Episode 29

Selling templates, the story of my second digital product

I created some content in an area of interest for me and it got some traction. Here’s the story of how I created some small digital products around it — templates and instructional videos — plus what I’ve learned.

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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 friends, it’s Rene. Today I want to talk about my second digital product. So if you were around for episode 10, I talked about my first digital product, which was a mini course that service-based businesses could use to collect testimonials from their clients and then showcase them on their website or in social media or in their portfolios or things like that. I felt that it was largely unsuccessful, although I did learn quite a bit.

[00:00:55] And today I want to share my second product that I launched last year, that I’ve kind of just been using as an experiment. So today we’ll go through what it is, how I created it, why I created it, how it’s doing and then some thoughts of things that I will definitely do different next time.

[00:01:12] And really kind of just share some uncertainties or things that I still don’t know about how I might do things differently in the future. So let’s dive in and if you weren’t here for episode 10, go back and check that out. Okay. So how it all started. As you know, hopefully if you’ve been around, if not welcome.

[00:01:31] I do have an interest in The 12 Week Year, which is a book about goal setting in 12 week increments. So I’ve been doing this since 2018. I think I read the book first in late 2017 and I started to implement in 2018. I re-read the book again in 2021, I did a presentation for a WordCamp, and I also wrote a blog post just detailing the whole book, my thoughts about it, how I used it, I had a couple of templates and things like that.

[00:01:58] So I noticed over [00:02:00] time that that post started to get more traffic, even more traffic than my homepage was getting. And I really wanted to share more about The 12 Week Year beyond that blog post, but I didn’t really feel that I wanted to share it kind of out in the open. So I created an email opt in for a private video. So I created a video about how I reviewed my previous 12 Week Year and how I set goals for my next 12 Week Year. And I recorded that and I put that on YouTube as unlisted. And I put a form on the blog post at the bottom that said, Hey, if you want to see how I use this sign up.

[00:02:36] And, you know, get this video and people did. People signed up, they watched the video and I was really excited and I do this every quarter anyway. So I ended up adding three additional videos. Each quarter after that. And I would go back to the list again and say, Hey, there’s a new video. Eventually I created a playlist. Um, Hey, here’s the playlist of all the videos. I would go back to that blog post and update that and say, Hey, you know, this is what you’re getting when you sign up for this list.

[00:03:05] So kind of, just to recap, I had a blog post that was getting a lot of views. It was on a topic that I have experience in and am also interested in. I had something additional to offer the audience. These templates and videos. I collected the email addresses. I was sending emails. And that was about it. So there was really nothing else.

[00:03:28] It wasn’t anchored to any of my service offerings. This is on the website that I’ve had for a long time where I offer web development services and it really wasn’t anchored to any of my services. It was just really something that I was interested in. And I didn’t have anything to sell. So I was just collecting these emails, making these videos kind of just for the fun of it.

[00:03:47] So late in 2022, I started to record this podcast and I was getting really interested in digital products. I had done some research and some writing. I had created that product in the past. I was kind of really getting into it. [00:04:00] I had templates for the 12 Week Year for ClickUp and Google Sheets. So I decided to also add templates for Notion and Airtable. A lot of people in my circles really love Notion. They really love Airtable. So I thought, Hey, I will add these additional templates and take this free product and make a couple tweaks and then put it up for sale.

[00:04:21] If you heard episode 11 with Kyle, he did a similar thing where he had a free product and then he polished it up and and then made it a paid product. So if you didn’t check out that episode, go ahead back and check that out. So I created these products. I kind of put together some of the things that I already had. I created those Notion templates, that Airtable templates.

[00:04:42] I recorded videos for each one. And I was really surprised that there was just a lot of revision in the products during the product creation process. So I would go down one path and then think like, oh, I don’t want to do it this way. So I would go back and do something else.

[00:04:57] Originally I was going to sell each of the templates separately. So I was going to have four different products for each template. And then I eventually decided to combine them. So I ended up with two products. The first product was a product that would help you review your previous 12 Week Year and plan for your next 12 Week Year. So if you’ve never used the 12 Week Year before, or you maybe really weren’t good at recapping or planning, maybe you over-planned, um, you really just, weren’t sure there was one product kind of to get you started. And then the next product was a track and score product. Where you would get a video and template for your platform, Google Sheets, ClickUp Airtable, Notion. Um, any of those.

[00:05:40] And you would learn how to input your goals and tactics and then how to score each week. So those were the two products. So each product ended up being a PDF with links to templates and Loom videos.

[00:05:54] So then getting ready to sell the product. So the product is created. I’m ready to go with the product. Now I need to find a place to [00:06:00] sell it. Now because I am so interested in digital products, I decided to try out a couple of different platforms.

[00:06:07] I had used WP Simple Pay in the past. Didn’t love it for this situation and really didn’t want to do anything like on my actual website, other than link to products.

[00:06:17] So I ended up choosing Gumroad because I really just wanted to investigate it. And I also tried Lemon Squeezy. I put the product on both platforms just to kind of test the differences, but the products are on Gumroad right now. And that’s, what’s linked on the blog post.

[00:06:30] From there I used Zapier to add people to MailerLite. So whenever people would make the purchase, they would get the email from Gumroad. But then I also wanted to send a couple of follow-up emails after that. So once Zapier added people to MailerLite, I sent out an immediate like, Hey, thanks for your purchase.

[00:06:47] Here’s top five tips on how to get the most out of the 12 Week Year. And then after a couple of days, I sent another email. Hey, how’s it going? Do you have any questions? If you do, please reply to this email. If you’re so inclined, you can leave feedback. And after 12 days I added a couple more tips just about things like that. So how I do yearly planning and, um, I would add them to my email list, my monthly email list that talked about, uh, you know, business type things. So those were the emails that I sent after purchase.

[00:07:21] Now as far as sharing the product, what I did was I created some coupons that were giving the product away for free. And I sent them to that list. So I said, Hey list. You’ve been on here. You’ve been with me. I created these products. Here you can check them out for free. Here is a coupon. And I’ll tell you how that went after a bit.

[00:07:42] I also added the products to the bottom of the blog post. So people would come to the blog post. They’d search for 12 Week Year or whatever it was on Google. They would find the blog post. They would read the summary, they would read my thoughts. They would see a couple of things.

[00:07:54] And then at the bottom it said, Hey, I have some products. You know, related to this, whatever. Um, I also put [00:08:00] a coupon in there. Really just to see if people were reading. Um, so most people have used the coupon, but again, I’ll talk more about the coupon after a bit. I am also linking those products directly from the blog post to the Gumroad product. So I’m not sending people to the Gumroad store, I’m sending people directly to a product.

[00:08:20] Um, but I do have the Gumroad shop page set up and I’ll have links in the show notes. If you want to look at any of this, just to see what it looks like. And because I still use the 12 Week Year, I would share my progress weekly on Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever. And inevitably people would ask, Hey, what’s a 12 Week Year.

[00:08:38] I would send them the blog post. I’d give them some personal comments. I would send them to link to that presentation. And then if they felt so inclined, they would see that there were products at the bottom and they could purchase if they wanted to. So, this is how I’m sharing ongoing. Now, currently right now in the third quarter of 2023, I’m not doing the 12 Week Year because all of my mental processing is going towards healing my ankle.

[00:08:59] So, but I will probably pick up again with it in quarter four. So not doing much about it right now. I’m not really marketing other than just having that, uh, product linked in the blog post at the bottom.

[00:09:11] I just want to kind of recap kind of what’s been happening and some thoughts that I have about this product. First thing’s first. Sales are fun. It is so fun. So fun. I can’t even describe how fun it is to get an email out of the blue Saturday afternoon, middle of the night on a Tuesday, whatever it is. Hey, you made a sale. This feels so good. It feels so good.

[00:09:35] I love it. So a lot of times, you know, as a service provider, you’re probably providing a service that is a high ticket service, and yes, it is great whenever someone will sign your contract and pay the deposit, it feels fantastic to kind of get that. But. It feels really great too, to get a $10 sale, a $20 sale, a $50 sale, kind of out of the blue where [00:10:00] yes, you did work because you put the product together, but you didn’t have to sit down with that person and kind of court them and answer their questions and create a proposal and do a lot of work upfront.

[00:10:10] You’ve already done the work. You’ve already created it. It’s a valuable product. You validated it. And people see that. It’s something that they’re looking for and they purchase. Um, and it’s awesome. So I just want to make sure that everybody understands how cool that is. And a couple of things I want to talk about, uh, the coupon specifically, um, what the product includes, and then I just have some final thoughts. So let’s go there now.

[00:10:33] Okay. So I mentioned that I sent that coupon to the list. What happened was that a lot of people got it right away. So they got the email from me. They saw it, they entered the coupon and they got the product. I didn’t really want to leave it out there forever. I didn’t really think about this ahead of time, but I didn’t want to leave it out there forever.

[00:10:52] So I eventually locked the coupon down. I went back to the list and I said, Hey, list, this coupon is now only going to be available for another week. If you didn’t get the product and you want it, go ahead and get it now. There were not many takers. So I think what I’ve learned about the coupon is that, and what I’ll try next time is to have a specific number of uses. Like, Hey, first 10 people get this for free or whatever, or 50% off. Um, or some kind of expiration date. And not just leave those coupons open there indefinitely. I know I do have that open coupon on the blog post. Uh, but more so my intent for that is it’s kind of like a reward for reading the whole blog post. And I feel like if people do that, they will be more successful with the product anyway, because they took the time to read the whole blog post. So that’s kind of my thought on that.

[00:11:41] Also, I think that the coupon and giving it away for free and having two products on one page kind of really messed with my conversion rate calculation. Gill talked about this in episode 13, she tracks her conversion rate, and if you’re not familiar you need the number of visitors to the page or post over a certain amount of time, and then you need the number of [00:12:00] sales, and then you can calculate the rate at which people are converting or taking that next step to buy the product. So because I gave it away for free and I can’t remember if I sent people to the blog post and then I have two products on one, one page. I think I am not accurately getting a good conversion rate, even though I do know the number of visitors and so on and the number of sales. So I think what I would do in the future is have one product on one post or page. And I would make sure that I started the clock on a specific day to say, okay, I’m starting on this day so that I can measure that conversion rate over time. And that will just help me to figure out if it is working, if people are actually buying or not.

[00:12:42] Also, I wanted to kind of recap and look at what the product includes. So I recorded the videos in Loom and I was able to go back and look at the views. So by far ClickUp had the most views. So I again have videos for ClickUp, Google Sheets, Airtable and Notion. Airtable had the least number of views.

[00:13:01] Now I was really curious about this and I don’t know the exact reason, but I’m wondering if it’s because the blog post specifically mentioned ClickUp so much that if people got that far, they’re probably interested in ClickUp. Because I really don’t mention Airtable and Notion in the description in the blog post anywhere.

[00:13:21] Then I’m wondering if people are maybe not really there for that. I also, I wanted to create more because I wanted to offer more than I was offering for free. And again, I saw a lot of people using Notion and Airtable, but maybe it just really wasn’t necessary. I will tell my clients a lot of times, um, simplify, simplify, simplify, like you don’t have to offer every single thing. Uh, and here I am trying to offer every single thing. So I maybe would give myself the advice, just stick to what you like. Like maybe just a ClickUp template is perfectly fine.

[00:13:50] Um, and I do use Google Sheets as well. So maybe just sticking to those two things is okay. And I don’t have to do every single thing and be every single thing to [00:14:00] everyone. A couple other thoughts. I’m wondering, and this is where I’m unclear. So, you know, I’m coming to you as someone who is, is uncertain.

[00:14:09] These are just kind of things that I’m learning over time. I’m wondering if I should have kept the list and then sold from there. So, you know, having a lead magnet or something that you offer people for free is a good way to warm people up and then selling them later in your welcome sequence or something like that.

[00:14:24] It does take more clicks to eventually get to the product. But you know that people are warmed up a little bit more. For me for now I just have the blog posts and it leads right into the products. There’s no free offering, um, anymore. There’s a couple things on the page that you can get, but I’m not collecting email addresses for that.

[00:14:40] So really, I’m just not sure about that. I could have maybe done the review and plan for free, and then the track and score could have been the paid product. Um, and who knows, maybe I’ll change that as well. I still don’t really have anything to lead into, uh, because this doesn’t really have anything to do with my products or services.

[00:14:59] So I feel like that is a limitation because it would be great if you’re capturing people to be able to sell them something else. Definitely seen this with other people that I’ve interviewed; Sara Dunn in the last episode, she does this amazingly. If you haven’t watched or listened to that episode, definitely go back and check it out. She has a great product.

[00:15:20] Gets people to open their wallet and gives them a lot of value right away. And then she gives them other ways to work with her at different price points in different capacities. So I think that is amazing. Another thing is I still have some hangups about sharing.

[00:15:35] I am in a Slack group and somebody specifically asked for help with the 12 Week Year and ClickUp. And I just sent them the videos, the unlisted videos. So instead of saying, Hey, I have a blog post that has a product. I didn’t want to feel salesy. And I ended up just sending the stuff that was free.

[00:15:57] So there is definitely still some [00:16:00] work that I need to do personally, to make sure that I know that the product is valuable. I’m still experimenting. This is an experiment. These are all experiments. And I think it’s super fun. If you think it would be fun, reach out and we can definitely talk.

[00:16:14] Again, I’m still uncertain about a lot of things. For example, changing platforms. So I started with Gumroad before they increase their fees. And I have also added the product to Lemon Squeezy. I did a YouTube live on Lemon Squeezy. If you’re interested in that, go check it out. But there are tons and tons of other platforms out there. So maybe I’ll just check out some other platforms.

[00:16:33] Also MailerLite, I’m on the free plan. It is changing. Um, and Zapier as well. So I am looking to get rid of Zapier and switch it out with Make, so maybe I will, you know, switch everything up. Also in that episode with Kyle, he mentions not switching platforms too many times because it might be difficult to keep track of people who purchased.

[00:16:52] So just think about that. And I don’t think I’ll switch too too many more times, but I, I may switch from these platforms that I have chosen for now. Also, if you listen to the last solo episode, I talked about feeling a disconnect and not wanting to market your product because so much time has passed since you created that product. That you’re not really sure if it’s still good. So I do feel that I should go back and rewatch those videos just to remind myself or see, like, are these products actually good?

[00:17:20] Do I still feel good about selling them to people? So, those are just a couple of final thoughts. So, what do you think? Are you experimenting with small products? I would love to hear what you’re doing. Feel free to share a link to your product. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, I’d love to see and check it out and hear how you are experimenting. What you’ve tried, what you think really went well, what you’re going to do differently in the future. And we can definitely talk. So send me a voice message also at yfdp.show/share if you’d rather talk that way. And I’d love to hear from you. All right. Talk soon.

[00:17:54] Hey, thanks for listening. I’d love to continue the conversation in your inbox. Email [00:18:00] 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.