When people get to know, like and trust you, they'll buy from you. It’s great to have a lot of Google traffic coming to your website but unless that traffic wants to do business with you it’ll be no more than a vanity metric.
For a website monetization strategy to succeed, it'll need a mechanism for capturing and nurturing leads. In fact, the online sales cycle requires multiple touch points and a period of time before it can yield results.
Your task during this time is to build a relationship of trust with your visitors through multiple marketing outreach strategies so that you can set the stage for turning them into paying customers.
What do I need to do to convert my website traffic into cash?
Before you can monetize your visitors, you’ll need to create a trust “bank account” where you can make constant “deposits” by providing them with valuable free information without asking for anything in return.
On of the most effective ways to accomplish this task is through a lead-nurturing campaign. This is a continuous stream of email marketing communications paced in such a way as to remain top of mind without either letting them forget about you (if you don't communicate often enough) or turning them off (if you communicate too often).
Once you’ve built a large reservoir of trust with your visitors, you can then implement an effective lead conversion strategy that will turn them into a long-term cash-generation machine.
Let’s now look at the different building blocks that you’ll need in order to make this approach work for your website.
1) Lead Generation
The first building block required to monetize your traffic is lead generation.
Before you can market to website visitors, you first need to obtain their email address. In order to capture your visitors' emails you'll need to use a lead generation tool that displays an opt-in page, side panel or popup on top of your pages offering a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
What's a lead magnet? It could be anything that's low cost for you to produce and of high value for your visitor, such as a free eBook, a white paper, a case study, a valuable checklist, and so on.
Once your visitors request your lead magnet, they’ll be entered into an email campaign in your bulk email service (the second building block) as a new lead. Your job then will be to send them regular emails with valuable free information in order to develop your relationship of trust.
Once your leads get to know you, like you and trust you they’ll be primed to buy from you, and you’ll be ready to move on to your monetization strategies with a minimum amount of friction, objections and barriers.
Now, there are many lead generation tools available on the market but not all of them will have what you need in order to succeed as an online solopreneur. What you’re looking for is a tool that:
- Is easy of learn and use. You don’t want to spend endless hours going through steep learning curves just to use a utilitarian piece of software. Your focus should be on getting to cash as quickly as possible, not wasting time trying to figure out how to operate an overly complex tool.
- Has a highly level of customization. You want to be able to match the branding and design of your lead generation tool to the look and feel of your website so that your user experience is consistent.
- Is easy to integrate with bulk email services or marketing automation platforms. You want your lead generation tool to integrate with popular email marketing systems at the push of a button, without having to type in a single line of code.
- Has good customer support in case you get stuck. You also want to choose a service that has highly responsive live customer support in case you get stuck in the implementation phase. Creating a solid visitor monetization strategy has a lot of moving parts and you need to be able to troubleshoot issues with the help of expert support.
- Has a lot of professional-quality opt-in templates to choose from. Finally, you’re looking for a tool that offers a lot of pre-made templates that look great and work right out of the box so you don’t have to create each lead-capture page from scratch (unless you happen to have a good eye for design).
The lead conversion funnel
Once you’ve built your lead-generation opt-in pages, where you can obtain your visitor’s email address in exchange for your free lead magnet, why stop there?
There will always be a small, yet highly profitable number of “low hanging fruit” visitors that will be ready to buy from you early on thus bypassing the lead nurturing timeline of a drip email campaign.
These visitors will provide you with a significant cash injection and the best way to monetize them is through the creation of a lead conversion funnel.
A funnel is a marketing device that's used to guide visitors through a series of pages with sales copy intended to quickly convert prospects into customers.
Unlike an opt-in page, where your goal is to obtain an email address, a funnel is structured to convince your visitor why this is the perfect time to take action to purchase your product by making an offer they can’t refuse.
Here's the way it works: your starting point is your opt-in, where you offer a lead magnet in exchange for your visitor’s email address. But then instead of showing your visitors a thank-you page for requesting the lead magnet, you show them a one-time-offer funnel page, or OTO.
On this page, you present your prospect with a long-copy sales letter that's structured to take the lead down a path where the more they read, the more they feel compelled to purchase your product.
Now, sales letters are a complex subject outside the scope of this article, but as an outline you want to:
- Establish what the problem your prospect wants to solve is
- Show how your solution has addressed this problem for other people
- Provide testimonials to reassure your prospect that your solution works for real folks just like them
- You then make your offer with an irresistible discount, like 60% or 70% off (which is easy to accomplish with information products because of their high margins)
- And finally, you offer a number of free low-cost or no-cost bonuses to seal the deal followed by an order button with a clear and compelling call to action
When your leads place an order they’ll be guided to a checkout page, and when they check out after entering their credit card details, your funnel will continue on to a one-click upsell page, or OCU.
Here you offer those who made the first purchase a complementary offer that's also heavily discounted (using a shorter sales letter or a sales video). A percentage of customers will take you on your upsell offer increasing your profit margin.
But some will pass it up, which activates the third part of the funnel: the one-click downsell page, or OCD. Here you’ll offer a lower-priced complementary offer or the same product in your upsell page but even more heavily discounted.
Some online marketers even show a second downsell page for those who pass up the first one.
This is what a lead conversion funnel looks like, which is the basis for a great many online success stories. When your funnel is highly tuned, it becomes a cash cow that makes you money while you sleep.
Best Lead Generation Software Overall: Leadpages
Best Budget Lead Generation Software: Thrive Leads
Best Runner-up: Unbounce
Best Free Lead Generation Software: Hustle
2) Bulk Email Broadcasting
Now let's move on to the second monetization building block.
Once you’ve captured your leads’ email addresses, you’ll need a bulk email service that'll place each visitor into one or more email campaigns.
For example, you may use two different lead magnets, one for visitors interested in your smartphone photography checklist and another one for visitors interested in your DSLR camera checklist.
Each group of visitors will then be placed on a dedicated email marketing campaign based on their particular interests.
These campaigns will then be programmed to send each group of visitors drip emails so you can nurture your relationship with them and build trust over time.
Once you’ve banked enough trust, you will then begin to promote specific offers to each group in order to convert your leads into a revenue stream.
In fact, a properly executed email campaign will turbo charge your revenue. Over time your growing email list will become a marketing asset that could easily replace the income from your day job and then some!
So, what should you look for in a bulk email service?
Aside from high email deliverability (which is a given), you’re looking for a set of features that will allow you to gather valuable data about the online behavior of your subscribers so you can mine them for revenue gold.
The best bulk email services will allow you to track, trace, measure and act on virtually anything your subscribers do online.
For example, you want to be able to...
- Find out when they open an email (how long after receiving it and how many times)
- Find out when they click on any links inside (using traceable link triggers)
- Find out when they visit a page on your website (what specific pages and how often)
- Find out when they read a blog post (which ones and how often)
- Find out what part of the world they come from (country and time zone)
Best Bulk Email Service Overall: AWeber
Best Budget Bulk Email Service: GetResponse
Best Runner-up: ConvertKit
Best Freemium Bulk Email Service: Sendinblue
3) Marketing Automation
There’s no question that developing a growing and thriving email list of followers is key to earning sustained online income. What’s not clear to many is the true reason why this happens.
Many people think that the money lies in the size of your email list—the bigger your list, the more money you'll make. Yet, while list size can be important, this is a misconception.
In fact, you could have a huge list that generates pennies on the dollar and a small list that generates thousands. Why? Because the money is not on the list itself but on how you nurture your relationship with your prospects.
And in order to nurture this relationship in a way that can scale your online income, you’ll need to arm yourself with the 3rd pillar of online monetization: marketing automation tools.
As subscribers get added to your email campaigns you'll need to do more than just enter them into an autoresponder sequence. You'll need to analyze their every online move and take the appropriate nurturing actions necessary to maximize your revenue.
What are typical actions your subscribers may engage in?
- Opening informational pages on your website
- Opening product pages on your website
- Reading specific blog posts that indicate where they currently fit in your marketing funnel
- Opening your emails
- Clicking on specific links in your emails
- Making a specific purchase in your eCommerce store
...plus many other possibilities
Each one of these behaviors will send a signal to your marketing automation tool so that you can take effective nurturing actions in order to develop a relationship that'll eventually lead to a purchase.
For example, if a number of your subscribers opens an email you sent them in your autoresponder sequence, then clicks on a link to a relevant post, and finally visit a product page on your website, then you can create a nurturing path with a dedicated highly-targeted email sequence to nudge them towards the purchase of that specific product.
Toward the end of that sequence you could then engage with them directly to answer questions and bring the potential sale to a close.
Here’s another example: you could create a rule to tag a visitor who lands on one of your product pages as “low hanging fruit” and then have the marketing automation tool send you a notification so that you can email them an FAQ about that specific product or other marketing/sales outreach information.
Or you could create a workflow with some basic programming logic so that if visitors check out product A they'll get sent to a sequence of emails specific to that product and if they check out product B they'll get sent a different email sequence.
Depending on the nature of your business, there are virtually unlimited nurturing paths that you can take in order to maximize your monetization potential.
All you need for the job are flexible marketing automation tools that allow you to easily take care of all possible monetization scenarios to create a solid cash-generating pipeline of leads.
Best Marketing Automation Tool Overall: Drip
Best Budget Marketing Automation Tool: Mailerlite
Best Runner-up: ActiveCampaign
Best Freemium Marketing Automation Tool: Omnisend
Website traffic is the first metric that most of us like to focus on at first because it's easy to track and measure.
Yet, unless you build a relationship of trust with your audience you'll struggle when you try to monetize them over the long term.
But if you follow the strategies in this article and use the three building blocks for monetization:
- Lead Generation Tools
- Bulk Email Services
- Marketing Automation Tools
You'll be able to create a true online revenue engine that fires on all cylinders.
To find the best tools to help you get there, check out our Email Marketing page for our recommendations or visit our home page at BestTech2EarnOnline for a full tech roadmap for online entrepreneurs.