Live video streaming is among the most engaging content types making it ideal for content creators, professionals, entrepreneurs, and experts who want to share their knowledge and monetize their expertise.
Thousands of knowledge entrepreneurs are already using live-streaming platforms to grow their audiences, share knowledge, and make money in the process.
So, in this article, I’ll show you sustainable ways to monetize your live streams and turn them into a significant income source for your business.
Let’s dive in.
A detailed study of over 3,977,410 Facebook videos found that live videos generated significantly more engagement than recorded content.
This makes live streaming ideal for promoting and selling products and services to make money online.
But how exactly does the process work?
You won’t make money directly from your live stream besides advertising and a few other monetization methods. Instead, you’ll use live streaming as a marketing and lead-generation channel to promote products and services, leading to sales.
For example, you’ll promote affiliate products in your live stream and share your affiliate link in the video’s description. But you’ll only earn money when a viewer clicks your link and buys the product from the product’s website.
Let’s now jump right into the different ways to monetize your live streams.
Social media and live video streaming platforms allow you to monetize your live content by showing in-stream ads.
Once accepted to a platform’s monetization program, you can focus on creating high-quality live content while the platform displays relevant and engaging ads during your stream.
Depending on your advertising model, you get paid when a user clicks an ad in your stream or watches it for a specific duration.
YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch are the most popular live-streaming platforms that support in-stream ads.
For example, Serkan, a leading hairdressing trainer, conducts regular live classes on YouTube and earns from in-stream ads, as visible in this screenshot.
Similarly, Facebook also allows creators to monetize their recorded and live streams with in-stream ads.
Most live streaming platforms support the following ad types in live streams.
- Pre-roll ads run before the live stream, viewable on mobile and a computer.
- Mid-roll ads run during the live stream can be manually inserted during computer streams.
- Display and overlay ads run beside or over content, viewable on a computer.
You can choose one or more ad types for your live streams. However, as a content creator, you don’t have much control over the ads shown in your stream since YouTube and Facebook use the viewer’s interests and browsing patterns to show them relevant ads.
How do you enable ads in your live streams?
2. Platform Subscription
If you’re a regular live streamer, platform subscriptions can be an excellent way to monetize your content and build a dedicated and loyal following around your brand.
Both these platforms allow viewers to subscribe to paid memberships of their favorite channels and pages to view exclusive members-only content.
As a creator, you can use these membership programs to earn a regular and predictable income while creating dedicated live streams only for your most loyal fans. It’s also a way for your viewers to support your work and motivate you to create better content.
Apart from members-only content, you can offer your paid subscribers exclusive badges and emojis to acknowledge their contribution to your growth.
3. Sell Online Courses
If you sell online courses, digital products, or members-only programs, live streaming is one of the best ways to promote your offer.
Why? Because live video content drives higher engagement and conversions than any other content format. Uscreen, a leading live streaming platform, found that demand for live streaming in the eLearning industry increased by 980% during and immediately after the pandemic. And although this demand has decreased compared to peak pandemic days, live eLearning videos still drive up to 20x higher engagement than pre-recorded content.
Live streaming allows course creators to share their knowledge and build a rapport with their audience, ultimately resulting in more conversions.
On the other hand, it enables viewers to ask questions and ensure that you’re a real expert before buying your products.
For example, Noah Kagan, the founder of Sumo and many other marketing tools, hosts free live streams to drive traffic to his landing pages and premium offers.
However, you can’t directly sell courses in a live stream. Instead, you’ll pitch the product in your content and share the link to your landing page where the viewers can complete the purchase.
Adam Enfroy uses this workflow to drive leads and customers to his blogging course.
However, you must remember that building authority takes time. So, to drive leads and customers with live streaming, you must build your audience through regular content and free value sharing.
4. Live Shopping
Live shopping has been among the hottest eCommerce trends worldwide since the start of the Covid19 pandemic. To give you an idea of its size, it accounts for more than 10% of China’s total eCommerce market and will exceed $11 billion in the US market by the end of 2023.
Simply put, live shopping is a video stream where brands, influencers, and product owners present, demonstrate and sell their products live. It’s a regular live video with added eCommerce features allowing the viewers to instantly purchase the products they like.
Live shopping experiences are highly engaging and allow customers to cross-question the seller before buying a product. On the other hand, it allows sellers to run limited-time promotions and encourage impulsive buying to drive more sales.
Seeing the widespread demand for live streams, Amazon, Shopify, Instagram, and several other leading social media and eCommerce platforms have introduced native live shopping features where the viewers can instantly purchase products through in-steam links and CTA buttons.
Many retailers, including Nordstrom, have built dedicated live shopping sections on their sites where they invite brands and influencers to promote different products and allow viewers to purchase live.
Amazon Live’s product streams are another great example where brands and even influencers promote curated products live.
As a content creator, you can promote and sell relevant products to your audience through live shopping on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon Live, and even your own store using different live shopping apps.
If you have a dedicated following on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or any other social media platform, sponsored live streams and videos can be an excellent source of income.
Here’s how it works.
Relevant brands and retailers pay you to cover their products, describe their benefits, and promote them to your audience. You get paid to create the content meaning you’re not responsible for driving sales.
Here’s an example.
Unlike platform advertising, where you don’t have control over what ads your viewers see, sponsored content is entirely under your control.
You can partner with brands aligned with your values and offer genuinely helpful products for your audience.
Where do you find sponsorship opportunities?
If you have a sizable audience, brands usually reach out themselves. But here are a couple of ways you can take the initiative.
Outreach: Find brands you feel your audience likes and contact them for partnership opportunities.
Platforms: Sign up for multiple influencer marketing platforms that connect content creators with relevant brands. Izea, Upfluence, Grin, and YouTube BrandConnect are examples of such platforms.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a $17 billion industry worldwide and provides one of the most lucrative ways for content creators to make money with live streaming.
Here’s how affiliate marketing works.
You register as an affiliate for a specific brand, product, or platform and promote their products in your content using your unique affiliate link. The product owner pays you a commission when someone purchases a product using your link.
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t need to own or buy a product to make money. Instead, you can simply highlight its benefits to your audience and make money when they buy using your link.
For example, here’s a video by Travis Marziani that reviews different eCommerce platforms and helps the viewers choose the best fit for their business.
The video description contains Travis’s affiliate links for each platform.
Travis earns a commission when a viewer clicks these links and purchases an eCommerce solution.
So, how do you find affiliate products to promote?
If you want to promote physical products, Amazon is the best place to start. Amazon Associates is the world’s most extensive affiliate program, where you can promote almost any product from Amazon and earn a commission on each sale.
Here are a few other affiliate platforms you can check out for physical and digital products.
– CJ Affiliates
– Warrior Plus
Most SaaS products have their own affiliate programs that you can access from their websites. Shopify, MailChimp, GetResponse, and SEMRush are a few examples.
Live streaming is hard work because you need to come up with new and engaging ideas to provide value to your audience without charging them anything for it.
But your viewers can support your work and appreciate the effort you put into your content by sending donations and tips during your live streams.
For example, YouTube’s Super Chat is a dedicated feature for live streamers where the viewers can pin their messages on top of the live comment stream by purchasing a super chat message.
This helps you earn extra money and gives your audience’s comments a more prominent place in your live comment stream for a fixed period.
Similarly, Facebook has the Stars feature, which allows your live stream viewers to donate and tip you money. TikTok Tips is another place where you can earn tips and donations from your viewers.
This isn’t the most reliable way to earn money, so it should never be a core part of your business. But if you’re a regular content creator with a large following, your tips can add up to a sizable amount.
8. Drive eCommerce Store Sales
If you have a loyal following on YouTube or any video streaming platform, you can start an eCommerce store and drive sales with live streams.
This differs from live shopping we discussed earlier because you’re not selling directly on the platform.
Instead, you can share the links to your products in the video’s description or pin the URL in the comments while describing a product live.
For example, if you’re a content creator in the vegan niche, you can sell t-shirts, mugs, caps, and other merchandise with vegan slogans using a print-on-demand service.
Shopify is the easiest way to create and integrate a world-class online store with any print-on-demand service.
You can use the same strategy if you have an Amazon store selling private-label products sourced locally or from a marketplace like AliExpress.
9. Live Group Coaching
Live and interactive coaching sessions are among the best ways to teach new skills and transfer practical knowledge to your students.
This is why customers are happy to pay more for live coaching programs, masterclasses, and group learning activities.
This learning mode is particularly effective for teaching creative skills like music, writing, singing, or any other craft where the students need instant feedback.
As an expert, you can host live coaching programs on any live streaming platform like Zoom, YouTube, or Facebook. However, if you want to create a classroom environment, consider using Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, or any other online coaching platform.
Using an online course platform also helps you collect leads and process payments using landing pages and payment processors.
How do you find clients for your coaching programs? Publishing high-quality free content on your blog and social media platforms like YouTube and LinkedIn to establish authority and credibility on your topic.
Once people see the value of your free stuff, they’ll happily sign up for your paid programs. However, you must deliver quality content that makes a difference in our customers’ lives. That’s the only way you can generate word of mouth and referral sales for your program.
Read our detailed guide to starting an online coaching program for more actionable tips.
10. Exclusive Members-Only Live Streams
You can create dedicated membership programs offering your audience high-quality and tailored live streams. This is different from the platform membership we discussed earlier.
Instead, we’re talking about third-party membership platforms where you can create any type of subscription program for your most loyal fans.
Patreon is the perfect example of an online membership platform for creators. Thousands of writers, photographers, musicians, designers, and other creative professionals use it to earn from their live and recorded content.
Uscreen is another dedicated platform that allows creators to monetize their live streams through membership programs. It publicly lists your stream to help you attract relevant members and increase your membership earnings.
Your dedicated membership streams can be online classes or webinars on specific topics or exclusive live events you cover for your members.
11. Sell Tripwires
If you sell online courses or membership programs, directly pitching high-ticket items to your audience isn’t always the best strategy. They might have questions about the product’s value and feel reluctant to immediately purchase a premium course.
So, the better strategy is to sell a tripwire offer.
What’s a tripwire? It’s a lower-priced product that solves a smaller problem for your audience. Its primary goal is to convert your audience into customers and build a list of serious buyers instead of freebie hunters.
For example, if your main course is a $2000 coaching program, your tripwire could be a $99 one-hour live masterclass on the same topic.
Or it could be a $1 trial of your membership program for the first month, after which the members are charged the full fee.
Another typical tripwire example is when marketers offer their books or resources for free and only charge customers the shipping fee.
This is precisely how Russell Brunson gets customers for his high-end offers.
Naturally, selling tripwires is easier because of their lower price tag and instant value. And since they’re smaller versions of your main product, they’re easier to consume and implement.
Read our detailed tripwire marketing guide for more ideas.
12. Grow Email Lists
An email list is any content creator’s biggest business asset. It makes your business truly independent and prevents it from relying on one or two platforms.
So, building an email list and growing your subscriber base should always be among your top business goals.
Live streaming can greatly accelerate your list-building efforts and help you attract highly engaged subscribers.
- Create a free lead magnet like a downloadable eBook, video, or a free group where you provide personalized support to your members.
- Use an email marketing platform to create a landing page with an opt-in form where visitors can enter their email addresses to download your lead magnet.
- Pitch this lead magnet during your live streams by mentioning its benefits and sharing its link in the content description.
To make your email list more profitable, set up automated email sequences designed to educate your audience and sell your tripwire offer that converts free subscribers into customers. Then create separate email sequences for tripwire customers to upsell your main offer.
If they purchase your tripwire or main offer, great. But even if they don’t, they remain part of your free email list, where you routinely share valuable content that bulbs your authority and silently prepares your subscribers for your next product launch.
Read our guide to email marketing sequences for more details.
Thanks to smartphones and fast internet connections, live streaming isn’t the rocket science it used to be just a few years ago. So, if you’re a content creator, you must leverage the power of live content to build your authority, grow your audience, and ultimately make more money online.
The methods I’ve shared in this article are just a few examples to show you what’s possible.
But once you become comfortable with live streaming and build an audience, you’ll find numerous other ways to earn money with your content.
Let me know if you have any questions.
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