I’ve been trying to make passive income online for the past few years. Until recently, I’ve worked with clients, so I had to “earn” my money by selling time. But I’ve built some digital assets (design templates + online courses), and I have lots of content and a fair amount of traffic, which means, for the first time, I can think about scaling my income. I’ve been consistently earning $100+ a day for the past several months, with organic traffic – but this month I’d like to double my monthly income with these 5 steps:
1. Double traffic (pinterest/youtube)
The first step would be to double organic traffic. I have about a dozen sites I don’t update at all, and this is the only one I blog infrequently on… not surprisingly my SEO has dropped which means most of my sites show up on page 5 or so on Google for relevant keywords (very few people look past the first page of search results). So I can double sales by doubling traffic: my current plan =
- Find my 25 top-performing posts.
- Add a nice long infographic for pinterest
- Fix the SEO on titles, and add nice featured images for each post
- Use all my other sites: write relevant articles and link back to these main posts with keyword anchors.
- Also make sure I have YouTube videos about/linking to these main topics, or a youtube series on each topic. Clean up my YouTube channel and add thumbnails + links in video description.
- Reach out to some other blogs and websites in my field and see if they’ll accept a guest post (aim to do at least 10 of these).
- Look into the “silo” seo strategy, which is basically a site with tiers of relevant topics, used correctly to pass “link juice” towards the main posts you want to boost.
A lot of that is just fixing/doing basic stuff I should have been doing anyway. It’ll take about a month but should double traffic.
2. Double conversions (optin offers/signups)
The next step – though some of these I’m doing now – is improving on page optins. I tried to do this recently by adding more popups, landing mats, and improving my offers… but I got some feedback today and realized:
- Some of the optin forms I added don’t work on mobile, which makes my optin forms and site inaccessible to a large % of readers (oops).
- My main optin offer on THIS site is confusing… my brand is to help creative people sell their best work, but most of the traffic is here for the book design or book marketing tips – and since I don’t actually sell anything from my Creativindie funnel anyway, I should be more focused on a great offer that attracts offers.
- I DID recently add content upgrades on my high performing sites, and that’s helped with optins, but I can do better with a GREAT popup or slide in form that’s very specific and attractive for authors.
Also, my DIY sites don’t perform that well – years ago I built them out into blogs, but then I tried make them squeeze pages instead, and the problem with that is people spend less time on the site – they either optin or they don’t. If they don’t, they’re gone (and that’s bad for rankings). Based on a friend’s site layout, I’m going to redo these to have a free video series on the main page, so people not only stick around, but are also more likely to share the page since it provides lots of free content and value BEFORE asking for the optin. This should ultimately increase optins on these sites (right now, my optin forms convert at about 40%, but only about 20% of my traffic is clicking on the optin button.
Better copy writing, headlines, videos, content and site design could all help with this. But done right, I should be able to double conversions of existing traffic (I’m at about 100 optins a day, so I could get to 200/day).
3. Double sales (tripwire/email series/core offer sales page)
There’s a lot of things that can go wrong when asking for the sale, and I’m not doing it very well. Basically, when people sign up they get a one time offer of a big discount. Then they start an educational email series where I provide a lot of value, and offer them the deal again – then more great content, then I let them know if they need more help or personal feedback, they can join my premium course.
Better copy writing, better sales videos, more value, social proof, credibility, trust anchors and other things could all help; I’m going to rewrite my sales page copy and email autoresponders soon. I also just added Deadline Funnel to display a countdown timer on my discount deals so people know the deal really is for a limited time only.
4. Double affiliate offers (recommend more things to list)
Whether or not people buy my courses or products, there are LOTS of other things I could recommend to increase subscriber value with affiliate offers – I can teach them how to set up a website, how to run ads and do keyword research, how to get more book reviews or book editing – etc., and recommend the products and services I use in my own book marketing. Not only is this a chance to earn extra money, it’s an opportunity to continue providing value with a LONG autoresponder series covering lots of in-depth topics.
5. Advertise/ affiliates (scale up big!)
What I haven’t done yet, but will, is start running heavy ads to my best content, and my optin pages. I know the average value of my subscribers is around $5 (I get 1000 optins a month, and earn $5000). Which means I could spend quite a bit on acquiring new subscribers. Even if I spend $1 for each subscribers, theoretically I could spend $1000 on ads and earn an additional $5K. (Even more theoretically, I could spend $10K and earn 50K).
Ads can be risky, but I’m looking forward to testing and tweaking – the best thing about ads is you can test your sales copy and find out what images and headlines resonate with my audience and get the most clicks – then I can use that on the landing pages. My initial goal is to spend $1K a month as long as it’s profitable, but then scale up.
However I ALSO need to start using affiliates, which means, I get 20 people with relevant lists and platforms to sign up to share my resources. Since I have a few unique products that most leaders in my industry aren’t offering a solution for (DIY cover design templates), it should be an easy thing for them to offer their list or add to their sidebar for some extra income.
I’m really excited about these, because improvements on the first four could each double income.
$100 a day x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = $1600 per day… that’s before even getting to #5 (what I should actually be doing, is running more ads and testing ad copy first, to see what gets the most clicks, then edit my sales page to match; but I’m hesitant to start running ads until I’m getting more consistent sales on my core offer.)
I still have a lot to learn, but I think I can get up to $500 a day in the next couple months… which means more time to focus on writing fiction.
NOTE: if you’re an author, most of these stuff also applies to books and book sales.
I just realized I was missing one factor:
#6. MORE PRODUCTS
Right now, I have two low priced offers and one more expensive course+coaching package for authors.
But now that I have a system, it’ll be easy to boost passive income by offering a broader range of solutions. I’ve had some of these mapped out for years:
- Paid to Create (a guide to earning a living doing what you love
- The 21 Day Author Platform (to build up a huge platform before your book launch)
- How I Travel the World for Free (how to make money online from anywhere)
Every three months or so, I’ll try and put out a NEW ebook, free course, and advanced course or relevant coaching.
Producing these will also give me a LOT of new blog posts and content, which should increase my traffic as well – but ignoring that, double the product should also double the earnings, so the formula could increase to $100 a day x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2= $3200 per day… or just under six-figures a month.
That would be crazy, and I’m actually happy making much less, as long as I can focus on my own creative projects without worrying about finances, but there’s another interesting factor:
Once you start earning passive income, it gets easier to sustain because you can devote all your time to building resources and boosting sales.
Instead of getting paid to do one task (which has no benefit to my long-term income), every hour I spend tweaking my business to bring in more traffic and conversions, or building digital products and assets, increases long-term revenue. To be clear, I’m not at this level yet. It’s taken me years to get to 5K/month in passive income. My previous goal for the year was 10K/month, but it’s only March and I’m getting pretty close. I need to think better and allow myself to get comfortable to the big, intimidating numbers (even though I accept in theory that my earnings are limited by what I think is possible, I’m not great at just “choosing” to believe; I need to slowly get comfortable by demonstrating what I’m capable of).
My new goal for 2018 is to reach 25K a month (with 10K of that coming from fiction – a separate income stream). For years I’ve been making just enough to get by; but I’m going to commit to my own principles and Aim Higher: the more I earn, the more time I have to create resources, serve my community, and help others.
If you’re interested in this stuff, or building your own online business or passive income funnels, make sure you subscribe to my list or follow me on YouTube.
UPDATE: here’s a list of 21 ways to boost your evergreen sales funnel that’s a bit more advanced. I thought I’d posted this in another article somewhere but I can’t find it…
I’m a philosophy dropout with a PhD in Literature. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write fantasy novels to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles.
Great stuff Derek,
Plan on trying several of these myself shortly.