How to Sell Products on Youtube: 4 Practical ways to drive traffic to your online store

YouTube offers incredible opportunity to digital product sellers and content creators.

As the 3rd largest search engine in the world, 1 billion hours of YouTube are watched per day! YouTube is growing immensely, and anyone with a presence on YouTube stands to gain a huge return.

One of the age-old problems, however, is how to monetize your channel? While there are many options, we’ll be focusing on selling digital products through Sellfy, such as selling videos, LUTs, ebooks, and more.

When it comes down to selling your digital content on YouTube, it can essentially be boiled down to two major steps:

  1. Getting people interested in the specific product you’re selling through your video content.
  2. Driving traffic to your site.

Today we won’t talk about creating compelling videos (there are a ton of resources out there on creating great video content), but we’ll stick to the technical implementation of driving traffic to your online store, which is an art form all in its own.

To successfully sell on YouTube you have to stay on top of their algorithm changes. For example, just a few months ago YouTube changed their external linking policy for cards, limiting the use only to YouTube Partner Program participants (we’ll cover this later, read on).

Fortunately, YouTube has a few other tools that allow for linking to external websites. When you’ve got a presence on YouTube, you have several options to place links to your store where you’re selling your products.

Here are some ways you can drive traffic to your website on YouTube:

  1. Links in description
  2. Custom link on profile banners
  3. YouTube cards
  4. YouTube end screens

We’ll go over each of these methods, and provide a step by step guide to implement each one.

1. Add links in the description & comments

Linking in the description is one of the most commonly used methods to send your viewers to a website of interest. One of the reasons for that is that anyone can do it, regardless of the age of the channel or amount of subscriptions you have.

YouTube viewers expect links in the description of any topics that were discussed in the video – they serve as a sort of reference catalogue of topics.

In any YouTube video, the first three lines of the description are always visible. Anything beyond that, and the user has to click “show more”. For that reason, making use of those first three lines is imperative – so make them really count.

Pro tip: Shorten longer links to make them easier to read, make the text look cleaner and more uniform.

Another option is to write the links in the comments, and as the channel owner, you have the option to pin your comment to the top. It would look like this:

This lets you get even more eyeballs on your links, which can send viewers to your online store where you’re selling digital content online.

How to do it:

  1. Go to the video uploading section by clicking on the camera icon in the top right corner of YouTube and select “upload video”
  2. After uploading the video file, add your description and links to the Description box
  3. If you’d like to shorten your links, use link shortening services such as Goo.gl or Bit.ly
  4. Publish, and you’re done!

2. Add a custom link to your profile banner

When people go to your profile, they see your cover art, as well as the icons you choose to display. This data is imperative for people to get a feeling for your channel’s brand. Additionally, it’s a common page your viewers visit when they’re looking for new content to watch, or when they’re considering subscribing.

YouTube allows for up to 5 links to be displayed on top of the profile banner. Those links can be a combination of any external links, such as your different social media platforms, website, or online store.

Use this prominent linking opportunity to drive your fans to let them know that you have products to offer them, as well as to send them to the right page.

When adding a Sellfy link to your YouTube profile, a clickable Sellfy icon will appear.

Pro tip: use the “Link title” option to invite your visitors to click on it.

Step by step guide to adding custom links to your YouTube profile:

  1. Click on your profile image in the top right corner of YouTube and choose “My Channel” from the drop down menu
  2. Click the blue “Customize Channel” button
  3. Go to the “About” tab of your profile
  4. Scroll down to the “Links” section
  5. Click on the pencil icon on the right hand side to edit links
  6. Click the “Add” button, and fill in the information about your link and the text you want to show
  7. Click “Done” to save the progress

The next two options are limited in their availability – End screens and Cards are only available to YouTube Partner Program participants. The YouTube Partnership Program, in turn, has its own limitations.

The requirements are:

Once you meet the requirements, you can apply for the program. The approval process is not automated, so you’ll have to wait for a member of the review team to process your application.

3. Use end screens to link to your online store

End screens are a powerful tool to engage your viewers after they’ve watched (and loved) your content. This is the perfect time to nudge them to get to know you better by taking a look at your store.

Members of the YouTube Partnership Program will have the option to add an end screen that’s visible during the last 20 seconds of a YouTube video.

The end screen can show different things. They include:

  • Showing different videos or playlists on YouTube
  • An invitation to subscribe to the channel
  • Link to external websites that are approved merchandise and crowdfunding sites

The last one is the option we’re most interested in.

You can link to one of three options – your own associated site (find out more here), a merchandise site, or a crowdfunding site. The merchandise and crowdfunding sites must be on the list of approved retailers. Fortunately, Sellfy is on the list of approved merchandise sites, so even if you’re unable to add an associated site, if you’re using a Sellfy domain, you’ll be able to link to it without a problem.

An end card with an external link will appear as in this example above, in the downloading a free ebook section. When you mouse over the image of the digital goods you’re buying, the card expands and prompts you to download the ebook. YouTube offers several call to actions to choose from, such as download, buy, visit, and more.

How to add end cards that link to your site:

  1. Make sure you’re part of the YouTube Partner Program – you can apply from your account’s creator studio
  2. Upload a video
  3. Under your “videos” tab, click the down arrow next to the “edit” button under the video you want to add an end screen to
  4. Select “end screen” from the drop down menu
  5. Click the blue “add element” button
  6. Click “link” from the drop down menu
  7. Paste the URL link that you want to send your visitors to and click “Next”
  8. Edit the title you’d like, and choose the most relevant call to action
  9. Select your image
  10. Click “create element”

Use cards to drive traffic to your site from YouTube

Cards in videos appear as a small letter “i” in the top right corner, and when clicked, they slide out from the right-hand side of the video.

Cards contain an image, a title, and a call to action, and they link away from your video. There are different kinds of cards you can add:

  • Video or playlist cards – send users to another video or playlist they might be interested in
  • Channel cards – let you shout out a different channel
  • Donation cards – can ask for a donation from your viewers
  • Poll cards – poll your viewers directly in the video
  • Link cards – send your viewers to an external link

With the goal to send viewers to your store (and make more sales), the Link Cards option is most effective, so we’ll be putting a focus on that.

Similarly to end screens, link cards have limitations as to what links you can add – they include associated websites, sites from their approved list or retailers and merchandisers.

Again, you have two options – if you’re using a Sellfy domain, you can use the retailers option to add your link. Otherwise, you’ll have to have your “associated website” approved, find out more here.

How to add link cards to your YouTube videos:

  1. Make sure you’re part of the YouTube Partner Program – you can apply from your account’s creator studio
  2. Upload a video
  3. Under your “videos” tab, click the down arrow next to the “edit” button under the video you want to add a card to
  4. Slide the time marker to the time when you want the card to appear, then click “add card”
  5. From the drop down menu choose “link”
  6. Paste the URL of the link you want to send your viewers to and click “next”
  7. Enter the text, the call to action, as well as the most relevant image, and click “create card”
  8. Repeat the process for any other locations in the video where you would like to insert a card
Pro tip: Paste the same URL link in your bio on Instagram. Whenever a new customer finds you on Instagram, they’re likely to go to your bio page and see your link. Learn more: how to sell on Instagram.

Making the most of your YouTube audience

Having a loyal following on YouTube is a perfect jumpstart to selling your digital products, and thanks to YouTube’s built in tools, it’s possible to set up seamless, integrated sales tactics.

For video creators who are just starting out, making the most out of tactics such as linking in the description, using pinned posts, and creating custom links in your channel profile will be the best bet to send your viewers to purchase your digital goods.

Meanwhile, more established YouTubers have the opportunity to make masterful use of the ability to link to Sellfy domains and associated websites through End Screens and Cards.

Regardless of your experience level on YouTube, you’ll be able to find creative ways to make money and make the most of that exponentially growing YouTube viewer base.

Already selling on YouTube? Leave your channel in the comments and show us what you’ve been up to!

Cover image by: Alexey Boldin/Shutterstock.com

Krista is a writer at Truesix.co with several years of experience in digital marketing and e-commerce. In her free time, she runs her own online store Genecie.com and travels to places far, far away.