Learn how Liz built her audience, got help with her first product and had a successful first launch that she can now promote going forward.
Liz Fetchin owns two businesses: Elm Ink, a media relations consulting agency which specializes in supporting nonprofits and small businesses, and Octofree, which is focused on providing beautiful, relatable recipes and other content to people with food allergies, intolerances and other dietary restrictions.
On the show, Liz and I talk about:
- How hard it was to create — she already had all of the assets for her first digital product, which made creating it much easier, but even though she thought the product would be an easy lift, it ended up being a larger project and taking longer than she anticipated
- What’s helpful — having a built-in launch date (like before a holiday), identifying your skillset and getting help in other areas + having a goal for your product
- Additional benefits — what can come out of a digital product launch beyond sales — an increase in social media followers, an increase in the size of her email list and a great feeling!
- Marketing — how building urgency by creating a certain time period where your product is on sale, which of her five sales emails were the most successful and how she gathered reviews ahead of time by giving out copies for free
- Audience building — how Liz built her audience slowly over time by having a good lead magnet, posting on her website weekly, posting on social media 3 times/week plus partnering with other local, like-minded businesses
- Instagram — the super easy way that Liz uses interesting Instagram stories to promote her email list
- Feedback — how what you think people will want from you and what they will actually want from you are different
- What’s next for Liz and her tips on creating your first digital product
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[00:00:00] Rene: Hey everyone. Welcome to Your First Digital Product, a show that helps maxed-out service providers create their first digital product so they can gain an additional income stream, grow their impact without increasing one-on-one work and experience more time freedom. On the show, I talk to business owners who have launched digital products and dig deep into how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. I’m your host, Rene Morozowich. Let’s go.
[00:00:28] Hey everybody. Today I am excited to talk to Liz Fetchin. She is the woman behind Octofree, a blog focused on providing beautiful, relatable recipes and other content to people with food allergies, intolerances, and other dietary restrictions. Hey, Liz, how are you?
[00:00:44] Liz: Hi, Rene. I’m doing great. How are you?
[00:00:46] Rene: Good, thanks. I’m so excited you’re here and you just launched your first product, so I’m super excited to talk about that. Uh, we worked on this together, um, so, you know, kind of just to let the audience know, but tell us about it. Um, you know, kind of like the details, what was it? All that good stuff. Um, and then we’ll kind of talk a little bit about the product.
[00:01:07] Liz: Sounds great. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. This is so fun. We’re usually like working together and collaborating, so this is great. So my first book have makeup on and stuff today? Yes. Yes. Hair done. Makeup than usual. Yes. Yeah, a little more. Right. Um. But yeah. So my first digital product that I’ve ever launched was a Thanksgiving e cookbook.
[00:01:28] It was called an Octofree Thanksgiving, and it was free of the top eight most common food allergens, which are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.
[00:01:45] Rene: It’s good. I had to look it up later. I was like, wait, what are the eight again? It’s like trying to name like the Seven Dwarfs. You’re like, I have six of them.
[00:01:51] What are they again? So they’re right on the website. The other one, exactly, exactly. So awesome. So for all for Thanksgiving, and it had what every, like the [00:02:00] full meal, right? From appetizers the whole way through dessert.
[00:02:05] Liz: The full meal it had, uh, roast Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, a bunch of sides, a couple of dessert options, including of course pumpkin pie.
[00:02:13] Um, and then also a couple of just fun seasonal cocktails. Ooh, yeah. Um, that I thought would be really fun, especially for people with restrictions. We don’t always get those extra bells and whistles, so I thought that would be fun to include too.
[00:02:25] Rene: Yeah. That’s awesome. And you had extra bonuses in too, right?
[00:02:28] Like little placeholder cards and the shopping list. Like, like you really went all out with the full, the full thing people I feel like got a really awesome, you know, digital product.
[00:02:40] Liz: Yeah. So it was a lot of fun. So I tried to think about like, people who have dietary restrictions, often we don’t, um, have a lot of shortcuts that we can take advantage of, like ordering a pie from somewhere else or asking somebody else to bring something with them.
[00:02:54] Um, so I thought, how can I save these folks time? Mm-hmm. So I did put together a full shopping list, um, a timeline that told you like day by day what you could do and what you could check off of your list. Um, you mentioned the little printable freebie, so they’re like little dish markers where you can say what the dish is free from.
[00:03:14] Um, so yeah, I had a lot of fun with adding on other just pieces of value that I thought people would really appreciate.
[00:03:21] Rene: Yeah. That’s awesome. And it kind of dives into my next question about who your audience was and, and the problem solved for them. So it sounds like your audience may be people who have dietary restrictions, maybe like yourself, so you could really identify with the problems that they face.
[00:03:35] Like I never really would’ve thought about like, you know, just ordering a pie from anywhere like that, that’s not an option. And the saving time. So that, do you have anything? What else, like other thoughts do you have about, you know, the audience in particular and the, the problems.
[00:03:50] Liz: Sure. So my family and I have a ton of food allergies, dietary restrictions and um, dietary intolerances.
[00:03:58] I think within my [00:04:00] immediate family, including like my parents, my brothers, my husband, my son, and me. I think we have every top eight, uh, allergy. Oh, wow. Covered except for eggs. and then my parents went vegan, so it’s. Oh my goodness. Wow. Pretty much every single one. Um, and I always just kind of assumed that my family was unique until my son started preschool and I walked in and there was a sheet on the front door of his classroom that said, you know, children in this classroom have severe allergies too.
[00:04:29] And there were about 20 different allergens listed. And just speaking with other moms, Just other people in my community, friends, acquaintances, um, I’ve just learned that there are a lot of people having to modify their diets for one reason or another, whether it’s allergies, whether it’s, um, a metabolic imbalance, whether, um, they have an autoimmune and they’re going on an anti-inflammatory diet.
[00:04:53] Um, so when the pandemic hit, I lost, I have another business and I lost some of those clients because of the pandemic and I had always thought that having a blog or a resource for people with the same kinds of dietary restrictions as my family would be really helpful. Um, whether you, you know, even if you’re just avoiding gluten or just dairy, like having somewhere you can go where all of the recipes are already modified for you.
[00:05:19] You know, you don’t have to figure out, how do I make this dairy free? How do I make this gluten free? Because that can be really time consuming. Mm-hmm. I’ve been growing my audience since then. I started the blog and the website, which Rene al you also helped me with the, it, it was good. We did it together.
[00:05:34] That I think was in 2020, maybe 2021. 2020.
[00:05:40] Rene: I think maybe March of 2021 is when we launched it. But you know, obviously we started, it’s like what we like working year before. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm, right?
[00:05:46] Liz: Mm-hmm, right? Yes. So, um, so we started that and the audience has grown a lot since then. Pittsburgh people in Pittsburgh, which is where we both live, but also I’ve noticed lots of people from around the country have been [00:06:00] interested in it.
[00:06:00] Um, and so, yeah, so the, and the reason that I, I thought that this would be a good product to start with. I think you asked me that, is because, um, One reason is because I already had all the assets. So last Thanksgiving, and it was an easy lift. So last Thanksgiving, my family and I actually did two Thanksgivings because one of my brothers was coming in in October.
[00:06:22] So we did the whole Thanksgiving for him and I got a bunch of photos and content and then ooh, of course there was the real Thanksgiving as well. So when I thought about my first product, I thought, um, first of all, this would be an easy lift. It’s not biting off more than I can chew as far as trying to like do breakfast, lunch, dinner, or like this giant cookbook.
[00:06:42] I thought, you know, this would be useful to people because they can make the full feast, um, completely allergen free without having to modify. And it also felt doable for me as my first product.
[00:06:54] Rene: Right. Yeah, it makes sense. Um, I love that, that you say that it is something that you already have, right? So I think a lot of people, you know, when they’re thinking about creating something, they’re like, I’m just gonna start from scratch and, you know, I’m gonna create like, the biggest course ever.
[00:07:08] Like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Take a step back. Yes. Like, what do you have already? And then what do you really know? Works? Like you obviously served that meal twice. You made and served, you made the meal. Like you, you bought all the things. You served it, people liked it. You got that feedback. You know that this works.
[00:07:25] It’s validated already. So, you know, leveraging that I think is great. Um, just to, you know, a, a great start. And also I think like the timeline too. Like, you know, you did it one Thanksgiving and then it kind of maybe simmered in your mind for a year. And then, so when did you decide that you were going to, you know, after having made the meal one year, when did you decide, hey, I’m gonna do the cookbook for next Thanksgiving?
[00:07:50] Liz: I think that I actually kind of already had it in my mind as a potential pro project and product, um, when I was cooking those meals. Okay. Which is why I snapped all of the photos. [00:08:00] Mm-hmm. Um, so I think, you know, I kind of had had that idea for a while, but I started writing it and I think reaching out to you and to my graphic designer, it was probably.
[00:08:12] I don’t know. I’m trying to think when it was, I’m trying to think. Maybe spring. Mm-hmm. of last year when I started actually really sitting down and like typing up all of the recipes and writing the letter and writing all of the freebies and stuff. Um, and I will say I’m really glad that I gave myself so much lead time because it ended up, um, taking more time and energy and actually being a lot longer than I.
[00:08:36] The product itself ended up being like, a lot larger of a PDF, um, page count wise than I would’ve guessed. Mm-hmm. Before I started putting it together because
[00:08:45] Rene: there’s the product which like I, I didn’t, you know, really help you with the specific product. You just came with it and said like, here’s the title, here’s the description, here’s the price, here’s the pdf.
[00:08:54] But like the thing that we did together were an yes. It was a lot, it was an additional, you know, finding the right platform. I know we went through a couple things and weighing the pros and cons. Mm-hmm. of, of, you know, how the different platforms work and, um, embedding on the website, changing some of the website content to reflect, changing the email marketing, um, that you had weekly.
[00:09:17] You have a weekly. Um, you know, recipe that comes out every week and that email goes out. So kind of changing that to kind of give people some notice. Um, the emails that go out for the, the sale, like, Hey, I have a product, like go buy it. Um, the coupons. Mm-hmm. Um, and you did a lot of work too with your, you have a digital, what, what would you call her?
[00:09:34] A digital strategist? Uh, social media? Yeah. Like what, what is her title?
[00:09:38] Liz: So she’s a digital strategist. Her name is Katie. Her company is Wildess LLC. She’s also fantastic and she really helped me a lot with the strategy as far as, um, rolling it out in an email funnel, coming up with social media content, et cetera.
[00:09:53] Um, and I think also you both helped me a lot with figuring out like, are there pieces of this [00:10:00] that I can do more easily or pieces of this that maybe I don’t necessarily need to do? Mm-hmm. Um, so that was really, really helpful to have both of you to help me out with that.
[00:10:10] Rene: Because I think that you can get overwhelmed. You’re like, well, what if I did this or this or this, you know? And, and I know mm-hmm, I think she helped you with a coupon. Like originally you were going to do a coupon for the product, but then mm-hmm, um, you know, you had talked with her and she said that, um, you know, then people maybe forget to apply the coupon and all this crazy stuff.
[00:10:27] I think you just put it on sale for a week instead. So, yeah, like having other people around to like, we all kind of, you know, were working towards a common goal with the things that we were each good at to say like, okay, this is how we’re gonna get this launched. So I don’t wanna like discourage, you know, my listeners from like, oh, it takes a lot of work to launch a product.
[00:10:46] You know, because my message is like, let’s get something launched. But you know, maybe compared. You know, you were to launch the, the Octofree Joy of Cooking. Like maybe that was, you know, it, it was a smaller project. Yeah. That was doable. And you had that build-in date of Yes. Like you wanted it to launch, you know, before Thanksgiving, so people could use it for thanksgiving.
[00:11:05] Liz: So, Exactly. Yeah. And that was great to, to know that I wanted to launch it on the day after Halloween, November 1st. Mm-hmm. So it was like then we all were working towards that goal and we were all able to use our expertise. Um, you know, and also just like knowing what my team consists of, like, I think a lot of the decisions.
[00:11:24] That we made were, because I am a one woman team. So the coupon example that you gave, um, you know, I don’t have a customer service person to be dealing with people who forgot to use their code or, you know, something didn’t work correctly, et cetera. So I think just, um, coming up with your team based on what you know your skillset is.
[00:11:44] So like I was able to write the product, I was able to, um, market the product. I was able to pitch it to media, like these are things that are within my skillset. Mm-hmm. But I knew that trying to do what you do, um, and figure out [00:12:00] what the best shopping platform would be and integrate it with MailerLite, my, mm-hmm, my mail provider, those things are so far outside of my skillset that that could have overwhelmed me to the point where I may have said, you know what? I’m gonna wait till next Thanksgiving. Right. right. To do this. Yeah. So I think, um, you know, kind of like identifying and being honest with yourself about what your skillset is, and then seeking other experts that you trust to help you out with the pieces that.
[00:12:24] Don’t come as naturally to you. Um, that was really helpful that I, that I did that. Mm-hmm.
[00:12:30] Rene: And I think we also talked a lot about the process of it, like, you know, so we set a lot of things in place. Now what is the, what’s the process for the next product? Because, well, let’s actually take it. Let’s not go there just yet.
[00:12:44] But, um, let’s talk about the current product still before we jump into the next things. But, you know, so what did you, did you learn anything specific that you wanna share or, um, and or how do you feel about the success of the project? Like, you don’t have to tell a specific sales or, or income or anything like that, but you know, how do you feel about.
[00:13:04] You know, now having gone through it and I saw your emails come out too, um, you know, asking for reviews, like, so basically it’s launched, it’s probably, it’s still out there, but it’s probably just gonna lie low. You know, you probably won’t get a ton of sales for Thanksgiving. Yeah. In, you know, February. But, you know, how do you feel about it now that it is over?
[00:13:22] Liz: Yeah. So I feel really great about how it went, and I think one of the reasons why, um, I’m really lucky to be friends with someone who has a very large digital product business. Her name’s Kelly and she runs the family freezer. She’s been doing this for over a decade, and she was able to help me take a look at how many email subscribers I have, how many social media subscribers I have, and really identify a, um, reasonable goal. Mm-hmm. for how many cookbooks, um, we thought that I would sell. That was really helpful to me. Cause I’m a very goal-oriented person. Mm-hmm, and this [00:14:00] is not my usual business. My usual business is media relations. So I could tell you in media relations, if you send out a press release to 250 contacts you’re likely to get X number of resulting stories. Mm-hmm, when it comes to a digital product, this is brand new to me, so you could tell me, you know, with a thousand email subscribers, you would sell a hundred, or you could tell me 10. I mean, I, I just had no idea. So having her to kind of help me benchmark that was very, very helpful. Um, and she actually said that I should, uh, think of a reasonable goal would be around 50. Mm-hmm. Um, and I ended up selling 55, so I exceeded my goal, which feels very successful. Um, I will also say a lot of things that came out of it that were not actual sales felt like huge wins.
[00:14:49] Mm-hmm, um, I, there was a lot of, I, I got to do a media relations effort for myself, which is actually my main career is as a media relations consultant, but I’ve never done an effort for myself. Um, so that was really interesting to kind of view both the person pitching it and the person that I was pitching.
[00:15:06] Mm-hmm, um, and that got a lot of really great coverage, which was wonderful just to get to interact with these people that I work with all of the time for my clients. Mm-hmm, with being my own client, um, I saw a huge increase in my social media followers. I had a really big increase in my email list. Nice.
[00:15:26] Um, So I think a lot of that I would count as like a huge success and it would, it just felt really good. Mm-hmm, like just talking with family and friends and also the people who I interact with on Instagram. People were just so excited that I wrote a cookbook. Like people kept saying, I can’t, you wrote a cookbook.
[00:15:46] I can’t believe you’re a cookbook author. Mm-hmm. like there and. It just felt really good to, it felt like a huge accomplishment. Um, and I think I’m also super excited that although we were talking about how [00:16:00] much work it is mm-hmm to put out your first product, but I’m very excited that I already have the email funnel in place.
[00:16:06] Yes. I already have the shop in place. So next year, um, on November 1st, I kind of just hit repeat. Mm-hmm and that’s where the potential, you know, passive income part. Right, right. Begins. So, or
[00:16:20] Rene: other products. Like other products Exactly. For other, you know, events or even just products that could, that could go all year long.
[00:16:28] Yes, exactly. Like for any time. Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah, I like those other wins. I think that that’s really important to look at when launching something that, you know, getting more email subscribers, getting more followers. Or maybe not certain followers, but more engagement, you know, I think is important.
[00:16:44] And maybe people aren’t ready to buy now, but they may be ready to buy in the future. Like you, what is it like seven times? You have to tell people seven times about something before they’re ready. So you’re warming them up to this Exactly. To you having products. You know, you have, you know, the shop now has something on it all the time and Right.
[00:17:02] You’re adding more. So it’s, you know, I feel like it’s a huge, um, like. It’s, I don’t know, it’s not just like the first one, the second one, the third one. Like the first one is like, is a big deal. Your first product is a big deal. Maybe a bigger deal than the second product. But I dunno, maybe I’m biased.
[00:17:17] Mm-hmm, is there anything that you wish you had done differently or do you wanna speak a little bit to, you mentioned, um, Kelly, having set your expectations, and I know you had mentioned to me about wanting to have a certain number of email subscribers before you launched the product. So do you wanna talk about any of that?
[00:17:36] Liz: Sure. Yeah. Um, so yeah, when I, when I was talking with my friend Kelly, and this was years ago when I was first thinking about, um, launching Octofree, she had said, try to get around a thousand email subscribers Okay. Before you launch a product. Um, which is right around where I was when I launched this product.
[00:17:55] Um. And I think, you know, I, I think that that was a good [00:18:00] number. I feel like because I built that list organically over time, um, I think that a lot of those people are really engaged. And of course this was interesting too. I don’t even even know if I’ve talked to you about this, Rene, but we set it up so that people could unsubscribe just from the sales funnel. Oh, yes. Or unsubscribe all together. Mm-hmm. and I only had two people unsubscribe just from the sales funnel. Oh, nice. So I’m glad it worked. I did have like 20 unsubscribes from the whole thing. Mm-hmm. But then we ended up making that back up again, like by the time the sale was over.
[00:18:33] Mm-hmm. Um, and you know, and that’s a, that’s a good thing. You don’t wanna be paying for subscribers that aren’t interested in what you’re doing. Right. So that’s been really interesting to see, that email list kind of grow and shrink a little bit and then grow again. Mm-hmm, shrink and grow over time.
[00:18:47] That’s been really interesting. Um, but one thing that I will say that I thought was a really great tip that Kelly actually gave me and I followed it, and I think anybody who has a digital product, this is like a very practical good, um, advice is to build urgency by creating a certain time period where your product is on sale.
[00:19:09] Okay. So Kelly was kind of saying, you know, the first time that she launched something, she just kind of put it up in the shop and it was there and she thought, people are gonna be on my website and they’re gonna find it and they’re gonna buy it. Mm-hmm. But like you mentioned, when it comes to marketing and sales, it takes like seven different touches for someone to actually make the decision to buy something.
[00:19:29] So, and a, a good way to motivate them in addition to getting in front, in front of them in a bunch of different ways, is to create a sense of urgency. Mm-hmm. So for mine, we, we decided that we would put it on sale for seven days. Um, we ended up having it 25% off and it was just already applied and checkout for those seven days.
[00:19:50] Um, and I will say I think about 95% of my sales happened during that sale period. Yeah. That’s awesome. [00:20:00] Um, I only sold, and, and that period was only a week. That was only November 1st to November 7th. Mm-hmm. So then there was from November 7th to Thanksgiving, where people could have bought more product at full price.
[00:20:11] A couple of people did. I think it was like only four people or something like that. Mm-hmm. So, you know, it’s like, until you do it yourself, you’re like, okay, that’s, that’s interesting. Like, I’ll try that cuz why not? Let’s see, and I found what she said to be absolutely true. Like people respond to a sense of urgency, having it on sale really amped up, I think people’s motivation to buy.
[00:20:32] Rene: Right. Did you see anything, cuz you had sent maybe what, five sales emails over a certain amount of time. Did you see any correlation between like, you know, was it more after the first email or the second email or the third email, or was it kind of spread out?
[00:20:47] Liz: That’s a great question. So I did, I ended up sending five sales emails, um, during the course of that week, um, the most successful ones were the very first one. I think the subject line was like, today’s the day. Mm-hmm, you know, the cookbooks for sale, that was the most successful one as far as the open rate and the click-through rate and people actually purchasing the product.
[00:21:07] And then the second most successful one was where I included, um, user reviews, reviews.
[00:21:13] Rene: I was wondering if that was gonna be it gonna be it. Yeah. That’s awesome.
[00:21:16] Liz: Yeah, so I actually, I gave out a certain number of the PDFs for free to people ahead of time. Um, people who either had become like super fans on my Instagram page, there’s one woman who actually has made, she said she’s made every single recipe that I wow put out. So of course Diane, she got a free cookbook and, um, You know, and then to just like a couple of trusted friends, a couple of people who I know have food allergies mm-hmm and, um, I gathered their quotes and their kind of like testimonials. Nice. So the email that had just short, you know, clips from those testimonials, that was the second biggest motivator mm-hmm as far as open rate, click through rate, and sales.
[00:21:56] Rene: That’s awesome. Yeah. And I bet, because those people were like [00:22:00] real live people talking about their Yeah. Specific experiences with the product and saying good things. Like I can see how that, um, would be a really great one to kind of motivate people like, oh, I need this too.
[00:22:12] I’m like them. So that’s, yes. That’s very cool. And I do like that sense of urgency. That is good. Um, in having, you know, that, that opening window that like, hey, get it. And also, you know, for a product that is, you know, if you’re preparing a Thanksgiving meal, it’s probably better to buy that cookbook the first week of Thanksgiving right than it is the day before Thanksgiving. So. Right, right. It’s like you need to order your Turkey, like, you know.
[00:22:32] Yeah, exactly. So I think just, I just wanna touch on the email piece. Um, you had mentioned a thousand subscribers and, you know mm-hmm, I’m not really sure who, you know, who will be listening to this or watching this on YouTube and, you know, maybe they think that a thousand subscribers is a lot.
[00:22:48] So, you know, do you wanna talk to that just a little bit? And you mentioned about building this slowly over time, but do you wanna talk about your, just your general, like, this is, this is my content plan, this is what I publish, you know, how many blog posts a week, how many times are you on social media?
[00:23:06] You know, uh, the, the freebie that you have a anything really that talks about the list building part.
[00:23:12] Liz: Sure. Absolutely. And I will say that when I first heard that number, I was like, that’s huge. You know that, that I’ll ever get there. Surmountable, like, how will I get to a thousand that feels like it’s years away?
[00:23:23] Um. And so a couple of things that, that I have found to be successful. So as you mentioned, having a good lead magnet. Mm-hmm. . Um, so mine is, it’s a, it’s a principle ingredient substitutions chart that just has all kinds of conventional ingredients and then what you can substitute for those if you’re cooking allergen free.
[00:23:43] So like, what can I use instead of heavy cream? What can I use instead of flour? Um, it’s like just this nice little principle chart and people get that for free when they join my email list. Mm-hmm. Nice. So for other products, it can really be whatever your expertise is in. It can be a free, you [00:24:00] know, recipe or it can be a free, um, there’s so many different ways you can go.
[00:24:05] And again, this is something that I kind of already had. Mm-hmm. and, and I think especially this because this is a second business, and I think probably for a lot of your listeners, if they’re looking to launch a digital product, it’ll either be an extension of what they’re already doing or a new business, and so trying to make things as simple as possible.
[00:24:24] Mm-hmm. as far as the lift, like trying to talk myself down from you. My freebie doesn’t have to be a cookbook. A lot of people, a lot of established food bloggers mm-hmm. Will, will have their lead magnet. Magnet be an e cookbook. Um, and I thought that’s a lot. That feels like a lot.
[00:24:43] Rene: It’s a lot for you, but it’s also a lot for them to consume, like to consume as a free, that’s true product.
[00:24:48] Like when I download a lead magnet, if it’s too long, I don’t wanna read it. It’s too like, oh my god. Exactly. I can’t consume all of this. So I think like a handy list it’s a one pager. It’s beautifully designed. They can print it and put it on their refrigerator. Like it’s useful to your audience, you know the audience and you know the pain points that they’re having.
[00:25:05] Like, oh, hey, this recipe calls for flour. What do I do?
[00:25:09] Liz: Right, exactly. So something that’s. Like you said, consumable quickly, easy for you to create. Mm-hmm, but also very useful to your consumer is the, is the perfect lead magnet. Mm-hmm. Um, I’ve also found that another really great way to build my list was doing partnerships with other businesses.
[00:25:27] um, in the area that have a similar clientele. Um, so for, actually for Thanksgiving this was super successful. Um, I partnered with Wild Rise, which is a gluten-free bakery and we gave away a stuffing kit so it included his, um, gluten-free sourdough bread all cubed up with herbs and everything you need.
[00:25:46] And it also included, um, his sweet potato bread. and one other baked good. And then a free copy of my Thanksgiving guide. So, Ooh, that’s awesome. Partnering to do. Yeah, partnering to do like fun giveaways with other like-minded small businesses. [00:26:00] It’s a win-win for both of you. It’s a great way to kind of build your list and your followers quickly.
[00:26:04] Um, also on Instagram, this is often, um, like super effective and it’s really easy. So you were asking how many times do I post and how many times do I send out an email? So I send out an email to my email list every Friday at 10:00 AM which is automated. A recipe which is automated. Yeah. I just wanna point that out.
[00:26:28] Yes. The way that Rene set it up for me, it’s amazing. I go into my CMS tool for my website, I post my blog post, and it can be as simple as a photo and a short recipe. and whatever I post between Friday at 10:05 AM and the following Friday. Mm-hmm at 10:00 AM automatically goes out in an email on Friday, which is so great that I don’t have to do all these extra steps.
[00:26:52] Mm-hmm, um, it’s amazing. So I do that once a week and usually when I’m recipe testing I’ll talk about it in my stories on Instagram. So I might be like making a new dish or trying, you know, I saw something on this famous chef’s page and I wanna try making it top a free eight free so you can follow along while I do it and it might get messed up, but that’s part of the fun.
[00:27:16] So anyway, whenever I have something that’s really, really good in my stories, Uh, and I know that I’m gonna be rolling it out through my email. I’ll then do a new slide that says, my email list is the first to see all new recipes. Ooh. Yeah. Um, to sign up, you know, to, to join my list, drop your email below, and then I do one of those question boxes and people can just drop their email.
[00:27:39] and then I put their email in. Ooh. For them. I like it. I had a friend who reached out to me and was like, how are you automating that? And I was like, I’m not, yeah, I put the emails in myself. Um, but I get probably five to 10 new email addresses each time I do that. That’s awesome, which, you know, for the size of business that I have.
[00:27:57] Mm-hmm. five to 10, when you’re thinking a [00:28:00] thousand. Mm-hmm, that doesn’t feel like a lot, but it adds up over time if you’re doing that once, five to 10 every week or once every couple of weeks. Yeah. Um, then also we set up on the website, there’s a bar at the very top that says like, subscribe, and then there’s also a popup to get people to subscribe.
[00:28:16] There are a lot of people who just come through organically that way because they find my website and they like the content and they’re like, oh, I, I wanna get emails too. So I would say like, those are the main ways that I’ve built my email list. Um, I’m trying to think if there’s anything else like Major that I’m forgetting.
[00:28:34] Mm-hmm. , can you think of any?
[00:28:36] Rene: Um, I can’t think of anything else. Did you say that, did you mention you do ads?
[00:28:41] Liz: Oh, that’s the other one. One like Facebook ads or something? Maybe. So I have done a couple, I don’t do them consistently. Okay. Um, what I have found is that January, if you have a food, and I dunno how many of your listeners are gonna have like a food, big business, but when it comes to food, January is like the month to run ads.
[00:29:00] Um, I ran ads last January, February. Okay. Last December. January, February and March. In January, I got like triple the amount Wow. Of responders. Mm-hmm for what I spent as December was kind of like a dead zone. Mm-hmm, because everybody’s just, I mean, you’re just getting so inundated. Marketing, no. Yeah.
[00:29:20] Mm-hmm. not exactly. So January’s kind of the month, so in January last year, I did run some ads, not a ton on Instagram and Facebook and Katie, my digital strategist, helped me to set those up. Cuz again, not my strong suit mm-hmm. Um, but, uh, the list grew a lot during that month, like three times that it had. Um, but yeah, I don’t have those up all of the time.
[00:29:44] Just, you know, this is the side business and I don’t have a huge budget to spend on it. So, um, so. So yeah. But doing some ads strategically, depending on what your business is, there are probably hot months. Mm-hmm. and then months that are not quite [00:30:00] so hot. And I think running ads during those months that, you know, people are seeking your content.
[00:30:04] Mm-hmm. is a good.
[00:30:06] Rene: Yeah, that’s, I like that and I like the trial and error of it all. That, you know, we’re gonna try a thing. You know, you maybe had a fixed, uh, ad budget. Okay, we’re gonna try some ads. We’re going the hypothesis, is that X mm-hmm.
[00:30:18] you know, see what happens and then if it works out, then you can repeat it. You know, the same with your Instagram and the stories. I’m not a huge Instagram person, so are only your followers seeing the stories. What about reels? Like do you do reels because those get to everybody. Like how does that work?
[00:30:37] Liz: Yes. So the way that my digital strategist was, um, kind of explaining it to me, so not as many people see your stories. Okay. Um, just because the algorithm or whatever it is in front of certain people. And then, so the people who are consistently seeing your stories, she said think of them as your super fans because that means that they are.
[00:30:58] viewing your stories enough that Instagram is serving it up to them, like towards the front of their feed. Mm-hmm. So it’s not gonna be as big of an audience, but it’s gonna be a very engaged audience. Mm-hmm. Um, so, and then as far as reels, I did do some reels and reels are just so all over the place.
[00:31:17] Mm-hmm, like sometimes if you use a sound that is trending, it’ll go viral, I will tell you, like, this is really interesting. Even the ones that I’ve had that have gone. viral, at least in terms of for me. Mm-hmm, which for me it’s like 14,000. Mm-hmm. views. I would consider that viral. Yeah. I do not get a big return on that.
[00:31:40] Okay. As far as people who saw, I, I haven’t seen a huge spike in followers or a huge spike in engagement. It seems like the people who see those reels when they go viral are, they’re not necessarily people who are interested in what I’m doing specifically. , they just happened to see it because Instagram [00:32:00] decided that it would boost it for whatever reason.
[00:32:02] Mm-hmm. Um, so, you know, and it’s also always changing. Like I was just talking to Katie the other day and I said, my reels for a while were going viral every time I did X, Y, Z. And now they’re getting less than a thousand views. And she was like, just try not to think too much about it. Yeah. Try not to tie too much meaning mm-hmm.
[00:32:22] to what’s going on on Instagram as long as you are. You know, regularly serving some kind of content. Mm-hmm. on Instagram. So I try for three times a week I try to post. I usually just, just cuz I like to have, um, a plan and like a process. Mm-hmm, I try to do Monday, Wednesday, Friday, just cause it’s easy for me to remember.
[00:32:44] Um, Friday is always whatever’s going out in my email, but I wait till the email goes out. Mm-hmm. and then I give it some time and then I post something about whatever went out in my email, whatever new recipe. Um, you know, and it’s like sometimes I do reels, sometimes I’ll just do a carousel of photos.
[00:32:59] Mm-hmm. Um, and then up in stories is kind of where it’s like my real life where Nice. I posted something about doing this today. Mm-hmm, or if I’m doing something interesting for my PR business mm-hmm. I might post that. Or it’s me cooking in my kitchen and trying out new recipes or just, you know, cooking dinner.
[00:33:14] Mm-hmm. Um, so yeah, I feel like Instagram and I also, I’m a person who I don’t love living on social media. Yeah. I just, I, it doesn’t feel good to me. Mm-hmm. , um, I’m a very private person. Mm-hmm, so like, I don’t post a lot, I don’t post about my son hardly at all. Right, right, right. Um, I don’t post a lot of what I’m doing on a daily basis as far as, as like my personal life.
[00:33:39] Mm-hmm. Um, and that’s something that’s like kind of a, um, it’s like a boundary that I’ve set for myself. Yes. That helps keep me feeling like I can do all of the things. Mm-hmm. that I have to do on a daily basis.
[00:33:53] Rene: I love that because I think that a lot of people, you know, have concerns about social media. What do I post?
[00:33:59] How [00:34:00] often do I post? What should I expect? I think our expectations of social media are like amazing. Like, oh, if I post this thing I’m gonna get, you know, a million subscribers and followers and buyers and like that’s. Just not, you know, a lot of time it’s like into the void. So I love that. Yes. You know, you have like a specific plan of like, this is when I post, this is the type of content I post.
[00:34:18] And then you also, you’re just on Instagram, like that’s just where the thing you’re not like,
[00:34:23] I’m on Twitter and on linkedIn and on this like you picked one platform, you’re doing the thing. And really it’s, a lot of it is coming from the website. Like new recipe new. Yes. And you also do what product reviews.
[00:34:36] And those are love letters, right. And then, yeah.
[00:34:39] Liz: And I was actually thinking we might need to change the category names. Okay. Cause I’ve done like, kind of different things than what I set out to do. So the things that tend to do the best are either brand new recipes mm-hmm, um, roundups. So I just did one that people loved.
[00:34:53] It was like, I think it was like 10 mood boosting foods for dark nights or something like that. And people just went crazy for this one. So like those kinds of roundups that now that I’m, I’ve built content over time, I have enough content where I can do those kind of like roundups and I always include one from another blogger.
[00:35:15] Like if I’m doing 10 mood boosting meals mm-hmm, I’ll include one from another blogger and of course credit them. Mm-hmm. Um, and then I tag them. And sometimes that’s another way to get interest if they re-share what you do. Yeah. The product reviews I haven’t done as much. What I’ve kind of learned, and this is another thing over time, like what you think people are gonna want from you mm-hmm.
[00:35:38] and then what they actually want from you. Um, I’m finding that people really want easy meals that they can make quickly, that are allergen free. Um, that’s what people are asking for. That’s what gets the most engagement. Mm-hmm. So I haven’t done as many product reviews. Um, and what was the other thing that I was doing?
[00:35:59] [00:36:00] How-tos Okay. I was doing, I was doing love letters, which really product reviews and then how-tos, um, Which I haven’t done as much of. It’s been more like recipes and recipe roundups. Mm-hmm. Um, I do think I have had some people say like, I would like it if you took me shopping to Whole Foods and show me,
[00:36:17] Rene: oh my God, that sounds amazing. You naturally, so, Not that I just wanna give you another thing to do,
[00:36:23] Liz: but like, no. Yeah. I’ve had a lot of people , I like enough people have asked me for that. Mm-hmm. that it’s on my list of things that I,
[00:36:30] Rene: I love it. I love that so much. Oh my goodness. Yeah. I think that’s a great idea. You should, I mean, even just to try it, right.
[00:36:35] Like something, yeah. And I think that, you know that, not that you need to take everybody’s feedback, but like, if you’re getting a lot of the same thing Yes. And your goal is right to build this business, to build products like, You know, following what people want, as long as it’s still in line with you know, who you are and what you want to offer.
[00:36:51] Like, let them tell you the thing. Exactly. Don’t, you don’t have to guess. You don’t have to like, put a ton of time, you know, and money into a product that, that doesn’t sell. Like let them guide you. Like, I love
[00:37:03] that. Ooh, I just love that idea. That’s such a good idea. Oh my goodness.
[00:37:06] Liz: Yeah. I think, and it’d be fun too. I mean, I do it every week, you know, and to me it’s so it’s easy and normal because it’s just what I do. Yes. But I could see how, especially if you’re new to cooking this way, it would be like, oh, okay. I don’t need to waste my time trying these five different products. Yes, I can just buy the one that lives.
[00:37:22] Rene: Just tell me the good one. Yes. Yeah. And what, and maybe tell me a little bit about why you don’t wanna buy these other ones or you know, this one like, exactly. And I think like, and you had mentioned about the, like the behind the scenes people don’t just want the. Like, they don’t just want the recipe.
[00:37:36] They, they want a little bit of you. Yes. And if they can relate to you and they like you, you know, and they trust you, then they, you know, and they feel like a closeness to you. Like you taking them shopping, I feel like is a, I don’t know, a neat thing. Like Yes. Okay. I gotta too excited about that one.
[00:37:54] Liz: Yes. No, no, for sure. And I think in the same vein of like them telling me what they want, [00:38:00] That, and I don’t know if I’m skipping ahead, so let me know, but that has kind of led me to what I think my next e product. Yes.
[00:38:06] Rene: Yeah. Tell me that to my next question. Yeah. Tell me so, yeah. Okay. What are your plans? What’s, what’s the future look like for your products?
[00:38:12] Liz: So I think my next product is also going to be an e cookbook, but it’s going to be easy weeknight dinners. Ooh. Yeah. So it’s gonna be stuff that’s like, you know, it’s either a sheet pan meal or it comes together in one pot. Mm-hmm. And it’s, it’s, it has your protein, it has your starch, it has your vegetable all in one.
[00:38:31] Mm-hmm, um, just like super easy, you know, 30 minutes, top start to finish. Um, and people have actually asked for what they want me to do is they want me to put together, a full week. Like this is your week. Like a meal plan, a a meal plan. This is your week of dinner recipes. Mm-hmm, um, here’s your shopping list for that week.
[00:38:49] Mm-hmm. Um, and just put together, you know, like five, um, where it feels balanced for your week. Where there’s like, you know, maybe it’s vegetarian, two days, maybe it’s chicken one night, you know? Yeah. Um, and to have that for like a full month. Mm-hmm, so a full month’s worth. Weekly meal plans with shopping lists, um, seems to be.
[00:39:12] The thing that the most people have been excited about have been asking for.
[00:39:16] Rene: I love that. Yeah, that’s good. I actually did buy one from Budget Bytes, um, and I tried it. Oh, nice. I did like, yeah, I like that sort of like, it’s, it takes all the guesswork out. It’s like, I don’t e I don’t wanna pick something for every day.
[00:39:26] I just want somebody to pick it for me. I just kind of having all that in one, I think. is a really great idea. I love that. That’s mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Excellent. So will you use recipes then, every recipe will come from the content you’ve already created, or will there be some new ones?
[00:39:41] Like how will that work?
[00:39:43] Liz: I think it needs to be mostly new ones because it’s a product that I’m planning to sell. Um, I do think that there will be some, like, especially the ones that are on my website, that are the most popular. Mm-hmm, um, are the easiest and the tastiest, I will include those somewhere in the lineup.
[00:39:58] Mm-hmm, because that’s what feels [00:40:00] natural because they’re in my mm-hmm, yes. Regular rotation or my lineup. But I think, um, a lot of the content will be new and I’ve actually been developing some of those ideas and some of those recipes already. So I’m hoping to launch that in the spring, like in either April or May. Um, and then I think, you know, thinking way ahead, I think after I have these two E products, I would love to do some kind of membership program. Oh yeah. Mm-hmm.
[00:40:27] Rene: Where they got access to something fresh. Yes. Something different. Something additional, something maybe you like, maybe some access to you. Something like that.
[00:40:37] Liz: Like, yeah, maybe like cooking classes. Mm-hmm, you know, and I could see a wide variety of things. Like if you’re just getting started with gluten-free baking mm-hmm or, you know, prepping, um, meals for a full week. I could see, you know, the possibilities are endless. Um, I could also see giving access to like exclusive recipes.
[00:40:56] Mm-hmm. to other time savers, like maybe you can generate your own shopping list. Mm-hmm. Um, I would love to eventually partner with like a Whole Foods or a Thrive Market and have it so that you just say, like, populate my cart, you know? Yes. Oh my goodness. Just, just making things as easy for people as possible because as you say, getting, getting a healthy, delicious meal on the table for families is something we all have to do.
[00:41:22] Mm-hmm. Um, and when you have intolerances and dietary restrictions, it’s not as easy as mm-hmm, let’s get pizza one night, let’s go to a restaurant one night, let’s get a meal kit. Um, none of those things are, we can’t do any of those things. Mm-hmm. and feel safe about making sure that we’re not gonna get something that’s cross-contaminated or contains one of our family’s allergens.
[00:41:42] So I think just anything that can save people time and also just mental load Yes.
[00:41:48] Rene: Of it totally. Is this week. Yeah. Like at the end of the day, I don’t know. I mean, I know that people are thinking about this, but yes, I’m terrible with it. Like I just, I think everybody in, I just don’t have the [00:42:00] energy to figure it.
[00:42:03] and then go and buy it and they don’t have this, and what do I substitute and then make it, and then it doesn’t turn out like, oh, that’s a whole thing. But that’s a, that’s different conversation.
[00:42:11] Liz: And then your, and then your son’s like, mom, this is medium. That’s what my son always says to me, but he doesn’t, he doesn’t love it, but it’s not horrible.
[00:42:19] Yeah. He’ll say, mom, I’m sorry to tell you this, but this one is medium nice. I’m like, oh, so glad. Okay’s not making the cookbook.
[00:42:28] Rene: wait. My son will just eat it really, really slowly. And I’m like, oh my God, can you please just eat faster? He’s not a kid that will just like not eat it. He’ll just take, he will just sit himself there.
[00:42:41] You know, like when we were young and your parents were like, sit there until you eat it. He’ll just sit himself there. Like, he’ll just be forever. But anyway, um, okay, so let’s, um, let’s kind of wrap this up. Sure. If you, and I know you’ve talked about your, uh, some tips, but like, you know, maybe what two tips do you have for some, like what were the, the most important things you’re glad you did for, for somebody creating their first digital product?
[00:43:04] One tip, I don’t know. However many tips you have really,
[00:43:06] Liz: um, about Yeah, so I Advice. Yeah. So I think to summarize, I think definitely. Time period where it’s on sale to create urgency. Mm-hmm, I think, uh, doing whatever you can to bring in help to fill in. Mm-hmm your gaps. So like, I hired you, which was amazing, lifesaver.
[00:43:26] I also have a digital strategist and I also have a graphic designer cuz I’m not a designer. Mm-hmm. Um, and using your skillset and then I think, um, keeping your expectations low as far as, you know, not expecting something to, like blow up and be the greatest thing. Right. And make all your money back that you spent on it the first year.
[00:43:44] Like kind of having that long game, um, strategy in mind where you think I’m gonna put a lot of work into it this year and, um, you know, I might not reach my goal even mm-hmm. and that’s okay because then I can keep promoting it [00:44:00] every year. Mm-hmm. and eventually it’s going to pay off. Right. And also, um, focusing on not just the monetary, but also all of the other benefits that come from doing something like this.
[00:44:11] Rene: Yeah, I like that. I like that. And you know, even with your, like your first blog post that you did, you know, your first recipe, like it wasn’t, you’re, you’re not an overnight success. You didn’t just get all of your subscribers from the first blog post or, or things like that. So you know, you.
[00:44:25] Because you had built, you know, you created content consistently and, you know, um, sent emails consistently and, you know, put time in on social media consistently. It builds. So the same thing with a product, like a first product. You know, I try to like set people’s expectations little bit lower, that it’s not Yes.
[00:44:41] Like, oh, you built it and then everybody’s gonna buy it. Like this is a process, it’s one step in a process of selling digital products. So, I dunno.
[00:44:52] Liz: And I think also just don’t expect it to be absolutely perfect. Mm-hmm, yes. Like, don’t expect the product itself to be perfect. Mm-hmm, don’t feel like every photo needs to be absolute perfection.
[00:45:03] Mm-hmm, my kitchen is, is now redone, but when I first started doing this, I had this house’s original 1960s kitchen, like original dishwasher, original stove that was tilted to the left. And I had in my videos, I had to like, try to get the oil to go over that way, but, um, people don’t care. Yeah. People. And in fact, sometimes that can be more relatable mm-hmm.
[00:45:23] um, than if you’re in this gorgeous, like, state of the art, you know, kitchen or whatever it is that you do. So I think the other thing is just like also knowing that you offer a unique perspective that is needed in the world. And just because there may be 500 other people doing the same thing that you do, that doesn’t mean that your contribution is any less important or any.
[00:45:45] less um, you know, like needed right in the world. So like, don’t let that hold you. Don’t let that hold you back. Mm-hmm. Cause there’s enough love to go around.
[00:45:54] Rene: Oh, there is. And there’s a lot of people out there. Way more than we even understand, like mm-hmm. And like you mentioned, a lot of [00:46:00] people need this and people who can relate to you at this point in your life, you know, maybe they’re at the same point in their lives and they can maybe relate to you a little bit better than they could somebody else who’s talking about, you know, allergen free dishes that they make, so, you know. Mm-hmm, like, I think it’s, um, you know, what you say is really important. Okay. So tell people where they can find you online and then we’ll kinda wrap this up.
[00:46:23] Liz: Sure. That sounds great. Um, you can find the beautiful website that Rene actually developed for me. It’s octofree.com and then I’m on Instagram at @octofree.
[00:46:34] Um, and you can sign up for my emails right from my website.
[00:46:37] Rene: Awesome. And we should give, I mean, Randi really did the design, so we we should give her the credit. Yes. Like I made it work, Randi Snow. If this, if the filtering works, then you can give me the credit. But the, uh, yeah, that’s, she did the design, so that’s why it looks as good as it does.
[00:46:50] Liz: Yes, yes. Randi is amazing.
[00:46:52] Rene: Yes. Awesome. Okay. Well thank you so much Liz, and it was great to talk to you today.
[00:46:57] Liz: Thank you so much for having me. This was so fun.
[00:46:59] Rene: Yay.
[00:47:00] Hey, thanks for listening. I’d love to continue the conversation in your inbox. Email SUBSCRIBE to hey at yfdp.show or sign up in the show notes to get bimonthly emails about how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. Can’t wait to see you there.