From time to time, we post about how entrepreneurs have used Google tools to build successful businesses—both on and offline. Today, we’re recognizing a group of businesses that have used a particular online platform—YouTube—to grow their customer base. – Ed.
You’d be hard pressed to run into someone who hasn’t heard of a musician or two that have gotten their big break on YouTube (Justin Bieber ring a bell?). But success on YouTube isn’t limited to aspiring celebrities: we’ve also seen a growing number of businesses that have either gotten their start on YouTube or grown an existing business with video.
To recognize these businesses and their work in fostering a culture of entrepreneurship on YouTube, we’re introducing our first ever YouTube Marketing Ambassadors—a group of outstanding organizations that have used YouTube to drive sales and grow operations. We’ve invited nine businesses from across the country to participate in this program, and last week our YouTube Ambassadors joined us at our headquarters for a two-day summit to meet with executives and learn more about online tools for businesses.
Our Ambassadors span a variety of industries, from knitting to motorcycle gear to musical education. Each has a unique customer base and distinct business objectives, and yet, video has helped each and every one of them achieve their goals:
Find new customers from around the corner and across the world
- BerkleeMusic.com (Boston, Mass.) – Berkleemusic.com is the award-winning online extension school of Boston’s Berklee College of Music. To encourage enrollment for online courses, this renowned school posts video music lessons and in-depth clinics with professors to give prospective students a true-to-life preview of online study with Berkleemusic.com. Bringing access to Berklee’s acclaimed curriculum to students around the world, Berkleemusic.com has taught over 30,000 students from 135 countries since 2002.
- Undercover Tourist (Daytona Beach, Fla.) – If you’ve ever planned a theme park vacation and wanted more than what’s offered in travel guides, you’re not alone. This travel business uses first-person videos to show the rides, shows and experiences offered at their partner destinations in Florida to potential customers around the world. The destinations now attract approximately 14% of their customers from the U.K., Australia, and Germany.
- VeryPink.com (Austin, Tex.) – Owner Staci Perry discovered a global classroom on YouTube, and now she offers knitting instruction classes and patterns online as a full-time business. Thanks to Google Translate and closed captioning on her videos, she has students in Greece, Turkey, Thailand, Italy, India and Syria—just to name a few.
Spark a conversation
- ModCloth (San Francisco, Calif.) – ModCloth, an online retailer selling vintage-inspired clothing, engages fans with how-to tutorials, behind the scenes tours and DIY videos (ever try your hand at DIY studded socks?). Their video contests have earned them nearly a million video views from happy ModCloth brand evangelists.
- Richard Petty Driving Experience (Concord, N.C.) – To show that there’s nothing quite like being behind the wheel of a NASCAR race car, the Richard Petty Driving Experience team records celebrity customers’ reactions after their final lap around the racetrack and uses the videos as compelling testimonials.
- Rokenbok (Solano Beach, Calif.) – This toy company transformed itself into an e-commerce powerhouse, gaining 50% of all customers from their YouTube videos. They also encourage fans to upload their own videos, which they regularly feature on their YouTube channel.
Launch a new product
- BBQ Guys (Baton Rouge, La.) – To showcase their collection of high-end BBQ grills, the BBQ Guys film video reviews of new products so customers can get a personal walk-through of all the features and how they perform in action.
- RevZilla (Philadelphia, Pa.) – RevZilla co-founder Anthony Bucci deconstructs highly technical motorcycle gear through simple video reviews, giving tips on sizing and features. They’ve filmed more than 1,400 videos to help motorcyclists shop with confidence.
- Zagg (Salt Lake City, Utah) – ZAGG drives traffic to their website with engaging scratch test TrueView video ads showcasing their clear protective shield for electronics. Their iPhone 4 Scratch Test alone has more than two million views.
We’ve awarded these Ambassadors with a badge for their YouTube channel and retail storefront, and will feature them on the YouTube homepage. To pay it forward, each Ambassador will mentor a nonprofit organization of their choice on how to get started with a video presence on YouTube. They’ll also host Google+ Hangouts throughout the year to share their strategies. To find out when the Ambassadors will be hosting a Hangout, stay tuned to our YouTube for marketers Google+ page.
To learn more about how to bring your business to life with YouTube, visit the Get Started page, or if you already have a video and want to learn how to promote it, read about the new AdWords for video on the YouTube blog.