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Where do you turn when you need help with a problem? What’s your go-to resource for learning a skill? For most of us, video is the best way to figure out next steps when we get stuck.

Experts expect video to make up 82% of internet traffic by 2022 and consumers on average watch over an hour of digital video daily. Selling video means plugging your business into one of the most exciting, dynamic industries on the web.

Inforgraphic about the popularity of online video for this article about how to sell videos online from selz ecommerce for growing businesses

With a little upkeep, selling and renting videos can become a great source of revenue and help your business to grow.

How to Sell Videos Online for Profit

1. What Can You Sell with Video?
2. Advertising, Selling, and Renting Videos
3. How to Sell Videos Online: Taking the Leap from Free
4. Build Your Marketing Funnel
5. Build a Community

We’ve put together a resource covering everything you need to know to sell videos online for profit. We’ll dig into your different selling options, ways to stand out as a paid service, and how your business can build an audience and connect with new customers.

Ready? Let’s go.

How to Sell Videos Online: What Can You Sell with Video?

The beauty of video is that it covers such an enormous range of content. You can cover just about any topic or skill in a video, and the visual focus makes it a great learning resource.

There are a lot of options out there, so let’s break down a few. For starters, you can think in terms of:

One of the most exciting things about selling video online is the ways that you can pair and bundle videos with different kinds of products.

Many of these can be digital products (so you don’t have to worry about fulfillment). While a lot of these require time and effort to create, they become passive income over time. 

Two excited customers watch videos online for this article about selling video

Consider building companion resources that create a broader experience for your customers.

For example, a music teacher can sell or rent videos offering lessons for a particular instrument and supplement those with digital sheet music and jam tracks. A mindfulness business can sell guided meditation and yoga videos, as well as yoga mats and cushions.

Generally speaking, videos that rank answer some kind of question. After all, we often turn to video when we’re trying to solve an issue, whether it’s a household repair, or trying to learn a particularly difficult part of a song. 

Read more: How to Sell On YouTube: The Ultimate 4-Part Guide to Video Content

How to Sell Videos Online: Advertising, Selling, and Renting Videos 

There are a huge range of ways that you can monetize video content. Advertising is the most common, so let’s start by looking at the three main ways that creators make money in this framework.

Sell Video: Video Ads

These are incredibly common and comprise quick video breaks before, during, or after a video on YouTube. Basically, all that’s involved is signing up for an Adsense account and racking up views. 

Generally, advertisers pay 10¢-30¢ per view, and Google takes a 32% cut

The issue with this method of advertising is pretty clear just from the numbers: it takes an enormous amount of views to make much money at all. 

Youtube for business is an essential tool if you want to sell videos online

Sell Video: Paid Sponsorship

Where traditional YouTube ads pause your content to play video from another business, this form of advertising is closer to what you’d hear on a podcast. Essentially, you do the ad spot yourself within your actual content.

For individual YouTubers, this can be a helpful source of additional revenue. That said, it can also be irritating for your viewers, and draws focus away from your business. If you don’t have a dedicated audience, you may not be able to get them to watch these sponsored sections of your videos. They’re likely to click away to find a resource that gets them what they need more quickly.

Sell Video: Affiliate Marketing

Try on hauls and makeup tutorials are two popular forms of affiliate marketing on YouTube, as are reviews and product roundups. Affiliates make their income based on sales, which requires a large, engaged audience.

With so many options, why should you sell (or rent) streaming video?

First thing’s first: you can absolutely work with a combination of revenue streams!

You’ll just have to be tactful and create content that’s valuable enough for your customers to engage with, even with little distractions along the way.

In the long run, selling videos online can create sustainable revenue and grow a business in ways that ad revenue alone can’t. Profit margins are higher, and you’re not subject to the whims of YouTube in the same way.

A women creates an instructive video for renting videos online in this article from Selz ecommerce for growing businesses

Renting Videos Online

Selz makes it easy to sell videos online. Customers can stream, download and save videos to DropBox at blazing fast speeds. 

Renting videos can be a particularly lucrative option, and it’s really easy to do. All it takes is a set viewing limit, which you can include when you create the product in Selz.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Log into your Selz account and click on Items > All > Add item 
  • Select Digital as the product type
  • Upload an MP4 of your video
  • Use the drop-down menu to choose “streaming”
  • From here, you can set your viewing limit

So how do you start bringing in revenue with Selz digital products? First thing’s first: you need to convince customers that your content is worth paying for.

How to Sell Videos Online: Taking the Leap from Free

The biggest question businesses need to ask when learning how to sell streaming videos online is this: Why would customers pay for video when there are so many free tools out there?

It’s important to first understand why people pay for content, because that will help you understand how to move them towards an actual sale.

For one thing, different creators will have different advice. For a consumer digging deep into a topic, that can mean sorting through competing ideas. When you go for a paid option, you’re digging into a single approach in-depth.

For example, as you’re learning how to sell streaming videos online, you’ll get a range of advice.

Posts published several years ago often focus on older models for digital selling and will make recommendations that are out of date. They might recommend tools that are no longer relevant or platforms that are more difficult to monetize today than they were at the time.

Some content creators will recommend longer-form videos because their experience selling videos online has been that longer content connects better with their audience. Others will recommend shorter.

Knowing which advice to take as you sell videos online means digging into their individual approaches and crafting your own business piecemeal from different sources.

Person shooting a video in an article that weighs the pros and cons of different forms of content when you are making a profit from videos online

In a nutshell, free content tends to give you smaller parts of a bigger picture. If you’re ready to deep-dive into a subject and really learn, you need to understand both the macro and microelements, and that’s tough to do for free. 

When you pay for your content, you can find a brand that you trust, whose values overlap with your own. From there you can zero in on their exact approach. Renting videos from a specific entrepreneur, for example, is a great way to move through their process and build a higher level of understanding.

Essentially, paid content is valuable because it means that you can find curated information more quickly, with more consistency and a higher degree of professionalism. Communicating that difference to your customers will be vital to selling videos online.

There’s a necessary jump in production values that comes with the move from free content to paid, and your business will have to invest in the process to create content that feels polished.

That doesn’t mean that your production has to be complex. Great lighting, sound, and staging go a long way. From there, you can work on creating a polished online persona to connect with your base.

Read: Selling Digital Products: Your Ultimate Guide

Selling Video Online: Build Your Marketing Funnel

Most consumers expect to connect with a business’s content in a low-stakes environment before they’ll consider paying for anything. After all, we don’t generally go in blind with our wallets. This is where your marketing funnel comes into play.

First thing’s first: you’re going to have to make both paid and free content.

As the most visited site in the world, YouTube is the obvious starting platform for selling video online. The trick is to rank in searches and create great, helpful videos that push towards your paid content. This free content is the top of your funnel.

How to Rank on Youtube

The process here is similar to ranking for any other content:

  • Find keywords with a good amount of traffic but minimal competition
  • Create content around those keywords
  • Optimize your content around those terms

Not sure where to start? Try typing a query into the Youtube search box and seeing which terms pop up as suggestions. 

You’ll want to pursue keywords that are low in competition. Look at the total number of results for each search listed at the top of the page and go for the search terms with less overall videos. 

From here, work on creating content that answers the implied question or fills the implied need from the search result you choose.

You can also look at popular videos and see what they’re ranking for by checking the title, description and tags for repeated phrases. 

When you upload your video, include the keyword in the title and description, and add relevant tags.

For more in-depth help understanding search results on YouTube, check out this great article from Backlinko.

Building up a strong base of subscribers on YouTube will help you sell video, but you need to create multiple touchpoints to move toward the eventual sale.

Grow Your Social Media

Social media is the middle of your funnel, where your business develops more of a connection to your audience. Social media gives you opportunities to nurture leads and move them toward sales.

Facebook and Instagram have both been prioritizing video content in their algorithms. Having a video focus gives your business an edge over other businesses competing for attention in user feeds.

Growing your following on social also gives you more opportunities to explore the added value that customers can get from buying your content.

It’s important to be tactful here. Create value and build conversation with your audience as well as talking about your products.

Invest in Paid Advertising

Pay-per-click (or PPC) ads are one of the key tools that businesses use to make sales. Both social media networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and search engines (Google, Youtube, Bing) offer paid advertising opportunities. 

Retargeting ads are particularly helpful. They follow customers across platforms and target activities that could lead to a sale. 

Let’s say your business sells high-quality organic lotions. A potential customer visits your business Facebook page after seeing that a friend of theirs follows you.

Google ads show up in many places online and are a great way to retarget customers who may want to purchase or are interested in renting videos

A few days later, they’ve forgotten the name of your brand, but they Google “organic lotions.” If you’ve invested in retargeting, they could see an advertisement for your business at or near the top of their search results.

Read: 6 Google Ads Strategies for Ecommerce Businesses

How to Sell Videos Online: Build a Community

When you start selling and renting videos, you’re not just selling a product. You’re selling a broader experience- a process. 

Most people learn better as part of a community. If you’re serious about selling video and scaling over time, you’ll need to build that community yourself.

It seems obvious, but asking viewers to like and subscribe at the end of a video and starting a discussion in the comments are early steps in this process. Helping to create a conversation opens up more opportunities to tailor your content to your customer’s needs, and more chances to plug your premium paid content. 

Respond to comments consistently, but avoid going for the hard-sell every time. Instead, work with your team to answer questions as you can and link to a range of content. 

Remember: authority in your niche is key to building to sales, and exclusively self-promoting doesn’t help that image. Guide your audience in a way that makes them feel like you’re invested in them and in their growth, not just sales figures. 

Find ways to foreground the experiences of your customers. Reviews and testimonials here will be great sources for your marketing. Consider hosting a Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) session. 

One popular reddit AMA shows how you can use this social media forum to your advantage for selling videos online

As you grow, stay invested in your audience. Pay attention to the kinds of videos they request, and work to meet those needs, even when it’s not directly related to your core content. 

Selling and renting videos online can be a fantastic revenue stream, and the field is new enough that there’s still a ton of space to explore and innovate.

Best of luck getting started- we’re excited to see your videos!

About the author

Bryce Patterson

Bryce is a writer and content marketer for tech companies including Churn Buster and Evergreen. He gives ecommerce business and non-profits a more human, relatable voice. He has written a novel, worked on a comic book, and played in a handful of bands. Bryce lives in Colorado.