Video Monetization

How to Sell Videos Using YouTube (and Actually Make a Lot of Money)

By Peri Elmokadem 10 Min Read
sell videos online using YouTube

Plenty of people think the best way to sell videos online is on YouTube.

That is both true and false.

True because YouTube is the second largest search engine, with 1.5 billion logged-in users watching 6 billion hours of video every month. It’s the place to sell anything.

False because that doesn’t mean you should upload the videos you want to sell onto Youtube and hope to make money there.

Businesses sell their products and services using YouTube, not on it – and selling videos should be no different. YouTube is a great platform to market our product or service, but not to monetize it directly on there.

Why should you sell videos using Youtube, but not on it?

Mainly because you will make a LOT more money that way.

Despite its extremely wide reach and billion-plus users, Youtube isn’t the best place to host your video content if you’re looking to execute a monetization strategy.

First of all, Youtube won’t allow you to make any money until you have at least 10,000 lifetime channel views.

Second of all, because YouTube takes a huge cut and growth is slow on there, you don’t end up generating the amount of money your content deserves (unless you become a YouTube star with millions of subscribers).

Quick story time! Let’s take Magic Stream for example:

Magic Stream is a video on demand website created by Ellusionist, the best online training environment for people who want to learn high-impact, effective magic tricks.

Ellusionist posted its very first video on YouTube exactly 10 years ago, long before it started Magic Stream. It has been posting instructional and inspirational magic videos, and has since grown into a 126K-subscribers channel. Ellusionist is estimated to have generated a total of $160,000 throughout its entire YouTube career (based on this cool YouTube money calculator).

Ellusionist then created Magic Stream in April 2017 on Uscreen to expand beyond its official YouTube channel and sell subscriptions to a large video library of magic content – “If Netflix did Magic” is how they like to describe it.

Magic Stream has since generated over $183,000 from 2,027 subscribers at $12.99 a month. Take this in: it took the Ellusionist 6 months to make what took it 10 years on YouTube selling the same exact content.


The fact of the matter is that while Youtube’s reach means great potential exposure, that exposure rarely ever translates into the business you could be getting for your video content directly on YouTube.

But its huge exposure is still very useful, and here’s how you’re going to take advantage of it to drive traffic to your online video website like Ellusionist does for Magic Stream:

Use YouTube as a marketing platform, where you generate leads to your independently owned video streaming website, and get to keep every dollar you make.

Not only is this a much savvier strategy, it also ensures that your content is safe from piracy and unscrupulous vendors who want to make a quick buck off of your hard work.

This blogpost is a guide put together to walk you through taking advantage of YouTube’s vast exposure to drive traffic to your video website and make more money. It’s outlined in two parts:

Part 1: How to create effective videos to promote and generate leads to your video websites.

Part 2: How to optimize your YouTube channel so people find it and watch your videos.

This is all assuming you’ve already set up your online video streaming business (if you haven’t, check out this blog post to learn how). Let’s dive in.

Part 1: How to create YouTube videos to promote your video website

While creating videos to market your online video website, the goal should be to promote your content, peak the viewer’s interest and send them to your website. Focus on creating and providing engaging, informational videos that provide some value to the viewer, but that also leaves them hungry for more.

The types of YouTube videos you can create to generate traffic back to your website.

Here are 7 different types of YouTube videos you can create to promote your online business and sell your videos using YouTube. For inspiration, We also included more examples of Uscreen customers and the YouTube videos they upload to drive traffic to their video websites.

1. Website Trailers

The most popular (and frankly obvious) way to advertise your video website on Youtube is to create and post video trailers.

Companies with different products and services already do that, but you’re at an advantage with this because you already are a video creator and probably already have most of the footage you need to pull this together.

Trailers are usually 2-3 minutes long and have a distinct storyline or message to communicate.

Check out Ink Workshops’ official trailer for it’s Dragon Tattoo Masterclass.

This isn’t to say your website teaser can’t be longer than 2 minutes. When Chris Leblanc, a travel vlogger, was ready to launch his 22 Days in Thailand online video course, he uploaded the following video on YouTube.

This website trailer is about 15 minutes long and follows a vlogging style, which works well and naturally for Chris since he is a travel vlogger to begin with.

Either of these styles can work for you, but you need to assess which one would best fit your brand and appeal most to your niche audience.

The important thing is to make sure your trailer demonstrates value to viewers but leaves the majority of the prime content on your website. If you also offer relevant non-video materials (like articles, guides, ebooks, checklists, etc.) exclusively on your website, make sure you mention them in your videos too.

2. Video Teasers and Previews

Video teasers and previews are different from website trailers in that they advertise specific video episodes (single product) on your website rather than your website itself (entire business).

A teaser’s main purpose is to tease! It’s usually around a minute max and is designed to build up anticipation and show value in the specific video or video series you’re promoting.

Faderpro put up this teaser on YouTube of its new course, DJ Masterclass with Roger Sanchez.

Videos teasers and previews are also slightly different than one another. While teasers mix and match footage and dialogue from the original video you’re promoting, a preview is an actual scene of the episode exactly the way it is – which can also be effective.

*Trailers, teasers, and previews are three video types that explicitly promote your video website and content products. The next few types are more implicit in nature but are still as important as the first three because they will help you build brand authority. To market your online video website on YouTube effectively, you need to build a community on your channel, which will only happen if you give more than you ask for (more on growing your channel later in this post).

3. Product Reviews

Create informational videos reviewing products and services relevant to your area of expertise.

For instance, SarahBethYoga offers premium yoga videos for both beginners and expert yogis all over the world through her SVOD platform.

On YouTube, however, she offers broader content to market her exclusive membership site and also foster a community on the video giant site.

Her free YouTube content includes product reviews like the one below, on an acupressure mat that is great for her viewers, who could use it to relieve tension after an arduous yoga session. 

This type of YouTube content gives you more ways to get discovered online, since people are more likely to search for product reviews than your brand – especially if they don’t know you yet.

4. Expert advice

Same as product and service reviews, providing expert advice relevant to your areas of expertise is a great way to build credibility and topic authority online. This often comes in the form of “how-to” videos.

Chris Leblanc, who sells the 22 Days in Thailand online course, teaches people how to live in Bali in the video below:

If someone were to type in “how to live in Bali” in YouTube’s search bar, Chris’ above video would come up. This is a great way to get discovered and add credibility to your name as an expert in a specific realm.

5. Interviews with industry leaders

Host leaders and experts in your industry on your youtube channel. Interview them and structure it so your viewers get value out of your host and the interview. This helps amplify your brand’s credibility in your field, attracting your target audience.

6. Events

If your company ever participates in an event, post it. That can be anything from a live talk…

To a festival …

Wanderlust is a traveling yoga festival and online production of inspirational and actionable mindful video content. It delivers premium yoga and meditation instructional videos on its Uscreen website. To promote its brand, it posts both types of event videos on YouTube, which drives more traffic to its website.

The great thing about event videos is that they show other people being excited and engaged by your brand and what you have to offer, which is usually difficult to otherwise convey. If events aren’t a part of your business model or don’t fit in, don’t fuss about it. But if it is, you might as well capture it!

7. Free content

What if the video products you’re trying to promote are instructional videos themselves? Would posting some free how-to videos on YouTube be a smart thing to do?

Absolutely – don’t be stingy with your video content!

The best way to sell your paid content is to get people hooked on your free ones.

It’s important to differentiate between the paid videos you have for sale on your website and the free ones you have on YouTube. Make sure the free videos provide value to your customers, but that the paid content offers more value.

How to make sure these videos drive traffic back to your website.

No matter how well you create these videos, if they don’t link back to your website or product one way or another, it will all be for nothing.

It’s really important that you:

Clearly include your call to action within the video and the description to encourage viewers to visit your website for more information. You can end your video with something along the lines of “we have more of this good stuff on our website (insert website URL)”.
Make use of Youtube cards and end screens, which allow you to point viewers to a specific URL, calls to actions and new videos.
Be clear and enticing about the added value of the content they will get if they go to your website.
Integrate your brand as much as gracefully possible, visually and vocally, within the video to promote your brand, even if that specific YouTube video isn’t directly related to the video products you’re selling on your website.
– Add your website’s logo and concise URL.
Ask people to subscribe to your channel. This has more to do with marketing your channel, which we are coming to next.

Want to learn how to launch your first profitable online video business? Check out Uscreen’s brand new Video Business School

Part 2: How to promote your YouTube channel

How to promote your YouTube channel

It’s good to know all about the kinds of videos you can produce to promote and sell videos using YouTube, but if you don’t get people to watch those YouTube videos then they won’t generate leads to your website.

If you already have a YouTube channel with a decent number of subscribers, then the following shouldn’t be too hard to implement – you just gotta keep doing more of what you’ve already done. If you’re new to YouTube and don’t have any followers on there, don’t worry. You will need to put in some work to grow your channel so your YouTube videos gain traction and generate traffic.

1. YouTube Keywords

YouTube is the second largest search engine online – meaning the SEO you may be familiar with for Google definitely applies to YouTube as well. YouTube SEO actually affects your Google SEO too, since 55% of all Google search results show up as video content, and YouTube accounts for 82% of all online videos. So this is important.

If you know the basics of SEO, this one shouldn’t be too hard. If you don’t it’s generally a good thing to know to better market your video content on the internet, beyond just Youtube.

There’s a lot that goes into YouTube SEO, but for a quick overview, here are three basic things to get you started:

1. Use the right keywords. Google’s Adwords is a great starting point for keyword research. Think of all the words you think are related to the video you’re looking to post on YouTube and see how they’re performing on the internet. You want to pick keywords that have a good number of searches per month and aren’t too difficult to rank for.

2. Use your keywords in your titles. You’re done with the hard part: figuring out what keywords you need to use. Now it’s time to efficiently use them in YouTube video title. The ideal title length for a YouTube video is between 6 and 8 words long, give or take, and includes the keywords you have decided to use. It should be a very simple and to-the-point title.

3. Use your keywords in your descriptions. Like with your titles, include the keywords you’ve decided to optimize in your description so you can rank for them when people search those words. You have more room in your description section, so the more keyword-rich content you add in there, the better. It is important, however, to keep it simple and to-the-point, and to avoid keyword stuffing. Include calls to actions and links to your landing page, social media and any relevant web pages on the internet.

Start off with these three tactics to get you going, but know that there’s so much more to YouTube SEO that we encourage you to learn about. The more you learn about SEO, both YouTube and Google, the higher and quicker you will rank in both search engines, and the more traffic you will get to your website. We recommend this YouTube SEO Guide to learn all about it.

Now, on to the next. Youtube SEO is a basic must do, but it will not single-handedly rank your YouTube videos. So here’s two more things to understand and focus on.

2. Establish channel authority

You can’t aim to rank one video for one term.

You need to build out an entire channel, because YouTube knows that the channels that have some sort of authority are likely to have quality content, and that is what you should aim for.

Focus on your channel, build it out, and treat is as the center of your attention. You can build out your channel by:

Consistently putting out useful video content that you know an audience exists for
Establish your channel’s persona through the type of content you upload and your tone
Visually brand your channel consistently with your online video website. Create a high-quality channel header image, where you can insert links to your website and social media profiles
Fill up your “about section” with a lot of relevant information and effective keywords

Overtime, as you build authority, you will start to rank easily.

The Ultimate YouTube to VOD
Marketing Funnel Guide

YouTube VOD Marketing Funnel

3. Build your community

Activity generates more activity, which means you have to find different ways to grow your YouTube community from the ground up.

As you start to be consistent in putting out your content, you’re going to start getting more and more subscribers, and once you get to those, your videos will start getting instant views when you upload them.

And that is what activity does. The more shares you have, the more activity you get and the faster you’re going to rank.

If you’re just starting out, yes this is going to require some work. This is something that builds up over time, but don’t be discouraged. Here are a few ways you can start building your community:

Take advantage of your existing fan base – if you’re new to YouTube but already have a community elsewhere online, for instance through social media or an email list, use it. Reach out to your existing internet followers and ask them to subscribe to your new YouTube channel. Send them new videos to watch, like and comment as often as you post them. Be sure to outline what’s in it for them in the email (more value of what they know you offer them). Also be sure to share your videos on your social media channels.

Engage in the comment section – The YouTube comment section can often be an annoying place to participate, but it’s a great place to source new viewers. Reply to comments and answer any questions posted on your videos. The point here is to be so helpful with your answer, that you establish the authority you need. Don’t only engage in comments made on your own videos, but in those made on other videos around similar topics. Don’t aggressively promote your products and channel, but subtly let the commenter know that they could find value in visiting your channel based on their question. Again, focus on being helpful! This could take time, but would really go a long way in promoting your brand and creating authority for your channel.

Get other people talking about you – it’s normal for you to talk about yourself, but it’s special if others talk about you. Reach out to influencers, bloggers, and experts in your niche and ask them to share a specific video you know they would like. Find blogs and online news outlets relevant to your content and see if they can publish your stuff. For this to work, as with everything else, your video really needs to be of high-quality value. These people need to be proud to be sharing your videos, otherwise, they will not do it. It has to make them look good.

Show up in different places on the internet – Finally, share your videos and channel on niche community forums and websites such as Reddit, or question and answer sites like Quora. Get your name out there as someone who knows a thing or two about this topic. If you have a YouTube video that already answers a question you found on a forum, direct the user to it, but be sure to still preface it with an answer to avoid seeming spammy.

YouTube ranking factors go much deeper than this, and there is a lot to learn if you are really interested in kicking some YouTube butt. When you’re ready, expand your knowledge and learn more tips and tricks on YouTube ranking by reading through this YouTube Ranking Factors Study.

But for now, if you focus on YouTube SEO, establish channel authority and build your YouTube activity, you can get a decent head start on growing your online business and making more money selling videos on YouTube.

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Selling videos on YouTube is a long-term process that won’t yield much for a while until it suddenly explodes with traffic. It’s one of those things that needs patience and hard work for results in the long run that are worth it. So for the first few months, don’t pay attention to the results. Instead, focus on cultivating an online community that you drive back to your YouTube channel, and create content on there helps them. Your sales will start rolling in once your channel authority is established – which again, can only happen through growing your activity.


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