Turn Your Website into a Profit Spinner
Setting up and maintaining a website isn't cheap. If your company has a website that's even slightly above the brochureware level it's probably costing you a fair sum of money each month. The good news is that a website can earn income to offset its costs, and can even become a profit spinner for your business in its own right.
There are a number of ways your website can make money and unless you have millions of 'hits' each week it's hard to justify charging high rates for providing advertising or sponsorships on your site. However if you experiment with a variety of income earners that are possible, your Business will surely find itself able to cover some, if not all, of the associated costs.
Sell products on your website
This is the 'clicks and mortar' side of the business. Surveys are showing more than ever that businesses are setting up websites as they begin to play on the online field. Why you ask? Well one reason is that just as you'd sell products to resellers or direct to customers from your premises, you can sell them on the Internet - to a global audience. This means you can reach new clients all over the world as soon as they enter your website – just imagine the number of increased sales opportunities and don't forget that your online store can function 24/7!
Perhaps you are wondering whether this applies to your Business??
- Almost anything can be sold from a website if it's handled correctly
- Do a search for companies in your own line of business and check how they have gone about doing it
- And remember?you can use your online-store as a catalogue for existing customers
Set up a 'members-only' area of your site
Do you have valuable information that is placed in a separate section of your website and accessed only by those who've paid for a password? If not, take a few moments to consider whether you do have valuable information which could be placed in a members-only area. If you do, you are probably not seeing all the benefits your website can give. Many content based websites operate this way, and some are profitable from sales in this channel alone. One successful example of a company which has implemented this idea is Fairfax Digital and it is no wonder they are now claimed to be Australia's most trusted news & largest classifieds marketplace. If YOU have subscribers to a newsletter, perhaps you could set up your newsletter for online access by members-only – that way you are using your website more effectively, customers can access the newsletter immediately after it is published, and you are also saving on postage and paper costs!
Sell website sponsorships
This is not advertising, strictly speaking, although money does change hands for the display of other company's products or logos on a business' website. If you sell books via a website, for example, featuring a different book by a particular publisher on the same page each week can make money for you.
Charge a referral fee or commission
There are probably several ways you could establish this channel. The simple idea is that visitors to your site see something that interests them and they click on a link that takes them to another site to purchase that item. YOU then receive a commission on the sale. You should also consider the reverse where you pay that company a commission for sales received from links to your site. This way you can largely expand your potential-customer base and increase your business' exposure all from the click of a button!
Sell in partnership with another business
If you set up your site to acquire visitors' names and email addresses - perhaps by offering a free newsletter for example - you'll soon build up a substantial list of customers whose interests relate to the types of products you deal in. This is valuable commercial information – these are really lists of potential customers for a range of products from other businesses you could partner with as well as your own.
For example, if you have a substantial database qualified by an expressed interest in pets, you can receive income through a 'partnership' with a pet food firm paying you to send information out about their products to your client list. But just remember to get permission to use the client's information first!!
SO WHAT ARE SOME COSTLY MISTAKES TO AVOID ??
Customers can be easily deterred by:
- Incorrect, out of date information (especially prices)
- Lack of customer support (many sites now integrate online support where customers can log their questions, but be sure to adequately respond within a reasonable timeframe
- Late deliveries or incorrect product deliveries
- Difficult site navigation
Remember – if you are not capitalizing on visitors to your site perhaps you're missing out on a profitable income source – something worthwhile thinking about, right?
...Work towards using your Website correctly and before you know it, your website will be working for you!...
Source: RAN ONE International Network*