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How to make money on YouTube selling information products

Want a new way to monetize your YouTube following? Sell info products. Use your videos to educate viewers about your products and why they need them.

July 24, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

Your subscriber and view counts on YouTube are steadily rising, and your hard work is finally paying off. 

Now that you have a sizable YouTube audience, it’s time to monetize your videos.  

What’s the best method to tackle first?

Our favorite method is, maybe somewhat obviously, selling info products. This method works especially well if you’ve got popular educational videos that resonate with your audience, and it’s far easier (and more stable) than monetizing directly on YouTube.

Today, we’ll walk you through:

  • Why you should sell information products on YouTube
  • How to decide which digital products to sell 
  • How to put together a YouTube marketing strategy

Let’s get straight to it.

Why should you sell info products to your YouTube audience?

Selling info products to your YouTube audience is ideal for several reasons.

For one, a majority of internet users in each age group use YouTube, which means your target demographic is more than likely already using YouTube regularly. 

What are they using YouTube for? Lots of things, but mainly to learn

A chunky 51% of American adults say they find YouTube very important for figuring out things they’ve never done before. 

What’s more, 64% of those who use YouTube say the platform helps them learn skills necessary for personal and professional development. And another 59% of Gen Zers and 55% of millennials claim they also prefer using YouTube for learning.

As far as making buying decisions go, 19% of adults use it to decide if they should purchase a product. 

All this to say, your target audience is likely already using YouTube to learn new things and also firm up their purchasing decisions. 

Which makes selling info products to your YouTube audience a natural fit.

Plus, it’s more reliable and less complicated than other YouTube monetization methods.

Take, for example, YouTube’s Partner Program, which limits who can join the program based on the number of public watch hours and subscribers. 

Not only are there criteria for joining, but you also need to follow YouTube’s channel monetization policies and community guidelines, among other rules, if you want to monetize your videos. 

Even if you get past those hurdles and manage to charge for exclusive content memberships, YouTube takes 30% of each sale

On top of that, when you rely on such a platform for payouts, sometimes things go awry. 

Like when YouTube creators, Jake Sandt and “Drag Race” queen Naomi Smalls, were mistakenly demonetized for several weeks and had no way to recoup their lost profits, for example.  

Or when YouTube changed its algorithm and videos no longer appeared in followers’ feeds like before, which impacted vloggers like Joey Graceffa, who experienced lower views per video and less YouTube earnings.

The point is, YouTube’s monetization strategies can be too stressful and inconsistent for creators looking to earn a decent income from the platform. 

But when you sell your own products, you have more control over what content you produce and how much you earn from it. 

OK. Now that you’re (hopefully) convinced info products are the way to go, it’s time to get specific about what info products you should sell.

How to figure out what information products to sell to your YouTube audience

There’s no better way to determine what info products to sell to your YouTube audience than to find out from your audience directly.

If you have a growing YouTube audience, you’re already ahead of the game for conducting customer research and gathering product ideas. 

Straight off the bat, you can use your YouTube analytics to get a birds-eye view of your top videos, subscriber count, and views, among other metrics. 

Access analytics for specific videos to understand how well they performed and with whom. This will give you insights on the topics that resonate the most among your audience -- a great basis for your info product topics.

You can also use the demographics report to understand what age groups and geographic regions you appeal to most, which helps you better define and get to know your target audience. 

To dig deeper into finding out what info products your audience is interested in, actively seek answers from your YouTube audience. 

You can include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your videos asking them to comment with questions, feedback, and opinions. 

Alternatively, you can ask for feedback during a live-streamed Q&A session, which is an ideal way to have a live chat dialogue with attendees.  

Regardless of how you survey your audience, once you’ve gathered viewer insights and ideas, it’s time to seal the deal by validating your product idea.

Idea validation just means getting confirmation -- through presales, sales, or even a high level of interest -- that enough people are willing to pay for your product. 

The sky’s the limit in terms of how you validate your product idea with your YouTube followers. The main point is to test a mini version of your product idea with real audience members.  

For instance, if you want to sell online courses, you can launch a free mini-course on YouTube, like a one- or two-hour webinar or live-stream training. 

Check out how Makers Gonna Learn shares live-streamed tutorials on their channel, like this lesson below

They also promote a membership program about the same topic (using a Cricut) in their YouTube description at the beginning of the live chat and in the video itself. 

If you’re looking to either pre-sell or pre-launch your online course, consider creating a short explainer video that outlines what students gain from the course. 

After all, 66% of people say they prefer watching short videos to learn about new products and services, so this might be a winning format. 

Of course, explainer videos can work to validate more than just online course ideas. You can also use them to test other info product ideas, like digital downloads, ebooks, printables, or even planners.

Take Milk and Honey Life, for example, which uses this video to demonstrate how and why to use their printable planner sheets.

Alternatively, you can run a series of live events for your followers or offer digital downloads that turn the main points of your info product into a brief presentation or mini-lesson. 

The takeaway is to look to your YouTube audience for info product ideas and then test snippets of your idea to see if they resonate.

Whatever info product idea you want to explore, there’s a way to test that idea among your YouTube audience. 

And once you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your followers, move on to the final step: promoting your products on YouTube. 

4 YouTube marketing tips for selling digital products 

There are a lot of different ways to promote on YouTube, so we’re going to keep it short-and-straightforward, but if you’re hankering for even more strategies, check out our guide on 6 ways to monetize your videos on YouTube without YouTube’s monetization

Tactic #1: Create educational videos

One of the most powerful ways to sell your digital info products is to offer educational value above all else. 

Educational content is like the ever-more appetizing multicourse meal that gets viewers to stick around for dessert -- your paid info product.

Contrary to what you might think, your educational videos don’t have to be lecture-style lessons to be effective, either. 

Product demos, customer interviews, testimonials, tutorials, and Q&As are just a few educational formats that work wonders. 

Entrepreneur, Alex Tooby, for example, teaches her audience about her Instagram strategy facing the camera in a friendly casual environment in her educational Youtube video, which nicely complements her paid Instagram Ivy League course

If a lengthy tutorial isn’t your speed, try creating short educational snippets, just like successful entrepreneur, Becky Mollenkamp, does. 

Becky creates several short videos for her audience, many of which tie into her paid info products for sale.

For instance, this video about finding a business community briefly mentions Becky’s membership community, The Gutsy Boss Club, in addition to including a link in the description. 

Basically, by simply providing educational value to your YouTube audience, you position yourself as an expert on your topic, which builds trust among your audience and convinces viewers that your info products are a reliable solution to their problems.

If producing a polished video doesn’t appeal to you, consider our next tactic that gives you more room to cut loose.

Tactic #2: Host live-streams on YouTube

Another way to market your info products to your YouTube audience is to leverage the power of live-stream webinars.

These days, webinars are a popular video format among consumers. So much so that people are willing to sit through lengthy webinars. In fact, the average viewing time for webinars is 57 minutes, and the average length for training webinars is 61 minutes.

Even better, they net a lot of gains when it comes to attracting prospective customers. An impressive 76% of businesses tout that webinars help them reach more leads. 

Just like in pre-recorded educational videos, the purpose of your live-stream should be delivering educational value to your audience. 

But again, the format doesn’t have to take on traditional lecture-based material. You can play with formats like product demos, tutorials, or Q&As in live webinars, too. 

Since you have the great opportunity to engage with your audience in real-time, chat with them about how your info products will help them. 

The beauty of hosting a live-stream video is you don’t have to go through a hefty video editing process, yet you can still share a recording of the live-stream with audience members afterward.

For instance, entrepreneur, Katie Jobling, shares her pre-recorded live-stream webinar to show viewers her process for creating watercolor artwork. 

And creator Cindy Guentert-Baldo shares a live-stream video of how she efficiently plans out her week. 

Sharing live-streams similar to Cindy’s and Katie’s give your viewers a chance to get to know you and your brand, while also providing them an opportunity to ask questions about your business and info products. 

After winning over your viewers with your excellent content, you’ll need to direct them to where to go next, which is where our third tactic comes in. 

Tactic #3: Include links to lead magnets and products in your description

Another way to entice viewers to purchase your info products is to direct them to your brand afterward using a CTA.

And while you can (and should) encourage them to watch more videos, it’s also wise to nudge your audience towards your email list and info products. 

To do this, one option is to include in-video CTAs and video description links that lead to your email lead magnets.

For viewers who aren’t yet ready to buy from you, they can join your email list to learn more about your topic and brand. Emails also provide an excellent platform for sending more targeted marketing messages later on. 

Anita by Design, as an example, includes links to her free email community and new book in her video description

Likewise, Trena Little includes a link to her YouTube Launch roadmap in her video description

Regardless of where you lead your YouTube viewers, the core idea is to include a clear CTA that brings your audience closer to your brand and paid info products.

OK. So, that covers the free marketing tactics. We’ve got a final tip for you today that requires some ad budget.

Tactic #4: Create YouTube ads

Our final marketing tip for selling info products to your YouTube audience is to leverage YouTube ads.

If you’re wondering how effective YouTube ads are, they certainly work to grab people’s attention. Paid YouTube mobile advertising gets a staggering 83% attention. 

Compare this to the 45% attention to paid TV advertising, which seems almost abysmally low when stacked against YouTube. YouTube mobile advertising is 84% more likely to receive attention than TV advertising. 

One reason for YouTube ads’ efficacy is how well they allow creators to target viewers. 

You can target audiences for your YouTube ads based on user demographic information, like gender, age, household income, or even parental status. 

You can also target audiences based on behavioral data and reach viewers who have interacted with your videos in the past and audiences that are similar to existing lists of audience members.

While you may want to try other marketing tactics before adopting YouTube ads, once you have the budget, YouTube ads can make a great addition to your marketing mix.

For a more in-depth guide on how to effectively use YouTube ads, we’ve got you covered in our no-frills YouTube ads guide.

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Sell info products to earn more from your YouTube following

Given that so many viewers use YouTube to learn new things, YouTube is a solid platform for posting educational and promotional videos that ultimately lead to your paid info products. 

To start selling info products on YouTube:

  • First analyze your audience demographics to learn who your target audience is.
  • Examine your videos’ performance to see which topics are the most popular, which will inform your high-selling info products.
  • Your audience is your best source for finding out what info products will successfully sell. Test your product idea with your YouTube followers. 
  • Market your product to your followers using a variety of tactics, like creating educational content, live-streaming webinars, leading your viewers to your info products through clear CTAs, and purchasing YouTube ads.

And after that? Then it’s time to watch the sales roll in and continue serving your audience. 

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