Growing Your Business Online

Digital Marketing Strategies

Although there are many ways that websites can help promote a bricks and mortar business, more and more companies are turning to online business opportunities. Here are some strategies to monetize traffic on your site:

A. Advertising
There are generally two variation of the advertising model: Pay Per Click and Pay Per View. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising generates revenue whenever someone clicks on an ad on your website, while Pay Per View pays based on the number of views (or impressions). Both rely heavily on traffic volume and targeted content, and although this may seem like an easy way to make money, don’t expect to retire anytime soon unless you have a huge site with lots of highly targeted articles. Google AdSense is one of the most widely used Pay Per Click engines.

B. Sponsorship / Private Ad Sales
Similar to the Pay Per View model, this monetization strategy usually involves you going direct to the advertiser instead of dealing with an ad network. This form of advertising model usually involves you doing the leg work to approach potential advertisers. Before you do, make sure your website content is highly targeted and generating a lot of traffic.

C. Physical Products
The age old model of selling actual physical products. Many large online retailers use this model successfully – for example, Amazon or Dell. Selling physical products involves listing one or multiple products for sale on your website, facilitating a secure transaction and shipping the product. Keep in mind there are warehousing and distribution elements to this model unless you use drop shipping, and shipping to overseas destinations can be cost prohibitive.

D. Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is similar to the physical product model, but with someone else looking after the warehousing and distribution. You establish a relationship with one or more businesses who look after the physical goods you’re selling – you only have to worry about sales. When a customer purchases a product on your website, you look after the transaction then forward the order through to your drop shipper who packages and distributes the goods.

E. Digital Products
Anything you can download – ebooks, software, music, videos. Digital products are relatively easy, as they have a much lower cost of sale than physical products. With a digital product there’s no physical warehousing, shipping or cost to reproduce the product. You can create your own products to sell, pay someone to develop a product for you, or promote other people’s products via affiliate networks (see the affiliate products section below).

F. Affiliate Products
Many website owners make money from promoting other people’s products and services. To start promoting, you apply to become affiliated with a merchant, either via one of the many affiliate networks or directly. When you refer a customer to the merchant, you receive a commission on sales. There are affiliate networks for both physical and digital products as well as for lead generation, otherwise know as Cost Per Action (CPA) offers. For physical products Amazon has its own network, while Clickbank is one of the larger digital product networks.

G. Membership / Subscription
Membership sites make money by charging people a regular fee to have access to a secure “Members Only” area. This area might contain training material that’s updated or added to regularly, or it might be a web based application. If you want customers to stick around and keep paying for the privilege then you need to make sure you provide unique and quality content.

H. Marketplace
You’re in one! Dating sites, freelance marketplaces such as 99designs and auction sites like eBay. Usually marketplaces make money by charging sellers a fee to list items for sale, or from advertising if the site generates enough traffic. One of the biggest challenges with marketplace sites is attracting enough buyers and sellers to interact regularly.

I. Services
The services model encompasses a huge variety of offerings and usually involves customers paying for someone’s time. Selling a service may involve selling day to day tasks such as data entry or professional services such as accounting. Services can prove hard to scale, as usually you need to keep adding work-hours as your clientele grows