Here are three attractive internet marketing business models that you may wish to consider if you are entering internet marketing for the first time or if you wish to try a new business model.
Business Model #1 - Renting Web Pages
Rather than simply creating a website for an offline business, this business model involves creating a website and ranking it in the search engines for 'Niche + City' and then creating web pages on the same site for each suburb (Niche + Suburb) and renting out those pages to different businesses in those suburbs (or one business that wants to pull business in from a wide area - personally I would prefer a spread of clients):
TRADE KW + BIG TOWN NAME
TRADE KW + SMALLER MORE SPECIFIC AREA
TRADE KW + SMALLER MORE SPECIFIC AREA
TRADE KW + SMALLER MORE SPECIFIC AREA
TRADE KW + SMALLER MORE SPECIFIC AREA
This is a much easier sell because you can show rankings and traffic before your customer buys. Also, you can perhaps start gathering leads before you rent the site out.
The amount you can charge will depend on upon a number of criteria:
- lifetime value of a customer to your prospective customer
- cost per click on Google Adwords for the keywords
- length of contract the customer is willing to enter into
- amount and quality of traffic etc
- your ability to market and sell the opportunity
- businesses ranking on pages 2 or 3 of Google for your keywords
- businesses advertising on Google Adwords who have no page 1 organic ranking
- businesses advertising offline in places like newspapers or yellow pages with no organic rankings.
- It is comparatively easy to rank for local keywords (due to less competition and comparative lack of SEO skill of the competitors.)
- You retain ownership of the website and can earn a passive income from the site for many years if you maintain your rankings giving you a much higher ROI than simply building sites and selling them
- It can give you a high ROI if you can simply buy a domain for $10 and rent out say 5 pages at $100 or $200 per month each. Of course, you need to factor in your time but if you then clone your original site and set it up in alternative locations you begin to leverage the initial investment in setting up the first site.
Ideally, you want to create a prepayment contract with price or value incentives to prepay for longer periods.
You only want to offer a limited number of prepayment periods so as not to confuse your customer:
- Option 1 prepay for 12 months
- Option 2 prepay 6 months
- Option 3 month to month
Who could you market your web pages to?
It makes some sense to specialise in a niche so that when you have one city working well you can copy your website over to another city domain. You will also have the benefit of a proven business model and testimonials to enable you to sell the new location.
It is important to ensure that you monitor your stats for traffic, leads and phone calls (ideally using a call tracking software like Analytic Call Tracking). These stats are part of your presentation to potential 'tenants' of your web pages. i.e.
"The site is getting x hits every week, if you can convert one of those visitors to a client then what would that mean for your business?"
The reason that this a potentially a good business model is that:
If you need some decent free online accounting software to run your business, then you might want to look at this.
If you intend to pursue this business model, you may want to avoid seasonal niches and as I said at the outset, understanding the value of a customer to your 'tenants' is key to your pricing - if one customer is worth $10,000 to your client, and you can get several leads per month for them, then should you be selling at $100 per month?
The main skill required with this business model is SEO and the ability to put together an effective lead generation site. You also need 'the balls' to contact potential tenants for your ranking web pages, (but it is easier than going to them with an unproven proposal.)
Business Model #1a - Selling Leads
A variation on renting web pages is to sell leads that are generated from the web pages that you own.
80% of leads generated for local businesses are telephone leads i.e. the website visitor will ring the number on the top of the web page.
If you are selling leads then you really need a good way of tracking the calls generated. It is now quite possible to have call tracking in place very cheaply - in fact I have a piece of software that will do just that so I can accurately measure the number of telephone enquiries generated.
The key with lead generation is generating leads for businesses that either have a high transaction value or a lot of repeat business so that your leads are worth a lot of money to them.
In both Business Model #1 and #1a above the key is that you retain ownership of the web asset - if your customer is no longer willing to pay for the service you can offer it to another business. This is a much better business model than creating an asset for someone else who can subsequently sack you once you have creating the money-making system for them.
How much can you charge for leads - you can get a measure of this by looking at how other lead generation businesses price their leads for that niche or alternatively check out what they would have to pay per click on Google Adwords to get a feel for prices (and which niches are worth entering!)
Business Model #2 - Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a highly attractive business model but you really need some skill to work it effectively.
Most internet marketers do not understand that building a buyers list is the primary objective of affiliate marketing - the commissions are a by-product of this activity.
It is therefore very sub-optimal if you simply link from a piece of content straight to the affiliate offer without first capturing the contact details, or have a mechanism in place to get those contact details by, for example, offering a bonus in exchange.
The power of affiliate marketing is that potentially every product in your niche is a potential front-end lead generator for you - you can simply pick the best products in your niche to promote. You do not have this power if you simply promote your own products (unless you have been operating for a long time in the niche and have the skill to create awesome products.)
To be effective at affiliate marketing only 20% of your time should be spent building and 80% of your time should be spent in sales and marketing activities. Until you can do this you are cheating yourself out of income because the money is in selling and marketing not building websites!
Product selection is critical -you are looking for products with these criteria:
- there is good demand for the product - check Google Keyword Planner
- there is only one point of purchase i.e. the prospect cannot easily shop around for an alternative supplier
- the affilliate programme has high, recurring or lifetime commissions to make your effort worthwhile
- the product is evergreen rather than a passing fad or fashion
- there are no 'leaks' in the sales letter that enable the visitor to do anything else otherthan buy through your affiliate link or leave.
- it is a product that is being sold effectively offline but not online - check your junk mail for these opportunities!
One excellent tip is to create a mind map of your niche with the kinds of products and problems you will be solving in your niche. This will help to guide you as you strategically grow your business so that you can offer additional value to your clients by cross-selling and upselling products and services.
With your front-end product you should aim to break-even or better if you can i.e. cover the cost of your traffic with the initial front-end sale. If you can do better that is a bonus. The real value lies in the lead and your ability to create a relationship with that lead and to sell them more products and services on the back-end.
For this reason, mastery of email marketing is also important. If you can set up an effective sales funnel and back-end marketing system then you can reduce the risks involved in the affiliate marketing model considerably.
Adding Value In Affiliate Marketing:
There are a number of ways to add value in affiliate marketing that you may not have considered before:
- The Diagnostic i.e. help your visitor to diagnose their problem and offer potential options for a solution based on their situation or busget
- The Step-by-Step Blueprint i.e. you take the visitors problem and you give them a step-by-step plan for resolving it (-this remind me of my consulting when typically I brak a business problem down into phases, tasks and worksteps!)
- Learning Points i.e. share 2-5 things that you learned from the product - you may only share 1 thing in detail and ask your visitor to buy to discover the others because you have activated their curiosity and desire.
- Step into the merchants role i.e. rather than send your visitor to the merchants sales page, you take on the sales role and then link straight to the payment cart. This is a great strategy if you think that the merchant has a poor converting sales page but the product is a good one.
- Do A Demonstration - a demonstration is one of the most powerful methods for selling anything. It is particularly useful if you are selling software.
- Be the Authority - set up an authority site and be the authority by marketing with the highest quality information in the niche.
- Curation - similar the point above but this is where you research and share a collection of the best information from other peoples sites so that your site is the point of reference for all that is best for your keyword or niche. Be sure to attribute your information fairly by putting an attribution with your curated content.
To really 'connect' in affiliate marketing, you will either need to know your niche well or you will need to carry out research in the forums to uncover the pain, frustrations and problems that your target audience is experiencing. Only then will you be in a position to research and find solutions that they will exchange money for.
To be effective as an affiliate marketer, you really need to master at least one source of traffic.
Whilst there are marketers that are killing it with SEO, it can take time to achieve organic rankings and you are also always at the mercy of Google de-listing your content - your main defence is ensuring that you have the highest quality of information.
For these and other reasons, mastering paid traffic is probably where you need to start because this will enable you to at least test your sales offer to see if it converts before you go through all the time and effort of trying to rank your web pages organically.
The advantage with paid traffic is that it is quickly scalable once you find something that works. However, it is really critical that you measure and monitor your numbers as you can also quickly lose your shirt if the numbers run in the wrong direction! It is also critical that you carefully target your traffic.
Once you have mastered sales and marketing as an affiliate, the world is your oyster because you have skills that every business on the planet will pay good money for.
Business Model #3 - Info Marketing
This is the business model that I have recently been following but again it does require a fair amount of skill to pull off effectively, as many have found to their cost.
Info marketing is most effective where you have actually got some proven results to share and you are simply sharing how you got those results with other people.
Whilst you can assume the 'reporter' role, where you are leveraging other peoples information and results, it is certainly less powerful than being the authority who actually 'cracked the code'.
In circumstances where you do not have results or expertise, a simple business model of interviewing experts and creating content
to attract prospects and grow an email list is a sound strategy.
To be effective with the info marketing model you have to bring together a number of skills and strategies:
- Sales Copy
- Create The Product
- Create Graphics
- Affiliates / Traffic
You need to come up with a idea for your product that will sell. This may involve some research either on the internet (forums, Amazon books, affiliate platforms, surveying your list etc)
At this stage you also need to plan out your what your product will include and your sales funnel.
Also, plan your launch strategy in advance for maximum returns.
Write the sales letter(s) to layout what you are going to offer - you may want to do this after you create the product but some prefer to do this before.
Your sales copy and your sales funnel will be the difference between success and failure so they have o be good - this is specialist skill and you may wish to outsource this if you aren't a copywriter.
Create the content or software for your product using text, audio and/or video and place this on a download page or secure membership site (- I prefer the latter but it requires a little more effort and expertise.)
The branding and packaging of your product will reflect on its perceived value. Creating high quality graphics is a specialist skill so again you may wish to outsource this
You may wish to ensure that you have the start of your back-end marketing system in place i.e. that you have a system for moving people through your sales funnel and continuing to market and cross-sell after the initial product purchase.
If you are going to sell via affiliates, then you will need to set up an affiliate page, add your product to an affiliate programme and integrate the affiliate programme into your delivery system.
You will also need to have a strategy in place for recruiting affiliates.
You will also need to monitor and measure your stats to ensure that you optimise your sales funnel conversions.
To optimise your efforts, you may also want to include alternative traffic strategies that don't involve paying out hefty commissions!
The great advantage of creating your own info products is that this is a relatively low-cost business model, you have no production or storage costs, once created you can sell your product in unlimited quantities with no cost consequences, you can leverage buyers through back-end marketing to increase returns and you have the satisfaction of creating something of value that has your name and brand on it.
Here are 3 more attractive business models:
- Finding successful local small business owners in unusual niche
markets and creating a “how to” video training series with
them/for them to sell.
- Assisting small businesses by creating a simple mobile-friendly website for their business for a small fee. This often
leads to a lot more consulting work for the expert for this single
- Writing books that can be put together quickly to sell on
Amazon (using services like createspace.com ). Ghost writer sites
like textbroker.com can be used if you don't write well. The best training I know on this topic is by Christine Clayfield.