How to make money with YouTube

If you’re a star on YouTube, you’re no less than a mini celebrity. Being a YouTube star is hard work— a position that someone aspires to by continually teaching, updating, producing videos even when there’s no one to watch or applaud.

Many times when someone starts producing videos for YouTube, there’s no concrete plan going on. They just begin somewhere and sometimes that random start takes them to heights of popularity that they might have never imagined. That’s not to say these fledgling one-man shows turn to something way more than what they expected them to be.

That’s not to say that if making money is your goal with YouTube, you can’t succeed. You will and I’m going to help you succeed. Also, youtube isn’t the only channel. I list several tried and tested ways to earn money online here.

Let’s get started

  1. How to make money on YouTube
  2. Most popular niches on YouTube
  3. Who makes money on YouTube

How to make money on YouTube?

Let’s start by putting away some myths. The first thing you need to recognize is this: you don’t need hundreds of thousands of subscribers on YouTube to start making money. In fact even if you have only a few thousand subscribers you’re on the right path.

Great engagement doesn’t directly result from too many followers. Engagement is something that depends on the relationship you built with these followers.

Also while the top YouTube earners tend to have millions of subscribers what they earn is not just because of the ad impressions they’re generating courtesy of the huge number of subscribers.

Many of these stars tend to have their own products. For instance a popular cooking channel’s host might have their own set of cookbooks they produce on their own. Or a premium tutorial that helps people access some secret recipes. On the side they may have their own t shirts and cookie jars they sell to subscribers. As you can see, the sky’s the only limit.

Determining your target audience for YouTube

That means you need to understand who’s going to sign up and watch your videos. Who makes up the demographic profile of your visitors and who you can sell to make more money.

As I said before you don’t need lots of subscribers to push through. The more niche your niche is the more targeted your audience is and the more engaged they’re going to be.

To do this successfully, find out the gender and demographic makeup of your audience. How old are they and what do they do online? What are their chief interests?

Once you’ve wrapped your head around these things it’s easy to channel your energies to focus on creating content they’re going to love and be interested in most.

With the demographic information you’re also going to attract the right target brands to work with you.

The straightforward ways to earn with YouTube

Be a participant in the partners program at YouTube

This happens to be one of the easiest ways to make money on YouTube. This is the first revenue stream most people tend to start exploring with. And it’s something you too can start with.

As a partner on YouTube’s Partners Program you can run ads on your channel and start earning money. Sometimes when you have hit a certain number of subscribers or views, they invite you to the program, as it happened with me. Or you can apply after you hit the threshold of 1000 subscribers on your own and made it past 4000 watch hours. That can be seen on the youtube analytics dashboard.

Here’s the step by step process to follow

First sign in to your YouTube account at the start. 

Then click on the account icon. You have a small figurine on the top right corner.

Click on YouTube studio

Then go to other features>monetization.

Read and agree to the partner program terms.

Next you need to create a new adsense account and connect them together.

Go to your dashboard and click on the analytics tab. Now to go choose revenue from the tabs at the top and scroll down to monthly estimated revenue. Here you get a ballpark figure of how much you stand to earn.

How many views do you need to make money?

It isn’t that straightforward. YouTube has set a criteria that the viewer must click on the ad or watch the ad for 15 to 30 seconds for it to be considered an ad view and generate income. THat means you might get thousands of views and still no income because nobody watched ads. If the videos are engaging people bear the minor inconvenience with ads and not making anything happen quite rarely.

YouTube premium is a channel that doesn’t rely on advertisers to make an income.

It’s a paid membership program where your viewers watch and support you and other content creators by paying them a monthly subscription fee.

With the premium channel only those who have a youtube account and those who wish to  pay can watch and only from them will you get paid anything.

This can be an additional revenue stream compared to ads that tend to bottom out on the amount paid to you. It’s easy to start with the premium program.

Ads are one of the biggest methods to get a pay off on YouTube

With the YouTube Partner Program, brands like  T-Series that produce and post music videos generate over $723000 to 11.6 million dollars per month.

With the YPP program the successful channels can monetize the content made by other YouTube brands.

Marques Brownee

He is a popular tech reviewer who goes into in depth analysis of gadgets and phones and rakes in a good sum at the end of the month.

The not so straightforward forward ways to print money with YouTube

While ads embody a simple approach to earning with YouTube, the other ways are tougher but yet much more rewarding.

Sell your own products

While selling your own products takes on a more convoluted path than most things there’s a lot of potential. Especially so, since you get to keep the full profits.

Merchandise like t shirts, cookbooks, coffee mugs and posters are some to name a few.

You infuse the personality of the brand you worked so hard at developing into these products. The results? Better relationships with people.

In fact you can outsource most of the work around creation, brainstorming and design. There are thousands of sellers on Fiverr who you can work with directly. They will give you designs for products. If it’s a t shirt or mug upload the design to Teespring from where people can purchase directly.

Teespring does the heavy lifting. They print and ship at a nominal cost. You pocket the rest. You decide the price. You decide what to sell.

Or you can purchase a t- shirt printing machine from China and print away stuff for as long as you want. That requires a heavy initial investment. Or outsource printing to a third-party.

There are several dropshippers in China who you can directly work with for a profit.

You can also join a network created exclusively for creators. One example is DFTBA Don’t forget to be awesome.

With a network like DFTBA however you get less control on products, they decide discounts and fewer freedoms associated with running your own store.

Items like hair extensions can be manufactured easily and sold online. You only need to find a quality supplier. Same goes for a YouTube channel that talks about health. You can retail health supplements and powders and list them on Amazon where you stand to gain additional sales for the product.

As someone with an audience you have a set of people ready to snag your products right from the get go.

That’s an unfair advantage and something to be proud of. Almost everyone can travest the technicalities of creating a product from scratch. Not everyone can generate traffic though.

Brand cohesiveness is crucial

Your Youtube channel, even though you’re only making videos on them is part of your overall branding and is somewhere from where potential customers instantly recognize and trust you. That means there’s a great need for you to be active and consistent on the video platform just like on your site.

Research says that it takes a brand 5 touchpoints with someone for him to remember you.

This is crucial. 

By doing so you tie the story together and make recognition easier.

Good stories help you connect with customers by putting your mission front and center of them.

It makes your brand memorable.

Toms YouTube channel has the same messaging on its site and on its YouTube channel

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The logo, the use of colors, the basics are all there. But they can get away with different colors. The truth is they’re staying true to their core brand message.

The channel is part of the overall brand.

The look and feel helps create a familiarity.

Go over YouTube’ customization features to do the same for your brand. Here you can upload a header and set up channel settings.

The design and images are great to add.

Another aspect of brand identity is using the right keywords as tags for your videos.

You can start on free keyword research tools to discover the right keywords for you.

Betty Givan-Betty’s Kitchen

Betty givan is another person who shot to star status just by sharing family recipes on YouTube. Just like most stars, Betty’s attempt was to post some videos in 2009. As she posted more videos, people all over the world began connecting with her. This led her to the power of YouTube.

With nearly 200k subscribers, Betty makes ad income and also sends people to her site where she sells cookbooks.

Lily Singh

Lilly Singh is another motivation figure for Indians. She is a popular fitness icon who has over 9 million subscribers.

She uses videos to sell her book and through placements inside the video. She’s a good example of the success you can achieve with the platform.

Dollar Shave Club

You might have seen Dollar Shave Club’s promo videos that are called our blades are fu..king great. These videos shot dollar shave club into YouTube fandom relatively quickly.

Within the first 2 days 12 000 people signed up to the list and turned him into one of the most successful businesses.

Now that you’ve seen the best of the best, it’s time to venture out on your own.

Crowdfund your product

One another thing you can do with your YouTube channel is get funding for your ideas. It’s easy to raise money for your projects these days. All that you need to do is make the appeal on your YouTube channel. If you’ve got an engaged targeted audience, it’s only a matter of time before your call for action gets heard and you get people tapping your door.

The community will help promote your idea and contribute enough to fuel your campaign online.

The idea should be compelling enough.

To do this right—start with a trailer that provides a sneak peak into the product you’re planning to launch, what it does and who’s it for. Shoot a video that gives a preview to its features and get people excited.

Successful trailers are the precursor to successful crowdfunding.

Here are some of the most popular crowdfunding sites that can make this happen for you.

Kickstarter: It’s the de facto most popular crowdfunding site. It sets the benchmark for creative ideas. 

The funding goal should be attainable.

Indiegogo: It’s an alternative that is popular in countries like ours India, because it provides so many payment options.

You can also source the money directly from people. Instead of hosting it on a crowdfunding site.

People are going to pay attention to the good content you’re creating and will be inclined to support you in the long term.

Engage in influencer marketing.

Another good way to use your clout is to engage in influencer marketing.

Brands are spending more money with influencer marketing because they get the loyalty of people from influencers who already have won over their audience.

As someone this is a fantastic opportunity for you to stand out.

You could charge a fee based on the number of views you’re getting to videos on average

The audience demographics, quality content and the profitability of your niche are all aspects that you can tie into your pricing and negotiate deals that work

According to multiple research pieces being an YouTube influencer gives you the most bang for buck. A starting influencer can charge $2000 per 100000 followers.

The key is always sponsoring things that you really actually believe in.

There are multiple sites people use to discover influencers. A few of these are listed below.

Grapevine Logic: It’s a popular marketplace with just 1000 followers set as the threshold for joining

Famebit: There are a number of people using the platform with mentions on popular sites. You need 5000 followers to join.

Crowdtap: It’s a channel where you can use YouTube to finish a few tasks and get people to join. There’s no restriction.

With some sites you get paid in goods in free products. Others use the opportunity to channelize visibility for their band and pay you.

Affiliate marketing with YouTube

Since creating a product is not something everyone loves to do, you can use YouTube as a channel to promote affiliate products where you get paid for promoting products other people created. You make tiny commissions with products that are sold on Amazon. But you make higher commissions with products that are digital in nature.

I am talking about things like web hosting or info products that provide 75% commissions on CLickbank.

There’s no rik and you can get started immediately. Amazon recently slashed its commissions and you barely make anything with them.

How to “sell” without annoying your audience

Ultimately you shouldn’t alienate the audience you worked so hard at building up. This is possible if you try and sell without really selling. The promotions shouldn’t come at the cost of ruining your brand.

To do this successfully you can promote the product at the end of the video or build an email list with free content and then sell to them.

Witha  call to action at the end you are promoting products when people are least engaged and may be least annoyed. This way you can open the traffic taps on revenue generation for your product.

How to add affiliate links to YouTube videos

Here’s the step by step proces

First you need to add your site as one under associated websites. To do this go to creator studio. Go to channel>>status and features and the click on external annotations. It’s here you can add the site to search console.

Go to advanced tab and add your site as an associated website.

Next you may also want to product affiliate programs. To do that you need affiliate links. Most sites like Best Buy and Amazon have an affiliate portal from which you can start promoting their affiliate programs and make money. You get paid for each sale.

Click on the affiliate section. Sign up. Once approved get the links.

Next add the afffiliate links where people can see them

At the bottom of the video is a description section where the top content is visible. Add your affiliate links at the top.

With affiliate links it’s a big mistake if you don’t put the links at the top of the description.

Why? Because people don’t see it otherwise. You only 20 words or so where you can make the visible impact by adding your affiliate links. Beyodn that people aren’t going tosee your link

After that people need to click on show more. People are not going to specifically hunt down for your links. So make them easy for you. The more steps the more the odds of them never taking the desired action.

To promote affiliate products here are several things you can do

Do Review Videos

Another one method to score a lot with affiliate marketing is to produce review videos on YouTube. These videos are great because these are viewed by people who are already close to purchase. A little bit of push takes them closer to buy from you.

Whenever you purchased something online, a great deal of thought, reading reviews and probably watching videos to see how stuff works is something you did before you committed to something.

So people wanting to watch review videos are close to purchase and red hot leads. Create review videos to get started.

Do Comparison Videos

Another common type of video that helps you get results are comparison videos. They’re quite similar to video reviews but the difference is they’re with more products.

So you’re comparing two things like say two models of vaccum cleaners and so on.

People might watch the video and see how they stand against each other and make up their mind and buy one. It helps to have links to both products in the description. Make the links visible for them to see. 

Next disable ads

Ads are definitely one of the lowest yielding money making methods. You can absolutely rely on ads to get by and people will click. But, you’re missing on more opportunity like getting them to click, subscribe or comment. Make no mistake. The more the actions to take the less likely a person is going to take them

Find out if affiliate sales are happening without ads and if they’re improving it’s time to say good by to ads

Make use of end screens to link out to stores, affiliate products and so on

End screens linger long after the video has ended and are a powerful factor to engage people with content. You can use them to nudge people to get to know you better.

With the Youtube partner program you can add a screen that lasts 20 seconds at the end of the video.

  • Different videos or playlists
  • Option to subscribe
  • Ink to external sites like an ecommerce store where you sell products and so on.

With the last option you can send traffic to your ecommerce store or to your crowdfunding campaign. The crowdfunding and stores should be on the approved list of sites. 

Say amazon or sellfy.

So you can link to them without any problems.

What do you think of our guide to successfully start making money on YouTube. Do let us know in the comments below.