Promoting a website and making it profitable is the one thing that most internet business owners struggle with more than anything. In fact, this is the reason why the majority of online businesses fail within the first few months in spite of the owner having spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on web design and product creation. However, you can easily avoid being a part of this statistic as long as you have a great plan for monetizing your site and the persistence to follow through with it. The following information will show you how to build a solid and dependable marketing “funnel” which you can use to make your business prosperous and successful.

What is a Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel is an incremental process that is designed to move interested prospects through a series of steps in order to turn them into paying customers and eventually loyal patrons of your business. In order for a marketing funnel to be successful, it must effectively build your brand and help you to establish trust with your customers. This is best accomplished through a strategic process that allows your prospects to become customers at a pace that they are comfortable with. At the same time, your marketing funnel must be designed to maximize every possible opportunity to market a product or service to your customer.

Your Marketing Funnel: A Blueprint for Success

Step One: Collect a Lead

One of the biggest mistakes that internet markers make is expecting a sale on the first visit. However, ultra-successful internet marketers such as Ali Brown, Mitch Meyerson and Frank Rumbauskas all claim that building a strong relationship with your list of customers is where the gold is. This means that the first step of your marketing funnel should always be to collect customer contact information such as their name and email. This is done by offering them something of value in return for their information such as a free ebook, a membership to your site, or a free report to download.

Step Two: Viral Lead Collection

Viral marketing is another one of the secret weapons of the most successful internet marketers, and one which you need to use whenever you have the opportunity. Viral marketing is the internet equivalent of word to mouth marketing and is how sites like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, and Stumbleupon got started. The best time to ask a customer for a referral is when they have just become a customer, whether they are a paying customer or a new list member. Therefore, your second step should be to offer your customer another free gift in exchange for sending their friends a referral email to sign up for your list.

Step Three: Your Sales Offer

Most of your customers are not going to buy right away and that’s the reason why it’s important to get their contact information so that you can continue to build value until they are ready to buy. However, you will get some customers who are ready to buy on the first visit and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to make them an offer. So your third step in your marketing funnel is to lead them directly to your sales page where you have a strong sales letter that you are consistently testing and optimizing and a 

Step Four: The Upsell

Marketing research continuously reveals that about one-third of customers who make a purchase is going to agree to an upsell of about 30% of the original product price. Therefore, your third step should be to make a one-time upsell offer to your new customer before you take them to your checkout page. This is why it is very important to have an eCommerce application and merchant account which makes it easy for customers to make a purchase and to add to their purchase. In addition to the upsell, it is also important to have a counter offer that you can make to the customers who decide to leave your sales page without buying. This can be done in the form of a popup that comes as soon as the customer hits the back button on their browser and should offer them an “abridged” version of your product at a fraction of the original price.

Step Five: Forum Membership

Forums and social networking sites are where all of the action is on the internet and so building one for your customers can bring you a TON of exposure and customer loyalty. However, your chances of getting someone to sign up for a forum after their purchase are much slimmer than the chances of them signing up during their checkout process. Therefore, once your customer has checked out, send them immediately to a page where they can sign up for your forum and even invite their friends in exchange for a few more free items. While you might end up giving away a lot of products this way, the long-term rewards will be well worth the initial sacrifice.

Step Six: Follow-up and Back End Sales

Since your relationship with your customer list is where the gold is, you’ll need to make sure that you have a strategic method for building that relationship and continuing to make offers to your customers. This is why it is a good idea to have an email service like Constant Contact or A Weber which allows you to split your list into segments so that you can mail your customers based on what products they have already bought from you. 

Otherwise, you might end up with a lot of them opting out of your list because they keep getting offers that they have already said yes to and which may even be at a discounted price from what they originally paid. Of course, you should also make sure that you are periodically sending out offers for free gifts in exchange for additional customer referrals.

This is just a basic marketing funnel that you can use to monetize your website and which in no way exhausts the possibilities in regard to viral marketing, upselling, and conversion testing. Just begin to put these steps into practice and remember to keep testing and refining your marketing process.

Five Easy Ways to Monetize Your Web Traffic 

As you are reading this article, you might have a wealth of untapped opportunities to monetize your website, without even increasing the amount of traffic that you already have going to it. Many online business owners are looking for ways to bring more traffic to their site so that they can increase your earnings. However, there are several things you can do to widen your profit margins by earning more money off of the traffic which you already have going to your site. In this article, we’ll be looking at five ways to increase your earnings without paying for more visitors or attracting more traffic through natural search engine results.

#1: Adding an Upsell Offer

If you are selling anything on your site and you aren’t making an immediate upsell offer after each customer purchase, you are certainly missing out on opportunities to earn more. Marketing research tells us that an upsell offer which is about 25% of the price of the regular offer will be exercised by approximately 30% of the customers who make a purchase. Some marketers even make multiple upsell offers for the customers who say yes to the first one. So ask yourself what other products your customers might be interested in and what you can offer them as an upsell. This simple monetization strategy could increase your earnings significantly, and without having to generate any more traffic than you are right now.

#2: Adding a Downsell Offer

When a visitor clicks away from the page which contains your sales offer, make them an immediate “down-sell” offer. A down-sell offers a lighter or “abridged” version of your product to the customers who choose not to exercise your original offer. In addition, you can add these customers to a separate subscriber list and use follow-up email marketing to sell them on upgrading to the full version of the product. You can even credit the money they paid for the abridged version of the product towards their future purchase, making it easier for you to increase conversions.

For example, if you are selling a product for $47, your down-sell offer could be a $17 version of the product, and you could use follow-up marketing to offer them the option of making the full purchase for another $30. This method can help you to convert customers who are “on the fence” about buying the full-priced product and increase the amount of money earned from your existing traffic.

#3: Viral Marketing

In addition to collecting email addresses from your visitors, make an immediate offer for them to receive a free gift in exchange for inviting some of their friends to sign up for your email list. This will help you to generate more traffic to your site from word of mouth and to build your email subscriber list. Provided that you have an effective email marketing strategy in place, this monetization method can help you to increase your number of email subscribers and thus bring you more sales from your email marketing campaign.  

Just be sure that you don’t automatically add the invited people to your list, send them an invitation to join your list in exchange for a free gift, then offer them a free gift in exchange for inviting their friends to join your subscriber list.

(More on Viral Marketing)

#4: Offering Affiliate Products on Your Site  

Many website owners don’t want to make affiliate offers on their site because those offers create a conflict of interest with the products which the site owner is already selling. However, there’s a VERY good chance that your customers are purchasing products from people who aren’t your competitors, and there’s no reason why you can’t profit from those purchases by advertising those products on your site. For example, if you have a site that sells Guitars, check Amazon or Clickbank or another affiliate network for guitar instructions products.

Any product which is being purchased by your customers but which is not in direct competition with your product will work for generating additional affiliate commission. This way, you’re offering your customers something which they’re already going to purchase anyway, but without discouraging them from purchasing your products.

#5: Adding an Ongoing Membership Product

Adding an ongoing membership product is similar to an upsell, only you automatically give your customers the first month free when they purchase your original product. For example, you can sell monthly memberships to premium to tech support forums, instructional content on how to use your products, or other types of access to members-only areas on your site. The best way to do this is to make the purchase of the membership automatic for the customers who purchase your product, offering the first month for free. Set up an automatic billing process that begins monthly billing if the customer does not cancel the membership within the first 30 days.

Provided that you offer the customer enough value for the first 30 days of membership, you can create some residual income through the collection of monthly membership fees.

Select one of these monetization strategies which you think that you can easily incorporate into your existing marketing funnel and get started with it. Once you’ve tweaked it, you can move on to the next one, until you have applied all five. Doing this alone could significantly increase your profits without having to bring more traffic to your site. Good luck!

Three Strategies for Running a More Effective Online Business

Most online marketers try to increase their profits only by increasing their website traffic or by increasing their conversion rates.  However, there are other factors that can help you to increase your profits without having to attract more traffic or increase conversions and which can make your traffic strategies more profitable. In this article, we’ll look at three simple strategies which you can apply right away to generate more profits and make better decisions about how to promote your website.

Strategy #1: Finding and Increasing Your Value Per Customer

Do you know the exact value of your average customer? If not, you’re missing out on a chance to gain greater control over your marketing campaigns. Your value per customer is the dollar value of each person who buys from you minus the cost of delivering the product to the customer. For example, if you only have one product and it costs $97, you would calculate your average value per customer with an equation like the one below:

$97 – product delivery cost - the cost of acquiring a customer = total value per customer

For example, let’s assume that your product costs $17 to drop ship to the customer’s home. Then, if you run a PPC campaign and spend $50 to acquire one customer, your value per customer would be calculated as follows:

$97 - $17 = $80

So one customer brings in $80 and costs $50 to obtain:

$80 - $50 = $30

This means $30 is your total value per customer. Once you know this, you can work on increasing your total value per customer simply by adding an upsell offer. You also have a much clearer picture of how an increase in your conversion rate might affect your profits. For example, if your conversion rate is 1%, you know that increasing it to %1.5 increases your value per customer to $60.

This can help you more accurately measure the value of decisions such as: hiring a copywriter to rework your sales page, hiring a designer to give your sales page a makeover, adding a free bonus to your offer. For example, if you hire a copywriter for $200 to rewrite your sales page and the conversion rate increases by only .25%, your total value per customer has increased by $7.50. So you know it will take you 30 sales to make your $200 investment back.

This gives you a clearer picture of how quickly you’re recovering your investments so that you can make more intelligent decisions about where to spend your marketing dollars. It will also help you apply the second strategy…

#2: Focusing On the Right Marketing Campaigns

Calculating your value per customer helps you to compare two marketing campaigns and discover which one is more effective. For example, if you have a classified ad that costs you a total of $200 a month to run and you’re making and an average of five sales, you could calculate your value per customer as follows:

$97 -$17 = $80

So one customer brings in $80 and costs $40 to obtain:

$80 - $40 = $40

As you can see, you now know that your value per customer is higher for your classified ads. This means that it might make more sense to invest some more money into running classified ads before you invest more money into PPC campaigns, where your value per customer is only $30. You also know that by hiring a professional copywriter or designer to rework your ad, you could recover your investment faster than you would if you had the copywriter rework your PPC offer.

As you calculate your value per customer for each of your campaigns, you might find that you have campaigns that are only generating a $10 value per customer and that you’re better off investing that money into a campaign that brings you better profits. With this information, you can also get a better idea of what your average value per customer is across all your campaigns and use this information to create more effective long-term marketing plans…

Strategy #3: Future Revenue Forecasting

Revenue forecasting is creating specific financial goals for your company and determining in advance how you’re going to achieve them. For example, let’s assume that you have four marketing campaigns and that you already know your total value per customer for each campaign and how much money you have to spend to acquire each customer:

  1. PPC Marketing: $30 Value per Customer (you make one sale for each $50 invested)
  2. Facebook Marketing: $45 Value Per Customer (you make one sale for each $60 invested)
  3. Article Marketing: $10 Value Per customer (you make $10 for each $50 invested)
  4. Classified Ads: $40 Value per Customer (you make $40 for each $40 invested)

If you have a goal to earn a total of $4,500, you know that you need 100 sales from your Facebook marketing campaign which means that you need to invest $6,000 into Facebook marketing to earn the total of $4,500 in profits. So if the traffic from your Facebook marketing campaign maxes out at $600 a week, you know that it’s going to take you about 10 weeks to achieve your goal using Facebook marketing.

As you can see, this will require some work and analysis, but it will help you to set and to achieve specific business goals according to a fairly well-estimated timeline. The more precise you can be with your goals, the easier it will be for you to plan how and where to invest your money and your time. This will take the fear out of decisions such as outsourcing or investing additional money into creating new products or new marketing campaigns.

Where to Find More Tips and Strategies for Increasing Your Online Profits

As you know, there are many other strategies for increasing the value of your marketing and generating traffic for your site. This is why we’re offering a free seven-part email course on SEO and internet marketing. To get instant access to this email course and weekly up-to-date SEO tips, fill in the form below. Thanks for visiting