And you're right! You've just done one of the hardest parts of building wealth online - amassing an audience that knows, likes, and trusts you.
Getting large amounts of people to follow your ideas is an enormous challenge that most business owners never achieve.
However, many people who build audiences all eventually run into the same brick wall - they don't know how their audience will make them money.
See, now that you've crossed the biggest hurdle, there are still more challenges awaiting you down the road.
The net big challenge is how you'll monetize said audience. Owning an audience doesn't simply mean you can sell them any and everything.
A lot of people end up losing their audience by selling the wrong products, leading to their audience losing trust in them.
Warren Buffet, the most successful investor in the world, once said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."
That's why it's important to fully understand how you should approach the obstacle of monetizing your audience, and, once done correctly, continue to grow your audience even larger.
In this article, we're discussing 6 ways in which you can monetize your audience and create a new income stream.
Start a business
Starting a business, whether it's selling physical products or digital products, is a great way to monetize your audience.
Some of the most successful influencers have become so by first building a large audience around a particular interest or niche, then following on by building a business that appeals to their audience.
If you're someone who is interested in makeup and beauty, you can monetize your audience by starting a makeup brand.
Kylie Jenner became a billionaire after she started her own brand, Kylie Cosmetics.
By the time she started, she already had almost 50 million followers, making it extremely easy to market her business.
If you have an audience you're looking to monetize, first think about what your audience has in common.
Almost all audiences are built for one reason - commonalities.
Figure out what interests your audience share, then build a business around that.
If you're unsure, then a lot of the time, your audience might be there for you. This is the case for many YouTubers, streamers, and entertainers.
In this case, you've got a much bigger playing field, because your audience will essentially support whatever business you start.
The most common business these types of influencers choose to start is clothing brands.
The Sidemen, a group of YouTubers managed to build a collective following of 100s of millions of people across the internet.
This has allowed them to start many businesses, including a Vodka brand, a clothing brand, a fast-food company, and more.
Become an ambassador
Sometimes, you don't need to start your own business to monetize your audience.
Instead, you could have businesses flocking to you for your audience.
Celebrities, like The Rock, are rumoured to charge $1 million per Instagram post they make - that's a very high fee for a simple partnership.
No matter how big your audience is, you can become an affiliate or an ambassador for other businesses.
Typically, when your audience is of a smaller size, you can use the strategies we talked about in our article on affiliate marketing to monetize your audience.
However, there are brands that will reach out to you for an ambassador partnership.
Common examples of this include PLT (Pretty Little Thing), GFuel, and more.
These brands realise that there's a lot of value in targeting small, tight-knit followings to expand their reach, and so they have a dedicated team in place to focus on this marketing channel.
For many people, becoming a brand ambassador or affiliate is the best way to monetize an audience - you don't need to worry about the hassle of growing and maintaining a business, you simply do what you've been doing, and make money for promoting other people's products or services.
With that said, there are challenges to promoting other businesses' products.
A mistake many influencers make is accepting any and every promotion request they receive. Although this might sound like a great idea, as it nets you more money, it's a terrible long-term strategy.
There are many businesses and brands out there with questionable products that can tarnish your name and personal brand.
Do your due diligence before choosing to work with a business or brand.
Do they have other influencers working with them?
What are their reviews like?
Are they a legitimate brand?
What are their values, do they align with your audience's?
Start a subscription
Starting an exclusive subscription service might be one of the most effective ways to monetize an audience.
One of the most popular ways creators and influencers create subscription services is through Patreon - an online service made for managing exclusive subscriber content.
No matter what you do, you're able to create a subscription service for your audience to support you through.
In return, those that subscribe to your subscription service receive exclusive, members-only perks and rewards.
On YouTube, content creators are using subscription services to share behind the scenes content and extra footage that could not be shared on the public streaming platform.
If you're a chef, then you can create exclusive recipes and challenges that only those who are subscribed to your Patreon can leverage.
A small group of people in your audience will want to subscribe to your subscription service in order to get a closer, more interactive feeling with you, the creator.
Getting started is extremely simple - create an account on Patreon, and share this news with your audience.
From here, you can take content that you might not post online and turn it into members-exclusive content through Patreon.
Many influencers have reminders in their videos, blogs, and content to let their audience know about this opportunity.
Getting people to subscribe and retaining these people are two different things.
While it might be easy to get them to subscribe, keeping them subscribed and engaged is harder.
It's important you keep your Patreon up to date with new, engaging, and exciting content.
When your subscribers start to see that they're not getting much value from this subscription, they may cancel it.
If you're a content creator on Youtube, you're able to monetize your audience through YouTube's partner program.
Similarly, as a blogger, you're able to leverage Google's Adsense platform to monetize the traffic that comes across your website.
Another powerful way is through Spotify's partner program too - the biggest podcaster in the world, Joe Rogan, is said to have struck a deal with Spotify worth around $100 million.
However, something tells me the reality is much, much greater.
How exactly do these programs work?
It's simple! When you create content, the platforms (be it YouTube, Google, Spotify, or whatever) run adverts on your content, and in return, you get a small commission from the revenue generated.
Different niches have different RPMs, which is essentially how much a creator earns per 1000 views.
While an entertainment channel might have a lower RPM, a business channel might have much higher RPM rates because the business audience is much more lucrative.
Joining your platform's partnership program is the easiest and simplest way to monetize your audience.
Not only will you earn money just by creating content, you can still build on top of this earned income using any one of these other strategies we've talked about it in this article.
Set up events
While setting up and running events is something you can't do very frequently, it's a very lucrative way to monetize your audience.
Some creators host annual real-world events that their audience can attend.
While there are limited spaces available, tickets can be sold for hundreds of dollars. I'm going to describe a pro strategy next that explains a new and innovative way to sell tickets.
With events, it can be very expensive to set up these events, to begin with, however, once the tickets sell out, you'll find that you've made a big profit.
A good tip to follow might be to sell the tickets first, then set up the event after, once you've generated revenue from the ticket sales.
Depending on where the majority of your audience is from, you might decide to host these events in a place easily accessible to most.
If you live in South Africa, yet the majority of your audience lives in the States, then it might be a great idea to set up the event in the States and travel to America for the event.
There are some people who may be so excited to attend these events that they travel abroad for the event itself.
Depending on your niche, you'll set up the event based on what your audience might enjoy.
An entrepreneurial audience will love to hear you speak, and bring on guest speakers whom they may have the opportunity to network with later on.
If you're an artist, you may set up tours where you sing your music to those who really admire it. Many artists generate the majority of their income from these tour ticket sales.
If running an event sounds interesting but you're unsure how to set one up, look into setting up online events too.
Online events may not be as unique and exciting as real-world events, however, if the benefits are similar, people will still buy tickets to attend.
Here's one you may not have heard anywhere else! No matter what your opinion is on NFTs, you cannot ignore the fact that they're changing the fabric of the digital world itself.
As an influencer, content creator, or artist, you're able to leverage the power of NFTs to monetize your audience.
Gary Vee is one of the most popular examples of a content creator who used NFTs to create unimaginable value.
Within the space of 3 months, Gary Vee mentioned that he made over $90 million from his NFT collection, Veefriends.
Now, Gary's collection isn't simply another money-grab like 90% of the NFT collections coming out today.
In fact, Gary Vee's collections are likely one of the more special ones out there - different NFTs in his collection give their holders special benefits that are worth more than the NFT's price itself.
For example, owning one of Gary Vee's NFTs gives you the ability to have dinner with Gary.
Better yet, every single one of his NFTs acts as a ticket to VeeCon - one of his real-world events, being hosted this year (May 2022).
Gary Vee is a massive online personality who's been an entrepreneur for dozens of years, arguably since he was born.
As a smaller influencer, you do not need to replicate the benefits of owning a VeeFriends NFT.
Creating an NFT collection is rather simple, especially when you already have an audience.
See, NFTs get their value, not from the creators of the tokens, but from the community that buys and sells them.
This means that you've already done the hard part - building the community - now you can create a set of NFTs, be it 5000, 10,000 or whatever quantity you choose, and let your community mint them.
Not only is this a great way to monetize your audience, but it can also lead to many other things later on.
Creating an NFT collection is similar to the Patreon subscription because not everyone will join in.
NFTs come in limited quantities which pushes their value higher and higher over time, earning you royalties every time an NFT is traded.
Those were 6 ways in which you can monetize your online audience.
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