Monetization Models, Selling Digital Products Ie Ebooks, Courses, and Software as a Service (SAAS)

u/FvDijk

What monetisation models have you tried? And did they work?

When I look at general blogging advise online, most of what I see is making money from advertising. That can certainly work, but it requires a lot of traffic.

Affiliate marketing is another. Yet again, it requires more traffic.

From personal experience, I have gotten consultancy gigs through my blogging. It also helped me in landing a job, as it showed a broad interest in my field. Job aside, it's more of a side project though.

So I was interested in what others experienced in having their blog make them some money. Not as advise, but in a sharing of experiences.
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I think I've done it all when it comes to monetization – mostly because I just want to be diversified as possible!

I started my blog as a way to promote my freelance services. So my blog definitely helped bring in clients.

I've also had great success selling digital products (ebooks, courses and Software as a Service (SaaS)).

Affiliate marketing generates a little bit of monthly income for me, not a ton, but enough to cover the monthly expenses of my blog.

I also have ads on my blog and they do MUCH better than what I expected. I waited a few years before putting ads up, however, until I had lots of traffic.

I've done a bit of sponsored postings, but not many.

FvDijk ✍️
Did you market these digital products additionally, or were most sales through your blog(s)?

Just wondering if you could use the blog to boost your visibility on Amazon for example, and if you have any insight on that.

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All sales started through my blog only. Once I saw that the products I had were of interest to my target market (and once my Facebook pixel had lots of data) I began using Facebook and Instagram ads to further my sales!

FB and IG ads weren't necessary though, and I could've continued using just my blog to drive sales but it was easier to scale with the ads, obviously :)

You could absolutely use your blog to boost your visibility on Amazon. Especially if you are able to write some high ranking pieces of content.
FvDijk ✍️
Thanks for your insights.

wantstartblogging
I wondered if you could give me some advice on a blog I am thinking about creating?

I would like to promote the arts in my area by creating a daily interview with a local creator (artist, musician, chef, interior designer, photographer, etsy seller, brewer, etc.). I live in a somewhat rural midwest area that has a lot to offer and several unique small cities with a rough population of around 300k total. I would do an audio (possibly switch to video) interview with a creator and then distribute the content through a podcast, blog post, social media posts, email, YouTube video, etc.

Current thoughts…
👉 Ads on blog, podcast, email (start with adsense/other where appropriate and transition to local)
👉 YouTube views
👉 Annual event featuring creators with live music, booths (have some experience with this)
👉 Brand clothing and other items with portion of profit going to local school arts programs

Thank you for taking the time to read this and share your thoughts!

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Featuring others is a great way to get your content out fast. I just wrote an article on one of my blogs where I featured around 20 local businesses. I emailed each business to let them know I had featured them, which lead to them sharing my article as well as their friends and family. Within a matter of days, my article had around 1,000 Facebook shares.

So with that being said, featuring others will really help you get your content shared :)

You've also got really good ideas for re-purposing each piece of content.

In terms of Etsy and other online shops, you might be able to use affiliate links as well https://www.etsy.com/affiliates.

I haven't used Adsense, but I have heard that they payout isn't that great. I waited until I had enough sessions for Mediavine, but I recommend testing it out and seeing how it works for you.

Having an event is an excellent idea! Your blog appears to be very community-oriented so I feel like an event would be a good way to get your name out there in a way that aligns with the purpose of your blog.

Overall, I think you've got a great plan and a good idea for your blog!
wantstartblogging
Thank you very much for your comments!

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icpooreman
I got started in e-commerce and have slowly transitioned into content creation because "Holy crap, you can just get the traffic for free? That makes this so much easier."

I'm often astounded at how little bloggers are making from their traffic. A $10 RPM from ads? Seriously? You're happy with that?

Create your own product or find a high priced affiliate offer that matches your content. Or a mix of both. You start selling a $500 e-course, or a monthly subscription software product or even a funny t-shirt with an upsell and downsell… You'll be surprised with just how much money you can make from not very much traffic.

1 out of 1000 people buying your product with a $50 average order value would be a poor performance… But that's still a $50 RPM and absolutely crushes what ads are paying.

IamATechieNerd
Interesting! Have you successfully created a product and sold? Can you give some insights on the conversion rate from visitors to sales? And your product website link if you don't mind?

icpooreman
Ya so I got started in <year>-ish selling generic physical products on Amazon. That went quite well for a little while until everybody realized you could do it and competition skyrocketed / margins tanked.

Which left me with a good amount of physical inventory I needed to offload ASAP or else I was going to take a loss on it. So I got into paying for Google Shopping and Facebook ads to drive traffic to my own website where I sold off the remainder of my inventory.

With Google Shopping I was able to convert about 5% of my desktop traffic to sales. Probably about 2-3% on mobile. I think I could have gotten conversion rates higher if I'd had more experience but I was doing this as quickly as possible to not lose money. After that, I switched over to blogging since the traffic's free.

I haven't been blogging for very long and my traffic numbers are still too low to even care about selling anything.

But for commercial intent keywords to a product page. Converting almost 5% of your visitors into buyers should be achievable. For non-commercial intent keywords like most blog posts will be your conversion rates will be much lower. But as I said, if 1 out of 1,000 people buys your product that has a $50 profit margin, you're still getting a $50 RPM and CRUSHING ads. Even if you're absolutely terrible at e-commerce you should be able to achieve that. Just sell extreme impulse purchases. Think of it like the crap they put in the checkout aisle at the grocery store.

My guess would be you should be able to hit 0.5-1% pretty easily since you know the niche and have credibility as the author / can retarget your audience via ads and your email list. 0.1% sounds comically low to me if you do a good job of finding a product you could sell that your audience would want.
IamATechieNerd
I do have a product I think people want, as I am a software developer. I want to start blogging as a way to get sales for my software product. The target market is ecommerce people like Shopify website owners etc who do FB ads. Do you think it's worth starting a blog to sell a ~$100 Software as a Service (SaaS) product
icpooreman
So the create content -> get free traffic -> point your traffic at your software product with 0 distribution costs is a GREAT low-risk business model pretty much no matter what.

The only problem with it is blogging is not exactly a short-term game. It can take a huge amount of effort and time to create content people want to consume. You could be sitting here in 2 years after putting a lot of work into it and still not getting the type of traffic you were hoping for. Not that you shouldn't do it, but keep in mind that this is a long term game and your software that you want to sell will still need to be relevant 2-5 years from now.

If I had a digital product worth about $100 and I felt it had appealed to a very specific audience. I'd start out creating a couple of video ads to use with YouTube and Facebook ads. You could make a killing overnight if this truly does have appeal to an audience that's easily targetable. And if people start liking your product and linking to it, the backlinks will help your blog that you start down the line as well.

wantstartblogging
Any thoughts on how to monetize content that is centered around local area arts/music/design? Obviously local advertising, but what other revenue sources have you seen work that could be used in that scenario? Thanks for your input!

icpooreman
I'm actually not sure as I've always been focused on as big an audience as possible to make the numbers work so I've never really thought about doing local stuff.

Something I like to do when I'm stumped is Google sites you think are similar to yourself and check out what they're selling. Somebody out there somewhere has probably mastered what it is you're attempting to do. Just find an example of it out there on the web and "borrow" that business model.
wantstartblogging
Thank you. I've been attempting that but so far have found most are government funded (tourism/chamber), or are in larger metro areas which are typically owned by a newspaper or radio station.

Not giving up hope yet, I think our community could really use a positive site like this. I just want to have some roadmap in my head to make this work long term before I jump in.

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