There are very few good things that can be said about COVID-19 and its effects, but here’s one:
It has forced many small businesses to think bigger and more creatively, and in the process, create new profit centers that will benefit them well into the future – long after this pandemic is over.
This can be true for you too.
Take for example Deb and Jesse Riley, owners of Lavish Salon & Spa in Santa Cruz, California. Needless to say, COVID-19 hit their business especially hard. As they told me recently, “We had a great business before the pandemic, but income disappeared overnight when we had to close our doors. While we were able to re-open, demand returned slowly, and social distancing and amplified cleaning requirements reduced volume and income.”
But here’s the thing: The Rileys are entrepreneurs, meaning they are creative, resourceful and willing to try new things. And they did just that. Working with Yahoo Small Business, the Rileys launched an entirely new e-commerce store, yourlavishproducts.com.
And it worked.
The new Lavish Salon online platform created a new profit center for the Rileys. As they said, “The new site gave us the opportunity to extend our audience and better serve our existing customers who do not want to always come in for new product.”
The good news is that e-commerce is but one of several ways a small business can generate income from a website, even during a pandemic.
Here are six money-making ideas that any small business can use:
1. Sell products: Whether you sell products related to your ongoing business like the Rileys did, or you want to create a new website altogether, the fact is e-commerce is one of the best, smartest things you can do to generate more money from your current business website. Indeed, over the past decade, e-commerce has shown consistent year-over-year double-digit growth.
And if you are new to e-commerce, no problem; we’ve got you covered. Yahoo Small Business’ e-commerce platform is easy to use, robust, and effective. Check it out; I think you will like it a lot.
2. Sell services: A mistake a lot of people make when thinking about making money online is assuming that e-commerce – selling products – is the only way to go.
Slow down there, cowpoke!
There are many ways to make money online; e-commerce is only one.
What about selling your services? This is what I do on my site, MrAllBiz, where I sell my content creation services. Back in the day when I practiced law, I sold my legal services. No matter what you do, promoting and selling your offerings online makes a ton of sense.
If you are new to this world or simply want to get online for the first time, let me suggest Yahoo Small Business’ generous Get Online offer that allows you to quickly and easily get a URL, create a website, get branded emails, and start to sell. What’s more, if you jump on this offer before the end of the year, you will get it for free for 12 months.
3. Pay-per-click: Many small business sites make a lot of income from having small pay-per-click ads placed on their site and content. Of course, the first thing that people think of when considering this option is Google AdSense, but that is only one option. There are many others to choose from, such as Media.net.
4. Sponsor ads: As opposed to having a third-party place ads on your site, consider selling the space yourself. When I launched my site TheSelfEmployed, I pitched the idea of a site specifically for self-employment/freelancer/micro-businesses to several companies with whom I did business and three signed up to sponsor the site – even before it launched!
5. Affiliate sales: An affiliate program is one in which a company pays a website (yours) a fee for sending traffic or sales their way. These links can be in content, social media posts, or product integration.
Affiliate marketing can be one of the best ways to monetize your website, especially if you don't sell products or services online. Joining an affiliate program can provide exclusive access to new content and special deals for the folks visiting your site — all while earning you more money.
6. Premium paid content and pages: If you have great, exclusive content, people will pay to see it. When you pay a small monthly or yearly fee for a news site, for example, that is this model.
And guess what? It works!
This post is sponsored by Yahoo Small Business. As always, all opinions and ideas are entirely my own.