Note from Sarah: This article was originally sent via my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers receive essay style pieces like this before anyone else. Click here to subscribe!
I know a lot folks are thinking about launching courses, ebooks, webinars, and other products as a supplement to their businesses right now.
There’s a lot of appeal, because you can create something and then you’re done (kind of—there’s the promo and admin and customer service stuff—it’s definitely not passive income).
I thought I’d share a few things that I was surprised by in launching our new info-products.
Instagram isn’t the worst place to promote infoproducts.
I’m a bit of a social media hater (which is amusing since I used to teach a class in social media marketing and even wrote a social media policy for a large city, back in my PR days), because you don’t own anything and basically have no control over it. However, Instagram stories and IGTV have actually prompted some sales of products and participation in our free monthly ask us anything sessions.
This is interesting to me because I’ve quite literally done nothing to intentionally build my business Instagram account, and—quite frankly—still probably won’t do so (I just can’t justify it for my business model). But there are folks who have only ever connected with me via that platform and apparently they have been interested in what we have to offer!
I have a theory that my instagram followers are more of the “DIY” type, so courses and such are more appealing to them. So I’m going to keep posting little tips and tidbits over there and see what happens (I’ll report back!).
I’d never launch an info-product without building a base of newsletter subscribers first.
I know I talk a whole lot about the importance of email newsletters and building an audience that way, but this experience has really driven home to me the absolutely crucial importance of building an email list before you launch a thing.
And not just a list, an engaged list.
Studies indicate that the average mailing list will only convert one percent of its audience to a sale, so if you do the simple math, you can see how importance this is already. I argue that if you have an engaged list, you can set more aggressive targets, like maybe a while and crazy two percent.
I cannot imagine the frustration I’d have if I were creating cool content for sale and didn’t have an established audience. I see a lot of people try it and I know for a fact they struggle.
(Another note: please don’t be a sleazeball and write a great newsletter and then just start sending out “buy buy buy” messages once you’ve done so.)
Simpler is better.
Whew boy, is this a big one! I had big, elaborate dreams about what our info-products would look like. I had visions of a fancy, perfect WordPress setup that would be completely integrated into my website, with all kinds of complicated journeys.
Why? I guess because I could?
After months and months of fussing and never getting things done, I finally threw in the towel and went with the low-complexity option of Podia. Is it fancy? Nahhhh… But it just works and does the basic things I need it to do.
The admin site of our workshops is pretty light because of the platform we’re using and I feel really good about that. We’re a small team and we just can’t spend hours on updates and admin stuff. Quite honestly, if we had any more complexity than we do, it would probably be a barrier to launching anything.
There are lots of other lessons I’ve learned but those are the ones that really ran contrary to my expectations—despite having worked with clients on this stuff and having lots of colleagues who’d been through it. (Yes, even the newsletter thing! My blog has a big audience but the conversion rate on that would probably be .1 percent on a good day, but I never realized how low that would be in practice.)
Have you launched any info-products and been surprised? Let me know I’m not alone!