Creating a website is the first step involved in building an online business which can become anything from a means of making a bit of extra cash, all the way up to a job-replacing income system (and much, much more).
In this post we're going to look at the best strategies for turning your website from a series of words / pictures / videos on a page, into a reliable income source.
Your website could be anything from an affiliate link for an MLM opporutnity, to a niche blog, to a lead capture page offering a free e-book or software tool, to a membership site.
Nonetheless, If you want your site to make you money when you promote it, it has to be ‘monetized’ in some way.
Basically this just means that your website must include at least one mechanism for people who visit it to do something that makes you money.
Affiliate links are obviously already monetized, in that if someone buys a product via your affiliate link, you earn an affiliate commission for the sale of that product, whether it’s a Clickbank training course or a lawnmower from the Amazon marketplace.
If you have a website of your own, there are several ways you can monetize it:
- create a blog with reviews of affiliate products which include links to those products
- create an affiliate product store
- create an e-comm product store
- publish ppc ads from a ppc network so that you get paid whenever someone clicks an ad
- create a digital sales funnel
The way that you monetize a website affects the methods you can use to promote it effectively.
For example, if you pay for advertising and then send your visitors to a blog homepage, or a collection of affiliate product reviews which doesn’t have any lead-capture mechanisms, it is very difficult to make a profit from your ad spend, unless your traffic is ultra-targeted and very low cost.
The most profitable type of content to promote, whether you’re using free or paid methods, is a digital sales funnel.
A digital sales funnel is a step-by-step mechanism for presenting your product(s) to your prospects which begins with a simple lead capture (squeeze) page, which captures the email addresses of your website visitors. After a visitor enters their email address, the funnel automatically presents your paid product(s) to your new lead.
Even if, ultimately, you just want to promote a single affiliate link for just one affiliate product, using a digital sales funnel structure to do this is much more cost and time effective.
In this case an ‘affiliate funnel' structure is the best type of content to promote.
An affiliate funnel is basically a way to promote any affiliate product with front-end lead capture so that you can build a list at the same time as you promote your affiliate link.
Including this list building step does WONDERS for your roi.
This is how an affiliate funnel works:
- your visitor sees your lead-capture page asking them for their email address in return for you showing them a solution to their problem (the affiliate product being the solution)
- your visitor enters their email address
- as soon as your new prospect has been added to your list, your affiliate funnel redirects them directly to your affiliate link, or a ‘thank you page' which contains your affiliate link or possibly even multiple affiliate links which provide paid solutions to the prospects initial problem eg. needing to make money online / needing woodworking plans to build a shed
- your visitor receives follow up emails from your autoresponder providing them with several more opportunities to buy your affiliate product(s), possibly interspersed with ‘value adding’ emails designed to build rapport with your new leads
If you send paid traffic straight to an affiliate link, even if you earned 100% instead of whatever the affiliate network is giving you, chances are you would lose money because of the high cost of paid advertising and the high percentage of people who will see your offer and not buy it on their first exposure to it.
However, if you promote an affiliate funnel with paid traffic, as long as your traffic is targeted and your funnel well-designed enough to convert a reasonable percentage of your visitors into leads, you will probably make a profit over the course of your initial lead capture and follow-up sequence.
That said, it’s still best to use a simple 1-step opt-in system for your affiliate funnel as using a 2-step opt-in system which requires your email lead to ‘confirm their email address’ will usually lower your overall profit, as some of your leads will forget to verify their email addresses.
Even if your affiliate funnel campaign yields a less than 100% roi, it will probably still generate several email leads for you, from which you can generate a long-term residual income from future promotions.
By building a list of leads with your traffic, instead of promoting a sales page, you create your biggest online asset, your lead base.
The reason your lead base is so valuable is that it’s a traffic source which is completely under YOUR control.
In other words, you create an audience.
Having a sufficiently large, targeted audience for your promotions is the ONLY thing separating you from earning a reliable online income.