Here is some great idea on how you can use your business website to make more money for yourself, in fact unlimited cash. You can also use it to build yourself as an authority in your field and grow your business faster. So I encourage you to pick a pen and paper so you can jot some things down. Before I get started, let me just clear some notions that you may have about the internet.
Every business needs a website. If you are a business owner or maybe you want to start a business and you think this information is not for you, then I can assure you that you are about to miss information that can turn around your business. The things I’m going to teach you now works well in every industry; fashion, entertainment, education, politics, real estate, engineering and so on.
A website is not for show off. I’ve seen a lot of businesses, especially in Nigeria, build a website just for the sake of having one. They don’t have any plan on how to get benefits from the website in terms of business leads and customers or making sales online etc. It’s really not wise to spend your money on something that wouldn’t be of significant benefit to your business.
Making money via your website requires patience. You are not going to start making all the money and getting all the customers instantly or automatically. Yes, nothing is going to happen overnight, so you better not believe all the hype about the internet being an automatic or instant means of income. The thing is, it does happen occasionally, but if you’re just starting or a beginner in online marketing, it’s not healthy to drive your hopes up and believe that everything will start growing overnight; otherwise you will surely be disappointed. Online marketing success takes stages of hard work and consistency on an idea you believe in and have tested or seen working for other people.
The one good thing you can be happy about is that the internet gives you so many tools and resources you will require to make the process faster. And once you are able to lay your hands on those tools and master how to use them, then you’ll start getting faster growth in your business. One of those tools is a website and I will teach you how to master it and use it well.
Now let’s get started. How do you make money with your website?
1. The first thing is that you must actually be selling something
Whether we believe it or not, your website is a sales tool. So there should be something on it people can buy. It could be your skills as a comedian or a dancer or a writer. You could be offering a service such as consultancy or web designing or construction or baking and decorating.
The truth is you are the product. When you sell a service, you are the product whether you are a lawyer, real estate agent, stylist, fitness trainer, caterer and whatever. You are selling your time with promise of a particular result as opposed to a tangible product.
Gone are the days where people build a website that contains some long write up. Everything on your website should be directed at letting the visitor know that you have what he needs to solve his problem and then you offer it to them. One of the great ways to make money is to create products around what people need. Now let’s say you are into baking (and surely there are lots of people who want to learn how to bake a cake or a pie), you can pick up a video camera and record yourself teaching the whole process of baking a cake from beginning to finish. Package it as a DVD and sell it on your website. If it’s a church website, you can sell books or DVDs of your pastor’s messages or even tickets for an event. Hotels can also sell their rooms and have people reserve them.
2. Make It Easy To Find You
The next thing about having a website is that you make it easy for your potential clients or buyers to find you. It would be useless and kind of frustrating to have all that information on your website about your product and services, your company, how to contact you, but people still cannot find you. There are different ways to get people to find your website and I want to share some of them with you.
First is by search engine optimization (SEO). This has to do with building your website in such a way that it attracts a sizeable number of visitors from search engines like Google. If you have ever made a search on Google, have you at some time asked yourself why some websites come out first when you search for a particular thing? That happens because the owners of the website have done something to make sure their website comes out tops for any search on that particular keyword or phrase you searched for. That is what search engine optimization is all about. If you want to optimize your website also to attract search engine traffic, then one simple method you must use is to post articles regularly on your website on your type of business.
Google and some other search engines love websites that come up with new content regularly. It doesn’t have to be very long articles; something between 200-300 words is a good target you can start with. So you want to make sure you’re giving these search engines what they want. This goes on to help you build an expert status for yourself. Just imagine that you have lots of articles on your website discussing different issues about your niche or industry, and sharing helpful information; visitors who come to your website will look at you as an expert in the field, and the truth is that everybody wants to buy from the expert.
Another way is to use online discussion forums on your niche. An online forum is just like a community of people who come together in a place to share information and rub minds on a common interest or topic. A good example of a community is Nairaland. It’s a very huge community and should be a first choice for any Nigerian business man or woman. On Nairaland you’ll find thousands of people talking about fashion, business, politics, games, travel, sports and on and on. In fact, if you really want to learn how the internet works and business generally and learn it faster, you should go to Nairaland. I also advice you try out other forums and check out topics on your niche. Now when you get to these forums, your mission is to establish yourself as an expert. I do not mean posting all over the forum that you’re an expert. That irritates people most times. But what I mean is that you give people expert advice for free.
As Zig Ziglar says, “You can get everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” A lot of people on these forums are in serious search for possible solutions to one problem or another and your advice or information could be just what they need. You don’t just do these ones, but do it continually. And while doing this, you must make sure you leave your name or website address below every post using a tool called ‘The Signature box.” This allows you to display your website or any other information just below every post you make on a forum. So immediately you register on any forum, the first thing you want to do is to go to your profile settings and add your website address to your signature box.
Now another method you can use to make your website seen is to use Pay-per Click (PPC) Advertising. In this advertising model, the publisher will publish your ads on his site and you’ll only pay when you ads are clicked – that’s why it’s called Pay-Per Click. Here you’ll only pay for your ads to appear for specific keyword phrases. Whenever you do a search on Google, there are always ads displayed on the right and I’m sure you’ve clicked one of them sometime. Those are PPC ads which come up because the advertiser has paid well for his ads to show whenever a search is made on specific keyword phrases. You can even set your ads to target audience by location or interest. That is, your ads will be shown to only Nigerian searchers if you set it so.
The last advice about making your self seen is for you to become a social media freak. The concept of social media has been widely accepted all over the world, even in our country, Nigeria. The only thing is that a handful of businesses are giving it good attention. What you don’t know is that there are huge business opportunities available on websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and LinkedIn.
There are millions of social media sites out there, but it’s more important to be using a few platforms really well. Add too many and you start to spread yourself too thin. As a member of a site like Facebook, you can create a personal page, multiple business pages, create open and closed groups, interact with your fans and followers for advice and recommendation. You should start with creating a Facebook page for your business with a good description of what you do. Encourage all your friends to like your page and also share your page with their friends.
Social media awareness in our country is really growing at a fast pace. Nigeria currently has the highest number of registered Facebook users in Africa, and most of them spend at least 30 minutes a day on the site. Even the old Mamas and Papas don dey open Facebook account. So it’s no longer a new thing. It’s very important that you go and meet your potential customers where they hang out the most because the more they see your products and what you offer, the more likely they are to buy from you; so it’s all about increasing your exposure. If you are able to build a strong reputation through social media, your followers wouldn’t hesitate to check out your website.
3. Build A Mailing List
A mailing list is a list of people who subscribe to a periodic mailing distribution on a particular topic. This people give you permission to send them information to their email addresses regarding your product, services, offers, events, materials etc. If you don’t understand what email marketing means, then I suggest you log in to your yahoo or Gmail account and check out all the emails you’ve been receiving, then you’ll understand better. When you build an ‘opt in’ or mailing list, you are creating one of the most valuable assets for your online business. Your customer or subscribers have given you permission to give them something they’ve asked for. Develop a lifetime relationship with them. Building an email list is cheaper and more effective than print, TV or radio because it’s highly targeted.
Here is how this works. First step is that you build in a subscription form into your website which you’ll use to collect the email addresses of your visitors, then the second step is for you to send targeted traffic (visitors) to the subscription page.
Now it’s usually advised that you offer your visitors something in exchange for their email address. You could say something like: “Subscribe To My Newsletter and Receive This Free e-book on How To Attract 1000 visitors To Your Website In 24 hours”. Something like that will get attention. But you have to ensure that what you’re giving is something that will really be of great benefit to the subscriber. Something they can hardly resist.
Ask yourself; What is The One Thing That This Subscriber Desires The Most? Once you have the answers, package it as an e-book or an audio or video and offer it in exchange for their email address.
The third and final step is simply to keep sending them stuff once you’ve gotten their email address. Just any relevant helpful stuff you lay hands on or develop. It could be industry news, or an update on new products, trends, free books, or audio or video etc. The target here is to build a relationship founded on trust; and ones your customers can trust you, then they’ll buy from you. When you sell a service, you are typically selling a relationship with yourself and this requires spending more time and effort establishing your credibility and developing rapport with your subscribers.
To launch you email marketing system, you can use services such as Getresponse or Aweber or Mailchimp (Free). If you’re a beginner with small budget, then I’d recommend Mailchimp. With it you can have up to 2000 subscribers. The other services will charge you a monthly fee to maintain that number of subscribers for you.
So these are three methods you need to build into your online marketing in order to monetize your website and grow your business with it. Take your time to do some research and testing on these concepts and you’ll see a transformation. As I stated earlier, it’s all about hard work and consistency with what you’re doing. See you at the top.
Richard Okere is a leadership and business consultant specializing in relationship management. His passion is to help small/medium scale business owners, corporate executives, individuals and organisations build high quality relationships and systems that help them discover their potentials, achieve their dreams in life and at the market place. Follow him at http://facebook.com/rokere