Getting started as an online entrepreneur can be challenging for a lot of reasons.
One of the biggest obstacles for me was shifting my mindset to understand people would buy the things I’m actually creating.
I’d hear stories of how others would write a book or create a training course, and made a great living by selling it. For a while I couldn’t get myself to see that as a possibility.
Getting my first sale changed the way I think
I realized that I am 100% capable of taking my knowledge and experience and packaging it in a way that I can sell.
First, I announced coaching.
I received some early interest and even brought in a few clients. Some of which I’m still working with.
Coaching is one of the easier things to “launch” because in reality, you can start offering it right away. Put up a page that explains what your coaching package offers (like this) one and start promoting it.
I even did a handful of free coaching calls to practice and dial in exactly what I wanted to help people with.
This is something I was able to start selling with little prep time so to speak.
Next, I started reaching out to my community to see what they were interested in. This involved surveys and going back and forth via email with a handful of highly engaged members of my audience.
Through those conversations I decided to launch to a membership program on mobile marketing training, called The Mobile Marketing Tribe.
It was a group that met 2 times a month, once for a topic based webinar and once for a Q&A call.
I promoted to my existing audience explaining what the program was all about, and that I was looking for a small group of charter members.
At this point nothing had even been created yet.
I got about 25-35 people that were interested in the program. I had them complete a survey to determine what level they were at and why they wanted to be in the program.
At the end of the day I only chose 12 for the program. In looking back, I should have done a better job of vetting out the individuals for the group.
Show me the money
Once I had those 12 narrowed down. I asked for their money. My program was going to be billed quarterly.
When I saw the interest I knew I was on to something.
When I saw the money come in, I knew it was viable.
Remember, at this point I really hadn’t created anything yet.
From here, I quickly setup the membership site (which was harder than I expected doing it myself) and started scheduling our monthly calls.
Mentally, it was hard to even get myself to feeling ok with accepting the money before launch, but it really showed me how much interest existed and how many customers I really had within my audience.
It was a start. We all have to start somewhere.
Most recently, I launched The SMS Marketing Handbook, my step-by-step guide to using SMS text message marketing to generate leads, increase sales and engage customers in a new way.
Why a book on SMS marketing?
My audience told me.
Create what they want, not what you want.
Since I had started my site, I had surveyed my audience a couple of times and received a lot of feedback and interest via email about SMS marketing.
- How do I use it?
- How does it work?
- Which vendor do I choose?
- What messages do I send?
There were plenty more questions, but when I noticed this ongoing trend I realized I needed to deliver something to my audience that would answer these questions.
Step 1: Validate interest
I created a landing page using Leadpages (the best way to create mobile optimized landing/sales pages in minutes) to capture interested of those that wanted The SMS Marketing Handbook.
Overall, I got about 125 people from my list whom were interested in this idea.
When people signed up from that page they received a confirmation email that asked them what they wanted to learn about SMS marketing.
I got tons of great responses that helped shape the book. I even made one chapter answering the most common questions.
100 was my goal. If I saw 100 people sign up for the early interest list I’d start creating the product.
Step 2: Start creating & packaging
I created a mind map and then an outline of the book. Then each and every day I woke up and started writing. Chapter by chapter.
I’d occasionally share updates with the interest list. In fact I should have done this more frequently when looking back on it.
To add additional value, I began recording training videos with leading experts in the SMS industry. With these as well as a handful of other resources I’d create 3 different packages to sell the book in. Each with it’s own price. I learned this from my friend Nathan Barry.
Step 3: Declare a launch date
Now, I’m sure some will say that I should have done this earlier but I didn’t. Once I had the interest and I was able to get the content started, I knew how long i’d need to get it all done.
I gave myself about a month and a half.
Step 4: Offer a special value for earlier purchases
Once I had the content underway, I reached out to my interest list and offered a discount for people that were interested in pre-ordering the book.
I promoted the pre-order for about 1 month. It was mentioned in almost every email I sent, on my podcast and on my weekly video show.
That pre-order generated about $3,000 in sales. Now, I didn’t actually receive that money until I delivered the book but it further validated that people were willing to pay me for the book and training.
Step 5: Promote on a webinar
I offered up a free Webinar to my existing email list on the Secrets of SMS Marketing. I promoted the webinar about 5 days in advance and I got 110 people register and 50 showed up to the live event.
20-30% is pretty common attendance rate so I was pumped when I had 50%.
I gave a 45 minute free webinar on 9 ways to use SMS marketing in your business and then I did about 10 minutes of what the book was all about.
I offered up the discounted price to anyone that purchased while on the webinar. I generated 5 sales, 3 at the $249 price point.
I had only done a few webinars in the past (maybe 1 actually) so I was super pleased.
Due to the interest, I did an encore presentation the next day. With very short notice I had 15 or so people join the next webinar and generated 4 more sales.
I’ll definitely be using webinars more in the future to not only add value, but to help sell some of the products I’m offering.
Step 6: Launch
Ok, so I had been working on the book and finalizing the content, now it’s time to give deliver it to all the people that pre-ordered and start promoting it to the world.
I’m an author. 🙂
It’s my first book and it will be a product I can continue to sell on my site. Since launch just a few days ago, I’ve been generating sales each and every day.
I have plans to increase my promotion of the book and even write another at some point.
You can sell your products and services before they are ever built or created.
Gauge interest with an early interest list and even validate their willingness to spend by making them pay before it’s available. Obviously, giving them a discount for buying early is a nice thing to do and a great strategy that worked for me and others I know.
So, what have you been wanting to create? Have you validated interest from your audience?
Why not try getting them to pay you now?
Leave a comment below and let me know what you’ve been thinking of creating. I’ll help you find a way to validate it.
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