Here’s the missing piece to making money online

Photo by Colin Viessmann on Unsplash

Author: Tim Denning

I got an email from an experienced business owner. They said, “Don’t worry about me, I’m simply going to put up a website and sell through my website.”

This is blind faith.

I used to think that. Slap-up a website and then sell, sell, sell. This dream isn’t a reality. A website will get lost in a sea of Google results.

I learned while working at a digital marketing agency that even with a $10,000 a month SEO budget, people coming to your site isn’t enough.

This Is the Missing Piece
A business without content is lifeless.

Content is full of stories. Stories bring you and your business to life. A website is great. But what you need is an audience and content gives you an audience. You don’t need a huge audience either. A tiny, highly focused audience can make you six figures.

One of my writer friends has just pivoted. He’s spent years mastering business and learning about productivity. He now has people on his email list buy high-end coaching tied to tangible results. He has a tiny email list, but he only needs 8.3 customers paying $1,000 each a month to live the life of his dreams.

When people ignore content they misunderstand business, marketing, social media, and life — all in one go.

Humans are attracted to stories. Stories are a magnet. A magnet brings humans closer to your business who may decide to browse your website and spend money. Without content, humans can’t relate to you.

A Critical Requirement To Have People Spend Money
You need trust. Content builds trust.
I launched a LinkedIn course recently. A few people emailed me who had done my previous courses and doubted the course. I simply said, “The question isn’t whether the course is good or will deliver you the result? The question is, based on everything you’ve seen from me, do you trust me to know my stuff and lead you towards your desired outcome?”

A light bulb went off. You buy products from people you trust.

When I sell a course about earning money online, it’s because I’ve done it in public for seven years, so people trust me to deliver the outcome.

When You Don’t Produce Content This Is What Happens
Without creating helpful content, you fall into this trap.

You try and take shortcuts by buying ads.

Ads are nice… but at the end of the day they’re low-quality content you force people to consume. When you force something down a person’s throat, they don’t enjoy it or remember it for the right reasons.

Buying ads isn’t the shortcut to making money online.

You still have to tell genuine stories and show people how you can help them with a specific problem. I’ve been saying for years that 15 minutes of text-only content on LinkedIn can change the trajectory of your career, business, and income. Many ignore me. They keep looking for shortcuts. They often end up buying ads. The ads may produce attention, but the person on the other end isn’t glued to the business through the art of storytelling.

When a person isn’t glued to what you are offering, what happens? They treat their relationship with you like a transaction — they buy on price.

You Can Start Without a Website
Building a website = procrastination.
Starting with content makes more sense. For example, I recently put my head down and started going all-out on Twitter.

The results are phenomenal. My email list grew faster. I sold more digital products. I met more cool people. And my learnings from other content creators started to bleed into my writing.

A website is like a book in a lot of ways. It’s the idea you’ve got this beautiful, shiny toy everybody is going to stand back and admire. The truth is nobody cares if you wrote a book or set up a website.

People want to know how you can help them in as little time as possible. A book is a huge time commitment. Many people never get to the end of a book. But at least 50% get to the end of a piece of content like a blog post.

Many people never check out your website properly either. Just log into Google Analytics and see for yourself. My Google Analytics says most people visit my homepage and never come back again. Thankfully, many of those people decide to leave their email address so we can stay in touch on a weekly basis through short, sharp, to-the-point content that helps/inspires them.

Solution: Skip starting a website and simply set up a landing page to capture email addresses.

I’ll Leave You With This Key Insight
If your goal is to make money online then you need to validate a segment of your audience. How? You sell a product that is between $20-$49 — an eBook, course, 1–1 coaching. The price point is low enough that most people won’t need too much convincing or require any research to spend the money.

When you have a segment of your audience who are comfortable at this price point, you have the makings of a little online business. Gradually, you add more products and services that are more expensive. Products over $99 typically require some interaction with you to answer questions and gently guide a person through their fears of spending money with you.

Think of it like this: $20 equals validation you’re on the right path.
If you can’t find a handful of people who trust you enough through content to spend $20 with you, then don’t despair. It just means you’ve got to put more time and effort into the process. I think of online business in five-year chunks because after that amount of time you’ll definitely figure it out.

Leads, websites, PR, ads, podcasts — they don’t work as well as free content from a human.