It’s easy to forget just how much value the people who come into contact with your organisation can hold – and not just for you, but for third parties too. If you haven’t already thought about monetising your website visitors and database, now is the time to alter your view of them, and treat them as an additional revenue stream in their own right.
As a media publisher you must have good amount of website visitors with something in common – interest, behaviour, need… And there are many companies willing to pay for this!
Here are the most innovative and profitable ways you can tap into that incremental revenue, and the things you need to ensure along the way.
This blog is a part of a media publishing series ‘Revenue generating tips for media publishers’.
Advertising is of course big business - and in monetising your website visitors you should consider providing relevant leads to organisations within this industry.
Publishers tapping into affiliate marketing is a very common and straightforward approach that can generate significant revenues. If executed well and with a little help from marketing automation software, this approach can be targeted towards your advertiser’s needs more accurately, meaning you can charge a premium.
All it takes is a well-placed banner that reaches targeted prospects, or an advertorial on your website to drive your visitors to the vendors’ site, after which you’ll be rewarded per visitor or amount of views you generate, or by a flat fee.
The key is in finding alignment between your organisation, and the one you act as an affiliate for; the vendor must be a related business but a non-competitor, as you will need to feature content that is relevant for your audience in order to make a profit, even if it does drive traffic elsewhere.
You can go the extra mile and link the advertiser’s content to your landing page in order to gather prospects’ data and consent that they agree to their data being shared with the advertiser. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves now, because really we are talking about MQLs.
2. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
By using your marketing automation system to its fullest, you can turn the raw data it harvests and holds into something much more exciting. Try examining the way your website visitors come into contact with your business and you should be able to do a little more digging and realise whether or not they are the right fit for a product or service offered by another organisation. You can do this by hosting polls on your website, asking targeted questions in a webinar, or even assessing what kind of protected content a lead is downloading.
As long as you have permission – and that part is key – you can then refer them to an organisation which will pay in kind for the new customers you are responsible for generating. This works particularly well given its personalised nature, as you will only refer contacts that the third party is relevant to and they are in the middle stage of the marketing funnel as an MQL.
The more relevant you can make these leads the better, though you will of course be reimbursed for sharing contacts in relation to volumes. This can be in some cases a significant number (in hundreds) but on some occasions and especially within the B2B industry you might be handing over as little as 10 MQLs. It's all about getting the right fit in this case, and making sure you don't upset your own valuable prospects.
Remember, you can never gather too much information about a single prospect. The more you know, the more value the prospect has. But while talking about knowing too much about an MQL, we might as well jump straight into Sales Qualified Leads.
3. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
In order to provide SQLs you need to shift your focus from monetising your website visitors, to engaged prospects on your database or members of your community. SQLs refer more specifically to highly engaged prospects that showed direct interest in your advertiser’s product. If you can hand over leads to non-competitive third parties AND let them know that they are at the very end of their decision making process and automatically in company’s last stages of sales funnel, you’ll be almost unstoppable in your profitable exploits. This removes some of the hard work for the organisation you refer to, which also means you can profit even more significantly from these leads.
As we've said before, intelligent lead scoring and behavior mapping is of huge value both to your organisation and others’, and the latest marketing automation systems have the functionality to help with this.
Satisfying the demand for highly qualified leads often involve some additional research. For the highly valuable and highly profitable SQLs you can charge a premium, but this might involve further qualification over the phone.
Now you’re ready to step up your offering!
Many publishers haven’t realised what a golden mine they are sitting on. There is of course a chance to make some money on advertising and selling banner placement opportunities. But by being smart and involving a few additional steps you can bring this income stream to another level.
If executed properly, it won't negatively impact your own performance with the leads you come into contact with, and it is likely to be a valuable relationship building exercise with the companies you partner with.