Big companies have entire departments dedicated to their monetization model and regularly discuss pricing strategies, cost cutting measures, and increasing the number of income opportunities. How much time have you spent on your monetization model? Have you ever pushed the computer away, sat down with 5 friends you trust and really talked through the different ways to drive income?
One of the most important parts about choosing a monetization model is understanding your role in the world. What purpose do you serve to your followers, to your customers? Then in what ways can you be a better steward to them and can you monetize that value?
For instance, have you considered a membership site?
I am a customer of Rick Radditz. He’s always created great tools to make me a more efficient business owner. From him I learn business strategies and appreciate getting his opinion on my business decisions. Well a couple years ago he thought another way to serve his audience would be to provide recommendations on business books.
But instead of just writing business book reviews, he wanted to add value – add his own thoughts on the book and provide insights in how to apply the books’ main points to your business. So he created a membership site called BizBookInsights.com where he does just that. For me it is a logical progression working with Rick and for him a new monetization model and opportunity.
A friend of mine in Houston, Texas maintains a Youth Ministry membership website that provides sermons and Sunday School ideas to its 30,000 members on a weekly basis. Because it is a $3.99 monthly micro-continuity plan, it is easily affordable to many. From a monetization standpoint micro-continuity requires big numbers but has the benefit of a very low cancel rate.
BizBookInsights.com is a one-time fee membership, different than the monthly subscription in the other. Sometimes membership sites are free to join but have paid higher benefits. And others are fixed-term membership sites like 90-day weightloss challenges and 6-month book clubs. There are lots of different ways to configure a membership plan. In the end that depends on how you want to meet your audiences goals.
What are some other monetization models?
Advertisements are typically the first on everyone’s mind, but there are many different kinds of advertising you can do. Here are some of the examples we’ve explained recently:
- Earn money by selling space for Private Ads on your site.
- Monetizing with in-line, in-text ads
- Becoming a part of an visual display network
- Google Adsense is a great way to monetize traffic. It doesn’t typically make your audience smarter but a certain percentage click on ads for revenue.
For the most part 3rd party ads are based on the content of your page and try to be relevant to your audience – but not typically directed by you. You do have the option of providing ads specific to your audience in an effort to serve their needs. Some of those include:
- Writing book reviews and recommending products is a great way to use affiliate marketingas a monetization tool.
- Similar to affiliate marketing, ads like Coupons.com are often the reason your customers come to your site.
Finally, some companies actually pay for content to be placed on your blog. Some want you to include it at no charge and thus writing sponsor posts means you have to make a decision. Should I charge or do it free?. That’s up to you.
In coming months we’ll talk more about different monetization models to help you expand your opportunities and give you new ways to serve your community. What monetization models would you like us to explore deeper?
Dan R Morris is the founder of LettersFromDan.com, a website dedicated to improving your revenue stream from online efforts. Dan is an infomercial producer, niche website owner, product developer, author and Mastermind leader. Dan actively encourages marketers to take that extra step so that “Hope” doesn’t become the marketing plan.
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I would say what I think is irrelevant. :)
What you need to figure out is what your long term goal is. Look at the YouTube Channel InteractiveBiology (http://youtube.com/interactivebiology) – He gives his content away for free completely but makes good income from YouTube ads and now is finding people want to put his videos on DVD and sell them.
His method is entirely scalable and doesn’t require hands-on work. He could go on vacation for a month and still be in a good spot. With that traffic he could obviously start to sell products, drive traffic to webinars and even push traffic to “over the phone” tutoring.
Micro-continuity membership is a great concept. You could use your content to sell that as a special Q&A forum, for instance. Or group coaching.
Don’t concern yourself too much with how easy it is to steal. Thieves don’t care about easy. If they want to steal it they will. Just make sure people know where you are and they’ll spot the fakes for you.
I would say you need a long term plan. You need to map out what your customers need. And I’m talking about everything from groceries to transcription to higher education. Where can you fit ino their needs? And in what order do they need that? If they need a DIY cheat sheet so they don’t have to call you for little stuff, figure out when is a good time to offer it and get it into your autoresponder. If you know now what you’re going to sell them in November, you can start building that product by repurposing things you’re already doing.
If you set up email folders for future products, then you can bcc yourself whenever you write an email to someone to which the content would be useful for a product. That way you never have to type that stuff twice. Repurpose your way to money.
Are you starting to move your audience up the smarts ladder? Are they appreciating where you are taking them? If so they are probably ready to buy speciality info. Try something.
For many that is true, but I know at least 30 sites that make 6 digits from Google AdSense. Sometimes it is definitely worth it.
I’m waiting to get a good traffic flow and rapport before starting to monetize. What indicators do you use to tell when it may be a good time to start monetizing Dan?
Hi Dan, great read.
I am not a fan of 3rd party advertising, the cost/reward ratio isn’t enough to justify a visitor leaving the site, usually to a direct competitor.
I run a service-based biz and I currently don’t have ANY PRI. I have a ton of ideas for things to do, but I need to sit down and really sort out where to start, and what things to do and what things to leave for “someday.” I think my biggest challenge right now is finding the time to do all of the things that can help drive more traffic and/or create PRI while still working enough hours to pay the bills. I have been in a huge info-gathering mode this month and now it is time to sit down, sort through all of the resources I have, and take some action.
Excellent. In your mind what is the trigger you’re waiting for before you monetize?
This is a great post. I am getting closer and closer to monetization and need all the help I can get.
Great post Dan! I’ve been brainstorming about a potential membership site with a partner of mine that would allow visitors to pay for access to tutoring videos in a specific scientific field. But, we are concerned with how easy it is to steal and video content, particularly because the target demographic for this project would be college students. Do you think we should try membership or just give away the content for free and monetize only on personal tutoring sessions?