Google and Facebook are the two most popular websites.

YouTube is number three.

Can your customers find you on Facebook? I bet the answer is yes. Can your customers find you using Google? I HOPE the answer is yes.

Can your customers find you on YouTube?

If the answer is “no,” keep reading. Because that means you are missing out on an opportunity to attract qualified traffic.

Think of YouTube as the second largest search engine in the world. It has over a BILLION active users, and they spent 60 percent more hours watching videos in 2015 than they did the year before.

Still not convinced? Consider this: Regardless what you sell, most of your customers will say they are “visual learners.” Words (blogs, newsletters, AdWords) will only go so far. Use video and audio to show off your brand. YouTube is an often-overlooked channel  that will boost sales, drive email sign-ups, and grow your business.

Whether you’re creating videos or advertising on other people’s videos, read on, and I’ll tell you how to make the most of your YouTube marketing.

#1 Create the right content

Where do you start? With your first video, of course! But what will it be ABOUT?

You want a video that explains your product, which addresses your audience’s needs, something your audience will think is valuable.

Anything that solves a problem, inspires, teaches, or entertains—within the realm of your industry, of course—makes a great video. Start with a “how-to” video. Or, if you’re selling yourself as a thought leader, use your video to answer frequently asked questions or conduct an interview.

Once you have your idea, write a script, then write it again and again until you are happy with it. It should begin with an introduction that sets the tone for your video. Set up the problem that your product solves, then offer your solution. Close with a clear call to action.

You’re probably passionate about your business and your product, right? That’s great—but don’t ramble on and on. Generally speaking, your video should be short. Shoot for around a minute for your first videos. You can create your epic film vision later.

#2 Don’t skimp on the production

I hear business owners say “I can’t afford to produce videos!” BULL. I’ve seen videos made with an iPhone get millions of views, and so have you.

That said, audio quality and lighting are important. Shoot the video with your phone if you want, but invest in a decent microphone like a $25 Audio-Technica ATR-3350 or a $40 iRig MICLAV iPhone mic.

As for lighting, unless you’re shooting in natural sunlight, you’ll need multiple light sources. Google “three-point lighting” to learn how to properly illuminate your subject to avoid shadows and lend a professional sheen to your video.

#3: Make your video easy to find

After you’ve uploaded your YouTube video, SEO the hell out of it.

Put your keywords or keyword phrases in the title and the description. Place a link from your video description to a page you want to drive traffic to.

Include related keywords in the “tags” to categorize your content. Make sure your video is “public.” Add “click to subscribe” buttons so users will get notifications when your future videos come out.

Leverage other social media platforms to get your video in front of eyeballs. YouTube is a social media platform, not an island.

Tweet it; post it to LinkedIn and Facebook. Cross-market your content to Google+, Pinterest, and any other social site that’s relevant to your business. You can also extend the reach of your video by creating a blog post around every new video you make. The payoff can be huge; social media metrics are a factor Google takes into consideration when ranking pages.

Speaking of SEO, guess how ELSE marketing On YouTube helps you get found outside of YouTube? Google Universal Search means videos, images, news, books and local searches are blended together in Google’s search results. YouTube videos are ranking in Google’s search results, and you can get there, too.

#4 Brand your channel

Your YouTube channel is your “home away from home,” a destination for your customers to get to know you. Make it match your branding as it appears on your website and everywhere else.

Complete an “about page” with a complete description of your business written and displayed in a way that appeals to your target audience. Display your logo and brand name clearly on the page. Create playlists and that showcase your best content.

#5 Use annotations

With annotations you can layer text, links, and hotspots over your video. These enrich the video experience by adding information, interactivity and engagement.

Add annotations to your YouTube videos that include clickable calls to action and to build your email newsletter subscription base.

#6 Use ads

Before you produce a video of your own, you can advertise on others’ videos. Why not ride the coattails of videos that are already getting tons of views?

YouTube ads is a great way to expand your reach without making a video. With AdWords for Video you’ll only pay for engaged views (when a viewer watches your ad for at least 30 seconds).

Or … You can make videos that are actually ads within other videos. This is the new thing—and the results are proving to be amazing. These “in-banner” ads use a small video clip instead of a .jpg or Flash image. They load automatically (but the sound/volume is user-initiated). These ads are device-agnostic (they work across all platforms), and they deliver a huge boost in click-throughs.

If you don’t want to shoot your own ad, you can even use video-editing software to piece together existing videos (where copyright rights will allow this, of course).

The best thing about in-banner videos is they cost exactly what static ads cost. They’re hot right now because they increase click-through rates and conversions. The more clicks you can get buying on a CPM basis, the lower the CPA is going to be.

#7 Leverage YouTube Analytics

Once your videos are live and you’re building an audience, you should check out YouTube Analytics and Demographics (https://www.youtube.com/analytics) to see who’s watching your videos and how they discovered them.

I’m not going to delve into this—this is a topic that could be a blog post on its own. So for now I’ll just redirect you to this piece that has a lot more info.

I hope this post has answered some of your questions. If your business isn’t on YouTube yet, give it a shot. You just might be surprised how effective it is at reaching new markets and growing your business.