Create Digital Offerings That Expand Your Business and Brand
If you have a consulting, coaching, or information-based business or get paid, like most people, only for the hours that you work, then you are not working as efficiently as you could be.
The internet can help you make money 24 hours a day, and can help supplement a lot of the time that gets lost in repetitive tasks with clients.
Ways online products can make your business more efficient:
1. You can create a lesson, book, video series, audio series, or other virtual/downloadable product that can be sold over and over again without further input from you.
2. You can create videos, manuals, and guides to help present the basic information that your clients need without having to discuss it with them in person over and over again.
3. Your basic products can lead customers into your sales funnel for larger offers.
4. You can sell to anyone, any place, at any time.
Stages of a Business Website:
Your website can act like your calling card and your portfolio, showing off your personality and professionalism to potential clients, but the next step is to actually have an offer on your site for potential clients to purchase.
Stage 1: Your Business Card – Your website shows who you are, what you do, and how to contact you in as professional and personal a manner possible.
- Catch Phrase
- Domain Name
- Google Local
Stage 2: Your Lead Capture System – Your website captures the contact information of potential leads by offering them a free service or download, and with interesting content in the form of blog posts, tools, information, and social media interaction.
- Email Newsletter System (see this post)
- Lead Generation System (like Leadpages)
- Blog Posts
- SEO Strategy
- Tools and Information (for your industry)
Stage 3: Your Online Store – Your customers can create an account and purchase products and services directly on your website.
- Online Shopping Software
- Credit Card Processor
- Virtual Products or Services
Before you have a shop, you need something to sell.
This post will focus on how you can create those downloadable products or services to sell on your site.
How to Create a Digital Product for Sale:
Are you ready to start selling online?
Then you have to have a product. You can get a product in several ways:
1. Resell or recommend someone else’s product as an affiliate
2. License someone else’s product design
3. Create your own personally branded products
Whatever you sell, the easiest kind of product to create and manage will always be virtual products.
Common Virtual Products:
- Online Course
- Video Course
- Audio Course
The Benefits of Virtual Products:
- No shelf life (unlike food or electronics)
- No stocking
- No shipping
- Little to no cost to manufacture (if you make it yourself)
- You can create anything you want!
Fortunately, creating your own virtual products has never been easier!
You can write, film, or record anything you want with something as simple as your computer or cell phone.
Create a PDF or an ebook, a video series, or a podcast lesson. Anything you can imagine, you can create.
Just make sure the the information is valuable, high quality, accurate, usable, that it is branded with your name and logos, and that it leads your customers to the next step in your sales funnel.
The next step is making your products look professional.
How to Make Your Digital Product Look Professional:
1. 3D Covers
2. Professional Logos
3. Videos with Intro and Exit Logos or Animation
4. Professional Sound Quality (for podcasting and videos)
The difference between a product that looks amateurish and professional can often be the small details.
Make sure your branding is professional and consistent, make sure that no matter what the product is, that it looks good on a computer screen (and on mobile if applicable), and have fun with it. If you enjoy the product, so will your customers.
Tips and Tricks:
- Get a microphone for good sound quality (especially if podcasting) – it doesn’t matter how good your content is if no one can stand to listen to your bad audio
- Lighting is key to any video – get some decent lights or at least learn a bit about lighting before filming
- Create 3-dimensional images of your virtual products – it makes them come alive!
- Hire graphic designers to make your logos and covers
How to Find Inexpensive Designers:
You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for professional designers to create the graphics for your digital product. Here are some great resources:
1. Logos: 99designs.com
2. Book Covers, CD Covers, Course Covers, DVD covers (real and virtual): Fiverr.com
3. Audio/Video Editing: eLance.com, Odesk.com
Tips for working with freelancers:
1. Do the thinking for them. Give them as much detail as possible in every aspect of what you want done.
2. Give them examples. If you have a certain style you are going for with a particular logo or design element, give them visual examples to work from. Often freelancers will be foreigners and they may have a very different idea of style from your expectations.
3. Ask for the full files. If they do design work, make sure you ask them to provide you with the full design files, usually in adobe illustrator (.ai), or photoshop (.psd) format.
“But I don’t have a brand, I don’t want to create anything, and I have nothing interesting to say or sell!”
Here’s the even better news… you don’t have to create your own products.
You can sell other people’s stuff!
Don’t reinvent the wheel if a perfectly good system exists already, like the Venice Nutrition online meal planner.
Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars and months of time creating a similar product, become an affiliate and sign people up to use a service like Venice Nutrition for a cut of the profits.
Create Your Own Affiliates!
Another way to think about affiliate marketing: if you DO have a great product that sells, then there are lots of people out there who would be willing to sell it for you for a cut of the profits.
They make money, you reach a bigger audience, and you make even more money!
But first you need a proven product.
Advice for Getting Started:
Before you start writing books and courses, you should know the general direction that you want to go in your business. Otherwise you could end up wasting a lot of time and money on products you don’t really have a long term interest in.
Here is some basic advice that I’ve given to other Health Pros starting out online:
Unless you already have a large growing list of clients, you want to focus locally on getting word of mouth referrals. The best way to do that is focus on local SEO and Google Business on Maps and listings (Google My Business), then to build a local list of clients through personal referrals and social media sharing of testimonials.
Building the list of potential clients is the toughest and most important part of the whole process.
At the beginning stage, unless you want to blog every day to try to attract visitors to your site organically through Google, which takes a very long times (at least 6 months – 3 years), you need to be building your list of clients locally and using your website as a branding tool that shows that you are more serious, professional, knowledgeable, or even more exciting and fun than the competition.
Once you have a great looking website people you meet will be impressed by it, but most, if not all, of your initial clients will come from meeting people locally. As your local network grows, you will be able to get people involved in discussions on your Facebook page, and expand your online outreach by showing off the testimonials of your clients and the fun and effective programs you are creating.
If you really want to grow in the online space you have to search for what else is out there in that industry and find where people interested in that topic are talking about it (what are the popular blogs and forums for your ideal customer?) and then get involved in them and contribute to them.
At the early stage, the website is not the business. It is your business card, your brand, and your occasional advertisement and lead source.
You and your relationships are the business.
The next step is to become THE expert in your local area in your industry in the media and in the local business sphere.
Start doing presentations at local meetings for businesses, networking events, schools, and any group that will let you speak. Then get on local media and start becoming a go to person for advice in your field of expertise.
Once you have a few television and radio appearances, people will start thinking you are some kind of celebrity, which adds a ton of value to your brand locally. From there it will keep growing until you can parley that into national appearances if you choose to pursue that route long term.
And of course, the most important thing is to create success stories and happy clients who have lost weight. Happy clients bring more new clients than anything else.
For more advice on how to get started, take a look at our other blog posts.