A friend recently asked me that question, so I thought I would answer the question in this blog post.  Now, my friend is a new to Internet marketing, so this answer is provides enough detail to really answer the question.

If you’re looking for an easy answer, like, “install this plugin and you’ll make money,” this article is NOT for you.

I’m sure you’ve Googled how to make money from blogs. You’ll find a lot of articles, like this one from ProBlogger.

Let me tell you what I think.

First, if you want to make money from selling online ads, you need a LOT of traffic.  And if you’re just starting, that won’t happen for a while, perhaps not ever.  At my company, EH Publishing, we have dozens of websites with a lot of traffic–we make money selling banner ads and other ad types.

So, how can you make money right away?

The way the pros do it is this:
  1. Create a blog.  I have many WordPress sites setup, including this one.  This blog happens to be self-hosted on BlueHost, which is a cheap host & good for getting started.
  2. Create a few blog posts.  On your blog, you will have installed a Facebook tracking pixel.  So, anybody landing on your blog page is “pixeled.”  This article provides an overview of how to use the Facebook pixel.  In your article, you’ll have an in-house ad (image) that links to your lead magnet landing page.
  3. Buy traffic to your blog.  For most people, that means starting with Facebook ads.  If you’ve never run Facebook ads before, I recommend buying a Facebook course like $10 Day Traffic Plan, by DigitalMarketer.  This Facebook ad template is a great resource.
  4. Create a lead magnet.  This is a checklist, a cheat sheet, a short ebook, etc.  It’s the first step you’re providing your reader to get an end result.  It’s a valuable starter guide that can be quickly consumed.
  5. Create an online course or product to sell.
  6. Create a funnel.  I use ClickFunnels to create funnels.

Have I done all this?

Yes, as a matter of fact, we launched a funnel to promote an Active Shooter course through our Campus Safety Magazine brand.
The following diagram shows how our Active Shooter funnel is currently constructed.  I have a brief walk-thru below. Each one of these steps is worthy of an entire article in itself (or course lesson), but this will help you understand a bit.
Campus Safety Active Shooter Funnel v1
  1. Lead magnet landing page.  As I mentioned above, this where you send traffic into your funnel.  An example of a lead magnet landing page is the Active Shooter Checklist offer.  In this example, the landing page was created and hosted on ClickFunnels.  In this example, we get about 65% opt-in rate. This is good.
  2. Active Shooter Course offer page (Upsell).   After someone opts into the checklist, they’re presented with an offer to buy an active shooter course.  Notice that the lead magnet is directly related to the course.
  3. Order page.  If someone wants to buy the course, they go to the offer page where you take their CC.
  4. Confirmation page. This confirms their order and provides a link for immediate access to the course.
  5. Course Access.  This is where someone logs into the course with their email & password.
  6. Course Area.  This is where the actual course is located–all the videos, downloads, etc. that go with the course.

Every page I’ve mentioned above, including the course/members area, was built in ClickFunnels.

Now, for the email automation sequences. We use Active Campaign.  Now, we could use Actionetics, which is an upgrade to ClickFunnels, but for a variety of reasons, we like Active Campaign, especially for their email automations.  Here are the email automation sequences we use in the funnel above.

  1. Welcome series.  If someone is new to your email list, we send them into this welcome series.  This series of emails does not try to sell anything, it’s designed to introduce them to your brand.  Essentially, each email in the series teases and provide a link to one of your blog posts.
  2. Educate & Upsell series.  The first email delivers the lead magnet via a link.  In our case, we provide a link to four different threat assessment checklists (PDF’s) that are located on Amazon S3.  The next email in the sequence points something out in the lead magnet and provides a gentle reminder about your offer. The third email is a testimonial about how someone benefited from your course.  The fourth is a “last chance” scarcity offer.  In our case, we provided a 50% discount on our Active Shooter course with a timer.  After the timer expires, we send people to another offer page where the course price doubles.  There are other ways to create scarcity and urgency, but those two factors help people make a decision to buy.

Now, believe it or not, this is a simple funnel.  If you’re selling a high-ticket service like consulting, you would want a different kind of funnel, such as a case study funnel, which is designed to create inbound, scheduled leads for a consulting/sales call.

How do you know if you’re funnel is working?

A minimally viable funnel is one where you can break-even or better on the cost of your advertising.  So, if you spend $1.00 to get someone to opt in to your funnel and the revenue you make from your course offering equals your advertising costs, you win.

You’ll have given your audience valuable content (your blog posts, your lead magnet, your course) and you will have built up your list.  In our case, we added 5,000 people in two weeks at a profit.

Yes, we built an email list at a profit.

And you can too.

In phase 2 of this project, we plan on adding a Campus Safety video library subscription service where we’ll charge a monthly fee for a lot of great content.  Most of content we will license from 3rd party experts who know how to create great content, but are not digital marketing experts.

So, the bottom line is this.  Don’t do what internet marketing “experts” say, do what they do.  Find the “A” players and see how they actually make money.  What you’ll find is they sell courses & products online through a marketing automation funnel that works for them 24×7.

Digital marketers use their blogs as the beginning of their value ladder, which provide links into their various marketing funnels to sell products and services.

Mark Houston Smith
Mark Houston Smith

Founder of High Value Publishing. Follow me: Website / Twitter / Facebook

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