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How to Increase Product Profitability After Launch

Many bloggers develop products as a way to monetize their blogging, but one problem that more bloggers are running into is that they become very dependent upon product launches.

A product launch can bring a lot of profitability to your blog, but what happens when things die down after that launch? For many bloggers, the income dries up after a launch, so they’re forced to start thinking about the next one. Once things die down after a spike of traffic from that next product, they’re again forced to starting thinking of another … and another…

Not only can this be an exhausting process (developing products takes a lot of energy), but it can actually give your readers launch fatigue:  they become frustrated with all your promotion and less responsive to your offers.

While there’s nothing wrong with offering multiple products, perhaps it’s worth considering some strategies to maximize the profitability of the products you already have. In this video, I share one tactic that has enabled me to increase sales of products over the long term, rather than just live off the spikes in profit that come after launch. In the video, I also mention an article that explains the topic in detail: it’s How to Extend the Profitability of an Ebook Beyond Launch Week.

See the full-sized video here.

Transcription: Extending the Life of Products After Launch

Today I want to talk today about products. A lot of bloggers have released products, whether they be ebooks, courses, membership sites, software, t-shirts—whatever it might be. A lot of bloggers have been releasing products in 2010. But what I’m seeing is some bloggers getting trapped into this cycle of launching products, and to stay profitable they feel like they need to be launching product after product after product after product. It’s understandable that they do that—and by “they” I mean “we,” really, because this is something that I’ve fallen into and have been challenged about recently.

The reason we do it is that when you launch a product, a good product launch should be a profitable thing, and it will see a spike in your revenue. I’ve posted my income trends over the last six or so months, and you see these months when I launch an ebook, there’s a spike in revenue. It can be an exciting thing, an exhilarating thing, and it can be quite addictive to see the dollars roll in when you launch a product. So if we want to see our income remain high, one of the things that we automatically think of is, well, if I had great income in July, and that spiked my revenue, maybe I need to launch another product to match it.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with launching product after product after product, one of the things I’ve been challenged about lately is actually maximizing the profitability of the products that I already have. It can be easy to get trapped into this mindset of “I need to launch another product to increase my revenue,” but really there are ways of increasing your revenue by better promoting the products you already have. Rather than just seeing a spike in sales, and then seeing it dropping back to normal, what would happen if you could drive sales every day from your ebook?

Now one of the most logical ways to extend the profitability of a product is to do another promotion, and we’re seeing a lot of bloggers do that at the moment: Black Friday sales, where you can get discounts on products, and Christmas sales are coming up. We’ll see a lot of this sort of promotion at this time of year. That’s great—that’s one way of extending the profitability of a product. But again, it just leads to another spike in sales, and then things drop back to normal. So how can you actually increase the volume of sales of your products on a day-to-day basis?

The most obvious way to do this is to simply be promoting it in your sidebar, or in your navigation area, to be promoting the products that you’ve already released. That’s a great way to do it, and if you’re not doing that already, you really should be. Advertise your products where other advertisers would be advertising theirs, or instead of other advertisers advertising theirs. That’s a no-brainer.

Another great way to do it is to go back through the archives of your blog to old posts. Your old posts are still being read by people: people will be arriving at them from Google, they’ll be arriving at them from other blogs that link to them. They’ll be arriving at them from all kinds of places. So if there are relevant topics covered in your archives—they’re relevant to the products that you have—you really should be promoting those products on those particular pages, too.

So if you go to Digital Photography School and you look at a lot of the portrait articles that I’ve got there—free articles on the blog—you also see alongside them promotions of the portrait ebook that we produced. Now it’s a bit painstaking to go back through all your archives like that. You may want to find a way to do it by automatically inserting them into a category.
But even if you do go through them all manually, it’s well worth doing. Because, over the long haul, even if those links just bring you one or two sales extra per day, that can be hundreds over a year, and that can really prove to be a very profitable exercise.

Another way of doing it is to write future posts, and when you write about topics that are relevant to your products, again you should promote those products. Just have that mindset as you’re writing things, is this relevant, is this an opportunity to promote one of my products?

Another thing that some bloggers do is run advertising campaigns. I know of one blogger in particular who’s using Facebook ads and Google AdWords to promote their products. They’re not just relying upon the organic traffic coming into their blog—they actually know that those particular pages on their site where they’re selling products convert very well. They’ve fine-tuned their sales pages, they’ve worked out how much it costs them to get people to view those pages, and they’ve worked out that it can be quite profitable to pay for traffic to come to their site, and then sell their products there.

So there are some of the ways that you can do it. The most profitable thing that I’ve done is to actually be doing what Jeff Walker calls a perpetual promotion, or perpetual launch of products to your email list. If you have an email list where you have maybe a newsletter that goes out on a weekly basis, like I do on Digital Photography School, you can build a promotion into the sequence of emails that people get. Using an autoresponder, you can introduce an email that promotes one of your products.

So when you sign up for my photography newsletter, about nine days into the sequence you get an email thanking you again for signing up for the newsletter, reminding you that you’ve already had one of our weekly email updates, and offering you a 25% discount on one of our ebooks.

Then at the six month mark (so I’ve spaced them right out), six months after you’ve joined our list you get another similar email, just saying again thanks for sticking with us for six months now, we hope you’ve had some value out of our newsletters, and again, as another thank you for subscribing, here’s another discount code that you can use to get a discount on another one of our ebooks.

Those emails have converted really well for us. They’re very low sales-y, they’re not high, you know, high pressure—they’re simply, “here’s an offer, if you’d like to take it, please do, if you don’t want to take it, then no hard feelings at all. It’s just a simple thank you for being a subscriber to our list.”

So every day we get several hundred people sign up to our newsletter list, and so nine days after they do, those several hundred people get an email offering them a product, and then six months later, they get another one. So every day, not only do two or three hundred people get an email, five or six hundred people get an email, with those two products. Then we’ll add another one a few months later, and then there’ll be close to a thousand people getting an email every day, being reminded about our products.

Now you may not have that volume of subscribers subscribing every day, but even if it’s just ten every day, that’s 3,600 people over a year that will be getting those promotions, and that can really boost your sales. And in the long run, you can see more sales from that type of approach than the initial spike that you get from a launch of a product.

Now I’m going to link to a post below this video, which gives you more and will show you how I’ve actually done that. It’s an older post on ProBlogger but it’s really relevant to this topic, and I’ll show you how I have set up those emails in my own sequence. So if you’ve got another way of promoting a product that you might have for the long tail, not just for the spike, but to maximise sales over the long tail, if you’ve got a tactic along those lines I’d love to hear about that in comments below.

Thanks for listening and we’ll see you on ProBlogger.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. The goal of my upcoming program is to solely focus on the long term value it brings. Which is a no brainer considering the niche that I’m in.

  2. Josh Garcia says:

    Hey Darren,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I like how you line up the process for new subscribers. This information is priceless.

    Have a great day,
    Josh

    • dotCOMreport says:

      @ Josh,
      The posts of ProBlogger.com are always great but when Darren decides to post himself, it’s priceless. Thanks for this post Darren.

  3. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for sharing this useful info.

    It is actually wonderfull learn from experienced people like you.

    • HI Darren,

      I have along way to go in selling product. Nonetheless your post gives me what to expect.
      Like Erik said. I find this post is wonderful for new blogger like me. We need people like you to share and guide us.

      Thanks Darren.

  4. Great advice!,

    I was thinking of going for a $25 product and a membership sign up fee of $250… That way it gives a wide range of people a chance to buy something…

    Thanks

    David Edwards

  5. Vivek Parmar says:

    didn’t think about launching my own product, its better to promote someone’s product and earn a commission from it.

  6. nandoism says:

    It’s great to get information that applies to even Dating Bloggers on products. We’re one type of blogger that seem to be forgotten–this fits. Thanks.

  7. Ron Pereira says:

    Great stuff! BTW, as of the time of this coming the “full page” link brings us to the Macbook video you recently did.

  8. Launching products is not easy.

  9. @Rhuarhii says:

    Thanks for the inspiring post… so inspiring in fact that I added 7 ways to squeeze every dime of profit from one of your products to my blog. It builds on yours – http://bit.ly/dOZreg

  10. I love this video. I have a newsletter list and an auto responder set-up. I never thought to include a non-salesy message halfway through my e-course. I also love the 6 month email that thanks people for sticking with the newsletter. Nice way to thank them and remind them of cool stuff that I have.

    Your videos are improving a lot. You seem so relaxed, makes me trust the content.

  11. Ben Norman says:

    I’ve always had a larger problem which is that due to the nature of my site creating any sort of related product to being with isn’t easy, however I think I may have had a moment of inspiration so watch the space..!

    P.S I’ve been reading your posts in a reader so haven’t been here since the redesign.. loving the new look.

  12. I’m developing an ebook at the moment, but I wonder … where does everyone else get their ideas for their ebooks?

    If you have one related to blogging, I’d love to check it out – reply to this comment with a link to it!

    :D

  13. I will be launching my Real Estate Blog site in January so the only product that I have is me so no ebook or teeshirt at the moment. However, as I edit my videos for my blog I make sure that the themes I use include my name state that I am a Realtor® and this is how I plan to capture mindshare. So advertising your book in the side banner becomes the silent salesman and it is a subtle way to communicate that you are in business. As they say in sales always be closing. @live_alpharetta

  14. Sean Kaye says:

    Great post, Darren. My feeling about this is that you need to build yourself an ongoing business strategy and setup campaigns to meet that strategy. Individual promotions won’t get you where you want to be, you need an ongoing set of behaviours to achieve the result.

    Its much easier to promote an existing product than create a new one.

  15. Dean Saliba says:

    I’m hoping to use this information when I start launching my own products during 2011. Who better to learn from than the main man Darren? :D

  16. Hey Darren,
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  17. I think we might be able to learn something from Hollywood in this department …

    How many times has a film been re-released as the director’s cut, un-rated version, limited edition, or packaged into a box set?

    Maybe bloggers can do the same; find versions of our products that might be appealing to our customers. It would be awesome to be able to purchase a box set of three ebooks from a blogger or an updated version of an ebook, with several bonus chapters.

    Once you start thinking about it that way, it becomes challenging to package it in a compelling way so people re-buy it.

  18. Ann says:

    We have meet last year sales in just 6 months, so it works

  19. That is great, i do use a list and promote products to them.

  20. Ted Vieira says:

    Thanks Darren, great stuff as always. Motivating and inspiring.

  21. Darren,

    This is such a timely post because we are just about to launch our own product in mid-January (Blog Income for Women Blueprint http://www.blogincomeforwomen.com) and this will surely help us strategize things better.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.

    Krizia

  22. Creative Blogger,

    I love your comparison to Hollywood’s launch – brilliant about using those different types of packaging to extend the livelihood of your product launch.

    Actually, speaking to Anik Singhal’s Director of Marketing, he advise that I keep my product evergreen (aka sold year round) as opposed to depending on a product launch.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.

    Krizia

    • Thanks, Krizia – however, just as Hollywood has proven again and again, it’s easy to go overboard or miss target and create a really cheesy re-release of a product that fails to compel customers.

      I know there’s been a lot written about packaging, but I’d love to see more on re-packaging new media content … unlike Hollywood, I think the players in the new media arena will be able to do better due to their listening skills.

      I’m going to be writing about this over at CreativeBlogger, so if you plan on doing the same, post a link to your own post about re-packaging here so I can share your links.

  23. WoW! I like very much the idea to promote the launched product with a new article. It could be really profitable in such a way “to remind or to promote” your old product. I will try it immediately :)

  24. hey Darren,

    That’s why i run continuity programs on all of my launches, because it helps me keep the profits coming in.

    Caleb

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this information. It helps me a lot in understand what it is I need to do with my own products that pretty much are collecting dust with a sell here and one there.

    Just love your posts.

    Thanks again!

  26. Hey Darren,

    Great idea! I never thought about promoting the product in past posts that readers are still looking at – amazing! I also like your idea of promoting the product in your newsletter. That’s really a great idea – especially when so many people down the road will get the same message without any additional effort on your part.

    Thanks for the tips! I’ll definitely make use of them. :)

    Christina

  27. Hey Darren, what about if you use the same mailing list and promote other people’s product? You do not have to worry about launching new products for your list but concentrate on blogging and recommending other products that they could buy.

    Happy Holidays.

  28. I am feeling this product launch die-off pain as we speak, but I am still not sure what to do about it. This post helps, but I am still not sure the fix is here.

    Catherine

  29. Omo Naija says:

    Darren,

    My question is not so much as to the content of this post as to the quality of lighting in this Video
    Its actually very nice. Is it Natural Light or Artificial Light ? One of the things I have decided to do on my blog is to add a LOT of Video, My solution for not having to spend extra money on Artificial Light is to only shoot my Videos when I have sufficient Natural Light available.

    Any thoughts ?

  30. Obat Herbal says:

    thanx Darren… i’ve launch a blog .. and i learn so much here… , especially this article helps me to prepare my product launch better…

  31. Enzo Ewens says:

    Product launches has been the norm these days from so called “Internet marketing Gurus”. It seems that the only way they make most of the money online is from selling these launches. And most have been crap. I’ve been burned many times and as an Affiliate marketer now, I’ve realized that Product launches are important tools and marketing options for your business, but it should also be coupled with good marketing strategies that doesn’t involve Product launching.

  32. Darren,
    Thanks for sharing your experience Darren.

  33. Rince says:

    Man, I cannot even dream of thousands of subscribers. In fact I doubt I will ever reach a hundred…

  34. Thank’s Darren,

    Excellent article and blog. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. We learn a lot from you.

  35. Krissy Brady says:

    Great post! Eventually, I want to launch a few products on my blog, but was afraid of exactly that–getting stuck in “product creation” mode, as opposed to focusing on the productivity you need to keep generating quality content for your blog.

    Thanks! I can now breathe a sigh of relief. :)

  36. Hi Darren

    Great post – I got some great lessons I can use straight away I get lots of new subscribers each day to me e-newsletter at http://www.PropertyUpdate.com.au and they always get the autoresponder thanking them for subscribing.

    What I’m now going to implement is a discount coupon on a prodcut purcahse as a way of saying thank you for subscribing. And I bet I’ll make some sales