December 11, 2016

Purchases On Google Buy Buttons


Google Buy Buttons on Ads

Google wants to make it easier for people to buy products on their mobile devices and are about to start testing “Buy” buttons on mobile ads.

Tests of the “Purchases on Google” program are beginning with select national retailers. Consumers will start seeing the new “buy” buttons in search results. When the button is clicked, they will be taken to a page, hosted by Google, where the product can be purchased.

The retailers will sell and ship the orders, not Google.

Google said on it’s Inside Adwords blog, that just under $1 trillion of in-store purchases in the United States were influenced by mobile search before or during  shopping trips; that’s about 28% of total sales.

“For retailers, opting in to Purchases on Google means improved mobile conversions thanks to a simplified checkout process. Participating retailers only pay for clicks on the shopping ads to the product page; all clicks and interactions on the product page are free. While Google hosts the product page and provides purchase protection for customers, retailers own the customer communication and can offer customers the option to receive marketing and promotional messages.”

[Read more…]

How to Monetize Your Blog – Ideas to Earn Money Blogging

15 Ideas to Earn Money Blogging, Part 1

Our recent Meetup group focused on blog monetization.  There are some obvious ideas and some that are a little different.  I always like to say that there are many keys to a successful website, but the two that are most important are getting traffic to the site and then converting them.  Conversion can be many things, including building awareness for a non-profit organization or cause, promoting ideas, a candidate or legislation, distributing materials via audio, video, text or photos.

How to Monetize Your Blog

Most people are looking to raise revenues, and that’s usually a goal to sell their own products or services, and that’s the first of my ideas on how to monetize your blog:

  1. Image of Shakespeare asking, "To blog or not to blog."Sell your own products and services. This can be a photographer selling wedding photos or someone who builds birdfeeders to sell online or at a local fair.  Blogs devoted to a specific product are not uncommon and are especially prevalent in the affiliate marketing space. (See below)
  2. Adsense ads.  This is one of the most common blog monetization tactics.  Google has a program where you can show ads on your site and advertisers have the ability to have their ads shown on the Google Content Network in niches that make sense.  Every time someone clicks on an ad on your site, you get paid a small fee.  Usually, blogs write content about a very specific topic and try to rank high for it.  As people find the content, they see the ads, resulting in you earning money with your blog!
  3. Affiliate products. As with Adwords, highly focused blogs are used to attract an audience looking for a specific solution that can be fulfilled by products you sell that are provided by others.  Most often affiliates join networks such as Shareasale or Commission Junction, which represents products of just about every niche you can imagine, from apparel to industrial equipment to furniture to holiday stuff.  This is similar to selling your own products listed above, but one benefit is that fulfillment, such as shipping and product support are handled by the merchants.  Amazon (see below) is a huge supplier of products to affiliate marketers.
  4. Membership programs.  Setting up a free membership site is a great way to attract and retain people who might be interested in you or your products and services.  That can evolve into a paid version where you charge participants monthly or annually for regular content, which may include a regular teleseminar or webinar.  You can take that a step further by adding another level to the membership level.  An example might be to have a $27 monthly membership that includes a newsletter access to archived information.  Next you could add a monthly or weekly teleseminar/webinar for a total of $47/mo.  Kick it up another notch by adding 20 or 30 minutes of one-on-one coaching for $77 or maybe even $97/mo.  I’ve seen layered membership sites go up to $500 or even $2,000 per month!
  5. Amazon.  Amazon is one of the largest affiliate marketers, but they no longer sell products thru publishers based in sales tax nexus states, such as Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois and New York.  (That will change when a national online sales tax is created – and you know it will!)  One of the cool thing about Amazon is that you can promote a product on your blog, but also get a commission if your reader browses around and finds something else!  For those who do promote books, music movies and anything sold by Amazon, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, can often buy from themselves and get a commission for items they’d buy elsewhere.
  6. Sell eBooks.  You can write and produce an eBook using Word and turning it into a PDF, sell it on you blog using PayPal or something similar.  More eBooks are sold today than traditional books and you can get yours in the Amazon marketplace and sell it on your blog and in Amazon.  Once your buyer pays for your book, they are sent to a page where they can download it.
  7. Self-publish your book.  You can sell a self-published book on Amazon, B&N and any number of other places.  Use your blog to promote it and link to it.

People who have come to know you, like you and trust you will buy from you!

Next, we’ll have 8 more ideas on how to monetize your blog!

What ideas do you have?

What challenges have you faced trying to earn money with a blog?

What questions?


1 Thing Small Business Owners Should Do Today Online: Re-Assess Goals


Following up on my previous post, 5 Things Small Business Owners Should Do Today Online, here is the first of five (actually 6) posts where we'll focus more on my previous recommendations.

I've said for a long time that failing to set specific measurable goals is the biggest mistake most companies make with their website. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

All too often I hear executives say that their goal is to "sell product."  But they usually don't qualify that by defining, "How many?" or "To whom?"  Whether you have one product or many, you need to determine how many you need to sell to make your online efforts worthwhile – to earn an ROI.

And even if you only have one product or service, consider ALL the potential customers who may have a need.  Don't just think about selling to "them."  The tactics you use and the messages you project may be different to different target audiences.

Also, consider that you may have more success by setting a series of interim goals that lead to your prime objective of "selling product."  The ultimate goal of a football team is to win the game.  Interim goals are to score touchdowns, get within field goal range, protect the quarterback or prevent the opponent from scoring. 

Your online sales funnel may include a number of steps that begin with your prospect's initial interest and include requests for more information, e-mail opt-in, marketing support, a needs analysis or survey, participation in on an on or offline demonstration or some specific followup or sequence of followups. 

Your goals can then be adjusted based on an ongoing analysis. If you achieve more of your ultimate goal when your prospects engage in a specific activity, then you may want to promote that.  If something else isn't working, you'll likely improve ROI by ending the initiative and focusing on productive activities.

I consult with many small business owners and often say that they will usually see a consistent ratio of the total number of people who visit the website to the number of people who ultimately buy.  It is even more illuminating to see the ratios of visitors to each of the interim goals leading up to the sale.

Then, work to improve each step along the way!

You can and should also break it down to target audiences.  You may have many more than one target audience.  What are each of their needs?  How can you customize or enhance their experience?  Testing and revising your website strategy and message will likely lead to more sales and ROI.

Do your goals end with selling something?  What about the future? Is there an opportunity to cross-sell, up-sell, support the sale, get a referral or maintain a profitable relationship that will lead to future sales?

All goals are not sales related.  Your goals may have to do with operating more efficiently, building a network of influencers, promoting a cause, getting volunteers or donors, hiring, distributing news, teaching/training, working with partners or building a community.  Some of these goals may be part of an effort to build sales and they all may benefit from or require interim goals to succeed.

So, TODAY, list ALL the goals for your website and the specific interim steps to achieve them with your target audiences.

— Kurt Scholle

Follow me on Twitter! @KurtScholle