I wanted to write this article to keep you up to date with how I plan to monetize my young website in a big way in 2012. When I first started blogging, I always thought that it was a natural progression to gain a following and then try to write and sell an ebook to make more money. The when that’s up and running, I could start getting into affiliate marketing. The problem is that that’s just not me, and I wanted to get into making big money, in my own style.
I set myself a rather ambitious new years resolution this year, which I fully plan on achieving, which is to make $100,000. That far surpasses anything else I’ve made in previous years, but by setting myself the task, my state of mind had changed. Firstly, I tell people my plans, because when you tell everyone, you feel like you have to live up to what you’ve said, or you’ll be deemed a failure, if only by yourself. Secondly, I don’t tell people I’m going to try and make $100,000 this year, I tell them I am going to make $100,000 – there’s a big difference. Belief in yourself is important, and I believe in myself.
I actually set myself over 10 resolutions, which are mostly just areas I want to improve in my work and personal life, but my main focus this year is to do better financially. I’ve never really been that focused on making money, more about pursuing a career and finding something I wanted to do, but that’s going to change this year.
Ok, enough of that, here’s how I’m going to do it.
How to Come up With a Product
I’ve always know that I’m limited by what I can make with Google AdSense and if I wanted to start making some big bucks, then I needed a product. Michael has various products, the most popular of which being Pop-Up Domination, which I’m sure you’re well aware of. Over the past month or so, I’ve started to think about what I could offer, and then it struck me. Around two months ago I wrote a post called ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Photography’ on my own website, and since that’s been published, it’s been my most popular post. It’s really just a collection of tutorials I had already written with a bit of information linking them together, but it serves a very important purpose, and I’ve had people like it so much that they share it with other people too.
So my website is now 8 months old and I found which of my content is currently the most popular, but I still had a problem, I’ve already written the content. This is when I had my lightbulb moment, because I’ve decided I’m going to make videos instead. Now, I’m not crazy about the idea of standing in front of camera and teaching, but this is going to be an exclusive product and not something that’s going on YouTube (hopefully), so I’m not going to worry about it. Never let that sort of thing hold you back.
Now that I know what I’m going to make, it’s a just a case of producing it now. I already have a lot of content that I’m going to adapt from my website, but I’m going to write a script for each video to make sure I’ve covered everything and I’m not a bumbling idiot. Teaching through a video is much easier than it is in writing, because you’re never sure which parts people are going to skim over and ignore. I personally don’t read tutorials online, I’d much rather find a book or a video, because I’m a kinesthetic learner, and I like to be able to practice what I’m learning, so I look forward to teaching people in a more personal manner.
I aim to produce roughly twelve different videos related to the basics of photography, ranging from how to use a camera, to custom settings, and taking photos. The idea is that rather than spending money on a book that they probably won’t read, the followers of my blog will buy these videos instead and actually learn something. It will be broken up into different sections so that anytime someone wants to go back and refresh on something, they can do so easily.
When you’re creating a product to sell, you need to think about how much it’s worth to your fans, and how you can improve the quality for them. I started off with a price for my product before anything, and that was set in my mind at $47. I then had to think what could be worth $47, before I even thought of the videos. When I came up with the idea, there’s the age old problem of ‘is it enough?’. I’m thinking that for someone to want to buy this product, then they’re going to want it to be quite big, and in terms of videos, perhaps 2-3 hours worth. A friend pointed out that this is the completely wrong way of thinking about this, because it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. So long as someone is getting the knowledge they’re looking for, then they’re going to be happy to pay the price.
Look for what people want, and look for a gap in the market. Then fill it. As far as I can see, there’s no video tutorial packages which cover the beginner’s guide to photography.
Set yourself some targets and then stick to them. Think about how long it would reasonably take you if you used the time available and started today, and then stick to that. If you set yourself a target for the end of the year, is it likely that you’re going to even start in the next six months? Don’t start putting off til tomorrow, what you can do today? I’m estimating that I can complete mine with all the bells and whistles in about 4 months, and earlier, I decided to set the date of the 25th of April, which happens to be the day my site really launched, a year ago, with the first top list.
Setting yourself a target for completion is one thing, but how about setting a target for sales, and when you want to reach those sales points? I personally set myself a financial target, so I just need to work out how many products I need to sell. When you consider that profit from my website over $1000 each month is split 50/50 with my brother, the target is actually more ambitious at $200,000. To make that much money, I would have to sell 4,255 products, and when you consider that there will be additional costs like advertising, that’s going to be more like 5,000 (with a couple hundred thrown in for good measure). This doesn’t account for affiliate commissions, but that’s a different deal altogether, because you can make a lot of money at once, much more quickly if you have the right product. The actual figure could be more like 10,000, but it’s much easier to earn the money if you have the affiliates to sell it for you.
Finishing The Product
If you’re just putting something on YouTube, then you don’t really need too worry too much about production values, but when you’re trying to make a product sell, it needs to look good too. To finish the videos, I’m going to put together some video branding that makes the videos look more professional, and when filming, I’m going to use some extra lighting setup, perhaps even a backdrop.
When it comes to marketing the videos, I’m going to create an extra video with extracts from previous videos and put them all together to make a single sales pitch. I will also change my Facebook fan page to include an autoplay video with an introduction on what the videos offer and why they should buy them. Other than that, I would market this product as I would any other product.
Selling Your Product
This is where things start to get interesting because you can start investing your money and see an immediate return. Obviously if you have a Facebook and Twitter following, you can market to them for free and start earning money if you market it properly, but you will ulitmately want to appeal to a much wider audience, and to do this, you need to do some advertising.
The first way that I will market my product will be with Facebook ads because that’s a really good way of tracking your progress. Let’s say for example my product is worth $47 and every 20 of my fans will buy the product, then I need to see how much it costs me in advertising to gain 20 fans, and then that’s how much it costs to make $47. It’s that simple. Lets say that it costs you ¢50 in advertising to find a new fan, then it would cost $10 to get enough money to sell a product which costs $47, leaving you $37 profit. NOTE – This is a very rough estimate, and it may in fact cost more than this, but the point still stands that if you invest the money, you will see a return. Not only do you start to see an immediate return in terms of sales, but you’ll start to grow your Facebook fan page in a big way, which will start to see a growth in your website. This means that you’ll start to make money through your other channels, such as advertising and affiliate programs.
On the subject of affiliate programs, they’re another excellent way of selling more products. As what I’m creating is going to be a digital product, it doesn’t cost me anything to reproduce and I can give away a large commission to people who will sell it for me. It’s pretty standard to give away 50% of the profit to the affiliate, because selling the product really is half of the job. When I start to see my sales slow down, I will contact potential affiliates with large followings and ask them if they would like to sell for me.
There is a limit to how much I can make in the early stages using only advertising, so I need to release more products in quick succession. The goal here isn’t to just make $100,000 and call it a day, it’s to make my website into a business that will grow for years to come. My plan in the future is to continue making videos and sell them in packages, and make a living that way, until my website is in a position where I can start approaching other people, while taking in on as a full time job.
The plan is that after 3-4 releases, I will have a solid business model and following for these videos that I can commission other people with large following to take part too. You’ll find that there’s plenty of people with the knowledge, but neither the means, nor the knowhow to create a product for themselves. That way we can offer a different range of tutorials, whether it’s advanced lighting or photoshop, and access a new customer base. Always think one step in the head, and have a target of what you want to achieve in your business.