From YouTube to video on demand (VOD) stores, it's clear that video content has a foothold in the worlds of learning, entertainment, and ecommerce, considering many creators make solid incomes selling tutorials on topics like photography, business, and even unique areas like gardening, romance, and fingernail art. Videos make sense for aspiring online entrepreneurs: it's easy to launch a website to sell them; all you need is a topic you're passionate about; most people can learn how to produce a high-quality video to post for sale. What's more, is that you don't need to know everything about a topic to be considered an expert; that's what research is for! So, whether you'd like to teach people about cryptocurrency, storytelling, or customer success management, we're here to help you learn how to sell videos online.
In this article, we'll explore the most important best practices to follow when learning how to sell videos online. In addition, we'll walk you through other tips that guide you through the process of making videos, getting them online, and marketing them to online customers. Finally, we'll touch on the best tools to sell videos online, from full-fledged ecommerce platforms to modules meant only for building video sales websites.
Keep reading to get started!
How to Sell Videos Online: The Best Practices and Steps
With all promising online businesses, it's wise to follow the path of those who went before you. That means looking at what has worked, along with what hasn't. With this information, we're able to establish a step-by-step guide on how to sell videos online the right way. Check out the best practices below to ensure you avoid any problems along the way.
Figure Out a Niche That Intrigues You (And Doesn't Have Too Much Competition)
Creating a website that sells a broad range of video topics is possible, but that's more like a marketplace of ideas, which has already been dominated by the likes of Udemy, Lynda.com, and some of the premium YouTube channels.
Going too broad with your topic selection not only makes it more difficult to market your videos, but you're also competing with more content creators. The best course of action is to select a niche. Not only that, but you should try to narrow down that niche to something specific, unique, and with the potential for growth.
In short, you want something that has some sort of demand (learning magic tricks with animals may sound like a great niche, but how many people are interested?) and one that offers room for you to make some money (is the space dominated by one or two content creators, or is there room for improvement?)
For research, create a list of topics that resonate with you. Start with the skills you've already acquired, even if some of them seem silly or too simple. For instance, I have skills in technical writing, blogging, video production, photography, cycling, gardening, camping, and rock climbing.
Next up, we need to expand that list with topics that are actually in demand. This step also introduces topics that you may have an interest in but didn't think about before.
Check out sites like these to see which topics already have some sort of success online:
Sift through the categories on those sites, and focus more on the specific niches as opposed to the general “Business” or “Health” categories.
My search brought me to niches like no-code development, freelancing, landscape photography, bread baking, meditation, job interviewing, public speaking, all ecommerce niches, many of the specific business software topics, and social media advertising, all of which are either interests or professional skills of mine.
Add these to the list, and remember that you mustn't know everything about a topic to make an online video course; you'll eventually research and learn about the topic.
Develop a Content Strategy That Builds on the Competition
Next, you need to develop a content strategy by building on what's already online.
To figure this out, open up some of the current courses for that topic (on a site like Udemy or Lynda.com). You can check the prices to see if you can make yourself more competitive, but the main goal here is to check out reviews, ratings, and the content provided.
Do some of the reviews go lower than 4.5? If so, there's room for improvement. I consider myself an expert on WooCommerce, so seeing a 4.4 average rating shows me I can beat out that particular content creator. It's also possible you can expand upon the content, providing more than 10.5 hours or breaking it up into more lectures.
Another way to stand out is to focus on specific experience levels, like making a course for intermediates if the only courses available are for beginners.
Even more important are the reviews themselves. Click into a course's details to check out what past learners have said about certain courses in your desired niche.
Both good and bad reviews tend to have criticisms, so mark those down to consider making your courses with those missing elements. As an example, there's a review under the WooCommerce category stating the course owner doesn't respond to questions. Well, if you make a similar course, but with exceptional user support, you've found a wonderful way to stand out!
It's important to go through the course syllabus as well, asking other questions like “are they missing an essential chapter?” or “could this use something like real-world examples,” or “could I move on past the basics?–like marketing an online store instead of just building one.”
As you ask these questions, create an outline for all of your course content. In that sheet, make titles for all chapters, include information on the formats you want to use, and jot down notes on how you'll improve what's already provided by competitors. Also write out scripts for each segment, along with anything extra you might make like worksheets, visual aids, or quizzes.
Produce Your Videos Using High-quality But Affordable Equipment and Software
Making your videos isn't easy, but in today's world, you have plenty of affordable tools and resources to make it happen on your own. A well-selling video course usually provides value, uniqueness, and quality content. There's no need to go out and spend thousands of dollars on cameras and editing equipment, but it is essential to know the basics of video production.
Here are some quick tips:
- If you have no video production experience at all, consider hiring, or at least consulting, a professional.
- You'll need a camera, microphone, good lighting, and editing software.
- Start with the best camera you have available to you. That may be a smartphone. Study up on inexpensive lighting enhancements, and get a smartphone tripod. If your test run doesn't look great, consider upgrading your phone, or looking into an affordable, consumer DSLR camera.
- Purchase a microphone that produces high-quality audio without a high price point. Some examples include the Blue Snowball or one of the little desktop microphones from Samson or Fifine. If you really want to splurge and get the best audio possible, look into Zoom and Shure mics.
- Consider professional, yet free, editing software like Davinci Resolve, Blender, and iMovie. If sticking to a mobile interface, look into editing apps like Quik and Adobe Premiere Rush.
Construct an Online Store to Sell Videos
Your online store is where you present the course content, create pricing plans, and collect payments from customers.
Luckily, there are plenty of ecommerce platforms that have low monthly subscriptions, as well as beautiful design tools for non-developers.
For complete control over your online store, and to create attractive product pages for managing your online course, consider opening an account on Shopify. There are even plenty of apps like Courses that integrate with Shopify to generate an interface for selling online videos, tracking course completion, and managing a course directory.
As an alternative, there are many platforms built just for selling videos online. Instead of starting with a template that could be for any type of online shop, the following platforms only focus on helping you sell online courses, videos, and other digital content.
Take a look below to figure out the best ones for you.
The Best Platforms to Sell Videos Online
The following tools are all-in-one video sales platforms. Therefore, you may not have as much control over the design and functionally as you would with a platform like Shopify, but they're wonderful for those who aren't experienced with web development. We even like them for more advanced users who simply want all of the right video sales tools already included in one package.
Here are our favorite options:
The Checkout Page platform offers a wonderful interface for setting up a website, online sales portal, and payment plans for your videos in a matter of 10 minutes. You can set up subscriptions, digital downloads, and a wide variety of other payment plans to help your students gain access to the content. You can also integrate this platform with current websites you have on places like WordPress, YouTube, Facebook, and Wix.
- It offers ready-made subscription billing tools without requiring you to hire a developer.
- You can manage the subscription on multiple platforms, like through email, social media, or on a website.
- You can personalize the checkout and add your own colors, branding, logos, and more.
- Add a wide range of files to build video courses.
- The tool has sharing options to let people send out information about your videos.
- There's a subscriber portal for people to save and download video files.
- Create memberships where the content is available as long as they're subscribed.
- Run marketing campaigns with popups.
- All of the videos and pages are ready to view on mobile devices.
- You can check statistics on the backend, allowing you to improve upon what you're already doing.
- This isn't exactly a full video hosting platform, so some sort of other website is necessary. It's technically possible to accept subscriptions without a website, but it's not recommended when selling videos. Overall, you'll have to manage two dashboards.
- The Starter plan is free, but the 2% transaction fee isn't all that appealing. Also, the $20 per month Premium plan looks a little pricey as a starting point.
Lemonsqueezy offers a way to sell digital downloads, manage subscriptions, and even create an entire online store for those videos. Compared to the Checkout Page tool, this one offers more in terms of website design, seeing as how you can build an online store, homepage, and landing pages. Sell your videos, and accept payments through a beautiful one-step payment portal. There are even options for email marketing, bundles, upsells, and lead magnets. It's all combined into one simple platform with business insights, invoicing, and tax compliance information.
- You get support for unlimited products, customers, file storage, and secure file delivery.
- This is a full video sales platform with features to build a website, process those transactions, and present your videos in a reasonable format. There's no need for a separate website.
- You receive a fully hosted checkout module.
- Some of the plans allow you to sell online courses and memberships.
- You can accept payment methods like credit cards and PayPal.
- The platform has a wide range of marketing tools like discount codes, email marketing, marketing automation, affiliate marketing, and more.
- It allows you to offer live chat support for customers.
- The Juicy plan comes with a website builder, custom domain, WordPress plugin, and a white-labeled website.
- The free plan has a steep transaction fee of 8% + 30 cents per transaction.
- Even the premium plans have transaction fees. For instance, the Sweet plan goes for $29 per month, but you still have to pay 3.5% + 30 cents per transaction.
- It's not possible to sell online courses until you get to the $79 per month plan.
SendOwl supports the selling of digital products, whether it's videos, PDF documents, or music. You can integrate with the Stripe payment gateway, build your own checkout module, and customize emails to go out to customers. It's possible to sell directly through a SendOwl website or to integrate with another website on a place like WordPress. They also have a Shopify integration that's useful for gaining more control over the style of your website, while also receiving the wonderful digital subscription tools from SendOwl.
Overall, it's a solid option for those who need either a hosted or self-hosted platform to sell videos online. You also gain support for things like PDF stamping, affiliates, and cart abandonment.
- You can opt for a hosted or self-hosted situation so that you either integrate with your current website or utilize the platform set forth by SendOwl.
- It's a full suite of tools for selling videos, delivering them to customers, marketing them to new customers, customizing your checkout, securing the payments, analyzing data, and managing all customers.
- The shopping cart is responsive, has flexible payment options and multi-language support.
- You can sell digital products, subscriptions, memberships, and drip content.
- Marketing elements include abandoned cart emails, email marketing, one-click upsells, discounts, promo codes, affiliate marketing, gifting, and more.
- It's possible to custom brand your fonts, designs, and colors, along with the checkout fields and email templates.
- There's support for live streams.
- The analytics include income, upsell, abandoned cart, order, and zero download reports.
- None of the plans offer support for unlimited products or storage. Even the Business plan stops at 250 products and 15 GB of storage.
- There's no free plan.
Uscreen offers an all-in-one platform for creating, uploading, and streaming your video content. The service works on just about every streaming box including Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV. The goal with Uscreen is for you to focus on the videos, while the Uscreen platform offers everything else in terms of uploading, organizing, streaming, video monetization, and analytics. The most unique element about Uscreen is that you can make your own mobile app for iOS and Android, which also processes payments and serves up videos for your customers to watch streams on their smaller devices.
- Uscreen offers tools to launch an an OTT app that mirrors what's seen on your own video website. There's no need to know any coding. Customers receive a beautiful app where they can purchase videos, watch videos, and interact with you or other people.
- The system lets you build your own website without having to integrate with another content management system or website builder. This brings everything into one dashboard instead of forcing you to use something else. The video player has top-notch playback and resolution, giving you the best possible quality.
- The video content management system offers tools for uploading, organizing, and distributing your videos from one location.
- You get marketing and analytics tools for bringing in more customers, sending out promotions, and understanding how to grow your business model in the future.
- Uscreen offers a high level of security for all payment processing and content.
- You can customize every aspect of your website and sales experience, from the content to the colors. Launch live streaming events to speak with your customers in real-time.
- Uscreen has a community feature for generating conversations around the videos and developing a bond between all of those who view your content. Furthermore, you can give and get feedback if you're selling courses.
- There are various monetization options such as bundles, free trials, pay-per-view, lifetime subscriptions, rentals, and regular subscriptions. You simply choose which ones you want to offer and the payment processor handles the rest.
- It's one of the more expensive platforms for selling online videos, starting at $49 per month. It gets even more expensive if you opt for monthly pricing as opposed to the yearly payments. However, you should be able to make this money back with the sales from a few videos.
Market Your Videos Using Tried-and-true Techniques
No one will find your online videos unless you market them to the masses. Better yet, market them to people who actually have an interest in the content you're selling.
Whether it's videos for learning to play the guitar or improving public speaking skills, you can target keywords to bring in students after spending ad revenue, while also utilizing other marketing techniques to bring people back for more.
Here are some best practices and tips that have shown promise in the past when educational videos and courses online:
- Create an email marketing list before you do anything. This allows you to collect email addresses from viewers to sell them on new videos, convince them to share the videos with friends, and to build a community.
- Configure an abandoned cart tool to automatically bring back people who were thinking about buying a video but may have skipped it.
- Think about implementing a subscription upsell feature on your store, allowing you to offer additional videos or supplementary documentation throughout the checkout. This is a great way to increase your average sale price.
- Offer gift cards to encourage your target audience to share the love with their friends.
- Create coupons and run them during slower times, or for brief periods of time during the holiday season.
- Launch social and search engine advertising campaigns focused on research keywords that relate to your videos.
- Generate buzz with social media influencers.
- Make your own social media accounts and use free videos that are targeted to potential students.
- Offer free webinars or live streaming sessions to give a preview for your videos and get people on your email marketing list.
Our Conclusion on How to Sell Videos Online
From landing on a niche topic to producing your videos with respectable equipment and software, learning how to sell videos online takes a little patience, but it's worth it. We encourage you to follow along with these steps and test out all of the best platforms for making an online video store. This way, you can evaluate the interfaces and figure out which one is best for your own personal needs. Maybe you'll make the next Netflix or Vimeo!
If you have any questions about how to sell videos online, let us know in the comments section below. Also, share your thoughts if you have any experience selling streaming videos in the past!