If there’s one question that as bloggers we’re always trying to answer is what’s best to monetize our blogs. Should we use Adsense ads on our site and if so what layouts and color schemes will get the best results? Should we add affiliate links and if so where should we place them? The list of monetization strategies goes on and on but I think it’s worth stopping for a moment to consider what the most successful bloggers are actually doing.
Anyone who is familiar with Anthony Robbins and his teachings knows just how powerful it can be to try and model those individuals that have already achieved what you would like to achieve. And when you consider blogs such as Problogger, Entrepreneurs Journey or Kissmetrics they all seem to have one monetization strategy in common – namely they sell at least one of their own products.
But why is selling your own product such a good idea when compared to the standard fare of contextual advertising, affiliate links and suchlike?
Higher Engagement Levels
When a website visitor buys a product from you they are putting their trust in you and starting the initial steps of building a relationship with you. If your product or service meets (or exceeds) that persons expectations then your authority in their eyes will grow and with enough work those previous customers of yours can become real brand advocates.
When you start to build up that rapport with people they will naturally become far more open to what you’re saying. As a result selling a product alongside your blog has the very real potential to significantly increase the impact that each of your blog posts have – you’re posts will garner more attention from your customers and they are more likely to interact with your blog and leave comments on your posts.
Of course this rapport element also works the other way round too in that regular subscribers to your blog will gain a similar degree of trust in your opinions and as a result this can improve the response rates of any product you decide to offer. In essence each blog post you publish becomes a gentle “pre-sell” for your audience that builds further trust and increases the chances of additional sales.
New Traffic Opportunities
As bloggers we generally rely on free traffic from the search engines as well as direct links from other blogs and from social media as people share our content with others. But having your own product opens up other possible traffic avenues that can quickly swell the number of visitors consuming your content.
For example when you have your own product to sell you can recruit affiliates who will send you a constant stream of leads. Furthermore when you’ve tweaked your sales funnel for maximum profit-potential and understand your visitor value it’s also possible to start dabbling in sending paid traffic to your sales page and still make a profit. For a blog monetized with Adsense adverts neither traffc source is really realistic but as you can see with your own product they are not only achievable but can swell your traffic and profits as a result.
Whilst those visitors will land on your sales page as opposed to the front page of your blog, your blog can provide an excellent “back end” whereby you can keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis by sending them details about your latest blog posts and as a result your blog traffic will also grow.
One factor I see again and again are blogs that have opened themselves up to third-party advertising. And while hosting these adverts can lead to additional revenue sources one problem is that it risks cheapening your brand with a variety of tacky flashing banners.
When you have your own product to sell from your blog then you gain total control over the advertising displayed on your site. You can design creatives that suit your audience and split-test different strategies for turning blog visitors into paid customers until you some up with the perfect balance of a professionally-designed theme and maximum sales.
This, in turn, keeps your site looking as you’d like and increases the chances of other sites linking to you.
These additional traffic sources plus the rapport you’re building with your subscribers helps you to continually grow your mailing list and your influence and at a certain point you start to become an “authority” in your niche.
Product owners and other bloggers appreciate that if they can get on your radar somehow it could be highly beneficial for them. For example I managed to attract one of these “authorities” to a product I created and they proceeded to send 1,200 visitors (and a *lot* of sales) to my site in a single day. On the other hand I get emails every day thanks to the authority a number of my sites possess from marketers, product creators and SEO companies hoping that they can catch my attention somehow.
This authority can mean higher affiliate commissions than are advertised for other people, free products to review, companies paying you to review their product or service on your blog and so on. This in turn makes your blogging activity not only more profitable but also more fun too as you are exposed to opportunities that other competing blogs in your niche don’t have access to.
As you can see whilst having your own product to sell from your blog isn’t essential there are a lot of reasons why it makes perfect sense and can leverage your blogging activities to create more profit, greater authority and open up new opportunities for you.
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