One of my passions is to filter out a lot of the buzz out there (marketing, internet, social media) and reduce it down to the core concepts that therapists should know about, and then filtering examples that you would understand. You’d laugh if you heard my inner voice yelling at a lot of marketers who claim they speak to ALL types of businesses, but don’t!
Today’s post is actually really exciting to me because it’s not something that comes up in daily conversation with therapists, but it’s really the secret behind a lot of potential success. I have therapist friends who are dying on their awesome products and services because they don’t know the below information . And of course, actually implementing the ideas requires work and more know-how than a simple blog post can give you.
I still laugh at the slow, email-based coaching I did with a therapist on this idea of being an affiliate. I’ve now sold over $1,000 worth of her e-book! To explain an affiliate, let’s step back for a second. You come up with a product or service and then have to get people to know you exist. There are many ways to do this, whether it’s as simple as getting Borders to sell your book in its stores, contacting local boutiques to sell your wares, or using worth of mouth to let people know about you. But the old line is true: you’ve got to spend money to make money. This is why most businesses have a sales force, marketing team, and advertising team. And this is a big reason why I worry about therapists learning to create products or services. Without the ability to market well, most products and services are a big waste of your time and energy.
Across the board, at least 30% of the money generated on a product or service is likely going back into getting buyers. If you’re in the business world. (If you’re a therapist you tend to be a bit greedier, as much by ignorance as anything else.) If you consider any product on your grocery store shelf, imagine 30% of what you’re paying is actually going into the marketing and advertising of that very product. This is why store-brand items can be cheaper. They don’t need to take their raw costs, desired profit margin, and add 30% to cover the marketing of it.
So what is an affiliate? An affiliate is someone who helps sell your products or services. They do as much work as you do finding prospective buyers and in return, they get a slice of the profit. In the business world these people may be called SALES people. My last corporate job involved sales of 1 million dollars or more so the sales people got hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of commission. The idea is if the sales person weren’t around, that million wouldn’t be coming in the door to create the business, pay the employees, etc. Again, it takes money to make money. Your circle is only so big, but if you can join forces with other people’s circles, you can earn money without ANY effort. So yes, you only earn 70% or 50% or whatever you decide to give your affiliates, but that’s better than the 0% you’re earning when you can’t find buyers!
With the internet a lot of us who are free to do as we please and are very flexible (versus corporations with strict regulations, rules, product lines, management teams, sales forces.) We can generate anything we want (a product, service, workshop, retreat, etc) and slap a price on it. The real work (I think) comes not in creation, but in MARKETING. Thousands of people can have the same idea, but only the person who can successfully market will earn money off an idea. In the case of the therapist I referenced, I found her on Twitter, was intrigued by her e-book on marriage preparation written by a therapist (versus a marriage educator), and began the process of convincing her to enter an affiliate relationship. My self interest was twofold: offer my web visitors ANOTHER option of something to buy to enhance their marriage, and two, earn a little money. I had to explain to her gently that I had no self-interest in linking to her e-book. Just throwing people her way and losing any potential money people would spend on my wedding relationship book just made no sense for my business model. (Note: for websites that generate profit off banner ads or other sales, they sometimes are fine linking to other people because their money comes not in one-off sales of e-books but in large numbers of visitors coming every day to see what the latest and greatest blog entry talks about. Think about Oprah – she can tell people to go buy a lot of books and products, getting none of the profit from those sales, but HER profit comes in HER loyal visitors and businesses wanting to advertise during commercials to her viewers.)
Almost any marketing coach out there has affiliate relationships. It’s the only way to grow and it’s just a smart thing to do. I have three affiliate relationships so far for my premarital website, with two other products I purchased “wholesale” and then resell, because they’re actual products to ship, rather than e-books which require no shipping or handling. The coolest part of an affiliate relationship is you aren’t wasting money advertising that may not bring in sales. You basically pay to advertise “per sale” by losing whatever percentage you give your affiliate.
I must be a librarian at heart because I love research and finding affiliates requires a lot of research. Contact me if you are interested in my skills to help you leverage your products/services.
I’ve alluded to it in the affiliate section but all web-based businesses talk about monetizing their websites. What this means is “making money” off a website. It isn’t used for places like Amazon which sell stuff and clearly make money. It’s for advice-based websites, blogs that are personality driven, newspapers online you hear about how they struggle to “monetize” their websites since they don’t make much off ads on the website compared to the costs of journalists and their paper-based infrastructure. The Drudge Report is the conservative news website and Huffington Post is the liberal version. Both offer tons and tons of news, but have to figure out how to make money! Psychology Today charges therapists monthly fees to be on their directory and then has people donate their time to blog in exchange for profit sharing of ads that are clicked on. Huffington Post on the other hand does NOT pay its bloggers but offers something like 40 million monthly visitors to Psychology Today’s 1 million. The exposure makes it worthwhile if the blogger can monetize their time in some way, even if it’s simply getting hired more because they are a HuffPost blogger.
The reason it’s important to know this concept of monetizing is because within your niche, you may find a lot of websites, with decent website traffic, that are not fully monetized. YOU can then come in and figure out a way to give them some cash in exchange for their web traffic. This may be through an affiliate relationship, a banner ad (a very common way for bloggers to earn money), or perhaps you pay for the exposure to have a “guest spot” on the blog. Maybe a mini-advice column you run once a month, or really whatever other creative ideas you can come up with. The idea is they may be reaching your exact target client, every day, and by leveraging the trust the website has with your ideal client, you may be able to become a trusted voice and face to your ideal client in a way that no therapy directory, phone book ad, or other marketing tactic could do for you. (One of many warnings, however, is whether their web visitors are therapy-seekers, not just the right gender, age, and life stage.)
I blog (a big duh, right.) You may blog. But are you a “blogger?” The way I’m using the term is when you’re at a networking event, asking someone what do they do for a living, and they respond, “I’m a blogger.” They have a niche website where they write as often as a few times a day, or weekly, or monthly, about a very specific topic. And they make money on it! I know a young blogger who created a wedding planning blog and it grew so much she can charge $150/month for one small square banner ad. And she has tons of ads. Bloggers find traffic and then figure out how to make money off it. I was at a social media event recently and heard an amazing story. A cruise line found the ten best and biggest travel bloggers across the country and said, “we’ll pay for you to be on our 10 day cruise. All we ask is that you blog and Tweet throughout the cruise.” That’s it!
At the end of the cruise, the number of blog entries was something like 500, the number of Tweets was like 10,000, and the overall “impressions”, meaning any mention of the cruise via a blog entry or tweet, that appeared on a computer screen of someone who follows them, was one MILLION. The cruise spent the raw costs of 10 cruisers to get one MILLION impressions of their cruise, and many tens of thousands of people reading about real people on a real cruise adventure. We do not know how many bookings the cruise had, but I do know it was money well spent!
So if you find bloggers in your target demographic, take them very seriously as a potential way to bring in new clients or sales of your products or services targeted directly to their audience. If you are offered a chance to blog on another large website, consider how you are going to monetize your efforts! If you only see local clients, blogging on a national, advice-based website may not be the best use of your time. Or, start building products to see if you can leverage the people who click through from your bio into your website and may buy something.
Not to overly self-promote, but the above is an example of the type of information and insider speak I share on my website marketing audio training. I go through free and paid ways to market your website and some tricks to know in doing so to maximize your efforts. All geared directly to therapists. I realize most therapists email me with specific questions or issues, which is also fine. I have a one time consult rate and a project rate. I have a lot to teach and there is no way I could possible create products for everything I know and therapists want to learn! And very soon I’m relaunching my website with new products and services.