In October last year, we launched a product of a SEO startup (SEOceros). This was the first not manual online service I have ever sold, and my first real attempt at making money from a websites.
When I advert the service up for sale on my hungarian SEO blog and my communities, it occurred to me that this was the way I was going to make money through online.
If developing a product “isn’t your thing” and making money through your blog isn’t your intention, then stop reading. Nothing I have to say will hold much value to you.
And if you are impatient and don’t understand that success is achieved over time, click the “X” button at the top of your browser. Because what I have to say needs time to develop.
Now, I’m not a 7 figure blogger like John Chows, or really earn enough online to support myself.
But, I have earned enough money from developing and selling some similar product in the past 10 months to tell you that there is hope for your very own product as well.
How to create a successful and profitable sales blog in 6 steps
We have created what we believe the process of making money through selling a product is.
The good news is that because it’s a cycle, it repeats itself. So, once you go through the cycle once, you have the capability to go through it again and again and earn more and more each time you sell a new product.
I’m going to go over with you the first three steps of the process, prepare, research, and choosing your product or service. These are the three planning parts of the cycle, where you generally do more of the thinking and analyzing than actually doing anything else.
You can’t approach something like this without a plan. It took me one and half years exactly to get our service ready for sale. I know that sounds like a lot of time, but there’s more to planning something like a product than the actual product itself.
What’s the one thing you need to sell something? People.
You need quality visitors with thick wallets; an audience who trusts and respects you. Think of the last time you bought something.
You either bought it because:
- Someone you trust told you about it, and because you trust them so much and see value in the product, you bought it.
- You have read that persons blog or website for a while now, and you trust them enough to be willing to give them your money in exchange for whatever they have to sell.
So, in short: you need to have built some authority and have created a reputation for yourself.
Blog posts are not your product. They won’t get you paid.
The articles you publish on your blog aren’t the things that get you paid. So many bloggers find different ways to monetize their blog articles, and if they are lucky – they will earn a few bucks doing it.
The articles you publish onto your blog are not what makes you money.
They build your reputation, your readership, and really reflect the kind of blogger you are.
The community you have on your blog is a result of the articles you publish, and how much you are going to earn from your product reflects the kind of community you have built.
So it took me about a year of consistent blogging to be able to build an audience that would look at my product, and buy it.
For some, it takes longer. Some, not as long.
But the most important thing, even more important than planning the actual product, is to have an audience to sell to.
2. Market research
This isn’t the most enjoyable task, but it’s important nonetheless.
You are in complete control of what product or service you want to develop and sell.
You have as much freedom to choose what you want to sell as you did when it came time to choose what you wanted to blog about.
But unlike choosing your niche, you have to look at more than just your passion.
Once you have a pretty decent community built up, you will be able to figure out what kind of people they are.
I can’t stress enough the importance of blog content for this step. Not only does the content you write bring your potential customers to your blog, but it reveals the kind of buyers they are.
When I established our product, I knew these three things about my customer base:
- I know that many readers in my blog are newbie blogger or new website owner without much to spend.
- I had to take that into account with our services we developed, and we have to remember that for the future.
- I found this out by actually talking to my visitors in the blog comments, and seeing what their reactions were when I mentioned a paid SEO tool.
It’s often the tiniest bit of information you can find out about your community that will help you decide what to sell, how much to sell it for, and when to sell it.
3. Find your product
Once you have your community and know what kind of buyers you have in it, it’s time to figure out what you want to sell.
The product you choose has to be something you are totally committed to. Finding a product to sell and choosing your blog topic are so closely related because they tie into your ability and willingness to actually do it.
So, with your market research in hand and the same process(es) you used to pick your original blogging topic, you can come up with the best product for your community.
4. Developing your product
You have been developing your product since the first step, but you didn’t always know you were.
That is, you were getting your blog ready for a product you may have one day. Now that your blog is ready for a product and you have an idea in mind, it’s time to begin working on it.
A product can range from a variety of things, and match accordingly to your niche. So, it’s hard for me to really go into too much detail of the things you should do.
However, every product has the same, basic needs for success (meaning: plans you should be developing while creating your product):
A marketing plan
Sometimes, the best marketing plans come out when you actually have a product created. It’s easier to come up with a sales pitch, and decide what sort of audience could use it the best. But when you come up with your marketing plan isn’t important. As long as you have a decent plan to spread the word about your product, you should get some sales (if your product is useful enough).
A sales page
Your sales page cannot be your Twitter account! Making a sales page is easy! All a sales page is, is a page with any information about your product. It can be as simple sales page for Twitter marketing eBook, or as information jam-packed as a short blog post with AIDA model. As long as your potential customers have a place to go and get information about your product, you should see a few sales.
A support center
A support center for any product you have is an absolute must! Problems arise for people who buy your product, and the extent of their problems depend on what you are selling. They need somewhere to go if they do experience issues, so always have a great support center on your site for their issues (no, the comments section in your blog is not suitable for this).
Do whatever you can to create some interest in your product beforehand. Hint at some of the cool things that will be included in your product, and do whatever you can to get as many people as you can excited. Even if it’s just two or three people, that number can change very quickly with just one satisfied customer. Remember: pre-launch hype can be just as important as post-launch.
What would you add to this list?
Besides the actual product, what are some other things that are important to develop at this point in the cycle?
5. Sell it
This is undoubtedly the most exciting and nerve-wracking part of the cycle. At this point, you are ready to sell your product. Everything is ready to go, and all it takes are a few clicks to launch.
But it’s not as easy as just making a few clicks. If you want to see sales coming in, you have to use every resource you can and carry out your marketing schemes efficiently and effectively. This is where your blogging buddies come into play and your networking skills need to shine.
Once your product is up for sale, it should be up for as long as your blog is around. So, keep that sales page visible and bring up to your readers that you have a product for sale.
The beauty of having a blog product is that it will sell many times over a period of time.
(Although the Seoceros project went wrong because of a unreliable team member, we already have developed some similar SEO and UX services with 6 figure monthly income.)
That is what passive income is all about. If you can get a few products selling on your blog, then you have the opportunity to bring in some serious money.
6. Review the money making journey
The last stage of the cycle, the reviewing part. If you make it this far, then I want to wish you congratulations in advance.
Creating a negotiable product or service is not easy, and getting to the end of the cycle is a true accomplishment. Even if you didn’t earn as much as you’d like.
Whether or not you make serious income from your product / service doesn’t have to matter. There are more a product brings to your blog than just money:
- The traffic a product can bring in is gigantic. If you have enough hype built around your product, you can keep an everlasting chain of traffic coming to your blog.
- The potential for expanding your blog into something more will become a possibility when you launch your product. Imagine what it will do for your blog!
- The readership of a good blog has increased without a doubt. More and more customers waiting to hear something about the future of a well made product. Can’t the same happen for you?
- The confidence I have in myself has increased dramatically. I believe more and more that I can create larger sums of money from just a few online product, and every sale I make makes me prouder and reacher.
So even if your product flopped, it still would have improved the community in some ways, and even restart the cycle by preparing it for another product launch.
Steps to start again
Once all 6 steps have been completed, you will be back to where you started for your next product launch.
You should find that as you develop more and more products, it will become easier and take less time. It can even be more rewarding if you make your product better than the last.
Do you think this cycle is accurate?
When I looked back on how we developed the product, I can say that we went through all 6 steps and I am working my way through it again. If you have a product of your own, look back and compare your process to mine. How are they alike? How are they different?
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