I’d been using YouTube for a while when I took a closer look at my stats. I’d been getting great viewer numbers. Now it was time to find out who those viewers were. I was hoping to find that the people watching were my ideal customer. People running small businesses in Ireland. What I found was that most of my viewers were in fact middle-aged men living in the states. Which was nice, but they would never buy from me.
The same happened when my blog grew. I wanted to reach my ideal audience (which has expanded beyond Ireland) but many of my website visitors didn’t fit the profile.
The thing is, you’ll never limit your audience to exactly the right people. Instead of worrying about it like I did, you can look at how you can create something you can sell to those off topic visitors.
This is part 3 in a series on monetising your blog:
Part 1: Cha-ching! How To Monetise Your Blog With Affiliate Marketing
Part 2: Should You? Would You? Use An Advertising Network On Your Site?
Part 3: Selling To Your Off Topic Blog Visitors With Digital Products
Part 4: The Story Of Creating And Marketing A Successful Digital Product
Enter the digital product…
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If you are a blogger creating content isn’t a problem for you. You do it every time you sit down and write a post. And that means that creating digital products could be one of the easiest ways for you to generate income from your blog.
A what now?
A digital product is something you create once that is sold over and over again. It’s digital because you deliver it digitally. For example, an eBook, an online course or a series of stock photos.
It will take you longer to create and market a digital product than some other monetisation strategies we’ve talked about but the rewards are much bigger.
- You get real satisfaction when you sell something you’ve created.
- You get more money. It will cost you to market your product but you get to keep all the profits. Yay!
Let’s get started
Before you choose a digital product to create think about who you want to sell it to. Is it all those website visitors who are unlikely to buy your core product or service? Is it a teaser to attract new customers? Do you want to expand what you do beyond the local geographic area?
When you choose an audience to create for it becomes easier to choose the product. Here are some ideas to get your mind ticking over.
What’s the perfect product for you?
A premium eBook
eBooks aren’t always freebies. My first digital product was an eBook / Workbook. I sold it at the end of last year and it was a guide to creating a digital marketing strategy for 2018. Pat Flynn famously made $8,000 selling his first eBook.
Creating an eBook:
What topics are popular on your blog? Which posts drive the most traffic? Knowing this will help you choose a topic for your eBook. You could bring together a collection of these posts and edit them together for the book or expand on a popular one.
Because there is so much free information online you must go one larger with your premium eBook. What can you add that will make it something that your audience can’t resist? Could it be worksheets, a Facebook group where they can get help or engage with other purchasers?
When you promote it use these bonus features to sell it.
There are lots of popular tools that make creating eBooks from blog posts simple. I’ve tried loads and I always settle with a combination on Canva (for the images and backgrounds) and Microsoft Word. But if you fancy giving them a go here are two I’ve tried:
This is a feature rich tool that lets you create eBooks from templates. Depending what plan you go for you can import from different platforms, use their stock images for free and export a KIndle version and a PDF.
Cost: From $27 per month
Specifically designed to turn blog posts into eBooks this is the simplest tool for creating. Add the plugin to WordPress or connect with HubSpot and you can import your posts into Beacon, style the pages and come away with a decent eBook.
Cost: There’s a free plan, but it’s very limited. The basic plan starts at $49 per month
Even if you didn’t start out as an expert, you’ll find that by blogging you are becoming one. Take that skill and knowledge and convert it into an email course.
How to get started
When you prepare your course start with what you’d expect students to learn by the time they reach the end. What problem are you solving with the course? For example, my email course ‘Wham Bam Story-Gram’ takes students who are baffled by Instagram stories through the basics of creating them to building a content strategy so they can see results.
Once you know who the course is for and what they will learn break it down into lessons. Treat each lesson like a mini blog post. Consider what one thing you will teach in that segment and take people through why and how they can achieve that result.
Finally, choose how you will deliver it. Will you record videos? Will it be a text and image based course? How frequently will people get lessons and over what period?
You’ll need an email tool to deliver your courses. Ideally you need a robust tool that deals well with automation.
This is my email tool of choice. It’s simple to set up a automated email sequence to deliver the course.
Cost: From $29 per month
The advantage of Mailchimp is that it is free to use up to 2,000 email addresses. The downside it that it’s clunkier and doesn’t have as many features as Convertkit. Even with its limitations it can still deliver your course as an automated email sequence .
Cost: From free
Email courses don’t work for everyone. Some learners would prefer a site they can log into and work through in their own time. The planning process is the same as an email course you’ll just get a more polished finish.
This is the industry leader in online courses. It makes the process of creating online courses straightforward.
Cost: From free. Thinkific takes a cut of the sale instead of a fee.
The problem with online courses is that the completion rate is low. This isn’t good for the ego. You’ll have created your awesome course only to see people dropping out after just a few lessons.
One way to combat this is to run live training online. This requires your students to sit down at their computer and consume at a specific time and date. The upside is you get feedback and engagement during the course itself.
I run courses like this several times a year and although I have to update the content slightly each time it’s the marketing that takes the time, not the course itself. It allows me to reach an audience way beyond those I could with a face-to-face training session.
You can invest in webinar software or, if you are on a budget use Facebook Live to deliver your training into a private Facebook group.
This is the granddaddy of webinar software. Some of the first webinars I attended used this tool and I’ve presented webinars using it too. It’s a robust tool that allows screen sharing, chat, questions and polls (amongst other features). It also has promotion tools built in that will help you collect subscribers and email reminders.
If you are going to use this tool, do a couple of practice runs to ensure it all works the way you want it to.
Cost: From $89 a month
Zoom is a low-cost webinar tool. It doesn’t have the inbuilt promo features that GoToWebinar does but it’s a great place to host your webinar.
Cost: The free version of Zoom allows meetings up to 40 minutes long and 100 participants. Upgrade for €13.99 a month
Stock photos or templates
Do you create great graphics or photographs for your blog and social media? If so packs of stock photos or photoshop templates could be a great digital product for you.
Your biggest problem with this type of product is who to sell it to. Unless you are a designer or photographer, people aren’t visiting your site to buy imagery. However, if you are known for your graphics and photographs, you might find an audience in other bloggers, business owners or even hobby creators who don’t share your talent.
Have I inspired you to create a digital product? Have you created something in the past? I’d love to hear your stories.
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