Well, it has been about two weeks since I did a trial launch of my first product, Niche Adsense Themes for WordPress. As you may know from reading my about page, I started working on internet marketing in November of 2007 as a part time hobby. The goal of this blog is to tell people about my experience. So, I think that it is important to let you know what I learned launching this first product, and how it went.
There is a lot to say, so this will be delivered in several parts. This is Part 1.
Where Digital Products Fit In MY Plan
The first important question to address is why I am interested in digital products. So far, my internet-marketing strategy has been to work on four things:
- Passive AdSense mini-sites following Josh Spaulding's $5 Formula
- Affiliate mini-sites using phpBay and other affiliate offers through CJ and Pepperjam, etc
- Building email lists for direct marketing
- Creation of digital products.
As a part time internet entrepreneur, I am very interested in creating streams of income where I can scale revenue without significantly increasing the time needed to support that income. That why passive income streams like AdSense sites and think affiliate site are so attractive.
Once the sites are set up and marketed, the only remaining issue is traffic and some low-touch maintainence. For traffic, long-term strategies like SEO and article marketing can be used in combination to drive traffic over the long haul relatively easily.
If you work hard at AdSense sites, for example, you can earn high four (even five) figures per month just like Tim Gorman. It is reasonable to expect to make a few dollars per day from a passive AdSense site – so you can do the math.
Why Sell Digital Products
Digtal products are different, and a lot more exciting. If you can create something digital that someone might want (an eBook or software for example), you can then create a sales page and sells that product and start taking orders. In some sense, this is similar to AdSense sites and thin affiliate sites: you are converting traffic to dollars. However, there are some critical differences:
- Revenue per action can be very high with digital products. While an AdSense click might get you a dollar, the price of digital products can range from free to thousands of dollars. A typical price for an ebook might be $27.
- You can have an army of affiliates. This is not actually unique to digital products, but it is different from AdSense and affiliate sites. With those business models, you are the affiliate. When you own your own digital products, you can have affiliates working for you.
- You can upsell. There is no better time to sell someone something than when they already have their credit card out and have decided to trust you with it.
- You can capture email addresses and sell on the “back end”. This is perhaps the most powerful idea. Once someone has purchased from you once (and has given you permission to contact them), you can sell to them again. In this case, they already know that you provide quality products, so trust as high. This relationship can last a very long time.
Most of the truly rich internet entrepreneurs have digital products as a central part of their business strategy.
Selecting The Product
There are lots of things to consider when selecting a digital product. Most guru's will tell you identify a market first, and then build a product. You need to do market research and lots of other things prior to launch. Honestly, I was much more random about my product selection.
During my work on AdSense sites I heard a lot of people say that WordPress was not a good choice for AdSense mini-sites because of two issues:
- The resulting sites looked like blogs and not “information sites”
- It was hard to control the placement of AdSense ads
I wanted to use WordPress, however, for lots of good reasons
- Speed of deployment (easy to crank up a new WordPress mini-site
- Lots of good plugins for things like sitemaps, SEO, analytics, etc.
- Easy to update with fresh content
- Support for pinging, etc.
So, I did the obvious thing — I worked with an AdSense min-site guru to understand a perfect site, and I built a WordPress theme that copied the layout of that exactly. In fact, I actually hired out some of the theme code and the graphics. More on this later this week.
Then, I put myself in the place of the customer. What would I want in a package if I was trying to get started with AdSense and WordPress? I settled on the following five things
- Several themes — not just one — with good generic graphics that could apply to lots of different niches. For example, a medical graphic could apply to any mini-site on any medical topic. I thought that these “specific” graphical templates look more authoratative than generic templates like ProSense, for example (I love ProSense, by the way — I just think my stuff is better).
- The same templates in HTML. I wanted to get past the “what if I don't like WordPress” objection that people might have. Many gurus recommended static sites. I think WordPress is a better answer. Including a static HTML version of the templates reduces the risk of trying WordPress for the customer. If they don't like WordPress, they could still use the HTML templates.
- Some free reports about how to make money with AdSense. For the complete new person, I wanted to include instructions on how to use the themes to make money.
- Some free content. Again, for someone getting started, having some PLR content that they could “slap” into their site allowed them to get going quickly.
So, I now had a digital product. I needed a mini-site to promote it, a price, affiliates, a way to take money, a way to handle support, etc. More on all this later this week.