Zero to £87m ($134m) in 9 Years Online – Part 1

You may have heard of [MSE], especially if you are in the UK.

The website was founded in 2003 by a fellow LSE Alumni, Martin Lewis.

It is simply an online hub with great advice on saving money. Not too complicated, just pure advice on credit card rates to daily deals, etc. The site also has a forum attached, where members discuss how to save money on various purchases.

Who would have thought that after only 9 short years online, such a site would sell for an astonishing £87m ($134m USD), especially when they do not sell a single product or service themselves!

Confused? Well I wouldn’t blame you, if you were.

This is a business model that very few are familiar with. It’s a model that I started out my business in and it’s an easy model to get started with.

It’s called Affiliate Marketing. In a nutshell, you are a PROMOTER of someone else’s products/services.

It’s a great business model because you don’t need to do the Market Research, Product  Development, Product Testing, Customer Service, etc.

All you’re doing is helping to Market the product/service, either online or offline.

In Money Saving Expert’s case, they were promoting

Money Supermarket is an online price comparison website i.e. if you want the cheapest car insurance quote, then you would go there to find the cheapest insurer.

Every time a Bargain Hunter went through to Money Supermarket, after reading an article on Money Saving Expert and bought a policy, MSE got a commission from Money Supermarket.

By the time of the sale, Money Supermarket was paying £16m annually to Money Saving Expert in referral commissions. I suppose from that perspective it made sense to acquire MSE and to plug the outflow of £16m annually.

“Great news for Martin, but how do I benefit Abul”, do I hear you say?

Well there are hundreds of established companies Worldwide, who would not be as successful as they are, had it not been for their promoters [or affiliates if you like].

From Ebay to Argos, they all have thousands of affiliates. The affiliates simply send online visitors to those websites and if those visitors buy, then the affiliate gets a % cut of the sale value.

You earn them £100 and they give you anything from £3 to £75, depending on the company.

In short this is what Martin did:

  • He was a journalist and had a passion about saving money.
  • He built an online community of like-minded individuals.
  • Once he had a large enough following, he promoted some money saving services to his followers.
  • If the followers bought, then great he made some money. If they didn’t buy, then great as well. He still kept on writing QUALITY CONTENT on his website that kept his followers coming back for more.
  • Martin established himself as an AUTHORITY in the field of ‘money saving’ and was interviewed on TV and Magazines. This meant more coverage for his website.
  • Over time, he had 12 million people in the UK visiting his website on a monthly basis.

Using my Create -> Convert -> Retain analysis:

Martin CREATED followers, CONVERTED them to use Money Supermarket and RETAINED those followers by providing regular in-demand content.

Sounds simple enough!

Maybe you don’t want 12 million visitors, or to write daily articles for the website, or get interviewed by the media and maybe you don’t consider yourself an ‘Expert’ in any field.

Could you still make money from this online business model?

Yes! Absolutely!

You don’t need to be an expert in any subject, as long as you have access to expertise – from a person, a book, etc.

Some people build niche websites with quality content, get website visitors from Google and make an income by promoting other people’s products/services.

A niche is simply a specialist segment within a larger market. For example, Acne Cures is the market and Home Made Natural Acne Cures is a niche within the Acne Cures market.

Martin’s niche is ‘money savers’.

Here’s a few more examples:

  • How To Get 6 Packs is the Market – Get 6 Packs Without Exercise is the Niche.
  • Golf clubs is the Market – Golf clubs for left handed players is the Niche.
  • Hypnosis is the Market – Stage Hypnosis [stuff you see on TV] is the Niche.

You see the more you can segment a market down, the quicker you can become an AUTHORITY and build a loyal following.

It took Martin Lewis a couple of years to be the “Money Saving Expert”. If he was just focused on being the “Credit Card Savings Expert”, I’m sure he would have achieved that niche status quicker.

In Part 2 of this Article, we will look at how you can take this simple business model and create an additional stream of online income.

The majority of my affiliate income is set & forget – I set up the system once and it earns me commissions on autopilot.

I’m not talking about building a £87 million business, but rather something that can make potentially make $8700+/month.