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Conversely, if you can't sell all your ad space, reduce your prices. Try and get to a price point where demand for your ad space is roughly equal to your supply. If you have an occasional ad spot vacant don't worry - just run an ad of your own instead. But if you regularly find yourself with half your ad inventory unsold and you're not running an excessive number of ads, this is a signal your ads are overpriced and it's time to reduce your prices or make strategic decision to run your own ads instead of others'. In fact, in many instances you'll make more money from your ad space by advertising your own products and services than you will from selling ad space itself.
How to set your price? As I said above, there's no hard and fast rule. Whatever brings about equilibrium between supply and demand. My own pricing formula is $5 per 1,000 subscribers for a single classified, $10 per 1,000 subscribers for a sponsor ad and $20 per 1,000 subscribers for a solo. That pricing structure is right for me but may not be right for you.
Your pricing will also be influenced by how specific or general your target market is. If you publish an ezine on a relatively esoteric subject with a small but highly targeted market, you'll be able to sell your ad space for a higher price than you will if you publish an ezine on a really general subject (such as "internet marketing") with an extremely large but also undifferentiated market. For this reason, it's not size of your list that dictates your advertising pricing, but rather how targeted your list is to subject matter of your ezine and your advertisers' products and services.
Similar principles apply when it comes to selling advertising space on your web site.
Bottom line: advertisers want and will pay for results, not how many subscribers you have on your list.
=> Paid Subscriptions
Paid subscriptions are another good way of generating income, whether they be for your ezine or web site.
A great resource if you want to go this route with your ezine is Monique Harris' Paperless Newsletter (see http://www.ahbbo.com/paperlessnewsletter.html ).
As far as your website is concerned, by utilizing password protection you can effectively cordon off areas of your website for paying members only. This requires some technical set-up but your webhost will generally offer some sort of basic password protection capability. For more advanced systems, you'll need to get hold of a specially designed cgi script for this function.
When it comes to pricing your subscription services, although no doubt there are exceptions to rule, better approach is to charge a monthly access fee rather than an annual fee. A monthly structure allows you to set a relatively low initial price, thereby making decision to sign up more of a no-brainer for your subscriber, and it also gives you a recurring monthly income. It's also possible to charge more overall than you could under an annual structure. For example, most people would not hesitate to pay, say, $9.95 for monthly access to a site they perceive as valuable, especially knowing they can cancel at any time. But those same people may hesitate if that initial investment was $120 ($9.95 multiplied by 12 months).
With appropriate payment processor and software, subscription fees can be set up to be automatically charged to your subscriber's credit card each month unless and until they cancel.
=> THE ROLE OF CONTENT
These are just a few of options available to you to generate income from your own online business. The bottom line with respect to all of them though is quality of your content. It doesn't matter how good your product line is if people have no reason to visit your site in first place.
So, put first things first. Pick a subject matter for your site that you are passionate about. Do hard work of creating a truly valuable resource for people interested in same thing. Publicize it to death. Publish an ezine on topic, again with high quality content, to draw them to and, more importantly, BACK to, your site again and again and again. Then, and only then, will you have a chance to get your product or service in front of them. Then, and only then, will you have a chance to make sale.
There's no disputing that main reason we go into business is to make money. If you don't have this as your objective, then you're engaging in a hobby, not running a business. But when it comes to doing business online, reality is that you have to give before you can get. So give your site visitors what they're looking for. Do that and they'll visit you again and again and refer their friends. Do that and you'll actually have customers to sell your products to. Don't do that and, although you may have greatest product or service in world, no-one but you will ever know about it.
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas for the work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com