Hi everyone. I want to return to posting more about my current projects on this blog and not just monthly earning updates. So towards this end, I wanted to talk about an experiment/new revenue model I’m trying out.
Actually, it’s something I’ve been trying to do for a while, but never really followed through on. Over the past year or two, I’ve often spoken about moving away from Google as my main source of traffic. But to be honest, I’ve not done too much in this regards. I have built a few lists using Aweber, but with the exception of this blog, I haven’t had too many sign-ups. Perhaps with a little more effort, I would see more sign-ups, but it’s really hard to get people to subscribe to lists about vacuum cleaners. List building seems to favor different kinds of sites than those about products (where I promote Amazon products) or informational (often AdSense sites).
I’ve also had similar poor success when it comes to social media. I must admit that there is part of me that is very reluctant to go the social media route, promoting my site through Facebook, Twitter, etc., simply because I fear this will be a very time consuming method. I know there are systems to automate things (like HootSuite), but it would seem to me that to be truly successful using social media, you really need to be engaged yourself.
Last year I did, however, talk about creating a new site based on Glenn Alsopp’s Cloud Blueprint (highly recommended and completely free!). I even started a project on this blog, which I unfortunately didn’t finish (after getting sidetracked by having to suddenly move unexpectedly). Although the project was set aside, I did feel like this was a method that I wanted to get back into. But to be honest, I didn’t have a lot of passion for the topic I originally started with, and didn’t have the motivation to return to it (although if my current project turns out to be a resounding success, I might really want to do so!).
However, I’ve decided to give it a go again – this time with another website, and a slightly different topic. I actually don’t feel 100% comfortable giving away the URL of the site (yet) so I’m going to hold off on that for now, but I will say the site is focused on promoting free and bargain ebooks at Amazon. There are a lot of these kind of sites out there (for example, Pixel of Ink and FreeKindBooks, and I’ve been studying their model and success.
Obviously, you aren’t going to make anything off of free Kindle downloads (and no, as far as I can tell, they don’t boost your Amazon commission rate either). However, a big assumption is that once people go to Amazon to download an ebook they may decide to make another purchase or do another ebook download. And so far, based on initial results, this does seem to be the case for a small percentage of free ebook downloaders (probably between 5-10%). Another source of potential revenue could be getting authors to pay to have their books be featured on the site. I haven’t explored this possibility much yet, but I know that some sites do quite well with this. And given the current popularity of ebook self-publishing at Amazon, this is likely going to be something to look at more seriously in the future.
The key to the success of this model will be getting a lot of Facebook followers who are actively engaged. Pixel of Ink, for example, has over 300,000 Facebook followers, and freekindbooks over 50,000!
Of course, being that this is a brand new site, getting traffic will be a challenge – especially to start. So I’m making my first foray into FaceBook and Adwords paid advertising.
I must admit I know very little about Facebook marketing. In all honesty, I’m completely lost by it all and have no idea how to set up a good fan page and do facebook advertising. However, I did recently see a great webinar by Facebook marketing guru Amy Porterfield. She clearly really knows her stuff, and decided to get her video course FBInfluence. It is a great guide, and I now really feel like I have a good sense of how to move forward on this front.
* For example, one of the tips she has is to create ads that get users to hit the “like” button. For example “Click Like If You Love Free Ebooks!” This is something I would have probably never thought of doing myself. I’m just not that clever.
* I also want to get people to sign up to my Aweber list, and she also discusses how to create a “landing page” for Facebook that you integrate with Aweber (or another list service if you use it) and send people to using Facebook Ads
* She also discusses things that I find completely overwhelming, like useful development apps for Facebook promotion, and in general just makes the whole process much easier to understand.
So where am I now in this whole process?
- I set up the site August 21st. So far I’ve completed the site and created a Facebook fan page and set up my Aweber list. I’ve also created a Twitter account.
- Currently I’m posting three or four times a day. I use a paid WordPress plugin (CrazyGoodTools) to create the posts on my blog (it automatically pulls photos, descriptions and more from Amazon – meaning it takes only about a minute to create a post about a free ebook). After posting to my blog, I then post the URL to facebook (this could be automated). I’ve also linked my Facebook account to Twitter, so my Facebook posts are also automatically posted to Twitter.
- I redeemed a $50 Facebook credit I received from a hosting provider a few months ago (check your GoDaddy account to see if you have this as well!), and also a $100 AdWords voucher I received in the mail (Google keeps sending me these things!). I’ve now set up an AdWords promotion that links to my site at $7/day and a Facebook promotion at $3/day.
- Currently, with these ads running, I’m getting between 200-300 impressions a day at my website: about 30-50 from AdWords clicks, about 100 from Facebook users, and the rest from free search engine traffic for random keywords.
- I’ve been getting around 20-30 new “likes” a day on Facebook. My current Facebook following is around 500 followers.
- I’ve been getting 2-3 list sign-ups a day.
I don’t have any idea how many people are downloading the free ebooks using my affiliate ID (I don’t think there is any way to know this, but if anyone does know how to find out, please let me know!), but I’ve been getting 5-10 orders a day on Amazon for other books and products from this site’s tracking ID.
Given that a lot of these are ebooks sales, my earnings are only about $5/day. Still, having a site that is less than a month old and already earning $150 a month isn’t bad at all. However, right now that is coming primarily from paid traffic.
I’m not sure what I’ll do after my ad credits run out, but I imagine I’ll continue running the Facebook ads for at least another month (to the tune of $90). However, I’ll likely stop the AdWords ads. I’ll also probably follow some of the tips from Glen’s Cloud Blueprint on other paid traffic generating strategies – such as solo ads – and give those a try as well.
In sum, I’m excited to see how thing progress on this site – and yes, it’s great to actually be excited about a site!
I’m setting a goal of getting my Facebook fan page users up to 10,000 in a years time, and my email list subscribers to at least 1000 in the next year as well. Give my current rates of sign up, these numbers should be achievable, and I imagine this site could be a big earner down the road.
And I’ll be sure to update you all as the year progresses on how this site does!
Feel free to ask any questions (or suggestions) below as well and I’ll be more than happy to respond or reply.