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How to monetize your audience to grow your following and revenue

If you’re growing an audience, get these six ways to monetize your audience. They cover a range of audience platforms and the best products to sell for each channel.

July 31, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

After several months of creating content, you’ve finally nailed down specific topics that your audience can’t get enough of.  

As a result, you’ve grown quite the following. 

All your hard work is paying off as your audience eagerly awaits your next content drop. 

Or is it?

Just because you’re growing an audience doesn’t mean you’re growing your bank account.

Which is where unconventional business ideas often meet their challenges.

But, not to worry.

Today, we cover six tips on how to monetize your audience and turn them into paying customers that love your brand. 

Let’s dive right in and start with learning your options as a creator.

#1. Get to know your monetization options

These days, there are several monetization options for creators. It’s important to understand the landscape first before heading in any one direction without a clear goal or intention.  

After all, you don’t want to fall victim to shiny object syndrome.  

Yes -- just like dealing with imposter syndrome and coping with perfectionism -- it’s a thing. 

In fact, three ways to tell if you have shiny object syndrome are:

  • You have too many unfinished projects
  • You tend to switch your processes often
  • You have trouble focusing on completing what needs to be done

If any of these ailments sound familiar, not to worry. We’ll quickly review the pros and cons of the top three most popular ways to monetize your audience, so you can choose wisely among the top producing options.

Let’s start at the top with advertising.

1. Advertising

The first monetization option is advertising. You can use platforms like Google AdSense to display ads on your site and earn an income per thousand views or per click. 

While displaying ads has the potential to increase your bottom line, the downside is you need a ton of traffic to make it worthwhile. 

For instance, to earn $100,000 a year using Google AdSense, you need about 100,000 daily page views with a 1% click-through rate. 

What’s more, the payout for advertising isn’t great. According to one survey of bloggers, it’s $0.004 per view for Google YouTube and it’s $0.008 per view for Google AdSense. 

All in all, using advertising as a way to monetize your audience is mainly beneficial if you have a traffic volume that’s well beyond average. If you don’t . . . not so much.

2. Selling your own products

The second -- and our favorite -- monetization option is selling your own products. If you can sell digital (vs. physical) products, it’s a powerful way to scale your business.

The main advantages are once you’ve completed the bulk of work upfront, it requires little maintenance outside of marketing and you can sell limitless digital products.

This means your earning potential -- and ability to help people solve their problems -- is uncapped without having to put in equal parts of work.

Some examples of online business ideas include membership sites, digital downloads, and online courses.

For inspiration, check out how creator Bram Kanstein sells his No-Code MVP online course to scale his business.

With just one course, Bram’s earning potential is exponential. Yours can be, too. 

3. Consulting services

Finally, you can sell your consulting services as a way to monetize your audience. 

The advantage of this monetization method is you’ve been building trust and affinity as you grow your audience, which positions you as the no-brainer choice should anyone among your audience need your services. 

In other words, your trusting audience is primed and ready to purchase your services. 

This makes sense because 67% of Edelman Trust Barometer respondents agree that trust in a brand impacts their buying behavior more than a brand’s good reputation.

The disadvantage is there’s a limit to the number of people you can service. There’s only one you, which means scaling and growing your business may pose a challenge.

To recap:

Among the top audience monetization methods are publishing ads on your site, selling your own products, and offering consulting services. Selling your own products, particularly digital ones, allows you to scale your business more readily than the other options.

Now that you’ve got a few options under your belt, let’s dive into specific ways to expand your revenue stream by monetizing your audience.

#2. Bring your offline students to an online classroom 

If you’re a teacher with a growing audience, a great way to monetize your following is to bring your offline students online.

Doing so allows you to scale both your reach and earnings as a teacher. 

Take entrepreneur, author, and co-founder of Girls Leadership, Rachel Simmons, for example. She transitioned her offline business into a successful online course, which allowed her to scale both her business and her impact. 

What started as several in-person events -- where Rachel traveled around the globe to teach venues full of women how to build resilience and amplify their voices -- turned into her first online course Enough As We Are.

Aside from the convenience of no longer having to jet-set to your students, the beauty of bringing your students online is being able to teach more people in a wide variety of ways.

If you’re starting out and wondering how to sell info products, first consider which format to take on, which ranges from written to audio to video content.

You can earn money from a diversified list of info products, like coding instructor Chris Oliver’s Rails Master Class online course.

Or design instructor Robert Joyner’s Complete Guide to Design & Composition.

Basically, streamline and scale your teaching business by bringing your students from a physical classroom to a virtual one and sell online tutorials.

Speaking of transitioning your audience, our next tip follows suit, but from reading your blog to reading your ebook. 

#3. Sell ebooks to your blog readers

Our next audience monetizing method today helps bloggers go from booming blog to sold-out ebooks

If you’ve been growing your blog readership into a sizable audience, you’ll want to leverage the growing popularity of ebooks. 

Why? There’s a lot of revenue in ebooks. 

So much so that it’s expected to show a global annual growth rate of 3.6% and a $16.57 billion market volume by 2024.

So if you’re already writing and publishing blog content for your audience, it’s time to package up some of your material into a profitable ebook.

One way to do that is to repurpose some of your most popular content. This is a win-win-win because you know it resonates with your audience, you can help more people with your work, and you’ll earn money while distributing it.

Take Sujan Patel, for example, who’s a successful entrepreneur with a blog dedicated to helping SaaS companies grow.

Sujan leveraged his expansive blog audience and sold over 40,000 copies of his Content Marketing Playbook, an ebook he co-authored with Rob Wormley.   

His ebook is another way he can help his audience fill their need of growing their companies while earning money to do it.

Our next tip also keeps a consistent format as you transition from non-paying to paying audience.

#4. Turn your Facebook Group into a profitable membership

Another great way to monetize your audience is to transform your Facebook group into a profitable membership.

After Facebook’s 2018 algorithm update, group postings received higher priority over the reach of most pages. The reason is the platform still prioritizes a sense of community. 

And that’s exactly what your Facebook group provides. It’s a space for you to build your audience and serve your community based on your expertise. 

It’s no wonder 1.4 billion people use Facebook groups. 

Check out how successful entrepreneur, Tiffany Williams, uses her Rich Girl Collective Facebook group to grow a community of over 38,000 members at the time of writing. 

There’s no better way to transition your engaged Facebook group members into paying customers than to invite them to join your paid membership. This is exactly what Tiffany offers her Facebook group audience through her Rich Girl Academy membership.

To move your Facebook community over to your membership site, sell the added value and benefits of your membership. You know, the ones on top of the engaging content and meaningful conversations they access from your Facebook group. 

One way to show your members that the community and value is even better inside your membership is to offer a free membership trial. 

(Something you can easily do on Podia, by the way. Don’t have a Podia account? Get started for free today with our 14-day free trial.)

Once your trial members are inside your membership site doors, prioritize their customer experience -- something that 66% of customers say they’ll pay more for if it’s a great experience.

Maintaining a membership site not your idea of a good time? That’s fair, it can definitely be a lot of work. If that’s the case, our next tip may suit you more.

Especially if you already have an audience on YouTube.

#5. Sell info products to your YouTube audience

Another effective way to monetize your audience is to sell info products to your YouTube audience

For YouTubers with an expanding viewership, this can be a game-changer.

The reason why this monetization method works so well is YouTube viewers are likely already wanting to learn something to solve their problem. 

65% of people use Youtube to help them solve a problem, making it an ideal platform for selling info products to viewers who are already interested in learning more about your topic of interest.

For example, take successful YouTuber and entrepreneur, Sunny Lenarduzzi, who’s grown her YouTube viewership to over 469,000 subscribers

Sunny includes in her YouTube video description links to her educational content on her site, which lead to her info products for sale.

One such info product is her YouTube for Bosses, a four-hour crash course on how to go full-time on YouTube to build a profitable brand, which she sells for $597.

As you can see, selling info products around your core YouTube content isn’t just simple, it’s also potentially very profitable. If you have a YouTube audience already, follow in Sunny’s footsteps and branch out to info products.

There’s a lot to gain and very little to lose.

See why Podia is the best platform for selling online courses

Join a live demo to see how Podia's all-in-one platform can help you grow your business. Every Tuesday at 4PM ET.

Our final tip today also leverages your audience’s primed-and-ready-to-partake mindset.

#6. Turn your Pinterest followers into paying customers

Built up a serious following on Pinterest? If that’s the case, our final tip today is to monetize your Pinterest followers and boards

Pinterest is an excellent platform for selling your brand’s products, and the stats say it best. An impressive 80% of Pinterest users purchase products based on brands’ posted content on the channel. 

On top of that, Pinterest users are wearing a shopping mindset as they peruse various boards and pins. A whopping 89% of pinners use the platform for inspiration on their path to making purchases, and 47% of them are using Pinterest to specifically shop.

So, if you’re growing a Pinterest following, your audience is primed and ready to purchase, maybe more than on any other social channel. 

A stellar example of someone who nails this is Joy Cho, entrepreneur, designer, and founder of Oh Joy!. Joy has grown her Pinterest following to over 8.5 million monthly views.

Pretty impressive, right? 

What’s more impressive is her ability to diversify her product offering from offline to online by selling relevant info products, like her previously available Make a Yarn Stitch Sweater or Make a Clay Necklace workshops offered in her Oh Joy! Academy storefront.

For pinners who are interested in Joy’s creations and products, these educational workshops are a natural fit.

And they’ll be a natural fit for you, too -- with some obvious variation in content.

Increase your impact by monetizing your audience

Once you monetize your audience, you’ll earn revenue that you can live off of and put back into your business to scale both your reach and impact.

To summarize:

  • Audience monetization options come in different forms with pros and cons for each. Out of the top three options of advertising, selling your own products, and offering consulting services, we recommend selling digital products as a way to scale your business.
  • A powerful way for teachers to monetize their audience and reach more people is to bring their students from offline to online by selling online courses and info products. (Yeah, there’s definitely a theme here.)
  • If you’re growing your audience through a blog, try selling your readers an ebook on a relevant popular topic. Your top-performing blog posts are a great starting point.
  • Another option is to invite your Facebook group members to gain even more value and benefits from your paid membership site.
  • For YouTubers, sell info products to your channel viewers and subscribers as a way to monetize your audience. They’re already used to learning from you on video, so it’s an easy fit.
  • Finally, if you have a growing Pinterest following, sell them paid info products and other digital offerings. No social channel has more conversion-ready customers.

Now that you’re armed with these six monetization ideas, it’s time to grow both your business and your audience. 

Happy monetizing.

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