of audio, and the work on postproduction?

Janet: So definitely I would say you do need to invest in some equipment in terms of get a good mic, get some headphones or AirPods for the speaker. I have a little light here, and then a webcam can be sufficient enough. There’s also a thing that we use called plexicam, that can sit on your screen and center you straight on into in the video.

So we actually create for clients a speaker kit with a list of all the things that they should purchase and have if they’re going to be on video. And we just make sure that’s incorporated into the budget. It’s only a couple hundred dollars. I think for some people that may sound like a lot, but then other companies, of course it’s not too much just to give to folks who will be on video for them.

And then in terms of the postproduction, this is where I would say the investment is. You can have an in-house team or work with an agency that has a video editor, a producer. We have our strategists who come in and really oversee that, making sure that the concept, the storytelling is all incorporated in the video. And then a graphic designer, and then also our video editor can do motion design or we sometimes also have a motion designer come in and do an even higher level motion graphics.

So I think that’s where the like planning comes in. Where you want to be like, okay, what do we want this to look like? Do we really want a ton of motion graphics, or do we just want some nice lower thirds and some stuff to pop out in and out and make it a little bit engaging? Because at the end of the day, you do want the video to be engaging and entertaining to hold your audience’s interest.

I’ll get on my pedestal a little bit. I think everyone’s everything needs to be shorter and punchier. And it does, but also the flip side of it is, we all binge content like videos for hours on a Friday night, so it really comes down to what’s the quality of the content, I think, is what matters. And you will hold your audience’s attention if you really focus on the quality of it, but it doesn’t always have to be this massive production. I think you can just think of ways to those touch points.

And that’s where YouTube actually has some awesome analytics. So once you start to push out the videos, you can see where those drop off points are in the video. If people are just going over to the X button, hitting X, or if they’re staying on and how long they’re viewing for.

Rich: Excellent. You kind if touched on this with your last answer, but I’m wondering if you’ve discovered if there are some best practices for businesses that are looking to leverage YouTube, such as what topics seem to resonate the best with their clients? What is the optimal length? What is the optimal frequency, or any other things that you’ve discovered that is always or almost always going to be effective for you?

Janet: Yeah, so I would say one thing that we’re seeing is effective is if you’re creating a video or is really thinking of it as like a series or some sort of campaign, so that there is a level of a frequency. Even if it’s just like one time per month. One a month could be a lot for some folks, but I think if you’re going to go in for it, make sure the consistency is there. That is really important, especially in the context of YouTube. They want the content, they want it to be consistent and keep sharing it. And that’s in terms of their algorithm and what they measure the success of the content, like which video the user’s watching, what they don’t watch, and how much time they’re spending watching the video, and if they like or dislike it.

So I think very much consistency is really important. And doing it in the context of a series is a really nice way, and what we recommend to our clients,. Because it’s episode of content that kind of goes back to the whole Netflix model. People will show up, they’re going to remember, they’re going to want to be like, “Oh, when’s the next episode dropping?” You can build a lot of hype and promotion around the distribution.

It also is a really nice to kind of go into that integration of you can then drive people to your own channels. Maybe you have an email subscription list or email newsletter connected to the series or the campaign. So I think starting that in terms of is this going to be something that’s consistent or not? And if it isn’t, I think back to the bottom of the funnel, like product demos, use your data. I think that’s a little bit of the theme here is like, what are people searching for to get to your website currently? Use Google search console to identify what those SEO keywords are, how people are discovering your company, and then mapping that to what are the gaps we have in our video content. Can we answer these questions that they’re asking.

And then starting to create content around that could be another way. Just really focusing on the audience. What are they looking for and how do we answer and help them solve for that through the video content? So that’s where I think it’s a good place to start. And then it can be either format… we’re actually starting to see a lot of success for Aimtal. Specifically we created our own YouTube short series called, Marketing In a Minute. So I think it can be either your typical feed post or a shorts.

The thing that is nice about YouTube shorts, and we’ve been testing it out, is repurposing it across Instagram Reels and TikTok. So if you want to start a little bit small, see where your content is performing across channels, and then compare. I would recommend a YouTube shorts first approach. Start there and then really just getting into the flow of creating the content, seeing how all works, and then up leveling from there and then doing it across channels and then seeing which one is performing on the bus. Plot twist, maybe not a surprise, our content is performing the best on YouTube, even though we’ve done it across Instagram and TikTok. So that’s our signal to be like, alright, let’s keep going with YouTube

Rich: So I’m glad that you brought up shorts, because I wanted to ask about this. I definitely spend a lot of time on YouTube, both for business reasons but a lot for personal reasons as well. I don’t find myself necessarily drawn to shorts, but I see them heavily promoted. What’s your current feeling of how to best leverage shorts in terms of your overall marketing goals?

Janet: So I think where we’re seeing for shorts is the ones that we have and we’re pivoting some things that we’re doing for Aimtal, and even just for clients when we reposted on shorts, is the ones that show the people, so actually showing someone’s face on the feed. It’s what we’re always saying. Show the faces on the feed, that’s what is working. It’s really that kind of you can feel that connection with the person at the company. So that’s what we’re seeing, it continues to perform well, and gets bumped up in the algorithm to be shown first.

I think that’s also, to your point, it’s interesting because you’re always going to be a little bit on the hook of what Google is prioritizing. So just being mindful of that and being aware of is this really landing? Is this hitting? Looking at the analytics and then pivoting the approach to it as you can. So that’s why we also don’t always just commit we’re going to do this for a whole year. It’s like, do it for six months and then assess. Is this really working for us? Is this moving the needle in the direction that we thought it would? And then if you have the opportunity to pivot, then pivot if you need to do that.

Rich: Janet, what are some of the strategies you have for getting your clients videos seen on YouTube? Because obviously it is a competitive marketplace, but there are different ways that people might discover your videos. What are some of the ones that you found to be most successful?

Janet: Yeah, so there’s definitely… so this brings it back to YouTube as also a search engine. So there’s a lot. If you’re already doing a lot in terms of content marketing and SEO marketing, you can apply very similar tactics there. I’m just going to speak to an organic approach first. So very much focusing on what’s the meta data in terms of the description, the title. The thumbnail, actually, of the video really matters, like what it looks like, what it says to grab the attention of your audience.

And then there’s a ton of other KPIs or things that you can add to it in terms title, description for SEO, channel tags are a big thing. So you can incorporate your keywords into the tags as well as into what you’re writing in the description. So those are some really important areas. Also the closed captioning of your video is really important. So if you’re recording it, definitely include the closed captioning, just maybe cull it a bit to make sure that those keywords in there. That’s actually, they do reward that helpful information and actually do take a look at the video in that way.

YouTube is definitely improving their accessibility of video. So that’s also starting to contribute to a ranking performance factor. So I think if folks already have this SEO content strategy, video should absolutely be part of that and applying some of that. If you already have blog articles, how can you apply this into the videos?

And then of course you can do a whole paid approach, if you have the budget for that. I definitely recommend you can boost it. You can boost your videos just through Google AdWords campaigns, just maybe test some of that out to see how it’s performing. If you can attract the audience you’re going for or different audiences. So I think there’s a lot of levers to pull, but I always recommend let’s do an organic approach first, and then as we can layer in the paid side of it. And it always depends, of course, on what a company is capable of doing in terms of budgeting.

Rich: All right, you briefly mentioned ‘channel tags’. Can you explain what those are?

Janet: Yeah, so channel tags are similar to titles and descriptions, but they’re descriptive keywords. And it just makes it easier, it’s almost like a mapping that Google factors in of what tags are associated with.

So if you think of it as a topic cluster, you want to associate your video to a topic cluster that would exist on YouTube. So they already have some that exists, and then it’s pretty similar to a keyword strategy that you’re just tagging your video.

So if you had a digital marketing video, you’d want probably one of the tags to be #digitalmarketing. And then of course you can scale down to a little bit more of a niche topic, #digitalmarketing, #video. So it’s a very similar way of approaching it that way. If you were going to put your keywords in the meta data of your website page or your blog article, it’s the same approach there.

Rich: Obviously this is all in support of our business success and growth. So what are our objectives? What KPIs should we be paying attention to?

Janet: Yeah, so I think there’s obviously the YouTube video specific KPIs like engagement rate, video views, subscriber growth. Those are always the most important. Are we growing the audience on this channel through the videos and with the videos, and how engaged are they?

But then to take it to the business, of course, is where I bring it back to what we’re talking about with the funnel stages. It’s like, how are these videos being used in existing campaigns or new ones? If you have a sales team, are they aware? Are they trying to incorporate this into their sales sequences? And being able to track that, being able to track those.

You can of course track all this. We would recommend using HubSpot. You can track all the button clicks and all that good stuff. But I think that’s a big part of it, seeing and testing out. Let’s put video into this campaign and see if we can shorten a sales cycle or conversion. I think that’s really how you can start to show the value of video and connect it to a business goal and a marketing goal of generating leads and then helping with that conversion.

Rich: I know the answer to the next question will be, “it depends”, but I feel…

Janet: I know, I feel like I’m saying that too much. Classic marketers.

Rich: For companies that are looking to get into YouTube as part of their B2B strategy, what’s a reasonable budget and how much time each week or each month should they be dedicating towards video creation and promotion?

Janet: So if you’re starting out with YouTube shorts, I think in terms of the time commitment will be, if you’re just going to do types of videos where maybe a small team is going to produce and you have one person that’s dedicated to speaking on it, or it is just very visual videos that can also work, then that will be a little bit of a smaller scale. I think you’re probably going to average maybe,20 hours a month. That’s how we see it. If you’re doing lone to two videos a month, we like to batch the content. You can turn it out if you’re already in the mindset to create video. Just record a bunch in one week and then just do production the next week.

But if you’re going to do a full series, it’s definitely going to be upwards of almost probably an entire week of the month that you’re dedicating to that with batching in the production over a course of four weeks to get to publishing it. We see on average, I think the lowest scale you could probably consider of just production costs would be around if you’re doing YouTube shorts, around 5,000 a month. But then if you’re creating a whole series, you’re looking upwards of 30000 to 50, 000 a month, too.

So to answer your question, it depends for sure. But I think there’s a ton. I think that’s where you also look at the resourcing side, of course, and there’s a lot that you can create. As video’s growing, there’s a lot of really awesome tools that you can start to really take existing content and just start to churn out stuff. But I do think that the end of the day, it’s important to have someone who is dedicated to this, either someone in house or an agency. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s someone, “Hey social media manager, now we’re adding an entire new thing on your plate to run and own all of YouTube, and create all the videos in addition to all the other channels.”  I think that’s always something to consider and make sure that when it comes to who’s actually responsible and accountable to this, that is considered in the plans too, in the budgeting.

Rich: All right. This has been great. Janet, if people want to learn more about you or figure out what Aimtal might be able to do for them, where can we send them online?

Janet: Yeah, you can go to our website, aimtal.com, a i m t a l dot com. We also have a resources section on our website, and we do have a YouTube SEO optimization guide. So if you wanted to check that out, definitely we’ve touched on some of it, but you can go a little bit deeper on how that all works.

And then of course you can follow us on YouTube. You can find us, Aimtal, and check out some of the series we’re producing and will be in the future.

Rich: All right. Awesome. We’ll make sure that we have links to all of those in the show notes. Janet, thank you so much for coming by today.

Janet: Yeah. Thank you, Rich.

 

Show Notes:

Janet Mesh is a passionate digital marketer with a knack for creating social media strategies that creatively and impactfully attract and engage their client’s ideal customers. Be sure to follow them on YouTube, and check out their website for free resources and YouTube to help you grow your business.

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 25+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.