There are so many ways to make income from blogs and one that seems under utilised (but can be highly effective) is creating and selling your own products.
I must admit that I took a long time to get onboard the product bandwagon.
Being an affiliate is just so easy.
I don’t have to deal with support, I rarely get a question and it’s very hands off which suits my lifestyle goals very well.
However, there aren’t always existing products I want to promote, commissions can be low, getting paid can take awhile and be stressful and I have less control.
It has taken awhile for me to get around to creating products. This year my goal was to create my first products and start selling them to my audience. So far, it has been a huge success and I am definitely a big advocate of products now, even if your audience feels small.
You will learn...
- Why products are a great method of monetisation for bloggers
- What types of products you can sell
- How to work out which products will work best for your audience
- Why you can sell products even if you have just started blogging
- How to create your products
- How to price your products
- What comes next
Why are products a great method of monetisation for bloggers?
There is a lot to love about selling your own products. I definitely underestimated the benefits before I sold my first one.
The best thing, I find, is that it can be a big income boost when you first launch the product.
Of course, this requires that the product suits your existing audience (or you have an effective way to market it to a new one). If you have this, there can be nothing like the earning potential of a product launch.
I also love that I am paid immediately.
Another big bonus that I didn’t realise beforehand is that it also helps you look like an authority in the area if you are selling information products. People took me more seriously once I had a book. They are also more likely to talk about me and my blog to others.
So many bloggers seem to like to perpetuate the myth that you need a huge audience before launching a product. This isn’t true.
There were only 3,000 people on Digital Nomad Wannabe in the month preceding the launch of my eBook and I still earned a few thousand dollars from the launch.
The numbers were similar before my first big course launch and I earned well into the five figures from that.
You need an engaged audience that trusts you and a good product match to be successful. You don’t need a huge audience. More about this below!
I want to add that it is hard to make selling products completely hands off and it is not as passive as affiliate income.
I have been surprised how many people email me questions and the admin tasks that go along with selling products.
For example, around 10% of people who have purchased my courses have entered their email address wrong. Trying to sort this out can be time consuming.
Of course, how hands on it will be depends on your product. My book is a lot more passive than my course, for example.
What types of products can you can sell?
There are so many different types of products you can sell. A popular choice is eBooks but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I did a call out in the DNW Facebook group (join here!) and these are some examples of what bloggers are selling:
- South East Asian Adventure Guides (eBooks)
- Vehicle transfer company
- Print on demand items
- Blogging templates
- Emergency beacon hire
- Travel photography course
- Posters, tote bags and t shirts
- Directory of volunteering opportunities
- Food tours
Please note that some of these are different sites but are all related to the main blog and have been a product of a successful blog.
For a travel blogger, for example, perhaps your “product” could be a travel package especially created for your audience that you work with a travel agency to sell.
Perhaps you could create your own physical product like a backpack or water bottle.
Perhaps you could sell 1:1 sessions with you on whatever topic you are an authority on.
There are so many different products you can sell.
How to work out which products will work best for your audience
Here are some things I have done to work out which products will work best:
- Start a list of every question you get from readers and look for a common theme. Is there something you could build which would help them with their problems?
- Look at your most popular posts. Is there a theme? Could you build a product around these topics?
- Look at your competitors. What do they sell and does it seem to be selling well?
- Survey your readers. This can be very powerful. What are their pain points? What can you help them with? Get on the phone and talk to a couple for more clarity.
A survey is also powerful when it comes to selling your items as you can use your audience’s terminology and words to show you understand their problems and then address them in your sales funnel.
I offered a $50 Amazon voucher as a prize to encourage people to complete my survey which was very successful.
I decided to create both my eBook and my niche site course because of these survey results.
The main thing you want to ensure is that any time spent building your product will be rewarded. Look seriously at how much you want the product to earn to be worth the time taken to build it and whether it’s realistic you will be able to earn that amount.
You also don’t have to start big. How about an eBook?
You can price it low and, if it goes well, perhaps turn it into some type of tool or course with a higher price point.
Can you sell products even if you have just started blogging?
If you don’t have an audience yet, it can be tricky to do some of the things mentioned above, like surveying your audience. However, this is when it’s time to get creative.
Look at your competitors. Even befriend your competitors. Perhaps they will share the link to your survey. You could promise them access to the results.
Do you know anyone in real life who is your target audience? Talk to them.
If you don’t have much of an audience yet, this is fine but you definitely want to be clear on who the target audience is for any product you create and how you are going to attract them to your blog to buy the product.
You could consider having an affiliate program to promote the product that way.
Speak to other bloggers in your niche. Is there something they wish they had to sell to their audiences?
For example, someone recently asked in the DNW Facebook group whether anyone had SE Asia guide books with an affiliate program.
This could be a great way to go if you don’t have much of your own audience yet –see if you can supply something useful for another blogger and create an affiliate program to split the income. This can give you money now PLUS get you in front of new eyes.
How do you create your own products?
This is going to depend on the type of product you decide to create.
What I will say is don’t let not understanding the creation process (yet) turn you off creating a product.
Part of why creating a product kept getting pushed into the background for me was because I didn’t know how to create a book or what platform to use for a course.
In the end, it was quite easy and I shouldn’t have worried.
It’s better just to get started. You will work it out. It’s likely to be far easier than everything you dealt with when starting a blog 😀
How do you price your products
Working out how much to sell your products for can be difficult. The best starting point is to look at how much competing products cost.
However, don’t feel like you need to go cheaper than your competitors.
It’s not necessary to have the cheapest product to have sales.
I would rather be seen as having the best quality product on offer. This is because I want to be seen as an authority on what I’m selling and price plays into this, as does trust.
If I sold an eBook on how to make money from blogging for $5, would you trust the information inside?
I personally would not. Because if someone is doing well from blogging, why would they sell that information for $5?
My niche site courses take a lot of time as I want to make sure every student has a great experience. I just can’t do this if I sell the course for $100. Or even $300.
I don’t want to cheapen my brand by selling my products for less than they deserve and I don’t want to give anyone a less than stellar experience with my brand. That requires money.
So don’t be afraid to go higher if you have quality products and/or valuable information to share.
I also wouldn’t trust survey results for this one. If I had used my survey results to work out my price, I never would have built anything as the majority of people responded that they wouldn’t spend more than $50 on any blogging or niche site course.
Show your readers the value you have to offer them, have the right product at the right time and make sure you deliver on your promises and give them a great experience. Then you can charge higher prices than you might expect.
What comes next?
One you have decided on a product, you have created it and you have it ready to sell, the next step is the sales process.
At a minimum, you are going to want to have a sales page and to display your product in prominent places on your site. You are also going to want to send it out to your email list (read more about growing your subscribers here).
The next step is to create a sales funnel. This is so you continually sell your product to new readers on auto pilot.
This is a huge topic in itself and one for a future blog post. In the meantime, get your product out there and don’t be afraid to email it out to your subscribers multiple times.
If you want some help coming up with the perfect product idea for your blog readers, click here to download my FREE Product Brainstorm Cheat Sheet.
Do you have a product or an idea for one? What is it?