Money on Demand: New Revenue Streams for Online Content Publishers
Money on Demand: New Revenue Streams for Online Content Publishers
Everyday new and exciting ways of making money are emerging on the internet. Many create opportunities for you and I that didn't exist even a few years ago. With a bit of creativity and entrepreneurial focus you can create many additional revenue streams to maximise the profit you make from your website.
One of the most exciting developments is the creation of on-demand products and services. You no longer have to hold rooms full of stock if you decide to publish your own book or create a CD, or design a range of branded merchandise. There are now many online businesses that will produce and distribute products ‘on demand’.
Your customer orders automatically go from your website to their production facilities. They print the book or brand the t-shirt or burn a CD, then pack and post it to your customer. No stock. No hassle.
So, which are the best companies to help you create money on-demand?
Publish Your Own Book
Lulu is revolutionising the book publishing business and should be keeping every book publisher awake at night. The site allows you to register and upload your book’s script for free. When somebody orders your book, Lulu prints off a copy on professional digital printers, adds your specified binding and posts it to your customer.
You maintain total control over the copyright, layout and pricing.
Lulu charges a fixed amount for the book, so you can decide how much you charge and, consequently, how much profit you want to make. For a small extra fee, Lulu will provide your book with an ISBN number and submit it to the major online bookstores, including Amazon and BarnesAndNoble.com.
Everyone can be an author and all specialist information publishers should consider this service.
Lulu has printing centres in the UK and the US.
Following the success of Lulu.com, Amazon had to enter the market, so in 2005 they bought a company called On-Demand Publishing LLC and re-branded it CreateSpace. Originally just on-demand book publishing, the company has now expanded to include on-demand DVDs, audio CD’s, audio downloads, audio books, and video downloads.
Amazon also has a subsidiary called BookSurge (www.booksurge.com) which offers professional editing, cover design and other similar services
Amazon has recently angered authors by stating that if you want to sell an on-demand book on Amazon you have to have it printed by CreateSpace. Watch this space to see how this battle evolves.
Not such an automated service as Lulu and CreateSpace, but offers a very high quality alternative, partivularly if you went to publish high quality photos. They offer a neat ‘blog-to -book’ service which does what it says on the can! Turns your blog posts into a bound book.
Burn Your Own CD or DVD
CreateSpace (listed above) produce on-demand CDs and DVDs as well as books
There are many opportunities for website owners to create and sell CDs and DVDs to their prospects. Many people place a premium on receiving a physical disc rather than simply downloading digital versions from an internet site.
Musicians can create their own albums
Specialists can create their own “How to Videos”, for example:
“Learn Photoshop in a Day”
“How to Design, Build and Launch Your Own Website”
“How to Build a Perfect Garden Pond”
Photographers can sell photo libraries of stock photos
Software developers can sell software applications they have developed
CustomCD will burn your CD, print your design on the disc and dispatch it to your client. They have production and dispatch facilities in the US and Germany.
Create Your Own Branded Merchandise
You can now create your own designs and have them transferred onto a wide range of products, including:
- Mouse pads
Companies with a funky and popular logo can turn it into a revenue stream. Photographers can find many new ways to monetise their photos. Artists and graphic designers can quickly launch an exciting product range. The opportunities are endless.
Cafepress is the granddaddy of this sector. They have over two million members, eight million products and add more than 14,000 designs every day. Zazzle is the young pretender rapidly coming up fast on the inside. Both are based in the US, and have plans to expand into Europe. SpreadShirt.net is a company based on Germany that services Europe. They specialise in printing shirts with your designs.
Reactee is an interesting variation on the T-shirt theme. They print slogan shirts with an SMS number on it. People who see the T-shirt can send an SMS message that will reach the wearer or the company. This opens up all sorts of marketing and promotion opportunities.
Turn Your Photos into Products
If you are a photographer, there are some companies that specialise in turning photos into great products that you can sell via your site. The products you can create include:
Large canvas prints on a professional wooden frame
Have your photos printed on hand-stretched canvas ready for hanging. Not quite on-demand, but you can take orders on your site and then have the picture made up and sent direct to your client.
Podcast for Profit
Many podcasts are free, but some publishers have such interesting, specialist or exclusive content that they are able to sell their audio downloads. Audible is the largest site in the world, with over 30,000 audio books and podcasts covering a wide range of subjects.
Sell Your Photos or Videos to the Press
If you have a photo or video that you think is newsworthy, then why not sell it to the press? Scoopt has been established to act as an intermediary to allow photographers, freelancers and chancers to quickly reach the right people across the relevant news sources. In their own words: “we bridge the gap between amateur photographer and picture desk, and by ‘amateur’ we mean anybody with a digital camera or a camera phone who just happens to be in the right place at the right time”.
Last Thought: Don’t Limit Your Sales to Your Own Website
If you create a great product, don’t restrict selling just via your website. There are many other channels you can use. Here are a few of the most important.
Amazon (Click on ‘Sell Your Stuff’)
Create a shop or sell your books or products for a fixed price or via an auction.
Clickbank specialises in promoting and selling ebooks via a huge network of affiliate merchants.
A wonderful art gallery where you can sell your art, photos, sculptures, etc.
Rumplo is a T-shirt portal for small independent T-shirt creators. They won’t sell T-shirts from on-demand suppliers at the moment.
A marketplace where you can sell anything that is handmade
For the really adventurous and entrepreneurial amongst you, set up your own store in the exploding world of Second Life.
I hope that these ideas have whetted your appetite. Good, content-driven websites have a huge opportunity to earn revenue from many different ways. Traditionally, income has come from advertising, affiliate marketing and subscriptions, but now there are many new and exciting ways of creating and selling products without the old-world costs of production, stock and distribution.