You need to do one thing before staring an authority business:
Identify your long-term monetization strategy.
Unfortunately most people fail to do this. They’ll spend weeks on a site and then wonder how it will make money.
In this edition of the Authority Internet Business (AIB) case study, I’ll cover how to monetize a website.
Specifically I’ll detail a simple trick you can use to find the best way to make money in any market.
But first, I’d like to talk about an important rule for building an authority site.
If you’re like me, then you love those case studies that show how to build a niche site from scratch.
While these case studies are very helpful, they rarely emphasize long-term income strategies.
Typically they only make money through Google Adsense or Amazon Associate links, which is something you want to avoid.
In my opinion:
“ The niche site model trades dollars for nickels (Tweet this!)
Each web visitor provides an opportunity for a long-term relationship. This is someone who could join an email list, review your Kindle books, download your apps and basically support everything you do online.
Encouraging that person to “click away” from your site is like trading dollars for nickels.
Sure you’ll make money, but you’ll also lose that person forever.
This single word will make or break your authority business.
Think of it whenever you’re working. Take a minute and ask yourself: “Am I trying to make money or am I building an asset?”
Your goal with an authority business is to take action … today … that will have a positive outcome ten years from now.
That’s why I recommend you get rid of the “Adsense mindset” and focus on building an audience of people who will:
- Join your email list
- Share your content
- Support your multimedia content (YouTube videos and podcasts)
- Download and review your Kindle books
- Download and review your mobile apps
- Take action on your affiliate marketing recommendations
- Purchase your coaching, consulting or freelancing service
- Buy your information products
My goal with the AIB case study is to make you think of the long-term value of each website visitor. They’re not just people who will click on ads or buy products from Amazon. They have the potential to become future partners who will support your business.
As you probably know, there are hundreds of ways to make money with a website. Unfortunately most don’t have the potential to become long-term assets.
That’s why I recommend you focus on seven primary ways to make money:
- Information products
- Affiliate marketing
- Kindle publishing
- Software and app programs
What you pick depends on your personal preferences. The key here is to select monetization methods that turn casual visitors into long-term fans.
You can’t be everything to everyone. Instead, limit what visitors can do to a handful of actions. This can be done by identifying your MWR, which stands for Most Wanted Response.
MWR is a list of actions that you want people to take once they land on your site. The trick is to keep these options limited. Give people too many choices and they’ll pick none. This is called paralysis by analysis.
In a way, the MWR acts as a decision hierarchy. You want a new visitor to do the first action, but if he or she doesn’t, then you provide an alternative that’s still mutually beneficial.
So if your goal is sell Kindle books, then your MWR will be:
- Subscribe to an email list
- Buy Kindle books
- Leave reviews on Kindle books
Or let’s say you’re an affiliate marketer, then your MWR will be:
- Subscribe to an email list
- Buy affiliate products
- Click on an advertisement
Finally, let’s say you’re a freelancer, then your MWR will be:
- Subscribe to an email list
- Buy a freelancing service
- Sign up for coaching or consulting
Notice how the first action is always “subscribe to an email list.” This should be your number one goal – no matter what type of authority business you’re building. (As this case study evolves, you’ll see why email marketing is super important.)
Let’s talk about how to apply MWR in a real-world setting. Specifically, here is the current MWR for my authority site, DevelopGoodHabits.com:
- Subscribe to an email list
- Download and review my free Kindle books
- Download and review my free iPhone apps
- Buy affiliate marketing offers
- Become affiliates for my information products
Obviously, list building will be the primary focus.
So let’s talk about the #2 and #3 MWRs – downloading/reviewing apps and Kindle books.
In the last six months, I’ve learned a simple truth about these two income strategies:
“ Reviews = Money (Tweet This!)
There is a direct correlation between positive reviews and income on Amazon and Apple. If a book or app gets a lot of reviews, then it’ll probably get a lot of downloads or purchases from the internal traffic on these websites.
My goal is to offer great content through the blog and email list. Then I’ll continue this value exchange by offering useful apps and Kindle books.
From there, it’s not hard to ask users to review something that helps them improve their habit development. In turn, these reviews will help users (who don’t know about DevelopGoodHabits.com) discover and buy my offers.
This is the strategy that has worked for my existing line of Kindle books, so I’m confident it will work for DGH.
Next, there is #4 on the list of MWRs – affiliate marketing. Unfortunately, I don’t have a strategy for this monetization method. So far, the plan is to link to any product that I use and like. That’s it for now.
Finally, there is #5 of my MWRs – information products. Eventually (maybe in 2014), I’d like to create offers that provide full-blown, habit development solutions. In theory, I’ll create an offer and then leverage my forthcoming personal development network to build an affiliate program.
I don’t claim to have all the answers. Really, the purpose of the AIB case study is to build a long-term asset, using the lessons I’ve learned over the last ten years. That’s why the following is “phase 1” of my monetization strategy:
- The DGH blog will be the focal point of my business. It will send traffic to the iPhone apps, Kindle books, email list and assorted affiliate marketing offers. It will get internal traffic from these same places.
- The email list will be built through the blog, Kindle books, iPhone apps, information products and other sources of web traffic.
- The Kindle books will be fed traffic from the blog, email list and internal Amazon searches. They will funnel readers to the blog, related iPhone apps and email list.
- The iPhone apps will be fed traffic from the blog, email list, Kindle books and internal iTunes searches. They will funnel readers to the blog and email list.
- The affiliate marketing offers will only get traffic from direct mentions in blog posts. The only exception is I might create a few autoresponders that promote blog posts with embedded affiliate links.
- Information products will be a long-term strategy. So I’m not entirely sure how they’ll relate to the habits market. For now, I’ll start building relationships with other authorities in this niche and hope they’ll be interested in my affiliate program sometime in the future.
Like I said, this is phase 1 of my monetization strategy. Odds are, this plan will have many iterations and updates as I move forward with the AIB case study.
That’s the monetization strategy for DevelopGoodHabits.com.
Now it’s your turn.
Right now, start thinking about how you’ll make money with your authority site.
Ask these questions:
- Do I want to offer a coaching, consulting or freelancing service?
- Should I publish books on Kindle?
- Do I want to promote affiliate marketing offers?
- Should sell my expertise through information products?
- Do I want to build apps or software programs?
- Should I offer advertising?
Take a close look at your market and figure out how you’d like to make money. These should neatly fit with your personality and preferences.
For instance, I don’t like to do coaching or consulting because it trades my time for money. Instead, I’d rather focus on building long-term assets.
Once you have a few monetization ideas, rank them based on your idea of the perfect business. So if you’re a writer, then it would make sense to design a MWR that emphasizes list building, Kindle books and information products.
Take time today to do this exercise.
Plus, leave a comment below and detail what you’re currently doing to make money with your authority website.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.To Your "Internet Lifestyle",