We are all addicted to technology. For example, ask yourself how much time you spend every day on YouTube? On one side, there’s us, the consumers, but on the other, there has to be a bunch of individuals reaping the benefits of our obsession.
The real question here is, how to get a piece of that pie, or precisely, how to make money on YouTube?
Here’s the deal, you won’t make money on YouTube on your first attempt anyway, unless you have the right information on your side.
Let’s begin with a quick word for channels which lack subscribers, and we’ll finish things off with an option everyone talks about, but fail to grasp the essence of, thus only misleading their audience.
As you can notice from this example of a channel abandoned 3 years ago, Adsense is fine. Once the video gets uploaded, it’s there to “forever” collect ad revenue.
When it comes to this screenshot in particular, I had to find my old phone, which was buried in my basement, in order to get the image. Oh yeah, it also had a cracked screen. Hustle hard to find the right info, right?
Additionally, I had another channel where things didn’t go so well with Adsense, but you’re not here to read about Adsense profit either way, aren’t you?
Let’s jump right into it
HOW TO EARN MONEY WITH YOUTUBE
I have one channel, with only one video uploaded on it. Recently, their demands for 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time just got me through my monthly beer allowance.
But, wait for a second…
If my math is right, and I believe it is, I still earn $50-$100 from that channel each month.
Affiliate marketing on YouTube
A few years ago, I hired a freelance from Upwork to create a video on “How to Make a WordPress Website,” and in the description, I placed an affiliate link to Hostgator hosting. Each time someone uses the link to register, I receive $50.
Let’s face the facts, almost every Tutorial video out there has an affiliate link attached.
To give you an example, let’s say you want to search for “make WordPress website.”
You guessed it, right there in the description you can find an affiliate link. Why would they use an URL shortener if they got nothing to hide?
BTW, 6m+ views… if I was able to earn almost $3K from a video which only has 5K views, I won’t even try to calculate how much profit this guy made… I’ll get nauseated.
Let’s scroll a bit further down…
All of these videos belong to a very small niche, which means no one stumbles upon them and clicks just for fun. Because of that, almost all hits come directly from search, and the successful conversion rate is rather high.
How high? To give you the picture my video brings approximately $600 for every 1,000 views it receives.
Of course, this is all great and inspirational, but the competition is fierce, and it’s very difficult to reach that first page of YouTube search results. I wasn’t able to do it, but if I did, I definitely wouldn’t be hovering around 5K views at the moment.
I know that there’s a huge debate going on, whether using affiliate links in even allowed on YouTube. YouTube requires that you need to obtain a written approval to place one in your description, but as you can see, the reality is quite a bit different.
Stick around, and you’ll find out that one of the most popular Youtubers of today is constantly uploading videos brimming with affiliate links. I wasn’t lazy so I counted them out. On just one video, he had 11 affiliate links. That’s guaranteed to bring some sweet commissions his way.
Let’s face the facts, there are some rules here as well. The last things you’d want is to spam with multiple short product review videos with no real value, naturally, each of them being filled with multiple affiliate links. However, if you offer some true value, even product review videos should do just fine.
The bottom line is this…
It’s possible to make money on YouTube, even without having thousands of subscribers, views or any sort of “popularity.”
What you’ll need to have is a great tutorial aimed at search engine results, showcasing easy-to-follow guide on how to use a specific software, with the affiliate link added in the description.
There’s your source of passive income, right there! It all starts with the most important step, which is ranking your video pretty high in the search results.
You probably know this already, but it’s easier said than done, as ranking videos on YouTube isn’t exactly a piece of cake.
License Your Video to the Media
Here’s another way to make some profit with no subscribers on YouTube. You’ve probably seen tons of videos that go viral all over the place, but do you know there’s an alternative?
You don’t even need to possess a viral video anymore. The media is hungry for a cute cat, dogs and other pet videos.
Pay attention – you can’t license the same video twice! Choose your agency and stick to it.
My personal videos were featured by major media outlets such as Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Daily Mail and The Guardian.
I’ll detail my exact strategy which worked out every time in one of my following articles. Don’t worry, it’s nothing complicated at all. The bottom line is that your image, video or articles always need to contain one quality – they have to be newsworthy.
Cash in on your video shooting and editing knowledge
If you have a particular set of skills, why not turn that into profit? Content creators oftentimes get in touch with local businesses, where the business owners receive a professionally filmed video of their workstations which they can use for promotional services. In return, businessmen agree to fund the creator’s next video on his own channel.
Every business can profit from a bit of marketing, but the fact is that marketing companies are oftentimes way too expensive for local business owners. That is where you can swoop in.
Free tip – Get in touch with people who are already advertising somewhere. You won’t need to convince them that they should do it in the first place.
Use Google, and type something like “dentist x” where the x would represent your place of residence. After noting some of the ads, repeat the process on Bing and Yahoo.
Circle the ads that keep reappearing, and you’ve found your clients! They already have the money for advertising, now you simply have to show them why you’re the right choice.
Moving on to the part where you’ll need to obtain a base of subscribers. Is it possible to do it now, when all the slots are already seemingly taken? Can you create a popular cooking channel if you’re not Gordon Ramsey?
1.2M subscribers, almost 100M views, and Gordon nor Jamie Oliver have nothing to do with it.
BTW, I remember when they had about 10K subscribers, we exchanged a couple messages on Reddit and spoke on the phone, but look at them now…
Come to think of it, I’m slightly embarrassed now. I was probably being a smart ass with my theories on how to succeed, and I was talking to someone who had a much better formula than I did. Who knows, they might’ve been laughing behind my back during those days ☺
How did they get so many subscribers on YouTube?
It’s simple, they differ from their competition when it comes to quality of content, atmosphere, scenery… basically everything. They quickly rose up to become the most relaxing and satisfying cooking channel I’ve seen on Youtube.
Take their methods and apply it to any niche you want. Fitness? Instead of filming in a modern gym, or from your room, head outside, and find an idyllic location for your shoot. The world is your playground.
Are there any shortcuts?
The only software that can save you some time when it comes to keyword research and thumbnail creation is Tubebuddy, and I would gladly recommend it. Still, just like any software, it cannot replace a human being.
Sell your own products on YouTube
Let’s stick with the aforementioned channel. As you can notice, they are selling their own brand of knives.
I know, you already thought about Merch on Demand, but don’t do it, everyone else is already stuck on the same path. You’ll fail.
A lot of Youtubers, some of them being my close friends, thought this would be a brilliant idea, but as it turns out, it wasn’t. You know why? They weren’t unique.
You need to invent something to stand out from the crowd. At the very least, find a product that’s already out there and make it better. Adding just one awesome unique feature can be absolutely vital.
Keep things as authentic as possible, and try to stay true to your style. You know why? Because authenticity SELLS!
Still, being that we already mentioned Merch on Demand, later we will take a closer look at how you should use Merch effectively as a Youtuber.
Allow Your YouTube Audience To Support Your Work Through Fan Funding
Once again, if you don’t already have a loyal fan base, don’t even dwell on this topic. Let’s take Almazan Kitchen for example.
As you can see, they earn over $300 each month via Patreon.
What’s important here is that the audience isn’t forced to pay you a dime. By giving them quality content each and every week, they agree to support your work on a purely voluntary basis.
Truth be told, this channel does rock, and I advise you to check it out.
From just 300 subscribers to 500k in less than a year, without clamoring about the Avengers or Elsa? Anything’s possible.
- Related: How To Get More YouTube Subscribers
Make Sponsored videos
Feel free to skip this altogether, as sponsors will immediately start contacting you, as soon as your channel reaches 50k subscribers or 1M monthly views.
Having a good number of views is absolutely necessary, as no company is going to be willing to contact you otherwise.
BTW, have you noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to immediately spot whether a video is sponsored or not?
Was Casey Neistat sponsored by Emirates Airlines, or did he just want to show off how flying in first class looked like? What do you think?
And now, let’s get back to Affiliate.
Wow, check out that description. All of those shortened URLs lead to Amazon. You’ve guessed it, these are all affiliate links.
You’re not even aware of the fact that most videos you view contain some sort of product placement. It’s sometimes hard to realize that a famous rapper drank 7UP because he was sponsored by the company, rather than simply being thirsty.
It comes down to the simple truth – you need to have views, or companies won’t be willing to invest their funds with no guarantee of anyone actually seeing their products.
Monetize your YouTube channel with merchandise
Here’s where everyone gets it wrong. There’s no real money in printing your T-shirts and selling them to fans. However, take a closer look at this neat tactic.
Notice the first and second spike?
You know where they’re coming from?
It was a giveaway through print on demand websites, such as Printful.
By using a smart strategy, in a short amount of time, you will get a good number of views, which can push your content to trending.
That’s exactly the tactic my friend employed on several occasions, and you can read how he was able to figure it out right here.
The strategy contained two simple steps:
- Click on subscribe, share the video on your social media platform and leave a comment.
- Come to check out the next video and find out whether you were among the lucky winners.
It seems incredibly simple, but this was enough to push his videos to trending, and that bumped the views to 150k per day, compared to 60k he usually scored previously.
I assume you already figured out that the income generated by this activity greatly exceeded the costs of printing out a few shirts?
Pay attention – be sure to always remain creative. Don’t half-ass it by simply putting your logo on a coffee cup.
A large number of the new subscribers would just be the people wanting free goodies, right?
Sure, you will receive more than a few subscribers who are going to unfollow you as soon as the giveaway is over. Luckily, you will gain the attention of many more who will come, due to the free promotion you’ve been getting from their shares.
The bottom line is to use giveaways from time to time, as they bring a lot of positives to the table. If you only end up trending locally, you’ve still done a decent job.
Now, take a look at the view numbers after employing this tactic. Yeah, they dropped slightly, but not to the level before the giveaway took place. The key is to capture that YouTube snowball effect, and once you’re there, there won’t be any more need for advertising.
If you want to survive the long haul and make money on YouTube, you better diversify your promotion. Similar to Instagram influencers or bloggers, the key to making money online has always been in creating a multitude of revenue streams. Having a huge number of subscribers is great, but you have to learn how to turn that into profit.