How to Sell Using YouTubeSep 11, 2015 by Lina Vashurina,
6 billion hours.
That’s the total amount of time people spend watching videos on YouTube every month — nearly an hour for every person in the world. It is also the second most popular search engine in the world, and the third most popular website after Google and Facebook.
For businesses, this means big opportunities. YouTube is a powerful medium for branding and traffic. Countless entrepreneurs have leveraged the platform to grow sales.
In this post, we’ll do a deep dive into using YouTube for sales. You’ll learn what you need to make YouTube videos, and how to promote your channel.
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What You Need for YouTube
To sell on YouTube, you’ll need three things:
A video recording setup
YouTube is all about video, so of course, you’ll need a video recording setup to get started. However, this doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. You can create professional quality videos with a setup that costs under $1,000. This should include:
- A camera: Pick something that can shoot at least 720p, though 1080p is recommended. Start with a webcam such as Logitech C920 (under $100). If you’re more serious, graduate to a digital camera such as Canon PowerShot 300HS (~$300) or a
full-fledgedcamcorder like Canon Vixia iVis HFG20 (~$700).
- A microphone: A good microphone will have a huge impact on your video quality. Choose a USB microphone for doing voiceovers. If you’re on a budget, pick something like the Samson Go Mic (under $100). For better quality, choose the Blue Yeti USB mic (~$200). If you have a camcorder, buy a shotgun mic from Takstar or Rode for enhanced sound quality.
- A tripod: Unless you’re using the webcam, you’ll need a tripod to stabilize the video. You can usually find these for under $100, depending on your camera.
- Lighting: Conventional overhead light casts shadows and isn’t appropriate for YouTube videos. Invest in a simple lighting setup such as the CowboyStudio set (under $100) to make your videos look more professional.
- Backdrop: You can add some character to your videos by changing the background. A seamless sheet of colored paper works well, but if you’re more serious, get a photography background support stand and colored fabric to match. This shouldn’t cost you more than $100.
- Video editing software: You likely won’t need any extensive editing features for simple videos. Movie Maker (Windows) or iMovie (Mac) should suffice for most users. If you want more power, try the AVS Video Editor or Adobe Lightworks.
Altogether, you can start with a decent camera, microphone and tripod combo for less than $500.
A website or landing page
This one should be obvious — you need a website to link to when you make your videos. This can be a blog, or ideally, a product page on your Ecwid store.
Depending on your marketing strategy, you can also link out to your profiles on other social networks such as Twitter or Facebook.
The best option is to use a dedicated landing page for each video. That is, if your travel accessories business has a video on how to pack your bags like a pro, it should link to a separate landing page on the items mentioned in the video. This requires more work, but you’ll see fantastic conversion rates.
A willingness to help
It might sound
Once you have these three requirements, you can jump right in and start making your own videos.
Three-Step Guide to Selling on YouTube
The process of selling on YouTube can be broken down into three discrete steps: creating videos, getting traffic and promoting your channel.
Let’s look at these three steps in further detail.
Step 1: Create Videos
You can’t really market yourself on YouTube without making your own videos. This can sound like a daunting task, especially if you’re not very comfortable being on camera. However, once you have a decent recording setup (see above) and some ideas, you’ll find that making videos is easier than you think.
What kind of videos you should make will depend entirely on your product. Here are some video ideas you can try:
1. Answer questions
Your customers will likely have a number of questions about your product, both before and after the sale. Make a list of these questions and answer them via video. You should also monitor social media for additional questions and send out your reply in a video. Think of these as a video version of your FAQs.
2. Show the manufacturing process
Behind the scenes videos tend to do really well on YouTube, especially when it comes to branding. If you make your own product, it’s a good idea to show the manufacturing process in detail. It’ll reassure customers of your product’s quality and give viewers a glimpse into your business culture.
3. Create topical content for your industry
Behind the scenes and Q&A videos have limited audience potential. Topical industry focused content, however, can reach a much larger viewership. This content should aim to help viewers understand a problem and find solutions. It can also focus on entertaining them with trivia, facts and knowledge.
For example, if you sell travel accessories, you can make videos on how to pack your bags better, or share a list of top things to pack before traveling. If you want virality, you can make short, informative videos like the kind made by Buzzfeed.
4. Feature user stories
How do actual customers use your products? Interviewing users and sharing their stories can be a great source of video content. Get in touch with your customers and ask if you can feature them on your channel. Many will wholeheartedly agree (especially if you offer to promote their business/blog in the video). Either ask them to come into your studio, or interview them in their home/office. This is a great branding tool and also works as a customer testimonial.
5. Share reviews made by others
Lastly, your YouTube channel shouldn’t be limited to your own video content. It should also share content made by others, particularly video reviews made by other vloggers. You can usually find such reviews by searching for your product name on YouTube. Ask the vlogger if you can feature the review on your channel. Most will be happy to see their content spread further.
Step 2: Get traffic to your site
The next step after making the video is to direct the video traffic to your site or landing page.
Fortunately, YouTube offers multiple methods to let users interact with your video content. Let’s look at some of these.
1. Video annotations
Annotations are the bread and butter of YouTube marketing. Use them to place
- An annotation at the beginning, middle and end of the video linking to a landing page.
- An annotation linking to your website on the logo.
- An annotation to any similar videos on your channel.
2. Video descriptions
The video description is often overlooked as a method to get leads and clicks. This description should include multiple links to your landing page, along with an actual description of the video. Make sure to use keywords here (don’t overuse them) to get SEO benefits as well.
3. Interactive cards
Cards are a recent addition to YouTube’s arsenal of marketing tools. These are interactive elements that can be inserted inside a video to do different things — show products, websites, other videos, and even raise funds directly from the video. Check out Google’s help section to see what kind of card is right for you, and how to use it.
Step 3: Marketing your YouTube videos
Once you’ve made your videos and uploaded them to YouTube, it’s time to promote your channel.
Depending on your existing marketing skills, this might be the easiest, or the toughest part of selling on YouTube. Let’s look at some tactics you can employ anytime, regardless of skillset:
1. Engage with the community
YouTube comments are often disparaged online for their poor quality, but for the entrepreneur, they can often be a great source of viewers. Engaging with the community and answering their questions will go a long way in promoting your brand.
Try to answer comments made on not just your own videos, but also videos on similar topics made by other vloggers.
For example, if you sell fitness accessories, find videos on fitness and diet related topics and respond to comments on them.
Don’t push your products aggressively. Instead, drop hints that the commenter can learn more about the topic on your channel. Remember: your first task is to be helpful. Selling comes much later!
2. Invest in YouTube SEO
As we’ve already mentioned before, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. It also dominates Google searches, with video showing up in 55% of search results, and YouTube accounting for 82% of all those videos.
YouTube SEO is a whole new topic altogether, but for a quick crash course, follow these tips:
- Make videos on video keywords. These are keywords that have a large number of video results in Google (at least 2+).
- Use these keywords in your video title. Also make sure to name your video file with some keywords. For example, if your video is on how to sell on YouTube, the file name and title could be
how-sell-youtube.mp4and How to Sell on YouTube — A Step by Step Guide respectively.
SEO-optimizeddescriptions. The short and long description below your video have a big impact on SEO. Google uses these descriptions to understand what your video is all about. Make sure to add at least 200+ words of keyword-richcontent describing the video in this section.
- Take a look at these YouTube ranking factors to better understand what affects your video rankings. For the most part, it is a combination of the quality of your content (higher engagement = better rankings), your channel authority, and video SEO.
3. Promote outside YouTube
Embedding your content on other platforms (a blog, Facebook, Google+, etc.) is another great way to increase your views.
Some strategies you can use to do this:
- Message Facebook pages and Twitter accounts in your niche and ask them to share your videos. Many such pages are looking for quality content and will be happy to send out your video, often for free.
- If your content is newsworthy, contact blogs and news outlets such as HuffingtonPost, Buzzfeed, etc. to share your video.
- For keyword related content, ask people with
text-onlycontent on the topic to embed your video in their content.
- Share your YouTube channel link on product invoices and packaging.
- Share your video on niche community forums and websites such as Reddit.
4. Promote within YouTube
While you’re busy promoting your videos on other platforms, don’t forget to market yourself on YouTube as well.
Here are some strategies you can use:
SEO-optimizedplaylists. These often show up in the Related Videos pane and can get your additional views.
- Create a separate segment asking people to subscribe to your channel. Insert this segment at the end of every video with an annotation pointing to the subscribe button.
- Brand your channel. Use a brand image in your channel header and fill up the About section with information about your brand.
If you do all of the above, you’ll find that getting traffic to your YouTube videos is not only easy, but also fun.
Selling on YouTube should be seen as a
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