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The passion funnel is much less dirty than it sounds.

For every discussion of monetization in new media, there’s an equal discussion about the amateur, the practitioner who does something for the pure love of it and not for money. However, amateurs can still take a great deal of knowledge from the professional world and apply it to their work to see how successful their efforts are.

Take an average new media sales funnel:


Audience is the potential number of people you can reach in any given medium.

Prospects are the subset of the audience that is likely to be interested in what you have for sale.

Leads are the people who have expressed interest in what you have for sale.

Conversions are the people who commit, who buy what you have for sale.

Evangelists are the people who are so in love with what you’ve got, with what you’ve sold them, that they incite others to become prospects as well.

You can measure each stage, use different tools and talents at each stage, to drive sales.

Audience tools are the channels themselves – Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.

Prospecting uses demographics and databases to figure out who your most likely customers are, based in part on the customers you already have. If I run a Financial Aid Podcast or a Marketing Podcast, I’d better be finding the portion of audience in each channel that’s interested in financial aid or marketing. Tools like Google’s Ad Planner and Facebook’s Media Planner can help with all this.

Leads uses your web site and associated persuasion tools – good copy, calls to action, etc. – to convince the prospects to buy. Analytics tools like Google Analytics, Clickheat, database analysis, and so forth can help you diagnose your lead generation process and figure out where you’re turning people away.

Conversions is your sales engine, your transaction engine.

Evangelism uses your media channels of choice to encourage your customers and fans to spread the word. Note that evangelism is driven by awesomeness. If you have an awesome product or service, if your customers are delighted, the word will spread. You might have to encourage them a little, but sufficient quantities of awesome easily convinces customers by itself to spread the word.

Now, what if you took the money out of this funnel? What’s left?

Pretty much everything except the transaction engine. This is a key point for any amateur: virtually every metric leading up to a sale is the same for amateur and professional. If there’s nothing to buy at the end of the funnel, there is something else that requires a level of commitment that’s non-casual. It might be showing up at a rally or volunteering your time, but it’s something that in a commercial interaction would be the equivalent of putting money on the table.

If you don’t know what is the commitment substitute for commerce in your amateur efforts, you’ll never be able to measure your new media efforts in any meaningful way beyond eyeballs and ears. Decide what’s at the end of your rainbow if not a pot of gold, and then take all the pieces and parts from commercial exchanges and make them work for your passion.

Photo credit: Dairy Cow

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