You’ve probably wasted a whole lot of time participating in online communities, particularly in forums. But rather than being a waste of time, these forums give you the opportunity to make money online. Indeed, there are numerous ways to make money from your forums. You can advertise affiliate products for a commission, run a membership program where participants can earn extra cash, or monetise your existing blog content. We’re going to walk you through 10 ways to monetise your forums to enable you to enhance your bottom line.
1. Create a shopping or purchase thread
If you’ve got an awesome product or service that you think other people might be interested in buying, you can create a thread where you recommend them to do so. Whether you’re promoting a product for sale or an event where people can purchase tickets, you’re guaranteed to make some money online. When someone clicks on a product or service recommendation and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a small commission.
The catch? You have to have a significant number of posts to generate any earnings. It’s generally accepted that if you’ve got at least 200 posts, you’re generating enough revenue to sustain yourself. Anything less and you’re still in the testing stage.
2. Start a referral program for your affiliate products
An affiliate product is one that’s connected to an affiliate program. When someone clicks on a product recommendation or an affiliate link and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a small commission. But rather than just selling a product or service directly, you can create an affiliate program where participants are rewarded for bringing in new customers. For example, if someone clicks on a product recommendation and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission. But if they sign up to your affiliate program and make a purchase after being referred by a friend, you’ll earn double the commission.
The best part? You don’t have to run an affiliate program to be eligible for one. Simply find affiliate products that you think your audience will be interested in and connect them to your affiliate program. When someone signs up to your affiliate program and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a small commission.
3. Create a tip jar and tip your community members
A tip jar is a place where you can collect money for deserving community members. You can create a separate tip jar just for your forum members. When someone wants to contribute, they can do so by dropping a tip in the jar. Your community members can then choose how they want to be credited for their kind gesture – whether their name or username is used, or if they want to remain anonymous.
As an added touch, you can add your own personal message to the tips you collect. For example, you can say “Thanks for the generous £1 tip! You’re a valued member of the community”, or “Thanks for the £5 tip! You can find the perfect present for your wife here”.
The beauty of a tip jar is that it doesn’t cost you anything to set one up. Additionally, you can allow people to tip you even if they don’t want to become members of your community. Launching a tip jar is a great way to generate revenue while also giving something back to your forum members. It’s a win-win situation.
4. Giveaways and sweepstakes
The best way to make money from a forum is to run giveaways and sweepstakes. You can do this casually and see if it generates any revenue at all, or you can really harness the power of these tools to grow your community. When someone submits your entry form to a giveaway or sweepstakes and enters the giveaway, you can earn a small commission. But the real money is made when the prize is awarded – when someone wins a free iPad, for example, you’ll earn a significant amount of money from that one sweepstakes entry.
5. Start an online shop and sell your own products
If you’ve got an awesome product or service that other people might be interested in purchasing, you can set up an online shop where you sell it directly. When someone comes to your shop and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a small commission – much like with an affiliate product, but without the hassles of maintaining a storefront and dealing with payments. The best part? Your own product. You can include any bonuses or special offers that you have for the product you’re promoting and customize the page to fit your audience’s needs. Plus, you’ll be familiar with the product and can answer any questions that may arise.
6. Create a Facebook group for your target audience and encourage them to join
Although there are no specific laws that govern how you can monetise a group on Facebook, the company provides plenty of tools and platforms for you to earn a revenue. One of the best ways to generate income from a Facebook group is to create a business page for your group. When someone clicks on an item or service recommendation posted to your business page and makes a purchase or joins your group, you’ll earn a small commission. But the best part? Your audience’s collective buying power. If you manage to get a large group of people to congregate on your page, the chances of them making a purchase are high. Simply create a group for your target audience and encourage them to join.
7. Use your existing network to attract potential customers
If you’ve got a large social network with a lot of users, you can use this network to find people interested in your products or services and encourage them to visit your website. When someone joins your network and clicks on a product recommendation, you’ll earn a small commission. The beauty of this method is that it doesn’t cost you anything to set up. Additionally, your existing social network can help you grow your website’s user base and help you reach more people. Simply take advantage of the fact that you already have an audience and can use that audience to drive further sales.
8. Run a membership program
Anyone who’s ever been part of a community that offers perks for members can attest to how much this can help generate revenue. If your existing membership program offers anything special – from free gifts to exclusive content – you can use this to your advantage by creating a forum with a membership program. When someone applies for membership and pays the required fee, you’ll earn a small commission. The best part? They get to enjoy the perks for as long as they remain members. As a bonus, you can also charge a membership fee for those who want to become regular contributors to your website or forum. You can create different tiers of membership with different benefits. For example, you can have a lower membership that grants access to your mailing list and another higher tier that gives members access to multiple blog posts each month.
9. Experiment with different affiliate programs and see which one performs best
There are many affiliate programs, all of which have different requirements and restrictions. Some of the most popular affiliate programs are affiliate marketing programs that are built on a freemium model. A freemium model is one where users can browse content but have to pay to make their own posts or comments. Alternatively, you can set up an affiliate program where users have to pay to make their own posts or comments. You can then promote and earn money from these affiliate products.
10. Monetise your blog posts
Last but not least, we’ve got monetising your blog posts. In case you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that a blog post can be a goldmine if you know how to monetise it correctly. Typically, you can use affiliate products to do this. When someone clicks on a product recommended in a blog post and purchases that product, you’ll earn a small commission. But the best part? It doesn’t cost you anything to set this up. Simply find products that you think your audience will be interested in and put them in your posts. When someone clicks on a product and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a small commission – just make sure that the product you’re promoting is approved by the affiliate program you’re participating in.
If you’ve got an awesome product or service that’s gained a lot of popularity, you can use your forums to monetise it easily. Simply put, forums are a goldmine if you know how to properly mine it. Running a tip jar, selling your own products, and experimenting with different affiliate programs are all viable ways to make extra cash from your forums – just make sure that you don’t run afoul of the law in any way and take the time to learn how to best monetise your forum so that you can maximize your income potential.