How 9 Smart Businesses use YouTube to grow their customer base (Google’s Top Choices)

Apr 24, 2012 Comments Off by

Can your business use online video more effectively?  What can you learn from business organizations that the guys at Google think are doing it well?

Google’s latest Official Blog post talks about the launch of a new program for its new “YouTube Marketing Ambassadors”. These are, as Google puts it,  a “group of outstanding organizations that have used YouTube to drive sales and grow operations”.

The full blog post is worth the read. Google have created and recognized these Ambassadors, and are assisting them to share their knowledge to help others learn strategies for YouTube success.  I reckon Google need to be congratulated for this initiative. (Now we just need them not be quite so US-centric in their future Ambassador selections.)

Here are the 9 YouTube Marketing Ambassador organizations, together with an example of their videos  and in italics, a selection of some of the comments about them from the Google blog post.

Thanks again to Google for doing this.  Of course Google is promoting YouTube, but they are also promoting what can be done by relatively ordinary businesses using YouTube.   There are plenty of lessons here for all of us, and as you’ll see from these video examples,  you don’t need to spend a heap on super-expensive video production.

(Note: You may find this page a bit slow to load due to the embedded YouTube videos in it.  I probably should have split this big page into smaller pages, but it should be ok for you.  Remember, if the YouTube video players don’t appear on the page, please just re-load your page in your browser.  It will be worth it.)


  • (Boston, Mass.) – “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 has taught over 30,000 students from 135 countries since 2002.”      These guys have an amazing collection of music lessons available. Global sales are absolutely their reality.  

  • Undercover Tourist (Daytona Beach, Fla.) – “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.”      Different videos show the various fun things you can do – and because these videos could be taken by other tourists  they are totally believable.  No hypey sales blurb. What you see will be what you’ll probably get.  Setting expectations…  and then fulfilling them is part of the challenge of business, and videos help this with credibility.
  • (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”.    You don’t have to be into knitting socks to see that Staci is believable and knows her stuff. Chances are her patterns and instructions will work as well.  This is a simple but effective video, able to be made by almost anyone with a domestic quality video camera.  It’s not complicated or expensive these days.




  • 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. Their video contests have earned them nearly a million video views.”     No spoken audio on this video, but the fast-paced music soundtrack does make a difference.  Fun products, presented in a fun way on video.  Could you do this with still pics and words?  Maybe, but not as easily.
  • 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.”    Short, concise.  And if you want more than this testimonial example below, check out this quick YouTube video of  their 3 Day Fantasy Race Camp.  It’s a high speed adventure.  The latest camp was last month. 12 people.  $10,500 per person for the 3 days of fun.  And of course, you’ll find the video on the Racing Camp page.  That’s what videos can do – sell expensive experiences.  And sell them well.
  • 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.”    These videos are a bit more ‘produced’, and fast-paced.  i’d like the voice-over guy to slow down a bit, but apparently the videos sell heaps of products.  Toys look like fun, especially when you can see them in action!
  • 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.”     I love how the videos feature real customers in their own backyard BBQ situations.  Guys buying BBQs trust other guys with BBQs to tell them what is good and not so good about a barby…
  • RevZilla (Philadelphia, Pa.) – Business “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.”      Here’s a video style that any business can emulate.  Credible  guy in the video could easily be the guy behind the counter if you were to go into their store. The guy gives his helpful opinions – just as he would in the store.  He deals beautifully with the price of the helmet right up front in the video, so if  you don’t want to spend in the “$200 range” for a helmet, then you would not have to keep watching.   Would you trust that this guy knows motorbikes and helmets?  Absolutely.  
  • 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.”      Check out this Scratch Test video… This shows the power of video to demonstrate products and product usage in ways that still photos and words on a page simply can’t. It’s all about building trust – and this quick video makes me want to buy one of their covers. Now. Here’s the link to the Zagg online store. And are Zagg phone protector covers any better than other brands of iPhone covers? I don’t know, but I’d buy this one. Video is a powerful sales tool, isn’t it!!
Smart use of video really needs to be part of  the smarter web  strategies for most businesses.  You may as well get started now!

Marketing, Smarter Tools, Social Media, Strategies & Roadmap, The Big Picture, Websites
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