Money may not be the motivator for everything we do.
Maybe we’re happiest creating the latest innovation, brokering a deal, supporting a worthy cause, or leading a workforce. But money is the lifeblood of any business, so our lofty aspirations don’t matter unless we turn a profit.
We hear a lot about “monetizing” our assets. These are not our main profit streams, rather secondary sources of income we’ve built over time. The problem is we need to find a way to make a profit without hurting our main profit streams. We don’t want to do anything to jeopardize our customer’s trust or loyalty and that means treading lightly with sales agendas.
Yet, we have these assets just sitting there collecting dust. The question isn’t how we can make a profit off them. Rather, it’s how we can make a profit off them that doesn’t annoy or turn off any of our loyal customers.
Here are a few ideas.
Avoiding Overselling On Our Blogs
No one likes being sold to unless we watch an infomercial on purpose. It’s different if we’re an eCommerce site like Amazon and we expect lots of upsells and add ons. However, blogs are different. Folks read blogs because they share something valuable, even if it’s simple entertainment.
The challenge of not overselling or being too obvious is to create a strategy that doesn’t start with a flashy sales page. Instead, it’s a subtle or organic process that leads a visitor down a sales funnel. In How to Monetize a Website in 4 Simple Steps, Spencer Mecham explains his strategy:
“The bottom of my website has a link for affiliates to sign up and promote my digital courses. I give affiliates 50% of all the profits I make from their referrals. They are able to monetize their audience by referring people to a high-quality course and I am able to get eyeballs on my course.”
Courtney created an online course that fits her niche and offered an affiliate program. Affiliate marketers know where to find her program and it’s not a high profile spot. By creating a conscious strategy, we can easily lead readers to our products without being overwhelming them with our sales pitch. We can still make money and keep our readers from being turned off.
Never Overwhelm Our Email Lists
Every time we hand over our email address, we’re giving someone the ability to sell to us. We know this and accept this nuisance. Sure, sometimes we love the content they share and it adds something valuable to our day and sometimes it’s just another unwanted sales pitch. It’s why Google splits our Gmail into three sections: primary, social and promotions.
Yet, the statistics of email marketing are astounding. According to the Data & Marketing Association, the ROI for email marketing went from $38 for every dollar spent in 2016 to $41 in 2017. In fact, 86% of marketers believe email marketing is important or very important in their marketing strategies.
With that in mind, it’s important to find the right balance with our unique email lists. That can only be done properly by testing. And an astounding one in six email marketers do not do any testing at all! We can assume all we want about our email list and send out email after email trying to make a sale. But we won’t know what works for our list until we do some testing. Be smarter with this asset because it may become a serious profit stream if we leverage it the right way.
Don’t Annoy Our Social Media Following
We go to social media sites for a few reasons. First, we’re just addicted to screens and want to zone out on for a while. Second, we want to connect and engage with other people (including fighting/debating issues). And finally, we have something we want to say or share.
None of these reasons include being “sold” to while we’re doing this. We’ll tolerate ads on Youtube because it means we can listen to our favorite music for free. But it’s very tricky to sell while on social media sites without becoming a turnoff. For example, I currently have 5 friends doing a version of this:
“I’m super excited about [insert random fitness/health product]. I’m telling you, this program is THE winning combination. It gives you the road map to success and focuses on progress over perfection. Let’s do this, friends!“
Sure, this is an easy way to get some of our “friends” interested in a multi-level marketing product. But it’s also an obvious way to annoy a huge majority of our friends, family, and colleagues. In 4 Types of Social Media Content That Provide the Most Value in 2019, Alla Bogdan shares the types of content that engages, rather than irks our followers:
- Interactive content (quizzes, polls, contests, etc.)
- “Get to know your brand” posts (our start-up stories, behind the scenes pics, etc.)
- Social media content with an emotional appeal (worthy causes, profiles on individuals, etc.)
- Infographics (a great way to reuse old content)
This doesn’t mean we can’t promote our products on our social media pages. It just means selling can’t be the only thing we do. We have to share something valuable and then mix in our promotions sparingly.
Creating Profit Streams for All Our Assets
As a consumer, we know it’s very easy to be turned off by an overzealous sales team. In the past month, I’ve unsubscribed from a nonprofit that emailed me every few days asking for a donation. I’ve tuned out social media posts that have nothing valuable to contribute. And I’ve stopped reading a few sites that have chosen to put financial barriers to their content.
As customers, we know our time and money are valuable.
Yet, on the business side of the coin, I see the incredible value of our secondary assets. They are just sitting there waiting for us to monetize them. The only trick is what strategy we use when we realize their potential. I urge constraint over obvious sales pitches. I suggest continued value over a quick sale. And I suggest testing and analyzing every step of the way.
And as business owners, we know we can increase profits by dusting off our assets and creating a plan that puts customers first. Mostly because we’re customers too and know how annoying business can be.