Frank Kern, one of the pioneers of Internet marketing, offered this simple yet effective advice for marketing your business online: “Tell ’em who you are, tell’ em what you got, and tell ’em what do next.” The same advice applies to creating a successful YouTube video for your small business.

Don’t get hung up on trying to make the world’s next “viral video.” Instead, concentrate on fundamental marketing principles; let your audience know who you are, what you have to offer and what they should do next. Add some technical basics like proper lighting, sound, and editing, and your business will be well on its way to leveraging the immense marketing power of YouTube.

1. Nail the Introduction

There are millions and millions of YouTube videos competing for your audience’s attention. That’s why a compelling introduction is so vital to the success of your small business video. You need to grab the viewer’s attention within the first few seconds and give him or her a reason to continue watching your video. The popularity of social media has proven that people are interested in connecting; they don’t want to sit and watch yet another ad from your business. So give the people what they want.

Put a personal face to your business by appearing on camera yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been in front of a camera, people want to see the “real” you. That will give them a deeper connection with your business right from the start. Humor is also a common factor in some of the most successful YouTube videos, so if your business or its products and services are compatible with a bit of humor — go for it!

Don’t forget to mention your name, your role within the company, and your website address or other location you want your audience to visit. Create a very simple script and practice it a few times so that your words flow smoothly. Avoid the notorious “ums” and “ahs” that many people inadvertently pepper throughout their conversation. In fact, it’s a good idea to record yourself a few times and play it back to see where your performance can be tweaked. Most importantly, don’t forget to smile!

2. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

If you’re in business then you have something for sale; don’t be afraid to tell your audience exactly that. Traditional advertisements have been cloaked in ambiguity for so long that people are now jaded against marketing hype. Let people know what you do, what you have for sale, and what makes you different from all the other alternatives in the market.

People appreciate honesty and reality in their communication with businesses, so forget the hyperbole. Just tell your audience what you’ve got. Do this in a way that’s informative, efficient, and entertaining, and you’ll have the formula for success.

3. Create a Call to Action

You’ve introduced yourself and mentioned what you have to offer, now don’t leave your audience hanging. Give them a “call to action” by telling them what they should do next. This could be a direct call to action such as “buy our product,” or it could be a solicitation to visit a website for more information. Perhaps the goal of your video is to get people to follow you on Twitter or to visit your Facebook Page. Whatever the goal of your YouTube video, explicitly tell people what you’d like them to do before they click on something else and they’re gone.

You can also use YouTube’s “Annotations” feature to embed a call to action right in your video. Annotations allow you add hyperlinks in your video where you can direct your audience to other related YouTube videos. You can also include links for viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel or send you a message via YouTube.

If a call to action seems a little pushy, then consider using it in some pieces of content but not others. But be aware that your viewers may not find it as pushy as you might think. After all, just about every social media site now encourages you to “like” or share the content to your network. People are accustomed to taking action when they see great content, so be sure to let your viewers know what to do next.

4. Get Technical

Now that you’ve got the marketing basics of a good YouTube video covered, here are some technical aspects of video production to consider.

Proper lighting is absolutely essential if you want your video to receive a lot of views. If your lighting is bad, very few people will stick with your video past the first few seconds. The best advice on the web suggests using natural light (like sunlight) whenever possible. Otherwise, you can use something as basic as a lamp to illuminate your face and eliminate shadows. There are plenty of lighting resources online. Just search a phrase like “three point lighting” to get started.

Sound is also an important feature of your YouTube video. The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to get great audio. Even professionals suggest that a mid-range microphone will be sufficient for most YouTube productions. You can purchase a decent USB, low-noise microphone for under $100 at most electronic retailers. Any salesperson should be able to provide you with advice to get the best performance from your device.

Finally, if all of the above seems a little daunting, consider hiring a professional to shoot your small business video for you. Search the Internet for terms like “video editor” and your city’s name, and you’ll likely find dozens of qualified video production people right in your own backyard. You can also try a service like TurnHere that contracts local production people to come right to your place of business to shoot your video.

Have any other YouTube video tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image Credits: Johnnie Blows, Mr Magoo ICU, sindesign, OneCallNow, Spigoo]