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8 Online Business Models That Survived 2011

Online Business Models 2012

Wow, 2011 really was a rough year for Internet Marketers. It was as if we were constantly under attack by greater forces.

To name a few… Google, Facebook, Twitter, Google again, PPC Networks and others.

Google was slapping affiliates left, right and center. There was a collapse in SEO, Matt Cutts went insane and ranking in Google became unreliable. PPC networks tightened up, Facebook and Twitter changed about 1000 things. Overall it was a very annoying year; just about 1000 changes too many.

The micro niche site business model collapsed completely and thousands of marketers lost thousands of dollars in monthly Adsense revenue. Overall; it became a little more difficult to make money as an Internet Marketer. But then again; the traditional business models that I go over in this post are as easy as they ever have been.

So if you’re looking for a new income stream or you’re looking to build an online business from scratch, here are 8 online business models that survived 2011:

1. Information Marketing

Information marketing or info marketing was really what started Internet Marketing. A couple of dudes selling ebooks. Ebooks were the only kind of information Internet Marketers knew how to create and sell. Information marketing was so new to the Internet. People paid for books, seminars and courses offline; so why wouldn’t they online?

Especially when they could instantly download their information and with zero manufacturing costs – Internet Marketers saw huge potential. Anyway, information marketing was born. Soon after ebooks came video courses, audios, recorded seminars, bundles, live webinars, mindmaps and membership sites.

Internet Marketers started to capitalize on people’s problems and desires. Need to learn how to play gold? Buy an ebook… Need to get rid of a yeast infection? Buy a video tutorial. Anyway, information marketing has been around since the beginning of online marketing and I can’t see it going anywhere any time soon.

You can sell an ebook, video course, audio or a combination of them bundled together. All you need to do is find a niche that is thirsty for information. Information that you can provide in the form of a downloadable product. Once created setup a sales page, hire a copywriter, get a few graphics created and have squeeze pages made. Form a sales funnel.

From there you can stick it on Clickbank, recruit affiliates and begin to grow a steady flow of sales.

2. Selling Software

Over the past couple of years software products have become increasingly more popular. Desktop software, online software, WordPress plugins and scripts. Software can be programmed to do some amazing things. In the Internet Marketing niche software is generally built for 6 different purposes:

  1. Link Building
  2. SEO
  3. Traffic Generation
  4. Social Media
  5. Automation
  6. Managing

If you can come up with an idea for a software product that you believe would sell; hire a $300/month programmer to get it coded. With a good sales page and a few JV partners; you could pull off a massive product launch.

You can also sell software continuously via subscription deals. Many people shell out hundreds of dollars per month to gain access to a single piece of software. If you charge $30/month for users to use your software (whatever it may be), you’d only need 500 paying customers to generate $15,000/month in sales. Programmers can develop any software you desire and best of all; they are dirt cheap to hire.

3. Blogging

Blogging is another business model that’s been around since the beginning. In fact, the first scammy Internet Marketing guru niche was really “make money blogging”. The truth is blogging to the bank isn’t very easy. In fact it’s a whole lot easier to create a software or info product and make a few dozen sales per day.

To really make money from a blog via conventional affiliate marketing and advertising; you need to spend years developing a brand. You can quickly grow a profitable blog in 6 months, but that involves lots of social media, lots of guest blogging and networking.

You can’t just start writing about a subject and expect hoards of traffic to flow in. You need to build a great blog that’s unique. You then need to develop a blogging personality, write good shit, build a community, optimize your content and ultimately learn how to properly monetize your traffic. Blog monetization isn’t easy!

4. Membership Sites

This is a business model that every Internet Marketer should use. Membership sites just make sense. Why get paid for a product once when you can get paid every single month? Membership sites are as the name suggests, membership sites that only paying subscribers can access. To charge a monthly fee for a membership site, it needs to be excellent.

A membership site needs a library of core information which should be the main selling point (maybe videos, audios or a software suite). On top of the core library you should have weekly or monthly updates along with extras like weekly webinars or daily calls. You can have a membership site in any niche; golfing, fishing, personal development, Internet Marketing, language learning, you name it.

As long as its a niche that constantly needs new information or monthly access to tools or software; you can charge a monthly subscription fee.

Once online, all you need to do is update your membership site and promote the sales page. If you charge $100/month and the average member subscribes for 5 months, that’s an average customer value of $500. So you need to keep 1000 active members per month to generate $100,000/month in revenue.

The membership site business model is every so simple, but evidently more powerful than basic one off sales info marketing.

5. List Building

List building will most likely be around for the duration of our lifetimes. So it’s a good idea to get started now. List building is fundamentally building a list of subscribers. Using Aweber, a high converting capture page, a freebie and some traffic; you can build a highly targeted list of subscribers.

The great thing about list building and email marketing is that you can program follow-up emails into a list for weeks, months or even years. So you can set a list up once, write all the follow-up emails once and have every subscriber on your list taken care of for the duration of the follow-up emails.

In other words, you can be monetizing subscribers automatically as they join your list and as time goes on without writing a single email. Once you have an email list, you can mail them just about anything. The trick is in monetizing them early on while they’re more active.

Most marketers do this by redirecting new subscribes to a special one time product offer immediately after they opt-in. Email lists are like assets. You build them once and they’ll make you money for as long as you own them. All you need to build a list is an autoresponder like Aweber and a few traffic sources.

Once you have a profitable follow-up email series and know your numbers i.e. how much money you make from each subscriber – you can scale up your marketing and exponentially explode your list.

6. Publishing

Publishing is and always has been a viable online business model. The best way to get into the publishing business is to publish kindle books. Kindles are exploding. Less and less people are buying physical products as more and more people are using Kindles.

Publishing a physical book requires a lot of effort, hundreds of hours, publishers and all sorts of confusing contracts. Getting your book published is difficult, especially when you’re brand new to the business. Self publishing your own Kindle/Amazon books is 100 times easier. You can literally choose any niche in the world that is in demand for information.

Then start writing Kindle books. Kindle books can be 30-300+ page PDF’s. You can write them in word, structure them properly and publish them professionally all at home. Kindle books are sold on the Amazon book store. Kindles are little electronic book readers that can store hundreds if not thousands of books at a time.

Every kindle user browses the book store for new books to download and read. You can easily publish Kindle books and sell them via Amazon to Kindle users.

Publishing a Kindle book is dead simple. A lot of Internet Marketers actually outsource the writing of their Kindle books. They hire Indians and Filipinos to pump out books every week for them to launch. People are always going to pay for information and using Kindle publishing as a means of selling information is becoming more and more popular as well as easy to do.

I don’t know that many people who’ve gotten rich with Kindle books, although there are countless 6 figure earners within the IM niche. But by publishing a few short 50 odd page Kindle books each month you stand to make a substantial income.

Obviously there is a lot more to publishing Kindle books. I just wanted to put the idea out there because it’s a very viable way of making a living from home.

7. Services

If you have a skill of some kind or some sort of specialized knowledge – you can charge people for it. Services are a huge part of the global economy. As you know, there are products and there are services – they make up a countries GDP. If you know how to do something that people want or need – you can charge them for it.

Or if you specialize in a subject that people know very little about – you can charge clients for consultations. Anyway, I think you know the meaning of services… But do you know how easily they can make you rich? Little do most people know, services are by far the fasted way to make a living online.

You can provide:

  • SEO Services
  • Copywriting Services
  • Web Design Services
  • Link Building Services
  • Writing Services
  • Consultations
  • Google Map Optimization
  • Mobile Marketing
  • On Page Optimization
The list goes on and on. There are a vast number of services that small businesses are willing to pay for online. Mostly revolving around online marketing – but you really can provide any kind of service that people are willing to pay for. How easy is it to make $5000/month with services?
  • Get 50 people to pay you $100/month
  • Get 100 people to pay you $50/month
  • Get 20 people to pay you $250/month
  • Get 10 people to pay you $500/month

Overall there are still many online business models that work. After all the ups and downs in the IM community this past  year; I would focus on building something real. i.e. A business that involves products and customers.

In Prosperity,

David Wood

P.S. Leave me your thoughts, comments and questions below. Also opt-in to the email list on the right for more cool Internet Marketing tips, tricks and secrets.r

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Tyronne Ratcliff
Tyronne Ratcliff

You're right about blogging, the most important when getting started out is actually building relationships and networking with other bloggers, something I should probably do more of. Awesome post by the way.

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