They just gave me money! That’s what happened the first time we decided to sell a digital product.
People just gave us money, for something that didn’t exist a week prior!
Ok, so that’s the punch line, let me backtrack a bit.
One of the big “problems” many bloggers have is monetization. The majority want to turn their part-time passion into a full-time business, but can’t seem to begin to generate any steady cash flow.
Without a steady cash flow coming in while working “part-time”, it’s hard to feel that going “full-time” is the right thing to do.
And they’re right!
But here is the problem, most of the bloggers who “can’t” make money from their blog are not really trying to.
Are you actively trying?
Time and time again we will have a discovery call with a blogger who we feel might be the right fit for us as a client. They have usually been referred to us by another client or have been listening to our podcast and decided to reach out.
Anyway, on the call we try and understand what they are hoping to achieve with their blog, be it money, influence, awareness etc. More often than not money is a major factor for them.
Some have good traffic numbers and followers, others are only up and running a matter of months, but both tell us the same thing.
“I can’t seem to make money from my blog, even if it were just enough to cover the cost of the blog for the moment I would be happy with that”
Right, so then we ask them what they are currently doing to monetize their blog, and the usual suspects pop up, Google Ads, Youtube Ads, and in the odd case, some paid ad space on their site that they have managed to sell to a client.
The big question
From here the question we ask is always the same;
“How do you think you are going to make money if you do not give people a chance to give you some?”
This, my friends, is the same question we were asked back in 2010 and the question remains relevant.
Many bloggers, including ourselves back then, do not give their audience a chance to give them money, yet complain about not being able to monetize.
How do we know this?
We stood where they stand now, we were in the same boat. This is where our first digital product came from and it was the best thing that ever happened to us.
We sat down over the course of a few days and wrote a “fantasy football guide” for players who wanted to use their “wildcard”. The concept was basic, we would offer advice on which teams and players you should look at over the coming six-ten week period, along with some advice when it came to sizing up the other teams in your “mini-league” and ways to find players that were cheap and producing plenty of “points”.
It took about a week in total to put together, between writing it, editing and then designing it, which was no fun I can tell you, especially as we had no design skills and had never done anything like this before.
But we got it done, it wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. We may not have been great at design, but we knew our topic inside and out, so the information was solid.
Once we were reasonably happy with it, (that’s another story of how perfectionism nearly stopped it ever happening) we put an ad in the sidebar of our site telling people it was available to buy for €10, announced it on our podcast that day and included a short piece about it in our weekly email we sent out. Then we waited.
Vindication & Validation
About 30 minutes went by after we had published everything and there was complete radio silence. Then an hour went by, then two, then three, nothing!
It wasn’t until almost 7 hours later that we got an email notification from PayPal to say that someone had bought a copy of our “guide”. It was at this point that we let out a big sigh of relief. We felt vindicated and we had now validated our idea.
Knowing that even just one person was willing to part with money for something that we created was a huge confidence booster. That feeling was honestly the best, it was like all the hard work and hours spent blogging, not just creating the guide, where all now worth it.
It got better of course and as the weekend deadline approached and the traffic to the site picked up, as it did every week, the sales started to become more regular. From one every seven hours, it went to one every hour, then two an hour, then three, then 10.
Honestly, opening up my email and seeing ten notifications for PayPal was a turning point for me. I knew then that this could be sustainable and begin to not only cover the costs but actually make money, not crazy life changing money, but enough to allow me to not have to worry if I wanted to go out and buy a new jacket or jeans or even to treat my wife to a new handbag (she does love a handbag).
Money changed our mindset
The money we made from that product did more than change the bank balance, it changed our mindset.
We knew that people were willing to give us money, all we had to do was provide them with opportunities to do so.
And that is where so many bloggers fall down. People won’t just knock on your door and give you money, there has to be an exchange and you need to start off that exchange by giving them a reason to want to give you money.
So ask yourself, am I giving people the opportunity to give me money? If the answer is no, as it so often is, then you need to think about ways you can offer you audience a chance to part with their money.