When it comes to building a profitable business online, many people get stuck.
They get stuck in a “thinking” state where they think and overthink the best way in which to take action…
Should I start a blog? Should I use Facebook ads? What kind of funnel do I need? Who is the best email service provider?
I get it, It can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first time. But in reality, there is no “best” way to take action. You just have to start.
Even people that currently have an online business and want to scale ask similar questions.
Both, however, want the same thing. To have a profitable online business that will give them freedom and allow them to live life on their terms.
Well, the great thing about building a business online is that you can see in real time if your ideas will work or if they won’t. The point is, don’t be afraid to take risks and once you set a course, see it through and commit to it. Soon enough, you’ll be able to find your own success.
Now I created this list with two things in mind, time and money…
You see, to me, being profitable means that you are making a great income, building your wealth, and are able to live the life that you want. Most of these methods try to maximize both your time and your money.
No point building a business that you constantly have to baby.
With that being said, let’s get started.
1. Affiliate Marketing – Leveraging “Others” To Sell/Promote
Affiliate marketing is a process in which you either have a product that you want to sell more of through other individuals, or you don’t have a product and want to make money selling other people’s products.
For the individual that does not have a product, it is a great and inexpensive way to get started. For the business owner who has products, it is a smart way of adding more “sales” people to your team.
First, let’s talk about the individual that does not have a product:
This is usually how most individuals start off in their online journey.
Essentially, you create a niche for yourself in a certain industry, create content that resonates with that market to build trust, and use a large marketplace such as Amazon or ClickBank to sell other’s products.
Let’s look at some real world examples of affiliate marketing in play:
Let’s say you know a lot about real estate and love to create content that helps others when it comes to buying or selling their first home, finding mortgages, best tips on finding the perfect agent, etc.
You love talking about it so much that you have a blog and write tons of articles about housing markets, mortgages, new home buyer pitfalls, etc.
On top of that, your website, because of how strong the content is, is generating a decent amount of traffic and gettings lots of engagement.
You can then sign up to be an affiliate with Amazon and every so often, advertise a real estate book to your readers and earn a commission off of any sale that you generate through your website.
You can do this with just about any market.
Here is another example…
Maybe you’re a health nut and love talking about fitness, nutrition, and everything in between.
But in this case, you only have a YouTube channel where you post content three days out of the week. Well, same thing as above, you can sign up for various fitness and nutrition products that you like, and promote them on your channel earning a commission on whatever sales come through a “special” link you are given.
This saves you time and money because you do not have to worry about creating a product, all you have to do is find a product that resonates with your market and message, promote it, and watch the sales come in.
What about business owners with their own products?
Well, it works in the opposite way. Find a few people in your industry that have a large following and ask them if they would be an affiliate. Sometimes even your best affiliates will come from your customer lists. Usually, affiliate offers are more attractive to the influencer since there is more of a monetary incentive as opposed to a one and done or sponsorship. This is called revenue sharing, where you provide a percentage of the sale to the affiliate that managed to drive a sale.
Using affiliates is a great way to double the number of sales that you are making on a daily and monthly basis. Even more so, if you decided to come out with more products in the future, you essentially have a sales team ready to promote the product for you. All you have to do is let them know that it is available.
So in all, for the individual and business owner, affiliate marketing allows you to leverage others in order to build a profitable online business.
2. Information Marketing – Selling “How-to”
People are always hungry for more information and even hungrier for results. It is not shocking to see the overwhelming amount of “how-to” that you can sell.
When it comes to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you can be pretty sure that there is a “how to” product being sold for any of those categories.
Information marketing is just that, you are selling information. You create and promote information products once and sell them over and over. Examples are books, DVDs, recorded workshops, online training courses, etc.
Pretty much, information marketing allows you to leverage your time and your expertise. If you ever wished that you could clone yourself to get more done, information marketing is pretty close to it.
Just think about the number of businesses that have started because of this demand for information. Think of udemy.com, creativelive.com and lynda.com
Let’s go through an example to show you what I mean.
John is well versed in cooking omelets. He considers himself the omelet king and his close friends pretty much say that his omelets are the best around.
In order to leverage his time and expertise, John decides to create a course on how to cook the perfect omelet. He realizes that there are a few steps people need to understand before they even think about touching an egg.
He realizes that someone might need to learn:
- How to select the best eggs,
- How to select the best pan,
- How to select the best spatula,
- How to select the right seasonings,
- Butter vs oil,
- Milk or no milk,
- Extra ingredients,
He figures out everything someone would need to know to cook the best omelet and packages it up into 6 simple steps. He calls it “Scramble: 6 Steps to a Perfect Omelet That Will Leave You Sunny Side Up”
He shoots 6 videos outlining the 6 major steps, provides a step by step version of the videos as pdfs, and throws in a few recipes to add value.
In all, he sells this as a digital course for $97.00
John has just created an information product that he can sell over and over again, time after time, which leads me to repeat buyers…
Information marketing also benefits from the fact that many customers will end up becoming repeat buyers.
This is due to the “Authority” principle.
If the products you create have tons of value, are well crafted, and actually help produce results, you are going to have top of mind awareness to your customers.
They see you as the expert, as the authority, as the go-to person and because of that, they want more from you.
Even better is that if you set up a sales funnel and drive traffic, you literally have very little to no interaction with buyers (if you want). The process of discovery to sale can be automated and seamless giving the customer a great shopping experience and confidence in their purchase. Better yet, depending on the medium you use to teach that information, will allow the customer to access their purchase right away.
Which means that for you there is low overhead. The need to hire support and customer service people is minimal depending on the software you use to run your sales funnels. But essentially, each sale you make is pure profit.
Nonetheless, a small investment is required at the beginning. It will take some time to put the training material together and figure out a way to distribute, but there are many digital solutions that can take care of that. Even more so, the benefit of an information product is that you now have an asset that you can use in the future to continue generating passive income for you at a very profitable level.
3. Continuity – Recurring Monthly Income
BOOM! In my opinion, this is the holy grail for anyone pursuing online marketing. It is recurring monthly income. Think of passive income but on steroids.
This is the Netflix model….
$9.99 a month X 89 Million customers = $$$$$$$ (EVERY-SINGLE-MONTH….)
Just think about everyone you are paying a month:
- Cell phone,
The continuity model or membership model is the biggest leverage you can have in terms of time vs money.
One simple form of continuity that you can create is to start up a Facebook group, for example, that is only accessible to paying customers who sign up for a monthly service you provide. Each week, you can go into the Facebook group and do a live training, a Q&A, or provide some other form of information.
You can even do a monthly newsletter that paying members actually receive in their mailbox (Yes, people will pay for that).
The key to continuity is that you have to figure out what you are going to offer and to whom.
Tons of content = low monthly price point
Specific content = high monthly price point.
The reason for this is specificity. The more specialized your content is on a certain subject, the more “authority” it tends to have as opposed to a collection of trainings, therefore, the more you can charge.
Also, the mindset of who your customer is might need to change slightly.
The same people who buy your products/services, may not be the people that will buy your continuity program.
For example real estate agents. It will be a hard sell to get anyone who is not a real estate agent to buy into a real estate membership program. Most people just want to buy and sell a house and that’s it.
But you could have a continuity platform for investors where every month they receive a customized report on hot properties in a certain area. Or if you’re a successful real estate agent, you can create a membership business aimed at helping other real estate agents that are just starting out, reach the same level of success.
Plus, the numbers add up quick. Having 1000 paying members at $30 a month means you get $30,000.00 every month in your bank account. If you were to only do a 1-hour weekly training, you are earning $7,500 an hour.
Now as great as the numbers look, you do have to fight for retention. Meaning, after a certain period, members are going to drop off. Why? For a number of reasons but usually, it is due to having to renew a membership, they no longer see value in the membership, or can’t afford it any longer, etc.
For the continuity model to work, you have to keep your current paying members really happy. Always be in the mindset of providing value and take care of your members. Most memberships take on various “tribal” qualities such as using their own terminology, creating a sense of community, very specific on who they are aimed for, etc. If done right, can be one of the most profitable and freedom giving businesses you can build.
4. Selling A Service – Gaining More Leads For More Sales
Probably the option that I see most businesses do when they first engage with online marketing is to sell their service.
This can be very profitable because, well, more often than not, you can find more customers online.
Consultants, coaches, lawyers, financial advisors, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, etc…all decide to launch a website in the hopes that is will bring in more leads, which in turn will generate more sales.
However, for this model to work, you have to be willing to advertise and provide a certain amount of help for free.
In addition, this business model starts online but finishes offline.
The process is simple:
You have an ad, that ad drives traffic to an offer for free help. As you help, you also qualify the prospect. After you have helped them for free you make another offer. If they take you up on that offer, they now are a part of your client/customer base.
Let’s go through an easy example for a chiropractor.
A chiropractor advertises free adjustments. Someone decides to take the chiropractor up on their offer and goes in for the adjustment. The chiropractor gives that person the free adjustment and then recommends doing another adjustment next month. That person feels so much better after the adjustment they decide to take up the offer made by the chiropractor.
This same process can be repeated for just about any business that is service based.
In addition, combining services with online advertising allows you to set up your online sales process in a way that will qualify prospects automatically before they even get to you, weeding out all the freeloaders.
Any example would be having a lead fill out a brief questionnaire or survey before they can claim the free offer.
This really allows you to only work with those individuals that you would like to work with, and also, those that will be more profitable.
Ideally, rather than selling a one and done service, you want to look for clients that will bring you on for a monthly retainer or will use your service repeatedly.
Aside from doing traditional marketing such as networking, attending chamber of commerce events, BNI, etc- service based businesses can find a lot of leverage by going online to build an even more profitable business.
5. Online Summits – The Stay At Home Conference
Ever been to a conference?
Normally, there are in a different state which means that you have to spend money on a flight and hotel. Plus purchase the actual ticket for the conference, in addition to meals, transportation, etc.
Then once you are at the conference, you have to wake up early, actually get dressed, go out and network. Then sometimes depending on how big the conference is, you won’t be able to see or hear the speaker, have to sit next to someone with a terrible cough, or just end up having a bad experience overall.
Well, enter the online summit.
Online summits started as a way to get more people to participate in actual conferences, however, people soon found out that they could actually be very profitable as their own venture.
Especially since people can attend right at home in their own pajamas and they significantly reduces the amount of overhead needed to put one on.
Online summits work like this:
You choose a certain topic (ideally something that you are comfortable in) and reach out to experts in that topic (about 15).
You then ask them to do an interview with them as part of the summit. Normally, these interviews on are a topic in which that expert feels very comfortable speaking about.
Once you have the 15 interviews, you split those interviews up over a couple of days. 15 Interviews will be enough content for about a 3-day summit.
On your website, each day of the summit has its own unique URL with its own specific content such as
- www.example.com/summitday1 – 5 interviews
- www.example.com/summitday2 – 5 interviews
- www.example.com/summitday3 – 5 interviews
This prevents people from accessing all of the content in one go and allows you to control what content is accessible and by whom.
The best part is that the entire summit is FREE – yes free. All someone has to do is sign up for an “E-Ticket” which generally means they are giving you their email address in exchange to access the summit.
Then once the summit starts, you send an email to anyone who signed up for the summit to access day 1 material. They’ll have 24 hours to view the content. Once day 1 is over, you take down the page and send the link for day 2. The process repeats for day 3.
Well, how do you make money?
By selling all-access tickets.
You can have a presale, post-sale, and sale during the actual summit at various price points. Usually, presales are about $60-$90, during the actual summit prices can be between $97-$150, and post-sale tickets can be between $150 and up.
When people do not buy the pass, they only have access to certain videos for a certain amount of time (usually 24 hours). Once they miss the time period, they will not be able to see the videos again.
This makes the all access pass valuable. In addition, by creating bonus items, you make the all access pass much more appealing. To make the all access pass work, you have to always be thinking about how can you add more value.
Once someone buys the all access pass, the can view all the content right away and have lifetime access, not to mention all the bonuses.
In addition, you can sign up your speakers to become affiliates so that they also promote the summit for you maximizing your reach and earning potential.
While there is a lot of work to do on the backend, it is not unheard of to make 6 figures off of a summit in one particular niche. Not bad for a three-day online event.
You can also host several summits throughout the year to increase your profitability. It’s all up to you.
Profitable Online Business – 50,000 ft. View
Alright, let’s puts things into perspective.
If you are just starting out, select one method and run with it. There is going to be a lot of trial and error, however, you’ll find a way to make it work. Just remember “Always Be Testing.”
Also, just because you start with one, does not mean that you have to only use one….forever.
If you currently have an online business, I would highly recommend selecting one of the top 5 suggestions and seeing how it works with your model and offerings to increase your profitability.
Eventually, you can incorporate all of these 5 different methods to create different revenue streams for your business.
Let me explain.
Sandy is a business owner in the health space. She is a nutritionist in Florida and works with many different people to get them on the right tack. As any other business owner, she wants to scale and grow her business.
At the beginning, she is finding out that she wants to go online to bring in more business as in clients. Eventually, she figures that her schedule is full and her business is not providing her the freedom that she hoped for.
She has raving testimonials, and she really feels likes she knows her stuff. So Sandy decides to create an information product on the ABC’s of Nutrition that she can sell online.
After a while, the sales from her nutrition product begin to give her more authority and authenticity in the marketplace. She decides that she really likes how her product is selling and decides to launch an affiliate program.
A few of her clients were in the personal fitness space and see that a nutrition course will be a great supplement to their offerings. They sign up for Sandy’s affiliate program and begin to push the product.
Sandy’s reputation grows even more as does her bank account and now she’s in a place where she wants to get together with other experts to put on a Nutrition and Wellness Summit – A 3-day online event showcasing the top names in the business all talking about nutrition, exercises, wellness, etc.
After the summit, she receives lots of emails from people asking if she has an ongoing program. Other nutritionists want to reach the same level of success.
Sandy decides she is going to launch and online nutrition membership where she is going to train and talk about new developments in the field of nutrition.
Just like that, Sandy took her small consulting business and transformed it by leveraging the power of the internet to add 5 additional revenue streams to make her business profitable – online.
Remember, pick one and roll with it. As you master one, you can dabble in another area and then perfect it. Businesses are doing it all the time.
Now, In order to really make it work, you have to consider…
The 4 Core Steps You Need To Build A Profitable Online Business
You might be saying “Oscar, this all sounds great but where do I go from here?”
If you are in that position right now then I would like to share the 4 steps I believe any and every business needs to have in order to find success and build a profitable online business.
The first is market research.
You need to research your market and understand their pain points. Understand what is it that they want and need.
- What keeps them up at night?
- What challenges are they facing?
- What outcomes are they looking for?
Also research competitors in your market.
- What are they selling?
- What is the messaging they are portraying?
- What are their testimonials saying?
Use forums – search on Reddit, Quora, and Amazon to find what people are talking about. This will give you great insight into what types of offers and products your market needs and how to approach creating your own solutions.
Understanding your market is key. If you get this wrong, it can create a domino effect down your entire business.
Creating and Implementing an Automated Marketing System – Funnel
Once you have done your research, it is time to build a funnel.
“What is a funnel?” A funnel is an automated system that converts cold traffic into leads and leads into a customer. Everything and everyone has a funnel whether they realize it or not. You need to create your own funnel.
To create a funnel, you must have something that your market wants which is why the research is so important. A basic funnel looks like this:
Ad > Landing Page > Opt-In
Generally, you are offering something and asking for something in return. On the landing page, you are offering something of value for free in exchange for an email. On a sales page, you are offering something of value in exchange for money.
Email – Core of Online Marketing
Regardless of what you might read or think. Email is going to be your most profitable revenue stream which is why is should be the main focus in your online marketing efforts. All of your efforts should be designed to growing your email list and nurturing your email list. Your email is an asset filled with individuals that are familiar with you, your messaging, and your offering.
Just because someone does not buy from you immediately, does not mean they will never buy from you. People will buy on their own time and it works more in your favor if you have a way to follow up. Email allows you to follow up in a very unintrusive way.
All of the five methods listed above are exponentially scaled by using email.
Paid Traffic – Drive Your Solution To The Masses
The driving force for online profitability is paid traffic. You can try to grow your business organically but if you have something that you know is going to help others, put some money behind it and advertise that solution. The market will tell you if it is something they want and need or not. This will allow you to adjust your approach and keep things moving along.
Paid traffic also allows you to test and reinforce your business methods. If you are sending paid traffic to a landing page that is not converting, you know you need to work on that landing page. If people are opting in but are not buying from you, then you know your sales message if off.
Paid traffic accelerates this testing and allows you to really see your business and how it interacts with the market. This is also the driving force to growing your email list and generating more sales.
With these core four pieces in place, it will be hard not to find success with your online marketing efforts. Remember, succeeding online is not easy but it is simple. Just find what your market needs and develop and offer, implement a system that will allow people to get that solution, continue to nurture and educate them through email, and use paid traffic to promote and drive people to your solution.
Then look at all the numbers and make look to see if it all makes sense and adjust accordingly.
If you want to know more about these four methods and how they all interact together to build profitable online businesses, then I highly encourage you to sign up for me “4 Steps to Generate More Leads, Sales, and Freedom” PDF guide that outlines how it all works together. You can find the link for that down below.
Thanks, and remember, keep on keeping on!
Let me know if the comments below which method you’ll be using to make your online business profitable.