It was November 2017, and I was about to launch my first solo digital product. This is the story of that process.
How do you launch and market a digital product from your website? I can’t promise to have all the answers but I will share the story of how I launched my first solo product.
People talk about digital products being a gold mine. The impression can be that you set one up and that’s it, you’re sorted for life.
There are success stories that encourage this way of thinking. Pat Flynn made 8,000 from his first product. Darren Rowse speaks about the success of his first product and his regret of not doing it earlier.
I won’t delve into my finances for this post but, my profits were in the hundreds rather than the 10,000s and making that money was down to the promotion rather than the product.
This is part 4 in a series on monetising your blog:
Part 4: The Story Of Creating And Marketing A Successful Digital Product
Listen to the story of how I created and marketed my first digital product
Stage 1 – Product
Choosing the right product is the first key to success. It had to be something that my audiences needed and that I could create and promote on a low budget.
There were a lot of questions coming up in the groups I inhabit about strategy, the new year was coming, we all like to make a fresh start for the new year and I’d been putting together a presentation for a group of tourism businesses about building strategy.
I knew it was something I could pull together using the research I’d already done for the presentation, there seemed to be a demand and the new year gave me a deadline and a selling point for my audience.
What form would it take? I chose an eWorkbook including a planner and notes that people could complete to make their social media strategy.
Stage 2 – Build an audience with a webinar
Before getting into the sales process I needed to build an audience of interested people from my existing audience.
I chose a webinar as the tool for doing this. The topic would be ‘How to build your content strategy for 2018’. It meant I could share some of my expertise, potential buyers would understand the process and I could sell to that audience knowing they had an interest in strategy.
The webinar was the biggest stage of my marketing plan. After a lot of shopping around, I abandoned traditional webinar software and ran it live on my Facebook page using eCamm live (live streaming software that allows you to share your screen and add branding to your live broadcasts).
When you use webinar software to run online training, it comes with build in tools that send reminders and let people add the event to their diaries. This ensures that people don’t register and forget, they will actually show up on the day.
Because I was using Facebook Live I had to create all this myself. I used my existing email marketing software to set up a sequence that thanked people for signing up, reminded them about the webinar and sent them the offer info after the event.
I used a tool called AddEvent to include the ‘add to calendar’ option to those emails.
I needed a social ad budget to promote the webinar and the eWorkbook. I was modest with the budget to start with but as I sold books, I increased it.
When you are calculating a budget for ads start with how much profit you will make from each product sold. Then estimate how many you will sell. Your budget should not exceed your profit. If you easily make your sales target without exceeding the budget you should increase it.
If you don’t an audience already, your budget will need to be larger than if you have a engaged audience.
I also needed to pay for AddEvent for a month and to purchase eCamm live.
Marketing your digital product
There was no magic pill here. I did the simple things we all do to market a product
I started by choosing a name people would remember and created a logo for the book and webinar. It became ‘Get 2018 Sorted’. I created the logo in Canva.
I discounted the price of the book for a set period after the launch. This gave me a couple of extra opportunities to remind people to buy as the deadline approached. I made most of my sales on the day of the webinar (2 before I even finished the pitch) and the second largest bunch of sales came out when I sent my ‘Only 24 hours left to buy’ email.
Without that deadline on price I’d have lost that last lot of buyers. If you do sell a digital product, it’s a good idea to create an offer on it to stimulate extra sales on a regular basis.
I produced content about strategy
This, like the webinar would show people I knew what I was talking about and giving them a taste of what they’d get.
Point at it with your social media
There are so many places you can promote your current offering on social media. I made a long list when I created my first lead magnet and I’ve been using it ever since to ensure I’ve covered all bases.
I shared on all my social networks frequently. My loyal audience kindly helped me spread the word too.
Because the webinar was free, I was able to post it in groups on Facebook that wouldn’t usually allow self promotion (always check this with group moderators or against group rules before you do it).
Beyond promoting the webinar and building an audience with email I used my existing list to promote the webinar, the offer and to remind people that the introductory price was about to end.
I have a rather large LinkedIn group. As far as discussion goes it’s as dead as a dodo but it has one hidden advantage. As a group admin I can ‘Send an announcement’ which is essentially an email to all the members. This always gets a good response.
I targeted my warm audiences with ads promoting the webinar, and later the product.
- Website visitors
- Video viewers
- Page engagers
I used a mixture of standard image ads, carousels and videos to promote.
Facebook live teasers
As the day of the webinar approached, I did a series of Facebook Lives sharing tips and talking about what people would learn.
Creating the product
Sometimes I joke that I make slides for a living. I do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time using Powerpoint. Over the years I’ve got quite good at it.
When you are training or speaking live, it’s a good idea to keep your slides brief. This means the audience will pay attention to you, not just your presentation.
For webinars and online training you need to go all out with your slides. People won’t be staring at you, they will spend a lot of time staring at your slides so you need to get creative.
I spent a lot of time on Canva and Powerpoint creating something I hoped would capture the audiences imagination and help the key points sink in.
I’m a big believer in practicing, a lot. I went through my webinar more than once before I went live. It meant I didn’t get much sleep the night before as i tweaked and tweaked but it paid off. The presentation ran smoothly and on time.
This is always the hardest part. how are you going to get your audience to buy from you? You can’t just sign off, you need to sell. Practice this more than any other part of your webinar. The temptation is to rush through it, that’s a profit killer. Now that people know how you can help them show them the offer, the benefits and tell them how to buy.
I thought I’d use some of the eBook software that I’d purchased to create the book but as soon as I started playing with it I realised Microsoft word was actually the best option. I could set up a template and make it look distinctly mine.
I used Canva for my images again and it was easy to slot them in to word.
I created the cover on Canva and I made a 3D version using GIMP (which is an open source alternative to photoshop).
The inbuilt Mac PDF tool ‘Preview’ is an easy way to bring all your elements together into one document. It was a life saver.
Now you’ve created the product, think about what extras you can offer. These can often be what will entice your audience to buy.
- Exclusive access to the webinar replay
- An mp3 version of the replay
- Additional worksheets and templates
I was so enthused by the response to my first digital product I’ve created more. I’m now hoping that I will spend less time on the road and more time teaching from my desk.
As well as generating extra income when it’s most needed (Christmas) the success also sent my business in another direction.
I’d love to hear your stories too. What digital products have you created? Did you market them creatively? Did they inspire you to produce more? I’d also love to hear about the products you’ve created that didn’t work.
Let me know, I’d love to feature you on the podcast.