Focusing on the Audience and the Message

Video Marketing with Eric Siu

We sat down with Eric Siu of Single Grain to chat about video marketing, YouTube Pre-roll ads, and why going viral isn’t always the best for business.

Video marketing can seem like a daunting topic, especially for companies that are brand new to the game. Where should they start?

A big reason why video marketing seems so daunting to most people is that they think about all effort that goes into it. People think you need fancy video equipment, the perfect audio quality, or a studio of some kind. The reality is, your buyers only care about one thing: the message. If your message is on point, people won’t care if you filmed a selfie video in your kitchen or produced it in a high-quality studio. That’s where they should start.

What is the latest “low-hanging fruit” video marketing tactic that you’ve tried?

Doing live demos and showing what works for us on camera. It’s human nature to want to peek “behind the curtain.” For example, since we run a marketing agency, we give people glimpses of our internal processes and/or data as it relates to some marketing strategy we’re testing out. People love that.

Do pre-roll ads on YouTube really work and how much should a company expect to spend on a campaign?

You can start off with as small of a budget as you want. Ideally, you’d treat this like you treat Facebook ads — start off small, at $20 a day, and if you see results, scale up to $100 a day, $500 a day, and beyond. YouTube pre-roll ads have definitely worked wonders for a lot of businesses, but as always, it comes down to how good your ad is. If your ad isn’t targeted properly, your audience is going to see it as an interruption in their experience, and it will negatively impact your brand.

Can you tell us about a YouTube campaign that wasn’t so successful and the lessons learned (and vice versa)?

We haven’t run YouTube ads for Single Grain as an agency, but typically, ads are the most successful show some personality in the first few seconds. For example, Billy Gene Is Marketing ran a YouTube advertising campaign using YouTube pre-roll ads and added about $100,000 in monthly revenue from one ad alone. Their ad was filled with personality and humor. People go to YouTube usually with the goal of being entertained, so if your video is entertaining, they’ll be more likely to engage with you.

Everyone wants their video to go viral (“We want a video like Dollar Shave Club!”) but how should companies think about viral videos and set realistic expectations?

Contrary to what most people think, going viral is not the best for most businesses. Dollar Shave Club has a massive target audience (men who shave), so of course, going viral was huge for them. But there are plenty of other businesses out there that have had a piece of content go viral, only to receive practically no sales from it. Instead of trying to create content that appeals to everybody, create amazing content for your specific niche. You might not get tens of millions of views, but you’ll get hundreds or thousands of views from the people who matter. Those are the views that turn into massive sales.

Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain. Single Grain has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as Uber, Amazon, and Salesforce. Eric also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School with Neil Patel and Growth Everywhere, an entrepreneurial podcast where he dissects growth levers that help businesses scale.

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Laura Irons
Business Development