How Influencers Sell From YouTube
One of the most powerful marketing tools available in this day and age is video. Platforms like YouTube have created a space for marketers to harness the engaging and interactive qualities of video and share content with the world. Because of video’s consistently-growing popularity, more social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are also incorporating video sharing options for their users.
It’s clear that video is on the rise, but why is it so important to use to get your brand name out into the world? To start, it’s an excellent way to engage your audience. People love images and videos and tend to remember things more when images are involved, as opposed to reading plain text. This can result in better brand awareness.
Additionally, there are many options for what you can cover in your videos. Regardless of the industry, you operate in, you can create how-to videos, product reviews, entertaining content and much more. Video helps you tell interesting stories to your viewers, which helps build trust and a long-term following.
Posting content on YouTube, in particular, is an excellent way to teach people about your brand, build a dedicated subscriber base and generate revenue. Consider that Youtube has over a billion monthly active users and is the world’s second largest search engine and the third most-visited site after Google and Facebook. Additionally, YouTube is great for inbound lead generation because its videos show up in Google search results and are highly shareable.
If video is not part of your business’s or brand’s strategy, it should be. A growing number of companies are utilizing video to reach out to consumers and turn them into leads. 34% of B2C marketers say video will be crucial to their success, and according to the Aberdeen Group, video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year and a 54% increase in brand awareness.
Turning Followers Into Revenue
To begin your journey into the realm of video, create and share interesting content related to your business or area of expertise. In time, you can build a strong group of followers who enjoy watching your free content and like what you have to say.
Video doesn’t have to stop there, though. While the videos you post on YouTube can be accessed for free, you can leverage your following to create revenue for your brand. One of the most well-known ways to do this is by selling ad space on your channel. The YouTube Partner Program allows channels to monetize themselves by showing ads from other businesses before and during their videos. You can passively earn money by allowing these ads to run.
Unfortunately, relying on selling ad space alone is not a great way to make money. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to make money through the YouTube Partner Program without having millions of subscribers. You might make between $1 and $2 per 1,000 views, which isn’t nearly enough to support your business—especially if you don’t have an extremely large following yet. There are also other limitations to this method, such as what type of videos you make and what kind of audience you have.
Additionally, when you do eventually generate a large following, there are numerous other ways to turn a greater profit. For these reasons, it’s not a good idea to solely rely on allowing ads on your channel to make money from YouTube. While generating ad revenue can be a nice addition to your income, there are many other, more effective methods to turn your YouTube followers into leads and buyers.
Buy Your Own YouTube Ads
While opting into the YouTube Partner Program and allowing other businesses’ ads to run on your channel usually isn’t an effective method of generating revenue, that doesn’t mean ads are useless. You might not make a lot of money by selling ad space on your videos, but you can turn a profit by purchasing ad space on other people’s videos.
Buying your own YouTube ads is relatively inexpensive and is a great way to promote your brand to people who might not be aware of you yet. With billions of hours of video being watched every day, having your ads played on videos can help drive traffic to your website or channel and inform people about your business. What’s better is that YouTube targets specific types of ads to specific groups of people, meaning your ads are more likely to be shown to people already interested in your type of content and products.
There are a few different types of ads on YouTube, including skippable and non-skippable videos, text and image overlays and display ads that appear in the space next to videos. This article by Hootsuite gives a good overview of each type and what they are best used for.
To have the most success with creating and buying YouTube ads, keep your ads short and engaging. Ultimately, you want to make them as clickable as possible. Use YouTube’s ad targeting tools to find the best possible audience for your ads—if your ads are showing on videos not relevant to your brand, you’ll be wasting money.
If your ads are taking viewers back to your own YouTube channel, make sure your channel is active and that you publish videos regularly. Make it even more engaging to viewers by creating playlists of your content so they can browse and watch exactly what they’re interested in easily.
Sell Products And Merchandise
One of the most obvious ways to generate revenue for your business is to sell your products or services to your YouTube followers. You’re already creating a steady stream of content that attracts potential buyers through your videos, so you can use that content to funnel them to your website and provide them more value.
Merchandise is one great example of putting this strategy to work. Selling products like T-shirts, sweatshirts, backpacks, mugs and more that are branded with your logo can help generate revenue, as well as spread the word about your brand offline. Buying branded merchandise can help your followers feel like they are part of a community, especially when they have followed your brand for a long time and trust your business.
You can also sell products related to your business and the content you produce. Many popular YouTube influencers have created successful and lucrative businesses through this method. For example, Yoga with Adrienne is a popular yoga channel providing guided yoga sessions for free. Adrienne does not allow ads to show on her videos to generate revenue. Instead, she offers a downloadable version of her videos for a small fee on her website. Her most dedicated followers can purchase this video series to support her business.
Another prominent channel in the health and fitness niche on YouTube is Fitness Blender. The channel is run by a husband and wife team, Kelli and Daniel Segars, who offer workout and meal planning advice. According to the Segarses, Fitness Blender is a multi-million dollar business, and it doesn’t allow ads on its channel! Instead, they use their channel to promote their branded merchandise, as well as their numerous fitness routines and meal plan programs.
In the description of each video, Fitness Blender adds a series of links that go to the different landing pages for their fitness routines. By creating specific and eye-catching landing pages that their YouTube followers can easily click through to, they are able to maximize sales for their company.
Regardless of whether you’re trying to sell branded merchandise or other products and services, make sure the link to your website is accessible to your followers on all of your videos. Put shop links in the description box, and also use annotations throughout the videos to entice viewers to click through.
Also, try to incorporate your products into your videos naturally. You don’t want your videos to seem too much like a sales pitch, but the link between your video content and the products you are trying to sell should be clear.
Get Support From Followers
Another method influencers are using to cash in on YouTube followers is by getting their fans to support them monetarily. Fan-funding streams help you earn money to produce more content and build your business. Your followers already enjoy and find value in the video content you create, and many are more than happy to pay to help you generate more and to get access to exclusive content.
Using fan-funding platforms like Patreon or Tipeee, your fans can donate money on either a one-time or recurring basis in exchange for access to exclusive content, behind-the-scenes looks, sneak peeks and more from your business. This is a great way to build trust and utilize your most dedicated followers, but you must be able to provide value in return.
On both Patreon and Tipeee, you can set up online hubs for your fans where you post updates, exclusive content and more. You are able to create different monetization levels for your followers to choose from, each offering a different type of reward. A $1 per month reward might allow the user to access the Patreon feed and see behind-the-scenes photos and updates, while a $50 per month reward might provide the user a personalized video message.
Let your type of business and YouTube content dictate the rewards and make sure to listen to your audience and provide what they want—after all, they’re the people paying you for them! Also, be transparent about what your donations will help create for your business. Are you using the money to make more programs, build a new website or create better content? Find the value for the consumer and make it well-known.
A great example of a Patreon-run YouTube channel is HASfit, led by fitness influencers Claudia and Coach Kozak. They generate revenue for their business by selling products and receiving support from their fans through Patreon, where they offer followers exclusive updates and early access to fitness content in exchange for monthly contributions.
To ensure your Patreon or Tipeee page gets seen by your followers, make sure you promote it in every video description, in video annotations and by mentioning it in the video itself. Adding a quick call to action at the end of your video helps remind viewers to check it out and see if they’re interested in donating.
Influencer Or Affiliate Marketing
If you already have a dedicated following for your YouTube content but don’t have products or services to offer that are related to your business, that doesn’t mean you can’t make any money! Instead, you can earn cash by promoting other people’s products through influencer and affiliate marketing programs. These programs are ideal for people who have very dedicated and trusting followers.
Influencer marketing is when a brand pays or “sponsors” a digital influencer to promote their brand or specific product. You might also be paid commission for sales you generate through a product link on the video the brand sponsors. This type of advertising is more subtle for the brand and works well when there is a close alignment between what the brand offers and the type of content you provide on your YouTube channel.
You should always try to partner with companies that align with your own brand. If you create fitness advice videos, aim to work with brands that offer fitness accessories, vitamins, meal plans and other related products. Additionally, partner with brands you are passionate about and whose products you trust or use regularly yourself. This helps to maintain trust and transparency with your followers.
For example, popular YouTube personality Arden Rose collaborated with Warby Parker to sell the brand’s glasses. Since she herself wears glasses, she created a video dedicated to trying on potential eyewear options, engaging her viewers to help her decide which to choose and offering them a code to try Warby Parker’s glasses for free themselves. Warby Parker sponsored her video, meaning she made money for doing the collaboration.
Another way to promote other people’s products in your videos is through affiliate marketing programs. Unlike in sponsored videos, affiliate programs do not pay you outright to talk about a product. Instead, you can share a link with your viewers to buy the product on the company’s website and get paid a percentage of the profits from the products you sell.
This type of marketing strategy is ideal if your YouTube channel reviews products in a specific industry or promotes certain types of products routinely. You can add your YouTube channel to many affiliate programs online, but one of the most popular is the Amazon Affiliate Program. Different companies will offer different levels of compensation each time your affiliate link results in a sale.
Like with the other strategies for promoting your revenue streams on YouTube, make sure to add your affiliate links in the description box and consider adding annotations to the videos when you are talking about them.
Control The Ways You Make Money From YouTube
As video marketing becomes more important, you should take steps to leverage your online following and turn it into revenue for your business. If you don’t have millions of subscribers on your YouTube channel, you don’t need to worry about not making money by selling ad space. As long as you consistently generate engaging content and have built a dedicated subscriber base, you can utilize these other types of revenue streams to support your business and grow.
Remember to place all links to your product website, Patreon and Tipeee or affiliate programs in the description box of your videos so your followers can see them, and utilize in-video annotations to catch viewers’ eyes while they consume your content. Also consider buying ad space on other people’s channels to maximize your reach and get people to click through to your own channel or website for greater profit. With your focus being on creating high-quality videos for your followers, you should be able to turn those followers into revenue in no time.