I remember how excited I felt…
It was the first time I logged into the online control panel for a shopping cart system designed to sell information products.
At the time I had never sold a product of my own from my blog before. Finally I made the decision – I was going to create a teaching product and sell it online.
To do this I was investigating various online shopping cart systems that I could use to take payments and deliver my product.
The system I explored and eventually used for my first product was 1shoppingcart, although today I use Ontraport.
I remember logging into the system and becoming familiar with all the tools. Although confusing at first, as I began to learn the basics my eyes started to widen at all the possibilities.
There were options for naming my product, setting a price, setting up a subscription, adding an upsell offer and settings for delivering the product to customers. There were functions for creating email lists, and sending certain emails based on what a person does, like click a link or purchase a product.
There was an affiliate program module too, where I could invite other people to promote my products and earn a commission in return.
As I realized the power available to me I began building a product empire… but it was all in my head!
I started thinking about creating…
- Print newsletters
- CDs in the mail
- Home study courses
- Membership sites
- Video courses
- Coaching programs
…And on on on.
My options were unlimited, yet as is often the case with so much potential you get paralyzed by choice.
Having never created an information product and only ever giving away all my content for free up to this point, I wasn’t sure what to sell, what format to sell it in or how much to charge…
What Should You Sell?
The situation I just described was from my life roughly ten years ago.
Since then I have sold well over a million dollars worth of products from my blog and I’ve helped many other bloggers sell millions of dollars worth of products and services too.
One of the biggest problems back then was knowing what product formats to use, how to price them and how they all fit together.
I used to be very confused about things like…
- Should you sell an ebook or deliver the same content in a course?
- When should you charge a one time fee versus a subscription fee?
- Should you aim to sell a low priced product so you can sell more copies, or a higher priced product so you make more money per sale?
- What product should be sold first, and what should be an upsell to that first product?
- Should you focus on one big product or have a range of products and services for sale?
All of these questions and many more used to confuse me like crazy!
With so many options, so many product formats, pricing points and different ways to make offers, it can be so overwhelming.
Enter The Blog Sales Funnel
What gave me clarity was studying the principles behind sales funnel marketing.
I came to see how products flow together, what pricing points and product formats work best, and how to sequence them.
Once you break things down and see how established information marketing companies structure their funnels, it all makes sense.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel because companies have been grappling with these issues for years, long before the internet. There are proven formulas and strategies that we can tap into and apply to our blogging business.
Once you have these insights, the decision making process behind product creation becomes very logical.
You just need to gain a basic awareness of a few core principles and then of course, test your ideas out in the real world.
The one big change I made to the sales funnel model was to heavily integrate blogging.
No one was teaching this specifically for bloggers, instead people just lumped the blog in as one form of “lead generation” to feed the funnel.
A blog is definitely a great way to attract traffic to your products, but I saw how it could be integrated into the funnel itself. Hence the Blog Sales Funnel method was born.
Now is a good time to open up the Blog Sales Funnel Infographic as I break down how the products sequence together. The infographic will help you visualize how the products fit together.
Free Download: The 2017 ‘Money Making Topics’ Checklist. Discover Topics People Make Money With Today (And make sure you don’t choose a ‘dud’ topic). Click here to download it.
Yaro’s Blog Funnel Formula: The Products
What I am about to explain to you is my personal formula for product funnel structure.
It’s based on a proven sales funnel strategy, but heavily influenced by the products I was planning to create when I first mapped out my funnel.
You can copy this exactly, choosing the same product formats and pricing points as I use, and it will sell your products too, assuming you have an audience who trust you and want what you offer.
However I recommend you personalize it to suit your situation, to include the products you can create and what your market wants.
The important thing is you understand the psychology behind how products flow together and why they are in a certain structure within a certain price range.
Things will become clearer as you go through this breakdown, so let’s begin…
1. Front End Product
Formats: Ebook, short video or audio course, recorded webinar, CD in the mail, printed booklet in the mail.
Price Range: Up To $50
Key Principles: Priced at less than a dinner meal. Provides a complete solution to one problem. Is high quality and includes related high quality bonuses.
This is usually the first product a customer will buy from you. It’s designed to be low entry but really blow people away with value. You won’t get rich off of sales of this product unless you have a very high traffic blog, but it’s a key stepping-stone to bring customers to your higher priced products.
Example From My Business: When I made the decision back in 2012 to create a brand new range of products I had a clear vision for three front end ebooks (I called them eguides) that I wanted to make available to my blog audience. I felt I had enough experience, proven results and content available to teach people about productivity/mindset, buying and selling websites and blog traffic.
Today all three of these guides continue to sell every week. You can find them at my EJInsider.com product portal.
2. Front End Subscription
Formats: Audio/Video series, CD or print newsletter in the mail, drip released email course, physical product in the mail, software or online service.
Price Range: $1 Trial, Up To Under $50 per month
Key Principles: Offered as a logical upsell to the front end product. Offers more help to solve the same problems, but offers unique value different to the front end product. Increases the value of the first purchase returning more cash flow.
The first subscription payment should be less than or the same as the cost of the front end product (free trials also work great).
The front end subscription is not meant to be an intense product. It should be something that drip releases value, but is not a hands on coaching program or comprehensive course.
Although it is a subscription product, often it’s not seen as a “forever” subscription. Retention rates vary depending on industry and product, but generally speaking anything over three months is above average.
Example From My Business: One of the products I was excited to create for my audience was an interviews club. I’ve had great feedback about my podcast since back in 2005 when I started it. I decided to create a premium version for people who wanted more from me in audio.
Although originally planned as a standalone front end product, it made sense to offer the interviews club as a subscription upsell once my eguides were ready. Today you can subscribe to my interviews club directly, but most people choose to trial it when they purchase one of my eguides.
3. Mid-Range Product
Formats: Video, audio or written short course, short home study course (CDs + manuals in the mail), a series of live webinars or teleconferences, one day bootcamp or workshop in person.
Price Range: $99 to $299
Key Principles: Sits in the middle of the front and back end as a stepping stone product. Easier to create than a flagship course and thus can be delivered quickly, and priced high enough to deliver good cash flow. Some people focus only on a range of mid-range products as their entire business.
Example From My Business: I currently have two of these products, The Blog Money Finder and Power Podcasting.
For many experts who have just started their online business, the first product they create is a mid-range course, usually delivered first via live webinars, then sold ongoing as recordings. It’s the quickest product you can create that is priced high enough to deliver solid financial return.
4. Membership Site
Formats: Online community (forum or Facebook group), ongoing access to a database of resources, software or online service, ongoing group coaching delivered through teleconferences or webinars, mastermind group.
Price Range: $50 to $500 a month
Key Principles: Offered as an secondary upsell on front end products (secondary means it is an upsell if someone says yes to the first upsell). Can also be an upsell on back-end products and a standalone offer.
For many businesses, especially coaching/training practices, this product is where ‘cash-cow’ money comes from (the most reliable income stream long term). Some businesses don’t even bother with a funnel and just focus on feeding as many people into the membership site as the only product, and working to keep attrition rates low (keep members active for years).
While a front end subscription is a more hands-off product for you as the creator, the membership site requires you devote ongoing time to members. This may include leading regular webinars, participating in an online forum, or consistently creating new teaching content.
Example From My Business: I run a group coaching membership called the Laptop Lifestyle Academy. It contains regular live coaching webinars with me, training programs, a 24/7 forum, interviews with experts, the opportunity to ask for your website or any aspect of your online business to be reviewed, and a whole lot more.
5. Flagship Course
Formats: Dedicated training portal, drip released video modules, live coaching through webinars, email Q&A, online community (forum/facebook group), home study course (CDs + manuals in the mail).
Price Range: $500 to $5,000, with payment plan options.
Key Principles: This is your back-end product, your big course that provides comprehensive training on the core subject you focus your business on. Often released through a high intensity launch. In the funnel this product should sit as a clear next step after your front end products and sold on autopilot.
Example From My Business: My first ever product was a flagship course delivered initially using a front end subscription pricing model, but quickly changed to a flagship course pricing structure as it made a lot more sense (and helped bump up retention rate significantly).
Blog Mastermind is my flagship course. It’s a comprehensive six week course, designed to teach you how to sell your knowledge as digital products and services on autopilot, using just a blog + email list.
6. Live Event
Formats: Two to five day bootcamp, workshop or conference.
Price Range: $500 to $10,000, with payment plan options
Key Principles: From small group bootcamps to large scale conferences, the live event is a popular back end product. You can offer high intensity training face-to-face with you as the expert, or multi-speaker events with a significant networking component.
Example From My Business: I have never run any live events, but have attended as a speaker. I have contemplated running small bootcamps many times, especially because it’s a great way to create other products (record the event and you have a mid-range or flagship training course you can sell over and over again). Some companies make the majority of their profits from one or two large conferences a year.
7. Private Coaching
Formats: Phone coaching, in person coaching, email coaching.
Price Range: $500 an hour to $50,000 a year.
Key Principles: For full time coaches this is bread and butter income, but it is not for the blog sales funnel model due to the labour required.
High end small group and private coaching packages priced above $5,000+ a year make good back-end offers, specifically for your most motivated clients who benefit significantly from time spent with you. However attendance must be capped so as not to demand too much of your time.
Example From My Business: In the past I had a handful of $5,000 and $10,000 a year coaching clients under my Elite Entrepreneur program, but I discontinued it. Today I offer one-hour skype coaching sessions at $1,000 each, and do one or two calls a month.
How Should You Begin This Process?
I’ve covered seven levels of a basic Blog Sales Funnel, including how I currently implement the model in my business. There is a lot more to all of this, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.
If you are at the start of this process, to begin with I suggest you focus on two things –
- The first product you will sell
- The blog posts and emails you will use to sell the product
You need a blog that focuses on a specific topic, ideally a problem you help people solve. Then using your blog content and your email list, you create a dedicated email marketing process that’s designed to offer your first product, and operates on autopilot once setup.
That’s your first funnel.
If you already know your market well then I recommend you either create a low priced front end product with some upsells, or focus on a mid-range product ($200 to $300) without upsells since that can deliver the cash flow you need now to get things going.
If you don’t know your market yet, then don’t create your first product until you do. First you should go through a research process to see where money is being made. I teach you how to do this in the Blog Money Finder course, which comes as a bonus with your Blog Mastermind 2.0 membership.
Join The Blog Mastermind 2.0 Six Week Program
If you are serious about creating a blog that sells your products and services, I invite you to participate in the brand new version of my flagship course, Blog Mastermind 2.0.
This is an entirely new course I created from scratch recently to teach you how to create a blog and email list designed to sell your product. It also teaches you how to create your first front end product.
Save $500 With The New-Member Discount…
You still have a few days left to take advantage of the two week new-member special I have been running. This is a $500 discount, a huge saving.
I run regular live coaching webinars for Blog Mastermind members, so make sure you join me on the next one after you register for the program. I’d love to hear more about your business.
I hope you found this break down of the products you can offer helpful and I wish you good luck with your blog this year.