Are you struggling to make money in a digital world? Quarantine life is kind of like a trial by fire. If you didn’t have a solid digital marketing plan for your business, you might feel a bit behind.
Remember, a business is a lot like investing. You have to diversify! If your income streams were only based on in-person activities, you might be hurting a lot right now. It’s not your fault. Who could have expected this?
Nonetheless, we want to help you make sure this doesn’t happen again. There are plenty of ways to make money online with your business. We’re going to share a few to help you get started.
# 1: Affiliate or Referral Links
Are you someone who is always recommending new products to people? Maybe you own a spa and have some favorite skincare products that you are always promoting. Since people aren’t coming to visit you anymore, you can still drive people to those products and get a kickback. This is a great way to make money in a digital world.
You might now make much with affiliate links without a large audience but something is better than nothing. Amazon is a great place to start. You can apply to their affiliate program and get unique links that you can share.
The best part? If someone clicks your link but buys a different product on Amazon, you still get the kickback for that.
Back to the spa example, maybe you want to write a blog post for your website about the best products for reducing redness. You can share that article all across your social media and include affiliate links for each product.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of regulations associated with affiliate marketing. Different companies or states may require that you declare a link is an affiliate link or that you have special phrasing on your website to make it clear. Do you research before you start so you don’t get shut down.
Other companies also use affiliate marketing so feel free to look at some other options and ask companies you really like if they have any programs like that.
If you’re in a creative field, Patreon is a great place to expand your business. It allows people to subscribe to you at various tiers. You can decide what each person in those tiers receives.
For instance, if you’re a writer you could get onto Patreon. Maybe you release a short story to all tiers every month. Then, people who are in the top tier for $50 a month get a custom story that includes them as a character. It’s up to you what you think is manageable.
Just keep in mind that because Patreon is subscription-based, you have to commit to consistently sharing content. People can unsubscribe at any time so if you’re not holding up your end of the bargain, people will stop paying that monthly fee.
YouTube offers a variety of ways to make money in a digital world. If you’re uploading videos, you can decide if your video includes ads. Views on those ads then translate into money for you.
Similar to Patreon, you can also have people who are considered channel members. For monthly payments, these people get special perks that you can decide.
If you like going live on YouTube, you can encourage your viewers to share Super Chats or Super Stickers. This just means that they’ve put a little bit of money behind their comment. You can give them a special shout-out or just ask that people viewing consider donating in this way.
If you used to have regular fitness classes, this could be a good way to keep those going. You can go live on YouTube and ask that people donate a certain amount as a Super Chat. Then, once your live video is done, you can still keep that video up with ads for extra monetizing.
You could also share private classes with people who decide to subscribe as channel members.
Keep in mind that you can combine some of these options as well. Maybe you want to share a make-up video and include affiliate links in the description. YouTube gives you a lot of options.
#4 Online Classes
Online classes are one of the most popular ways to monetize your business online. The great thing about them is that you can create a class once and people can buy it or watch it whenever (so long as the content stays relevant.)
You might already realize that you can do online classes through Patreon or YouTube. However, there are also some other options. We’ve used Kajabi and Skillshare.
Do some thinking about what you want to teach, how long your classes will be, how much you’ll charge, and where you’ll share your class. That will help you decide what platform you want your class on.
Keep in mind that if you’re using a platform like Skillshare, you’ll want to find ways to encourage viewers to stay connected with you. Maybe you encourage them to follow you on social media or you offer a freebie download that adds them to your email list. You want to be able to reach those people when you have another class available.
Aside from being able to monetize your own company through online classes, you can also learn a lot from the online classes that others are putting out. If you need to come up with a new skill or something new to offer your clients, there’s probably an online class that can help.
#5 Live Streams
We talked about live streams with YouTube but maybe you have a big following on Facebook or Instagram that you want to capitalize on.
Going live on these platforms is fairly simple and a great way to reach your audience where they already are. There has been a huge spike in social media usage during the quarantine period.
Live streams are a great way to connect with people. There are some best practices though that we’ve shared previously on our blog.
Keep in mind that there isn’t a direct way to monetize Facebook and Instagram live streams quite yet. You could encourage people who are watching to send a donation through a cash app like Venmo.
If you’re trying to reach business professionals, you might want to consider live streaming on LinkedIn. You have to apply to be able to live stream there. We recently heard from the Social Media Examiner podcast that LinkedIn is accepting more live stream applications lately given the times. You might want to test it out.
#6: Templates or Downloads
Whenever I’m in need of a new resume, I look at Etsy. That might sound strange but a lot of graphic designers create fancy resume templates and sell them for cheap on Etsy. Don’t think just in terms of physical products that you can offer. If you have a vintage store, then, of course, you’ll want to sell your products on sites like Etsy or eBay but consider what other types of digital products you could be offering.
Sites like Fiverr also have some options for tasks or downloads that you can provide. It could be anything from voice overs to editing. Don’t limit yourself to what you currently know. Think of new services that you can provide or ways to provide the same service in a new way.
#7: Online Shopping
If you sell a product, you’re going to want to really rethink your website and online shopping strategy for your customers. If you want customers to continue being able to have access to your products, one thing you can do is offer free shipping, better pricing on products, or more robust online order options.
We’ve even seen some companies offer pick up options. So long as you can do this safely, consider this options as well.
This might mean you need to update your pricing models a little bit, but it could be worthwhile if it’s the difference between having to completely close up shop or just scale down and offer different options.
Diversify to Make Money in a Digital World
The moral of the story is that you need to think of ways to provide something new for your clients in unique ways. What do your clients need right now? How can you adjust what you used to provide to fit a digital world? Do you have a way to reach your clients when you can’t see them in person?
This is a great time to start thinking about these questions. Don’t rest on what was working and expect that it will always be that way. Be innovative! If you have an idea but need some help implementing it, feel free to reach out to us.
Speaking of online courses, check out our course. Available free for 60 days on Skillshare.