YouTube is one of the world’s biggest search engines and has over a billion visitors annually. It can also be a great way to sell your products far and wide – if you know how to leverage the site to your advantage.
I’ve seen the struggles small small businesses face when trying to sell on YouTube. Because of the vast amount of channels vying for customers’ attention, it’s important to know what you’re doing rather than just try to shoot in all directions.
I’m here to share 8 tried and true strategies you can use to sell on YouTube. These are surefire ways to improve your strategy and boost your sales.
What Do You Need to Sell on YouTube?
First, you'll need to set up a YouTube channel for your business or personal brand using a Google account. You should ensure your channel branding matches your company branding so people can easily identify you.
Once your channel is set up, you can start uploading videos, creating playlists, and engaging with your audience. To create videos that stand out among the competition, you’ll need to be able to create high-quality content. You’ll want to consider:
- The camera: Try to shoot in at least 4K, but 1080p is also acceptable and is generally available on most smartphones.
- The lighting: While natural light is great, you should also consider investing in some basic lighting like a ring light or a panel light. This is especially useful if you plan to post content of people speaking at the camera.
- The sound: Nothing ruins a video faster than poor sound quality. An inexpensive microphone will go much further than a built-in camera one.
- Video editing software: This may include Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, or DaVinci Resolve to cut your footage where necessary and create one seamless video.
You’ll also want to consider how you’re going to receive payments from customers. You’ll need to link to landing pages or other pages on your website, if you have one. You can use Pay.com to provide your customers with an easy way to pay you using their preferred payment methods.
How to Create Video Content That Sells
Just like on any other social media platform, engagement means a boost in views, which can lead to a boost in sales. Here are some tips for creating video content that sells on YouTube:
- Identify your target audience: Before you start creating your videos, it's important to understand who you are trying to sell to. Consider demographics such as age, gender, and location, as well as interests and needs.
- Develop a content strategy: Determine what types of videos you want to create, how often you want to post, and what your overall message or theme will be. This will help you stay focused and consistent in your content creation.
- Create compelling titles and descriptions: Use keywords and phrases that will grab the attention of your target audience and clearly describe what your video is about.
- Make sure your videos are high-quality: Use good lighting, clear audio, and professional-looking graphics and transitions.
- Use calls to action: Encourage your viewers to take a specific action, such as visit your website or make a purchase. It’s a good idea to include CTAs both at the beginning of your videos and at the end.
- Be authentic and transparent: How you come across is important when you’re trying to build trust with your audience. Be genuine and honest in your videos and be clear about any potential biases or conflicts of interest.
8 Ways to Sell on YouTube
1. Create Product-Focused Videos
The best way to boost your sales through YouTube is to create and upload videos that showcase your products or services. These can be product demonstrations, tutorials, or other types of content that help viewers understand what you're selling and why they should buy it.
Product reviews are great for customers that may already be familiar with your brand and are seeking specific information to better inform their purchasing decision. These should be clear and demonstrate a product’s positive attributes, but not overly salesy – let the product speak for itself!
2. Activate Your YouTube Shopping Account
If you have at least 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months, a very effective way to sell on YouTube is through YouTube’s Shopping feature – available for members of YouTube’s Partner Program.
YouTube Shopping allows you to promote your products and link to your store directly from your videos. This gives you a competitive edge against other businesses, as not all channels are eligible. It also puts the products in the video, in the sidebar, and at the end for constant reminders for your viewers.
To get started with YouTube Shopping:
- Sign into your YouTube account.
- Click on “Monetization” in the left-hand menu.
- If you’re eligible, you’ll see a “Shopping” tab.
- Follow the instructions to link out to your store.
- Choose the products you want to sell – these will need to be approved by YouTube, which can take several days.
- Once approved, start selling.
You can manage your products and change them as needed. Just be aware that all new products will need to go through the same approval process.
3. Include Links in the Description
A super easy way to drive traffic to your website is to add product links in your video descriptions. This will allow viewers to easily find and purchase your products, and you don’t need to be eligible for YouTube Shopping to do it.
Pro tip: Use a link shortener like Bit.ly or TinyURL to make the links cleaner and to track clicks.
In this video by outdoor company REI Co-op, the vlog format shows some products being used in their natural environment. There are links to the exact products in the video description, enticing customers to buy them right away.
When you use Pay.com as your payment service provider, you can easily set up a checkout page on your site. Buyers can use their preferred method of payment, whether it’s a credit card, a debit card, or an alternative payment method.
4. Use YouTube Ads
While publishing videos on your own channel is free, it can take a while to grow a subscriber base. That’s where paid YouTube ads can help. You can use them to direct viewers to your channel to sell your products or services.
YouTube ads are created through Google ads and will appear in a number of ways on YouTube, including:
- In-feed ads: In-feed video ads (sometimes called discovery ads) are video ads that appear at the top of search results, under related videos, or on a viewers homepage when they log in. When someone clicks a link, they’ll go to a promoted YouTube video or an external website. Here’s an example of an ad that popped up when I performed a search for “coffee”:
- Skippable in-stream ads: These are the video ads that play automatically before or during a video, which can be skipped after a short amount of time (usually 15 seconds). For these, you are only charged when someone watches at least 30 seconds of the ad or interacts with it in some way.
- Non-skippable in-stream ads: As the name implies, these ads can’t be skipped. They generally aren’t popular among YouTube viewers, and as such, can only be between 15-20 seconds in length. You’ll be charged for every 1000 views, known as CPM (cost per mille).
- Bumper ads: These are the shortest pre-video ads, at only 6 seconds in length. They’re generally only used as part of a larger ad campaign due to the time constrictions. They’re also charged on a CPM basis.
- Overlay ads: These are small banner ads that appear at the bottom of videos. These ads are graphic, not video based, unlike the other ones on the list.
5. Use Influencer Marketing
While ads can be great to grow your audience, they can be costly and not always effective, especially since many people use ad blockers. Another option is to partner with YouTube influencers or collaborate with other businesses.
You could sponsor content on big YouTube channels. This means paying creators per video and they will briefly mention your business or a specific product and how their viewers can purchase it.
You can also use brand partnership for ongoing video strategies with influencers, where they do full video reviews of your products or promote them in other ways.
You can also work with other brands on collaboration videos, reaching two audiences with one video.
6. Add Links to Your Channel Banner
YouTube allows channels to add up to five links, so you can link out to your website as well as other social media platforms, like Hydro Flask has done below (see the top right corner).
This is a great, non-intrusive way to drive traffic to your site or to your other social media platforms. To add links to your channel banner on YouTube from the customized channel page, follow these steps:
- Click on the "Basic info" tab and scroll down to “Add link.”
- From there, you can insert the specific link and use the "Link Title" field to add a label for the link (e.g. "Visit our website").
- Click "Publish" at the top of the page to apply the changes.
When you use social media site names like “Instagram” or “Facebook” in the Link Title box, YouTube will automatically use the associated icon.
7. Optimize Your Videos with Keywords
YouTube is a search engine, affected by the same type of SEO you can use for Google, Bing, and other search engines. That means it’s essential to use keywords and phrases that help YouTube accurately sort and recommend your videos to viewers.
To ensure your videos are optimized, you should focus on:
- Creating a title that accurately reflects the content of your video
- Including a detailed description of your video in the description field
- Tagging your video with relevant keywords
- Using keywords in your annotations, if you annotate your videos
- Ensuring closed captioning is on
This will help YouTube understand the content of your video and make it more discoverable to users. Once your videos are optimized, you can use YouTube’s built-in analytics to understand how they are ranking and work to adjust your strategy more.
8. Use Cards to Link to Your Webstore
YouTube Cards are the pop-up panels that appear during and at the end of a video, and they’re another great way to link to your product pages and call viewers to action.
Unlike banner links, which are on a separate page and description links, which require scrolling down, cards appear right at eye level, making them nearly impossible to ignore, but without getting in the way of the video itself.
If you don’t have a website, you can use Pay.com to create a multiple-use Pay Link. In this case, buyers are directed to a personalized checkout page where they can choose their preferred method of payment.
What’s the Best Way to Accept Payments Online?
As a full payment service provider, Pay.com makes it super convenient for you to accept the most popular payment methods, whether you have a website or not.
After creating your Pay.com account, you can create a checkout page for your website and customize it with your own branding. Alternatively, you can send your customers direct Pay Links through DM, email, or text message.
No matter how you prefer to get paid, Pay.com provides you with a payment system that couldn’t be easier to set up, even if you don’t have any technical experience.
The Bottom Line
YouTube is an extremely valuable resource for small businesses to build brand awareness and sell products directly to viewers.
By targeting your ideal customers through keyword optimization and providing regular, useful content, you can grow your channel and drive traffic back to your site. Then, use YouTube's analytics to track your performance and see what's working. Keep track of your sales and analytics to see what's working and make any necessary adjustments to your strategy.
Pay.com makes the payment process simple and convenient for both you and your customers, with many payment options and a smooth and secure online checkout process. Click here to create your account now!