Discussed in the podcast:
02:13 – How to avoid unfinished products
03:55 – Keeping it short
06:36 – Make it clear what you’re teaching
07:41 – A course planning structure
09:15 – Tools of the trade
12:01 – How often can you put out a product?
16:54 – Having your own product versus using other people’s
20:41 – Selling your products
27-47 – Finding product ideas
30:14 – How Mike got started
32:45 – What you can put in your sales copy
37:00 – Suggested sales platforms
39:10 – It’s about the relationship
43:09 – Getting your product online
James: Okay, so Mike, you have been prolific with product creation and you also do webinars, so I think it would be a great discussion if we just talk about some of the elements involved for the internet marketer who wants to start creating their own products because there’s so many different things you can do online: we know about selling services to local business, we know about affiliate marketing, but I know when I look back at my own affiliate marketing success, a lot of it had to do with creating my own bonuses and products, and it’s such a powerful advantage and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So, welcome to the discussion.
Mike: Thanks, it’s always good to be here man. Appreciate it.
James: Give our listeners a little background as to how you got to the stage right now and what sort of things you’ve done. Give us a bit of context as to what we’re qualified to talk about here.
A short background
Mike: Sure, well here’s the thing James, when I first got started with internet marketing, I started doing web design and SEO for smaller businesses and in the process was introduced to internet marketing. And in all honesty, I really struggled when I first got started with the whole information overload and I learned pretty quickly. You know you have to have your own product if you want to be able to build a list, if you want to have affiliates, all those things that were you know where the money is, so to speak.
And so, what I did was I would make about 90 percent of a product and then I’d go “Oh! You know what, I need a product about this too and a product about that” and I really had a hard time finishing my products and I had about 25 products and 2 of them were done. And the ones that were done, people were buying and they were happy and the rest of them were not and you can guess how much money I made out of those ones that weren’t finished right?
James: You know I have so been in that situation I just was actually looking at some of my old files today, as it turns out, and I found this sheet from 2007 for my internet marketing blog and it had the opt-in value series of education and stuff. And I was really good at mapping out ideas, I had all this opportunity in inverted commerce and I went on so many partial product creations. It was very frustrating but you’re right, you make zero out of the product that you never get to market. So what do you think the big lesson there is for people listening to this?
The big lesson
Mike: Well, you know I got to give credit to my buddy Jason Flatt because I was listening to one of his webinars and Jason struggled with one of the same things and the way he put it was really kind of elementary. He’d say “You know, I’d sit down. I’d start on a product and then I take a break and it wouldn’t get done.
So the next day or next week, I’d sit down and start on a product and take a break and then it wouldn’t get done so after this happened a few times, what do you think I figured out?” and everybody typed in “Don’t take a break” and so I adopted that philosophy and sometimes there’s bigger projects where you can’t necessarily do it all in one sitting but if it’s a video series, whether it’s on list building or traffic generation or blogging or whatever, it shouldn’t take you more than, at the most, a couple of hours.
For me what the big difference was was I would sit down, I would right down just on like Notepad what I want to talk about and my outline for my products are always an intro and a conclusion and then in between the actual how-to steps. And I firm believer of keeping the videos really short and one topic per video so if it’s How to install a blog or How to create a header graphic or something like that so that they can be really synched to the point I’m like we’re talking about two to five minutes each. So that was a big stepping point for me.
James: I really want to lock in that point. Two to five minutes each is such a critical thing and there’s been a lot of discussion about this in one of the communities that I run called SuperFastBusiness where I used to load up the products in 45 minute or 60 minute chunks, which would be a 90 minute webinar cut down, top and tailed and cleaned out and edited out all of my “uhms and aahs” and make me sound amazing. Now, then I started chopping them down in chapters. What I would do is build the slide deck by topic. I would have a similar to you, an intro and an outro or conclusion.
You know that one about tell them what you’re going to tell them and then tell them what you told them and all that sort of stuff. And in the middle, I went a little bit more depth there using the format principle which is the “Why, What, How, What If” principle – telling them why need to know this, what it is, how to do it and then cover all of the objections.
So I put them in these little segments and some people said “Oh you know, I just want to watch it all on Apple TV” and I thought I’m going to go and look at my heat maps and I’m going to do the numbers on this and the statistics that I pulled were absolutely clear that these small bite-sized modules were getting viewed more. More people made it all the way through the entire course in small pieces than sitting through one session. The stick rate for two to five minutes; twelve is my maximum by the way, that’s the number I work with, is over 85 percent retention, so more than 85 percent of people will watch a 10 minute video.
As soon as you start going up to 25, 30, 60 or 90, you start dropping down to 25 percent or 15 percent because life gets in the way, someone interrupts or the TV show starts or they’ve got to drop their kids to school. And what I took was the total number of people who started watching the first video and then followed them all the way through the little sausage machine using Wistia’s heat mapping and the total at the end was about twice as many people made it all the way through to the end.
I think it was about half made it all the way through to the end instead of 25 percent from a 60 minute video so first tip is small batch sizes. And how much easier is it to create a small video than a large one?
Small vs. large video
Mike: It’s a piece of cake and there’s other advantages too. I mean it doesn’t surprise me at all the results that you got from testing that. But you know, when you look at it from the internet marketing world, as far as like selling your product or talking about the features or benefits, it helps you also get crystal clear on what you’re going to teach.
For instance like when you make bullets on a sales page, you say “Here’s what you’re going to discover”, you never say “Here’s what you’re going to learn” right?, and so you might say “How to” for instance “set up a blog”, “How to create a page”, “How to create a post”, “How to add an image”, “How to put a video on your page”.
So what you’re doing is you’re writing your sales copy but you’re also writing your outline for making those videos and when people come back to it a week later or a month later or whatever, and they go “I forgot how to add a video”. They don’t have to sit down and listen to a 45 minute thing which may be great content but they’re like “I just need to know how to add a video”, you know what I’m saying?
James: I do and I’m glad that you highlighted “discover” because it’s much more exciting to discover something than it is to learn something and How-to is a no-brainer. You’ll notice a lot of the podcasts I do and videos that I put up are How-to because that educational content will get a lot more eyeballs and a lot more people are interested in that. Do you have a course planning structure or is it as simple as the introduction and the conclusion and then fill it in the middle?
Mike’s course planning structure
Mike: Well you know, when I first was first talking about my background, I had about 25 products. Now I’ve got over a hundred, well close to a hundred I actually haven’t kept track of it recently, but I don’t really have to think about it much at this point because some of it just so much of it is just kind of automated. Now it’s more broken down into you know, my videos.
The number of videos that I do is normally between seven and ten. There’s always and intro and a conclusion. The intro is what this is, why you need it, what to expect, what not to expect that kind of thing. And then I very much “let’s cut to the chase and forget the fluff and just show you how it’s done”. I’m a big fan of using Camtasia or Jing or whatever you’re going to use for your software and showing people clearly how to do it.
Because sometimes if you’ve done something a lot, you’ll forget to say “Oh, you have to click on this before you get to this” but people can see you do it. So if they’re doing it along with you with video, it’s like being there. So, I think that’s the big element as far as making the actual product and then I also always try and have some kind of a bonus that they don’t know about just so that they’re overly happy with what I’ve done and how to be relevant.
And you know, one of the big advantages that’s related to that, as far as making your own product, is when you make your own bonuses too is they can’t get it anywhere else. So when you send your sales copy or whatever and there’s a surprise bonus valued at 957 bucks, it shows you how to do blank, it’s true when it gets people excited and it gets people curious. And when they actually see the product and the bonus, they’re that much happier that they bought.
James: I love it. So, your main tools of trade, then the computer and some sort of screen capture video.
Mike: Yeah, and there’s a bunch of them out there. And if people are on a shoestring budget, you can get Jing, which is actually maybe the same company that makes Camtasia and they’re actually going to be stopping Jing and they’re just going to be doing a different piece of software called Snagit, which is both of those are excellent, really nice quality or you can just take the plunge and get Camtasia, which if you’re on a PC, it’s 300 bucks, if you’re on a Mac, it’s 100 bucks; which is everybody should be on a Mac. I don’t know.
James: Yeah, and I’m going to put in a vote for ScreenFlow here. I really dislike Camtasia on the Mac. It was very buggy and problematic for me and I’m sure it’s fantastic now but ScreenFlow is cheaper a really great editing tool as well as a screen capture so I predominantly use that for all of my video and audio, just the one editing tool so it’s another alternative.
Mike: Yeah I do have both of those and there’s some others too like for instance, Screenr, which is S-C-R-E-E-N-R.COM, is an online web capture tool. So if like you’re out and about, you don’t have your computer, you don’t have your software and you get an idea, you can just go on there and log in through Facebook or Twitter and record videos for up to five minutes and then upload it to YouTube or to Facebook or download it or email it to somebody and it’s for free. And I actually like the five minute limit because it keeps you focused on keeping your videos short.
James: Yeah I’d say keep your videos short. Everything I’ve learned about videos, short gets retention. Also, when it comes to the type of products that you can create, you’ve got your screen capture type products.
Another way to really do a screen capture product is to build out a PowerPoint or a Keynote slide deck and pre populate it with all the things you want to illustrate including all the little arrows and some circles and highlights and, if you need to (it’s not necessary) – transitions, that will really cut down the amount of editing time you have if you can pre-prepare a PowerPoint or a Keynote, drag all your images and screenshots and especially Snagit images, I love the little “tear-away” effects and the drop shadows, but I use Keynote as my Snagit; Keynote does all of those things.
And then you can just flick on the screen capture and using two screens and presenter’s notes, you can talk through each of the slides and then hit stop and just trim the start and the finish, put in a little video bumper or something nice and professional and there’s your product. And that’s how I made TrafficGrab, which was a good solid six figure product and it went out to several thousand people. And I also used that to make the majority of my information products.
Quite often I’ll take a webinar, and then record that and then chop it up into little pieces with title slides and make it into a full-blown product. And now, I’m averaging one a month as a run rate and that will typically be seven to ten modules. And if you’ve got a hundred products, you must be popping them out like crazy?
Mike: Well, I was…we talked the other day about the webinars. I used to have a weekly webinar show and so what I would do was literally every week, I would make a product and I’ve learned a bunch of different ways to do that. Sometimes you can start out with the actual product I’ve done and kind of talk about one of the strategies or two of the strategies and then see if you like this, I’ve got, you know, ten more or whatever. Or what you can do is you can tell people before the webinar like as it starts “Listen, tonight I’m going to be creating a product and you’re going to get just pure content for free being on the call” and at the end, “if you’d like to buy the replay, I’ll make it a special price for you” you know, for being live on the call.
And then, you literally have this built-in accountability to put out a great product with great content and because they’re listening and they’re typing in questions, you know if you’re missing something or if you need to emphasize something more, so it ends up being a better product. And then what you do is in the end you say “Great, so first, I’m going to sell this for X number of dollars, I told you I’d give you a great price so here’s the discount plus I’m also going to include this bonus or this bonus that I didn’t show you tonight” so it’s a double whammy and it’s a great way to get paid to make a product.
Building a framework
James: Fantastic. Well, I think we should talk about monetization models in a second, so we’ll come back to that. By the way, that is an open loop which is very effective to use within products to have people stick to the end to assist their learning; an open-nested loop where you’ll open up something that they’ll get later and then commence with the training part. And I’m a big believer in actually delivering good value so the people can get a result from the training.
It’s not just because they want to pay me, they’ve turned up. It’s because they want to learn something or achieve a result after the training that they couldn’t do beforehand and that’s always a good thing to focus on in the introduction and it’s a great thing to recap at the end is some action steps.
Let’s talk about for a minute there about the, I just want to recap on this framework or structure for a presentation. So, someone’s sitting there, they’ve got a blank whiteboard or a piece of paper, they’re listening to this thinking about making a product, they now have an awareness that it’s possible to make a product every week and frankly, they could probably make one everyday if they were super prolific; and you and I have both knocked out products within hours, so It’s totally possible. It might not be the world’s greatest product but it will be to the point, a series of little videos and it will be neat.
So, knowing that they are able to do this, we’ve talked about a framework of having an introduction and a conclusion and then filling in the middle, and it could be that simple. They could simply write the topic at the top, introduce the topic and cover the Why, What, the How, and then cover off objections and then conclude it with a summary and an action list. And they can do that for each video module, bundle those modules together, and there is a product. So someone listening to this is only one weekend in a motel with a laptop away from having their own product. Agreed?
The wide and deep model
James: Now the wide and deep model. I just want to go a little bit into this, and this is really effective if you sell from stage, or if you’re putting together a Webinar. If you’re at that sales part where there’s more products that they can provide at the end. That’s where if you say you have 6 or 7 points that you wanted to make, a typical mistake and I used to make this, is you cover each point say 10 or 20% you cover 20% of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 evenly across the board. That’s wide but what I recommend people to do is to go very, very deep in at least one of the points.
So maybe on a couple of points just go 10% deep and then one of them go 100% deep and show them everything you’ve got in that one point so that they can get a feel for not just your range but your depth and they know how specialized you are in this particular topic, and that creates an awareness of the gap there that the other 80% they’re missing out on all the other points is really desirable now and something that they’ll really be interested in paying for the next level of solution for.
Mike: I agree 100% and I also want to emphasize that one area that you do go down 100%, it should be in my opinion the most exciting part or element of your topic, you know what I mean? It’s just like a performance, say here’s my record, what song are they going to play on the radio? The best song.
James: Exactly. My son is playing with his band recently and I suggested he lead with just the killer track just to stun people in their tracks rather than just warm them up because people dull by the time they get to the good song.
Private Label Rights
Let’s talk about having your own products versus using other people’s products. I know there’s a phrase PLR, a lot of internet marketers would be familiar with this phrase Private Label Rights, some kind of licensing deal. Would you be able to just develop this and can you give me your attitudes around this?
Mike: Sure well first, Private Label Rights is where basically you can do whatever you want with it. You can give it away, you can sell it, you can say it’s yours, you can chop it up, you can take away from it. It can be great and it’s a great concept but the challenge is that about 50% of the PLR that’s out there is total garbage or rubbish as you put it. About 30% – 40% of it is okay and only 10% of it is really good quality stuff and so what I tend to do is if I’m going to use PLR is first of all you have to make it better.
Even if somebody puts out some great quality stuff that you want to change the graphics, you want to change the sales page, change the presentation, you want to go through the actual product and make sure of good quality and add something to it like a bonus. I like to actually sell PLR, create PLR because I think it frees people up to not having the excuse of not having a product of their own.
James: I want to jump in there on that point because as you’re saying is, I’m thinking the last time I bought a license to use something was some WordPress training videos put out by a company called WP101.
And we have a web development company and we give every single person who buys a website access to a free WordPress training membership and in there are these updated videos, and every time WordPress does a major update they send over the new ones and we just load them up and I didn’t have to sit down and create a thing but automatically I’ve paid a license fee to be able to treat this as my own product, house it on my own website, and to use the value of it as if I made them myself and I don’t even have to tell people where it came from because I paid for the level of license that allows me to not have to carry their logo or banner and it’s a high quality offer. So there are many cases where you shouldn’t create a product and there are some cases where you absolutely should.
Mike: I agree 100%. So there’s a lot of different tutorials out there and kind of basic. Actually, you and I talked about it before while we were still recording I was in the spirit of proving that I know what I’m talking about or that it’s just guess work that we’re talking about.
What I did was that I had to make some videos for a client that I made a WordPress blog for, I told him I’d make some tutorials so that they can make changes and stuff like that, so what I did was I made them a little bit more generic where I didn’t say “this is Mike from MikeCowles.com make sure you visit my site afterwards if you liked this”, I didn’t do any of that, I just said here’s how to create a WordPress page or here’s how to create a WordPress post and I made those 7 videos today and it took me about 40 minutes.
And then I put them together I uploaded them all to YouTube and I just put all those in a report so that anybody that’s listening to this could actually download it and keep them and use them themselves either as private liberal rights or to give to a client that they did a blog for, that kind of thing just like what you’re talking about right now.
James: Yeah and I paid hundreds of dollars for the rights for this so that’s very generous. What I’ll do is I’ll put a link to that in the show notes which will be on SuperFastBusiness.com right where you hear this episode and you’ll be able to see what Mike can put together in 40 minutes and this is not some kind of an affiliate link, there’s no opt-in. This is just a gift from Mike which is tremendous.
Alright so we’re going well, we’ve discovered there’s a way that you can format these products, we’ve talked some of the tools you might use to do it. We have given some context as to how prolific you might be. We even talked about some of the ways you might sell them but I am curious. You’ve got all these products, how do you actually go about selling them? Do you have a website for each? Do you put them into one place?
Selling your products
Mike: You know I’ve done both and initially when I would make a product I would get the domain first and I would look to see like I have for instance HowToPutVideosOnline.com. I have HowToSellVideosOnline. I have PDFBluePrint.com. I have a bunch of different domains like that and there are pros and cons to doing each one of those.
For me, my challenge in the past was being too much of a perfectionist because if I have a full domain that I have to make a sales page and everything else so if somebody is listening to this saying – Well I don’t have a product, I just want to get started. Do I need a domain for every single product idea I have? I would say no, I would do what James teaches in OwnTheRacecourse and I would have a blog and if your name is John Smith I would have JohnSmith.com/wordpress and that would be your section on WordPress and JohnSmith.com/traffic and have that be your section on traffic.
That’s who I would do it now and that’s what I’m doing more with my site in where I’m heading versus doing the individual sales page.
James: Yeah I think this is the trend as we watch sites like AppSumo and Udemy and Linder get massive traction in the market, it’s just one portal where there are different courses and there’s also MindValley I think do this as well. What I’m doing is starting to roll up a lot of my front-end websites where I would have the individual domain and a product for sale by itself with affiliates.
I’ve switched off my affiliate program. I’ve turned off the payment option on my products, and I’ve brought these products back into my membership and if people want my products they just go and join the membership and they can get all my products in there, so it’s become like a library or a university online and they are also getting that coaching assistance from me.
They can still get the individual products through those little loopholes like BuyWithBonus.com as individual bonuses and in some cases I’m actually going to pick a couple of my best products and I’m going to give them away the same way that I gave away the first two hours of TrafficGrab because that brought a massive amount of traffic to my site and I think once you get more established in a deeper library of products, what we’re going to see is a lower cost of products with the proliferation of Kindles.
For just a few dollars you can go and buy business books for $7 or $8 or $9 you can buy legitimate business books on Amazon. I think these $2,000 products are on thin ice and with a $1,000 commissions, it’s just pure inefficiency as Dan Andrews from LifestyleBusiness podcast would say – All greed or a combination of both – but what I’m suggesting is that people like me are going to be putting out paid products for free as a lead-up to the community places where they get pulled together, and as a simplification strategy it’s so much easier just to have one or two websites.
Have one website to do all of your blogging and podcasts and put interviews and free products and that could lead to a paid community which may even be on the same site/members or might be on a separate domain but I think that’s the way forward for prolific product creators like you and I and perhaps people listening might be inspired by that. And the first product they should probably create is something nice that people could have if they opt-in to a newsletter list. What are your thoughts about that?
Offering quality products
Mike: I think it’s a no brainer and I agree 100% and the thing is if you have the right mindset which is if you give enough and you help enough people then it will always come back to you, maybe not specifically form that person just like when we had our last conversation it always works out like that.
I’ve actually since I looked at some of your stuff before I started Mike’s Academy about 2 months ago and put a bunch of products in there and I shut down my affiliate program as well due to some of the same things you talked about, complaints of people doing credit card fraud and stuff like that and I kept on thinking about what’s the best way to do this because I like the idea of an affiliate program as far as helping people that are not necessarily product creators or don’t want to create a lot of products so that they can promote something that’s good quality.
And one of the things I thought of was I liked basically what you’re doing throwing all of your products in there but I also thought about having a kind of a re-seller edge to it to so maybe if your academy is for instance 6-7 bucks you could say or for 1.97 you could get all these products and you can sell them and keep 100% of the profit or whatever percent you decide. It’s very generous, they’ve been tested to convert, I think that’s another good idea, and I think that’s a direction that a lot of people end up going if they’re good quality products.
James: I think what you’re doing now is having two levels of recurring membership. But actually I’m assuming it’s recurring and they didn’t actually ask.
Mike: Yeah and that’s the idea because some people are just wanting the training and other people are like – Okay I got enough training to go and make some money and instead of making a bunch of products I can just promote his and keep 100% of the profit – it’s kind of a no brainer, now they just have to focus on traffic.
James: Well not having an affiliate program for me has allowed me to really be motivated by my community because it’s a little more profitable and I’m able to bring it to the market better at such a fair price compared to what other people charge if they have to send half that income back off to affiliates. It’s de-motivating and of course you have that fraud.
But what it does do is it opens up you to go and offer value and appear on other people’s podcast and videos and other stuff and to spread your message and to share information that could be used without paying a cent. Someone could listen to this already and feel a little bit more confident that they could create a product. They could know what sort of product that they would create and how they would go about doing it and how often.
I want to just touch on a few more topics before I let you off the hook and that is offer creation like what should we be making these products about, like where do we get the ideas? We might share some ideas on that so that’s one topic I want to cover and then I also want to talk about, what about people who are nervous or scared, how much of an expert do you need to be to be qualified to make a product?
Because I recall when I put together my first super-duper product which was called the ExitePro CheatSheet or ExcessPCheatsheet to avoid trademark violations, I was a bit worried when I put it out that people might accuse me of being a rank amateur and I shouldn’t publish this junk. But I was shocked when I put it up as a WSO which is a Warrior Special Offer and I was making a thousand dollars a day straight off the bat for the first week and I was blown away by that. So let’s talk about off a creation what sort of ideas and how we pitch it and how qualified an expert do we need to be and did Mike Cowles always have a radio voice?
Mike Cowles’ radio voice?
Mike: We haven’t actually talked about it but I do impressions too so a lot of times I do my Webinars with the guests always asking me to do this, that’s funny to mention, a radio voice. But jumping back to what you were talking about as far as ideas is that the big thing to start out with these ideas is looking at your own frustrations. What are you struggling with? What would you wish they had a solution for? What do you wish that someone could just solve this one problem and then I would be happy? Then you would probably buy it and then look on the forums or the popular blogs and see whether people are sharing that same frustration.
So whatever niche you’re in whether you’re in dog training, do Google search for dog training site, dog training forum, dog training blog – that kind of thing. And just spend some time in there and look at what people are talking about. You can do searches for “how do I” or “how do you” or “does anyone know” and those will open other questions for you.
You know people are frustrated and they’re asking other people that know this topic for answers. And so what happens is, that’s a year in the dog training niche, you’ll find out that the biggest complaints, you could write down 20 of them but you know the ones that are mentioned the most are “how do I get my dogs to stop eating my shoe” or “how to get him to sit” or “not to go pee on the rug” or whatever it is. And you categorize it. What’s the ones that they are talking about the most is great. Now I’m going to go to the ideal list if you already know the answer to do this. You’re already competent and then you can just go. You can just start recording.
If you don’t know, then what you can do is, there’s an acronym I use which is PRO, which is where you present, you research and you organize. So Present, Research and Organize. And the way that it works is, the initial thing you’re doing is you’re going to research. You’re going to Google, you’re going to type in “how I’m going to get my dog to stop peeing on the rug” and you can type this in different questions like “how am I going to get my dog” “how to get my dog stop peeing or urinating or going to the bathroom”.
You can put it in different ways and you’ll find so much information that for sure especially if you go to the videos. People spend the time to make videos on Google on YouTube, then you’ll find the answer normally within about 15 minutes like the best answer, good enough, that will work. I’m confident 100% on that. So now you got your content, you’ve done your research and you’ve the solution but now you can put it in your own words and again you want to know your topic and typically to know your topic better than 80% of people, you have to read two books on it.
So if you do that and you do this research the way that I’m telling you, now you’ve got your content. One of the quick things I did want to see real quick was, we’re talking about as far as getting started and my first product was actually a software product because I was kind of too shy to be the authority, to go out there and talk. So what I did was I hired a guy on scriptlance.com which is now freelancer.com to create an affiliate cloaking piece of software. I said here’s the idea. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know what language. I can make a graphic of what I want it to look like but you have to be able to make it to do this.
And I think I paid around fifty bucks to get it done. And that was my first product which was affiliate link magic and I made a few thousand dollars with that which was really exciting and then I said you know what, I’ve been doing SEO for my clients. I should really just show how to do it because it doesn’t take much time so I created a product called “One Hour Google” and that was similar to your first sale where I was making between five hundred to a thousand bucks a day for a couple of weeks and that was just so exciting you know to have it out there.
And really it was about 7-10 videos, something like that, just saying here’s what to focus on, here’s what to avoid and here’s the result you’ll get and that was it.
James: So you’ve done your research. Was there another step?
Write your action steps
Mike: You know, as far as prioritizing it, looking at what people are complaining about the most and what people are excited about the most is part of it. And you know when I put together my products, one of the things that I think is really valuable to people and it actually gives a perceived value as well is I would record the video and then I would strip the audio from it as well, so now they have- as far as the graph that’s showing what they are going to get.
You can have a DVD case or a pilot DVD saying you’re going to get these 7 videos and then you’re also going to get the audio version of this. You can listen to it while you’re driving or working out or whatever. Then you can also get that transcribed, whether it’s you VA or somebody in Fiverr.com which if you don’t know what Fiverr it’s F-I-V-E-R-R .com and you can hire people to do just about anything. So, people on Fiverr will transcribe like fifteen minutes worth of audio for $5. So if you have an hour worth of content, we’re talking $20 to have it all transcribed.
And so now you’ve got your video series, your audio series and your transcription which you can put in a PDF. And then you can also make a quick start guide and have that be like a PDF as well so you can say here’s your checklist or your action steps. And a quick tip in creating your product is if you start with that checklist, that action steps then that’s really going to be your guide or your script or whatever for creating the videos. So let’s just start with that.
James: And you can literally put that in the sales copy, can’t you? By the end of this short training series you’ll be able to action step 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.
Mike: Yes. And you can also in the sales copy- one of the things I’ve noticed is that those guys are fantastic. There’s John Carlton or whoever, but when it comes to these types of information products where it’s really one problem, one solution oriented. You really don’t have to have much as far as sales copy. The formula that I use is the offer proof and the scarcity. And if the offer is, buy this Ferrari for a hundred bucks and it’s in a good condition and it’s not stolen. You could be a terrible salesman and you’re selling all day long.
James: Tough sale.Tough sale. So that’s interesting you know. One of the things I’ve taken is a very low pressure sales approach and quite often I’ll take the first video from my training series, load it up to YouTube. It will be 12 minutes long and it will be the outline of the training course. Mostly the why and the what part of the training it will be. This is why I need to know this thing. This is what it is.
And in the following videos we’re going to go through how to do this and we will then cover up all the questions that we get asked. And that’s usually per module. And I load it up to YouTube and stick that on the sales page. And that has been converting quite well and at reasonable price points. And also picking up some organic traffic. It’s sort of giving people the preview of the product and I really have to credit sites like Amazon and Apple iTunes for this because they let you preview what you’re buying. It’s like a demonstration. See what you’re getting. The style of it, the tone of it, the information contained within the product.
And this is what I put out on all my front end sites. But Ill now bringing them back to my master site. But there are up on my YouTube channel. It just gives people a window and it cuts down refunds as well- refund requests. You don’t have to offer triple money back guarantees if you’re not doing blind selling and blind selling is where you don’t tell people anything about the product.
You just sell the hopes and the dreams and the aspirations and then you tell them after they buy the product that it was just one little secret magic trick or that it’s something a little bit of unethical which are very common on some selling platforms. Speaking of that, I’ll let you answer that and then we’ll talk about selling platforms as well.
Simple but powerful content
Mike: Sure. What I was saying real quick is that as far as the whole blind copy. I had a product before that it was really a simple concept but it was a good powerful one. And if I can explain how it works, there will be nothing to sell. So I sold that with blind copy. I got more refunds on that because I think it was kind of a magic trick for people. They wanted not to do it, then once they realized they’re going to work to practice or whatever. They didn’t want to do that versus the other products where you say this is what you are going to learn.
I’m going to show you how to do it- A B C D E F and G and we are going to walk through everything you can watch over my shoulder and they know. Okay, well great. I’m going to have a software or I’m going to have to talk, I’m going to have to write or whatever to get those results. But they still want to know how. They buy it. If they don’t want to do all that work, they don’t buy.
James: Well, I think what you’ve experienced there was the phenomenon of curiosity. And it’s so compelling. Curiosity drives people. And I also found a page the other day and it was a $9.95 product. It was completely blind and I was curious but I knew that if I paid $10 I would have been disappointed. I would have gone all. I knew that. Why didn’t they just say that in the beginning?
Sometimes it’s okay to accept the slower percentage of conversions because they stick and you know we get, just to give you a number, across all of our sales, and I’m talking about a few million bucks, we get 1% refund and that’s mostly customer error ordering the wrong package from one of our services or forgetting to unsubscribe from something after they intended to stop or whatever.
So 1% and if you’d go to some of the common marketplaces or look at credit card industry numbers, I’m sure you’ll find it’s massively higher than that. It’s because of some pretty scary sales tactics. Now, did you stick a PayPal button on your side or do you stick them into a platform of some kind when you want to sell these products?
Mike: Well, initially if you’re just getting started, you can just start stick a Paypal button on it but I’ll tell you a quick side that a lot of people don’t know about which is payspree.com It uses paypal. It uses what is called the “red robin” technique. Which means that if you’re paying out 50% commission to your affiliates then the first sale goes to you, the second goes to the affiliate then the third goes to you and so forth. And it’s a really easy to use platform. If you want to just have your button up there and literally like a minute and get paid through Paypal and be able to offer an affiliate program.
So I used that for a while and then I actually made my own platform called “Simple One Click” which was more similar but more robust. It had things like it automatically puts you on the Aweber list when you buy it. It delivers the content, secure pages. If they asked for refund or whatever, then they went back to that page. They have to login to your Simple One Click account and it wouldn’t be there that kind of thing. So that was a really cool answer and that only literally takes about a minute to set up your product. It’s faster for me to do that than to login to paypal and get the button.
James: Yeah I like that. I think the important point there for new product creators is build a database of people who buy your product. Please build a database. That’s where the relationship formed from that – it’s going to make you the big profit later because ultimately if you’ve got a frontline of products and even if they’re a hundred dollars or two hundred dollars or a thousand dollars, that’s not going to make you a millionaire straight off the bat.
It’s building up that trust on a long term customer who’s going to spend thousands with you as they continue or consume products or join some kind of coaching or look to other things that you offer in the higher price point. If you want to run a workshop or mastermind, that’s where the money is. So get this price out there but don’t think that your first product for $7 is your ticket to retirement right now.
It’s a long term gradual process of building up the database. And you can make a really good income from a thousand customers. I think you can make 6 figures year from a thousand customers of a reasonably small price point, if you nurture and look after those people.
Building customer relationship
Mike: Yeah, it’s a hundred percent sure. It’s all about relationship. I have a coaching student and she- well I shouldn’t say how big her list is, not that she would mind- but it wasn’t very big at all and she would be competing against Lee McIntyre, Dave Guindon and was winning in like affiliate contest and her list was much more smaller but the difference- and not to say negative about those guys because both those guys are great marketers but because she has smaller list and she is a very attentive person, she would do what you and I do which is when somebody would send her an email and say hey I have a quick question, can you tell me how to do blank?
You would not just say, buy my product or visit my support desk. You’d say, yeah a quick step is to do this and this. If you have any more questions, let me know. And by having that relationship people would know that you care. When you say, I just bought this, it’s really good or you might want to check this out or it’s a great piece of software, people will jump all over it. So, a thousand people is a lot actually for people that know you, like you and trust you.
James: Yeah, I remember when was selling this cheat sheet, people are getting stuck with the software. I have to literally open up my GoToMeeting account and take over their computer and build their website for them. This was for my $49.25 commission, I would do unbelievable things. I’m talking about minimum viable product. But the knowledge that I learned doing that helped me solved a lot of problems for people. And also a big shout out to Lee who I know watches this podcast. You’re a good man.
Okay, let’s talk about – we really have to wrap up soon because – by the way people are wondering what I use to sell my products. I’m using Nanacast and that is just very simple to add my products and memberships. It takes all sorts of payments – merchant accounts, Paypal, etc. And it’s really good at recurring Paypal billing, if you’re interested in that. And that is probably the main reason I use that over Office AutoPilot.
It does have an affiliate module and it integrates with all the auto responders so if you bought anything of mine, ever, you probably already dealt with it. And whilst it suits me, it might not suit everyone else so do your research; but the most important thing is get this thing out there and up.
So let’s work on our checklist as our final closing action steps. I think we should just think about putting ourselves in the shoes of a novice. Perhaps go back to when you were thinking about that first product and I’m stepping back into my mind when I wanted to create this cheat sheet which literally started as 10 lines in an Excel spreadsheet of my personal checklist that I would do when I build a website like change the hyphenage for the permalink structure, to change the name of the robots file.
There’s always 11 things and I turned that into a 6 or 7-page word document and I iterated and iterated and iterated until it went 135 pages with colored SnagIT illustrations and supporting video tutorials, the works! I mean, it’s amazing value!
What would be the checklist? We’ve got the blank canvass. We’ve probably written up some topic ideas which we’ve researched in forums and we’ve searched for “How To” or “What should I?” or “Does anyone know?” We’ve come up with some great topics that people spend money on. We’ve had a look at the products in the market and read a couple of books.
We’ve listed out the introduction, the why, the what, the how, the what if, and a conclusion with action steps. And we’ve made a note to make it a quick-start guide. We’ve gone and gotten ourselves some screen capture software. We’ve blocked out an hour or two to sit down and make this. On my own track, where are we up to?
Mike: Yeah, man. Other than your sales page and your buy button, I think you’re done (laughs).
James: So we’ve banged this product out, we clean it up, we do some basic edits – how do we get it up on the Internet?
Getting it up on the internet
Mike: Well, there’s a couple different schools of thoughts with this. What I first used to do is, I would just upload the videos to my server and then just have download link. So if it was mikecowles.com/video17943.zip or something like that. You can do that if you want, but if you start getting busy and you don’t have a dedicated server then you’re looking at bandwidth issues so there’s a few other options. You can use a Dropbox link. I’ve seen a lot of marketers do that. Or if your product is – yeah, you can use Amazon S3 as well.
James: Which is effectively Amazon S3, it’s an easy-to-use S3 interface.
Mike: Yeah, I found S3 does get to be a little bit pricey depending on if we’re passing around a few links and I know there’s ways to procure that stuff but If we’re talking to the brand new person that’s saying “This is my first product,” I wouldn’t necessarily do S3. What I would probably do is create YouTube videos and put it on a page with a unique link that is not easy to find and meaning, if you have like jamesschramko.com, you could be product74922386.
And there’s a couple of plugins you can get. One of them is called Robots Meta and this would make it so that it doesn’t get indexed by the search engines and then there’s WP HidePost. Those are both free plugins and that one will make sure that it doesn’t show up anywhere in your site so like it won’t show up on a page or if you do a search on your site. Just by having those two, now you can simply put the YouTube video on your download page and say here’s Module 1, Module 2, Module 3 and just use the embed code.
Now, there’s ways to make it look more professional like you can use – I know James uses Leadplayer. I recently heard about VideoMate PRO which is another great one. It’s real similar but it gives it a nice clean look. You can have things like your own thumbnail on there in the beginning instead of the one where you’re like mid-sentence and your mouth is half-way open, and you’re rolling your eyes because it’s just Google snapping whatever they think is a good thumbnail. Instead, you can have your business logo on all the videos though it’s a nice clean look.
Once you do that, you simply put those YouTube videos on there with your player, your page is ready. Then what I always do on all of my “Thank You” pages is I put a recommended resources list. If you’re brand new and you don’t have a product – you don’t have other products to recommend, but you still can recommend other affiliate products or non-affiliate products that are just good tools so that when people are there, they can check out other offers.
You can also do things like, “Hey, I’m going to have a webinar on this topic. On such-and-such date, you can register here.“ that’s great too, to build up your relationship with your list as well as if you have something related or other tools that you can promote. There’s more money in doing that as well.
James: That’s a great advice it’s how to put that affiliate revenue on the top of your own product. Of course, you can have an email full of sequence too that might suggest that the next product or recommended service that would be relevant for people who have consumed that product.
Mike, I think this just about round us up but there’s one thing that I’m interested now you’ve piqued my curiosity. What sorts of impressions do you do?
Mike: What sort of imp – (laughs). I do a lot of The Simpsons. I do James Earl Jones, bunch of fun ones like that. Sean Connery.
James: (laughs) Give us one. Let’s hear the magic.
Mike: Alright. This is James Earl Jones.
Mike: But the kids always want to hear the Darth Vader version of that one. Do you watch The Simpsons, James?
James: I’m sure everyone has seen the Simpson episode.
Mike: Ahm Mr. Burns? There’s a Homer J. Simpson to see you, Sir. Simpson, eh? List that. (laughs) I tell you what, my favorite guy on there is that Mr. Simpson, I’m afraid you’ve only got 24 hours left to live. More like 22, sorry I kept you waiting.
James: (laughs) Alright, that’s going to be the fun in this podcast for sure. Well Mike, you’ve been really generous. Hopefully, our listeners are inspired. They’re ready to create some product. I’d love to see some comments about how this has helped, what sorts of products are being created. I’ll certainly be there to answer questions and I’m sure Mike will stop by.
And if you’d like to catch up with Mike at his site, head over to mikecowles.com. and you will be able to see what he’s got going on over there. I’ll also put a link in the show notes to the WordPress stuff that Mike mentioned on this episode and an example of what he’s able to create in 40 minutes but also he’s generously offered you the ability to use that. Thanks so much for coming on, Mike.
Mike: It was my privilege. It was a lot of fun James.
James: Alright, take care!
Mike: Thank you!
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