Ever wondered about the business models of successful webpreneurs? And why your online business is not taking off? Why you’re not getting any traction?
In this article you'll discover:
- the right way and the wrong way to do affiliate marketing
- why Alliance Partnering can rocket you towards your goals
- a marketing technique that delivers $39 for every $1 spent
- how sales funnels work and why you need one
- a business model that will pull customers into your orbit
Are you using marketing techniques or a business model?
‘What’s the difference?’ you ask.
A marketing technique is a single isolated action.
It's often undertaken in a random, haphazard way. It’s usually not part of a larger strategy.
A business model is a carefully thought-out system with several moving parts that all work together to produce a certain result.
Successful webpreneurs have many different approaches to online business.
But they all have one thing in common:
They pursue deliberate, well thought-out business models.
Here are the seven business models of successful webpreneurs.
Business Model #1 – The Power of Blogging
You may be wondering why a blog is one of the business models of successful webpreneurs.
To answer that we have to look at the difference between a website and a blog.
I put up my first website back in 1999. Back then if you wanted to add a new web page, you had to know HTML code (there were no drag-and-drop page builders).
Websites were difficult to update and as a result they were basically static.
Then along came WordPress in 2003, and other similar platforms, and the blogosphere was born.
Suddenly publishing on the web was within reach of everyone – it was as easy as writing an email.
- By 2006 there were 50 million blogs
- By 2010 there were 152 million
- In 2017 there are over 4 billion blog posts published to the web every day
Websites are no longer static
What this all means is that websites are no longer static – they’re living, breathing things.
You can leave comments at the end of a blog post. The author can reply to those comments. This means that websites are no longer one-directional broadcasting instruments. They are now vehicles for conversation between publisher and readers.
In his free eBook, ‘Blog Profits Blueprint’, Yaro Starak writes that this two-way communication radically changed the world wide web.
An environment of trust
This two-way communication created an environment of trust. And that's something that was in very short supply on the Internet in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The result? Blog publishers have been able to build up huge followings of loyal readers. These readers value their posts, trust them, and regard them as authorities in their field.
It so happens that those are the very factors that turn random visitors into loyal customers.
At about the same time, a revolution was taking place in search technology. Search engines were developing complex algorithms for ranking web pages.
These algorithms favoured dynamic content over static content because the engines wanted to show content that was up-to-date.
This gave blogging yet another advantage over traditional websites: they ranked higher in the search engine results.
How do blogs make money?
So how exactly do blogs make money?
It’s quite simple:
- Someone creates a blog (website) packed with valuable content that solves people’s problems.
- A visitor finds the blog through a search engine query, social media sharing, or personal referral
- The visitor is funnelled into a mechanism that creates revenue (more on this below).
In Yaro’s words: “Your goal is to create a niche-focused, high quality blog, with a small but highly engaged audience, whom you can sell products and services to, earning high profit margins”.
Business Model #2 - Affiliate Marketing
In the right hands affiliate marketing is a very successful business model and some people have made millions from it.
The 'Hit and Run' method of affiliate marketing
But most people, as John Chow explains in his free eBook ‘The Ultimate Online Profit Model’, are doing it wrong:
The majority of new affiliate marketers getting into the business do what I call "hit and run" affiliate marketing...some affiliates do very well with this model. Most lose their shirts - John Chow
Their approach to affiliate marketing is what John calls the ‘hit-and-run’ method.
It works like this:
- Select an affiliate offer to promote
- Send traffic to the sales page with Pay Per Click, Pay Per View, Cost Per
- Thousand (CPM), Solo Mailings etc
Make Money Online!
In the hit-and-run method, the affiliate marketer makes a sale and then has no further contact with the customer. This model fails because of two important facts of online business:
- The vast majority of online profits are made from repeat sales
- On average it takes 7x more money to acquire a customer than to make a repeat sale to the same customer.
What this means is that most affiliates are doing the donkey-work for the affiliate merchant. The affiliate puts in the hard yards to acquire the customer. And the merchant gets to keep the customer and make a lifetime of repeat sales.
Use automated email sequences to build relationships
The strategy used by John Chow is quite different. It's one of the key business models of successful webpreneurs.
It involves more up-front work than the hit-and-run model but it pays off in spades:
- Choose a series of affiliate products to promote in the same niche
- Create a free eBook in the niche to give away
- Create a squeeze page offering the free eBook
- Send traffic to the squeeze page
- Capture the lead coming to the squeeze page
- Deploy an email auto responder to build the relationship with your new subscriber
- Recommend affiliate products and services to solve your subscribers’ problems.
The main difference between this model and the hit-and-run model is that if you follow the steps above you’ll be building a customer base.
You no longer send your leads straight to the affiliate merchant’s website. Instead, you send them to your own squeeze page and capture their emails so you can market to them again and again.
The reason this model is so successful is that it’s based on a core secret of successful Webpreneurs - its much easier and cheaper to sell to someone who has already bought from you than it is to acquire a new customer.
Business Model #3 – The Power of Relationships
It might scare the living daylights out of you, but the fact is reaching out to other bloggers, especially successful ones, is one of the most powerful ways of jump-starting your blog.
You guessed it - it's yet another of the business models of successful webpreneurs.
Reaching out to other bloggers
Yaro Starak relates that the first big traffic breaks he received came from popular blogs linking to his blog. Why did they link to him?
- He made some form of proactive contact with the blogger (by email or Skype), or did something to get their attention.
- He wrote an article worth linking to.
In fact, Yaro’s first traffic spike came from a link that he got from Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.net (needless to say, Darren wasn’t as famous back then as he is now – reaching out to him today would be more difficult).
In his free eBook Authority Through Alliances: the Authority Blogger’s Guide To Creating Profitable Partnerships, Chris Garrett defines alliance partnering as two people coming together to achieve a common objective by pooling their resources.
Alliance Partnering can put you on a fast track to success: “By gaining access to other bloggers audiences you can rocket towards your goals faster, easier, more efficiently and with few, or even zero costs”.
Alliance partnering takes many forms but the one you’re probably most familiar with is guest blogging. It’s hugely effective! In guest blogging you provide outstanding content to another blogger in exchange for access to their audience.
Of course, reaching out to really big names in the blogosphere is probably not going to work but Eli Seekins has described a very effective technique for reaching out to their followers.
Business Model #4 - Create Your Own Product
Ramit Sethi, best-selling author of 'I Will Teach You To Be Rich', writes in his free eBook The Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Business that this is his favourite business model: “By far the most profitable Internet business model is to create your own information product”.
I don’t think many online entrepreneurs would disagree with Ramit. This is another of the business models of successful webpreneurs.
Information products that you could create include eBooks, downloadable software, membership sites, and videos, to mention just a few.
You might think you don’t have any skills you could turn into an information product. But you almost certainly do, as Ramit points out.
What do your friends say you're great at?
Ask yourself: “what do my friends say I’m great at?”
Maybe you have a knack for installing new gadgets like Wi-Fi range extenders or smart TVs? Maybe you know everything anyone needs to know about setting up as a sole trader? Maybe you just have a natural talent for editing and proof reading?
You could turn all those things into successful businesses.
Turn your articles into eBooks
John Chow points out that most bloggers have enough blog posts to make many eBooks: “That is how I created ‘Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com’”.
Business Model #5 – Email Lists
It may be a cliché of online business but it’s true: the money is in the list. But don’t take my word for it, listen to Yaro Starak:
You make the majority of your money from subscribers. Subscribers are people who have been exposed to your work and enjoyed it so much that they have signed up for more. They say yes to your offers, become customers, members, and raving fans willing to pay to be involved with you - Yaro Starak
And here’s John Chow saying the same thing:
If you want to become a big affiliate marketer you absolutely need an email list. That is your customer base. Without one, you’ll just be another hit and run affiliate marketer working for peanuts - John Chow
In fact, your blog and your list are the two pillars of your online business:
- Your blog captures peoples attention and gets them to subscribe to your list
- Your email list is your way of staying in touch with your visitors once they’ve left your website. You send a message, they click on the links and buy your products.
Email might be older technology but it has the highest ROI of any communication channel. Staying in contact with website visitors through email continues to be one of the business models of successful webpreneurs.
Neil Patel writes that: “The benefits of email are substantial and striking, especially compared to social and search channels. It’s estimated that you get a $39.40 return on every $1 invested into email marketing”.
Business Model #6 – The Graduated Sales Funnel
All successful Webpreneurs have one thing in common:
A very deliberate and well thought-out sales funnel.
And they move their customers through it, from one level to the next, a bit like high school. That’s why I’ve called it a ‘graduated’ sales funnel.
This is one of the most important business models of successful webpreneurs.
What is a sales funnel?
Someone who discovers your blog for the first time has entered the top of your funnel. When they subscribe to your newsletter, they move a bit further down your funnel.
Let’s say you have a short PDF that you sell for $7. You mention it in your newsletter and that person clicks on the link and buys it. They have just moved even further down your funnel.
You offer more products at increasing prices as the funnel goes down.
Repeat customers - the key to online marketing
The sales funnel model is based on three facts of online marketing:
- To get someone to buy something from you for the first time is the hardest sale you will ever make.
- It is much easier and cost effective to sell to your existing customers.
- Your profits are made from a small group of hyper responsive customers.
Jimmy D. Brown puts it this way in his free eBook ‘3 Shifts To An Extra 3K Per Week’:
“the money is not in the list (as most people say) but in the list of previous customers: people who have already bought from you” - Jimmy D. Brown
You don't need a huge list
Here are two more principles about the sales funnels of successful Webpreneurs:
- The real profits are at the bottom of the funnel
- You don’t need an enormous list to make this model work.
The math of online business
Ramit Sethi calls it ‘the math of online business’.
The first thing Ramit ever sold on the Internet was a $4.95 eBook. His self-confidence (at that time) was so low he couldn’t believe anyone had bought it.
But now, most of his revenue comes from a product priced at $497. The higher priced product doesn’t require nearly as many sales to bring in the same revenue as the lower priced product. Hence Ramit’s statement: “It’s not magic, its math”.
He still sells the $4.95 eBook. In fact, in a way it’s just as important as the higher-priced item because it’s the entry point into his sales funnel.
Business Model #7 – Building Authority
Becoming an authority in your niche is now essential for succeeding in online business, as Brian Clark points out in his free eBook ‘A Content Marketing Strategy That Works’.
Genuine authority has now replaced the brash, empty, self-promoting sales pitches that were the staple of Internet marketing in the 1990s and early 2000s.
How to get genuine authority
I can’t do justice to Brian Clark’s short eBook in the space of this article so I really recommend you read it yourself. But here are some key things he says about how authority works in today’s online business world:
- Authority does not come from what you say about yourself but from what other people say about you. It is earned from, and granted by, an audience.
- Authority pulls prospects into your orbit instead of you having to go out there and hunt them down.
- Authority engages prospects rather than beating them over the head with aggressive sales pitches.
- A person gains authority by improving peoples’ lives – it comes from the people you help.
- Authority comes from taking what you know best and sharing it with others for their benefit.
- To get authority, you first need to gain a minimum viable audience (MVA). You’ll know you have an MVA when you’re getting sufficient feedback via email, social networks, and blog comments that you can adapt your content to better serve the needs of your audience.
Learn all you can, then share all you can
The authority model for doing online business works like this: You learn all you can and share all you can. Then you make money by selling something related to your area of authority, even by repackaging material you’ve already created.
You may have noticed that none of these business models of successful webpreneurs exists on it’s own – they’re all interconnected:
- You can’t have a sales funnel without an email list.
- You’ll need an email list to market affiliate products.
- You can’t blog without generating content (building authority).
- And creating your own product is a natural progression from writing blog posts.
These 7 business models feed off and strengthen each other. They work best when they’re all working together.
But if you study and implement just two or three of these models, it will change your business and transform your life.
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2 thoughts on “The 7 Business Models of Highly Successful Webpreneurs”
Nice article Rob, I especially liked the way you said they all work together.
Thanks, Mike, I’m glad it was useful, Rob.
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