I am not trying to sell anything here. I'm not in the IM or MMO niche. I'm simply sharing my story and what has worked for me. Feel free to read if you are interested.
Also, I'm not going to be sharing my website here. If you do enough digging, you can probably find me.
Anyway here it is...
- You HAVE to start somewhere, or you will never succeed
- You HAVE to stick with it until you succeed, or you will not succeed
- Expect to spend about 6 months to 1 year in the "building phase" where you won't make much money at all, if any. It takes A LOT of willpower to push yourself through this phase, but it is worth it.
Build a website which will be the platform that you sell your digital product from. Digital products are awesome because any sale you make is pure profit. It also costs you next to nothing to create one. The biggest investment with creating a website and a digital product is your time.
I suggest building a video course that you can price however you want. My specific product started out as just a single "course", but has since evolved into an entire "membership" containing many courses. I still sell the entire package for just a single, one-time fee.
My product started out priced at $47, then increased to $59 after a couple years, then to $69. The price is a one-time fee. This single product has been my bread and butter.
I made my first sale just 2 days after making the product available online. However, I spent about 10 months in the "building phase" prior to this first sale.
Once you have a simple website online, and a digital product to sell. Set it up such that the product can be auto-delivered once someone makes a purchase. This allows you to separate yourself from the actual sales (aka. passive income). There are many ways to do this, but I simply use "Memberpress", which is a WordPress plugin that allows you to "protect" content. Once someone pays, they can access the content. You can "protect" anything you want...downloadable products, specific web pages, etc. Memberpress also easily integrates with email list services such as Aweber, which is the service that I use.
Once you have the website setup with a digital product that can be auto-delivered, you now have a "product" to sell. Since it's a digital product, you have infinite copies. Now you just have to let people know about it.
The Email List
I didn't understand just how important it was to build an email list until after I started making it a priority. I made plenty of sales prior to prioritizing the email list, and considering that I only had one single product to sell for a one-time fee, it made zero sense to me why I would need an email list.
However, I paid an internet marketing coach about 3 years ago to help me improve my business. I paid $5K for this coaching, and the one bit of advice I got out of him was "build a list". I already heard that advice countless times before, but for some reason you tend to implement suggestions when you pay $5K for them.
I took his advice, and I made it such that people have 2 options when they come to my site:
1.) Become a free member in exchange for the email address
2.) Become an upgraded member in exchange for the one-time fee
Initially I only had one single list, but I quickly made sure to have a "buyers list" and a "prospect list". This can all be easily done using Memberpress and any email list software.
Although I was going through the motions of building these lists, I still didn't understand the "why" behind it.
It wasn't until I was in business for a few years that the "why" became apparent to me. I realized that people on the prospect list would eventually end up buying from me if:
1.) I kept in contact with them by sending out weekly free content
2.) I offered a sale every once in a while
Those that were on the "buyers list" would eventually buy from me again after I eventually created a second digital product.
Whenever I send out a weekly email, I send it to both the prospect list and the buyers list. This allows me to keep in contact with the list, so that when it comes time to sell something, they know who I am
Yes, you can make money without the list. However the list simply allows to make exponentially more.
The list is absolutely where the money is at!!
The Autosponder Series
When someone joins your list, they should be sent a series of emails. If it is the prospect list, then they should receive a series of emails designed to:
1.) Give valuable free content
2.) Sell your product
I have a series of 4 emails that a prospect gets when they join my list. Each email is packed with valuable content, which is just a taste of the full product. Each email makes it extremely easy for them to buy my product if they choose to.
If the list is the buyers list, they should still receive some emails automatically. These emails aren't necessarily designed to sell (at least not right away), but they are more just to thank them for buying and to offer some guidance as to how to use the product.
Also in the buyers list, one of these Autosponder emails asks them to leave a review. I have collected about 700 reviews from doing this.
I have just recently implemented my second product, which is presented to a buyer 3 months after they made their initial purchase. This is second product is new. I have had $20K months prior to doing this, selling just one single product.
As I said, I have had many killer months with just one single product. This second product is just icing on the cake.
Make sure to segment your list(s) such that they do not start receiving your "weekly emails" until after they have completed the Autosponder sequence. This can easily be done in any email software. I use Aweber to do this.
Prospect joins my list to get the free stuff that I'm giving away on my site. They receive 4 emails over the course of 2 weeks. If they do not buy, then they start receiving my "weekly emails".
Once a prospect buys, they are immediately removed from prospect list and added to buyers list.
Once someone is added to buyers list, they receive some onboarding emails and a request for review email. After this sequence is complete, they start receiving my "weekly emails".
After 3 months those who are on the buyers list are pitched my 2nd product.
Many people choose to use paid traffic. Personally I never had much luck with paid traffic. I hope to master this skill one day, but I haven't yet given it a legitimate effort to really achieve success.
I get all my traffic by hustling my ass off. I make a new YouTube video every week. I now have about 200 videos on YouTube.
I also share a lot of my free content on Reddit and in relevant Facebook groups.
Do this every single day, and you'll have a steadily growing WARM audience.
Paid traffic is instant traffic. Organic traffic takes time and persistence. Whichever method you choose, just get them over to your website where they can join your list and buy your product.
Here's the deal with free content...I give ALL of my knowledge away for free. However, the fact that I have something for sale means that a percentage of my audience will buy it.
If you are giving something away from your website, only give it away once they give you their email address.
If you are giving something away elsewhere, aside from your website (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), then the objective is to get them to your website and join your list. Any free content that you give away should include a link to your website. That link should then have the goal of getting them to join your email list.
I made a few sales at first (after the building phase of course). I think I made a little over $100 in my first monetized month. Next month, I made about $300.
After a few months I was clearing $1K on the regular.
It took about 2 to 3 years after the building phase that I was clearing $5K on the regular. $5K/month was my initial goal when starting all this. It took me about 3 years to achieve this goal on a consistent basis.
People have laughed at me in entrepreneur groups (and even once on this forum) because it took this long to achieve $5K/month, so I'm sure it can be done faster. However that's how long it took for me.
Since achieving my $5K/month goal, it has been fluctuating each month, but hasn't dipped below that in a few years.
My best month ever was around $22K.
I have had several months where I cleared $10K, and a couple where I cleared $20K. I haven't dipped below $5K in about 2 or 3 years though. I consider this a decent full-time living, but $10K/month is ideal.
It's INSANE how much potential there is on the internet. Like, you cant even fathom how many people are on this planet. My audience is mostly older, retired men. I didn't plan for that. It just is what it is. I'm currently trying to start getting into the younger crowd...which is why I'm going to start experimenting with Tik Tok and Instagram (as much as I dread doing this).
A smart person once said:
"Most people drastically OVERESTIMATE how much they will earn in the first year of internet marketing, but they drastically UNDERESTIMATE how much they will earn if they stick with it for 5 years".
I am in my 5th year, and I agree with this completely!!
I could go on for much longer about this, but I'll just leave it as it is. Feel free to ask any questions you'd like. I'll be glad to answer them.
Thanks to all the amazing members on this forum that have helped me along the way!!