How To Make Money Online Part 3: Traffic, Price, Conversion Rates, Promotion, Affiliate Marketing
In part 1 of this series on how to make money online we covered how to make money selling a service, in part 2 we covered how to sell a product, and now in part 3 I’m going to give you the six keys to increasing your income:
HOW TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE: INCREASING YOUR $
1) Change The Price
When it comes to price, if you’re not testing, you’re slacking on your macking, and not testing will cost you money. In some cases dropping the price might be your move, but in many cases, charging more is the right gameplan.
I’ve charged $5 all the way up to $0 for ebooks. The shocking part was that my conversion rate barely dropped. I get almost as many sales at $50 as I do at $5, except at quadruple the profit.
Now, $40 is expensive for an ebook, but I don’t worry about that. As long as I’m being ethical and managing expectations, my goal is to make as much money as I can and I let the marketplace dictate the best price. If the marketplace couldn’t bear a $40 pricetag, then I’d charge less.
When you have the best product on the market, you can charge more, just like Mercedes charges more than Kia. If you don’t have the best product, you should go back to the drawing board and make the best product.
Look at your product as solving a problem instead of what the competition charges. I believe I have the best product available, and that for the cost of a few rounds of beer, a guy can develop the skills become a beast in bed for the rest of his life, to me that’s a good deal.
2) Increasing Conversion Rates
Again, if you’re not testing the f*ck out of your conversion rates, you’re hustling backwards. With just a few small tweaks to your sales page you can increase profits from anywhere from 20% to 100%.
When I launched my first ebook, I didn’t want anything to do with the long scrolling sales pages I have now. My gut reaction to long scrolling sales pages is – generic, internet marketer. And after coming out of a sales career where I spent my time selling products I didn’t want to, and using sales techniques I didn’t want to, I wanted my site to be pure.
So I launched my sales page, with factual, bullet points outlining the contents in the book. I figured there’d be enough demand, and that my practical, logical outline of the facts would set me apart from the competition – I was wrong.
My conversion rates we’re below industry standards. So I put my sales training to paper and drew up a long scrolling sales page utilizing authority, influence, features, benefits, objections and an emotional call to action.
In return, my conversion rates went up. And money talks so I kept the long scrolling sales page. Being a for profit businessman, my primary goal is making money. I figured the long sales pages wouldn’t damage my brand, because my loyal readers understand I need to make money. And since I don’t promote my books outside of embedded links, and the ads you see plastered all over my site, anyone clicking on my sales pages is expecting to get sold.
The other key to conversion rates is your checkout experience. I’ve used three checkout providers, e-junkie, Samcart and Gumroad. Gumroad is hands down the best. They have a well designed purchase page, accept both paypal and stripe, and have a friction free payment form with a minimum number of required entries.
By switching to gumroad I both reduced my seller fees, increased my profit and made my user experience better. This is a big part of getting better conversions.
3) Increasing Traffic
When it comes to making money online, traffic is king. The more traffic you have, the more money you make.
There are two ways to get traffic: advertising and organic.
To advertise, in most cases, you need a product in the $200 range, ideally higher, because it takes a lot of money to convert a customer. I learned this the hard way in my tech startup. $60 was the highest price point the market could bear, yet advertising cost us $60 to get a new customer, which means we we’re just breaking even on advertising. If we’d had a recurring revenue model, that would have been ok, but our business wasn’t structured that way and it imploded – lesson learned.
Compare that to my man’s car brokerage business and it’s a different story. He gets $500 to $1000 per new client, plus a referral if they we’re satisfied with his service. Therefore he can afford to spend $500 a month on adwords and net a few grand in new business every month – an outstanding ROI.
I don’t advertise my book on RLD because the ROI isn’t there. If in the future I decide to launch a $200 course I might consider advertising, but it’s not an option right now. Therefore organic is my only option.
The most effective way for me to get organic traffic for me is from writing about sex and dating. And then tweaking the title of that article with google adwords and the yoast SEO plugin. My search engine optimized articles on sex and dating account for about 80% of my Google traffic. And Google is all that matters. I could lose all my bing, yahoo and social media traffic and not have it put a dent in my business. But without Google, I’d be up sh*t’s creek without a paddle.
With that said, you can’t rely solely on tweaked titles to get traffic, you have to write good content to go with it. And you also have to protect your brand. I write maybe 1 out of 10 articles with Google in mind. You want balanced, unique content, and unique content doesn’t have 40,000 searches a month. And often times, you can’t write solid content around an adwords search term.
With all that said, it’s important to understand that traffic doesn’t guarantee increased sales, it’s not as much of a sure thing compared to a new product or service. It’s also an area you have less control over. You can write a great, optimized article but if google chooses not to blow it up then it doesn’t work.
Also, you don’t want every other article to look like a clickbait title, because there goes my brand. Instead I try and write every tenth article for google on stuff I was already going to write about. Stuff I’ve got lined up is articles like how to get a girlfriend or how to lose your virginity. Those are articles with decent search volume and ones I’d guess google would pick up, but also articles I’d be writing any way so the brand is still protected.
One last thing on traffic is that quality matters as much as quantity. An engaged, invested readership is key to selling products and services online. If you want to write clickbait garbage you can get a lot of traffic, but they won’t buy anything, instead you have to shove garbage ads down their throat. This is the lowest common denominator model you see on gossip site and clickbait slaveships like jezebel, buzzfeed etc.
I avoid clickbait because I assume every article is a lifetime readers introduction to my site, and if its clickbait garbage, he’ll never come back. I want him coming here, and seeing valuable, actionable, unique content so that he buys into me as an authority on solving his problems and eventually buys all my products.
I look at every article as a sales tool. Selling myself on both my expertise and integrity. In the hopes that he’ll become a loyal and engaged reader. And eventually a customer. And I have to assume that every article I write will be some guys introduction to my site. That’s why I try to put out quality over quantity.
If it means I have to lose a bit of traffic that week it’s all good. Because that way I don’t risk putting a potential lifetime reader and customer off because the first thing and last thing he ever read of mine was some garbage I shat out that week to get traffic.
4) PROMOTE YOUR PRODUCTS
The fourth option to put some more cash in your pocket is promoting your products more. There are three ways to promote your products/services:
The first option is embedded links in your posts. I try and add an embedded link to one of my books in every post. Again, since embedded links are permission based, it’s in your right to do it as a for-profit businessman. Just don’t over do it.
The second option is advertising your products more throughout your site. I have a ton of ads for my books on the sidebar and below my posts. Again it’s permission based so I don’t feel it damages the brand. However, promoting affiliate products on your sidebar is not a good look in my opinion, it waters down your brand promoting someone else’s products on your valuable real estate.
The third option is to use your newsletter to sell more products. But you have to be very f*cking careful with this one. Launch and maybe once a quarter or on holiday sales is the max you should be interrupting people’s day with a pitch for your product. Pitching product hard through newsletters is the fastest way to kill your list.
Instead you only want to interrupt people’s with new content, and even then you have to be careful, anything more than once a week annoys your list. You want that list for life so only reach out in moderation.
At the end of the day I put brand value before profit, because I know that by sacrificing short term profit I get more long term money and I’m in this for the long haul.
5) Promote More Affiliate Links
Affiliate marketing is a decent way to make money, but not great, unless you’re a scumbag internet marketer. Because there are very few legit products that pay well, there is not a single $1000+ course I recommend.
I’d rather slit my wrists with a straight razor then tell you guys to go out and buy a $3000 internet marketing course. Not only would I have to take responsibility for it not working but I’d have to take responsibility for the scumbag’s horrendous snake oil salespage.
I don’t recommend anything I don’t use, and being a minimalist I don’t use much, which means I don’t make much off affiliate commissions, maybe $150 a month from my links and another $50 from all my iherb and amazon links combined. And that’s after having a top 1% site (100,000+ visitors per month) for the last few years.
Legit affiliate money is a decent source of income, but not great so don’t expect to much, unless you can get your site to top 0.01% status.
6) Release More Products
Releasing new products is tied with getting traffic as the best method for increasing your income. For me, every new book and course puts guaranteed passive income in my pocket. The margins are out of control, the asset lasts forever and the income is passive (less active, there is no such thing as 100% passive income, traffic must be generated), it’s a beautiful thing.
If you’ve chosen the product route as opposed to the service route you should always be working on your next project, it’s the key to getting paid. Because the second you release a product it’s obsolete. The clock is ticking on how long it will keep paying you, it might be 1 year, 3 years or 30 years, but nothing last forever so you always have to stay on your grind and keep getting products out there.