You rock at the client experience. Hands down, your clients love you and you always bring your A-game to each and every session and project. The problem is that you only have so many hours in a day, and trading time for money is difficult (especially when you need a sick day or vacation).
This is why as a creative, it’s super important to diversify your service-based business with digital products. And not just any old product, but products that people actually want to buy (because otherwise, what’s the point?). Luckily, this four-step process will help you create just that:
Step one: Create an opt-in.
When you’re creating an opt-in, you want to think about what your audience needs to learn first. Before they ever take step one (something your digital product could help them accomplish), give them the why of what you can teach them and a little bit of the how, and warm them up with a quick win.
An opt-in lets you see what people are attracted to and what they need most from you. If you’re just getting started with list building, creating an opt-in, or actually a few opt-ins, is good for testing out what your audience wants and needs from you.
PRO TIP: I usually tell people to try to out an opt-in for at least 60 days. If you have a couple of ideas and you’re not sure which one to focus on, then create two op-ins, test them both, and whichever opt-in wins is the one you’ll focus on evolving into a digital product.
Step two: Grow an email list
I know, I know—you’re thinking “no thanks, girl”. But hear me out. With an email list, you can be sure that you’re able to sell your digital product to people who want to buy it. You can get ahead of those algorithms that we all love to hate.
I recommend around 500 subscribers or so, and when you get to that 60-day mark, you can reevaluate. Are people staying subscribed to your list? Are they still engaged with you? Evaluate your opt-in and see if you need to switch gears. If people are loving your opt-in and your list is growing, it’s time for step three.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to actually email your new subscribers. Pamper them with a welcome sequence, keep in touch with them with behind-the-scenes, and give lots and lots of value. After all, you’re building a community of people who are real human beings, not cash registers.
Step three: Validate your product with a pre-sale
Now we dream up that product of yours. To test an idea, I usually start with something that is less than $50 or $100. Pre-selling this product is going to help you determine if your audience actually needs or wants it. If it sells, awesomesauce—it’s time to create the product!
Setting up your pre-sale can be super simple. Create a small sales page and connect it to a cart. Make sure to tell customers when and how it’s going to be delivered and what outcomes they can expect. Finally, send out a series of emails (I usually do four).
PRO TIP: If your product didn’t sell as well as you hoped, it’s a bummer, but it’s OK! Graciously refund the money back to your customers and let them know you aren’t going to be creating the product. Poll your audience to find out exactly what they need and where they disconnected with your idea. Then, try and try again!
Step four: Create your product!
Now that you’ve gone through your pre-sale, you can pretty much be sure that once you launch that product, people are going to be interested in it and purchase. So, now you create the product.
When creating your product, be sure to include everything that you pinky-promised. You can always add more, but never do less. Record your videos, create your workbooks, and make sure it all comes together to create a digital product that delivers results.
Testing it with your early purchasers is a fantastic way to know that you’re serving people to the best of your ability and will help you smooth out the wrinkles (i.e. making sure people can sign in and have all the materials they need, discovering if something didn’t work, and all that jazz).
PRO TIP: Once you create your product, have the people who purchased on pre-sale test it. Get their feedback on how you can improve it. The beautiful thing about beta testers is that you have social proof and testimonials from people who have used and love your product.
Oprah diversifies her income, so you should too.
I know you love your clients, and that’s a wonderful thing. I’m just saying that having your eggs in a couple of different baskets gives you more security in your creative business. Passive income talk can be a bit over the top, but these four steps are not marshmallow fluff—I’m not promising a six-figure launch, I just want to help you get started.
The steps above are the ones I always take before launching a digital product, and something I teach in my free training, Four Steps to Products People Buy. In this training, I go over these steps in pretty good detail and share my own experiences. I’ll tell you how I launched digital products that have generated nearly 5K and 10K launches with a small list and helped me stop taking clients and working 60-hour weeks.