“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors
When the existing businesses were busy looking for faster horses to fulfill the people’s increasing transportation demand, Henry Ford tried a different approach. When he finally succeeded with his automobile cars, Ford T-Series completely disrupted the whole horse riding business. And this is called the disruptive innovation.
Disruptive innovation is not a new concept and it has been in our ecology for a very long time. Few of the common examples of disruptive innovations are when democracy replaced monarchy, Internet replaced the traditional money making model to online make money options and Emails replaced posts & telegrams.
Two Kinds of Innovation:
In the book ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ (Originally published in 1997), the author Clayton Christensen, who is a Harvard Professor, described that there are two kinds of innovation in the business world- Sustainable Innovation and Disruptive innovation.
This book created a profound impact on how innovators think about innovation and technology. In his book- he also discussed why big firms fail under conditions of the technological change. However, in order to understand that, let’s first discuss what is sustainable and disruptive innovation.
1. Sustainable Innovation
Sustainable innovation is an incremental innovation process to improve the operations on a predictable time frame. This kind of innovation typically follows the ways the company was incorporated into the business.
Sustainable innovators only focus on the demands of the mainstream customers. If the customers want better products, they’ll keep evolving the products.
2. Disruptive Innovation
Disruptive innovations are the new innovations whose applications can significantly affect a market or industry functions. They create a new market and value systems which eventually disrupts the existing market, displacing market-leading firms, products etc.
Nevertheless, a disruption is never welcomed initially. Here are the few traits of the disruptive innovations:
# These kinds of innovation have a high risk of failure compared to the incremental sustainable innovations.
# They initially offers a lower performance compared to what the mainstream market has historically demanded.
# However, once developed, they achieve faster penetration and builds a higher degree of impact on the established markets.
# Other performance attributes (smaller, faster, simpler, portable etc) — that is not valued by the current customers — make it prosper in a new value network.
# As the innovations improve along the traditional performance parameters, they eventually displace the former technology.
Why do big companies fail?
“Companies are misguided when they continuously listen to their current customers.”
The problem with the big companies is that their business environment does not allow them to pursue disruptive innovation when they first arise because they are not-profitable initially.
Most big firms are not comfortable with disruptive innovations as these innovations do not satisfy their current customers. They only focus on the demands of the mainstream customers. If the customer wants better products, they’ll keep evolving the products.
Moreover, these kinds of in-house disruptive innovation can burn huge resources away from the sustaining innovation — which is required to compete against the current competitions. Therefore, these companies are ‘held captive’ by their most profitable customers, restricting them from pursuing disruptions.
Let’s understand this with the help of an example.
There was a time when disk drive was a billion dollar industry.
The disks were continuously evolving its storage and performance as per the demand of the people. They managed a sustainable transition from one generation of the disk drive to another (14-inch hard disk drive → 8-inch floppy disk drive → 5.25-inch floppy disk drive → 3.5-inch floppy disk drive) so that people can get better disk drives.
However, these disk drives were never able to completely satisfy the demands at any particular time as the customers always demanded better storage capacity.
Now, when the new generation of drives (CDs and USB flash drives) first arrived, they offered the worst performance in terms of what the customers demanded. However, with time, they improved their performance and offered a huge storage capacity to the people which the traditional disk drives (floppy disks) were never able to fulfill.
What went wrong here? Although the companies were continuously innovating to improve their product. But most of them went bankrupt continuously listening to their customers and giving them what they demanded.
The new generation of drive emerged in a new value of the network. Eventually, their products became ‘good enough’ in terms of performance and storage capacity and later displaced the former generation.
“Christensen argues in his book that a business must look at whether their innovation satisfies a firm’s current customer base or not?”
Few best examples of the Disruptive innovations:
Most of the disruptive innovations are not gladly welcomed by the market when they first present themselves.
For example, when the transistor radio was first launched in the market, they offered poor sound quality compared to the big analog traditional radios.
However, the fact that they were portable and consumed less battery, opened the door for the new value market. It became popular among the college students and working people who needed a portable device to listen to music at work or at the beach. And as the sound quality improved, it eventually displaced the traditional big furniture radios.
Here are the few examples of recent disruptors:
(Disruptive Innovation → Market disrupted by innovation)
Potential disruptive innovations that may transform the world
There’s always someone somewhere working to disrupt the current market system.
Few of the ongoing potential disruptive innovations that may transform the world tomorrow are Robotics, Autonomous vehicles, Internet of things, Artificial intelligence, Space Colonization, 3D Printing, High-speed travels, Blockchain technology, Advanced virtual reality, Cryptocurrency etc.
Disruptive innovation is a process where a smaller company with fewer resources are able to successfully challenge the big businesses. Most of these big companies ‘FAIL’ when they do not react to this new market disruptions.
Nevertheless, ‘NOT’ all disruptions are dangerous for the big firms. Some disruptive innovations succeed. Some don’t!!
“Dude, I’ve come up with an excellent startup idea.”, Kapil said to me excitedly.
“What is it, this time?” I replied with a little smile.
“Kritesh, I was doing this e-course on Coursera. It is an online platform which hosts courses offered by renowned universities in the world. I’m planning to build something similar for India, where people can enroll and attend different courses online. What do you think?”, Kapil asked me impatiently.
In the last three months, Kapil has come up to me with at least ten different startup ideas. He has been working as a full-time consultant in a fortune 500 company for past two years and now he is desperate to start something of his own.
“I think it’s a good model. But have you checked whether there are any existing startups in India which are working on the same concept and leading the industry.”, I asked Kapil.
“There are few startups which are working on the similar model. And there are a few international platforms like Udemy which provides a similar online course hosting platform. But none of them is too popular in India.”, Kapil answered while rolling his eyes.
“Hey, wait. I just remembered… Have you heard of Byju’s? They provide a similar eLearning platform for online courses like UPSC, CAT, GMAT, etc.… And yeah, there’s one more popular portal- Khan Academy”, I replied.
“Yes, I have heard of them. They are in the education sector for the past many years… But this model is really profitable, Kritesh. India is a growing nation with not so many quality education options available for the students. People are ready to spend a lot of money for their kid’s education. If we are able to build a better product, we will definitely be able to get a lot of users on our platform.”, Kapil said. By ‘we’, he meant himself and one of his colleague who is also looking for starting his own startup with Kapil.
I could also notice a thrill in his eyes. However, I had already seen the same thrill when he was explaining his last ten ideas.
“I’m not sure, Kapil. I mean, there are already many startups which are doing the same thing. And you are not even innovating enough. Just a little modification in the existing model will not be enough to get people’s attention.”, I replied empathetically.
“But this business model is very profitable.”, Kapil seemed to be stuck at this point.
“Maybe it is. And maybe you will even be able to get decent traction. However, I’m not sure about your vision. Here you have to decide whether you want to become a small fish in a big pound or you want to become a big fish in a small pound… Even if you are able to get 5–10% share of this industry, still you won’t be able to grow much as there are already many big fishes in this industry.”, I tried to explain my thoughts.
“What you want to say, Kritesh? Is the business model not good enough?”, finally, Kapil asked the question which I was trying to avoid.
Out of the past ten ideas that Kapil approached me, I only showed interest in three (which he anyhow dropped because they didn’t seem little unrealistic to him later). And that’s why I didn’t want to give any more disheartening answer.
“I don’t know, Kapil. I’m not an expert in this and I’m also learning like you. All I wanna say is that there are already many copycats in the Indian startup economy… If you wanna do it, go for it. I won’t discourage you. After all, it is your idea and you must have researched a lot about it before approaching me. However, I believe that if you want to build a successful startup, then you need to innovate more…”, I concluded my answer.
In a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics published at “Entrepreneurial India,”, it is highlighted that 90% of Indian startups may fail within the first five years. And the most common reason for the failure of the Indian startups is the lack of innovation.
Here is the exact context from the report:
“Seventy-seven percent of venture capitalists report that many Indian startups lack pioneering innovation based on new technologies or unique business models. Rather, they are prone to emulate already successful ideas from elsewhere.
While such mimicry can create value by fine-tuning already successful concepts to local markets, generally it precludes sustainable expansion beyond India’s borders and keeps barriers to competition — from home or abroad — low.
Consequently, despite the country’s large market size and robust startup activity, Indian startups comprise only 4 percent of globally recognized unicorns (startup businesses valued at USD 1 billion or more).” [Source: Entrepreneurial India]
The report reflects that 77% of venture capitalists surveyed believe that Indian startups lack new technologies or unique business models.
But we Indians are innovative, aren’t we? Let’s find it by studying the recipe for the past successful startups in India.
Recipe for Past Successful startups in India
The recipe to build a successful startup in India in the past was pretty simple. It’s a five-step process:
Look for a big hyped market.
Copy the model from the established companies in the United States.
Raise funding and take angels & VCs on board.
Scale the business in Indian territory.
Keep in mind the exit strategy.
This recipe has been successfully used by multiple Indian startups. For example, we have Ola for Uber, Flipkart for Amazon, Gaana for Spotify, OYO Rooms for Airbnb etc.
Anyways, please note that this recipe is only viable for copying those startups which are not specifically targeting Indian audience. For the popular startups like Google, Facebook, Twitter or Youtube, there are no copycats in India. After all, how the founders can copy and scale the idea which is already dominating the Indian market?
Problem with the old recipe.
The biggest problem with the old recipe is that it was good only in the older time. In the past, there was a need for these products since we lived in a world of scarcity.
However, with the rise of the Internet and technology, now there are no boundaries for the global startups. Many of these startups like Uber & Amazon have already captured a big market in the Indian market and many more like Spotify or Airbnb are almost on the door.
Moreover, another problem is that- there are not many big models left to copy-cats now. Today we live in a world where we have too much of everything. From online payment to booking a flight, we have an option for everything at least 10x times.
Therefore, the only alternative available to build a successful startup now is by innovating. However, this is something where most Indian startup founders are lagging.
According to the Global Innovation Index list (GII) 2018, India ranks 57th in the world, which is 40 places behind China. (Source: Global Innovation Index). And this may be the reason why China (which is also famous for copycat startups) has built its own mega-startups for even the popular ones like Baidu for Google and Alibaba for Amazon.
What’s the solution?
The biggest reason why Indian startups fail and no one is waiting for their startup is that they are not innovating enough. Just making a little change or slightly improving features for the existing models is not enough to attract customers.
These days, everyone is building a fintech model with slightly improved payment system or a little easier peer-to-peer lending app. But we already have 10x apps solving the same concern.
When Steve Jobs was presenting his iTunes Music store to the people, they all had tons of suggestions on how to improve the store. The people kept raising their hand saying, “Does it do [x]?”, “Do you plan to add [y]?”
Finally, this is what he replied:
“Wait wait — put your hands down. Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes could have. So do we. But we don’t want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.” -Steve Jobs
And this is where most of the Indian Startups are missing out. All are busy building little features. But no one is innovating enough to build the crucial one.
If you want to start a successful startup, you need to innovate things. Simply ignore the little tweaks or improvements that are not a must-have. Until and unless you are innovating enough, and building a clear, noticeable and magical product, no one gives a f**k about your startup.
Instead of trying to build a startup, build a revolution. Apple was a revolution. Microsoft was a revolution. Amazon was a revolution. People already have too much of everything and too much of choice. Why should they care if you bring a ‘Just Another little-modified’ product?
Overall, stop modifying and start innovating!! Build a revolution!
The Era of “Personal Branding” – Are You Ready for it?
“Look at all those YouTubers, Kritesh. I’m really jealous of them when I watch their luxurious lifestyle. All they do is to drive their fancy cars, make a fancy video and put it on their fancy youtube channel. And they are getting millions of views for that fancy crap and earn thousands of fancy dollars daily.”, Vaibhav said to me annoyingly.
“Yeah, I’m also a little jealous of their lifestyle. BUT THEY HAVE EARNED IT. Unlike us, they’ve followed their dream and I’m sure that they definitely had sacrificed a lot of things to reach the point where they are now.”, I replied to Vaibhav.
“What do you mean by THEY HAVE EARNED IT? I can make even better videos and put them on Youtube…”, Vaibhav answered swiftly.
“Then why don’t you, Vaibhav?”, I asked smoothly.
“You know why I can’t” he replied with little distress.
Vaibhav has been working at an IT company for the last two years. He generally enjoys his work. However, for the last three months — things have changed a little for him. He is working with a new US- based client. Because of the time difference, he has to work in the night shift. He goes to work at around 11 AM and never returns home before 2 AM. And this change in office timings has added a lot of complications in Vaibhav’s life.
“That’s not what I meant to say. It’s not that you or I can’t do it. I was saying that they have earned it because they have built a very powerful personal brand. The channel which you are watching has over 560k subscribers. It takes a lot of time and efforts to build such a huge brand. And no matter what he does now, his loyal subscribers will be always there for him.”, I tried to chill Vaibhav.
“You’re right. He has earned it. Building a youtube channel with over 560k subscribers is not a joke. I don’t have even 500 friends on my facebook profile.”, Vaibhav said with a little smile.
“Yeah, that’s right. And this is because you are a d**k who doesn’t even accepts the friend request of his parents.”, I replied with a big laughter.
Personal branding is not a new thing. This is how actors, celebrities or sportsperson are able to make a huge fortune even when after they get retired or when they are not working in their same profession.
Moreover, branding no longer just related to the companies. Due to the boom of social media and the internet, anyone can build a huge personal branding these days. Look at your facebook, twitter or Instagram profile. Those can also be considered as a small personal branding.
“We are all brands!!”
However, a few people have built a powerful personal branding around them which helped them to reap a lot of perks. Now, before we dive into the personal brand, let’s first understand what actually is a “BRAND”.
“A Brand is not a LOGO. It is a PROMISE!”
In simple words, when you have a brand, it is a promise that you make and are known for keeping it to the person who you are asking or trying to influence. This promise can be anything like your amazing products, services, values, quality, excellence, innovation etc.
When this promise revolves around an individual, then it is called personal branding. Few well-known examples of personal brands in the world are Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Tracy, Michelle Obama, Robert Branson, Tim Ferris etc. Further, few examples of personal branding in India are Bhuvan Bam fromBB ki vines, Shirley Setia, Sandeep Maheshwari, Dr. Vivek Bindra etc.
“Personal brands allow individuals to differentiate themselves by consistently articulating and leveraging their unique value proposition.”
In the recent times, a lot more people have started exploring this option as a career choice. You might already have heard about the famous YouTubers or Instagram celebrities with millions of subscribers/followers. Even people who do not have such a huge following in millions, still are able to build a big enough personal branding to live a chilled life.
Besides, having a good personal branding is really important these days. There are many people who have a very high potential but are unsuccessful because of the way they are perceived by other people. When personal branding done wrong, it can severely affect the career or livelihood of the person. On the other hand, if you have a powerful personal brand, people will pay more for your services and argue less.
6 Steps to build a powerful brand:
“ Your job is to do your job really well. Continually think every day how you can be better than you were yesterday.” -Brin Tracy
Building a powerful personal brand is not an easy task. It requires a lot of efforts for long consistent years. However, when done right, personal branding can exponentially grow your career. Here are six actionable things that you can do to build a powerful personal brand:
1. Specialize in a niche
If you want to stand out, the first thing that you need is a specialization. This specialization can be in any field of your interest like cooking, swimming, entertaining, martial arts, blogging, photography etc. But you have to choose at least one area where you can become better than 90% of the rest of the world. You cannot do all things for everyone.
And for this specialization, you might need to invest in yourself first. Maybe you can do some courses, read books, attend seminars, conferences etc. Nonetheless, you need to specialize in a niche of your interest around which you want to build your personal brand.
2. Start Thinking Yourself As A Brand
“A brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of a consumer.”
If you want to build a powerful personal brand, you need to start thinking of yourself as a brand. You are not an average individual anymore, which no notices or cares. You need to think from the prospects of your followers or the audience whom you are trying to influence.
A brand is a promise. And you need to define this promise to your followers. You need to focus on how you wish your brand to be perceived by people or what pops-up in the people’s head when they think of you. And when you are a clear vision of the perceived brand image that you want to reflect, start working on it daily.
3. Build a Followership
A good point regarding building a followership is that it is not very difficult these days. If you were born 25 years ago, maybe the only way to build a followership among a huge audience was by getting interviewed in a newspaper or appearing on the television.
However, these days it’s really simple. For example, by just setting a simple blog, you can reach out to a huge worldwide audience without any restriction of location, age or culture. Moreover, blogs/websites are not the only options available these days. Many people don’t even have a blog, but their entire personal branding is based on the free social media platforms like Youtube channel or Facebook page. Instagram is also a very alternative these days to get followers and build a personal brand.
My advice, find a social media on which you are comfortable and start working on your personal brand today. For example, if you good in writing, start a blog; If you like making videos, start a youtube channel; good in audio/music, start a podcast; like taking photographs, join Instagram etc.
Quick Note: When you are building your personal brand, it’s really important to audit your online presence first. A simple google search for yourself by a potential follower may build or destroy your brand. And that why you need to customize your online presence. Run a simple google audit regarding your name and find out what it displays. If it doesn’t display anything, then it means that you are yet to build a brand. On the other hand, if there are already few powerful existing brands or personalities on your name, then you might need to think of an alternative to differentiate your self.
4. Add value to your followers
A brand always begins with your values. What do you stand for?
“I help small business to improve their online presence…” “I help people by helping them to boost their confidence to reach their true potential…”
You need to add value to the people’s lives in order to build your brand. The people will remember you and look up to you if you are solving any of their problems or adding value to their life.
Else, an alternative is to entertain them. Either add value or entertain. There are the only two methods to engage with your audience. The best scenario is when you are adding value and also entertaining your audience at the same time.
While building a personal brand, networking is the key. Until and unless you network with other brands, it’s really difficult to grow faster and reach a bigger audience.
When you are just starting your personal branding, always start networking with the 3C’s -College, Colleague, and Company. These people are easy to reach out and connect. Further, leverage your existing networks and participate in conferences, meetups etc to build new networks.
6. Be consistent
The seventh and final point to build your personal branding is by being consistent.People care more about how consistent you are rather than how good you are. Consistency builds a trust among the people. If you show up at their door every day, they will remember you.
Therefore, be consistent and work every day.
Having a big brand helps people to get paid more for their product and services with fewer arguments or justifications. However, it will take time and efforts to build your personal brand, but it is totally worth it. After all, personal branding may be the only thing that no one else can take away from you.
Finally, here are the five simple rules of building a personal brand- “Be Diligent, be consistent, be relevant, be interesting and be yourself’.
3 Actionable Ways to Increase Blog Traffic in India Using Medium.
Maintaining (or increasing) the traffic of a blog is always a challenge for the bloggers. Due to the consistently rising new competitions, depending on a single source of traffic can be stupid. And that’s why most bloggers or website owners are always looking for new sources or platforms which are less competitive to drive big traffic.
In this post, we are going to discuss one such new platform which Indian bloggers or website owners can leverage to increase their reader’s count. And this new platform is Medium.com.
Right now, Medium is in the same growth phase where Facebook or Quora used to be four-five years ago. The monthly active users on Medium is continuously increasing for the last many months. Although it’s still not a big trend in India to use Medium, however, in upcoming months Medium is definitely going to increase its audience from India. After all, we Indians do get attracted to the American/European trend, after a while.
Moreover, if you are blogging from India, there are not enough competitions on Medium yet. You will rarely find any of your competitor who is active on Medium. When most of the bloggers are fighting to get traffic using paid ads on Facebook, you can start building your empire on medium. By the time your competitors will realize it, you would have built an authority on the medium which will help you to drive a ton of consistent traffic on your blog.
Overall, Medium is one of the fastest-growing platforms that you can leverage today in order to increase your blog traffic in the future.
Anyways, I forgot to mention what actually is Medium?
Medium is an online publishing platform. Here you can publish your articles/blogs for free and get followers on your profile. (Even you can get paid for publishing contents on the medium by joining medium partner program.)
The best part is that people visit medium to read. In other words, they are in the ‘Read-mode’ (Not like ‘scroll down’ or ‘Pass-time’ mode when they visit facebook, twitter or any other social platforms). And that’s why you can find a targeted audience on Medium who are interested to read. And if your contents are good, you can definitely convert them into followers and your blog readers.
All you need to get started is to create a free account using email/google/facebook/twitter etc and start publishing the contents.The platform to write posts is literally easier than MS word or any other document editor that you might have used. Here is a quick snapshot of how medium editor looks like→
Pretty clean and simple, right?
And that’s why people love publishing on Medium. You do not need any technical knowledge to start publishing your contents here. It’s really easy and fast.
3 Actionable ways to increase blog traffic in India using Medium:
Now that you have understood what is Medium and why you should start using it. Here are the three ways to leverage medium to increase your blog traffic in India:
1. Repost blog contents on medium
You do not always need to create new contents to publish on Medium.
If you have already written an awesome post earlier on your blog/website, why not to share it with millions of monthly users of Medium. Many of these people might be looking for contents like yours to read. And therefore, by reposting your same post on Medium, you are marketing your content to a bigger audience.
A Quick Tip- While reposting on Medium, post the older contents which have already been published for at least 3–4 weeks on your blog/website. This will give google enough time to index your blog post and acknowledge that the content was originally posted on your blog and not a fresh content on Medium. This will help you to avoid any competition of your original blog for google ranking against that post from the medium. Here, Google will simply understand that you are reposting the content and your original blog should be preferred in ranking. Anyways, many times, both contents (from your blog and medium) gets ranked on google, which is like a double-benefit.
2. Increase backlinks and leads using Medium posts.
Getting a backlink from authority websites by submitting a guest post takes a lot of time and efforts. Moreover, you’ve put a extra work to find and convince those authority websites’ owners/editors to publish your content. However, the medium is a very good alternative here. Medium has a very high domain authority. By publishing contents on the medium platform, you can easily create massive backlinks without many efforts.
Moreover, if your content is getting decent traffic on medium, your links will divert the audience to your blog. You can also place a lead magnet on your medium content to convert the audience into leads or subscribers.
3. Publish your contents on big publications.
There are a number of publications on Medium who have over 40–50k followers. Publications are like a specific niche — which a group of people with similar interests follows. You can publish your contents on these big publications to reach a bigger audience.
Moreover, unlike guest posting, it’s really easy to publish your contents in these big publications. The editors/owners of these publications are constantly looking for new posts/articles that they can share in their publication to keep it active and engaged. Therefore, all you need to do is to find a good publication in your niche and approach the editor/owner (the contact profile of owner/editor is available in all the publications).
A better approach will be to first write an excellent content on Medium that you want to submit to the publication and then share the link of that post with the editor/owner. If your content is good and related to the publication’s niche, the editor will readily accept it.
Anyways, there are thousands of publications on Medium and you can publish your content in just one. Therefore, you need to be very choosy while selecting the best publication which has more audience/follower that you are targeting.
Quick Note: If you publish a good content on a big publication and are able to attract a lot of readers and get many claps (which is similar to likes/upvotes), then it will actually be amazing for you. This engagement may push your content on the first page of the medium. And if that happens, your blog will be flooded with a huge traffic.
If you are looking for an alternative method to drive traffic to your blog, which has a comparatively less competition, then Medium is a very good option. This platform is still not flooded with the marketers and hence you can leverage it to increase the audience of your blog/website.
That’s all for this post. I hope it was helpful to you. Happy Blogging.
The Go-Getter’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers:
Most of the beginners focus on Google Adsense to monetize their blog. Further, there are many bloggers who put a lot of attention into creating their own product. And while doing so, they leave their blog un-monetized for a long duration of time until their product is ready.
What if I say that there is a better and easier way to earn money online on your blog?
Yes, there is! And it is called affiliate marketing.
Don’t worry if you are new to this topic. I’m going to cover everything about affiliate marketing for bloggers step-by-step in this blog post.
Here is what we are going to cover today:
1. What is affiliate marketing?
2. Why is affiliate marketing for bloggers a good way of monetization?
3. Five Things to know about affiliate marketing for bloggers.
4. How affiliate marketing actually works?
5. Best programs for Affiliate marketing for Bloggers in India.
6. Cons of using Affiliate marketing.
This is going to be a long post. So without wasting any time, let’s get started with the affiliate marketing for bloggers.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.
In simple words, affiliate marketing for bloggers is a way to sell products without owning or creating one. Here, you are just diverting your blog traffic to some specific products, which are owned/created by someone else and earn profits on sales.
It’s really simple to make money from affiliate marketing for blogger and it requires only 3 steps:
Find a product or service that you like
Promote that product/service to your blog readers
Earn a small profit (as commission) for each sale that you make.
That’s all. No need to create a product set up the payment system, or deliver the product from your side. Just promote the product and make money.
Here is an example of affiliate marketing for bloggers.
The below-given book contains an affiliate link from Amazon. I’m am an affiliate partner for amazon associates program. If you buy the book by clicking on the link given below, I will receive a commission for the purchase.
Now, here I’m not trying to sell you the book.
However, if I was a blogger who writes about psychology and then I could have promoted this book to my readers. I would have suggested this book as a must-read book on psychology and recommended my readers to buy this book.
Note: This is genuinely a good book, otherwise I wouldn’t have selected it even as an example.
If I had created a huge audience, who trust my expertise, then they would have bought this book. And each time any of my readers buy this book using the above link, I would have made some profit.
Why is affiliate marketing for bloggers a good way of monetization?
Here are few top reasons why affiliate marketing for bloggers is a good way of monetization:
1. Affiliate marketing works even you do not have a huge traffic on your blog:
Let’s say that you are just getting 100 visitors per day. If you want to make money through ads with a small traffic, you will earn only a few bucks as you are paid per click (PPC).
Even if you’re getting 20 clicks on your ad, and pay per click rate is 20 paise (which is quite high), still, you will hardly make Rs 4 in a day.
However, if you promoting products like shoes, clothes, books etc and are able even a single sale per day, you will make a lot more compared to what you’ll earn by ads.
For example, the commission for selling shoes as affiliates on Amazon is 12%. If you have a fitness blog, and you promoted a running shoe worth Rs 3,000, got a sale, then you would have made Rs 360 just by that single sale.
2. You can monetize your blog from day1:
To get your google adsense account approved, it sometimes takes even months. Google will first validate your blog along with your blog contents and the amount of traffic that you are getting.
Further, if you are planning to sell your own products on your blog, then again it might take you months to create that product.
However, through affiliate marketing, bloggers can start making money from day1.
Most of the affiliate program hardly takes a day to approve your account, including amazon associates.
And why shouldn’t they hurry to approve your account? By promoting their products, you are increasing their revenue. Here, both you and the sellers are making money. That’s why most of the affiliate programs readily accept the accounts of the affiliates.
You can become an affiliate for a program and start promoting their products even from the day 1.
3. The bigger your email list, the higher will be the revenue:
Let’s say you have an email list of 1,000 people and you are promoting the same shoe (Rs 3000, 12% commission) to your email subscribers. Even with a small conversion rate of 2%, you will make an earning of Rs 7,200, just by sending a single email.
Imagine how much you can earn per email if you have a bigger email list and you are sending emails frequently.
4. You do not need to create your own product or services:
The best point of making money through affiliate marketing for bloggers is that you do not own the product. All the works like creating a product, pricing, setting payment system, shipping, customer services etc are taken care by the seller. You just have to promote the product and enjoy the profits.
5. You can learn what your audience wants:
By promoting the products, you can learn what kind of products works for your audience i.e. which products they are buying.
Through this learning, you can create a similar product in future and sell it to your audience to keep the whole share of profit, not a commission of 5-10%.
Further, by offering affiliate products, you can warm your audience for the idea of buying from you, so that when you launch your own product, they will be comfortable with it.
5 Things to know about affiliate marketing for bloggers.
1. For making tons of money by affiliate marketing for bloggers, you need to promote high priced products.
Let us understand this with the help of an example.
Suppose Blog A is a sports blog and promotes sports items like sports jerseys, shoes etc. Here the average price of products that they promote is Rs 3,000.
Let’s imagine there is another Blog B, which is a literature based blog, and it promotes literature books. For blog B, the average price of products that they promote is Rs 200.
Assuming commission and monthly sales for both these blogs, here is the monthly total profit for both these blogs:
Here, you can notice that even the sales of blog A is half of blog B, still, it is making more than 7 times profits than blog B.
To match the same earnings, blog B has to generate 15 times more sales compared to blog A.
In short, it is pretty tough for the blogs promoting low-priced affiliate products to match the earnings generated by blogs promoting high-priced products.
2. The earnings by affiliate marketing for bloggers depend on their blog niche.
You cannot promote sports shoes if you are running a literature or poetry blog. The audience of a poetry blog and not visiting that blog with a mindset to buy sports shoes.
However, the audience of a sports blog knows that the sports products are costly and their mindset is ready to pay for the high-priced product.
That’s why your niche matters for generating big profits by affiliate marketing for bloggers.
For some niche’s it is difficult to find high priced products. For example educational blogs, where the bloggers generally promote books (which costs between Rs 200-400).
On the other hand, there are few niches, who can easily promote high priced products. For example- a photography blog.
Those bloggers can easily promote best DSLR cameras, which easily costs Rs 35,000 or above.
Similarly, if you have a fashion blog, you can also make huge money by affiliate marketing. Most of the designer clothes or shoes costs above Rs 2,000. That’s why the commission for the products will be high and you’ll generate greater profits.
3. The golden rule of Affiliate marketing for bloggers:
Here is the golden rule of affiliate marketing for bloggers- “You should become the affiliate of only those products that you have personally used.”.
While recommending products to the audience, your reputation is at stake. Do not promote bad products, which can decrease the trust of your audience towards you and harm your brand.
4. Affiliate marketing will teach you how to sell.
If you not able to sell few of the best-selling products on amazon to your audience, how will you sell your own products or services to them?
Affiliate marketing is the best way to learn how to sell to your audience.
5. Be transparent about your affiliate products
It’s important that you disclose all your affiliate links.
There’s no point in hiding this. Make your audience understand that purchasing from your affiliate link won’t change the purchase price for the products. They are anyhow going to buy the product at the same price.
Further, by disclosing the affiliate links, your blog readers will appreciate your honesty and will contribute to your blog’s earnings.
How affiliate marketing really works?
Now that you have learned what is affiliate marketing for bloggers and its key points, you should also understand how affiliate marketing actually works.
Here’s how affiliate marketing for bloggers works:
1. When you join an affiliate marketing program, you will be given a unique id along with your logging credentials.
2. Once you log in to your account, you can generate specific url for different products using that unique id. For example, let’s say you want to promote a sports shoe. Then you can create a specific sharable url for that shoe, in which your unique id is tagged. You can promote the shoe using that specific url.
Please note that you can generate code for both simple ‘text’, ‘image’ or ‘combination’ using the unique id. This can help you to promote both link and shoes image on your blog.
3. You can share that generated URL on your blog and whenever someone clicks on that URL, he/she will land on the product sale page. Further, if he/she buys the product, you will be eligible to get your affiliate commission.
4. Many of the affiliate programs has cookies in the URL, which means that even if that person doesn’t buy the product at the time of landing, but purchase some product within 24 hours, still you will get the commission for the sale. This is because the cookie works for 24 hours, which proves that the buyer was directed from your blog.
5. Further, you will get the commission for all the products that the buyer purchase after he visits the merchant page from your blog.
In addition, it needn’t be the same product for which he/she initially visited the merchant page. Even he/she buys a different product, yet you will receive your share of commission.
For example, let’s say you are an affiliate for amazon. You placed an ad for a book on your blog. One of your visitor clicked the link and visited amazon store using that link.
However, he didn’t bought the book. Instead, he found an amazing shoe on the amazon store and bought it.
In such case, even though you didn’t promoted the shoe, however, you’ll get commission for it as the buyer visited amazon store through your link.
In addition, whatever he/she buys from the store for the next 24 hr will also be credited as your commission as there are cookies in the product link that you shared on your blog.
Best programs for Affiliate marketing for Bloggers in India
There are a number of programs available for affiliate marketing for bloggers in India. Few of the best ones are stated below:
1. Amazon India
Amazon is a leader in the e-commerce business in India. You can find a variety of products to promote from amazon which varies from shoes, clothes, books, electronic items to house hold items, kitchen appliances, musical instruments etc.
The commission rates for different products of amazon varies between 2-12%. Here is a detailed structure about the advertising rates for specify product categories.
Flipkart is the biggest competitor of Amazon and it offers a similar affiliate program. The commission offered by Flipkart is also similar to that of Amazon.
You can check out the Flipkart commission rate here and joint the Flipkart affiliate program using this link.
Godaddy is a leading web domain and hosting provider in India. If you are in an online marketing, SEO, web development or similar niche, you can become a godaddy affiliate. Here is a link to join godaddy affiliate program — https://in.godaddy.com/affiliate-programs
Hostgator is another leading domain and hosting provider in India. The commissions offered by hostgator affiliate program is quite high. Hostgator India offers a commission pay out of 1250 per sale. This payout increases as you sell more. Further, you can earn as high as Rs 3,000 per referral.
The TripAdvisor affiliate program is best for travel blogs. The commission are as high as 50-80% for the generated revenue. You can sign up for this affiliate program using this link.
In addition, few other programs offered for affiliate programs for bloggers in India are eBay India, Apple Itunes, VCommision, BigRock etc
Cons of Affiliate marketing for bloggers:
No monetization method can be perfect. Even making money by affiliate marketing for blogger has some cons, which are mentioned below.
Most affiliate marketing programs pay ‘per sale’, not on link ‘clicks’. In short, if you are not generating sales, you won’t make money.
Although affiliate marketing for bloggers is easy to start, however earning isn’t always instant. Sometimes it takes a long time to find suitable products which your blog audience will be willing to buy.
Affiliate programs can change their rule anytime and may decrease the commission rate.
Although there are few cons of using affiliate marketing for bloggers like you only get paid on sales (not link ‘clicks’), however, the pros easily over-shadows the cons.
It cannot be denied that making money by affiliate marketing requires less work as you do not need to create or own the product.
Moreover, depending of the price of the of the promoted products on your blog, you can generate moderate to high earnings through affiliate marketing.
5 Ways to Find Expert Content Writers for Your Blog in India.
“I just can’t write any more blog, Kritesh. It takes too long to write a good content. And that’s why I’m not able to give time to other important things like creating new ways to efficiently monetize my blog…”, Gaurav told me half-heartedly.
“Why don’t you outsource the contents?”, I asked him.
“No!! Outsourcing is not an option for me. I’ve built my blog from scratch and I’ve dedicated so much time writing quality contents. I don’t want to degrade its reputation by publishing not-so-good contents.”, Gaurav answered straightforwardly.
‘Then don’t publish ‘not-so-good’ contents on your blog. But you know that there are professional content writers capable of writing great contents. Moreover, the final decision is always yours whether you want to publish that content on your blog or not… If you do not like the content written by the outsourced authors, simply reject them. But you should at least try this option.”, I tried to reason Gaurav with my answer.
Gaurav has a very popular blog which gets over 30,000 visitors per month. He has been working on his blog for over 18 months and has written over 150 blog posts so far. Now he is trying to monetize his blog traffic. However, producing continuous contents does not give him enough time to focus on creating new digital products in order to monetize his blog.
“It’s not like I didn’t try.I hired one writer a few months ago from one of my references. But she turned out to be a shi**y one. Moreover, finding a good content writer is itself a tedious job. I’m ready to pay a good compensation per article if the content is good. The problem is that I don’t have any more reference.”, Gaurav seemed a little concerned.
“Yes, finding a good content writer will take some time. But it won’t take too long if you know the right approach. Maybe a few weeks to complete whole procedure like interviewing them, asking for sample articles, explaining your requirements etc. Nonetheless, my point is that if you can put some serious efforts for a week or two and are able to find a good writer, it will reduce your stress a lot for many upcoming months.”, I explained.
“Okay, you are right. Now stop this lecture and let me know where can I find expert content writers for my blog.”, Gaurav replied with a little smile on his face.
Finding expert content writers in India does not take too long if you know where to look for them exactly. There are a couple of free platforms or mediums which you can leverage to find good content writers.
Nevertheless, how easily you’ll find a writer for your blog also depends on your budget. If you are ready to give decent compensation per article, you can even hire expert content creators with experience of over 5–10 years. On the other hands, if your hands are tight and you have a limited budget, you might have to hire a few newbie content creators who might need a little training and guidance from you. Anyways, if you put serious efforts, you’ll be able to find a few good ones within a week or two.
How to Find Expert Content Writers for Your Blog in India?
Here are the 5 ways to find expert content writers for your blog in India:
1. Outsource freelancers
There are many free platforms like iWriter, Freelancer.in, upwork, Fiverr etc from where you can find freelancers.
Just post your requirements on these sites and you’ll be flooded with the messages from the freelancers. Contact/Interview the freelancers who responded to your post and select the one which suits you the best.
2. Leverage the massive facebook groups of content writers
There are many active facebook groups of content writers with over 20,000–30,000 members.
Join these facebook groups of Content Writers (Search ‘content writers’ on facebook to find these groups) and post your requirements like your blog niche, the number of articles required per month, compensation/stipend, additional perks etc.
Interested content writers will comment on your post or will directly contact you on the messenger. Interview them and select the best one.
3. Steal writers from authority websites
This is a little tricky. Here, you have to find the authority websites related to your blog niche and look for the people who are consistently contributing to these websites.
Examples of few authority websites in India are Yourstory, Economic times, WittyFeed, Inc42, Mint etc. Go to these websites and read the latest articles. You can easily find the social information of these author like twitter handle, email address etc available along with the article. Contact them and ask if they are looking for additional content writing work. Try to convince them to work with you by describing the perks.
4. Hire college interns
College students are the best target to find exert content writers in India if you have a limited budget. These students will be ready to work even at a lower-than-average compensation if you are willing to provide additional perks. Moreover, the students are looking for such exposures to build their resume. In short, you can find good content writers by hiring college students.
Few of the famous portals in India which you can use to hire interns are Internshala, Let’s Intern etc. Further, it’s very simple to create an employer login account and post the job requirements on Internshala/Let’s Intern. And within few days of posting the job requirement, you will get a massive list of interns who might be interested to work with you as a content writer.
Anyways, you need to train these interns as they might not have a big experience of content creation like those expert freelancers. However, talent-wise, you may find some hidden gems in these internship portals.
5. Find skilled writers by exploring publishing platforms like Quora/Medium.
There are many writers/authors who consistently posts on platforms like Quora or Medium. Their social profiles are publically available and you can read all their contents/answers. Explore these publishing platforms for a few days and find few regular contributors who write excellent contents.
Next, contact them and offer a job as a content writer. Many of them might not be interested in a job and only be publishing contents out of interest. However, if you contact enough writers, you will definitely find one or two who might be looking for an opportunity to work as a content creator.
6. Place a Hiring/Contribute/Guest post link on your blog
One of the easiest ways to find content writers (which most website/blog owners ignore) is to place a ‘Hiring’, ‘Contribute’, ‘Guest post’ etc link on their blog. Ask yourself, why will the writers contact you if they do not know that you are looking for content writers?
These links send a clear signal to the interested people that you are looking for content creators. Moreover, by using this method, instead of you approaching the content creators, these writers will contact you. And hence, you will be on the upper-side when you’ll be negotiating the compensation and perks.
Although the process to find good content creators is not difficult, however, it may take some time. You should definitely go through a good screening procedure like asking for sample contents, reference to the last work as a content writer, a small interview to understand their skills etc. Nevertheless, if you contact 30–40 people using the approaches mentioned above, you’ll find good one or two writers- in the end.
That’s all for this post. I hope it was helpful to you. If there is any other method to find expert content writers that I missed in this post, feel free to comment below.
“Your answers on Quora are really awesome, Kritesh”, Gaurav applauded me.
“Thank you, Gaurav. I really appreciate it.”, I replied happily.
“Yesterday I checked your Quora profile and I was really impressed. You have over +2.2 million views and +2.6k followers of your profile. How did you build such a huge followership?”, Gaurav asked energetically.
“Yes, that’s what most people notice. What they don’t notice is that I have written over 600 answers…”, I answered with a wicked smile.
If you do not know what is Quora, then let me explain it to you first.
Quora is an online question and answer website, where anyone can ask questions or write answers for the existing ones. By March 2016, it has over 100 million monthly active users.
I have been quite active on Quora for over last two years. I’m also a top writer on many of the trending topics. This is a great platform to read new stuff and contribute by writing useful answers. Moreover, unlike facebook/twitter where people are in a ‘scroll down’ mode, the audience specifically visit Quora to read. Therefore, if you are writing awesome answers, it’s really easy to reach a huge audience.
For the past 2 years, I’ve been consistently writing 5–10 answers on Quora weekly. The number of answers may be a little higher on the holidays and maybe even ZERO during a hectic week. Nevertheless, these answers on Quora has helped me to drive a lot of traffic to my blog. I regularly receive messages from different people that they checked my blog after reading one of my answers and totally loved my contents afterward.
Besides, unlike Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, where a post fades away within a few hours, Quora answers remains alive for a very long time. There are many of my answers which I’ve written about two years back, but still, they are driving a lot of views and traffic to my blog- even today. In addition, the answers on Quora creates a snowball effect. With time, all the answers add up to drive even a bigger traffic to your blog.
In short, you can drive an insane amount of traffic from Quora if you are little consistent and your answers are genuinely helpful.
Why Quora Works the Best for Indians to Drive Traffic?
If you follow any of popular digital marketing blogs (mostly run by American or European marketers), you’ll find them saying that you can drive a huge traffic from Reddit, Pinterest or Tumblr.
But in actual, this is not true for the Indian bloggers or marketers. The Indian crowd on these portals are very limited and hence you won’t be able to drive a much-targeted audience to your website/blog (from India), no matter how much active you are on those platforms. Moreover, if you are writing contents for the Indian audience, then getting traffic from outside regions using Reddit/Tumblr won’t be much helpful and will just increase the bounce rate. That’s why it’s not worth your time spending on those portals.
On the other hand, the participation of Indian population is a lot high on Quora. Just check the Quora page and you’ll find tons of contents written/asked by Indians. And that’s why, if you’re planning to get a targeted audience from India, Quora is a great platform to start with.
Quick Note: Few other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc have also a very high participation of Indians. However, the organic reach of posts on these platforms is comparatively a way lower. Therefore, unless you are ready to run the paid advertisements or boost your FB posts, your content won’t reach a bigger audience.
Driving traffic to your blog from Quora is pretty straightforward. Simply answer the questions related to the posts published on your blog and include relevant links in the answers whenever required.
(WARNING: DO NOT SPAM OR ADD IRRELEVANT LINKS ON YOUR ANSWERS OR ELSE YOU WILL BE BANNED FROM QUORA. For example, if the questions are asking about football, then do not write a useless irrelevant answer and insert a link to your blog which contains contents on Hollywood (just to get traffic). There are many moderators on quora and they will definitely ban you for spamming).
Another important point is mention is- “Do not copy and paste exact answer from your blog” as it will lead to plagiarism (duplication) and your answer will be deleted. While answering the questions, change the words of the answer to make it little different from your original blog post or write another genuine answer in your own words (Avoid entire copying of content). Read more about Quora plagiarism policy here.
Now, let me explain how you can write an answer on Quora- in the right way.
Assume there’s a question on Quora asking- “How to save money in college?”. If your blog is related to personal finance and you have written a similar blog post on which you want to drive traffic, then you can answer this question. Here’s what you need to do.
Write a comprehensive answer for how you can save money in college is your own words. Do not copy exactly from your blog. And in the middle or end (wherever you feel more relevant)- include the link to your relevant blog post. If your answer is useful to the readers, they will definitely check out the link to read more about the answer. And hence, you’ll drive traffic to your blog.
The key to driving huge traffic is that your answer should be super helpful and the links should be relevant. By doing so, people will click on the link to read even more useful content in your blog post in detail. And maybe if they find your content awesome, they will also share the answer and the blog post with their friends. Overall, you can get multiple benefits by writing an amazing answer on Quora.
Few Important tips before you dive inside Quora:
Before we proceed further, it is important to mention that Quora is also a social platform. This means that similar to Facebook or Quora, you can waste a lot of time on Quora. There are many people who spend many hours daily on Quora reading and answering rubbish questions. You can find many useless questions like- What is life? What are humans? Why are we here? What is the importance of life? etc
Avoid wasting your time reading these time-wasting questions. They are definitely engaging but do not waste your time. Always remember your main motive for using that portal. (Anyways, if you using Quora just for fun during your leisure time, then it is okay to read some funny or entertaining answers!).
Here are a few basic tips that you should follow that will save you a lot of time and increase your productivity.
1. Follow only relevant topics:
There are thousands of topics on Quora on Entrepreneurship, Android app, Web development, Hollywood, Bollywood, Books, Startups etc. And if you follow all of these topics, your feed will be flooded with questions from all over the web- which might not be relevant to you.
Therefore, follow only the important topics related to your blog niche. If your blog is based on photography, then follow the topics related to photography like photographers, cameras etc. Doing so, your feed will show only questions related to photography and hence you won’t have to waste much time finding good questions to answer.
2. Search for the question in the top search bar:
You can directly search for the questions that you want to answer in the top ‘Search bar’. By doing so, you can save a lot of time.
3. Follow influencers in your field to read questions that they answered.
There may be many influencers/experts in your field who will be active on Quora. Follow those people. Whenever they write an answer, you can read those in your feed. By following the influencers, you can remain updated with the latest trending questions. Moreover, if you can write a better answer, then go for it.
#5 Best Strategies to get insane blog traffic from Quora:
1. Write longer answers.
There are many people on Quora who write answers in just 3–4 sentences. But in general, that’s not really helpful and you can’t explain everything in just 3–4 sentences. Writing longer answers to keep the reader engaged. This will make them curious to know more about you and your other contents.
2. Include at least one image.
People generally avoid reading contents with no images. Such contents simply look boring. That’s why it is always a good idea to include at least one relevant image in your answer.
3. Write 2–3 answers per day.
If you want to drive a huge traffic to your blog over time, you need to write more answers on Quora. Writing 2–3 answers per day will make a total of 14–21 answers per week. If you continue doing so for at least 2–3 months, you’ll able to have enough answers on Quora to drive decent traffic to your blog. The more answers you write, the higher the traffic you can get.
4. Have a killer quora profile intro and image.
After reading your answer, the most obvious next step by readers is to check out your profile. And if they find it appealing, they will follow you. Therefore, you need to have a killer Quora profile. In addition, you can also add your blog/website link on the description section of your profile page. Many times, when people check out your profile, they will land to your blog using that link.
4. Be consistent.
Until and unless you are a hot girl, you won’t get followers easily on any social platform. Give the people a reason to follow you by being consistent. By doing so, people will follow you because they might be interested to read your future answers.
Quora is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog in India. However, the mantra to become successful on Quora is by writing useful answers and being consistent.
The last tip, have patience. During the start, the number of views or followers on your Quora profile might be low. However, this grows exponentially once you have written more answers. Besides getting a huge traffic, there’s one more major benefit of writing answers on Quora. It helps you to grow your personal branding.