Now Is the Time to Diversify Your Marketing Revenue

I’m a part of a Facebook group of marketing speakers. For many in this group, speaking is their sole income (while some earn in the mid-five figures, there are a few that make over $1 million per year speaking at events).

Sadly, event after event is cancelling due to COVID-19 concerns. South by Southwest was cancelled by the city of Austin last week. Adobe and Facebook cancelled their events. Most events are being cancelled without a reschedule date at all.

For speakers who have just one source of revenue (speaking), this is devastating.

The “one source of revenue” business model doesn’t just impact speakers…it affects most businesses. Cruise lines, airlines, bookstores and restaurants are all being jolted by the virus concerns. Almost every business might be hurt in some way.

When a crisis arises (and it always happen at some point), companies with a one-revenue business model often times can’t survive the panic.

So maybe now is a great time to fix that (I’m looking at you).

In my 2015 book Content Inc., and then in more detail in Killing Marketing with Robert Rose, we discussed 10 different revenue options open to every business.

A business can make direct revenue by:
– Selling Products
– Selling Services
– Keeping Recurring Customers Longer
– Increasing Yield with Customers (make more money off customers)
– Selling More/Different Products to Customers

A business can also make indirect revenue by connecting audiences or selling content. They can sell:
– Advertising/Sponsorships
– Subscriptions
– Conferences and Events
– Premium Content (like books)

Finally, a company could do work that an audience loves and actively take donations (like a non-profit would do).

Above is a handy chart that Robert and I created laying out all the revenue options. Feel free to share it.

To be honest, most companies (and solopreneurs) have just one revenue source. Really good, but normal, businesses might have three (say, selling products and working to increase yield+cross-sell). There is nothing wrong with this, but as we just discussed, it can get you into big problems if something goes wrong. And something always goes wrong.
“And something always goes wrong. Then, there’s copper, which is the only pipe I use. It costs money. It costs money because it saves money.” – from the movie Moonstruck (1987)

The most innovative companies in the world, like Amazon, Disney and Google, have six or more different revenue streams.

Now, you may ask, how does one create multiple revenue streams?

A great way to do this is build an audience. Specifically, a loyal audience.

This is why, no matter what business you are in or what you sell, it’s almost impossible to create six or more revenue channels without a growing, vibrant audience of subscribers. This could be through a podcast, or a newsletter (like this one), or a book series, or an event series, or a magazine or a beloved Instagram channel. Basically, you need to consistently deliver value to your customers that is not your core product.

We aren’t going to solve all your revenue problems, but right now (today) is the perfect time to start preparing your business model for the next issue that affects how people buy things.

The following was an excerpt from Joe’s newsletter. Only subscribers receive the full version.

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