How to monetize your YouTube channel with merchandise?

A woman working on a laptop while drinking a cup of coffee

A recent survey showed that being a YouTuber or a social media influencer is one of the most common career choices for kids. After all, working from home, doing what you love and discussing things that you find interesting does sound nice. But, as it is with most things, there is more to being a YouTuber that people realize. In order to actually make a living out of it, you need to figure out how to monetize your videos. And one of the more successful ways people have managed to do so is with merchandise. So, we are going to take a closer look at how you should do this in an informed and well-organized way.

What you should know about making money on YouTube?

The best way to think of YouTube is as a large pool where only a small percentage of people actually come out on top. 99% of people on YouTube watch only 5% of creators. This means that in order to make money on YouTube, you need to find a way to be in that top 5%. Now, this is easier said than done. Largely because it is hard to pinpoint what makes a YouTuber popular enough to start making money. But, it is definitely a mixture of personality, quality content, regular posting and a bit of luck that leads to a successful channel. So, if you want to try being a YouTuber, find a way to be unique enough and do your best to make your content as good as possible.

A YouTuber showing various aspects of trying to monetize your YouTube channel
Being a full-time YouTuber is more difficult then most people think.

When to monetize your YouTube channel?

If there is one thing that is true for any business it’s that people don’t like spending money. The beauty of YouTube, and the reason it became so popular, is because people felt that it is a medium that is free from marketing. Back in the day, YouTube was all about amateur content and funny videos. And, while it has evolved way past that, people still don’t like it when merchandise or other commercial content is shoved in their face. So, trying to monetize your YouTube channel from the get-go is a bad idea.

A person distraught while sitting in front of a laptop.
If you try to monetize your YouTube channel too soon, you may end up losing your audience.

Ideally, you want to start making money from YouTube once you already have a following. With enough people enjoying your content, you can start exploring ways in which they can financially support you. This can come through donations, ads, or as we will soon explore, merchandise. The main thing is to carefully implement monetization in order to not appear as a sell-out.

How to make money with merchandise

So, how can you monetize your YouTube channel with merchandise? Well, in essence, there are two ways you can go about doing this. You can either sell or review other people’s merchandise, or you can create your own. Both of these are viable options, and depending on your content and your personality, you might be more suited for one. So, which one should you go for?

Reviewing or selling other people’s merchandise

If your channel has a natural connection with merchandise from larger brands, you can opt for reviewing or selling other people’s merchandise. When you review or use other people’s products, you are inadvertently selling them, which is why we put those categories together. The best channels for this type of monetization tend to be cooking channels, makeup advice channels or home DIY channels. In essence, any channel where the YouTuber is using tools or products made by other companies is a great channel for promotion.

The main thing here is to remain as impartial as possible. Many YouTubers are overly praising the company that is supporting them. This leads to them becoming a salesperson for that company and losing the respect of their followers. So, keep in mind that you need to keep your independence, even when working with large companies.

Selling your own merchandise

On the other hand, if you are creating your own content, you might think of selling your own merchandise. This is usually the best option if you manage to make your YouTube channel into a brand, and you have an interest in fashion. Some cooking shows or DIY channels manage to do so if they have a distinct feel to them. But, in most cases, these are your gaming channels, lifestyle channels, cartoon creators and fitness channels.

Making your own merchandise

If you want to make and sell your own merchandise in order to monetize your YouTube channel, you will need to deal with a bit more issues. First, you will need to figure out what type of merchandise your audience wants. The whole idea here is that you have an insight into what your audience likes. Now you need to use that insight to come up with merchandise that they would want to spend money on.

Promoting your merchandise

The one thing we can definitely advise you to do is to sell quality merchandise. Not even the best promotional strategy will save you if you sell junk to your audience. So, use software that will make the production process faster, and make sure that your merchandise is of good quality. Once you ensure that, you need to promote it. Use or wear your merchandise as often as possible. Once you start selling it, every video should have your merchandise in it. Also, feel free to update your merchandise from time to time, in order to keep up with trending audience interests.

A person using an online store on their phone in order to shop for clothes.
Make sure to set up an easy-to-use online store.

Setting up a store

In order to sell your merchandise on YouTube, you will have to set up a store. Luckily, with today’s e-commerce trends, that is fairly easy to do. Now, the easiest way of doing so is with Shopify, WordPress or Etsy. Each of them has its pros and cons, which is why you need to do your research in order to make an educated choice. Don’t forget that you will also have to deal with shipping.

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