Say you are just getting started on your online business journey and want to know how this game is played. I'm sure you understand the concept of producing articles or videos and getting people to read/watch your content.
But then what?
How can you turn those eyeballs into dollars?
Or perhaps you've already built a platform with traffic through a website, email list, social media, or video channel, and are looking for new and creative ways to monetize your traffic.
Whichever the case, you're in the perfect place!
The digital era has opened a multitude of avenues for entrepreneurs and marketers to monetize their online presence. Let’s explore ten effective strategies to turn online traffic into revenue.
#1 - Affiliate Marketing:
If you're just starting out in the online marketing world and don't have anything of your own to sell, then affiliate marketing is a terrific way for you to make money.
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where you promote other people’s products and earn commissions for sales made through your referral.
You simply sign up for affiliate programs, receive unique links, and place them on your site or social media. For example, a beauty blogger might use affiliate links to recommend skincare products and receive a percentage of the sales made through those links.
The review includes links to purchase ConvertBox. If anyone clicks on my link and buys it, ConvertBox will pay me a commission.
It's a pretty cool monetization model because you're not responsible for selling anything. All you do is drive traffic to the tool or service and let them convert your traffic into buyers. They track everything and pay you.
#2 - Sponsored Content or "Native Advertising":
Sponsored content is a form of advertising that blends into the regular content on a platform, providing value to the reader while also promoting a sponsor's product or service.
Unlike traditional advertising, which can be overt and sometimes disruptive, sponsored content is designed to be engaging and relevant to the audience. It is often indistinguishable in style and format from the platform's usual content, which is why it is sometimes referred to as "native advertising."
For example, on Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" podcast, we often get paid for a 1-minute spot from Wondrium. Wondrium is a streaming service offering online courses about things like religion, history, and language. Since it's closely aligned to Bart's brand and something he would likely talk about even without getting paid, this sort of ad spot would be seen as sponsored content or native advertising.
Here's another example of a bit of sponsored content in 1440's email.
This would be considered sponsored content since it's written in the same style and format as the rest of 1440's email.
#3 - Renting Your Space (Advertorial):
Similar to sponsored content, an advertorial is a paid content piece written in the style of an article but serves as an advertisement. For example, a food blog might allow a kitchen appliance company to write a sponsored post showcasing their new blender.
Advertorials are different from sponsored content in that advertorials tend to be written by the advertiser and take up the entire email, video, or blog post. They don't need to fit nicely or "natively" into another content piece created by the publisher.
You can think of this strategy like a billboard. You own the billboard which thousands of cars pass by daily. You can rent out the space but the advertiser creates the ad.
#4 - Selling a Product or Service:
When I owned insuranceblogbychris.com, we generated traffic and leads to the site and my team of insurance agents would call the leads to sell them life insurance.
In this monetization method, you need to develop your own product or service that caters to your audience's needs. This could be anything from e-books, courses, merchandise, or software. For example, if you run a fitness website, you could sell personalized workout plans or health supplements.
Quick Note: You should test the different strategies in this article. When the geniuses at Ad Practioners bought my insurance site, they converted to an affiliate model (strategy one), and promptly doubled the revenue on the site.
Why didn't I think of that!?
#5 - Lead Generation and Sales:
I used to own a website, www.termlifeinsurancemales.com, that generated about 1,000 life insurance leads per month. But even though I had an insurance agency at the time, I had too many leads for my team to handle. So, I sold the leads to another agency at $10 a pop and made an extra $10,000 per month.
This was a new and exciting way for me to earn money online since my earnings didn't depend on our agency results. We didn't have to make an insurance sale to make money.
I simply sold off the leads. Simple!
In lead generation, you collect information from potential customers (leads) interested in a particular product or service. You can then sell these leads to companies in the relevant industry. For instance, a financial advice blog could collect leads of individuals seeking mortgage advice and sell them to mortgage brokers.
BONUS TIPS: Be sure to cross-sell related products and focus on reselling new or updated products and services to your current customers to maximize profit.
#6 - Selling Data:
With consent, you can collect and analyze user data, then sell this valuable market research to companies. For example, a mobile app might collect data on user preferences for coffee flavors and sell this information to coffee shops looking for market trends.
Notice I said "with consent," though. You'll want to be sure your websites terms and conditions clearly explain what you are doing! And maybe even take it further than that. You'll definitely want to consult with legal counsel for this strategy.
#7 - Consulting:
If you don’t have a product, offer your expertise. Consulting involves providing professional advice in your area of knowledge. An SEO expert, for example, could offer consulting services to businesses looking to improve their online visibility.
You might even come up with a cool-sounding 3-step plan for your consulting strategy. The more organized and results focused your plan is, the more trustworthy it will be.
#8 - Speaking Services:
Leverage your expertise and reputation by offering speaking services at events, webinars, or workshops. For instance, a well-known digital marketer might be invited to speak at a conference about innovative marketing strategies.
Speaking is also a whole lot of fun. You get to travel to new places and the conference picks up your travel bill - and pay you on top of that! I recently spoke in Austin at a conference for insurance professionals explaining how I built a multi-million dollar website. You can get a copy of my talk here.
# 9 - Sell Sponsored Ads:
This is a direct form of advertising where the sponsor pays for a segment of time to promote their product or service.
It's a bit different from my "sponsored content" example (number 2) in that in that example, Bart Ehrman was promoting something very closely aligned with his audience's desires.
But let's say Bluehost or SimpliSafe approached Bart for a minute during his podcast. These are examples of sponsored ads. They are typically pre-scripted messages about the sponsor's offerings and are clearly identified as paid promotions.
They don't necessarily blend with the host's content as seamlessly as native ads or sponsored content might, especially if they're not closely related to the usual topics discussed by the host.
#10 - Display Advertising with Google Ads or MediaVine:
Display advertising is the process of placing banner ads or other visual ads on your website. These can sometimes be disruptive but are a common and straightforward way to monetize a site with traffic. Services like Google AdSense or MediaVine automate the process by serving relevant ads to your audience based on the content of your site and user demographics.
For instance, a cooking blog might show ads for kitchen gadgets, grocery stores, or cooking classes. The revenue comes from advertisers every time an ad is clicked (CPC) or viewed (CPM).
A ton of large media sites like news sites rely on display advertising so I don't want to knock it, but you typically need millions of visits per year to make a good amount of money. I recently did some consulting for a site that monetized with display. They had close to 100k visits per month and only made something like $2,500 per month if my memory serves.
Each of these strategies has the potential to generate substantial revenue when executed effectively. Remember, the key to successful online marketing is providing value to your audience while strategically monetizing your offerings. As you venture into these monetization methods, always prioritize your audience’s trust and maintain transparency about your monetization practices.