There’s a technical answer to the question of how to sell videos online and tips for marketing answers. The technical side is easy to cover. There are various ways to set up pay per view video sales. These include using a third-party agent like Gumroad, which is probably the simplest way to do it from your own web site. Many hosting platforms include paywall options, too. For example, Dacast allows monetization through either pay per view or subscription, with a range of options in terms of multiple purchases, pricing per time purchased, whether scheduling is allowed, and so on. You can find a walkthrough of all this here.
Dacast isn’t the only platform to offer paywall options, of course, although we do strive to make it easier to setup. The procedure is usually not very complicated in most cases. But selling videos online is more complicated than just mastering the technical side. You can offer a video for purchase easily enough, but the competition is stiff, especially when you factor in how much video content is available for free. What will make your video stand out in the crowd? What gives it a selling point that will make people actually pay money to see it?
This is a great challenge today. With the gatekeepers gone, anyone can publish a book, a video, or a song, and so an unprecedented number of people are doing just that. It’s difficult to get noticed, but here are some ideas that may help.
Who is your video likely to appeal to? When you’re selling a video for revenue as opposed to using it to promote something else (and offering it for free), this universal question is even more important. It determines everything from the nature and feel of the video itself to where and how to market it. Audience identification in terms of age bracket, gender, education, interests, and other demographic and social markers can and should guide whether your social media efforts should be focused on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
In addition to the venue, your audience identification should govern the content and feel of your promotional efforts. A breezy conversation with occasional links thrown in? Some brash, exciting free video clips? Something highly technical that appeals mainly to geeks? A focus on a science fiction, fantasy, or comic-book theme complete with cosplay? You’re not going to appeal to everyone in this day and age, so identify who you’re marketing to.
If your videos are just like everyone else’s out there, why would anyone pay to see them? You need to find that special quality that makes your work stand out from the rest. It might be consistent in-depth research, powerful animated artwork, intense special effects, appealing characters and personalities, gorgeous photography. There are many possibilities, but you are certainly not going to succeed in selling video content if your videos are derivative and unoriginal. Whatever your unique attribute is, it needs to be front and center in your marketing efforts.
At the same time, be consistent and put up new content on a regular basis. Viewers will return to your site often if they like what they find there and know that they’ll find something new every time they check.
Don’t be afraid to promote your work and ask for the sale, but don’t always be doing it. A variant of the 80/20 rule is conventional wisdom in social media marketing. That is, 20 percent of your social media activity can promote your sales, while the remaining 80 percent should not do so, at least not directly. Instead, engage in conversations, share information or thoughts or feelings relevant to your audience, show yourself and let people get to know you and your company. That way, when you do present a link to something for sale, people aren’t as likely to scroll past it. They’ll know who you are and see what you have to offer as worth considering.
As Chaucer put it in The Skipper’s Tale, for a merchant, money is your plow. That’s as true when selling videos online as in any other commercial endeavor. Sometimes you have to spend money to make it. It’s worth investing in some paid advertising, but only if you choose it carefully. Hiring a social media expert is a good investment if you find the right one. Money spent on carefully targeted ads can pay off. Track all such efforts and their results, of course, and don’t be afraid to double-down on something that works, or to pull out of something that doesn’t.
The location where your video is offered, your social media pages, your main web site, and anything else related to your videos in any way should feature frequent links to one another. The more such links exist, the better for your search engine performance, and the easier it will be for people to find what you’re offering.
You’re offering video content for a price, but one of the most powerful ways to spark interest in it is to offer some for free. People are more likely to view a video if they don’t have to pay for it, and once they do, they’ll know what your work is like. This is a great way to say, “If you like this, here’s where you can find more.”
It’s a brutal, competitive world when it comes to selling videos online. That means that if you want your pay per view videos to generate significant revenue, you’ll need to stand out from the flood of other offerings, both paid and free. The most important part of this is the quality of your videos themselves, but the same not-like-the-rest feel should flow from your marketing as well. Putting up a paywall is only the first step, a necessary technical detail.
A final thing to remember is that a successful pay per view video line isn’t built overnight. If you want to do this, accept that you’re in for the long haul.
By Elise Lagarde.
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