By Lindsay Gallmann

Buckle your seatbelt – here are some helpful tips when using YouTube® to drive traffic to your website:The next time you are stuck in a traffic jam, think about this – on average, people spend 15 minutes per day on YouTube®.  And according to a website monitoring survey, 24 hours of video is being uploaded to YouTube® every minute.  So, in the time it takes you to tweet about your business, a full day’s worth of YouTube® material is infesting the Internet.  Let’s face it, YouTube® is viral.  And you should catch the bug.  If Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video can get 185 million views, think of how much traffic you can drive to your site with a popular YouTube® video.

1. Drive carefully: One way to attract people to your site is to first, drive traffic to your YouTube® video.  It may seem tedious, but if you map it out carefully, the end result will be bumper-to-bumper traffic on your own web site.  The more you entice people to your YouTube® video, the more likely you are to get those viewers browsing your organization’s web site.  So, how do you let people know about your YouTube® video? Bookmark it, refine its description, tags and SEO titles, “like” it on Facebook® and “tweet” about it until you run out of gas.

2.  Directing traffic: Final destination? Your web site, of course.  Point your video’s viewers in the right direction.   Attach a link to your site in the description portion under your YouTube® video. Keep in mind YouTube® does not accept the html address for direct linkage.  You must insert the full URL.  If possible, add the link toward the beginning of your video description so viewers don’t miss the exit.

3.  Leave them hanging: We have all experienced the agony after reading “to be continued” at the end of our favorite show and the anticipation that consumes as we wait for the next episode.  You can also use this theory with your YouTube® videos.  If your video presents a tutorial, split it up into two parts, giving your viewers a reason to come back.  Or, even better, post the second portion on your web site.  This will force viewers to click the link to your site in search of part II.

4. Offer gifts: Valentine’s Day may come and go, but the what’s-in-it-for-me mentality is forever.  Use this to your advantage when strategizing for your YouTube® video.  Offer viewers a gift correlated with your video, and make the gift available only on your website.  Design a helpful PDF document related to the content in your virtual tutorial.  Maybe the PDF features a list of the video’s main points, or maybe you want to include useful links and guidelines about your topic.  Be creative.  Everyone cherishes a homemade present.

5.  Be straight up! In your video, tell your viewers there is a link to your web site below, and tell them to click on it.  You won’t be stepping on anyone’s toes.  Also, repeat the announcement at least two times, and you will be more likely to get viewers to click.  But don’t over-do it.  Too much advertising for your website may run some people off.  Stick to two or three web site references per video.  Promoting the link to your site more than three times may come off as pushy.

6.  Sharing the wealth: There is no harm in using other successful videos to draw attention to your site.  You can take a popular video with 4 million views and tag it to your site, “like” it on Facebook®, blog about it or even incorporate it into an online article for your organization.  Think about your target audience and what they want to watch.  What will they think is funny?  What will give them goose bumps?

7. If you tube it, they will come: If the Internet had a mysterious voice, my guess is it would sound a lot like the unknown soothsayer in Field of Dreams telling you to have a little faith.  You’ve done all you can at this point – enhanced your video, posted follow-up documents on your site, tagged links and videos, tweeted, “liked” and tied up all lose ends.  Now, let your viewers do the rest of the work. Be patient and persistent with the goal in mind.  More YouTube®-ers means more traffic on your site.  Can you hear the horns honking?