This guest post is by Alex Becker of Source Wave Marketing.When I first got into blogging, gaining any sizable amount of engaged subscribers seemed like a slow, tedious task. As bloggers, I am sure you know the popular ways to get people to your site:
- guest posting
- participating on forums
But when your blog is brand new, getting featured on a site with a ton of traffic is next to impossible. Creating a solid reputation on a forum takes time. SEO is a popular tactic but also takes a long time. To put it bluntly, if you are new to blogging, the deck is not stacked in your favor.
This is why I decided to use another method to grow my blog: product creation.
“Wait, what?!” you might be thinking. “Making products as a way to grow your blog/brand? Does that even work?”
Well, my blog is just over seven months old. It has an email list of just over 10,000 people and brings in a total of $15k+ in revenue monthly. So yes, product creation is a super-effective and underutilized method to grow your blog. But before you can put this method to use on your blog, you need to understand why it works so well.
Why blogging and making products is like pouring gasoline on a fire
Ironically, the easiest place to get traffic you can capture is not on other websites. It isn’t on Facebook or Twitter. It is the massive email lists people have in certain niches.
But I am not just talking about any big email list. Getting a monster blogger or magazine to feature you in their email list is pretty tough, and oddly enough, they do not even have the best traffic.
Blogger and news lists: the hard way
A huge blogger might have 10-30k emails. The funny thing is that many of these are worthless because these are what we call “freebie chasers.” These are people that joined an email list for free and are only interested in one thing—more free stuff. They are also commonly not committed to a niche.
Now this blogger is going to make you jump through hoop after hoop to get featured in his or her list. While you can traffic from the list, it’s going to be very hard unless you also have a big reputation (which 95% of bloggers do not).
We want to focus on one and only one type of list: the massive email lists that other product creators have. And here’s why.
Product creators’ lists: the easy way
Think about the owner of a successful Clickbank product or information products. Even small-time product creators routinely have email lists of 5-20k. Bigger names can easily have 20k-100k. That’s a lot of people, folks.
Here’s why their lists are so valuable: every single person on their lists has loaded up their PayPal accounts and paid for information in the niche they’re selling in. As they say, money talks. And when these people have put money down, they’re telling you a couple things:
- They are very interested in the niche.
- They participate in the niche.
- They are comfortable spending money in the niche.
This is exactly the type of person you want coming to your site and joining your list.
The ironic thing is that product creators are far less stingy with their lists than many others. This is because they usually have their list for a much less honorable reason than most straight-up bloggers. Most product creators (not all of them) use their list to promote other products and make an affiliate income.
This means one thing to you: if you have a product that will make them money, they will throw a tidal wave of traffic your way.
This is why they are such a great resource. They have one simple button you need to press to get access to “buyer” traffic. In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to push that button.
My product creation blueprint for blogging
I understand your thoughts right now: “What if I’ve never made a product before?”
Don’t panic. You don’t need to create a mega-product, nor I am not telling you to put crummy material out on the market. However, my father always told me “Keep it simple, stupid.” Sometimes something small and simple works insanely well. In fact, for this method, we want small and simple.
For example, one of the first products I made with my partner was a list of the most reliable Fiverr sellers, which we sold for five bucks. This simple product has sold over 6,000 copies, earning us over 6,000 subscribers.
So just keep in mind that you are totally capable of doing this. With that being said, let me walk you through the steps I used to create a product and blow up my blog, and then how I used my blog to create sales.
Step 1. Find an idea for a short product and make it happen
The first thing you want to do is find places online where your targeted visitor hangs out. These will usually be forums or Yahoo Answers-type sites.
The sites are so valuable because there you will see your visitor tell you exactly what they want. Look at the questions and problems that are getting the most focus. Then, make a product to solve these problems. Simple, huh?
Step 2. Make a juicy offer for product list owners and their customers
One of the best ways to get product creators interested is to offer 100% commission on your product. Remember, we’re not trying to make money: we’re trying to get them to hand over their traffic. You have to remember your motives, first and foremost.
We also want to make a product that’s cheap enough to convert very highly with their list. If you make, say, a $50 product, not very many people will buy it. However, if you produce a $5 product, the interest will, naturally, skyrocket.
Step 3. Find big list owners
This is fairly simple. Look around your niche and find information products. I guarantee you the owners of those products had a way to collect the emails of their customers. Email these product creators and pitch them on your product. (Hint: Be sure to mention the 100% affiliate commission!)
Step 4. Collect the emails
Now that you have a product creator blasting your product with traffic, it is time to collect the traffic that converts. (Remember, keep your product cheap for maximum conversions. More conversions means more emails.)
You can easily collect and manage these emails through a server such as Mail Chimp. After a person purchases your product, redirect them to an opt-in form that they must fill out to get access to the file.
Step 5. Treat your new subscribers like gold
Now that you have the emails of these people, it is time to deliver value, and really wow them with your brand.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that most of these people are used to being abused with affiliate offers whenever they get forced onto a product email list. This your chance to step up and do something different. Differentiating yourself will be what makes you so successful. Treat them with respect and earn their trust.
Constantly link them to cool things that are happening on your blog. Bombard them with value.
I did this by providing free weekly webinars, sharing my most potent internet marketing secrets for free and taking every chance I get to make personal connections with my readers. I also never asked for anything in return. Remember these words: what can I do for you?
This is the secret to turning a list of people that randomly bought your product into a community of friends and colleagues that trust you and like you enough to invest in your business.
Step 6. Use that trust in you and your brand to grow a profitable business
The funny thing about this is that most people would assume the next step is, “spam them with affiliate offers!” No way! That’s very, very bad.
The simple truth is that you will now have a community of buyers who trust and respect you. If you maintain that trust, they will invest in offers your promote and be eager to be a part of any business you create. So why push them away with spam?
A great example of someone who’s used the trust he’s developed with an audience is Pat Flynn of the blog, Smart Passive Income. By always having his readers’ best interests in mind, Pat has become not only a very rich man, but an internet marketing icon. Do not ever underestimate the power of a trusting audience.
My partner and I have used this traffic generation method on our blog, and, in under seven months, we’ve created a thriving community in an extremely competitive niche. On top of this, any business we launch is an instant success due to the trust we have built with the subscribers we gained from product launches.
In fact, the last premium service we launched from our blog sold completely in under one hour. That is the power of combining buyer traffic from product launches with the amount of trust quality blogging can generate.
You were meant to make products
As a blogger, you are undertaking a role as an authority on information in your niche.
To me, creating products and being an authority go hand and hand. When you create a good product (remember, simple can be good), the people that buy it will naturally be interested in your blog. This is because authority figures make products and authority figures blog. Period.
By making products, not only do you get access to hoards of traffic, but you also become an authority.
This is why I encourage every ambitious blogger to break out of the “strictly blogging” mindset and spread your message through as many formats as possible. Remember, it’s important to differentiate.
Of course, creating a product is not going to be an easy 6-step process, but niether is growing a massive brand. I do promise one thing, though: If you take the ideas presented in this article and run with them, your blog will become a red-hot source of awesome faster than you ever thought possible.
Alex Becker is the co-founder of the Source Wave Marketing and owner of multiple online SEO services.
Thanks for this post Alex! I find myself writing eBooks all the time, but I don’t have a ton of traffic right now. I bet this method would work for me if I offered these books at 100% affiliate commission to a few key people. I appreciate you sharing the idea!
One question–would you give them commission forever? Or would their be a time period on it?
Yes I would give them commission forever. A email form a buyer is probably worth 4 times what your selling your ebook for (if you are good to them)
Hope that helps!
Yes I’ve heard that from other bloggers / product creators too that they would give 100% commission forever. It’s worked for them and it’s worked for you. Great!
Treat your list as good as gold Alex! Provide massive value to your list. Become valuable.
Spare endless pitches. Solve problems, and the sales flow in with greater ease.
Thanks for reading Ryan =)
This is great advice Alex! Your next $5 product: the list owner pitch letter.
Thanks for reading matt!
Solve problems is key, being able to solve a problem the customer doesn’t know they have yet is even better! Some of the best products offer something they didn’t realize they needed it until you showed them how they did.
Unfortunately, I really have no ideas to come up with my own product (nor time) so pretty much exist as an information only (passive earning) online presence right now.
Honestly creating product can be very passive. You dont need to have a massive product
For example if I told you I would show you how I ranked a website in 24 hours, would you give me 5 bucks?
And I could give you a pretty decent explanation of how I did it in a short ebook. Boom product AND happy customer + a new relationship started.
Products can be tiny!
Having been through the process of buying Alex and Beckers product and being on their list. I can actually vouch for the authenticity in this. Which is great to read because you really can understand the thought process behind what they have managed to do. I think Alex is pretty top notch and down to Earth as a real person which is why the quality shown in this post is for real.
Really great post and good on problogger for allowing Alex to show his stuff.
Thanks for the support leigh!
Did you mention Pat Flynn as a way to give authority to your post, or because you believe this is the way Pat gets traffic for SmartPassiveIncome?
Pat has always been great to me in the past, and I felt if I was going to mention him, I could also get him some traffic =)
And thank you for the mention Alex, I truly appreciate that. Great read, and congrats on your success, and I wish you so much more!
Is this a strategy you use on SPI or one you would advocate on SPI?
Which, mentioning authoritative websites in posts to give authority to your own posts? If that’s why you mean, I don’t think about what it can do for me, I think about how useful links or anything else I mention is to my readers. THAT is what drives up authority, shares, etc. – whether I link to people who are authoritative or not.
The ‘give authority’ was a bad turn of phrase. It was late!
I was curious as to whether the strategy Alex talks about in this post is something you use on spi?
I’m not trying to call Alex or yourself out on anything, I’m new to this game and sometimes it’s difficult sorting the wheat from the chaff. So when I read an article advocating a strategy from someone I’ve not come across yet and they link to someone who I have heard of, especially an authorative someone, I’m wondering if they are linking to you because it’s an example of the strategy in action.
Honestly, I’m not trying to be trollie (if there is such a word), I’m just trying to figure this marketing stuff out.
Hmm, ok. I’ll take that as a no then!
Wow is all I can say. Thats a big chunk of subscribers and revenue for one month.
Ha, it is nice.
Awesome post as always Becker. Definitely going to give this a go with my next product.
Awesome Matt, make something kick butt =)
This is quite challenging site Alex! I really enjoyed the inspiring read. To get such a great traffic is not a cheap job and I think you really focused hard on this. I’m definitely looking forward to try out that; sounds so interesting and educative. Thanks a lot for dropping this out; truly, amazing, keep up!
Flattered you enjoyed this. Ha keep reading and I will keep it up =)
Hi Alex, this is a nice post! I like the way you make it look like it is all easy. Though I have to agree some effort must be afforded in order for you to achieve this. Thanks!
The hardest part is learning and gaining the experience. Once you have that it truly becomes something you can automatically do and plan for. (I would say it is easy , but its the wrong word)
Treat your new subscribers like gold. I like this one. I love it when I am made to feel like I do belong; the same applies to everyone. when you make them feel wanted, they will always have a reason to come back for more. Thanks for the post!
i always fing great things here. even if it is not written by darren. subscribers are the result of our work. and getting more subscribers simply means you are doing a great job so yes, we sould treat them as gold.thanks for this article
Well put Alex, congrats on getting your post on here as well. Great stuff as always ;)
Ha thanks Dev!
Great ideas! Thanks!
Will start implement them asp!
My problem is that my product is a physical product. Meaning I have to pay for supplies, shipping, all that jazz. Any recommendations on using it to create a profit?
Blog advertising has not worked for me, I’m slow when it comes to content generation, and so far, I’ve had very mixed success from giveaways, etc. I’m just… stuck. I LOVE my product, and I want people to buy it, but so far, I’m just NOT converting it.
Well there has to be a niche of people that require information that would be buyers of your physical product.
Make an information product first if possible.
Also 9/10ths of conversion online is based on the sales page/how the product is sold. Take a look at some copywriting and try to increases conversions that way
Awesome advice, Alex. The physical product came first, but I absolutely can use an informational product to build interest, and I HAVE been working on one.
Thanks so much for the feedback!
First, congrats on your success! That’s great! I’ve really been thinking about creating a product but seem to never have time to follow through. This post is most definitely a motivating one for product creation! Thank you! :)
Glad you enjoyed!
Hi Alex that is one seriously great traffic and revenue method. I believe we shall be giving it a go one day. I write our newsletter and I make them long and full of content and why? Our email newsletter subscribers are very important to us.
I feel that your email list represents the people who care the most about your blog and WANT to interact with it.
Which is why I think it is hilarious that most people punish their list with spam crap offers. You are killing the fan base that has the most potential to help your blog grow.
The people on your lists are the same people
-Who will visit your site frequently
-Like and share your post
-Comment on every post
Growth and community is far more important than a fast buck
A wonderful idea; but the thing is that it is not possible to exploit this idea in every niche like my blog is about pollution and I have to be so cautious in selecting the product and thereafter collecting email. Anyway generally it is quite workable. Thanks for this nice post, bravo!
This is true, however think of all the the pollution agencies etc that have email lists.
I knew a guy who wrote a random book on how to get out of speeding ticket fines, then out of nowhere some insurance agency picked up the book and promoted it.
Boom the guy made 90k and had a email list of 30k something people
Just food for thought
I have seen many blogs featuring a free product with subscribe. I think this is a very good tactics to gain subscribers and increasing revenue, Thanks for inspiring me to make one.
Glad to have helped =)
This is really a secret to boost a blog subscribers and revenue, I have a lot of questions to ask, but can’t in this comment. Can I use Sourve-Wave .com’s contact form to shoot you an email?
That is a really great post. We shouldn’t forget about the power and potential of having the subscribers’ list. I can also say from my own experience that people (even though they generally prefer to save money, not spend it) will be more willing to buy a given product for 1$ instead of getting it for free. I tried this with the same product and the version which was for $ was gone sooner.
As some who has made a stand-out offer that is “different” let me say that after making the product be prepared to pay for advertising. Even doing a joint venture with a list owner normally cost money and most of the times over $500. I have found myself in that predicament but i have decided to do banners and text ads on a budget, then when the sales copy is better optimized i get a placement on a list.
Honestly if they are doing it for 100% commission its totally free (beside the commission they earn)
Wow Interesting article. I only have a few subscribers now but will use this information to move forward.
Very inspiring read! I think this is something I will be doing after my site relaunch for sure. However, if the authority site decides to sell your product to its email list, how do you make the email list owner aware of how much they are earning from you and how have you arranged payment in the past?
Great post that I will action if I know this
Hey Tom, there are a ton of affiliate softwares out there.
I would suggest clickbank or JV ZOO. JV zoo pays to paypal directly, and affiliates love that
Thanks Alex, I will have to do some digging to work this out but you’re pointing me in the right direction which is great! I have 3 ebooks out in the guitar tuition niche and working on a new one on how to be a guitar tutor. Thanks again, Tom
Awesome results, congratulations!
Great analysis, great strategy, great realization… what else?
I am very new to the IM world and this post is absolute gold and is really thinking outside the box!! Wow thank you for the inspiration.
I have only just built my blog two days ago and I’m all about just generating a following and building a brand at the moment and this sure seems like a great way to do it!
I am really enjoying interacting with all you fellow IM’ers. It seems I can’t learn enough at the moment!
Glad to have given you some value John =)
Hi Alex, I’m actually in step 2 now, selling product on Fiverr but the product won’t run, no one buy it. This post is amazing. You keep things so simple :) thank you.
hey you gave an unheard of method for building a list . it will work wonders
I have been reading pro blogger for about a month and i have no hesitation in voting your post the best of all i have read in past month! Hats off to you!
I went and checked out your site. I would like to ad your rss to my feeds?
I like the look of your site, simple, and easy to navigate!
hi alex, is that your book have 108 pages and the title, “the best of fiverr all in one package” ?
I am a complete newbie and would like to know how to add opt in form at the end of purchase. Please respond.
Aweber provide you with a simple code you can use
But for aweber doesn’t the product need be free
This is useful information, and piggy-backing on the big list marketers’ lists is definitely something I shall add to my strategy. But I would add this approach to product creation too, especially for bloggers just starting out who still aren’t sure about what products to offer.
Instead of creating products you think people in your niche will want, let those people tell you what products they want to buy. This means creating your list *before* you’ve created any products. Get to know people on your lists (and Alex’s techniques for doing this are great).
Your main goal in getting to know people on your list is to open yourself up to being there to answer their questions and smooth their frustrations. Through their questions and frustrations they’ll show you what products they want to buy from you. They’ll be eager to buy too because you’ll be able to target your products as solutions to their biggest problems.
This method makes creating products people want to buy so much easier. You can also ask higher prices this way too because your community will really see the full value of your products.
And this method is just how you can get your guest posts published, even as a new blogger just starting out. By looking for those same questions and frustrations in Comments people leave on popular posts on blogs in your niche, you’ll get insights into what answers to offer as guest posts.
Your guest posts will be more likely to be snapped up when you show the blog owners you have this kind of insight into their readers’ needs.
You don’t have to be an established blogger, or have a big subscriber total, to create your own following this way either. In fact, you’ll be fast-tracking your own big list of followers from readers who know you have answers to their questions and frustrations. You’ll be creating your own community of people ready to buy, even before you’ve created any products, this way too.
Truth is, this is how most big bloggers started out. Just Google some of the big bloggers names and add “Guest Post” along with dates of a couple of years ago, such as “2010”, or “2009” after their name. You’ll see what I mean.
They’ve done it. So why not you?
Very interesting post, Alex…
Makes a lot of sense, though, it may be hard to take the focus away from the dollar side of product creation, and rebuilding it into a traffic generation strategy….
The positive side of this method is that, you do not need to any marketing or promoting of the product.
The best option in this case would be to “have in place” some form of agreement that after a certain number of sales are made( also, a certain amount of traffic directed to your site) at this point an incremental drop off in the commission rate could probably apply.
Yes, I understand the “Advertizing space” argument, too…
In this instance you are already paying(trading off) advertising space(+ potential traffic) for your commissions, if the product is also being displayed(advertised) on the physical website itself, not just through a list….
Though, if the product is being advertised through a list only, I would go for the incremented ( to split % ratio) in commissions as sales and traffic increase until a reaching an agreeable level..
Honestly I totally disagree with dropping the commission rate. Not only will this kink up the details but your going to annoy big affiliates.
A buyer email, when treated right, is worth a TON to me. Sure I didnt make any money from the products that built the list BUT as you can see I made MUCH more money later on.
Your mentioned tactics are long run tactic, and requires time; But ultimately the only way to get the success. Today most of bloggers are looking for they ways for getting the success within weeks. Thank for post, I really liked your ideas.
Wow, this is a lot of information to swallow. I don’t think I have the expertise yet in my field to create a product. But I will definitely keep this post handy and will share it with others. Very interesting stuff.
I actually created a product several years ago teaching my method for registering income producing domain names. I had a good number of sales…however, I saw lots of people who bought the product, turned around and got a refund within minutes….and then started using my method to register domains. So basically they got my product free, and then were competing against me. It sort of discouraged me from creating another product. I have had MANY people ask me to since then, but just haven’t done it again. Maybe it is time I give it a go again. In the mean time, I have done well sell other’s products. ;)
Great Post Alex, this is truly helpful for those of us thinking of creating our own product and making some money online. Truly golden info here. Thanks.
Nice post Becker! It was interesting to see what you were doing back in the day. Great insights on building your own products to automatically turn you into an authority in your niche. Still a great concept.