22 Sep 6 Ways to Create Additional Revenue Streams for Your Small Business
Starting out small means having to power through some pretty big obstacles.One of the most common being finding ways to manage your business’ money.
But we don’t have to tell you that.
As a small business owner, you already know that there’s a transition period between when you start your business and when it becomes financially self-sustaining— it can pay for itself and support you. Since most of us can’t afford to sit around waiting for that day, it’s important to find other ways to bring in revenue.
Even if you’re just looking for ways to create additional revenue streams during a slow season, having these ideas on hand means being able to find balance and peace of mind. Try these creative options to move forward confidently and build revenue streams you can count on.
The word sponsorship might leave a bad taste in your mouth. Especially if it makes you think of Nascar drivers strutting around looking like walking-billboards. But sponsorship doesn’t have to be this over the top. When used tactfully and efficiently, sponsorship can actually become a really helpful tool for keeping your company financially secure in times when revenue becomes slow.
For instance, let’s talk marketing.
When it comes to your marketing plan, sponsorship can be a key component for building lasting connections. While there are financial benefits, interacting with other companies can also help to establish your business by creating networking opportunities.
In addition, companies that sponsor you also bring the recognition of their own following, and they can be valuable allies. Try these tips to get sponsors onboard with backing your business.
The Rule of Mutual Return
When you’re looking for sponsors, it’s important to remember that businesses want to know what they’re going to get out of it. Why should they sponsor you?
A good way for you to take on this question is for you to do your homework, beforehand. Be willing to take the time to get to know their company, so you’re prepared and ready to talk about their goals, and how sponsoring your business can help them achieve those goals.
Know Your Numbers And Demographic
One of your most valuable assets is your customer base. Make sure you have a clear understanding of who your company is attracting—your target market. If you have a clear target market and you’re prepared with actual numbers, you’ll find it a lot easier to gain outside support and sponsorship.
Have a Great Platform
On the flip-side of knowing your numbers, also make sure you have a clearly defined platform. This is especially important if you’re a small business that might not have substantial numbers yet. Larger businesses know that giving back is an important part of maintaining their credibility and gaining respect. And you should be ready to capitalize on that.
When it comes down to it, the facts are clear. Businesses who build their platform around giving back to communities succeed more in today’s market. Try out some cause-related marketing, which capitalizes on this fact, while simultaneously can help you find sponsors who are trying to improve this part of their image.
Build a Brilliant Proposal for Sponsors
In order to bring brilliant people onboard, you’ll need to have a brilliant proposal to get them excited about what you’re company is achieving. In the same way that you would write up a business plan, make sure to take the time to iron out your mission statement, demographics, goals, fees, and how both companies can mutually benefit from the sponsorship.
Partner with Experienced Advisor
If your business isn’t established enough to impress potential sponsors, try bringing on supporters from larger companies and brands. Not only can their advice be invaluable, but their support can also be an indicator to potential sponsors that you’re serious about succeeding. This also helps to establish credibility with companies that might not be familiar with your business.
Build a Reliable Business
When it comes down to it, being reliable and handling the smallest parts of your business with integrity will take you a long way. Word of mouth is not only for bringing in customers, but it’s also a great way to bring sponsors onboard. Make sure you’re keeping up with handling online and in-person interactions and meeting deadlines because, when it comes down to it, sponsorship doesn’t have to mean you’re selling a product. Social media and your online presence is also a great way to find (and use) sponsorship.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Another way to create additional revenue streams is for you to host promotions on your website. Try using sponsored content links as a way to make money while, at the same time, teaming up with like-minded businesses.
What are sponsored content links?
These are links hosted on your website, but are dedicated to highlighting other companies. Generally, these sites are businesses that coincide with and complement your mission. You can also use this type of marketing in newsletters or emails that you send out to your clients.
A great example of this can be seen with the website DatingAdvice.com, which has sponsored content links as an essential part of their marketing. These links help visitors take the dating knowledge that they’ve acquired from the site and apply it their experiences on other sites such as Match or eHarmony.
The key here is to notice the marketing style of the ads, which is similar to the feel and overall mission of DatingAdvice.com. These sites share a symbiotic relationship, while simultaneously helping their target market. This not only builds credibility for DatingAdvice, but allows other sites access to their potential mutual customers.
In addition to affiliate marketing, DatingAdvice also creates ‘best of’ lists for apps, websites, and products they think match the interests and needs of their target market. These lists, themselves, are revenue sources because the site makes money if a customer signs up or buys anything from the listed businesses. DatingAdvice also writes up sponsored posts that review services, programs, and resources that their customers might be interested in.
3. Sell a Digital Product
The great thing about building a business is that you likely have a lot of knowledge that others would love to get their hands on. Try your hand at making this information available to the public by offering it for sale. Whether it’s an ebook or an online course, you can be generating income while doing what you love.
First off you should decide whether you want to offer something directly or indirectly (e.g., you offer it for free download and users decide to become a paying customer). The best part of this strategy is that you probably already know most of the information that you’re going to share—it’s just a matter of capturing that knowledge and using it as a revenue stream.
Whatever type of product you decide, it’s important that you plan out the landing page that customers will see when they’re downloading the item.
If you’re looking for help creating your landing page, try using LeadPages to get started. In addition to planning out your landing page, also make sure you take the time to offer quality products to the public. Most people can tell if you’ve just thrown something together, and you’ll know it by your conversion rate numbers. Instead, have something people will get excited about!
Create your perfect landing page by including these elements:
Make sure that your headline uses action words and be sure to match your keywords to those in the body of your piece. You’ll also want to make sure to highlight why there’s value to what you’re sharing.
Make sure there’s white space between paragraphs, so that you have material that is easy to understand and read.
Make sure that your page title, URL, and meta description are all optimized. Try using a tool like Moz Keyword Explorer to help you find the perfect keyword.
Make sure that the images on your landing page are high resolution and are relevant to what you’re trying to put across to the viewer.
Call to Action
You’ll want to make sure you have language on your ‘submit’ button that makes your viewers want to take action. Take the time to customize this for a quick click.
When you’re planning out your landing page, make sure you have a ‘thank-you’ page for the customers who decide to download or purchase your material. You’ll also want to make sure this page is functional and that it includes a navigation menu so they can continue exploring your website.
Another option for bringing in additional revenue is for you teach an online class through a platform like Skillshare. Skillshare allows you to post tutorial videos in order to teach a class of online students about a topic of interest.
You can teach anything from photography to mastering Excel, and you’re paid every month based on the number of students who take your class. The great part is that you gain exposure for your business while also helping others with your knowledge. On average, instructors make about $3,000/year (or $1-$2 each premium enrollment).
While that may not seem like a lot, consider that when compared to other platforms, Skillshare gives instructors considerably more income from their courses. For the $1,000 earned (by enrolling around 500 students) on Skillshare, you would need to reach 167,000 streams on Spotify or 333,333 on Youtube.
4. Host a Webinar
Speaking of online resources for bringing in sales, why not try your hand at hosting a paid webinar. Not only can this connect you to potential clients, but it can also help you gain credibility in your field. The best part? It will mostly just cost you time to get started.
If you’re not sure where to host your webinar, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a lot of host sites to help you out. Try using GoToWebinar, which is a resource that allows you to host and record a webinar, as well as allowing you to create polls, surveys, and provide “handouts” to your viewers. The rate for a webinar of up to 100 people is $89/month.
If you’re planning on doing a smaller webinar, you can also use a platform like MeetingBurner to host your first webinar, absolutely free. If you’re looking to host an audience of 50+, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee for the service; at that level, you have the option of recording, which will allow viewers to re-watch the webinar at a later date.
Once you’ve decided what you want to broadcast, and which platform to use, you’ll want to make sure that you promote, promote, PROMOTE! Make sure that all your hard work isn’t lost in the jungle of the internet, by getting the word out before the webinar date. Don’t forget to include these essential parts when promoting:
A Landing Page
Like you did with an ebook, you’ll also need a landing page for your potential customers to go to when they hear about your upcoming webinar. Make sure that this page uses direct language, is well organized, and has well marked, actionable buttons.
Welcome Email (Autoresponder)
When you’re about to host a webinar, and you’re promoting, you’ll also want to make sure you have a system in place to thank those who sign up. Make sure to include details in this email, including the time, date and URL of where they can find the webinar. Some platforms will even send out automatic emails as reminders to those who sign up (such as GoToWebinar). You can also use this email as an opportunity to encourage them to send links to their friends!
Promote on Multiple Channels
When you’re promoting, don’t forget to promote on multiple channels. This should, of course, include your social media, your newsletter and even via Facebook Ads.
Create Visual Slides
An important part of your webinar can be the use of slides to help emphasize what your topic of discussion will be. The key here is for you to use more visuals and less text. You’ll also want to make sure that your visuals are high quality and engaging.
Show Up Early
It’s a good rule to show up about 15 minutes early to your webinar, so that you can start to engage with those who have signed up, and get them excited for what they’re a part of! A great way to start things off is by asking engaging icebreaker questions such as where people are from. You can also answer questions that viewers might have, beforehand.
Record and Send Replay Link
You’ll want to make sure that you’ve recorded your webinar (many platforms will offer this feature) and upload your webinar. Create a replay page on your website, where those who may have missed the webinar, or who might want to revisit it, can find the recording. You may even want to use the same URL that you did for the original webinar for easy access. Whether you use Youtube or Vimeo, take this link, and then embed it into your replay page. Send a follow-up email to anyone who participated or signed up so they know the link is live. You can also create a countdown so there is some urgency in viewing the link.
Follow Up with Non-Buyers
If you offered a free webinar with a purchase offer at the end, and some of your participants didn’t end up spending any money, don’t stress about it. Make sure these people go on a follow-up list, so you can send relevant material to them, including your newsletter, until you host another webinar. Remember, these people can be potential revenue streams, so don’t lose contact with them!
5. Do Ads… the Right Way
Ads seem to be the first thing people think about when they’re considering how to create additional revenue streams. The problem is that so many ads aren’t done correctly, resulting in wasted screen space, and a lack of interaction from target markets.
How can you avoid these pitfalls? Try adhering to these rules.
Rule 1: Be Professional
There are a lot of boxes to check before your ad goes live. Ensure your spelling and grammar is on point, that you’ve highlighted why your offering is better than your competition, and be sure to add in a call to action (what should they do, next?). Don’t forget that these will be a quick glance for most people, so keep your content clean, quick, and memorable.
Rule 2: Be Relevant
Let’s face it. If you’re a coach who promotes healthy eating, then it’s probably not in your best interest to have a fast food ad on your site.
When you’re deciding which ads to promote, make sure you’re posting material that is relevant and poignant to your readers. You want your target market to see you as a helpful resource helpfully guiding them along. Don’t make the mistake of posting irrelevant ads, just to gain revenue. In the long-run, it will backfire.
Rule 3: Be Tactful
Nobody likes having ads pop up in their face while they’re trying to navigate a webpage. However, there are ways to have your target market engage with ads, tactfully. Think about it this way: when a customer is signing up for a newsletter, or social media stream, they’re saying that they want to know more about your industry or business. Help them find other helpful resources by adding in relevant ads in your newsletters or on your website. Again, you’ll want to keep this to a minimum, to avoid being thought of as spam or clutter.
6. Become a Speaker
Remember all that knowledge we talked about you having? Here’s another great way for you to put it to good use. By speaking events, you not only bring attention to your business, but you also create additional revenue streams while networking face-to-face with prospective clients.
Another way to share your knowledge (while gaining awareness for your business) is to write an article for a local newspaper, newsletter, or sites that caters to your target market. You can even get involved with online platforms such as Yelp, Ask, and Linkedin. According to studies, customers who interact with companies over social media are likely to spend much more with those companies, so get your name out there!
Whichever external revenue source you decide, make sure that you stick with it long enough to see results. Don’t forget to tell us about any money-making options we may have forgotten to add to this list in the comments below. Happy money making!