Dan R Morris and Rachel Martin of Blogging Concentrated have been teaching bloggers around the world how to become better bloggers, helping them take the leap to full-time freedom. This session, Revenue Without Sponsors (and no, we’re not talking about just ads), is geared to help bloggers make money–maybe even really good money–in which bloggers can derive a full-time income from their sites without traditional sponsorship.
Revenue Without Sponsors
Dan: “Today we’re going to talk about revenue. If you’re going to spend time on the computer, and you have a family, we really want you to make a return so that you get paid back — you pay your bills, you can do things, go on trips. We want there to be a return. When your kids say ‘why are you always on the computer?’ It’s so that you can say, ‘This is how we get to go to Disney.’
Our goal is to teach you how to generate a full time income and bring the important information to you. Most bloggers just focus on ads and sponsors. This is where they get their revenue. But we’re going to talk about the different ways that you can generate revenue on your site.”
Question to the group: “Is anyone generating revenue from your site?
The group: A few people raise their hands and nod heads.
Question: “Is anyone generating a full time revenue?”
Answer: A laughing audience with a lot of “I wish” smirks.
Question: “Would anyone like to generate full time revenue?”
Answer: All hands go up.
Question: “Is anyone using Adsense?”
Answer: Some hands go up, some heads nod.
“Adsense is the very easiest way to generate income. And if you don’t know how it works, you’re going to just put the code on your site and you’re not going to make any money.”
There are two sides of Adsense: Adwords and Adsense.
Adwords, to quote Google, is an advertising service by Google for businesses wanting to display ads on Google and its advertising network. The Adwords program enables businesses to set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click the ads. The ad service is largely focused on keywords.
Whereas Adsense is an advertising placement service by Google. The program is designed for website publishers who want to display targeted text, video or image advertisements on website pages and earn money when site visitors view or click the ads.
“So it’s like this,” Dan said. “Adwords is where Radio Shack and Target go. They want to create the ad to put on Google. And Adsense is where we go to say we want to be part of the network and we want to put the code on our sites so that Radio Shack and Target show up on our website.”
Let’s take a weather alert device for example. Target says, “Here’s our ad. Come to Target for your weather alert equipment.” You click on the ad and it takes you to Target’s page. Target tells Google, I want you to show this ad when anyone searches for weather, storm, tornado, etc., alerts. They may even come up with 70 different terms they want their ad to show up for.
Now when you become part of the network, Google’s network, and you have Adsense on your site, Google has to scan your page/post because it doesn’t know which ad to show. So if your page about weather-related equipment, it knows to show the Target or Radio Shack ad.
But what if your post is about living life to the fullest? What company on this planet is advertising on these key words? No one. Nobody is bidding on that term. So if you have a blog post about living life to the fullest, and you put Adsense in the sidebar of that post, you’re not going to make any money because Google will put a random ad in that spot that you may end up paying five cents for.
If you are going to sacrifice a spot on your blog for five cents, then you’re not thinking like a CEO.
Create a Custom Sidebar
You need a custom sidebar so that when you write your post, you decide: is this a money post? Is it about a product? A shoe? Something that you buy? You choose the sidebar you created with the Adsense post–companies can and will bid on that spot and you make money. Don’t waste money on a 300×250 square beside the Living Life to its Fullest post. That’s a waste of money. Just remember that Adsense is an exit strategy. Adsense means that your reader clicks and leaves. Do you want a nickel when someone leaves your site? You work very hard to drive traffic to your site. Do you really want two pennies when someone leaves? That’s why when you use Adsense, you have to think, is this a post in which you might want to search for something on Amazon? Is it about something you would buy? If so, use Adsense.
2. Internal Advertising
So what do we do with a sidebar if we don’t put Adsense in it? Internal ads. Go to Canva, click the button that’s 200 wide by 120 high and advertise the post that happens to make you the most money. Drive traffic to the post that drives revenue. Drive your own traffic to your own site. Find your post that makes you the most money and create your OWN ad that drives your audience to that post. Simple and effective–create your own.
3. Private Advertising
The third type of ad is private advertising. The way this works the best is when you work with a company. You can use your knowledge to help the advertiser to build a symbiotic relationship and then they stick around because they see that you’re actually helping their business. Using private ads helps others build better businesses. “They make more money, you make more money and everything is great.”
Here’s where knowing your site’s data is important. You should know what every pixel is worth on your site. So if you have Adsense set up, and you set up all the data right on the sidebar, you can tell exactly how much money that space made you every month. If someone comes in with a private ad and wants to advertise in the top right corner of your site, you can say, “that space is worth $300 and I won’t go underneath $300 because that’s what it’s worth.” Really know what each spot on your site is worth so you can say, “I know that this spot makes me this much money and this is what I need to charge.”
4. First, Second, and Third Person Products
Think about your audience in a completely different way. Right now we’re advertising and making money with sponsors and ads. But what if we make money from the audience itself?
The simplest way to sell a first person product is through a product such as an ebook. You create the book and set it up on your site to sell. The product comes directly from you to your customer. If we know our community and what they need, we can take our Marathon Guide, for example, and turn it into an ebook and we can sell it on our site. That would be a first person product. If it’s digital, we can just email it to them and we don’t have to do anything.
Dan and Rachel, both big fans of Teespring.com said, “We went to teesprint.com and used their tools to design this thing [holding up the findingjoy.net tee], we picked fonts, colors, styles, etc. Then we advertised on the findingjoy.net page: your tee that you can buy. This one cost us $9 and sold on the findingjoy.net site for $20. What’s cool about this is that it allows you to know your audience. You can ask your audience what they would like to see on a tee and really get feedback from your own community–they were the ones who voted and became invested in the shirt. They were excited when we released it because it then represented the community.”
Always make your product about your community.
Third person products that you’ve probably heard a lot about are affiliate products. Can you associate yourself with a product that you really like and then sell that to your audience? Every blogger should have a list of five things that everyone in his or her audience should own. If you love Asics shoes, great! Tell everyone about Asics shoes. If you think it’s a spatula–”the best spatula that helps you get the protein powder out of the bottom of the blender”–if you can sell it as an affiliate on Amazon or the like, great!
Talking about these products in a passionate sort of way, connects you to your community and identifies you with these products. That’s where you’ll find your audience starts connecting with you. That’s the moment you start building relationships with people because they trust you. You don’t want your readers skeptical of you–thinking you’re always trying to sell something different. If you stand behind what you believe and market those same things, you’ll connect with your audience and your audience will trust you.
Tip for affiliate marketing: Let’s say you want to be an Asics affiliate. In Google, type “shoes AND affiliate programs” and a vendor that sells shoes via affiliate marketing, will pop up. Whatever you want to sell, you can find.
More Ways to Get the Goods
6. Good Will : People giving you money out of the goodness of their hearts.
Do what you do and ask people to “pay what you want” for items such as ebooks. It’s risky, but most of the time people will pay more than what you would have sold an ebook for.
8. Donate Now! button on Pay Pal: It’s super easy to just add the code right onto your website! Simply ask your readers to donate to help you continue doing what you love to do! After all, it’s for them, right?
9. Membership Sites: Pay to get the best content, help, or training plans. Whatever is your very best–offer it to your members who pay to have a membership.
10. Paid Forums: People value real dialogue and helpful, professional advice. For many, a cheap forum withdraw from PayPal every month is easy to stick with and gives your readers a special place within your community.
11. Fixed Terms: Pay a fee for a short period of time to get a certain amount of information such as members paying $30 a month for a 90-day training plan.
12. Lead Driver Sites: sell a lead to another site like care.com. You can make money just by connecting the right people with what or whom they may be looking for.
Remember, always serve your audience and your reader. You are the CEO of your site: are you building your community? Your audience? Are you working with other collaborators on joint ventures to bring products together to help both audiences? Can you reach out to those in your niche and bundle products, eBooks, webinars, online courses–anything you can put together at a value for your readers for a much smaller price?
And last, just ask the leaders in your specific night or field for their help. What’s the worst they can say? No?
Alright Fitbloggers, go out there and start generating the income!
Editor’s note: Dan and Rachel actually have a list of 43 different ways to advertise and earn revenue from your site. Unfortunately, one hour was not long enough for all 43 tips! A link will be provided with all tips once (with their permission) once it has been emailed to me. I’ve also included the full audio file of the Revenue Without Sponsors sessions in the link here.
This post was captured by Steph from Strongfigure.com, who believes that everyone has the right to a strong, healthy body and mind. She believes that we should all train hard, eat well, read a lot, and have a cupcake when we need one. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram!