“How to make $1000 a month online from scratch” has proven to be one of our most popular article series. It has recently been updated to support the latest online developments and innovations.
Over the last 6 weeks, we've covered a lot of material. Most of it directly relates to attracting free targeted traffic to your new website. At some point, we need to turn the traffic into dollars.
In Part 2, I outlined the strategy for making this happen. As part of this strategy, I discussed a 3 prong attack for monetization. Those three prongs were:
- Contextual Advertising
- Affiliate Promotions
- Own Product Sales
If you've followed all the earlier steps, you should be perfectly positioned to roll this out. Let's look at how to do this for each prong.
Contextual advertising is simply showing ads that relate to the content on your site. Services like Google AdSense provide this functionality and pay you on a “cost per click” basis.
The amount they pay you depends on the ads they match to your content. They aim to match the most relevant ads to your pages, which in turn generates the highest click-through rate.
If this is a high paying keyword then it works out well for everyone. However, if this is a low paying keyword, AdSense may pay you just a few cents per click.
You need to work out if it's worth while or not for you. I'd rather not be paid at all than get paid a few measly cents to have a targeted person taken off my site to another site. I'd rather try to get that person to take another action that is more profitable for me.
If you're getting paid 40 plus cents per click, then it very may well be worth while. But if you're getting paid less, I'd reconsider your options.
One strategy is to include your contextual advertising in less obvious spots on your site. Put your preferred action in your high profile positions. Google provides a good example of where your high profile website positions are.
By putting AdSense in the lower profile positions, the people you “lose” are probably people whose needs aren't being met on your site and are looking around for other alternatives anyway.
Either way, it's worth testing to see what works for you.
If you are getting good click payments, you might want to look at ways of increasing your earnings. Allan's written sign up for an AdSense account here (if you don't already have one).
As it's often stated, affiliate programs are a great way to make money online. They enable you to earn money by recommending products that you could not otherwise make money on.
For example, they might give you the ability to earn money recommending golf putters without ever having to buy stock, deal with customer service or pay warehousing costs.
Lots of people hastily throw up affiliate links on their site and just say a little prayer. I would recommend you be more strategic than that.
If you want to really nail it financially with the affiliate programs, you need to go for the jugular. So follow the 80/20 rule again.
You can do this by focusing on the two methods outlined below. If your article isn't hitting on either of these, I wouldn't bother including an affiliate link at all. If you add affiliate links to every article, doing so will dilute your power of recommendation for the articles you DO add an affiliate link to.
Before you write anything, figure out what the article is ultimately trying to achieve. If it's to sell a product via an affiliate link, do it with gusto. If it's to help people and build up goodwill, then also do it with gusto. Never be lukewarm.
When you do write an article for affiliate sales, here are the two approaches I've found work the best.
1) Solve a problem using a “How to” or case study article and recommend the product as THE solution.
In our ongoing golf putting example, there are lots of products available that tell you how to putt better by using mental strategies, laser pointers, putting mirrors and all kinds of putting aids.
You could do a real life case study and let people know if this stuff really works. It might take a bit of time, but if you do it correctly, it can have powerful outcomes.
Before you conduct any case studies it's best to do some keyword research. Figure out how people are searching for this information to ensure it attracts the kind of traffic that will make it worth while.
It can be useful to visit some forums and see what kinds of questions people are regularly asking. When you've finished the article, you can post in these forums in a non-promotional way with a link to your article.
2) The second (and simplest) way, is to write an article titled “X Product Review”. Obviously you'll need to you replace “X Product” with the actual product name.
This has a powerful effect. The search phrase you're ranking well for may be low volume, but given that your visitors are looking for reviews indicates they're at the right end of the buying cycle. They're fairly serious about purchasing. Your article should aim to push them over the edge and make the purchase.
If you feel it's a bad product, say so. If it's a good product, enthusiastically and unashamedly say so. Enthusiasm sells.
Many of you are probably wondering how on earth you can write a good review without spending a fortune on buying all the products yourself.
There are a couple of ways you can get around this.
- Lie and say you've used it. (NOT recommended!)
- Create a list of products you want to review and if possible, go to a store and try out a demo. You'll probably want to take a notepad and pen to the store to make notes. Don't worry about looking silly doing this. You'll just look like a conscientious customer!
- Go to Amazon, Epinions and ConsumerReview to check out what people are saying about the product. From there you can parrot back (in unique paraphrasing ways) real reviews. I personally wouldn't pretend that I'm the one who's tried the product, but focus on the features, and then on what others are saying about those features.
Which ever way you go with respect to generating affiliate sales, you need to get a good grip on the art of pre-selling.
Ken Evoy used to sell an excellent ebook on the principles involved with making good pre-sell work. He now gives the ebook away free. It's worth your time to download it, print it out and refer to it regularly (including before writing each affiliate article).
Your Own Product Sales
The first two prongs in this strategy are relatively easy to complete. The third prong is a little more difficult, but potentially much more rewarding.
The fastest and easiest way to create valuable content is to get others to do it for you. I know it sounds crazy, but that's the approach I recommend.
Now this isn't as silly as it sounds. I had a coffee with a guy who took this concept and turned it into a multi-million-dollar business. He ran his business almost like a record label for therapists. I won't give away his secrets, but let's just say he's a smart guy who took a simple concept to the next level.
It's the same concept I'm recommending to you. Find experts in your niche, interview them and sell them as a product, or as multiple products.
Who knows. . . you might be able to find many experts and create a series with this stuff. Find one a month and create a monthly membership site. If you pick the right niche, there are many options to scale this concept and make you rich.
But for now, let's keep this simple and get our first product up and running.
Here are the steps you need to take.
Find Your Expert
Back in Part 5 I outlined how to find your experts. Once you've lined up an expert, contact them to set up a time to talk. You have one of two options. You can call them and record them on Skype (as discussed), or you could get a digital recorder to do the job for you.
Try to use the digital recorder in conjunction with a microphone (if you have one). Also make sure you can transfer the files on to your computer after recording.
I would avoid email interviews because they are too much work for the person being interviewed. Use them only if you're VERY shy.
Get A Release Signed
It's not always safe to assume that by giving an interview, the person has consented to the interview. So it's worth while getting them to sign a release form that allows you to use the interview for whatever purposes you choose.
Now I'm not a lawyer, so this isn't legal advice. But you should consider using something like this Interview Release form as a precaution. At the very least you should make a recording of you asking permission to use the interview. Make sure you also record their answer! Consider using the same sorts of language as in the Stanford release example.
Record The Interview
The recording of the interview is obviously the most harrowing part. You'll get better over time, so don't worry if your first few don't completely go to plan. Just encourage your subject to do all the talking by asking them questions they will want to talk about.
Here's some great advice on how to conduct an interview.
Edit The Interview
You should consider doing some minor edits on your interview to increase your professionalism. A little effort goes a long way here. The more professional your interview, the more likely someone will buy interviews from you again.
I would encourage you do the following to your interview.
- Remove the awkward moments, long pauses and unnecessary chit chat
- Think about running bass boost filter on it to increase the sound quality
- Grab some royalty free music to add at the start and finish.
You don't need expensive and complicated sound editing software to do this either. You can download Audacity free, which does everything you need.
Once you've got it sounding slick, export it as a MP3.
Transcribe the interview
If you transcribe the interview, you're offering more value for little extra cost. The transcription can also form the basis of other articles on your site.
Obviously the cheapest method is to do it yourself. If you're a fast typist, then go for it. If not, you should be able to find someone cheap at Rentacoder.com. Just make sure that they have a good grip on the language you want transcribed!
Once you get your transcription back, you should check it through and do some editing for visual improvement.
Then simply PDF it and you have the second part to your product. You can use something like PrimoPDF if you want to create a PDF free.
You're now ready to sell it.
Sign up for ClickBank
Now you have a product ready to roll. So you need a payment system to take the orders.
My recommendation is to use ClickBank. I recommend them for several reasons (despite their slightly higher costs).
1) It's VERY easy
2) They have a high converting checkout process
3) They have a built in affiliate system
4) They pay the affiliates for you
5) They have a huge pool of talented affiliates to tap into immediately
6) They offer PayPal in the checkout process
You can sign up for Clickbank here.
You can also use PayPal as your payment system, but you'll only be meeting number 1 and 6 of the above list!
Sign up for e-Junkie
So now you have a product and your payment method. But you also need a system to automatically deliver the product to the customer. You could do this free by redirecting them to a download page on your site. This is the simplest way. However, it leaves your product open for thieves if people discover this page.
You can cheaply and easily solve this problem by using a service like e-Junkie. They provide a whole bunch of really useful sales features, and most importantly automated delivery of your product and protection from thieves.
Write a Sales Page
Once you've got all the technical elements in place, it's time to write a convincing piece of copy. Make your prospect get all giddy and feel like their life isn't complete without being your customer.
As I've said many times over, copywriting is an art you should aim to perfect for the rest of your life if you want to make money online.
I'm not going to try to cover something as important as learning how to use your words to sell. You're better off reading a good book on the subject. Again, Ken Evoy has a free product that will get you up to speed. Otherwise, have a look on Amazon for some other ones. I quite like The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook and Web Copy That Sells.
If you follow these instructions, you've got all the ingredients in place to be successful.
Next week is the last part of this series I'll guide you through what is often the hardest step: Having everything in place, pushing forward and growing your business.
Look out for Part 8 next week – “The Growth”.