“I awoke to the epiphany that I was the driver of my life and my problems were the consequences of my choices.”M.J. DeMarco
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The recent Facebook and Instagram outage has caused quite the shake up. Business owners and influencers around the world took to Twitter to share their frustrations. Facebook and Instagram were only down for about 24-hours, but this outage has cost some businesses up to tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. The Verge interviewed one business owner, Jason Wong, who estimated the outage cost him $10,000! You can find that article here.
So, here’s something to think about:
How many people do you think own an online business and rely solely on one source of revenue or one primary source for traffic?
If I were to guess, I would venture to say that a majority of young entrepreneurs and business owners do not have a diverse portfolio when it comes to running an online business. The bulk of sales and traffic probably come from a single source such as, Facebook ads, Google AdSense, ect. This can be a very dangerous game to play and I’ll tell you why.
THE DANGERS OF A SINGLE REVENUE SOURCE
A statistic I recently found at LYFE Marketing states:
“10. Over 5 million businesses are using Facebook ads to reach their target audiences.” – 25 Facebook Advertising Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind
Obviously Facebook Ads work. There is no questioning that. However, this CAN NOT and SHOULD NOT be your only source for targeting your customers. Doing so puts your business solely in the hands of Facebook. Your single source of income, Facebook Ads in this example, could be shut off at any time. And the worst part – You have no control over it.
Now the whole goal of this post isn’t to bash Facebook. It’s a great platform for many reasons. The point to be made here is when using other platforms, such as Facebook, Amazon, E-Commerce sites, ect, incidents beyond our control have the opportunity to make or break your business if you are not careful.
There are countless numbers of horror stories in which solo-preneurs and businesses rely on a single source of income, like selling on Amazon or ebay for example, who get their accounts shut down without warning. If, for example, you are running your business through Amazon, they could make a change to their policies at any moment, resulting in your account being suspended or shutdown completely. Sometimes for good! There’s a huge risk involved if you choose not to diversify your business.
MY PERSONAL EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE
Just as we were getting ready to launch our own online business, we set up a Google Adwords account. At this point, we were primarily using the various tools available, but had no real need to run any ads. Without warning, we received a message that our Google Adwords account was suspended. After going through the appeal process, we submitted the necessary forms to receive a message shortly after, “Appeal Denied.”
Still to this day, we do not know the real reason our account was suspended, aside from “Circumventing the System” (No clue how we circumvented the system when we weren’t using much more than the keyword planner). As far as I can tell, there is no way for us to get it reinstated. We came to the quick realization that we need to diversify our business; find multiple sources to generate traffic and sales.
A FEW TIPS FOR DIVERSIFYING YOUR BUSINESS
- Running Ads: Use multiple platforms and figure out how to make each platform benefit your business. Don’t just set up Facebook ads and call it a day. Try running ads on Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter. If one company decides to shut down or suspend your account, you’ll still have traffic coming from other ads
- Improve your SEO: When you run ads, you are paying for that traffic. Improving your SEO across multiple search engines is a great way to generate traffic for FREE. What would happen if all your traffic comes from paid advertisements, but you run out of the funds to keep the ads going?
- Old School Marketing: Start sending emails, or even “Older School,” direct mail. Obviously you won’t get the same kind of reach as being online, but this method still works. Contrary to popular belief, direct mail isn’t dead.
FOR REVENUE AND SALES
- Selling Across Multiple Platforms: If you are selling a physical product, Amazon can be a great way to generate free buzz around your product, but don’t rely solely on Amazon. Get a website set up and start selling your products on your site. You won’t have to pay a percentage to the service provider (Amazon) for products sold on your own website.
- Diversify your Products: Don’t just sell one product or service. You don’t even need to sell multiple physical products. Digital products can sell just as effectively as physical products and require much less cost to produce – see the 10 Benefits of selling digital products.
- Membership Sites: Membership sites are the “Holy Grail” of revenue and sales. Create a membership site for a few of your products. What could be better than receiving a payment for your products? – Receiving reoccurring payments for your product.
DIVERSIFY YOUR BUSINESS FOR GROWTH
Diversifying your business will give you greater control over your business’ future. What made you start your business in the first place? Probably for the freedom to do what you want and to take control of your own future. By not growing your “roots” and diversifying the way you run your business, you are at the mercy of others. You could do everything right, but your business could suffer mercilessly due to measures outside of your control.
Take this small social media “hiccup” as not only a warning, but an opportunity to grow your business and your brand even stronger. Not only will diversifying your business protect it’s future, it can increase your growth in sales, traffic, and revenue.
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Question of the Day
In what ways have you grown your business through diversifying for traffic, sales, revenue, ect?
I am an entrepreneur and adventure enthusiast, looking to break free from the Nine-Five grind. I'll show you what has worked and is currently working for me, as well as what hasn't worked so well.
This is a great article! It is so important to remember to put your businesses in different places. If one goes down you never know what’s going to happen.
💗 Alexx | Aesthetics by Alexx
Exactly! I’ve heard so many stories of people doing great, and then losing their entire business and income because they had all their income coming from one “funnel”
I completely agree with you. I haven’t had a ton of success with Facebook ads, but I know some businesses thrive because of them.
I think businesses should take advantage of that opportunity, because it would be waste not to. But like you said, they need to be prepared and have other strategies. If Facebook goes down, they need something else to keep them relevant.
Although SEO works best combined with PPC and Social Media advertising, it will always be relevant and is the best long term strategy in my opinion.
Exactly! If you build up your SEO and Facebook goes down, you still have SEO and the organic traffic keeping you above water. It might not be to the magnitude as it was while you were running Facebook ads, but you won’t go from all the traffic to none of it.
Great post! I haven’t been using Facebook or Instagram for my blog, instead focusing on Pinterest and Twitter, but I definitely agree with you about diversifying your traffic sources. For quite a while, the majority of my traffic was coming from the WordPress reader. Then, when we went self-hosted, we lost that option for a bit and our traffic tanked. We didn’t realize how much we were relying on that. Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂
Great learning point. It can be easy to see the traffic coming in with what you’re currently doing, but like you said, you don’t realize how much you rely on something until it’s gone!
Interesting article, I didn’t even realise that there was an outage but the points of this post is still very relevant.
I learned from a blogger’s mistake when her Blogger account was suspended. I knew then that it was very risky farming in someone else’s land. The key is to drive traffic to your website and capture the visitor’s data, so that you can communicate with them directly.
It took me a while to fully understand it but I’m slowly growing my email list.
If people simply visit your website and leave without you getting anything from them, then that’s a lot of wasted effort I feel.
Thanks for sharing your post on Twitter.
Host of podcast The Segilola Salami Show
That’s a great point Segilola! Growing an email list is a huge must for anyone running an online business/blog. Many people don’t realize this until much later, after they’ve watched hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors disappear forever. Thanks for the tip and goodluck with your Podcast!
Great tips! I opened an Adsense account and never used it. Honestly, I hate seeing ads and don’t want to subject my viewers to them 😂. Plus, sometimes those ads lead to full page redirecting which is bad, so I just avoid them as a whole.
I do use social media primarily for my company though, which I’m trying to change, and I have my items listed on many different platforms (Etsy, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, my own website)
I’m with you there on the ads. It’s definitely a tough call, but can be so lucrative.
And that’s a great call spreading out your products across multiple platforms. One may be better for sales purposes, but if you lose it you still have something to fall back on.
Thanks for the feedback!
A great post with some really really great tips here. Facebook and instagram are just awful for trying to help grow your blog!