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Income Report Roundup – Apr 2020

It definitely isn’t business as usual these days. But these are the times that truly test you as a business owner. After all, many of the people on our list started these businesses for that very reason – to have control over their own direction. So while some of these entrepreneurs have seen signs of challenge, they all stay motivated and show a willingness to adapt. There are opportunities out there, you just need to find them. 

#1 Takeaway – Follow the Trends – Due to situations outside of our control, things have changed an awful lot in the past months. However, with changing circumstances come changing consumer demands. Our #1 takeaway is to stay on top of these market trends, and identify where the new opportunities lie. 

  • Use Your Gut – Sometimes the situation is so unprecedented that you aren’t really sure how to proceed. If there isn’t a significant wealth of knowledge to draw on, sometimes you just have to go with what you think will succeed. Many entrepreneurs on our list decided to chase niches that they thought would be successful. Things like online learning, home workouts, home shopping, and more. That being said, even in a new situation, sometimes you can find the best knowledge by looking at your peers…
  • Monitor Other Success Stories – You can see just by these income reports that people are more than willing to share their success! Many entrepreneurs on our list have pointed to the relative booms in areas such as dropshipping, online learning, and many other online niches. The information is out there, and people want to share it. Learn from the entrepreneurs on our list who have weathered this storm, and see how you can capitalize on this yourself!  
  • Signup for TheHustle email list – a great summary of trends impacting entrepreneurship.

Quick April Update on my End:

  • 5 Posts at AuthorityWebsiteIncome.com (one of my biggest months)
    • Highlight – Amazon Affiliate Earnings – I stayed up most of the night when this was announced and built a tool to be able to calculate how the earnings of Amazon Affiliate sites will change as a result of the reduction in commissions announced by Amazon. This was the most visited article on the site and received more engagement then I have had on almost any other post. It is unfortunate for us Amazon Affiliates but definitely not unusual in the world.
    • 16 best online business models MONSTER post was also created.
  • Launched EssentialGoods.org to try and use our talents to address a COVID-19 related problem.
    • Overall it has been a failure… although it works and gained some traction/marketing the result is that the problem it is solving is simply not enough of a pain point for even the incredibly low price point (which was only there to try and break-even).
  • MotionInvest had a big disruption the week Amazon made their announcement but is back on track and the demand for quality smaller money making websites is as strong as ever.
  • ContentRefined – With the business manager Maddie heading off on Mat leave we had to do a lot of work to make sure our systems were tight
  • New SAAS Project for Helping with Money Sites- Underway and I will be sharing more details shortly
  • Free Amazon Affiliate Requirements and Disclosure Plugin – Received a 5* review

My Reason for This Round Up:

When I started my online entrepreneurship journey I took a lot of inspiration from others that were sharing everything they did online. Seeing that people like me were making REAL money and that the opportunity to replace my day job was possible. 

It has been almost 4 years since I left my day job – https://authoritywebsiteincome.com/quit-my-job/

The more transparent the report the more I appreciated and was motivated by it. 

Over the years I have tried to be as transparent as possible sharing along the way my goals, business successes/failures and the ultimate results(profits). 

After years of sharing monthly income posts I decided that it made sense to stop these… a decision I actually regret as I wish I had found a way to keep sharing some of what I was doing. 

My reason for stopping was my online world and “real” worlds became more connected and it was becoming very odd to share these numbers.  

Looking at many of the people that originally had an income round up posts they have also stopped. Namely the most famous in the space Pat Flynn no longer does income round ups. 

In this post I will cover…

  1. List of inspiring income report posts and how they earned their profits
  2. Recognize motivating people showing not just telling people the results they are achieving
  3. Learn from others – What the key learning is from the people

Last Month Profit – $10,486.91

Name – Ron Stefanski

Website – onehourprofessor.com

Business Model – Authority Affiliate Site      

Income Report – https://www.onehourprofessor.com/april-2020-monthly-income-report/

Key Lesson(s):

  • Ron had a tough month in April. However, he did anticipate it after seeing the trends in ad rates and traffic. 
  • However, Ron had a strong month on YouTube, and was happy with that. He had strong growth in revenue and views.  
  • Ron knows there are tough times but he is hopeful. He has development plans with several websites, wants to continue to produce content with great writers, and wants to continue building content for YouTube. 

Checkout the video I did with Ron and be sure to read his gripping story here!

Last Month Profit – $4,552

Name – Lidiya

Website – letsreachsuccess.com

Business Model – Blogging

Income Report – https://letsreachsuccess.com/working-from-home-income-report/

Key Lesson(s):

  • Although it continues to be unpredictable due to Covid, Lidiya is happy with the way things are going with her blog. 
  • Her email list continues to grow, and she is happy with how many people actually respond with and engage her emails. 
  • She continues to offer courses and coaching on succeeding through blogging, and has had more people reach out to her about this. 

Last Month Profit – no update this month

Name – Spencer Haws

Website – NichePursuits.com

Business Model – Authority Affiliate Site

Income Report – https://www.nichepursuits.com/get-ready-niche-site-project-4/

Key Lesson(s):

  • No income report published this month.

Last Month Profit – $8,738.29

Name – Johnny FD

Website – johnnyfd.com

Business Model – Mixed – Dropshipping & Investing

Income Report – https://www.johnnyfd.com/2020/05/income-and-expenses-during-lockdown.html

Key Lesson(s):

  • Johnny is still in Sri Lanka. He has more freedom now that the lockdown is lifted. 
  • Johnny is happy with where he is at, and actually found he is quite productive living alone in Sri Lanka. 
  • He is lucky that during this time, e-commerce stores are thriving. Two of Johnny’s stores saw a lot of success in April. 
  • Aside from dropshipping, many of Johnny’s other businesses have taken a big hit. Specifically, Amazon affiliates are no longer making the same percentage of sales, which is why he wants to shift away from that. 

Last Month Profit – $37,103

Name – Jon Dykstra

Website – fatstacksblog.com

Business Model – Authority Website (display ads)

Income Report – https://fatstacksblog.com/income-report-for-april-2020/

Key Lesson(s):

  • Solid earnings from all niche sites in April. 
  • Jon continues to invest heavily in content. Specifically in writing product reviews and creating podcast content. 
  • Jon knows that it is a turbulent time, and is investing heavily in areas where he is seeing returns. He understands that some of his online businesses will be more successful than others. 

Ryan Robinson

Last Month Profit – $21,262.60

Name – Ryan Robinson

Website – ryrob.com

Business Model – Authority Website (affiliate earnings)

Income Report – https://www.ryrob.com/blog-income-report-april-2020/

Key Lesson(s):

  • With all the changes around the world, Ryan has spent a lot more time thinking of how he can support people, such as through his Blog Support Scholarship. 
  • Ryan has also stayed busy creating free resources for readers. 
  • Ryan increased his blog income in April, and traffic increased a sizable amount too. 
  • It was a successful month, as blog income rose thanks to affiliate commissions and enrollments in his comprehensive blogging course. 

Create and Go

Last Month Profit – $203,457.16 (Quarterly Revenue)

Name – Alex & Lauren

Website – createandgo.com

Business Model – Affiliate Blog & Online Course

Income Report – https://createandgo.com/blog-income-report/

Key Lesson(s):

  • Alex and Lauren do not publish expense figures, only revenue. 
  • They continue to focus on fresh content in their Pinterest, in order to stay on top of the algorithm. 
  • They updated their Pinterest course to reflect these changes. 
  • Much of Alex & Lauren’s income comes from selling digital products and services, such as eBooks and online courses. 

Yeys

Last Month Profit – Negative $721

Name – Anne

Website – www.yeys.com

Business Model – Web Publishing Blog

Income Report – https://yeys.com/april-2020-traffic-revenue-report/

Key Lesson(s): 

  • Despite the negative numbers (still a new blog), this was the best month to date! With growing traffic, growing revenue, and the best bottom line yet. 
  • Anne continues to work with editors and freelancers to create content to serve different niches. 
  • Saw an overall 42% increase in traffic in April! 
  • Although revenue went up, it is not going up at the same rate. CPM and RPM rates were declining. Luckily, because traffic increased so much, Anne was able to still grow revenue. 

Honourable Mentions:

Although they don’t do exactly income reports, there are a few reports that are worth mentioning and when they publish new reports I will be sure to include.

Am I missing any I should include? Please drop a message in the comment section below with anyone I should include next month!

4 Unfair Advantages To Grow Your Online Business Fast

How do you shortcut the process to grow your online business fast and make money online? First let me promise you there is NO path that doesn’t take years and lots of hard work. 

Sorry if that is what you came here to hear but I am sure there is a course someone is waiting to sell you, who promises otherwise, elsewhere. 

However, it is possible to make a life-changing amount of money online and the prize is certainly worth it…making money from your own online business you can build on your own time provides an incredible level of financial freedom. The ability to provide financial freedom to my family from my online businesses is something I continue to be very thankful for. 

To give some perspective on the time horizon for success have a look at the monthly income graph when I was still doing the monthly reports…

It was a very slow build to any meaningful numbers!

In today’s post I am going to dig into the various unfair advantages you can look at when starting out online or when trying to accelerate your rate of learning and ultimately income generating.

What do I mean by a shortcut? 

We all start at about the same starting point… somehow you have gotten the idea to make money online, have reasonable intelligence and enough spare time and a little capital to put towards building a business.

So… how can you either accelerate your learning, de-risk your situation or shorten the duration to success? 

Here are some ideas on how you can get from the starting point to online success… 

ONE – Get a job that teaches you an online marketing skill

It is hard to achieve any amount of success without first developing several complementary skill sets. It is rare that you can become the best in the world at something but far more likely you can be the best in the world at a combination of several skill sets in a specific niche. Read more about skill set stacking here.

Lots of us have developed those skill sets on our own dime while we struggled to build our online businesses. The reality is that we would have been better off if we learned them as part of an organization with training/coaching and getting paid. 

For example content marketing strategy, email marketing and paid traffic are a great set of skills for someone building an online business to have. I and many others have hired and trained people on our own dime. 

If someone were to ask me what they should do I would say look at the various online business models and digital marketing strategies then pick a model and a strategy that interests them. Next, develop that skill set (taking a cheap udemy course or similar) and work for free at first then get paid gigs on UpWork. Develop that skill to a world-class level and repeat until you have enough of a skill set stack and financial resources to purchase and accelerate the growth of an existing online business. 

TWO – Join a Community 

So many times I am shocked by the value a community provides people. A good community can be incredibly valuable. 

Many Facebook groups exist and other paid communities. I have never been good at making the most of paid masterminds I have joined but others absolutely swear by them. 

If you are looking to shortcut your path to success then finding a group of like-minded people to help hold you accountable in the form of a mastermind is definitely a great strategy! Many times any projects I was successful with was the result of a group of peers/team members helping to hold each other accountable.

THREE – Get a Coach

The trough of mediocre performers in any field is filled with people who think they are too good for a coach. 

To visualize what I mean I created a super simple image below…

At the ski hill, like many places where people are working on a skill, there is a weird dichotomy of the worst and the best skiers on the hill are working with an instructor or coach. 

This goes in almost all professions where the beginners and the best work with a coach. 

No matter where you are in your journey to achieving success online a coach can help. 

To get a quick test on what a “coach” can do for you book a time for a call with Brady from BrandBuilders.

If starting out online checkout – https://www.brandbuilders.io/coaching-calls/

FOUR – Jump in with both feet and buy a small site 

Creating great content that gets “free” traffic from google targeting underserved keywords is a fantastic business model… except it can take a long time to generate results! 

There are many other online business models to choose from, however, if you are looking for a simple to execute, easy to understand and able to be systematized there are few better business models than generating traffic from Google and monetizing it through affiliate marketing. Many other models are great such as ecommerce, social media marketing, influencer marketing and Facebook ad-driven dropship businesses however they all might be “faster” but are generally viewed as only a cashflow small business and not a longer-term business. 

To help accelerate your learning checkout buying a smaller content site that is already making some meaningful money and can be a great starting point for growing your business. 

At MotionInvest we have taken a lot of the risk out of purchasing sites…

  • Only Quality Sites – The sites we are selling we own meaning they are fully vetted sites
  • Start with a Profitable Website
  • Access our Procedures for Operating Websites

Check out MotionInvest.com

15 Digital Marketing Strategies for Your Online Business

In this guide, we are going to give you an outline of all the basic types of digital marketing strategies you can start applying to your business right away. We are going to give you a broad outline of each of these areas so that you can dive deeper and expand your knowledge on the ones that interest you most. This article covers each of these in detail and goes beyond cursory short lists like the 7 functions of marketing.

Let’s get started with one of the most popular types of digital marketing strategies – content marketing.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a pretty popular phrase in online marketing. However it can often be confused with content writing. It can be difficult to pin down exactly what it means. It is a pretty broad term, that encompasses many different strategies related to content. In simplest terms, content marketing is making and sharing content to an online audience. Read more comparing content marketing vs content writing.

The purpose of sharing this content is to attract attention, and this attention can be used to complete a number of online marketing goals for different businesses. These goals include driving traffic to a website, generating leads, increasing sales, increasing brand awareness, and more.

Essentially, by creating and sharing free content, you attract people to your brand, and the content can actually help you to reach these goals at the same time.

How Does Content Help My Business?

Perhaps the most important question in content marketing is what type of content will help you to reach your business goals. To answer this question, you need to consider your business model, your target customer, and your buyer personas. You need to cater the content to what your target audience is searching for, and what they would enjoy consuming. Then, you fill that space with your content, and do everything you can to make that content discoverable (more on that below).

Popular types of content marketing include blogging, news sites, video, photo blogs, email newsletters, how-to guides, and podcasts. Essentially, any targeted content is content marketing, even if you don’t even realize it.

In this guide, we will focus on two crucial aspects of content marketing – keyword research and content creation.

Keyword Research

For many content marketers, the most important way to make their content discoverable is through a search engine. If people can type in a Google (or any search engine) query and your content pops up, that represents a huge potential number of eyes on your content.

It is extremely difficult to understand exactly how search engines pull up results, and their algorithms change all the time. But one of the important ways that Google returns results is through keywords. By combing content for keywords that might answer a search query, Google can return the most relevant content and answer that person’s question.

There are a few ways to discover which keywords are best to put in your content. It is best to consider all of these digital marketing strategies as a whole in order to come up with a keyword strategy. Strategies to find keywords can vary from easy to advanced.

Think of Intent

The first thing to keep in mind when writing content is to always think of your target consumer’s intent. Why do you think they would search for your content? What question does your content answer? Think of the reasons that your content is applicable to them, and try to include keywords and phrases that you think would answer their questions.

Search engines are quite smart these days, and they are capable of relating common queries and generating answers based on different contexts. So you should really just try to write content that answers a consumer’s questions. Put yourself in their shoes, and make your content relevant to what they would search to find your business, and you will have a much better chance of showing up in search results. 

Using Tools

There are also many tools you can use to get an idea of what type of keywords might be relevant. For example, Google auto-suggest can help you see many related searches to the ones that might involve your products. Type in something about your content, and you can see other relevant queries which someone might use to find your content.

Paid Tools

There are many paid online marketing tools on the market which can help you generate a list of keywords based on the queries you can expect potential customers to search. These tools will scour the web for well-performing keywords which you can plug into your content to improve your search engine ranking. Popular tools include SEMRush, Ahrefs, Wordtracker, and Authority Labs.

Many people choose to hire a digital marketing strategist or a digital marketing agency for their content marketing, which can be very useful and much easier if you’re someone who manages multiple sites and/or businesses. However, if you’re budget is limited and you have the time to put into it, using tools and some of your own effort, you can become your own digital marketing strategist. 

Content Creation

Of course, content marketing is nothing without actually creating the content! In this section, we’re going to outline how to create content that fills a need, and is consumed by your target market.

Content needs to be well written and researched. But the best content fills a hole in the market. Above we showed you how to get your content discovered with various tools and keywords. Next, we will show you how to create content that satisfies consumer’s needs and inquiries.  

If you need help with Content Creation checkout ContentRefined.com

Define Your Target Market

First things first, you need to define who you are trying to reach. Your content needs to be tailored to a certain audience, and you need to know that audience inside and out. If you don’t know who you are trying to reach, your content will appear aimless.

So before you get started in making your content, you need to decide who is most likely to respond to your content. Know who they are, what they like, and where you can find them. There are many consumer research studies and resources that you can find online to help you with this research stage.

Flip Features Into Benefits

When you are creating content that appeals to an audience, it is important to keep in mind why people should pay attention to your content. When you are creating content on a specific topic, don’t simply focus on explaining the features of your topic. Instead, think of your target market, and think about why this may benefit them. Turn the features of the product into real tangible benefits for your audience.

By explaining benefits, you are guaranteeing to capture more of their interest. If an audience understands why your content is relevant to them in a positive way, then it instantly turns into something that they can envision as having an impact on their life. 

What Type of Content?

Content comes in many shapes and forms. From video, to blogs, to articles, to tutorials, to comprehensive guides, and more! How you choose your format will depend on the message you are trying to convey. Different audiences like to consume content in different ways. Your content should match the ideal platform for conveying your message.

Start simple, with an idea of the message you are trying to get across. Then, try to decide which format would convey that message best. It will often depend on the complexity and the depth of knowledge you are trying to communicate.

Takeaways

As you can see, content marketing is no small area of marketing. Maybe the most important part of content marketing is knowing your audience and knowing how to reach them. If you have a deep knowledge of who your audience is and what they like, then you have a format which can guide all your future content creation. This simplifies your entire workload, and helps to ensure that you are constantly on the right track.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

On-Page SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge part of a digital marketing strategy and a great way to increase your inbound traffic. One of the main ways that anyone finds anything online is through a search engine. So as you can imagine, if your web page shows up as one of the top results, that could mean massive traffic for your website.

One of the major ways to find success with SEO is through on-page optimization techniques and avoiding common on-page SEO mistakes. What this means is that you carefully craft the content on your web page to be more discoverable by Google (or other search engines) and therefore to show up in more search results. There are numerous techniques you can use to optimize your on-page SEO, and this section will explore some of the top techniques.

In the section after, we will explore the other major part of SEO – off-page SEO. But let’s get started by looking at how to best optimize your web page for more success.

Tips for Succeeding with On-Page SEO

Here’s the thing – search engines these days are smart. If you think you can trick a search engine into displaying your result at the top, then you can think again. Search engines know the tricks and have accounted for them. To truly optimize your inbound marketing, you really have to provide a great answer to what the searcher is trying to resolve.

Google wants to return results that are relevant, trustworthy, and authoritative. Doing this is no easy task, but there are things you can do to keep improving your chances.

Tip #1: Consider Intent

As was said above, Google is very smart. It wants to give results that answer people’s questions. It wants them to be happy with what they find. And this can be a big opportunity for you.

If you provide content that fills a need, and answers a search query in an organized, trustworthy, and relevant way, then you are on the path toward climbing up the search engine results page.

If you are struggling with this, try to think of what question your content answers. What would people search for if they want to find your answers? Then, type this into Google yourself. Have a look at the types of content that come up. These are the most relevant pieces of content in this area, and can be a great starting point for you to format your content.

Tip #2: Keywords

Keywords are no longer the end all and be all to effective SEO, but they are still valuable to inbound marketing. Finding effective keywords and phrases can be tough these days. You should really start by thinking of intent. Think of what type of questions you think consumers are thinking of which are answered by your content. Then, put these phrases into your content, and within the title and headings.

There are also online tools which can help you with keyword research, like Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer, SEMrush or Ahrefs. However, these are often paid services, but are worth considering if you are stumped.

Tip #3: Tags

Without getting too complicated, tags essentially help to describe your web page, so that Google can return it in relevant search results.

Meta Tags describe various parts of your web page. Title tags help to describe what it is your page offers, and will make it easier for people to decide whether to click it. Meta descriptions appear in the Google results as a description of your content. This can be a vital way to give readers a summation of your content, and whether it will answer their questions.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Meta Tags are a very valuable part of describing your content and having it discoverable through search engines. It is a good habit to always consider metatags when you are creating your content.

Tip #4: Site Speed

How quickly your site loads is a very important part of on-page SEO. Not only does it make inherent sense that people prefer a site that is faster to load, Google bases its algorithm on site speed too. Google will prefer sites which have the ability to load faster.

There are many ways to increase site loading speed, including several paid services. Aside from that, delete unnecessary plugins, don’t include media files that are too big, and other space saving tricks like that. If there is more to load, it will take longer to load.

Tip #5: Content

Of course, the actual content on your page is of crucial importance. It seems obvious, but it’s no less imperative. You want to focus on creating and sharing the kind of content that your target audience desires. Know your audience inside and out, and create content that answers their questions.

On top of this, it is important to keep content fresh. An easy way to do this is to go back and update old articles with fresh info. This takes minimal time, and gives you a whole new set of information to share. You can also create evergreen content, which will stay relevant for longer without having to constantly update it.

Don’t be afraid of current trends either. Writing articles that are on-trend can be a great way to capitalize on a high amount of Google searches, just be aware that there may be increased competition as well. If you can capture a trend before it takes off, you have a much better chance of being seen. You can see trend patterns for any topic using Google Trends

Takeaways

As you can see, on-page SEO is very important in having your content discovered and consumed. While you may be tempted to think of this as “tricking” Google, it really comes down to showing your audience what they want to see.

Google wants to find and share relevant information with people. They want to provide what people want to see. So your best bet with on-page SEO is to always operate with this in mind. The tricks are great, but nothing beats quality, directed content. 

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Off-Page SEO

Above, we talked all about on-page SEO. That is, how to optimize the content on your webpage to get discovered by Google. This might seem like the “obvious” part of SEO. Of course getting your website content optimized will help. However, it’s not all there is to it, and that’s what we will be talking about here.

Off-page SEO are all the actions that you take off your web page. These are the ways that other websites and other pieces of content can actually help you get found on Google. On a basic level, Google likes to know that it’s results have authority, AKA that people can trust them.

A good way to know that is if the page is heavily mentioned, or linked to, by other sources. Because if a lot of people are talking about you, there is a better chance you are a trusted source.

Therefore, off-page SEO is the way that digital marketers can increase their authority off of their web page, drive their search engine results, and therefore increase their overall traffic.

Types of Links

Generating links to a website can be done in many different ways, but is typically separated into links that you create yourself, and links that other people give you voluntarily.

For example, if you share your own content, or ask people specifically to share it, those are created by link-building activities. On the other hand, if someone reads your content and shares it by their own will, or a competing blog likes your content so much that they reference it, then that link is voluntarily given.

As a general rule, a voluntary, or natural link, is more valuable. However, these are understandably harder to earn, and much of your link-building might be based on deliberate link-building. The hope is that with more and more SEO activities, eventually, your content will rank well enough for people to share it themselves without being prompted. Some people find success buying links but this should only be done if you are knowledgable of the risks.

How Do I Get Started?

This might seem like a pretty daunting area of SEO. How are you going to get mentioned when no one even knows who you are? Where do you get started?

Luckily, there are actionable tips and methods that you can take to increase your off-page SEO today. Of course, the more you grow, the more reputable you become, and the more likely you are to get shared. But there are still things that you can do as a content marketing beginner to kickstart your off-page SEO, and we will cover some of them today.

Create Content That Can Be Shared

The first thing you can do to drive your off-page SEO is simply to create content that begs to be shared! If people share your content, then you have more links which drive people to your web page. Additionally, more people can find it and share it themselves. It might become exponential, and Google will see this as your site having more authority.

As we have mentioned many times throughout this guide, you need to create content that fills a gap in your target audience’s search. If you create very high-quality content that they really enjoy, it raises the chances of them sharing it. Of course, certain content is more prone to be shared than others – such as new ideas, humorous content, and something that drives curiosity.

Read how ContentRefined does this here – Content Surge

Reach Out

A great way to help with people sharing your content is to simply ask them. Often, they might be willing to do something for you if you are willing to do something for them (like share their content). Find influencers within your niche and reach out to them. You’d be surprised at how helpful people will be if you simply ask for their help.

This helps create relationships within your space, and if you are willing to help them as well, you can have an ongoing relationship to increase authority with each other.

Here is a detailed guide on running an outreach machine

Share Your Content

There are so many digital channels to share content online. People actively seek out certain content online, and by finding and sharing within these spaces you increase your chances of being found by an interested audience.

For example, there are online forums and message boards for all sorts of topics – photography, writing, videography, nature, you get the idea. The key is to find these spaces within your niche and make it a habit to share every relevant piece of content you make.

Of course, social media is very powerful as well. Your web page doesn’t have to be the only place you share content. You can link to it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and wherever else you are engaged. Not only does this create more links to your content, it increases the chances of others discovering it. Social media is created to be shared, so sharing it yourself might lead to others discovering it as well.

Takeaways

As you can see, on-page and off-page SEO are two ways of achieving the same goal. That goal is to get your content ranked higher on Google, which allows more people to discover your content. This in turn will drive traffic to your site, so that you can achieve the goals that you set out with your website.

Off-page SEO is an important tool in any digital marketer’s toolbox. It can help to think of it as a habit in creating and sharing your content. Make it part of your routine to interact and help others within your niche, and they will return the favor. Additionally, find the best spaces within your niche to share your content to a devoted audience. As well as regular social media sharing, you will have built a routine to increase your success in this area.

An effective digital marketing strategy is all about habits. You probably won’t see one of your posts go viral and rocket you toward success. But with good habits, and with strong and consistent SEO strategies, you can see your relevance and authority grow and grow, and you will show up in far more search results.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Sales Funnels

Sales funnels have become one of the crucial components of an effective digital marketing strategy. No matter what you are trying to sell, or which platform you are using to drive sales, it is likely you can utilize some form of a sales funnels to achieve results. In this section, we will explain the basic concept behind a sales funnel, as well as how to structure one for success.

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is simple in concept and complicated in execution. It is all about “funneling” consumers toward a sale. Think of this as the customer journey from when they first see or hear about your brand to the final point of purchase. You put them through a series of steps which motivates them to buy from you. As with a regular funnel, more will enter than will make a final sale, but the goal is to motivate as many people as possible to complete the funnel and make a purchase.

For example, an advertisement you see on Facebook might be the first stage of the sales funnel. If you click on this advertisement, you will likely be taken to the next stage in this process, all with the goal of getting you to make that purchase.

As you can imagine, there are various strategic and psychological strategies at play to capture your attention and motivate you to take that next step each time. While it will not work on everyone (hence the funnel becoming slimmer), the goal is to increase the rate at which it does work.

In general, a sales funnel can be broken down into 4 parts. We will explain each part in turn in the next section, so that you can understand how this funnel operates:

Sales Funnel Structure

Stage 1: Awareness

The first stage of your sales funnel is the broadest, as it is meant to reach the most people. That is awareness. You want to communicate your message to a wide variety of potential audience members, to make them aware and entice them into continuing with your offer. This is their initial stepping point into your sales funnel.

A successful awareness campaign will be directed at a target audience, and provide them with a clearly communicated offer that satisfies a need or want of theirs. There are many ways to get consumers to enter into your sales funnel through an effective awareness campaign, and your approach will differ based on what you are trying to offer. It could be joining an email list, taking an online quiz, or many other means.

Stage 2: Interest

Once a consumer has passed the awareness stage, they have shown an interest in your offering. At this point, you must work to further this interest. Successful marketers do this with a clear brand message, and communication, which helps build a relationship with the consumer. You want to continue to explain why your brand is right for them.

This communication can be done in many ways – such as an email campaign, marketing campaign, social media communications, blog posts, or more. It will all depend on how they opted to follow your brand.

Stage 3: Decision

At this point, your customer has shown a clear interest in your product, and is actually considering making a purchase. However, there is still more work to be done. At this stage, they might actually be researching your offering, or comparing offers with competitors, while deciding whether to purchase.

You can do various things to help influence this decision, such as offering testimonials, discount codes, reviews, and anything that will help make a decision that is right for them. You want to show them why you are the right choice, and why the value is there to make their purchase worthwhile.

Stage 4: Action

The final stage of the sales funnel is the consumer actually performing the intended action. Usually a purchase, but it could be a download, an opt-in, or something similar. However, even at this stage there is more you can do to drive further business.

There are steps you can take to ensure they are happy with your product, such as by sending over product tips and tricks. You can also follow-up with additional offers after the sale is made. This keeps your brand in mind, and also ensures that they are happy with their purchase and your brand.

Takeaways

As you can see, a sales funnel is a simple concept with endless methods of execution. As a marketer, you want to be constantly optimizing and tweaking your funnel based on results. You won’t get it perfectly right the first time. But with practice and persistence, you will not only convert more and more customers, but also have a better understanding of your buyer personas.

Russel Brunson puts out great content around sales funnels.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Email Marketing

Email marketing may seem like an old school idea these days, but it really speaks to its effectiveness that it is still so popular. Email marketing is a tried and true marketing plan to reach people, and to reach the right people.

By building an email list, you have a reliable method of reaching people who have shown an interest in your product or service, and a way to market to them in a direct and personal way.

In this section, we are going to go over the basics of email marketing automation, including what makes it so effective, and the digital marketing strategies you can use for greater success.

Why Email Marketing?

Email marketing is an excellent tool for a variety of reasons. As mentioned, it is a way to reach out to consumers on a personal level. These consumers are people who have shown interest in your business before, as evidenced by opting into your email campaign. Here are some top advantages of using email marketing:

Driving Traffic and Sales: Email marketing is a great way to create a marketing funnel and drive consumers back to your website, blog, online store, or whatever you are offering. It allows you to re-engage with your consumers on a regular basis.

Direct Visibility: Email marketing is simply more direct than other forms of social media. Most platforms filter content and limit views. Email, however, is direct and always ends up in an inbox. It is a more reliable method of allowing your target audience to see your digital marketing strategy.

Building Your Audience: Perhaps the number one benefit of an email campaign is the ability to grow and maintain your audience. You can track down the people who are truly interested in your service or product, and stay in touch.

Email Marketing Tips

Service Provider: First thing first, you need to decide how you are going to go about making your email campaigns. Many people prefer to use a service provider to help manage their email campaigns. We recommend Mailchimp, Mailshake, SendGrid or Active Campaign for your marketing automation. These providers are all very simple to use for any type of marketing campaign. 

With these services, you can create lists and send an email to everyone on the list. It also helps you monitor analytics, and track the success of your campaigns, which we will examine in more detail below.

Collect Emails: One of the most crucial parts of managing an email campaign is growing your list of emails and adding them to the marketing funnel. An email campaign is nothing without a list of potential customers to send it to. Having people subscribe to your emails is no easy task, and it requires sending the right message, and having people see the benefit of regular communication from you.

Collecting emails and leads through cold outreach is one method of doing this. Using tools such as AnyMailFinder or Hunter are just a couple great tools that can help build a solid list for your email campaign. However, below we’re going to cover some of the top methods of having people opt-in to your campaign.

The ultimate guide to B2B Lead Generation goes over these strategies in detail.

Opt-In and Pop-Ups on Your Website: One of the most tried and true methods of getting subscribers is to simply put a sign-up or registration form right on your website. This is a great way to capture subscribers who have already shown an interest in your product. There are many ways to phrase these forms, and many places you can put them on your website.

Typically, websites either use a pop-up or an embedded form to capture subscribers. You can place these wherever you think consumers will be most receptive. For example, after they have made a purchase, or once they click through to the product page. You can also experiment with different options and monitor results.

Create a Campaign: Creating a campaign is one of the most important parts of email marketing. Once you have a subscriber list, you want to market to them with emails that capture their interest and motivate them to take a desired action. There are many services which can assist in creating a campaign, such as Mailshake mentioned above.

There are many options you can utilize to create a successful campaign. First, select your audience. You can send the email to your entire list, or to specific groups you think would be more responsive.

You can start your marketing campaign with a catchy subject line, a preview text, a “From” name (who they will see the email is from).

Next, the body of the email. Many service providers offer numerous options for structure, body, style, and content. It will really come down to what you are trying to achieve, and the message you are trying to communicate. You can create a more visual campaign, or a text-based email. The main key is that your consumers are persuaded to take your desired action.

Write Subject Lines: Writing an email subject line that captures attention is one of the most important parts of a successful campaign. This is the point where a consumer decides whether to engage with your marketing campaign at all.

There are many methods for success here, but the important part is to quickly and clearly communicate the benefits of your offer, and to state a sense of urgency. Consumers need to be able to quickly discern that there is a benefit to opening the email, and a time-sensitive offer makes them more likely to engage right away.

Monitor Analytics: Once you have crafted your email campaign and sent it off, the work is really just beginning. A successful email marketer will continue to monitor the success of their campaign, and make adjustments where necessary.

The first important lesson is to monitor analytics. With programs such as Mailchimp, you can actually use Google Analytics to track and monitor various aspects of your email campaign’s performance. This includes various metrics which track your campaigns success – such as the rate of consumers who open the email, average time spent in an email, conversion rate, and much more.

The key is to set goals for your campaign, to monitor the success of those goals through analytics, and optimize your campaign to improve on these metrics. What you need to change will depend on your digital marketing campaign, but you can likely gather the information you need by paying close attention to your results.

Thank you for reading our beginner’s guide on email marketing. As you can see, there is a lot of potential for you as a marketer in this area.  

Digital Strategies for Online Business

YouTube Marketing

YouTube might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to digital marketing. However, it is such a powerful video and media sharing tool that it holds many strong opportunities to share your brand and generate sales for your businesses.

In this section, we will go over how you can produce valuable content to build an audience and attract subscribers.

YouTube Marketing Plan

The main goal of YouTube marketing is, of course, to drive traffic and sales through shared media. Similar to the goal of many marketing campaigns, you want to drive users to your YouTube videos, and funnel them to your website with links in the video description. However, actually putting this into action is not always so simple. Generally, there are three main types of media which are used to drive sales.

Educational Videos: Educational videos answer a question that your target audience may have, and you can feature products within the video. People come to the video to have their questions answered, and come away exposed to your products.

Brand Storytelling: Brand storytelling is an opportunity for you to make a video that showcases your brand’s appeal. It involves people using your product while living your brand message. For example, GoPro shares videos that their consumers have taken with their video cameras.

Entertainment: These are the trickiest to make for a business. But if you can make media that actually entertains your target audience, and has them watching for enjoyment, then you can have a big edge on YouTube. For example, a popular blender company uses “Will it Blend?” videos to showcase their blenders grinding up unique objects. 

Key Considerations

Now that we have outlined the digital marketing tactics for creating and driving sales with YouTube, let’s take a look at some of the more important considerations that you will need to know to give your videos the best possible chance of success. This includes concepts that get your videos more views, but also ones which help to drive sales.

Keywords

Keywords are very important in SEO. YouTube SEO is a complicated process, and goes beyond the confinements of this guide. However, you do want to be sure to include the keyword that you are trying to rank for in the video title.

YouTube also offers the option to “tag” your media, which helps your video show up when those terms are searched for. There are various programs online which help you optimize tags. You should also write your video “Description” with various tags, and one that explains the benefits of watching your video.

As you can see, YouTube SEO is all about showing up in YouTube’s search engine. Keywords, tags, and video titles go a long way in this regard. 

Increasing Subscribers

Subscribers, the ultimate YouTube count. Subscribers are people who have notified YouTube that they want your videos to show up in their feed. Of course, your goal is to grow your subscribers, and you want to do this by allowing your videos to be seen by the largest amount of your target audience as possible.

There are many tips and tricks for growing your subscribers. Perhaps the most important is to simply create quality media and content that is targeted towards a clearly defined audience. Remember, there are millions of subscribers and companies on Youtube, so finding your niche is important to driving direct traffic to your channel.

There are also little things you can do which can drastically increase subscribers. For example, using a link to take viewers directly to an opportunity to subscribe to your videos. You can place this link in your video description, in your email marketing, or anywhere you are sharing media. The key is to make it as easy as possible for people to subscribe to your videos. 

Analytics

One of the most worthwhile parts of growing any type of marketing campaign is to monitor and optimize. With YouTube it’s no different, and YouTube even includes an analytics section where you can track your video’s success on various metrics.

These metrics are invaluable for measuring success. They are extensive, and include metrics based around things such as views, watch time, demographics of viewers, and much more. By measuring and optimizing on these variables, you can know how to improve the success of your current and future videos, and know what type of video is most successful in reaching your target audience.

Takeaways

As you can see, YouTube is a powerful tool for capturing someone’s attention. A loyal base of subscribers can help to grow your businesses in many ways. If you approach YouTube with the proper strategies for growth and success, you can execute your digital marketing plan and convert your subscribers into customers.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Facebook Marketing

It comes as no surprise that Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. In this section, we are going to examine why growing your audience on Facebook can be so powerful.

Why Facebook Marketing?

Firstly, the major reason that Facebook marketing is so popular is due to the vast potential of the platform. There are billions of users, which gives you the opportunity to connect to just about any demographic you could imagine. Expanding on that, people build their profiles to clearly outline their personal information.

You can see, in real time, the type of people you are reaching. You can clearly define your target audience, and pursue those people. You can also clearly see which type of people are resonating with your products. Facebook has a powerful Analytics platform for businesses as well, so that you can clearly track and monitor your success.

Creating a Facebook Page

The first step in Facebook marketing is creating your own Facebook profile for your business. A business profile is your own tool for interacting with people through Facebook. They are easy and free to set up, and you can get started right away.

A Facebook profile is a great way to communicate your brand, and allow ongoing feedback and communication with consumers. With this page, you can post engaging content, and have real-time feedback.

The content you create and share will depend on your brand and mission. Often, brands use Facebook as a way to keep their followers updated on their offerings, as well as to share fun content that exemplifies their brand message.

If you can build a large following on Facebook, it gives you an audience that you can hopefully attract to buy your products or services. You have a constant group that you can reach out to, who have already shown an interest in your brand by “liking” your page.

What To Post?

Facebook offers users a lot of freedom, and one of the major parts of that freedom is deciding what to post on your Facebook page. However, this can become pretty overwhelming.

One of the main things to keep in mind here is to always think from the customer’s point of view. Why should they be interested in your page? What can you offer them?

Of course, what you should post will certainly vary based on your industry, so a great place to start is with some competitors’ pages. If you have identified your target audience and industry, you can start to look at other pages within that industry for inspiration. Often, they will share pictures from customers, news about the industry, blog posts, interesting content, and more.

Posts that create engagement are a great idea as well. For example, posts that prompt users to share for a chance at a discount or a freebie. Or posts that ask users questions about themselves.

There are many options on Facebook for sharing content, and we think you will be best advised to share content that is in tune with your industry and target audience. However, not every business has the capacity or time required to be posting and checking their Facebook page everyday. Don’t worry! Tools like Buffer or Content Lever can help you manage and create posts to keep your content updated and relevant on a weekly basis.

Insights

One of the key tools that Facebook provides to help grow your page is Facebook Insights. These are powerful analytical tools which allow you to monitor and optimize the success of your page. Insights are analytical reports that track your success based on many metrics – including growth rate, clicks, likes, followers, conversion rates, and more.

These tools allow you to monitor the success of your page, but more importantly they allow you to identify areas of improvement. You can see which content is most successful at reaching people, and which people are more engaged with your page. This allows you to put in further targeting measures to capture the audience that is most likely to engage with your brand, and even convert with your offerings.

Insights are a powerful tool if used correctly. But the key is to stay diligent, learn to understand the meanings behind the numbers, and how to use these to optimize your page for the future.

This has been a primer on how to get started with your business page on Facebook. However, there is one other big part of Facebook marketing, and that is Facebook advertising. We will examine this next. 

Facebook Advertising

Up to now, we have mainly focused on growing a business Facebook page. However, there is one very powerful tool that you can use with Facebook, and that is advertising.

Facebook Advertising is perhaps the most powerful tool in Facebook marketing. Facebook advertisements are your opportunity to fully tailor your advertising campaign to reach the people you want.

Why Are Ads Such An Opportunity?

There are many tools for creating an ad, such as selecting text, video, pictures, and format. You can craft an ad that says exactly what you want to say.

Next are the targeting measures. As mentioned above, Facebook users voluntarily submit information about their demographics. This makes it possible to very specifically target your Facebook ads. You can target based on age, gender, interests, and more.

Let’s take a look at a few of these concepts in more detail.

Creating An Ad

Creating a successful Facebook ad is no easy task, and often will require constant tweaks to get just right. However, it is helpful to first get familiar with the general formula for creating an ad on Facebook. There are three main steps – setting an objective, choosing an audience, and creating a format.

Campaign Objective

First, you will choose an objective – this should align with your overall digital marketing campaign. Facebook offers three objectives – awareness, consideration, and conversion. With awareness, you are trying to show the ad to the maximum amount of people so that they become aware of your brand. With consideration, you are trying to generate traffic and engagement with your ad. With conversion, you are trying to drive people to meet your conversion goal (ex. a sale to your site).

These are three quite different goals, and will depend greatly on what you are trying to achieve with your ad. This is why it is so important to establish your advertising goals from the outset.

Audience Targeting

As touched upon above, Facebook is a very powerful tool because it allows you to target people so effectively based on all the information in their profiles. For the sake of simplicity, it helps to break targeting efforts into three categories – demographics, interests, and behaviour.

Each of these three aspects are easily accessible based on information in a user’s Facebook profile. While creating an ad, you can outline your target audience. You can be as specific as you want, based on what you know about your target audience.

A general rule of thumb is to start broad, and narrow in based on what is successful. Run an ad to a broader demographic, and monitor your results to see which audience members responded most to your ads. Then, target future ads at this group, optimizing as you go.

Ad Format

Finally, comes creating the actual ad. Facebook encourages you to define your objectives and your audience before this step. This allows you to get a good idea of your advertising strategy, which helps you to build the actual ad.

There are many options for formatting and structuring your ad. You can choose different picture options, video options, and even an option for an album of pictures or videos. Make sure to think about your ad size and content thoroughly before throwing up a Facebook ad campaign. Is your ad going to attract your specific niche? Does your ad have a direct message and offering?

Additionally, you can choose to run your ads in Facebook newsfeed, Facebook Messenger, or on Instagram.

Analytics

Once you have created a Facebook ad, you have the ongoing opportunity to monitor its success through analytics.

Facebook analytics are a powerful tool to evaluate your campaign’s success based on many factors such as clicks, conversions, impressions, and much more. You can further break down these metrics based on demographics. Then, you can optimize your ads in the areas they were successful, to run an even more lucrative campaign next time. 

Checking your ad analytics is arguably the most important piece to any advertising campaign. If your ads are converting or receiving clicks, you need to reassess the campaign and make changes. Are you targeting the correct demographic? Is your ad compelling? There is no perfect formula to running a successful ad campaign – you have to run it, assess results, and adjust if needed, over and over again.

ROI

Of course, the main drawback for many is that Facebook ads cost money. This is why advertisers view these as an investment. Facebook Ads allows your to monitor your ROI on the money you spend, including cost per various metrics (clicks, conversions, impressions, etc.).

Before you begin an ad campaign, I highly suggest that you map out a monthly budget. That way you can make sure you’re not overspending and also assess if your ads are making you money or pushing you further into the red. Remember: depending on the objective of your campaign, ROI will be measured differently. If you’re goal is to drive more traffic to your site or your Facebook page, then ROI won’t be based on revenue, but instead on traffic and/or followers. However, if you’re pushing people to a sales page, then you’ll want to base ROI off of sales made.

An advertisers goal should be to maximize their ad spend. With further optimization, you can continually improve your ROI to make your ad spend more lucrative.

Takeaways

As you can see, Facebook is a very powerful tool, and depending on your marketing plan you can succeed in many ways with Facebook ads. At its core, it is all about reaching the right people, and improving your chances of converting them into customers.

Facebook advertising is really about the process, not a one-off campaign. The optimization options allow you to see more success over time, as you further optimize your audience, your ad content, and ad placement.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Twitter Marketing

Twitter is a great tool for sharing information, but how can you harness it as a great marketing tool? In this section, we will show you how it can be perfect for just that. We will show you how to drive website traffic and generate sales through Twitter.

With well crafted content and by building an engaged audience, you can grow your business with Twitter. The key with Twitter is finding a target audience and catering to them with content that also drives sales.

How to Market With Twitter

Setting Up An Account

To have a successful Twitter marketing scheme you need to start by building your account. Your account should represent your brand through your display image and your description. There is also an opportunity to provide a link to your website, or wherever you want to drive traffic from your Twitter page.

Setting up an account is easy, fast, and free.

Set Your Goals

Twitter is great for a lot of things, but you have to know what those things are for your business. Before you create an account, you should outline your business goals. What do you want from your Twitter page? Do you want to grow an audience, do you want to generate sales, or do you simply want to increase brand awareness?

These goals will always be influenced by your target audience. You need to clearly define the people you are trying to reach, so that you know the kind of content you should be sharing.

These will change based on your business and industry, but it is a great idea to set these goals from the outset.

Creating Content

Creating and sharing content, as you may have guessed, is a key factor for success in Twitter marketing. People follow Twitter accounts primarily for good content, and yours will be no exception.

One of the key factors here is that you have a clearly defined brand and audience. Once you have clearly defined your space, you can begin to look at other accounts in the same niche for inspiration. This will give you an idea of the successful accounts and how they drive engagement. Popular types of content are text posts, links, articles, and providing feedback on other posts.

Driving Followers

Once you have a solid content strategy, you need to start driving engagement to your page. One of the best ways to do this is to look at the people who follow other accounts within your niche.

Try to find people who are actively engaged in the community, and regularly comment and share posts. Then, engage with these people. Follow their page, like their tweets and comment, and hope for engagement back. By driving engagement with popular influencers within your area, you increase the chances that people take notice and begin to follow your page.

Hashtags, Analytics and More

Understanding how to monitor and optimize your analytics on Twitter is very important. You need to understand why your posts did well or why they didn’t. By constantly tracking your success, you can learn to share things with more success. This might even include optimizing your hashtags so the most people can find your content.

Find companies and people in your niche and see what hashtags they’re using. Make a giant list and use these in your posts. Managing a Twitter account for your business requires daily effort and management. If you need help automating your social posts, check out services like Content Lever that can manage and track all your social posts for you.

Twitter marketing doesn’t stop here. If this sounds like an area of business worth pursuing to you, be sure to take these basics into account before you pursue a broader marketing plan.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Google Adwords/Ads

In this section, we’re going to tell you why advertising on Google is such a great opportunity. Google advertising is a huge industry, and there are many tips and tricks you can utilize to find success in this area. In this section, we’re going to outline advertising, and let you know how you can get started in this area to start seeing ROI on your ads.

Why Google Ads?

Before you get started, you probably want to know what the key benefits are to your business in this regard. Why Google ads? There are three main benefits we like to point out about Google Ads.

First, you get instant results. You can set up a Google ad very fast, and Google can even optimize a lot of the metrics for you. Online advertising is fast, intuitive, and gets you results.

The next big advantage is that Google ads are highly targeted. There are many options to show your ads based on very specific search terms. You can hone in your ads in many ways to reach a very specific group of people. This includes what people are searching for, where those people are located, and what their demographics are.

The third key benefit is that it is cost effective. The advertising is pay-per-click. So you only pay for your ad if someone clicks on it. If your ad isn’t effective, you won’t pay anything. This also makes it a very low-risk opportunity.

Overall, the key thing about search engine ads is the intent of people who are being targeted. Google is great if you are looking for people who are already searching for something. They have intent to look up a certain term, which might also make them more interested in your product if it fulfills that need.

Setting Up A Campaign

So, now that you know the key benefits of a Google ad campaign, let’s look at how you can actually put it into action. It would help to give a broad outline of how to set up an ad, including how to choose a campaign, how bidding works, how to target your audience, and how to create your ad.

Campaign Type

The first step to set up a campaign in Google is to choose your campaign type. There are 5 different campaign types to choose from – search, display, shopping, video, and universal app.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

A search campaign is when your ad shows up in search results across Google (shown above). Display ads are banner ads that show up on websites which are part of Google’s network. Shopping ads show up in Google’s shopping section. Video ads show up on YouTube and other video platforms. Universal App ads are for driving app installs.

Bids & Budget

Google Ads works based on an advanced system of bids. Essentially, you’re “bidding” against other advertisers for your ad to show up on a target person’s feed. Google will mostly automate this for you, but you will still have to set a budget for your ad campaign.

Your budget is how much you are willing to spend on this campaign. For a Google Ads campaign, it is a good idea to run a trial budget, and see how it fares. You can always optimize it for success based on your initial run.

Target an Audience

Targeting is one of the most powerful tools on Google adwords. You can target audiences based on demographics, keywords, interests, location, device, language, and more. One of the most helpful things you can do is to first define your target audience before you create a campaign, so that you can create a custom audience for your advertisement to succeed.

The options in targeting are quite extensive. The best thing you can do is to start very broad and optimize based on who is most responsive to your ad. Make a broad outline of your target audience, and some specific keywords, and monitor your results.

Using analytics, you can analyze who was most responsive to your ad, and then you can further narrow your targeting to include the most receptive customers.  

Create an Ad

Once you have defined your audience, you can create your ads. You really want to create an ad that grabs attention. Google even offers the option to create separate ads, so you can see which performs best.

Your ad should be closely related to your keywords, so that consumers can clearly see how your ad answers their question. Your ad should take them right to the area of your website you are trying to promote.

Your headline should grab attention, and your description should provide more information on why it would benefit them to click.

One great strategy is to search your keywords and see which similar advertisements grab your attention most. Gain inspiration from other successful ad campaigns.

Takeaways

As you can see, Google Ads is a pretty broad area for marketing. In this section, we gave you a general outline of the benefits of using Google ads, as well as the steps in creating a campaign of your own.

Overall, you need to think of this as a process. A successful Google ads manager will be constantly tweaking, optimizing, and changing their ad content, targeting, and strategy.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for growing your business through careful analysis of website and marketing data. Google analytics is a tool that allows you to monitor many crucial benchmarks and data-sets, which are essential to the continued success in growing your business.

With Google Analytics, you can install a tracking code onto your website, and use this on the Analytics platform to monitor many behaviours on your website. This allows you to make many valuable insights. You can see who visits your site, which pages they go to, the duration they stay, and which pages are viewed most.

In this section, we are going to give you a beginner’s guide to setting up Google Analytics, and which features you should learn to really get the most out of your experience.

Setting Up Google Analytics

Google Analytics is free to use and available to anyone. You can sign up for free and once you follow the prompts to enter your information you can get going right away.

The important part is installing the tracking code to your website so you can monitor the analytics. Because the coding does vary slightly depending on the platform of your website, you will need to know where to insert the code. Google provides a tutorial in this regard which is quite intuitive.

Understanding Your Analytics

The most important part of Google Analytics is learning to understand and draw implications from the data tracked by your website. It is great to think about this in terms of goals. Think of what your website is trying to achieve, and what are the desired actions you want consumers to take. This way, you can know which factors to track, and how to optimize your website so that you can improve these metrics.

There are many metrics you could be tracking, but for the sake of simplicity we will break them down into some broad categories:

Action: It is often helpful to track the amount of consumers who take a desired action on your site. Of course, it is helpful to track things like purchases, but it can also be helpful to track less obvious metrics like clicking past the landing page, clicking for more product info, and more.

Length: Tracking the length of time the consumer spends on each page is a valuable statistic to see whether you are holding their attention. You can see areas where consumers tend to seek more info, and attempt to persuade their behaviour that way.

Destination: A destination goal is tracking when a consumer reaches a specific part of your website. These are helpful for drawing traffic in certain ways and to certain areas.

Page Views: Page views are a valuable statistic as well. You can see where consumers spend more time. You can also see how many clicks an average consumer will have on your website.

Of course, all these metrics make more sense when considered in the context of your business. You need to have a sound digital marketing plan in place for your website, with specific goals for what you want to accomplish. Then, you need to track these goals, and recognize areas for improvement. This is the basic fundamental benefit of Google Analytics.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Instagram Marketing

Instagram is one of the more popular social media platforms today. The photo and video sharing platform has a massive user-base, and this is why it can be such a huge marketing opportunity for your business.

To understand Instagram marketing, you should have an understanding of how to set up and run a business account, as well as how to share proper content and grow your following.

Setting Up An Account

Setting up an Instagram Business Account is easy and free. Simply install the app and follow the guidelines. A business account gives you extra details you can add to your Bio, and also gives you access to certain analytics tools. There is even an option to make pictures of your products clickable, which would bring consumers directly to a purchase page.

Your bio and profile image should allow consumers to understand your business. Write your bio so it communicates what you do, and the benefit to the consumer. Then, direct them to the link in your Bio, which is where you want to direct followers (for example, an online store).

Essentially, a business account allows consumers to quickly and easily get a sense for what your business is and does, and you can link directly to your website.

Sharing Content

One of the most important parts of growing a following on Instagram is sharing the right content. First, you should have an idea of what your goals are with Instagram. How will the content you share direct people to take the desired action for your business?

A good way to get a sense of this is to check out similar accounts within your niche with a large following. See what type of content they share, and see how it spurs engagement with their followers.

Instagram is useful for sharing photos, video content, Instagram stories, and even live streaming. Finding the right type of content for keeping people engaged is key.

With Instagram, you want to aim to post about once a day. This keeps you fresh on people’s feeds and in people’s minds. People consume Instagram content so quickly that you need to post with high frequency to stand out.

You can also use hashtags to make your content more discoverable. Hashtags allow your content to be searched, and also to show up on the Instagram Explore page, which showcases different accounts.

Gaining a Following

Gaining a following on Instagram is all about engagement. Instagram is a very crowded space, so in order to make your voice heard you need to interact with people. We recommend you find similar accounts within your niche, and interact with them and with their followers. These followers have already expressed an interest in this niche, and might be willing to engage with you as well.

Remember to stay focused on this target audience. These are the people that you have identified as likely to engage with your business, and they are who you should be targeting. Find relevant accounts, engage with their followers with likes and comments, and engage in your space wherever you can.

Takeaways

Overall, your goal with Instagram is to gain a following of people within your target niche. You then want to try to persuade them to stay engaged with your content, and to become loyal to your brand. Then, by driving them to your website, you can drive sales through Instagram.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Pinterest Marketing

Pinterest is among the popular social media platforms which you can use for marketing purposes for your business. It is another way to get in front of consumers so that you can drive traffic to your website and generate sales.

With Pinterest, you can save certain media and links to “Boards”. These Boards are specific categories – such as materials for a dream house. People seek out accounts who share and organize links that they enjoy and are interested in.

This is where the major opportunity lies in Pinterest. People are actually on the site to plan, buy, and organize things. They are looking for inspiration for something they have planned. Therefore, if they come to your page, there is a good chance you can sell them on a product if they like it.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

With a Pinterest business account, you can find and share content with followers who are engaged with your content. If you manage to capture people’s attention by sharing content that inspires them, then you may be able to sell them your own products.

You want to be up front that you are a business, and create a very organized, thematic page. You want to fit within a niche, and attract consumers within that niche. By engaging within that community, you can drive followers to your page, and they will stay tuned in with your content.

You are basically making your pre-existing website content available on Pinterest, and giving interested consumers an opportunity to find and buy it.

Takeaways

The main thing with Pinterest is to find a niche, grow your following within that niche, and share things that are relevant to that niche. Find competing accounts, and engage with their customers. Hopefully, they will discover your page, and be inspired to take action on your posts.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

LinkedIn Marketing

LinkedIn can be quite a powerful marketing tool to generate leads and drive website traffic. A LinkedIn business account can be your key to sharing content that gets discovered and driving traffic through those posts.

LinkedIn is an extremely popular social media site, and people go to LinkedIn to discover and engage with different people and brands. Therefore, the opportunities are quite clear. If you can become an established name or brand on LinkedIn, it can drive awareness and consideration for your service offering as well. In this article, we are going to run you through the basic steps to get started with marketing on LinkedIn.

Optimizing Your Profile

A great profile is the first step to marketing on LinkedIn. You want to have a business profile that clearly and succinctly identifies what you offer, and what your competitive advantage is. People should know who you are, what you offer, and what’s in it for them.

One of your primary goals will be to drive people to your page, so the first step is making sure that your page offers something for them to be interested in. If people are wanting to stay engaged with your brand and your posts, then you have a constant audience who may also be driven to promote your brand themselves, or even make a purchase.

You should also be sure to include the profiles of employees, as well as yourself, who work for the company. People are on LinkedIn to engage with real people after all. If they know that the company is full of dedicated employees, that goes a long way.

Define Your Audience

Before you begin your marketing efforts on LinkedIn, you must define your audience. Ideally, this will have been done before you are at the point where you have begun a LinkedIn business profile, but it is never a bad idea to let your target audience guide all of your marketing efforts.

This target audience lets you know who you should be engaging with on LinkedIn. From companies within your niche, to real people who might show an interest in your brand, there are many opportunities to find relevant accounts and people who might be interested in your brand and your offering.

The main key is to define your audience clearly and concisely at the start of this process.

Generating Connections

Connections on LinkedIn are very important. The more connections you have, the more people have voluntarily shown an interest in following your posts, as well as your brand. Additionally, a higher amount of connections will generate a higher amount of perceived legitimacy for your brand.

One of the best ways to find relevant connections within your niche is with the LinkedIn search feature. Using advanced search functions, you can find people within your niche. You can choose to filter search results by “2nd degree connections”, which are connections of your connections. Connecting with these people is a great way to grow your connections, as they already see you as having a degree of legitimacy through your mutual relationship with other connections.

You can even narrow your search even further to find people within certain fields, or who hold certain positions. This is a great opportunity to reach people on LinkedIn who can help you to further your marketing goals, based on your clearly defined target audience.

Sharing Content

Sharing content on your business profile is a major way to grow your brand and increase your following on LinkedIn. The key here is to share interesting, engaging content that piques the interest of your target audience. Of course, what this is will depend on your offering, your market, and your niche.

One key message is to not simply share content intended to sell your product. People don’t visit LinkedIn to be sold to, they visit it to further their careers and grow their knowledge. Therefore, share content that helps people perform their jobs better within your niche. Things such as tips and tricks, industry updates, future plans, and more. Once you have generated interest, you can start to post the occasional update with a sales message as well.

Takeaways

The key with LinkedIn is to grow your connections within your niche, and stay engaged with this niche. Try to be interesting, and to grow relationships with your target audience. Social media is about relationships, not about simply selling to people. If you view it through this lens, you will see much more success on LinkedIn.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Quora Marketing

Quora is a platform you might not think of as a marketing tool. Quora is an online question & answer board. Users post questions and they can be answered and ranked by people and professionals.

Because of its simplistic format, it is not often thought of as a marketing tool. However, this is also what makes it such an opportunity.

Quora Digital Marketing Tactics

One of the main tools with Quora as a marketer is the ability to provide links within your answers, as well as the ability to create a personal profile which shows people what you do.

What you want to do on Quora is search for relevant questions within your niche. If you can find people who have asked questions related to your business’s expertise, then you can provide them with a satisfactory answer, as well as pique their interest to learn more. If you are regarded as an expert within the field, they might come away with a favorable attitude toward your brand and company as well.

Additionally, you can drive traffic to your website by linking your answers to blog posts, or tutorials with more information. Firstly, be sure to answer the question fully. If you don’t answer the question fully, people will not vote on and view your answer.

However, if you do provide a full and complete answer, you can end the response by linking to a portion of your website which provides similar information, or even more in-depth information. This can be a great method to drive traffic to your website and generate brand awareness.

Takeaways

Overall, Quora is a great opportunity due to its lack of competition and opportunity to be seen. If done correctly, you can become a trusted source who is able to grow awareness and engagement with their brand as well.

App Marketing

In this section, we are going to provide a basic outline to marketing an app the right way. Marketing an app can be a complicated process, but in its simplest terms, it essentially boils down to finding a target market and reaching them the right way.

App Store Market Research & Finding An Audience

One of the most crucial parts of app marketing, as with any marketing, is finding your target audience. You need to discover a gap in the market with a certain group of people, and work to fill that with your app’s offering. Your digital marketing efforts will be concentrated on communicating to these people why your app will solve their problem.

A good way to do this is to look at consumer research on competing apps. See what type of category of users they attract, and try to market your efforts toward similar groups. If you have a well defined audience which you can cater your app toward, you are on the right track.

Roll-Out and Promotion

Marketing your app is a complicated process, and it is all about reaching the audience that you have defined above. Of course, you can utilize social media channels, such as Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, and more. Anywhere where you think your target customers might hang out is a good place to get started.

However, one of the most common ways that people learn about Apps is through the App Store itself. Paid promotion goes a very long way in advertising your app. With App Store advertising, there are many methods you can take to cater your message to a very specific audience, and work to optimize this campaign to maximize your ROI.

Takeaways

App marketing is all about understanding your audience and reaching them through proper digital channels and with a great message. If you can master this process, you are well on your way to creating a successful marketing campaign.

Digital Strategies for Online Business

Success Stories

Content Marketing

One of the most notable companies using content marketing has been Hubspot. Hubspot managed to build their brand by creation and sharing of all sorts of content, most notably through their successful blog. They also offer users the opportunity to engage and create their own content. This drove a lot of traffic to their site, and helped to create an engaged and loyal group of consumers.

Of course, content marketing is not all they do, but it was a major part of their strategy as they grew, and it worked very well.

SEO

A great example of an SEO success story comes from Papercut Interactive. They attribute their success in SEO to really knowing the ins and outs of their target market and audience. They started their strategy with effective research. By knowing what their consumers want and how they search, they were able to generate research that not only led them to effective keywords, but drove the content they created.

They were able to create intent-based content to show up in search, that answered a question and provided a real benefit to their consumers, all while driving traffic to their site.

Link Building

A really unique example of link building comes from Ivar’s Fish Bar in Seattle. Way back in 2009, they put out a fake news story that they had installed underwater billboards near Seattle, in hopes that in the future people who drive personal submarines would see them. This hoax was just crazy enough to gain traction, with many people linking to their site, and they saw sales skyrocket.

This shows how the power of link building can lead to a truly unique and shareable story. This one took it to the extremes, but it shows the general principle that if you have a story unique enough, people will listen.

Sales Funnels

An excellent example of a sales funnel actually comes from Netflix. Their homepage very clearly walks you through what you can expect from a Netflix subscription, and what’s in it for you. They explain right off the bat their offering, as well as a free-trial and that you can cancel at any time. From there, it takes you to a pricing page, and then a sign-up page, and a billing page.

The process is streamlined and communicates the benefits right off the bat, as well as why the value is there. And with Netflix, their success speaks for itself at this point.

Social Media Marketing

An excellent example of a company that grew with social media marketing was Casper, the company known for shipping a fully functioning mattress in a box. They ran advertisements across social media platforms, clearly conveying the benefits and convenience of their product, as well as the high-quality. They even partnered with many influencers for sponsored posts, to build legitimacy.

Additionally, they utilized different video social media platforms to promote a Casper Sleep Channel, in which they provided videos to help consumers sleep. This helped them reach a level of viral fame, as well as provide consumers a benefit.

Google Ads

A great example of Google Ads success comes from Trivago. The popular hotel search engine utilized Google Ads to grow their brand to what it is today.

They grew their brand with traditional search campaigns, although their overall digital marketing efforts have since expanded. By using popular search terms, they managed to show up in many search results when people were searching for hotels. They became known as a reputable source to find hotel deals across the world, and it was in no small part due to consumers discovering them through Google Ads.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading our digital marketing beginner’s guide. Our hope was to introduce you to basic concepts across all areas of marketing in order for you to create your own digital marketing strategy. As with anything, there is more to know and more to learn, but we hope this guide has spurred your interest to deepen your knowledge in many of these areas.

Amazon Restock Alerts When Does Amazon Restock Items – EssentialGoods.org

A few weeks ago as the stay at home orders were setting in we had a discussion internally about what new problem existed that we were uniquely capable of solving. From that discussion, EssentialGoods.org was born. 

As mentioned on several earlier posts I believe there has never been a time in our lives where the rate of problem creation has been greater and if you are able to solve a problem it is needed! 

TODAY – April 28, 2020 – We are live on ProductHunt and would love your feedback. Currently, we are in the top 5 trending products for the day!

Visit Us on ProductHunt Here

To better understand EssentialGoods.org here is a video I did with Conor the developer…

What is EssentialGoods? 

EssentialGoods.org provides an SMS text alert when a product you want that was out of stock comes back in stock.

  • First, if you go to Amazon to purchase some essentials (education book for your kids, bread making yeast and hair dye) – then realize they are all currently out of stock
    • You can enter a re-stock alert email from Amazon but it will be delayed
  • Signup at EssentialGoods.org and either select from a pre-screened list of common essentials like masks and sanitzer or add your custom essential product
  • Receive a text message as soon as the product comes back in stock to be able to purchase quickly 

Initially, it does this for Amazon but will be adding additional online stores in the coming week(s).  

Who is this for?

It is for anyone who is looking to purchase products on Amazon that are currently out of stock. 

From common essentials like masks and hand sanitizer to less common dietary favorites. 

We have seen people using it for trending products like airpods and nintendo switch. 

We decided to make it free during COVID-19 impact for those most at risk including frontline medical professionals and a free trial for everyone else. 

Who Built It & Why?

Conor the lead developer at adbank.network identified the opportunity and quickly built it. The team at ContentRefined.com helped with the research into products and the buyer guides

The marketing coordination was handled by the adbank marketing team and specifically Catherine. 

The entire team felt there was a need that if we could help address one small problem around the stress of finding out when a product was back in stock it would be a worthwhile activity. 

How Does it Give Back?

It was important for us to ensure that we were giving back in a meaningful way. For that reason we are doing several things with our inventory restock alert app. 

  • Free for frontline medical workers
  • Free for senior citizens
  • Free trial for everyone
  • 5% of any profits to our local hospital foundation – https://cgmhf.com/

When and How Often Does Amazon Restock Items?

The Amazon machine is constantly running unloading shipments and restocking. In addition products can be out of stock on Amazon while shipments are moving between warehouses. So products can come back into stock at any time. 

If it is an essential product sign up for an alert service like essentialgoods.org or if you are prime member and it isn’t critical then Amazon has a free inventory restock alert email. 

Can this Be Used for Popular Products?

When will Amamzon restock nintendo switch or Amazon airpods? As mentioned above this can happen at any time. 

Yes, despite essentialgoods being built for products related to COVID-19 it is being used by people to receive alerts for popular consumer products that are out of stock and sell out quickly when they are restocked, such as Nintendo Switch. 

Amazon Affiliate Earnings (April 2020 Change) – How Much Will You Make

Amazon has drastically changed their Amazon Affiliate Program payouts as of April 21, 2020 and it is not good for many of us! The net worth of people reading this has been cut by millions of dollars. Especially with all that is happening in the world this impacts a lot of people, myself included.  

See April 16th Update Below – table has been adjusted

So… what do we do?

First, we need to understand how significant a change this is to us and our own specific sites, then assess what our options are and act. This post will be a deep dive into how much you can still make as an Amazon Affiliate despite the change and look at how many affiliates are impacted by this change. Plus, what other opportunities this creates and how I am responding.

I didn’t sleep much last night as I was working on a spreadsheet that you can input your Fee-Earnings export into and it will calculate exactly how much your site would be making moving forward given the commission change. 

What is the Impact? After running several sites through the spreadsheet, it is clear that there is a large range in terms of impact from 10%-60%+ of our Amazon Affiliate earnings gone with this one change.

At the bottom I dive deep into the data on what this means in general to the industry, but for you to find out what these changes mean for your own portfolio you can use this free spreadsheet:

UPDATE APRIL 16

Originally when I created this spreadsheet yesterday I took a pessimistic view around some of the uncertainty. But, based on feedback I think the current table (fully explained below) is much more likely to be the case as of April 21st. This should be better news for some and little change for others.

There is still some uncertainty around the update but I didn’t clearly communicate some of the assumptions I made.

It is still not a good story but most sites should be forecasting a smaller impact than the original assumptions. I am sorry for any extra stress my pessimistic assumptions have caused!

We won’t know until April 21st with certainty but I have updated the table to more clearly show what categories have changed and which ones we are assuming will not change.

Impact of this Change: Under the pessimistic model we were seeing most sites clustered around a 50% loss while now we are forecasting a wider range from 10% to 70% impact with the average closer to 35%-40%.

This updated approach does have some challenges…

Challenges/Uncertainty Definitely Exists:

1. Health & Personal Care vs Health & Household – Health & Personal Care Shows up in both tables but is not present as a category in commission exports however Health & Household is present in the Amazon exports. So, do we assume health & household is being changed to 1%? In the table we do. 

2. “Other” Categories – There are product categories that show up in the export that are not present in ANY table. For example Camera, Photo & Video pays out a 4% commission right now but it is not in the old table or the new table. Does that mean it is changing to 3% or not changing? 

3. Some other categories provide uncertainty such as CDs and Vinyl where it is not shown in a table BUT it is paying out at 5% according to the exports which doesn’t line up with “other”. 

Updated Commission Table

On the spreadsheet, you can change the commission percentage if you have a different view.

Product CategoryPreviousNewComment
Amazon Fashion Private Brands4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Amazon Gift Cards0.00%0.00%unchanged
Automotive4.50%4.50%potentially unchanged
Baby & Nursery4.50%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Beauty & Grooming6.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Books & Textbooks4.50%4.50%potentially unchanged
Business & Industrial Supplies6.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Camera, Photo & Video4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Cell Phones & Accessories4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Clothing & Accessories4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Computers, Tablets & Components2.50%2.50%potentially unchanged
Electronic Components & Home Audio4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Furniture8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Grocery & Gourmet Food5.00%1.00%Confirmed Changed
Health & Household4.50%1.00%Potentially Changed*
Home8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Home Entertainment4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Home Improvement8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Kindle Books4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Kitchen & Dining4.50%4.50%potentially unchanged
Miscellaneous4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Musical Instruments6.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Office & School Supplies4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Outdoor Recreation5.50%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Patio, Lawn & Garden8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Pet Food & Supplies8.00%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Power & Hand Tools5.50%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Shoes, Handbags, Wallets, Sunglasses4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Sports & Fitness4.50%3.00%Confirmed Changed
Toys & Games3.00%3.00%potentially unchanged
Audible Audiobooks7.00%7.00%potentially unchanged
Blu-Ray & DVD2.50%2.50%potentially unchanged
CDs & Vinyl5.00%5.00%potentially unchanged
Handmade5.00%5.00%potentially unchanged
Jewelry4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Luggage4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Luxury Beauty10.00%10.00%potentially unchanged
Magazines4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Major Appliances4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Mobile Electronics4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Other0.00%0.00%rare but has shown up as 0
Prime Pantry8.00%1.00%Confirmed Changed
Tires & Wheels4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Video Games1.00%1.00%potentially unchanged
Watches7.00%7.00%potentially unchanged
Software Download4.00%4.00%potentially unchanged
Video On Demand: Rent or Buy2.00%2.00%potentially unchanged
any other unknown4.00%4.00%catch all if anything else didn’t change

*Health & Personal Care vs Health & Household – Health & Personal Care Shows up in both tables but is not present as a category in commission export however Health & Household is present in the Amazon exports. So, do we assume health & household is being changed to 1%?

Reference 1 – Current (soon to be old) Table – https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/node/topic/GRXPHT8U84RAYDXZ

Reference 2 – Changes Coming Table – https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/compare?ref=oa_update_change

How to Use:

  1. Create a copy of the sheet and save it as your own – confirm and adjust the category comparison table if you disagree with any of the commission %’s.
  2. Export your data for the last 12 months from Amazon – See how below
    • Tip – You will need to download your last year’s data and this year’s data to do this properly
  3. Input your data “fee-earnings” to the “Fee-Earnings-Paste” tab on your copy of this sheet
    • Tip – Make sure all rows have been pasted and the formulas in the orange columns carry all the way to the bottom on the 2 Fee-Earnings tabs
  4. Done – See comparison on IMPACT sheet

So WTF Has Happened?

We received this email… with a nice “hope you are well” before really really f’ing up Amazon Affiliates day! 

Hello Associate,

We hope you are staying well during this time. We are writing to inform you of upcoming changes to the Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement, which governs your participation in the Amazon Associates Program. All changes are effective as of April 21, 2020.

Visit the What’s Changed page to see a summary of these changes. You can also find the Operating Agreement, Program Policies, and the Fee Statement if you would like to refer to the current, pre-change versions.

Sincerely, The Amazon Associates Program

The first sentence is a real kick to the nuts while down considering everything happening in the world right now! 

ouch-pain

This is not the first time Amazon has made significant changes. Most recently in 2017 they made a significant (not as big though) change!

Why is this Happening & Why Now?

Here is my theory as to why Amazon is making these changes and why now.

Amazon has recently been making moves, that in hindsight, show they are being affected by several forces and using it to justify grabbing power they have always wanted to…

  1. their current efficiency challenges – Amazon is struggling with a spike in orders and trying to maintain shipping deadlines. They are experiencing a loss of efficiency due to COVID-19 mitigation measures at their warehouses and 100k new hires. The shipping costs (especially air freight) have skyrocketed recently. All of this must be driving up Amazons per-unit fulfillment costs. 
  2. the situation in the world – COVID-19 is reshaping the global power structure and Amazon is a part of that structure
  3. their dominant market share – Currently, they have 38% of all US e-commerce.

All of these help make and justify this as a time to grab more power. Amazon was powerful before, but appear to be using this as an opportunity to become even more dominant.

History has a long record of power grabs occurring during times of crisis, most countries income tax came in as a “temporary” war effort. Amazons power has gotten to the point of being comparable to many countries. 

A few data points show us that this is NOT a coincidence in terms of timing but Amazon being opportunistic…

First, the communication being shorter/off-tone more than usual with the tables not communicating things very clearly. 

New Table:

Very different from the old table. This new table is much harder to map/understand where some categories fall:

Second, in addition to the update above, on April 6, 2020 Amazon removed the possibility of doing Revenue Share with 3rd party vendors like SkimLinks.

Amazon is using its position of dominance to systematically grab revenue specifically from affiliates. 

Do I Blame Amazon?

My general philosophy in the world is we are all a bunch of idiots responding to incentives. Amazon had what it took and the foresight to lose money for 20 years to build an incredibly valuable business with a seemingly insurmountable e-commerce moat. Now they are using that position of power to systematically grab power back from those they gave it to (apparently temporarily) to help grow its business (affiliates). 

It is very unfortunate for all of us impacted but I don’t blame them.

It is now up to us to respond. 

Top 3 Opportunities This Change Presents:

I have been thinking a lot lately about the quote “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” (Charles Darwin)

So what opportunities does this change present when it comes to Amazon affiliate marketing? Is it time to find a different online business model? Time to switch off all affiliate links?

Opportunity 1 – Testing display advertising on Affiliate Pages

Historically the RPM of Amazon compared to display has meant it never made sense to have ads on affiliate pages that could cannibalize revenue. It is worth retesting that theory. No advertising option provides more control for testing then EZoic. Other options to consider would be AdSense or Mediavine.

Testing your options with EZoic or using MediaVine if you have the traffic can be great ways to increase your site’s earnings. What we have seen at MotionInvest.com is that a site is often VERY focused on Amazon Affiliate links and even on posts that are not buyer-focused, but get a ton of traffic from either informational intent searches or social media they only monetize with affiliate links.

We have seen the majority of smaller Amazon Affiliate sites have monetized EXCLUSIVELY with Amazon and that made sense. Now it will take more work but partial recovery should be possible overlaying and testing display advertising to minimize cannibalization of affiliate earnings while adding display. See image below for the estimated impact and hypothetical partial recovery.

  • EZoic has shown to be a very effective solution that has made more money than AdSense and should be explored ESPECIALLY for smaller sites. It really shines through in its ability to test ad layouts.

Opportunity 2 – Switch to a different affiliate program

Some typical Amazon niches, like the pet niche, have affiliate programs for sites like chewy.com, which have been reported to perform better than even Amazon.

This may be time sensitive in your niche … if there are several sites all making the move away from Amazon they will be shifting their content marketing strategy to now focus on the products/problems the new affiliate offering solves. 

Getting your article ranking for the new affiliate(s) products into Google first may provide a ranking advantage. So although the current situation sucks, it might be time to double down on content marketing focusing on your new affiliate products. 

  • If you need some help identifying potential affiliates in your niche and getting content created to rank for keywords that are a good fit for their offerings, contact the team at ContentRefined
  • If you need help finding new affiliate programs and switching over affiliate links, get in touch with Brady at BrandBuilders.io to get help making that happen.

Opportunity 3 (my favorite) Affiliate website to E-Commerce site conversion

If there is an Amazon Affiliate website that is narrowly focused on a specific product and that product can be sourced, then converting it to either an Amazon FBA business or E-Commerce niche site could result in an increase in earnings. Now that these sites will sell at a discount from before the lift you achieve from conversion would be even more significant. Similarly, if you are currently an E-commerce site owner then your cheapest option would be to add feeder traffic in the form of buying a WordPress blog monetized with Amazon associates.

  • To find Amazon Affiliate sites for sale, signup for free to monitor listings at MotionInvest.com

Opportunity 4 – Fight It

It is unlikely a giant that has shown a lot of disregard for Amazon Affiliates would change its mind, but they certainly wouldn’t if they don’t receive blowback.

  • Email Jeff (at) amazon (dot) com and any other high ranking Amazon employees you can find
  • Contact people in the media to make this a story of how Amazon has used its position of power to crush small businesses using this crisis for cover

Other People Discussing This

  • Jesse at Geni.us links has a great guide on the historical trend of affiliate earnings here.
  • Matt from AMALinksPro shares his thoughts here.
  • Richard Patey and I chatted about the changes and he shared his thoughts:

Not only have a lot of sellers’ advertising revenues dropped by 50% due to Covid-19, but now the most popular affiliate revenue has been badly hit. And this is on top of the liquidity crisis. Investors will likely be able to get aggressive bids at lower multiples accepted going forward, valuing future revenue rather than historic. 2020 truly looks to become a buyers market – and savvy active investors who know how to optimize monetization and negotiate on good deals will do very well. I believe other affiliate programs may follow suit.”

Richard Patey

I will add other peoples opinions as they are sure to come in.

Amazon Affiliate Earnings FAQ

There will be some first-timers on this post trying to understand what the Amazon Affiliate program is, what are its requirements and how much can someone make with an Amazon niche site. 

In addition, below I crunch data related to the Amazon Associates program changes showing how much of an impact it will be. 

What is an Amazon Affiliate?

An Amazon Affiliate links to Amazon with a special link that tracks the visitor and then receives a commission for each sale the person they referred to Amazon makes. Typically it is a niche site built on WordPress that relies on blog posts to attract organic traffic from search engines like Google or social media platforms like Facebook. 

  • Signup to become an Amazon Affiliate here

How to Start an Amazon Affiliate Site?

To start an amazon affiliate site you need to follow the basic process of identifying a niche (where there is a need for content and low competition, but a product that you can promote), then pick a domain, build the website, create content and market it by building links. Once your site meets the Amazon Affiliate Requirements you can apply and receive your affiliate link to direct traffic to affiliate products you recommend on Amazon. 

How Much Money Can You Make as an Amazon Affiliate?

There are many case studies online that share some of the impressive earnings. In this section I will summarize some while showing the historical earnings per visitor and how much an Amazon Affiliate site can make based on the previous commission table.  

  • How to Earn $100/day – Have an amazon affiliate site with 1,500 daily visitors and another monetization source that matches how much money you make as an affiliate.
  • How to Earn $1,000/day – Have an amazon affiliate site with 15,000 daily visitors and another monetization source that matches how much money you make as an affiliate.

Case Study 1 – NichePursuits – OwnTheYard

  • Traffic = 69,657
  • Earnings = $3,195.31
  • EPV = $0.046 (how much you make per 1 visitor)

Case Study 2 – BrandBuilders Success Story

  • Traffic = 1860
  • Earnings = $333.2
  • EPV = $0.18

Case Study 3 – NicheSiteProject

  • Traffic = 9,300
  • Earnings = $393.80
  • EPV = $0.042

Our Data at MotionInvest.com

Over a quick study of 20 Amazon Affiliate listings, the average passive income per visitor for sites we sold was $0.067 per visitor.

If you are an Amazon Affiliate site you can expect to earn $0.04-$0.2 per visitor (before). 

How Much Will an Amazon Affiliate Site Earn Now?

Using some of the data I had handy across multiple accounts, here is what we are seeing the impact will be (updated April 16):

Site 1:

  • – 32.24% impact on revenue

Site 2:

  • – 45.47% impact on revenue

Site 3:

Ignore the decline in March (that is just a data timing issue)

  • – 39.59% impact on revenue
% Change for a Sampling of Other Sites
-54.66%
-35.33%
-12.40%
-42.18%
-58.71%
-6.08%
-5.18%
-62.53%
-50.13%

Across the accounts, we see a large range from 10-60+% in earnings loss!   

Let us know in the comments below what you saw when you ran it through the free spreadsheet.

The EPMV, RPM (earnings per 1,000 visitors) of Amazon Affiliate sites should line up to be about $15-50 now while most display focused sites perform at ~$6-$30 (see case study) but can range from $2 to over $100.  

Despite this hit, earning with Amazon will still be more profitable for focused sites then display advertising. 

However, the win will not be as clear moving forward and since the choice is not clear, many affiliate sites should start looking at how to overlay display ads to maximize page RPM now.

How Many Amazon Affiliate Sites Exist on the Internet?

Just how many people did Amazon piss off?

Amazon does not seem to report this number anywhere I could find, but doing a little internet sleuthing revealed there are 694k Amazon Affiliate sites linking to Amazon. By adding URL’s that are linking to amzn.to and linking to amazon.com with “tag” in the link results in 573k + 121k = 694k Amazon Affiliate websites currently on the web. 

How Much Money Do Amazon Affiliates Make and How Much Did they Just Lose?

Some of these numbers get hard to follow (lots of assumptions) but I tried and estimate the value destroyed for affiliates and transferred to Amazon. 

Based on the imperfect data of the number of Amazon Affiliate sites, using a sampling of those sites estimated traffic from Ahrefs and the earnings per visitor we have…

  • # of Sites = 694k sites (see calculation above)
  • Average Traffic per Site = 11,000 (NOTE – some outliers through this off & I removed some of the craziest outliers from the ahrefs data)
  • Earnings Per Visitor (before – from case studies and MotionInvest data) = $0.067
  • Earnings Per Visitor (after – from spreadsheet example impact of ~50% for simplicity) = $0.034
  • Value of an affiliate site = 2-3x earnings
  • TOTAL NET WORTH LOST BY AFFILIATES = $778,668,000!

How Much Did Amazon Make?

Here is an interesting way to look at it: Was value destroyed or just transferred? Did that transfer increase the value more than it destroyed it? 

  • Affiliate sites mutliple = 3x (see how to sell a website for more details)
  • Amazon value multiple = 99.31x  (P/E ratio as of April 14)
  • Value Destroyed = $778,668,000?
  • Value Created = $25,955,600,000?
  • Value Created for Jeff Bezos at 11% owner = $2,855,116,000

This means Jeff Bezos personally could have purchased all Amazon Affiliate sites given his net worth increase just from this change.

If you look at the Amazon Stock price, it has gone up over the last 5 days by 4x the value they created by cutting Amazon’s Affiliate program in half. Their market cap expanded $99,180,000,000 over the last 5 days. 

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Do these numbers make you feel small? 

Where to Buy an Amazon Affiliate website?

Depending on your outlook (affiliate commission can’t go lower than 3%, right?) now could be a great time to get a strategic Amazon Affiliate website. The best place to buy Amazon Affiliate Sites making under $2k/month is at MotionInvest.com 

What will need to happen now for any new sites getting bought/sold is that the historical earnings will need to be adjusted based on the updated commission table. Those updated earnings will be what is used to calculate the fair price moving forward.

How to Export Data from Amazon

Once logged into your account, go to reports.

NOTE – I find it odd that they have MASSIVE Important Notice signs at the top of our accounts right now and then a subtle email telling us ~50% of our earnings have been wiped out. But don’t forget your FTC guidelines. 

Above the graph that shows your affiliate income, you will see a download reports button.

Next, you will choose the timeline you want to export. We will start by exporting last year’s earnings by choosing preset and then choosing last year. Once done, click apply.

You will then click generate report. If you want, you can also choose a specific tracking ID if you only want to export a specific Amazon tag.

We also want this year’s report so we will do the same thing, except under preset, we will choose this year.

Again, we will either choose a specific tracking ID as well of just leave it to all. Then we will click generate reports.

Now you will need to wait until the report(s) are done and it shows that you can download them.

Summary

So yesterday was a bloody day for a lot of my friends, my audience, and my own portfolio. 

Millions of dollars of value has been lost by you and many others. I am sorry and feel the pain! 

In whatever way you are choosing to handle this change I wish you the best of luck! 

For me, I am looking at my affiliate sites and re-evaluating the best way to maximize value in the following ways:

  1. I will accelerate the migration of a couple of sites from affiliate sites to e-commerce sites
  2. For 2 others I will be pursuing finding other affiliate programs and QUICKLY scaling content to target keywords related to those affiliates.
  3. For all sites, I will be testing out an increased mix of display advertising to maximize the earnings per visitor.

If you have any thoughts please share below.

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