Welcome to The Spark Show! In this episode, I’ll be talking about something super exciting...MONEY!!! Because it’s pretty awesome how much you can make as an influencer if you set up your business the right way. I’ll also be talking about the different revenue stream possibilities for influencers, how long will it take for you to create a profitable business and the ONE thing you need to start doing if you want to monetize your influence.
So let’s talk about MONEY! I think this is a super important topic because if you’re not making money doing something, it’s just a hobby - which is fine if you don’t wanna make money but being an influencer can be a lot of work and if you’re not monetizing then you’re volunteering. If you have a 9-to-5 job that you love and this is just something you wanna do on the side regardless if you make money right now then this episode might not be for you. This episode is for you if you wanna be an influencer and monetize this as your business, if you want this to be your full-time thing and not just a hobby.
It’s hard to make an impact when you’re thinking about how you’re going to pay the bills so it’s really important to know that The ONE Thing you need to start doing if you want to monetize your influence is to start thinking about it as a business. And with a business, you need to know your business model - meaning, how are you going to make money? A successful business can’t just hope that it makes money somehow. You’ve got to have a plan in place.
So first, let’s talk about the 5 different revenue streams of an influencer. There may be more than five but these are the most common and the ones I’m most familiar with.
This means you are promoting products and services of brands. So brand sponsorships is included under this first revenue stream, it’s like a commercial on a TV show, you’re putting “commercials” in front of your audience at certain times in between your organic content. So I talk a lot about advertising and brand sponsorships because it’s how I monetized my brand and I think it’s such a great way to be able to work with brands you love and already use. Other forms of advertising income could be if you have display advertising or Google Ads on your website or if you make money with video ads that play on your YouTube channel - those are all forms of advertising revenue. So that’s one way to make money as an influencer is through advertising.
Another way to make money as an influencer is Affiliate Marketing. And this is when you make a commission or percentage of sales for every product or service you sell. This is how a lot of websites make money for example, if they send you a link to book a flight or hotel, they make an affiliate commission on that booking. So a lot of travel influencers make money through affiliate marketing and you have to set up an account directly with the company or an affiliate marketing platform and you’ll get a unique link so that they’ll know that the referral came from you. One way influencers do this is through Amazon, so if you’re talking organically about a product, you can link to it on Amazon and if they buy that product and other stuff while they’re on Amazon, you make a certain percentage of that purchase. You can apply on Amazon to be part of their affiliate program and they even have an influencer program as well.
The third way to make money as an influencer is to sell your own products. This could be a product that you make, that you design, or maybe you buy it wholesale and retail it, some use dropshipping, some people create merch that’s printed on demand. Some people sell digital products and have their own course and membership like I do. So if you’re wanting to sell your own products, you can create revenue from that as well and promote it to your audience through your channels.
The fourth revenue stream I wanna talk about today is services. Perhaps you offer services as a fitness coach or a hair stylist, or maybe you offer social media services or some type of consulting. You can sell your services to your audience, similar to advertising but you would be promoting your own services.
And lastly, another way to make money as an influencer is through EVENTS. You can attend events and be paid an appearance or hosting fee to attend or host an event. Or also you can create your own event and sell tickets to your audience. There are lots of conferences out there and live events that people go to to get together in person and have that real-life experience.
If you’re just first starting out, I want you to get clear on your BIG VISION. If you haven’t listened to Episode 12, please do that because I think it’s really important to know where you’re going or at least have an idea of it so you know what steps to take to get there.
As you’re growing your audience, you wanna make sure you’re providing value BEFORE you even start advertising or promoting your own products, services and events because you have to build that connection and relationship first. You wanna make sure they know, like and trust you first. You don’t want it to be like “Hey, nice to meet you. Buy something.”
I mean if you’re talking about beauty for example and you’re sharing your beauty routine, it’s okay to link to the products directly and get an affiliate marketing commission if they buy the products (you’ll have to disclose this upfront and let people know as it’s against the law not to, more on this on another episode soon). Or if you’re doing sponsored content with the brand, as long as you’re helping your audience and it makes sense for your content and it’s a good fit - then that’s okay. But you wanna make sure you’re not always promoting and selling and are doing so where your audience doesn’t feel like it’s commercial after commercial after commercial. I mean, how do you feel when you’re watching a show and there’s just too many commercials, right? It sucks. So make sure you’re not promoting too much to your audience, at the same time - if you know about a product or are able to help them in a huge way, then you wanna make sure they know about it too - so it’s all about achieving that balance.
Everyone always asks me, how long is it gonna take to make money? How long is it gonna take to be profitable? And first, I did a whole episode on this, Episode 6 so if you haven’t listened to that episode on the podcast, I urge you to do so because I’m only going to go over it a little here in this one. And really, it’s gonna take however long it’s gonna take. I can’t predict your audience growth and your engagement numbers so it’s really hard to say. And it also depends on the brands you wanna work with, what type of budget you have and the timing of it all.
The one thing I can say is that if you’re expecting to make money and lots of it right away, then you’re probably gonna be really disappointed because it does take time to build an audience and it does take time to really get the monetization part to get going. BUT it’s not impossible either because I’ve had students get paid brand deals with 300 followers and 700 followers. But what does “paid” mean, right? No they didn’t get paid a thousand dollars and not even a hundred dollars, but they were paid on top of getting free product - which is a BIG deal with having less than 1,000 followers. So really there is no minimum amount of followers you need to have to get brand deals or to start making money with any of these revenue streams.
You don’t need thousands and thousands of followers to make money with affiliate marketing because let’s say one of your followers booked several flights worth $3,000 and you made a 10% commission on that - that means you made $30. And if that happens 10 more times, that’s $300 - and that can happen no matter how many followers you have.
It’s the same with products and services. Let’s say you’re a coach with 1,000 followers and you get 5 of those people as clients for $1,000 a month. So then you’re monetizing at $5,000 a month with just 1,000 followers.
For brand deals, the benchmark rate is $100 for 10,000 followers and this could be more or could be less. But let’s say you had 10,000 followers and were able to negotiate a year-long deal for $1,000 for one post per month? Then you just made $1,000 right there.
In reality, you could be making a LOT of money and it doesn’t really matter how many followers you have. What really matters is how you’re building trust with your audience and providing them high-value content that solves their problems so that they rely on you to give them recommendations and suggestions and you’re able to monetize it.
There are influencers out there with hundreds of thousands of followers who are not clear on their vision and monetization plan and have barely made any money and there are some who have less than 50,000 followers and have made millions of dollars because they’re able to help their audience. Again, it’s not about the number of followers you have but HOW you serve your audience.
That’s it for today’s episode! Hopefully that gave you more insight on what you have to do to monetize your influence and the different revenue streams that are available to you.
I also want to know if you’re struggling with monetizing your influence and how I can help. I’ve opened up a few spots in my calendar this week to help you get the clarity you need on monetizing your influencer business. You can book a 45-minute breakthrough session with me for free where we’ll dive into what’s working in your business and what isn’t so that you can take action and achieve your goals. I only have a few spots available so make sure you book your session ASAP.
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