You can absolutely learn what makes your website valuable and take steps now to become more profitable in the short run and increase the amount you can get when you are ready to sell.
How You Can Make Money From a Discord Server
Discord has become a very popular group chat application for just about anyone. In fact, it is practically mandatory for some video game players who are a part of guilds that require strong coordination between members. Some Discord servers have gotten very large which makes many server hosts wonder, “Is there a way I can make money from my Discord community?”
According to Discord's terms of service, any commercial use must be approved in writing:
“Subject to your compliance with these Terms, the Company grants you a limited, revocable, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable license to use and access the Service solely for your personal, non-commercial use, unless we agree to your commercial use in writing.”- https://discordapp.com/terms
If Discord agrees to allow you to use your server for commercial use, here are some ways to monetize it.
10 Ways to Make Money from Your Discord Server:
- Create private areas for Patreon supporters only
- Make the entire server for paid members only
- Accept donations from people who want to support your community
- Get sponsorships from businesses
- Sign up with a Discord ad network
- Make a bot with free and paid features
- Charge to advertise other Discord servers
- Offer meaningful affiliate products to your community
- Run paid competitions
- Direct people to a paid website with tutorials, guides, etc.
Each of these methods involves a particular strategy to be effective which we explain below. We will also show you how to implement these monetization strategies without making your community angry and lose people.
#1 – Accept Donations from People Who Want to Support Your Community
If you have a large community, people already appreciate what you are doing and some will be more than happy to support you financially. Give these grateful community members an opportunity to give back by accepting donations.
Don't worry – you don't need to be a non-profit to accept donations. Just make sure people know the money they give is not tax deductible.
#2 – Create Private Areas for Patreon Supporters Only
If you or other members are thought leaders or experts in your community, some of your members may really appreciate having greater access to you and your knowledge.
What you can do is set up private areas within your Discord server for supporting members only. If someone donates a certain amount one time (or every month or yearly or whatever you decide), give them access to this special area where they can ask direct questions and get fast answers.
You can also use this area to offer more advanced tips, guides, or other information that you don't offer elsewhere on your server. Make sure the value is high and you are providing information your supporters really want. If you aren't sure what they want or would pay for, just ask them!
Don't worry about non-paying members getting bent out of shape at not having access to this special info. Keep providing your free members with a great community and explain this extra info or access to you takes time and it is only fair that experts get compensated for that. Any reasonable person will understand.
#3 – Make the Entire Server for Paid Members Only
Perhaps you want to make an entirely different server that is just for paid members. No problem! Keep your free server going and then just set up a new one for paid members with any additional features or perks you want to offer them. In some circumstances, this might be easier to manage than having free and paid areas on the same server. Since it is so easy to set up new servers on Discord and its free, why not?
#4 – Get Sponsorships from Businesses
If you have a popular niche community of people, businesses will absolutely want to have access to them. So instead of dealing with sneaky businesses that try to infiltrate your community for free, offer them access in exchange for money.
There are lots of different ways you can do this so that it is a win-win-win situation for you, the advertiser, and your community. You could give businesses their own area to promote products and services and answer questions from your community. You could set up bots that automatically advertise for your business partners at certain intervals.
How you do it is really up to you. The strategic way is always to think win-win and how a business can actually provide value to your community instead of merely bombarding them with ads. Smart businesses will know it is far better to build relationships by providing what the community really values.
#5 – Sign Up with a Discord Ad Network
Just like for websites, you can now join advertising networks that service Discord.
Here is one called Discord Advertiser. All you do is register with the company, install their Discord bot, configure your server and set ad rates, and start earning money. There are all sorts of ways to customize the service to work best with your server.
#6 – Make a Bot with Free and Paid Features
Bots are an amazing feature of Discord and can provide a ton of value and functionality. Why not earn money by providing a great bot that really helps your community?
You could make a bot that serves the unique needs of people in your community and charge for the whole thing. Or you could make a bot with certain features that are free and then features that require payment. This freemium model is a great way to let people try your bot for free and build trust.
Just think of needs in your community that aren't being met and make a list. See which ones can be served by a bot. If you aren't sure of what needs aren't being met, just ask your community! Tell them you want to make a bot but would really like their input on what they would want in one. By doing this, you are doing free market research!
If you can program, create the bot yourself. If not, you can find developers at places like Upwork.
#7 – Charge to Advertise Other Discord Servers
There are probably lots of other Discord servers your community members may be interested in joining that aren't direct competitors with you. Why not charge them to advertise to your community?
Think about how many other Discord servers you have personally joined. Did you know that Discord allows people to join up to 100 servers??
All you need to do is think of other servers you yourself have joined or would be interested in joining that are related to the interests of your community. Contact other Discord server owners about advertising possibilities.
Here's another idea: simply offer to swap advertising – they advertise for your server and you advertise for theirs. That is a great way to build your community fast without spending any advertising money!
#8 – Offer Affiliate Products to Your Community
The people in your community buy products. Most likely lots of things. Why not offer them links to products you can get a commission for?
The trick here is being open and upfront with your community and actually offering them affiliated products and services that they love and provide great value.
One strategy is to simply make a resources area, or a page on a website you link to, with products you recommend. For instance, if you are a gamer, make a list of some of the equipment you personally love and link to it on Amazon through their affiliate program. Then tell your community about this list of equipment and when they follow the links and purchase, you get a commission.
Just remember to always be honest and give your community high quality recommendations so you don't lose their trust. And try to partner with good vendors that won't overcharge your community members. Some affiliate partners may even be willing to provide discounts for your community members which is awesome!
#9 – Run Paid Competitions
Here is an idea I got from a YouTuber. Run some sort of competition, charge a small fee for entrance (say $1), and then let winners get a percentage of the entry fee. There will be many people in your community who will love competing in an event to show off their skills and won't mind paying a very small fee to participate. You can even reward the top 3 or so finishers to make participants feel they have a better shot at winning something.
If you have a gaming community, you could run a contest for the best gameplay video, the best strategy someone shares, or best participation for the month in your guild.
If you have trouble coming up with ideas for a contest, just ask your community what they would enjoy.
#10 – Direct Community to a Website with More Information or Paid Services
If the Discord server itself is a bit limiting, you can always create a website where you can offer in-depth tutorials, guides, or recommended products as ways to make money. Websites are easy to build these days and creating paid areas for members is no problem with plugins like MemberPress or Restrict Content Pro. You can create provide videos, webpages, or really anything that some members of your community wouldn't mind paying to have access to. Just find out from your community what help you might be able to provide them, create something, and then profit!
How to Monetize Your Discord Community Without Making People Mad
You may be concerned that adding ways to make money to your free community could make people mad and cause them to leave. Don't worry. If you do this using the following tips, you can't do it in a way that will actually build value.
Tip #1 – Don't Take Away, Add
If you attracted people with certain free content, don't take it away and put it behind a paywall. That will make people mad and cause some to leave. Instead, think of what you can add in addition to what you are providing for free. Direct access to experts, more detailed guides or tutorials, fun events, or special perks are all ways you can add value and fun without taking anything away.
Tip #2 – Reinvest in Your Server
If you are earning money, spend a portion of that to add even more value to your server. Maybe you could invest in some premium bots you can provide or developing your own. Maybe you could pay an expert to make a free tutorial or guide. Or you could build a supporting website from your community.
Whatever it is, reinvest in meaningful ways that solve problems, provide more entertainment, or better connect your community members. This is a great way to strategically compete with similar servers that aren't reinvesting in their community.
Tip #3 – Make Sure Your Monetization is Adding Meaningful Value
Instead of just bombarding your community with irrelevant ads or trying to charge for things they don't want, always think about what they do want and would be willing to pay for. In most of the monetization ideas we provided above, we always tried to offer ways that actually benefit your community rather than simply coming up with schemes to siphon their money.
When in doubt, just ask yourself, “What would I be willing to pay for?” and “What value or benefit will this monetization method add to my community?” If it doesn't add value, don't use it.
Tip #4 – Clearly Communicate Why You Are Charging
Everyone is typically suspicious when someone tries to add ways to make money if they were used to getting everything for free. But most reasonable people understand that not everything can be given away in life. People deserve to be paid for their work.
Just tell people why you are doing what you are doing. Offering paid services help you offer things you weren't able to offer before (new content, access to experts, etc.). If you reinvest some of the earnings into more meaningful features and content, tell your community that so they know you are trying to make your server even better than it is now and you care about them and not just yourself.
Clear communication can solve so many problems by just telling people why you are doing what you are doing. Just make sure you are being honest and genuine with your answers. It is fine to tell people you need to earn some money for the amount of time you put in (tell them how much time you do spend – they might be shocked!). Getting paid for work helps people avoid burnout and provides incentive to keep growing and serving a community for the long run.
Is a Discord server free? Yes, Discord servers are free to create and you can have as many users and channels on your server as you want. You can even set up as many servers as you want.
Can anyone join my Discord server? People join Discord servers by following links they are sent. You can have anyone join that follows a link or you can make it private and more tightly control who joins.
What's the most strategic monetization option to start with? The most strategic option is the one you can test quickly with the lowest cost and best possible revenue. One way to figure this out is to make a list of potential options and then rank them according to speed of implementation, lowest cost, and best possible return. Start testing with your most promising option. Also, take the time to ask your Discord server audience what they are wanting. Learn from what they say but also learn from your testing as well (what they actually do).
More Monetization Intel
If you don't want to spend as much time and money marketing your course, you can always try to sell your content on course marketplaces with existing audiences. Here are 10 you may want to consider.
Learn the pros and cons of lead generation and affiliate marketing and which of these tools might be right for your website monetization strategy.
There are so many marketplaces now to sell your digital content that you really don't need a website. We tell you where and also why you probably want a website at some point.