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.