Many new home inspectors throw every marketing technique at the wall that they can just to see what sticks. They mail countless postcards, cold-call REALTORS©, go to open houses, pay for print ads, and visit real estate offices.
All of these approaches can keep you really busy — but smart marketing should create demand for your business without taking up all of your time.
If you’re considering starting a YouTube channel for your home inspection business, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll walk through the basics of getting started and building an audience with your YouTube content, and we’ll give you a few content ideas to get the ball rolling.
First: Why start a YouTube channel?
Marketing a home inspection business looks a lot different than it did a few decades ago. A home inspector starting out in the 1980s may have solely relied on promotional methods like print and TV ads, outdoor billboards and flyers, and in-person and referral marketing.
While those methods still have their place today, traditional advertising has largely given way to content marketing — which generates more than three times the leads than traditional advertising, and it costs 62% less.
What’s not to love, right?
Unlike traditional advertising, where you force a message in front of your audience’s eyes, content marketing involves creating and distributing helpful, informational content that builds brand awareness, trust, and an authentic relationship with your audience.
As a home inspector and small businessperson, you can now showcase your talents and expertise and increase awareness about your company without having to purchase expensive ads.
And statistics show that video is the form of content that consumers most prefer. Why not capitalize on that trend by creating YouTube content for your home inspection company?
But why can’t I put the videos on my own website?
You may be tempted to create video content and just upload it to your home inspection business website. It’s simpler than starting a separate YouTube account, right?
Well, it may seem simpler, but it’s actually a bad idea.
Placing a video directly onto your website (this is called “self-hosted video”) can slow down your site considerably. It forces each visitor to load the video from your server, slowing down the load time — and likely causing the visitor to get impatient and abandon your site entirely.
Instead, publish your videos to your YouTube channel and then embed them on your website (or have HomeGauge do it for you) so that visitors can view your videos without your page load times suffering.
Another reason to use YouTube? It’s both a social media platform and a search engine in its own right. Why limit your videos to your website when you can take advantage of organic search results to get even more eyes on your brand?
How to start a YouTube channel
To start creating videos on YouTube, you’ll need a YouTube channel. If you already have a Google account (for instance, if you have Gmail), you can sign in to YouTube using those login credentials.
Once logged in, try any action that requires a channel (uploading a video, posting a comment, or creating a playlist), and you’ll be prompted to create one. Check out this video from YouTube that walks you through logging into YouTube and starting your own channel.
Starting a YouTube Brand Account for your home inspection business
If you’re looking to start a channel in the name of your business instead of your personal name, you’ll need a Brand Account. A Brand Account is also useful if more than one person will be managing it.
To create a channel with your Brand Account, log in to YouTube and go to your channel list. Click “Create a new channel.” You’ll be prompted to name your new brand account from there.
Don’t forget to:
- Set a profile picture. This can be your business logo or a headshot, whichever works better for you.
- Choose a banner image. This will display across the top of your channel page. Depending on your location and brand, you may choose to display a wide shot of your city skyline, a graphic design incorporating your logo and contact info, or a simple photo of yourself standing in front of your work vehicle.
- Add a video watermark. This small image will appear in the bottom corner of your videos, allowing viewers to subscribe with one click.
- Fill in your channel’s basic info. Take advantage of the description and contact information areas to give your audience more information about you and your business. You can also add links to your professional website.
- Choose a layout. You can upload a “trailer video” that will play for your channel’s new visitors, introducing them to what kind of content they can expect. You can also include a “featured video” that subscribers will see when they land on your channel page — it can simply be your favorite video out of the ones you’ve uploaded.
No matter how much time you invest in customizing your channel, keep in mind that the best channels are cohesive and follow a single, intentional style.
So before you get started, decide what you’re going for. Are you a one-person operation that values being down-to-earth and relatable? In that case, make sure to use photos of yourself in your branding and avoid being too formal.
Do you want to brand yourself as a consummate professional and the foremost authority on home inspections in your area? You might rather use your professionally-designed logo as a profile picture, and include a tasteful banner image of your city’s skyline.
Tips to build a following on YouTube
Once your channel is set up and customized to reflect your brand identity, you’re ready to start uploading content. Simply click the video recorder icon in the top right corner of your YouTube homepage to upload a video.
While it can be tempting to mimic other YouTube creators and upload random videos that may or may not interest viewers, don’t give in to that particular temptation. After all, your goal in getting started with YouTube is to get a return on your investment in the form of higher awareness for your business (which will hopefully lead to more customers).
Therefore, everything you post to YouTube should be intentional. Your goal should be to create value for your target audience so that they’ll engage more with you.
Follow these tips to build your YouTube following naturally:
- Use keywords in your titles. You want your videos to appear when people search for the topic, so try to phrase your title the way people would type it into the search bar. Don’t forget that on YouTube, search results only show the first 45 characters of your title, so try to frontload your keywords.
- Don’t be overly promotional. Follow the 80/20 rule: restrict sales pitches or promotional content to 20% of your output, and the rest should be helpful content for your audience.
- Your videos can be simple and don’t need to be overly produced. Stand in front of your inspection truck and give a short speech on a topic, or if you’re less comfortable in front of a camera, be the narrator as you pan the camera around an area or record your computer screen. Use your imagination — but don’t feel like you need to create Hollywood-level videos! Focus on the quality of the content, and the rest will follow.
- Create playlists. YouTube allows you to create playlists that appear alongside individual videos in search results. If you have a series of videos, make a playlist so your audience can watch them in the order you meant them to be viewed. Curated playlists are also a great way to entertain your target audience with content from others while you’re building up your own content library.
- Go live: Once you’ve gotten the hang of the basics, try using YouTube’s live feature. Stream your next presentation at a conference or real estate office, or give a live demonstration of your new drone equipment. Though they’re intimidating at first, live videos can be great for audience engagement!
Content ideas for your YouTube channel
Starting a YouTube presence can sound overwhelming to the content marketing newbie. After all, you’re a busy professional! How are you supposed to come up with consistent video content week after week?
But once you start brainstorming, you’ll see that there are countless creative ways to provide bite-sized video content that your audience will enjoy. The trick is to keep your eyes open (and your camera ready).
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Give explainer videos on home inspection basics
Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes and answer the questions you think they may have. Or better, survey past clients or acquaintances about industry-related topics they’d like to see covered. Topics you might choose include:
- What should you inspect during a home inspection?
- What are common problems found in home inspections?
- How long does a home inspection take?
- What is radon?
- Do home inspectors need a license in [your state]?
The potential topics are endless!
2. Provide a deep dive on special services you offer
If you provide drone inspections or thermal imaging as part of your home inspection services, for instance, make a video for that service with an overview of how it works and how it may benefit your audience.
You’ll educate them on a niche topic while also increasing your subject-matter authority in their minds. It’s a win-win!
3. Share funny videos
Don’t be afraid to post videos showing funny or weird things you find on the job. People love to laugh, and it makes you relatable to your audience!
Of course, you should always get permission to share videos showing your clients’ property.
4. Demonstrate how to interpret a home inspection report
Create a sample inspection report with your inspection software and record your screen as you scroll through it. Explain what each section means and how you would interpret it if you were a client.
5. General house maintenance tips
As an expert in the field, share some of your knowledge about how to prepare your home for winter, how to know when your roof needs to be replaced, and the like.
Marketing your home inspection business looks a lot different than it did in previous years. With the digital world at your fingertips, you have an opportunity to reach larger audiences for much less money with online content creation — and few types of content have as much success as video content does.
That’s why starting your own YouTube channel could be one of the best decisions you make this year.
To be successful, make sure to focus on maintaining a consistent brand identity, creating helpful videos that provide value to your target audience, and letting your creativity lead the way. You’ve got this!