For some YouTube is a simply a Hobby where you get to be creative with video and share it with the world. Earning money is not their priority and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But for others YouTube can provide supplemental income to support their family or just some extra pocket money. Some even leverage the power of YouTube to build a business from their channel and earn a full time living.
If you fall in to the later category you’re in the right place as I’m going to show you my top 5 ways to make money on YouTube.
There are many more ways than this to use YouTube to make money but to get us started I’ve gone for the 5 that are easiest to implement, can work for channels of all sizes and provide a great foundation to turn your channel into a business.
Watch my video and then check out the guide below for further details on each money-making strategy.
Many people believe that this is the one and only way to make money on YouTube and this is not right.
It’s dangerous to put all of your eggs in one basket and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make more money with AdSesnse to landing page as competition increases across YouTube.
However as part of a diverse money making plan it’s an excellent starting point because it is simple to implement and rewards you for what you do best – get people to watch your videos.
Let me break down the steps on just how simple this is:
Step 1 – Make videos
You’re doing this already – so good start.
Step 2 – Join the Partner Program
There are a number of benefits to joining YouTube’s Partner program – the number one reason being the monetization of videos.
Here’s a video I made showing you just how simple it is to join the program:
Still want more info on how and why you should join? Click here.
Step 3 – Enable Monetization
Once approved for the program you’ll need to enable monetization on the videos you upload. Again a painless progress shown at the video in step 2.
Step 4 – YouTube place ads before and around your videos
That includes video ads before videos start to play, pop up ads during video and banner ads around the video.
Step 5 – Earn money and withdraw through AdSense
If you sign up to the standard Partner agreement you will be given a 55% cut of any advertising revenue YouTube make on your videos.
To withdraw this money you’ll need an AdSense account. Got you covered there too:
So it’s easy to implement but not so easy to make significant revenue from unless you’re getting view counts in the millions or have a very large number of videos live on the platform.
If you’re making money this way but want to ensure you’re maximizing every AdSense dollar you can click here for my guide to earning more ad revenue on YouTube.
Selling merchandise (or merch as it’s widely known) is a technique mostly used by Vloggers and personality led channels - the classic being the t-shirt - but could easily be used by anyone with an engaged audience.
Whether it’s the makeup you’re wearing or your new iTunes download it’s easy to sell merchandise on YouTube because merch stores are one of the few types of websites you can link to directly in video (via annotations and Cards).
The full list of sites is quite extensive, 143 to be exact, so I’ve pulled out some of the most popular:
Itunes – Movie/Music/Podcast Downloads
Selz – Digital products and courses
Eventbrite – Live event tickets
Teespring – T-shirt (crowdfunded)
If you want to sell something that’s not available in one of the whitelisted stores then you can still link to it in the description. Although this is not ideal, and will likely hurt conversion rates, a strong call to action should get interested parties to look for it out and click.
Once you have an audience that love you, no matter how big or small you should be able to find a relevant product to create and no doubt they’ll be biting off your hand to buy it.
This is a seriously powerful revenue generator if you have the right product and a hungry audience.
Affiliate marketing is when you make a video about or simply mention a product and provide a trackable link that you get once you’ve signed up as an affiliate for a product.
If a member of your audience then clicks on that link and buys the product you will get a cut of the sale and the buyer pays no more than they would normally.
You can see some of the products and services that I am an affiliate for by checking out my Recommended Tools page. Take note of the disclaimer at the top of that page, as I’ll speak more about that later on.
To become an affiliate for a product that you love you can usually scroll down to the bottom of the product website or store and you’ll find a link to their affiliate scheme. If you can’t find a link there I would contact the seller anyway because some people keep their affiliate schemes private.
This can be a very lucrative business model if you find the right product for your audience because you’re making money selling something that you didn’t create, pay to produce, invest in, deliver or have to support going forward.
Sounds like a dream come true eh?
However, and this is a big however, you need to be transparent about marketing affiliate products to your audience for two reasons:
- Your audience trust you and so you should only recommend products that you use personally and that you trust the company behind.
- In some places around the world there are laws about making it clear that links are affiliate links – so check your local legislation and ensure that you’re following the rules to the letter.
This is my absolute top tip for turning your YouTube audience into a sustainable long-term business and sadly is probably the least common amongst YouTube Creators.
At the moment you don’t own your YouTube audience, YouTube does. You don’t have their names or contact information and so it’s almost impossible for you to sell things to them directly or communicate with them as effectively as you like.
By starting your own website and associating it with your YouTube channel you’re able to link to it in Annotations and Cards at will and can start to funnel your audience there. Here's an example of a Card going back to my website:
The beauty of this is that once they’re on your website you can do things like:
- Collect their email address and other details (THIS IS A MUST)
- Sell them products
- Host your own advertising/sponsorship
- Get them to join a paid membership group
The one drawback to this could be that sending people away from YouTube can hurt your Session Time metrics and this can hurt your overall YouTube performance. With this in mind you need to find the balance between directing people to your website and calls to action to watch more video, extending the audience’s YouTube session.
I think the benefits massively outweigh the negatives though and if done right would HIGHLY recommend you implement this for your YouTube channel.
When most people think about Fan Funding they usually think Crowd Funding. And when they think Crowd Funding they think Kickstarter, and although YouTube is a great avenue to promote your Kickstarter campaign the type of funding I’m talking about is a little different.
On it’s most basic level Fan Funding is a donation by fans to help support their favourite Creator.
However I don’t like thinking of this as a donation because it;
a) Implies you‘re a charity case or simply begging for money and
b) Suggests you aren’t creating something of value or worth paying for.
There are over 60 Crowd Funding and Charity fundraising sites 60 platforms that can be linked directly from cards and annotations. Get the full list by clicking here.
The most popular from this list is Patreon, which is a platform where you can receive monthly recurring pledges from fans who get perks and rewards based on the level they pledge.
I love this model as it removes the charity stigma by providing added value on top of your normal video stream. This also allows the fan to feel more invested in the content and therefore more engaged, becoming part of your “inner circle”.
Another option is YouTube’s own Fan Funding service.
The receiving of money via this service is currently only available in Mexico, Japan, Australia and USA and only fans from the above countries along with the UK, Spain and France are actually able to donate.
Although I don’t think this is a great overall experience like Patreon, it does provide a widget right in the sidebar of the YouTube channel of the Creator, which is more likely to convert fans into funders.
All of these strategies can be used from day one but it’s unlikely you’ll get much through the tills without focusing first on growing and engaging with your audience.
Having said that, even as you are growing you should always have monetization in your plans and when the time comes, go all in on those strategies and bake them right into your videos.
Your audience realize that you need to earn a living and that it costs you time and money to create video so don’t be apologetic when promoting one of these revenue streams. Own it and you’ll be much more likely to turn views into dollars.
Make sure you don’t miss my future monetization tips including my upcoming guide to growing your AdSense revenue by joining the FAQ Tube community. You’ll also receive my free ebook on YouTube optimization as a welcome gift.
Want more YouTube strategies that get results?
Get the latest YouTube tips delivered straight to your inbox along with a FREE copy of the world's most advanced YouTube Optimization ebook