Top 10 Benefits of Building Your Own Digital Products

Top 10 Benefits of Building Your Own Digital Products

Written by Tina Dahmen

4 min Read

Top 10 Benefits of Building Your Own Digital Products

1. Digital Products Survive Any Epidemic – Yes, we have all learned our lesson from this Coronavirus. Many businesses have already gone bankrupt and many more will be hit. If you sell digital products online, your business is less like to be affected by any epidemic nor by any natural disaster (volcano eruption, tsunamis, earthquakes etc.).

On the contrary, when people are being forced to stay at home (more), they are more likely to surf online and come across your digital products and may end up purchasing them.

2. Low Barrier of Entry – You don’t need a huge amount of money to get started, but you can make a huge amount of money in return once you have launched. In fact, you can create your own online course with a budget of $0 and host it on and e-learning platform called Udemy for example.

I would never recommend you to do that as they take a crazy amount of commission. I would always recommend every online course creator to host their courses on their own e-learning platform using WordPress website and LearnDash for example.

3. Digital Goods are Low Maintenance While some entrepreneurs argue that ‘you put in the work once and the digital goods are ready forever’, I disagree. No matter what your topic will be about, you will always learn new things about it, or things in your industry may even change.

Ideally, in order to stay the market leader and the best product provider in your niche, you want to keep adjusting and bettering your product. Always make sure you give the best for your customers and overdeliver. 

4. Full Creative ControlYou are your own boss and you are able to decide what you are going to write about in this chapter for your upcoming ebook.

You are the one who decides which lectures you are going to teach in your online course. There are no restrictions or laws put on online course creation just yet, so this is your time to get into it. 

5. Unlimited Scalability – You will never run out of stock with digital products. You will always have ‘enough’ to deliver. You can have a million customers and you are still able to deliver. You can have another million running through the door right now and with the right system set up behind your digital product, everything can run smoothly and on autopilot.

Automatisation is key to create more freedom and time and that extra white space in your calendar.

6. Quality Control & Reliability to Deliver You aren’t depended on any other stakeholders in the line, because there are none (apart from digital services which you can automize). When you have a digital product, you don’t rely on anyone else to perform any services for your customers. You have full quality control over the content you are putting out there since you are the one who produced it (hopefully). 

Compare this to organising a holiday for people. You have the tour guides involved who don’t want to work or forget they need to. You have hotels involved which change the rates faster than you can change your own underwear. Flight companies cancel or delay their flights, volcano eruption or tsunami warnings scare people away and so on. 

7. Access to the Global Market Being online means being visible and having the opportunity to be seen by the entire world. You can use organic SEO in order to be visible and to show people your quality content.

You can reach more people than ever through online advertising (which is almost dead by the way, so I would always recommend partnering with influencers).

You have marketplaces like Amazon where you can list your book. Else you can list it on your own website. Again, this depends on what you are trying to achieve with your book. Is it authority or are you trying to make money? If you go for authority, Amazon is your place to list your book, if you are going for the money, definitely sell it on your own website. 

8. High Margins Who doesn’t love that? After you have created your own digital products, you can expect your Paypal notifications to keep pinging your smartphone.

The sky is the limit when it comes to profit margins, but the average online course creator makes between 100% – 1000% profit. Does this sound tempting? Again, sometimes the costs to create a course or an ebook can be $0, depending on how much you do yourself and how much you will outsource.

Some people spend some money on editing, website building or design. But those costs are a one-off, and once those bills are paid, everything else what comes after is pure profit.

9. Enhance Your Online Brand and Presence as a Whole They say to have a book published is better than any business card! And I agree. Look how much more respect you automatically pay to someone when they tell you they are #1 Best Selling Author. Am I right? So why can’t this be you? It can! 

Having a book or an online course published will increase your authority status as well as your following online. People will trust you faster and will buy from you a lot quicker, too.  

10. You can be generous as eff. Having your own digital goods means that you are able to give them away for free. You can take part in raffles, giveaways and challenges, even if they aren’t your own. 

For example, when you are invited for an interview on a podcast, you could give your ebook away to the interviewer’s audience as a present for a short amount of time. Or if someone else (preferably not in your industry) runs a challenge and they are looking for donors to help to provide prices, this could be you.

These tactics create great brand awareness, other entrepreneur’s audiences get to know you better and have a chance to learn more about you through the free resources you have provided.

What about you? Are you ready to service more people, increase your revenue and create that extra while space in your calendar?

Are you ready to create your own digital products? Let’s speak and let’s figure out which one would be the best fit for you right now.

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4 Online Business Models Explained Which Will Survive Coronavirus

4 Online Business Models Explained Which Will Survive Coronavirus

Written by Tina Dahmen

5 min Read

4 Online Business Models Explained Which Will Survive Coronavirus

 

 

 

 

Which businesses are most likely to survive any epidemic?

The coronavirus has shaken up the world and has shifted perspectives in many entrepreneurs’ minds on how we have been doing business and what we can do better in order to secure our financial income. 

Small business owners who hadn’t been working online yet are looking for alternatives in order to have more stable income sources that will survive epidemics like the current coronavirus.

A lot of bigger corporations hadn’t had a structure set up for their employees to be able to work remotely and are paying for their ignorance right now.

Remote work has been on the rise for many years, a few companies had adapted to the change and demand of their workers, but certainly not all. In times like this, a successful company is being determined whether or not it will adapt to change. 

‘The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.’ John Maxwell.

Which one are you? Will you adapt? Or will you stand still and feed into fear and panic? Has it made you re-think your current business structure as well?

No matter if your business has been taken a hit by the coronavirus or not, it would be definitely wise considering adding one or even multiple of the following online business models or income streams to your current business. 

Here are four online business models you can add to your current business or build up as an individual income stream on the side. Those models or income streams will certainly survive coronavirus or any other epidemic. 

Let’s dive into the power of online businesses and let’s take a closer look to the most popular online business models out there

1. E-Books:

 

This is probably one of my favorites. Having a book published is better than having a business card.

Not only does it provide an incredible stream of passive income once the product is ready and distributed on different channels like Amazon or maybe Audible, but it also makes people perceive you with much more respect. 

You are much more likely to be seen as an authority in your space in the public eye which is always a bonus for your brand. 

You can self-publish a book easily these days on Amazon, which is a much faster way than going the traditional route via a publishing house. 

It depends on the mission of your book. If you write books for money matters, I would recommend having it hosted on your own server/website like I have and do your own marketing for it. If you write a book for authority purposes, Amazon would be the place to advertise. 

It’s smart to use your ebook as a low entry offer to get people into your funnel and to give them a taste of your work.

If they like your content, it will be easy to up-sell any of the following products, since they got the opportunity to get to know you better. Since they also already spend money on one of your products, it also becomes easier to turn first-time customers into repeat customers as trust has already been established.

2. Membership Sites

 

Membership sites assure you recurring revenue every single month. You can also offer your members to pay yearly and get a huge sum of financial injection upfront, which is also awesome. Or you offer both options to choose from.

Personally, I provide both options to my members, monthly as well as yearly payments.

You can create a membership site around basically anything.

Think about which type of business are you running?

Are you providing marketing services normally?

Are you a consultant in any niche? Are you the queen or king of knitting or cooking? 

Your niche doesn’t matter which is the awesome thing about memberships sites.

You can create digital content, masterclasses, and courses on a regular basis for your members and place them into a content library that they have access to at any time.

 

What we do at The Biz Heroes is: 

  • Provide a Content Library (Watch pieces of training at your own pace)
  • Organise Regular Online Meet-ups & Masterminds (Very important for community building)
  • Invite Expert Speakers (We have experts coming to teach us about their area of expertise)
  • Yearly In-Person Meet-Up (We meet up once a year and get everyone together in person)
  • Private Discord Channel for Communication 24/7 (Very popular when you have people in different time zones & they just want to chat about different topics, available for the higher tier level only)

 

  • Private Facebook Group (People can ask for feedback on their work, accessible for all membership tiers) 

But you don’t have to have an engaged membership site like described above.

You can also have a more passive membership site which means it doesn’t have the community aspect to it and you can provide regular content updates to the membership site. 

To built The Biz Heroes, we have used the following services:

 

 

  • Divi (It’s the most flexible WordPress theme out there, a theme by Elegant Themes)

 

  • MemberPress (comes with a lot of handy integrations, one of the market leaders when it comes to membership site plugins)

  • Convertkit (it integrates with MemberPress perfectly fine, we have been using it even before we built a membership site)

 

  • Learn Dash (the most affordable LMS out there, and after their latest update, their interface looks very similar to Teachable).

3. E-Courses

 

 

According to Forbes, e-learning is the future. A market research company called Global Industry Analysts projected that the e-learning industry would reach $107 billion (in 2015), which became true.

Now, Research and Markets forecast reports that e-learning will grow to $325 billion by 2025, which is triple the revenue of 2015. 

Universities are adapting to this change and so are bigger companies. More and more training is being put online in order to use time and space much more efficiently. 

In order to get started to create your own online platform, you don’t need to have a huge budget.

You can easily get started with a few hundred dollars. We have integrated our online courses into a LMS called LearnDash. 

We used almost the same tools as above for the membership site:

E-courses are an amazing way to scale your business. You can serve more people, you will free up more time in your business to focus on other things and you will increase your revenue.

Doesn’t that just sound perfect? 

If you are running group programs, e-courses serve as a very good preparation tool in order to get everyone to the same level of knowledge before you start your program. 

This leads me to the last, but certainly not least suggestions for your next online business model to consider implementing. 

 

4. Online Group Programs

Many people buy online courses, but only a few actually follow through with executing anything they have learned.

Make sure you understand that this is not your fault as an online course creator, this is simply human nature. Yes, you must assure your course content is created in an engaging way and there are a lot of tips and tricks for this, however, you aren’t responsible for lazy people’s behaviour. 

That’s where online group programs come into play.

Lack of accountability is the biggest obstacle for entrepreneurs these days to get things finished.

Many of us suffer from the shiny object syndrome, and if not this, life gets really busy and it is harder than ever to finish a project (lame, I know!) since we have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. 

If you are enrolled into a group program and you are announcing your goals to the group, you are 65% more likely to reach your goals and follow through with your plans compared to not announcing your goals publically.

Being held accountable and showing up to regular calls will give 

you that extra push and motivation needed in order to get things started, done or even just to give it a proper think through. 

Your chance to follow through increases to 95% if you are actually meeting up with your mentor, the group or your accountability partner on a weekly basis until the project has finished (insane, I know!).

There is a tremendous amount of power when people get together, make sure to take advantage of that either way, as a consumer or as an online group program creator. 

Personally, I have done both and would choose it over and over again as it assures me to reach my goals and to keep putting awesome content out there. 

 

These were the most popular online business models you can implement into our business right now with little investments in order to survive coronavirus (or any epidemic). 

Which one will you choose next? Are you interested in creating an online course for your audience? Check out my group programme and apply to be selected one of the very few students who get to work with me. 

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Social Influencer 101: How to Become a Modern Day Celebrity

Social Influencer 101: How to Become a Modern Day Celebrity

Written by Tina Dahmen

4 min Read

Social Influencer 101: How to Become a Modern Day Celebrity

Influencer marketing is nothing new, from celebrities to athletes, from actors to the ordinary stay at home mum, they have all influence. And in today’s world, it’s all about social influence, online.

 

 

 

 

What is an influencer?

 Social Media Influencers aren’t your traditional celebrities. Thanks to the rise of social media, everyday people are able to gain huge audiences across a range of platforms from Instagram to Snapchat to LinkedIn.

They are also active in many different industries. Whatever hobby or interest you have, you will find an influencer representing it. 

 

You can find influencers in the travel, food, fashion or even in the video game industry.

Social Media Marketing with social media influencers is one of the most powerful ways of attracting new customers and engaging with fans of the brand. When working with Social Media Influencers, they then also get more exposure and become even more well known. 

 

It’s a win-win.

Are you looking to become a social media influence? 

Then now is the time to do it, Business Insider reports that “The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019”. 

Influencers are a tremendous way to build brand equity and get the word out there about your product, especially if you are trying to spread the word to a specific audience. – Gary Vee

Let’s dive into the power of social influence and all the ins and outs of becoming a social media star.

5 Reasons Why Social Influence is Key

  • Right now there is more demand in the world for influencers than ever before. Big brands are noticing that almost everyone is using social media several times a day. A study by Asurion found that the average American checks their phone 80 times per day. 

  • Social media is a great way to create a connection between customers and big brands. Influencers are often the missing link between the two. And BigCommerce says that companies are investing more in influencer marketing “17% of them plan to spend over half of their entire marketing budget on influencer marketing this year”. 

  • It’s a great way for influencers to make money and it’s a great way for companies to save on advertising. Companies don’t have to go through an advertising agency or think about advertising elsewhere (TV, newspaper, online ads…). Companies can reach an audience of the same size, sometimes bigger for a fraction of the price. According to BigCommerce there’s no shortage of money being invested in influencer marketing: “The most common influencer budget is $1,000 – $10,000/year, followed by $100,000 – $500,000/year”

  • Audiences want to hear what the influencers they are following have to say. Unlike when an advertisement comes on TV, people feel like they are being interrupted. And because they admire influencers, they are often seeking out their opinions and advice.

  • Influencers can provide much more unique insights into what their customers are thinking and feeling. There is only so much brands that can find out through market research themselves. Having an influencer on board can help to get more accurate data about the ideal customer.

How to Become an Influencer

The road to becoming an influencer isn’t easy.

It’s about putting yourself out there, improving your influencer network, creating engaging content at all times which is a lot of hard work.

Do you feel confident enough to put your message out there, are you prepared for negative feedback from trolls and do you know how to deal with it? 

 

Here are 5 steps you can take to get started today: 

Step 1 – Find Your Niche:

 

Finding your niche ensures you attract the right people who are also interested in your chosen topic.

You’re not going to appeal to everyone and that is a good thing. This also means you are building an audience of loyal followers. 

This can only happen, especially when you start out if you choose one topic only. 

Choose something you love, the odds are there’s a lot of people who love it too.

Try to niche down even more from there. Don’t be a travel influencer. Be a travel influencer for a specific country only for example etc. 

If you’re doing it right, people will take notice and start looking for your opinion.

Step 3 – Share what’s on your mind

 

Probably one of the few things that all influencers have in common is their ability to share their opinions and to be vulnerable. That’s what makes influencers unique and helps them stand out from the crowd. 

You need to be an independent thinker and someone who isn’t afraid to deviate from the norm. Being you is your USP and your strongest currency in this world.

People like it if you share vulnerable stories as this creates a human connection between you and the audience. People like to see you are human too and not just superman or wonder woman. 

Step 4 – Network as much as possible

One of the best ways to become an influencer is by networking and getting to know other influencers. The two main ways to do this are online and offline. Online you can interact with them by commenting on posts, leaving some really good quality comments under their posts. 

You could also get in touch directly. For example, you find out they really love vegan food, so you could send them the latest article they need to check out.

The second way is by going to events like tradeshows or asking for a collaboration or guest post on your site. The main thing is to keep reaching out and offering value. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get a reply. This is a numbers game.

Step 2 – Share Your Knowledge

 

To make a name for yourself you need to start sharing your knowledge. How do you do it? Start sharing quality content daily. This is a vital step in the process because it shows people that you know what you’re talking about. Without sharing any content people won’t discover you. 

Luckily, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to platforms. With a range of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and even Linkedin to name a few. We highly recommend that you also set up a personal blog website. 

Further down the line, you could start creating a podcast, Youtube videos and host events to meet more people in the influencer network.

Again, produce quality content daily. Let your content speak for yourself and people will automatically assume you are an expert in that area. 

Step 5 – Engage with your Audience

If people are trying to interact with you, don’t ignore them or assume they will always be there. If they leave a genuine comment, always reply even if it’s a simple “thanks!’. 

Your audience doesn’t want somebody that’s unengaged, fake or has their account automated.

They want a real interaction, they want to connect with the real you, somebody who they can relate to. You can however automate certain actions on your accounts, but not the interaction with your audience. 

Show them this side by jumping into the comments and their posts to show them they’re appreciated.

Perks and Challenges of Being an Influencer

While there are a lot of perks of being an influencer, like getting paid to post on Instagram, getting paid to travel or free luxury accommodation or always be invited to the latest restaurant openings, like any job, it has its tough moments too.

 

Perks of Being an Influencer 

  • Flexibility: You don’t have to show up at an office, in fact you don’t even have to leave your room. You can do your work from anywhere, as long as you have a stable internet connection to make sure your content gets out there and you are able to communicate with your audience. Being able to make your own schedule is one of the major perks of this kind of job.

 

  • Be Yourself: This one of the few ‘jobs’ where your personality really matters. You get to show what makes you unique and talk about what you enjoy. You get to work with different brands and companies, and you get to be yourself and they will love you for it.

 

  • You Must Keep Growing and Measuring: Being a social influence isn’t about getting paid for an Instagram post and forgetting about it. You will most likely be working for a company that will be expecting results and reports on how you did. Being an Influencer requires you to be a jack of all trades. You will gain experience in negotiating, content creation, marketing and a lot of other things that you would never have expected. It’s not easy but you will be a much more well-rounded and skilled person after it all.
  • Creating an Engaging Community: It can be very rewarding to be one of the main people in an engaged community. You will get to hear different stories and how you helped people. Best of all, you will be rewarded for it. 

Challenges of Being an Influencer

  • Authenticity over Money: It can be difficult to turn down a big-money deal with a major brand. But overall, it’s the best decision you can make because your audience will trust you more. If the product or service doesn’t align with your brand then you will lose respect from your audience. However, if you’re only choosing the brand that aligns with your beliefs and you truly believe in their product or service, then you build more trust with your audience.

 

  • Other People Don’t Think You Work: Contrary to popular belief, being an influencer isn’t easy. Much like being a freelance writer, you will have deadlines to meet, clients to keep happy and not to mention finding recurring clients or different streams of income. It has to be run like a business. It’s not just taking cute hotel pictures or cups of tea. It requires a lot of work and a lot of people won’t understand that.

So there you have it. If you’re thinking of exploring the social media influencers market then 2020 is a great year to start.

Now you understand the power of social media influencers and everything you need to do to become an influencer, from growing your influencer network to getting paid for Instagram posts. 

The entry barrier of becoming an influencer is fairly easy, but becoming a well respected influencer in the industry isn’t. 

Once you have figured out your voice and the things you want to stand up for, the journey can be hugely rewarding, you will learn a lot about yourself and a lot of valuable skills throughout your journey.

We will discuss all of this and many more topics all-around influence in The Influencer Bible.

Find out more about how influencers can make money and how you can do so too.

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The 3 Stages of Advertising Explained and What Influencer Marketing Actually Means

The 3 Stages of Advertising Explained and What Influencer Marketing Actually Means

Written by Tina Dahmen

4 min Read

The 3 Stages of Advertising Explained and What Influencer Marketing Actually Means

So first things first. Everyone around you is an influencer including yourself. May it be your mother, your father, your grandma, your boyfriend or your high school teacher. A blogger is an influencer, the media, and the news are influencers and so are the adverts in London’s tube station when we go up the escalator. 

We are being influenced by everything around us and everything around us is being influenced by us. 

And this new game, so-called “Influencer Marketing” is all about taking this influence online and reaching more people with our message and story.

Social media can be both; evil and good. And this is your chance to take positive advantage of those platforms, transform your life and monetise your presence like a boss. 

Let’s be grateful for a second and thank social media for its existence. It has revolutionized the way we socialize and communicate. And we must take advantage of it.

We have even started to build entire communities online, like The Biz Heroes, where people meet up to socialize, to discuss life and business.

Looking back in history, we had a few major revolutions happening through social media.

May it be the Arab Spring in Egypt that has been triggered and set on fire by a user tweeting about the happenings on the streets, or may it be the rise of social movements such as the #metoo or #blacklivesmatter movement. 

The latter has become one of the largest social movements in the entire history of social media. #blacklivesmatter has been used more than 12 million times which makes it the third most-used hashtag on Twitter around a social cause. 

Simply ask the selfie generation to once again turn their cameras on themselves, but infuse that act with a higher purpose” and you have a recipe for success. 

TechCrunch author, Sarah Perez

Do you remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Since 2014, mostly due to social media, the ALS  Association has raised more than $115 million for research towards Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Hundreds of thousands of people paid attention to this challenge, including celebrities like President Obama, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Lady Gaga, and Sheryl Sandberg. 

Within 15 days after this challenge was kicked off, the ALS raised $15 million in donations. This is called viral content and brands could be able to repeat this virtually in the future.

This particular challenge can be seen as a blueprint for achieving virtual success via social media platforms. 

Celebrities will become less relevant for the influencer marketing sector as the real value lies in the so-called ‘word of mouth’ recommendations. 

Imagine seeing JLO posting about a specific make up product or restaurant and you aren’t *really* sure if she actually uses those brands or if she just does it to get paid.

Now imagine your old friend from high school or any other (micro) influencer you follow on Instagram for instance, would post the same.

Who would you trust more and follow their recommendation? Most people would say their friend, as it seems more authentic and real. Sounds logical, right?

This is why authenticity and honesty are such viable aspects of influencer marketing. ONLY promote products and services which you actually believe in and which you actually like yourself.

Everything else is suicide. It’s a quick bug but your followers will get to know you over time and they can tell what’s genuine advice and what isn’t. 

Social media has changed the way we consume news, it has changed perceptions on who we trust and who we don’t trust. In a way, social media has given huge power to ‘the small man’. 

Instagram has been the number one platform where influencers are present and it has ALSO been the number one platform where brands and businesses are looking to advertise.

Very closely followed by Youtube and Facebook

Do you want to learn how to monetise your presence on those platforms? You can check out my signature course ‘The InstaLeverage Course’ here.

Now, let’s take a step back in time. Remember the good old days where we all used to read a magazine? 

After traditional advertising died, the industry shifted completely to digital advertisement. Smartphones quickly became a thing and today we are clued to these devices 24/7.

If we are not checking out Facebook or Instagram feeds on our phones, we are most likely watching some Youtube videos on our desktops, or are reading Quora on our Ipads. Advertising goes where people hang out. 

Magazines are being taken online, there is little hope for print magazines to survive for too much longer in the industry. It is not going to happen with the number of free resources we can access today online. So, magazines turned into blogs.

Even National Geographic Traveler now stopped printing the US version of the magazine and they are more focusing on digital content. And here the online advertising era was born. 

When I was a teenager, the “BRAVO” was my favorite magazine. I could not wait until a new version of the magazine came out- every Wednesday. 

My favorite section in the magazine was ‘The Dr. Sommer’ section – a team of doctors who would brighten up (us) teenagers every week about sexuality. A topic which was very taboo in my village, in my parent’s house, and in my friend’s parents’ houses (they didn’t have a clue how to talk to us about topics like this). 

We grew up in a very conservative environment. So, the BRAVO quickly became our go-to place to learn more about our natural thrives – it was our trusted (and only!) source of information at the time. (This is why it’s so important for you to choose a niche, more to this later). 

Obviously, the magazine made money through sponsored posts and advertisements. Back then, it was THE PLACE to advertise, let’s say CDs from Bon Jovi or The Kelly Family, the latest fashion for teenagers or the latest coolest lipstick. Whatever teenagers were interested in, this was the place to advertise, as we were their exact target audience.

Online advertising

Now, take the previous explanation and just move it online. Today we can do absolutely everything with our phones and therefore are clued to them. The minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed, we check our phones. 

Congratulations if you have overcome this crazy habit yet. (Btw, we do have a 30 days no screens in bed challenge implemented into our platform at The Biz Heroes, you should check us out 😉 )

Any social media platform’s business model is making money through advertising and it has never been easier to reach your target audience. 

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Youtube, Snapchat and now Tik Tok, you name it, everyone is collecting data in order to be able to deliver better-targeted ads.

This was a good catch for advertisers until consumers started to implement advertisement blockers on their devices because feeds are being flooded with ads that it is not even funny anymore. Now, it became super expensive for companies to advertise and super overwhelming for consumers to take in that content.

R.I.P. Online Advertising. Hello Influencer Marketing.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing advertising channel and for a good reason. Google searches for influencer marketing have grown by 1500% in the past four years.

It’s been predicted to become a $15 billion industry by 2022.

Brands are preparing bigger budgets to invest in the new channel of advertising, as it is more cost-effective as well as the ROI (return on investment) is a lot higher.   

What do you think, how does influencer marketing and sponsored digital marketing differ from each other?

 

Look at those two photos. 

Which one is more appealing to you right now? Well if you are saying the left, then you are taking the p*, obviously. 

Not only because I am wearing a red bathing suit (and look super hot in), no.

Also, because my post is not a sponsored ad by a company that tries to get into your newsfeed (and Instagram gave them permission to do so). 

You like my post much better because: 

  • You followed me because you like me for some reason and you gave me permission to be in your newsfeed

 

  • My post is authentic and it shows me doing something that I like (in case you don’t follow me yet and don’t know what the heck I am talking about, I document my (travel) life on this Instagram account where I promote luxury places & adventure travel, and my business knowledge and value bombs are being dropped on this Instagram account. 

 

  • I am a real person, you know me and you are feeling a desire to be that person in the pool 

Result: You (my audience) trust me more instead of a sponsored post by a company which just pops up on your feed.

Here are just a few reasons why you should become an influencer and why companies decide to work with influencers instead of pouring their money in (almost) useless ads: 

  • We can build trust much quicker
  • We can improve companies awareness
  • We can enrich a brand’s content strategy
  • We can reach their target audience effectively (they save a lot of money through advertising with influencers)
  • We provide amazing value to our audience 
  • We can build winning long term partnerships and benefit from this in the long run.  

 

That’s why you must have your online persona figured out, your values and your entire brand and should never just advertise for everyone.

Your audience will feel it when you start to promote places or products that you aren’t really a fan of and this just backfires on you. Don’t do it. 

We will discuss all of this and many more topics all-around influence in The Influencer Bible.

Find out more about how influencers can make money and how you can do so too.

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Government Regulations for Influencers

Government Regulations for Influencers

Government Regulations for Influencers

To avoid confusion or government fines, brands and marketers need to ensure that influencers are aware of and following the guidelines and rules provided by the government and advertising agencies like the FTC, as well as the individual platforms they are utilizing.

Why Should Government Regulations Apply to Influencers?

Influencer marketing has grown rapidly in a short period of time and is projected to generate up to $10 billion in 2020. With such a demand for influencers, prices for endorsements have skyrocketed; where placement use to cost $5,000 in 2016, it would now cost over $100,000. 

As money floods this industry, and the market undeniably continues to grow, governments have gained interest in preventing fraudulence and regulating online activities between businesses, influencers, and social media audiences. 

Ethical issues are sure to arise in such a new, still-developing, yet unregulated market. What could go so wrong in the influencer market?

First, aspiring celebrities and “influencers” can falsify their audience and reach by purchasing bot followers perceived as an inflated online presence.

Young siblings have reportedly earned $100,000 a year as influencers but were shown to have employed the services of companies like Devumi who sold over 200 million Twitter followers to about 39,000 customers.

Some wannabe influencers are playing the fake-it-til-you-make-it-game, hoping to attract sponsorships by acting like they already receive brand deals.

On the other hand, brands can pay influencers to be promoted to their audiences, just for the product or service being offered to be subpar. In this case, audiences can feel things that are personal to them, such as mental health, can be exploited for the monetary gain of the influencer.

This causes mistrust between the business and the audience, but it also puts a strain on the influencer- who may have believed the product or service was fine. In another instance, social media influencers have to be careful about their voice online once they begin accepting money for endorsements.

These sponsored ads should only reflect their niche and area of expertise, but they should also use their voices to promote positivity all-around- or else they can face a loss of endorsements and an uproar from their audience.

Some measure of accountability is necessary, and some tech companies are using their platforms to help regulate influencer and brand behavior.

Platforms like Sylo can connect to an influencer’s social media account, and determine what percentage of the influencer’s following are bot followers.

Some brands even require this subject to analysis in influencer contracts before an engagement begins.

Facebook and YouTube are stepping in to regulate their platforms as they both rolled out disclosure guidelines to mark brand partnerships and paid-for content.

Instagram announced they would be cracking down on apps that allow influencers to generate automated likes, comments, and followers on user accounts.

For obvious reasons brands don’t like to work with any influencer that has purchased followers.

 

Most regulation has been left to federal agencies as governments have taken steps to implement regulatory changes around the world to monitor and change any unacceptable behaviors.

In the U.S., legal actions are scarce and when the FTC does approach influencer breaches, they usually target the brand that failed to issue firm disclosure guidelines to paid influencers with a warning letter.

These punitive actions only reflect a small portion of ethical or illegal infractions, and with the rise of “nano” or “micro” influencers with only a few thousand followers, the social media world has become too vulnerable for any one government agency to effectively monitor.

 

The FTC released Influencer Marketing Rules which are expected to be abided by on all platforms, including email marketing campaigns, blog posts, and social media. 

AdEspresso by Hootsuite revealed a list of guidelines that influencers should be conscious of:

 

  1. Don’t review a product or service you’ve never tried;
  2. Disclose relationships between yourself and a brand;
  3. Don’t lie if you had a horrible experience with a brand; 
  4. YouTube influencers must disclose the relationship in the video, as the description is too easily missed; 
  5. Disclosures on social media should appear prominently in the first few words; 
  6. Lastly, disclosures need to be easily noticed and understood
Regulating the UK

Because influencers have a lot of influence over people’s buying decisions, people need to know that an influencer has been paid or incentivized in any way.

The UK is also cracking down on the confusion, as they ensure influencers that misleading followers can lead to breaking consumer protection law, facing enforcement action from the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), local authority Trading Standards services, or even the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland. 

The CMA released a guide for influencers receiving social media endorsements. Following these simple rules can help influencers avoid trouble with their social media activity in the UK.

The number one guideline is to say when you’ve been paid, given, or loaned products or services in return for a social media post. It is equally important to be clear about your relationship with a brand or business, even if you’re just receiving discount codes and giveaways.

Your audience doesn’t want to be mislead, so it is crucial not to pretend you are just a customer, or you have used something that you haven’t. The CMA is clear that disclosures should be transparent, easy to understand, unambiguous, as well as timely and prominent, meaning disclosures should be made upfront. 

Attempting Regulation Worldwide

While every market faces its own regulation, 4 major markets are pioneering the rules of the influencer marketing industry. The Australian government adopted a laissez-faire approach in regards to regulating influencer marketing, announcing that it must simply be labeled as such to participate in these online activities. 

On the other hand, this government had to learn from their mistakes, as they previously used influencers for their own campaigns, ranging from encouraging young girls to do sports and inviting young men to join the Australian Air Force, to alcohol brands and unsavory dietary supplements.

Since this could be perceived as a poor use of Australian taxpayer dollars, they determined that influencers will not be used for future campaigns. 

Canada’s Advertising Regulatory Authority, also known as Ad Standards, produced a document for the influencer marketing industry to educated all parties involved in their duty of transparency.

Ad Standards announced that disclosures should be clear and use widely accepted hashtags that social media users, blog readers, and YouTube audiences can understand.

In order not to be fined in Canada, influencers must use hashtags such as #ad, #sponsored, #XYZ_Ambassador or #XYZ_Partner, in which XYZ is the brand name. Any other combination of words can be considered unclear and subject to fines. In the U.S., such transparency is a shared obligation as the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) addresses its warnings to both the brand and the influencer when false advertising is in question. 

This competition authority is very vigilant about transparency in the online advertising sector and refers all to the old FTC Act which again, prohibits false advertising.

The FTC, similar to the pedagogical approach of Canada, believes a simple hashtag can avoid any risk, as this displays the nature of the advertisement. 

The advertising council in Belgium, the JEP, was a little slow to react as they published their first marketing recommendations in October of 2018.

However, the JEP continues to raise awareness towards their goal to remove any ambiguity from the commercial nature of publications.

Better Safe than Sorry

To avoid confusion or government fines, brands and marketers need to ensure that influencers are aware of and following the guidelines and rules provided by government and advertising agencies like the FTC, as well as the individual platforms they are utilizing.

Brands should closely monitor influencers, training them if necessary regarding the guidelines and brand expectations, as well as reviewing the posts about the business at hand.

Brands should simply pay special attention for the sake of their business, as one wrong move (or post) can directly and even severely affect brand image, sales, and the overall health of an online presence.

Learn about all the ins and outs it takes in order to become a successful influencer.

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