Recently, I started using the productivity app, Evernote (which I love), and although it is incredibly intuitive, I still had to explore online in order to get the most out of it. Articles like, “I’ve Been Using Evernote All Wrong” and “Here’s Why It’s Actually Amazing,”  as well as YouTube videos like “How to Add Tags to your Evernote” really helped me utilize the product to the fullest.

The fact is, “how-to” content is becoming a major component of Customer Experience. It’s an opportunity for better self-service customer support and scalable inbound marketing. Hundreds of thousands of people are searching for answers online.

Let’s take a look at some stunning stats regarding how-to searches, and then I’ll explain what it means for your company.


How-To Content

What is “how-to” Content? Let’s start off with a definition from Wikipedia:

A how-to:  an informal, often short, description of how to accomplish a specific task. A how-to is usually meant to help non-experts, may leave out details that are only important to experts, and may also be greatly simplified from an overall discussion of the topic.

“How-to” search volume is growing a lot, especially for video. Searches related to “how to” on YouTube are growing 70%, year over year. Not to mention that, of smartphone users, 91% turn to their devices for ideas while completing a task. We are in a new era of Question & Answer. Not only do millennials expect an answer, they expect one fast, and they expect it to be helpful.

Take a look at “how to edit in Photoshop,” for example:

Or what about the phrase “how to tie a tie,” which is searched over 673,000 times every month… 8,076,000searches a year! That’s a lot of tied ties.

Just 10 years ago, how-to videos and posts were not even present. Now, they are critical to a company’s marketing and customer experience.


What are people searching for?

You can find out how to do just about anything online today.

My 11-year-old sister learned how to knit on YouTube, my brother learned how to change the air filter in his car on YouTube, and I learned how to create an Expert Roundup from this blog post. In today’s world, it has become almost unacceptable to ask someone for directions without first checking for an answer online. There’s a good reason for this. When looking for answers, millennials search with confidence that a solution is awaiting them. Take a look at this statistic from Google:

Google recently did a study which showed that home improvement searches were one of the most popular questions on both YouTube and Google. Companies like Home Depot have really benefited from this, especially when it comes to their YouTube Channels. “How To Tile a Bathroom Floor” has over 1 million views. What a great way for Home Depot to help its customers!

But it’s not just cooking, beauty, and home fixing that receive searches; software companies like DropBox and Evernote receive thousands of how-to searches every day.

What It Means For Your SaaS

What does this mean for your SaaS?  When One in three millennials say they’ve purchased a product as a result of watching a how-to video. In order to benefit from this revolution, you need to become an active answer online, a solution that will help drive inbound marketing and answer existing customer questions.

Let’s take a look at some companies that do this particularly well.

WhenIWork (a hot employee scheduling startup) has leveraged YouTube in a very powerful way. WhenIWork is a mobile scheduling app, and because most of the people using WhenIWork are teenagers,  it’s critical for the app to have answers to questions readily available online. One way they have done this is through screencast tutorials on their YouTube Channel.


Becoming an Answer Online

  • The first questions to ask are, “What are customers in my industry asking?” and Where do they need help? Are they users who are searching for an answer about your product, or are they people who have no idea who you are but clearly reveal through their searches that they need your product?
  • The questions being asked should determine your marketing strategy, customer success plan, and even the UI within the application. One nice thing about putting your videos on YouTube is that the analytics give you incredible insight into which videos people are watching, and likes and dislikes will tell you whether or not the video was helpful. We use analytics on all our videos here at ilos and it really helps us see what questions people are most anxious to have answered.
  • Obviously, YouTube (and video in general) is an incredible asset when it comes to effectively answering questions online. YouTube is the second largest search engine. Here is a Step-by-Step Video SEO Guide you might find helpful.

Your Turn

Thousands of people are looking for answers. Whether they are asking about how to use your product or have questions that relate to you, they need answers, and you need scalable Marketing and Customer Experience. Make sure to check out the recommended reading below for next steps. Go get ’em!

Recommended Reading Resources:

How to Use Google Trends

How to Use YouTube for Customer Service

How to Rank YouTube Videos