The internet marketing industry has been shrouded in mystery for years, and, yes, online monetization is still somewhat esoteric. There are a lot of computer gurus, hackers, and technical geniuses who program their way to riches. And while there are still some SEO hacks and marketing tricks, online monetization is no mystery.

To monetize something, first you need something to monetize. Sounds simple, right? You may be a blogger, an app developer, a business person, or someone who’s interested in online monetization. Regardless of your background, the essential requirement for making money is that you have a vehicle to sell something. That vehicle can be a free app, a blog about cats, or an email newsletter targeted to home gardeners.

Once you have your digital content, you can monetize it by selling something, and that something doesn’t even have to belong to you.

The Art of Sales

  • Affiliate marketing – can be one of the most lucrative forms of monetization. Instead of selling your own product, you sell products or services for someone else, and earn a commission for each sale. Bloggers, for instance, can turn a hobby blog into a sales vehicle. If you run a blog that caters to local community of WordPress aficionados, you can earn commissions for sales of related products and services, such as web hosting, WordPress themes, plugins, and so forth. 

App developers can use affiliate marketing to sell coupons, promote daily deals from major or local retailers, or advertise travel specials. Each sale through the app would earn a commission. Many popular services use a commission-based model to earn income, from Airbnb to Fiverr to Orbitz.

  • Advertising – is probably the easiest, fastest way to start earning income. Once you have your sales vehicle, as mentioned, you integrate advertising. Major platforms such as Google can integrate with websites and apps. 

Advertising has its pros and cons. It’s less work than affiliate marketing, since you can just create your content, product, or sales vehicle and just let it run. But relative to affiliate marketing, the income stream is pretty low. And, unless you have an engaging product, like an app, users may bounce from your content, never to return.

In the case of both advertising and affiliate marketing, the merchant is paying the marketer for their promotion efforts. Affiliate programs pay a commission, while advertising programs pay a flat fee. All online monetization is paid out using either a flat rate or a commission.

Choosing Your Online Monetization Method

There are quite a few implementations and innovative monetization strategies that make use of these two payment methods, and we cover all the bases in this blog.

So how do you choose the right strategy for you?

First, you’ll need to prioritize your goals. Ask yourself basic questions about your personal goals, your professional goals, and how you plan to bring value to the online economy. Do you already have products? Do you already have an audience? Do you want to find a better way to monetize an existing setup? How much time do you have to commit to marketing?

Once you know where you stand, you can evaluate potential options:

  • Advertising – comes in many flavors. App developers and programmers can look at pay-per-install programs, in-app advertising, and software distribution solutions.
  • Affiliate marketing – works well for bloggers, service providers, and certain types of apps. Programs may be independent or may be joined up with major retailers, such as Amazon and eBay. 
  • Hybrid options – are also common. Payloadz is a pay-per-download network that also has an affiliate program. You can upload and sell your own products, allow affiliates to promote them, and earn commissions from products that you promote. Most marketers’ online monetization strategies are hybrids that include many different options. A freemium software program, for example, can offer in-app purchases, ads, and even affiliate offers. Successful affiliate bloggers use a combination of advertising and affiliate deals to earn income from their content.

Offer Value to Stand Out

If you want to stand out online, you have to do something different. Generic products or content that blends in won’t attract attention and won’t sell anything. Offer value, build trust, create relationships, and think long term.

The early internet was a wild west, and it still is to some extent, because of a major market imbalance between those with tech know-how and those without. But there are no magic bullets and no shortcuts. To make money online, you have to be able to offer something of real value to your target audience.

Your sales vehicle, whether it is a blog, an app, or an ebook, should grab people’s attention and offer real value. Once you have those boxes checked off, online monetization is simply a matter of researching the most appropriate advertising and affiliate solutions to meet your needs.