One of the greatest benefits of having a strong digital brand is the ability to use it as a means to generate revenue. If you’ve developed a large or loyal following, you can make money from your digital brand.
Having a unique skill, talent or expertise puts you in a position to leverage your digital brand for profit. If you want to grow your business and profit from your expertise, you must understand how to make money from your digital brand.
Ways to Make Money From Your Digital Brand
Most websites out there utilize display advertising to generate part of their revenues. Selling access to your audience is the simplest way to sell your digital brand. The most common adverting options include pay-per-click and CPM (cost per thousand impressions).
Pay-Per-Click: The pay-per-click model popularized by Google Adsense can be set up via Google in just a few steps. Simply put, you set up an area on your blog’s homepage dedicated to running ads, and advertisers pay based on the number of banner clicks or number of times their ad has been shown on your site.
CPM: Some ad inventory is sold on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis, meaning you will receive a predetermined amount for every 1,000 ads you display. Other networks such as Google Adsense will pay you for every click your visitors make on ads (don’t be tempted to click your own ads, though!)
So a $25 CPM would earn a blogger $25 for every thousand view/impressions of the ad.DBI TIP: It’s difficult for bloggers to earn significant revenue unless their blog attracts tens of thousands of visitors per day.
Display ads come in many formats and there are countless examples of display advertising out there. Here is an example of ad delivery on Forbes.
You can also make money from your digital brand by becoming an affiliate. Many retailers offer an affiliate program that pays a commission to websites that promote their products.
Amazon is the most recognized retailer that offers this affiliate arrangement. The retailer provides a trackable link that is included in blog posts or dedicated ads.
When someone purchases a product using the link, the retailer logs the sale and pays the blogger a commission.
The commission structure depends on the retailer and market demand. For example, retailers offering an e-book or online training often pay their affiliates 50 to 75 percent commissions.
Physical product retailers often pay much lower commissions, selecting razor-thin profit margins in their markets.DBI TIP: Promoting affiliate products is an effective way to start making money with a blog.
Affiliate Brokers: There are a number of highly regarded affiliate brokers out there.
These are the most popular places to start looking for affiliate products:
Promoted Posts: Another variation of the affiliate sale is a “promoted post.” Some companies approach well-known bloggers and pay them to promote or review their products with a favorable spin.DBI TIP: Be careful. Turning your blog content into adverting space can be profitable but jeopardizes the trust and integrity you have worked so long to establish with your readers.
If you choose to go this route, it’s critical that you associate yourself with products that are relevant to the subject and audience. Selling cars to motorcycle enthusiasts is a great way to turn your blog into a ghost town.
Sell Your Own Products
Creating and selling your own products is the most profitable way to make money from your digital brand. In this scenario, you keep all of the profits and build a valuable customer list. Readers will trust your own product is quality based on the quality of your digital brand.
Another advantage of selling your own products is that you don’t need huge amounts of traffic to make money. A core group of loyal fans can be a good base to build a profitable business from your products.
A blog is an incredibly powerful marketing tool that connects your passion and talent with the world. Sometimes, that’s enough to make a blog pay off.
Speaking engagements are another way to profit from your digital brand. If someone is considering hiring you to speak, they will want to do their homework on you and your website is where they will do it.
Your website doesn’t need to be fancy.
Having a few pages to share who you are, what you talk about, your testimonials and a contact information will suffice.
When selling your digital brand as a speaker, you should make sure your site communicates that you’re a speaker. You need to position yourself as an expert in your chosen field if you want to get paid to speak.
You don’t need have several degrees and years of experience to get a speaking gig. But you do need to show that you are extremely knowledgeable on your chosen topic.DBI TIP: Identity two or three specific topics that you can confidently and passionately talk about.
Overall, if someone is looking for a speaker, you want to spark their interest by showing all the topics about which you’re prepared to speak. If not, you may end up spending a lot of time going back-and-forth discussing other topics, or preparing presentations outside of your core area of expertise.
Consulting / Freelancing
As a consultant or freelancer, selling your digital brand involves knowing who your client is, writing content that solves their problems, becoming a resource, and growing your contacts.
Know who your client is. You must understand who your client is to effectively reach them. If your focus is all over the place, this strategy won’t work for you.
Write content that solves their problems. Prospective clients are looking to fulfill a need or meet a challenge. How do you expect to showcase your knowledge and expertise to that client?
Well, you write content that helps them overcome that challenge. An analogy that seems to resonate when I talk about this is creating content that fills gaps.
The amount of content your client can consume is astounding. This content can interfere with your communications and even confuse your client.
I believe that’s why they say ‘less is more’, right?
Instead of creating content for content’s sake, you need to create content that fills the gaps between what you offer, and what clients are searching for.DIB TIP: I suggest using Google Keywords search to understand what keywords your customers are using to search for a business, product, or service.
Avoid These Rookie Mistakes When Trying to Make Money From Your Digital Brand
Be patient. Invest your resources in creating relevant information and building relationships. Building your digital brand doesn’t happen overnight. Rushing to monetize your digital brand can ruin reader trust and stall your brand’s growth.
Be up-front about your blog’s role in building a business or promoting a product. Don’t waste your time trying to hide your intention to earn revenue. Tell your readers exactly what you are doing. Be sure to disclose when you are recommending products that pay commission.
Advertising can diminish the opinion and perception for your digital brand. Any overt advertising can aggravate consumers if unexpected. It’s best to make your recommendations, promotions, or advertising within the context of a blog post or personal email to your readers.
There are many opportunities for you to make money from your digital brand. Regardless of the avenue you pursue, it is most important that you protect the integrity of your digital brand.
You attract people to your brand by providing value and being someone your audience can know, like, and trust. As you take advantage of opportunities to earn revenue from your digital brand, prioritize delivering the same quality and value your audience grew to love.
What are some other ways to make money from your digital brand? Tell me your success stories in the comments.