“Bill” – an old friend of mine – invited me to dinner to pick my brain about doing business online. (He knows that I’ve been making my living online for several years now.) He explained that he’s been trying to make some extra money by selling “stuff” on eBay. And the more he told me about it, the crazier it sounded.

He buys products in bulk and stores them at home. And every time he makes a sale, he has to pack up the goods and go to the post office to ship them out. Oh, and I should also mention that these products have a very low profit margin.

Now I don’t know about you, but to me that seems like an awful lot of work just to make a few dollars. And the business model isn’t scalable. If Bill wants to double his income, it’s going to take double the amount of work. If he wants to increase his income by a factor of 10, it’ll take 10 times the inventory, 10 times the labor to pack and ship the products, and 10 times the risk.

If you think that sounds a lot like a traditional “bricks and mortar” business, you’re right! As a matter of fact, the only differences I can see are that the actual sales are made online and he doesn’t have a physical storefront.

So then I told Bill a little about my online businesses.

I sell mostly digital information products, so I don’t need to buy or store any inventory. When I make a sale, the product is instantly delivered online. In many cases, I don’t even own the products I’m selling, so it’s completely hands off. On top of that, because the cost of storing and producing digital products is so low, they have extremely high profit margins. Best of all, the products I choose to sell are in high demand markets – so I’m not hoping sales will be made, I know they will.

Needless to say, Bill wanted to know more. So I shared with him what I’m about to share with you right now: my top three proven ways to make money online.

1. Context-Specific Website Advertising

Can you attract steady streams of visitors to your unique, information-rich website or blog? Great! Then sign up with an online advertising program that pays you for showing their context-specific ads on your site. This “pay-per click” model of revenue generation is probably the quickest way for you to start making money online.

Your “work” consists of adding a small piece of code to your Web page (anyone can do it!) that triggers ads relevant to your audience. For example, if your site is devoted to yoga exercises, yoga-related ads will appear. Then, whenever one of your site visitors clicks on one of those ads, you get paid. (This is a very simplified explanation of the process, but it gives you an idea of how it works.)
Although there are almost 100 recognized advertising programs available for Web publishers, the most popular by far is Google AdSense. It has the largest network of partners and is at the forefront of contextual advertising for websites, mobile technologies, search engines, and syndicated feeds.

2. Selling Other People’s Information Products (Affiliate Marketing)

Affiliate marketing is another good way to make money online. In particular, consider selling other people’s digital products (e-books, software, video courses, etc.).

Here are some of the reasons I love affiliate marketing:

  • Commissions are high – often 50-75 percent for both new and established digital products.
  • Product owners offer built-in marketing support (e.g., sales letters and banner ads that you can use).
  • Product delivery, customer service, and payment processing are handled by the product owners.

To get started, sign up with a popular digital marketplace like ClickBank or Commission Junction and search their database for products that are related to your niche. Then promote these products on your website in the form of “product reviews” or “recommended resources.”

3. Creating and Selling Your Own Information Products

Many people are happy just with the consistent income they can make as an affiliate marketer. Eventually, though, you may want to create and sell your own information products – and have your own affiliate “army” to promote them.

There are many ways to create information products. You can write reports, do teleseminars with experts, and record video presentations, just to name a few.

What does it take to create an information product that sells? One good way is to do some research to find the kind of questions people in your niche are asking. You can then write an e-book that offers solutions to those problems. You may even want to give away your best solution to the biggest problem for free to build your e-mail list – and then sell the complete e-book to the people on that list.

As you sharpen your skills and establish your online reputation, you can build out your product funnel with e-courses, teleseminars, and even full-fledged home study programs.

Most of my online businesses generate income with a combination of these three proven methods: context-specific advertising, affiliate marketing, and information product creation. I also generate income from speaking, membership sites, and several other sources. However, when you are just getting started, my advice is to concentrate on the top three.

If you’re unsure of where to begin, I highly recommend that you join me and the ETR team at our “Show Me the Money” Info Marketing Bootcamp in November.

MaryEllen Tribby has assembled a world-class group of thought leaders from all over the nation for this event. They will be revealing some of their top business-building and moneymaking secrets to a select group of future Internet millionaires. (That could be you!)

These experts won’t bore you with the same old song and dance you’ve heard a hundred times before… con you with one-trick ponies… or tease you with gimmicks that work for only one person in 10 million. They won’t give you the stuff you already know.

They will show you EXACTLY how to start bringing in “new found” cash right now – and how to keep it coming in as the online world transforms and marches forward into the new decade.

This is your big opportunity to finally start the information marketing business that could make all your dreams come true… or finally stop “working” at your business and watch it soar to new levels of profitability.

Even if you have just a flicker of an idea for your own Internet business, you should make a point of joining us in November. Get all the details – including how to sign up for our “full refund + $1,000 cash-back pledge” – right here. Don’t delay – your $600 Early Bird discount ends this coming Monday.

Brian Edmondson is an author, speaker, and Internet entrepreneur specializing in generating website traffic and building responsive email lists. He is also the director of ETR’s Internet Money Club.
After leaving his “Wall Street” job in 2001, Brian found true success and independence through the power of the Internet. He has launched several websites, including one that grossed over $50,000 in sales in the first week and has masterminded many multi-million dollar Internet businesses. He now works full time online from his home outside of Philadelphia , PA (or anywhere there is an internet connection).Brian is also known for his ability to generate “big profits from a small list”. In one example he generated over $15,000 in 7 days from a list of only 1,286 subscribers. Brian is co-author of The Ultimate Success Secret with Dan Kennedy.