Online revenue streams are a must.
While developing online revenue streams for small businesses has always been important for creating versatility, now it is absolutely crucial for survival as the world looks to pursue a normal-ish life in these unprecedented times.
People are looking online for nearly everything they want or need right now.
Naturally, we should focus on developing online resources to help our customers in ways we aren’t already. But before we entertain new ways of doing business, I think it’s important that every business owners understands a simple FACT:
You are still needed. You can still help people. And you can still earn an income doing it.
This is your opportunity to step up and help your customers in new ways needed now more than ever. And bonus… when things get back to normal you will have a new source of income opportunity in place.
Ideas to pivot your business for online success.
Here are some ideas I’ve already seen work. Maybe you can find some inspiration through the early success of these innovative business owners:
Go beyond the online course.
While online courses are an amazing resource to re-release right now, they do take a lot of pre-planning and development time to create professional, valuable content. The time requirements to create a quality online course may not be feasible to take on if you’re short on time whilst homeschooling, taking care of family, or putting out fires in your business.
What you CAN do is offer your expertise in person as a mentor instead. This could be a 1-on-1 or group setting with strategy consultations via phone or video conference.
To initiate your mentorship opportunity, you will want to outline clear topics of interest that are important to your audience. This can even turn into a subscription-based model to help people afford smaller monthly payments for the duration of the mentorship while giving you longer term income stability. (More on that later in this article.)
Think you’re not qualified to “mentor?” You absolutely are! Mentors come in all varieties. You can be a beauty/style mentor, a public speaking mentor, or a mentor for someone wanting to learn your trade. Whatever your tried-and-true experience, someone can benefit from it.
Now more than ever, people are eager to connect with someone who can make their life better.
Move to Zoom.
If you’re a brick and mortar location that offers some sort of personal coaching – whether it be therapy, fitness, or similar – it’s time to get flexible.
I’ve seen therapists reach out to clients and provide virtual tele-sessions. I’ve also seen therapists offer general counsel in hot topic sessions open to the public as a way to help even more people while also acquiring new leads.
This transition also works well for fitness or dance instructors. It’s a great way to maintain current memberships and also promote online classes to a whole new audience looking for something new and fun to do while stuck at home.
Come to think of it, this would be a great format for one of those group paining places to host a virtual class.
How could this work for you?
Take your business on the road.
This is a great opportunity for businesses who provide 1-on-1 services.
Some examples of business adapting in this way are photographers coordinating drive-by family photos in front of their clients’ homes, hairdressers who drop off products or “root kits” so clients can do at-home treatments, and veterinarians delivering needed pet food and vitamins.
Business owners in this position have an opportunity to create massive customer loyalty right now by going the extra mile, literally.
What opportunities can you think of to create connection with your customers/clients at this time?
Develop a subscription-based alternative.
The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for many business owners who rely on one-off sales.
To contemplate how your business might offer a subscription-based solution as a consistent source of income, you must first consider what your customers consistently need.
Based on your current area of expertise, how can you provide ongoing value to your clients?This is the perfect time to consider new ways of helping your customers routinely because we are living in the exact marketplace that a subscription-based business would thrive in.
I am personally subscribed to products and services that have made quarantine life so much easier. For instance, I don’t have to worry about searching for certain lady essentials (just as valuable as TP!) at the drugstore; and I still have access to some fun non-essentials that are currently unavailable elsewhere.
How can you put your product or service on autopilot to make your customer’s quarantine life better?
Marketing your new online idea.
You’re wheels are turning, but how the heck can you turn this new idea into an actual revenue stream to help sustain your business? Basic marketing.
Serve before you sell.
Yes, we are looking at revenue opportunity, but we should remember that wealth in business is determined by far more than the number on your bank account. You might find that your new idea to sustain your business, might be a free, discounted, or donation-based offer that will set the stage for future opportunity. Maybe it’s well worth the price you’ve chosen. Whatever is right for your audience will be the right thing to do.
We can’t know how it will play out, but when serve our customers first, the business usually takes care of itself.
Keep your brand consistent.
As you start to promote your new offering, the number one rule is to remain consistent to your brand’s visuals and vision.
When you are doing a new thing, people will trust your venture if they feel like they can still trust you. Maintaining that trust comes with maintaining a solid brand, representing the source of your connection.
Every graphic, email, website addition and piece of content around your offer should represent your business consistently.
Be ready for conversions.
Before you start to promote your new offering, you’ll need to make sure you’re technically ready. We always reccemond a landing page for every offer. A landing page is dedicated to helping the client/customer easily find the information they need to know know in order to make a decision about yoru offer. If you’re not sure what makes a good landing page, grab our checklist and make sure you check all the boxes.
You might be tempted to skip the landing page and send people to email or DM and utilize payment options like PayPal or Venmo, but keep in mind more steps just makes it harder for customers to follow through. Not to mention, harder for you to stay organized.
As part of the landing page, we always recommend utilizing a form. Forms can be used to collect information you might need to carry out your offer or even for customer consent to necessary waivers. A form submission can even trigger an auto reply email with important next steps for your customers or you!
If you’re looking for form plugin recommendations (or other ideas), here are is a list of our top 17 WordPress plugins.
Finally, don’t neglect your home page. In the event that someone comes to your home page first (which is likely for most organic traffic), make sure you have a banner or pop-up that directs them to the new offerings you’ve created to help them in these unique circumstances.
Promote your idea.
Promoting your new idea should come naturally if you’ve aligned your offer with your brand. You will have a clear vision for how you can serve your customers in this new way. Hone into all the ways your idea can help your audience. Spread your message in social posts, social stories, emails, DMs and even in conversations with friends.
Keep everyone in the loop every step of the way. Any time there is something new to say about your offer, say it! Promoting you new offering will never get old if you are truly coming from a place of service rather than desperation to make quick cash.
I know it might sound like a lot, but you have a short time to tell people about a brand new idea. Plus, the likelihood of someone seeing all your content is extremely small. Keep sharing!
Think short term – for now.
The number one rule in marketing is to meet your customers where they are at now. They are looking for a solution for their problem now. As you entertain new ways to sustain your business in this current economic environment, try not to get caught up on all the what ifs.
Yes, it’s possible some of these ideas will fizzle after the cornoa-dust settles. But at the very least you will have a backup plan should you need it someday.
On the other hand, your new idea could end up being a crucial pivot or a launching point for even bigger and better things to come.
You’ll never know until you try.