Pricing Your Products

When you are running your own business, pricing is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make. Our decisions not only impact our income, but they also bring up all sorts of fears and doubts and blocks.

I’m raising some of my prices at Bridging the Gap, and in today’s video I share why. I also talk about what’s bubbling up for me mindset-wise so you can get a better view into your own inner dialog around pricing…and how it might be holding you back from making more money in your business.

(Be sure to watch through to the end when I share my top 2 pricing tips that will help ease some of the anxiety around deciding what to charge for your products.)

I had a goldmine in my hard drive

A few years back, I was at my year-end planning session with my coach. I casually mentioned to him that people were always asking me for templates. In fact, people wanted to buy all of the templates I had used in my career as a business analyst, but I didn’t think they were useful enough to sell on their own. Maybe if I built a whole course around how to use them…

Gary, my coach, stops me what felt like mid-sentence and asks, “So when are you going to sell them the templates?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Gary: “People are asking you for templates. You have them. And you are refusing to sell them what they want?”

Me (sheepishly): “Well, yes, that’s kind of what’s happening.”

Gary: “How long would it take to pull these together?”

Me: “Well, I would need to edit them, look through my work files…”

Gary: “I challenge you to do it before the end of the year.”

Me: “WHAT?????”

From that point, some dialog ensued, mostly around my discomfort with putting my templates out to the world. They’d be useless. Other industry experts would think I’d sold out. And so on and so on.

Well, I got the offer up and running in less than two weeks. In December of that year, I sold about ten copies with very little marketing. In January, sales continued to roll in. Today, this toolkit continues to be my best-selling product and brings in at least a couple thousand dollars, each and every month.

These templates are what has made it possible to shift my efforts to helping other women build flexible and profitable online businesses, the work I do here at Momstyle Your Business, because I can count on a steady stream of revenue.

Your goldmine could be in your hard drive, your email box, or lurking in the stuff you already know. If you’d like to learn more, and explore your potential digital product ideas, check out the Digital Product Workshop. Better yet, book a 1-1 consulting session with me, where we’ll dig into the possibilities you have to create a profitable digital product.

5 Quick Ways to Generate Extra Profit Before Year-End

As we enter November, this is a good time to check in against this year’s financial goals. Are you on track to make the income you were hoping for in your business this year? And even if you are on track, would you like a little more cash in your PayPal account to cover some extra holiday spending?

This time of year is the perfect time to run a promotion. Done right, promotion can significantly add to your business profitability without creating much more in the way of extra work.

(Speaking of promotion, don’t forget that the prices are going up on the Digital Product Launch Planner, SEO Guide for Busy Moms, and Sales Copy Templates. Invest before November 18 and save $17 on each product.)

Here are 5 ideas for generating extra profit before year-end.

  1. Run a Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday sale. Many online businesses run one promotion and leave it open for Friday-Monday, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing here at Momstyle.
  2. Finish the digital product you’ve been procrastinating on and launch it.
  3. Starting in December, pre-announce price increases for 2017 to drive sales before year-end.
  4. Pre-sell early bird spots in a 2017 program, perhaps at a discounted investment level before year-end. For example, you’ll be hearing from me in December about the next session of the Digital Product Challenge which will start in January.
  5. Run a holiday special or limited-time sale on any of your offers. For example, next week I’m delivering a webinar for business analysts, and I’ll be offering one of my digital products at 50% off only the day of the webinar.

All of these tactics work best if you have an email list to promote to, as email is still the most effective way to drive attention to your offers.  Click here to learn about the 5 list building essentials.

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Sales Page: 5 sales copy elements that sell digital products

Once you’ve invested all the time and energy it takes to create a digital product, you need to write a sales page to sell it. Sales copy is essentially the language you use to describe your product to someone who is interested in buying it. You probably read sales copy all the time without even thinking about it. Every time you look at a listing on Amazon or read the box of a product, you are reading sales copy.

For digital products (like eBooks, digital toolkits, and online courses), your sales copy will often be on a single web page, which is often called a sales page or landing page. The one and only job of this page is to sell your digital product to interested buyers.

(By the way, I offer Sales Copy Templates for writing copy that sells digital products. They will save you time, frustration, and the cost of hiring a professional copywriter.)

Sales Page Element #1 – Headline

The headline and first few sentences on your sales page establish relevance, meaning they draw your potential buyer in and encourage them to explore your product in more detail.

Use these sections to clearly communicate the benefits your product solves or the pain points your product alleviates. As an aside, I’ve found that focusing on pain points works best for digital toolkits, while focusing on benefits or desired outcomes works best for online courses.

Sales Page Element #2 – About You

It’s safe to assume that you’ll be making first and second impressions from your sales page. Whether someone reads a single blog post and then clicks to your sales page, or clicks on an ad or social media link, they will want to know more about who you are and how you can help them before buying.

Include a short bio with your name, a few details about you or your approach, and why you can be trusted about the topic at hand. Including a head shot is also a great idea.

Sales Page Element #3 – Product Description

A lot of sales copy writers can get so into writing about the benefits and overcoming objections to buying that they forget to describe exactly what the product is. I have an analytical mind, and one of my biggest objections to buying a product is that I can’t easily figure out exactly what the product is or what’s covered inside.

If you are selling to analytical people like me, be sure to describe the details. Listing the chapters in an eBook, the pieces of a toolkit, or the lessons in an online course is a good start. Writing short, descriptive copy about what’s included in each section and why a buyer will benefit from it is even better.

Sales Page Element #4 – Product Delivery

People are understandably skeptical about buying digital products online. Being clear and specific about formats is necessary. And including details about how they will be able to access or download their product can help increase sales.

For example, “Each lesson is delivered in PDF format with an accompanying mp3 audio” is good.

However, “You’ll receive online access to all of the PDFs and mp3 audio files in our online learning platform, and can download them as a zip file for future use,” is even better. This sentence clarifies how easy it will be to access the materials now and in the future.

And even if you are selling an eBook through a digital download service, clarifying that your buyer will receive an email with a link to download the file on any device can be helpful. If they are on their phone, they may be wary about completing the transaction if they want to download the file to their personal computer.

Sales Page Element #5 – Clear Call to Action

Never, ever forget to invite the person reading your sales page to actually buy your product. “Click the ‘add to cart’ button below to download your copy today” is a simple way to encourage your buyer to take the next step.

While we are talking about calls to action, let me demonstrate. If you’d like to receive step-by-step detail on how to write sales copy for digital products, hop on over to my sales page for the Sales Copy Templates.

Click here to learn more about the Sales Copy Templates

5 product tweaks to sell more digital products online

One fear that can keep you from starting to sell digital products online is that you’ll do the work and then find out no one needs or wants what you have to offer. I’ve released some super-successful digital products, but I’ve also released some absolute duds – products that sold few (if any) copies, or generated revenue that was totally out of whack with the time and energy I invested in them.

My path to a 6-figure business was not about getting it perfect each and every time. It was actually more about course correcting when I didn’t succeed.

Here are some of the more powerful tweaks you can make to sell more of your digital products online. (Or, if you are just starting to think about your product, avoid these mistakes in your planning process so your digital product actually sells.)

Tweak #1 – Rename the Digital Product

The #1 product development mistake is that the name doesn’t speak to your customer. I’ve seen huge sales boosts by changing and adjusting names for courses and toolkits.

Read your customer comments and emails. See how you can morph their words into a name for your digital product. If they already are saying or writing these words to describe their problem, the name is going to resonate with them.

What’s more, test your name with actual potential customers before your launch. Do not entrust this work with friends and family. Ask actual people who would be in the market to buy your product what they think of your name, what they would expect the product to include, and if they are interested in learning more.

Tweak #2 – Make the Digital Product Smaller (and More Affordable)

Another reason a digital product doesn’t sell online is that the product is beyond your buyer’s perception of a valuable price point. They see it as “too expensive” or say they “can’t afford it.” While neither of these statements is objectively true, if your audience is price sensitive, making the product smaller and more affordable can lead to more sales.

For example, before I launched the 6-Figure Cash Flow System that’s now priced at $97, I piloted a group program for $297 that flopped. I learned that my audience valued the system more than the interaction for this topic and adjusted my offering accordingly.

Similarly, you could pull templates and worksheets out of online courses or turn the transcripts for a course into an ebook.

Tweak #3 – Evaluate Your Sales Process to Sell Digital Products Online

It takes more work than most expect to make an offer visible. Most of us are afraid of selling digital products online on some level and so we bury our offers.

  • Look at your sales messages from a potential customer’s perspective, and ask yourself if you really make the offer visible. Was there enough communication that they couldn’t help but see your offering. (Note: a few social media posts is NOT enough.)
  • Then, look at your copy. Did you really promote your product? Was it clear there was a product to buy? Did you emphasize what was special about your offer and when the offer expired? Small adjustments in copy make big differences when it comes to sales.
  • Finally, consider your current reach and list size. Converting 5% of email subscribers is considered a good launch for most online businesses. And it’s actually more difficult to convert a social media following, because they are less likely to actually see all of your messages.

Tweak #4 – Take a Different Approach

Another way to course correct is to try a different approach to the same problem. When I began helping mid-career professionals start business analyst careers, I wrote an eBook that sold remarkably well. So I launched a $997 online career development program, but this didn’t sell as well.

Then I listened to what my target customers were telling me they needed to start their careers, which was stronger business analyst skills. I started teaching skill-development courses (as opposed to a career development program) and my sales took off.

Same problem. Different approach. More sales.

Tweak #5 – Oh, wait, did your digital product solve a problem?

Solving a problem that is an urgent or critical need for your buyer is critical to selling digital products online. When it comes to information products, especially ones priced more than a few dollars, it’s tougher to sell nice-to-haves.

A digital product has to be positioned to solve a specific problem for a specific type of person. Then it sells. Revisit the problem your product solves, make sure the product name clearly communicates the product solves that problem, and re-launch.

Finish Your Digital Product

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One way your product will definitely never sell is if you don’t finish it and make it available for people to buy. In the 30-Day Digital Product Challenge, you’ll create a small product that solves a compelling problem for your buyer and get it up for sale on your website.

(And we’re incorporating specific action steps to be sure your product solves the right problem, has a compelling name, and will be well-received by your community.)

The challenge starts April 13 and is only $97. I so hope you can join us!

Click here to learn more about the 30-Day Digital Product Challenge

A simple online product launch plan

So, your digital product is done. And you are ready to plan your online product launch. What now?

First things first. Celebrate your work. You did something few people do. You finished a big project and are ready to start selling your work to the world. That’s huge. Honor yourself.

And now let’s look at 5 steps to execute on a simple online product launch. Working through these steps will truly honor the time and effort you’ve invested by being sure it reaches as many people as possible, as soon as possible. Because a product launch is an opportunity to get the sales machine moving and receive compensation for all of your hard work.

(To receive a step-by-step planning guide to planning your launch, check out the Digital Product Launch Planner.)

Product Launch Step #1 – A Sales Page

The absolute first thing you want to do is create a sales page on your website to sell your product. This page explains why someone might need or want your product, what the product includes, what format it is in, and provides a clear call to action asking your reader to make the investment.

This page ends with an “add to cart” button that enables someone to buy your product.

This page’s only job is to sell your product, so make sure every word you write serves that purpose. No more and no less than what is needed to close the sale. And no links, except for the product-specific link to your cart.

Product Launch Step #2 – Decide On a Special, Time-Sensitive Offer to Get Initial Sales

Your initial sales during the launch of your product will be much higher if there is a time-sensitive offer. (This is an optional step, but an important one if you truly want to run a product launch and not simply add the product to your catalog.)

You have two basic options:

  • Discount the price (a 5o% discount is common for a digital product).
  • Add a bonus, such as time with you or a Q&A call or an extra component or product. (Once you have a digital product catalog, you can use other products as bonuses.)

You can add bonuses and discount the price, if you really want to encourage sales.

The most important thing is that your special offer is something your audience will respond to. When it doubt, discount. Most people like a good deal.

Feature your special offer prominently on your sales page and in your marketing copy around the launch.

Product Launch Step #3 – Write and Send Communications About Your Offer

If you’ve decided to make a time-sensitive offer, you’ll want to promote it heavily to your potential customers, which will typically be your email list and social media following. A typical series of communications looks like this:

  • Pre-launch communications to build anticipation and prepare your audience about the upcoming product offer. Most often, these should focus on the problem to be solved by your product, and benefits of receiving your product.
  • Initial announcement about the new product and special offer.
  • Follow-up messages to answer questions about the product or special offer.
  • If time allows, additional messages about the benefits of your product. Client testimonials or success stories work perfectly here.
  • One day left (sent the day before the special offer expires).
  • Last day (if via email, send 2 messages on the last day).

This might seem like a lot of communication. And it is! But it potentially takes several exposures for your customers to think about acting on your offer, especially if they are via social media.

As an aside, you’ll see much better conversion via email, which is why the core part of any online marketing strategy is to create an opt-in and an email list. You’ll benefit from it greatly come launch time.

Product Launch Step #4 – Take Down Your Special Offer

Once the time expires on your special offer, update the sales page to remove any mention of it and update the price if necessary. Now the product can go into your product catalog.

It’s very likely that you’ll receive some private messages from people who, for whatever reason, missed the deadline. Decide how you want to handle these. My go-to approach is to error on the side of being generous, especially when it comes to a discount.

Product Launch Step #5 – Conduct a Launch Review

After all of this marketing work, you’ll probably be ready to celebrate with a few glasses of wine and think about anything other than marketing your product. It’s well-deserved and you should totally do it!

However, there is one more thing that will help you learn from this launch and do even better next time, and that’s a launch review. Basically, you want to look at all of your stats around the launch, including page views, email open rates, email click-through rates, and total sales numbers.

Consider whether there is anything you wish you had done but didn’t. Or anything that didn’t work out as you expected.

I also like to look at the number of sales each day.  It’s so easy to forget how slow the first day can feel and that most of the sales typically come on the last day. Being able to look back on your numbers from previous launches will help you adjust based on what’s happening inside future launches, or trust that you are on the right track.

>>Learn more about launch sales

To learn more about planning your launch, check out the Digital Product Launch Planner.  You’ll learn exactly how to structure your offer to kick-start the selling process, how to communicate with your audience about your offer, and what to do before, during, and after your launch. The Guide also includes a planning checklist and launch review template, so you can get started planning your launch right away!

Click here to learn more about the Digital Product Launch Planner

Use quick wins to kick start your product catalog

When it comes to building your a product catalog, the most common mistake I see is that the creator falls in love with 2 or 3 or 4 digital product ideas and so they start to work on all of them instead of focusing first on quick wins.

As a result, they make a little progress here, a little progress there. When they get stuck on one product, they shift their attention to another. Then a new inspiration hits and they flow with that new energy for a little while.

All this work feels productive and exciting, but nothing ever gets done. Nothing ever gets out into the world where it can help someone. No passive income is ever generated.

By selecting one product idea at a time to work on, before shifting your energy to the next idea, you will build out your product catalog more quickly.

Start by focusing on quick wins

Quick wins are your high value, low effort ideas. Quick wins will ensure you see almost immediate results from your efforts, which will motivate you to keep on creating.

A high value idea is one that you feel has the most potential to sell, because they meet needs of your customers. Examples include products potential customers actually email you to ask for and urgent needs you see pop up from members of your community.

A low effort idea is one that you are confident you can create fairly quickly. Quick is relative, but if you can find something you can create in less than a month, that’s perfect. If you have a starting point, like an outline, a template, or a collection of raw files to start with, that product will also be quicker to create.

To find quick wins, go through each idea you are considering and conduct a quick assessment of it’s potential value and potential effort. Draw out the high value, low effort ideas to start from.

Most likely, only a handful of the ideas you have will be quick wins.  From there, pick the idea that has the most energy for you or you feel drawn to for some reason to start working on.

When in doubt, pick one quick win and get stared

And here’s the thing. As long as you start small, you can’t really go wrong with your choice. Your first digital product will most not likely be your last. You are not saying “no” to your other ideas, simply “not yet.”

What’s more, once you have a few quick wins under your belt, you might be ready for a bigger, more work intensive product, and have the cash flow to support yourself while you build it.

Create Your First Digital Product

To learn exactly how to find and implement your profitable digital product idea, check out the Digital Product Workshop. It’s self-paced and available for immediate online download. You’ll leave the workshop with an implementation plan for creating your first digital product.

Click here to learn more about the Digital Product Workshop

When you feel it’s all been said before

Yesterday I was talking to my coach, Gary Barnes, about the work I’ve been doing to help women with their money mindset. I had put off getting some much-needed help with my launch because I was embarrassed to tell him I was running this class.

You see, on my money mindset journey, Gary was the one empowering me to create new financial systems and up-level my money mindset. He’s heard about every guilt trip, every fear, and every doubt and helped me work through each of them.

He even has written a book, Spend and Grow Rich, that helped me create my money management system.

When I think about offering this class, after I see the faces of the women I can help empower economically, it’s his voice that is loud and strong in the back of my mind. Sure, there are pieces I’ve added to the system, ways I’ve applied his teachings so they work specifically for me as a momstyle business owner, and especially specific money mindset struggles I’ve faced as a woman, wife, and mom.

But still, I didn’t want to bring it up for fear he’d think I was reselling his stuff.

But then I did.

Would you guess what his reaction was? Was he upset with me for doing this work?

Not at all.

Instead, he was excited. I could actually hear his voice lift up as soon as I started talking about the masterclass to him. I was relieved and I received the help I needed.

And then I brought up all my doubts to him, about why I almost hadn’t told him why I was running this class.

Here’s what he had to say:

  • Laura, this is coming through your filter, your voice, not mine.
  • Laura, there is no greater honor than someone you teach becoming the teacher.
  • Laura, this work is so important and I want it to reach more people. My message is reaching them through you, and that’s part of my legacy.

I share this with you not only to point out what a stand-up guy and amazing business coach Gary is, but also because I hear so often from other women that one of their fears about selling digital products is they don’t feel like they have something unique to say. We can make our teachers our worst critics, when chances are their voices would be much kinder to us, and probably even excited to see us carry on their work.

When you think about what you have to share, what lives you want to touch, and how you want to be of service to others, please do not let go of the voice of “it’s all been done before” stop you.

If you haven’t said what you have to say in your voice to your people, it hasn’t been done before.

If you are feeling called to teach, teach. Use your own words. (It’s definitely not cool to copy and paste someone else’s words or graphics exactly as your own.) Give yourself the creative space to pass those ideas through your filter.

Just be sure to step into the space and say what you have to say.

You might even honor your best teachers.

How to deal with negative feedback about your product

Two things happen every time I’ve launched a digital product. Well, after it sells it’s first few copies.

  • First, I receive positive feedback about how helpful and useful the product was. Someone goes out of their way to say a heart-felt thank you and I can see how what I gave them changed their life a little.
  • Second, I receive at least one piece of negative feedback or a lackluster comment or a refund request.

You might find this disheartening. After all, why put something out to the world and expect to receive negative feedback? Aren’t we supposed to be wowing our customers and locking them in with our over-the-top products and services?

Of course we are.

But the thing I’ve come to realize about this second response is that no amount of perfecting or optimizing is going to prevent it. (Despite what our product launch fears might tell us.) The reasons are many.

  • Your buyer might not actually read your sales page and might not need the product they bought.
  • Or, your buyer is not the person my product is designed to help.
  • Your buyer might just be having a bad day and take it out on you. Life is not always fair.
  • Your buyer might like to prove their own worth by cutting others down.
  • And, occasionally, your buyer is not ready yet to receive the help provided in your product and so they resist what’s there and lash out at you.

(This last objection happens most frequently with the products I offer to help people with their resumes and interview prep. Some buyers are simply not ready to accept that no matter how much structure I give them, they are going to have to work to get the job they want.)

Whatever the reason, refunds and rejection happen.

I guarantee the beautiful creation you’ve put together will receive some negative feedback. No matter how perfectly awesome it is for some people, others will buy it and hate it. The only way to avoid the feedback is to keep your creation inside, and this will never help anyone.

So what do you do?

Expect the worst. Reply kindly (or not at all). Issue the refunds. Better yet, hire a virtual assistant to handle this for you, so you don’t have to physically return the money yourself.

Most importantly, allow yourself to be delighted when those first complimentary messages come in. You might even save them in a special folder to refer back to when you receive one of the inevitable negative messages.

Want more support? Join our Momstyle Your Business Facebook group for ongoing inspiration and support as you deal with these very normal challenges building your business the momstyle way.

3 quick tips for selling more ebooks

If you are wondering why your ebook isn’t selling, or how you could justify raising the price point, it might be that you need to increase the value of what you are offering. More value can lead to more sales, a higher price point, or both. And that means selling more ebooks.

And while turning an ebook into a full-fledged online course, by expanding what you teach and adding audio and video content, is one way to increase the value substantially, doing so is not exactly quick. Today we’ll look at 3 ways you can add more value with very little work, and it’s by turning your ebook into a digital toolkit.

(If you are already creating online courses, these value adding tips will work for you too.)

#1 – Split Out Templates From Your eBooks

It’s very common for authors to include templates for emails, contracts, phone scripts, etc, inside of ebooks. A template stuffed inside an ebook doesn’t get noticed by a potential buyer and so doesn’t add to the perceived value of the ebook.

But a template split out as it’s own thing? Preferably in a usable or copy and paste format? That’s immensely valuable! If you give me an email template, you just saved me the time it would take to key in the text, and the worry of any typographical errors. That’s value.

(By the way, this is one reason why my free download – 10 Ways to Build Your Business the Momstyle Way – also contains 2 templates. Another reason is that the templates make it a lot easier to do the work in the workbook.)

#2 – Add Templates for Complex Tasks to Your eBooks

The second thing we tend to do in ebooks is explain how to do something. We might write several pages describing how to plan out your monthly goals, manage coaching leads, or organize your meal plan, for example. If the task is complex, it might be difficult for your reader to visualize how it’s done.

A simpler way to explain things is to provide a template. Most likely, you have a version of your template already sitting somewhere on your computer.  It’s the tool you use to manage your work against this task.

To create a template, remove any content specific to your task work, add annotations explaining key sections, and add your branding. You have a template!

In your ebook you can now explain how to use the template, which tends to be easier to write, and also makes the learning much more concrete for your reader.

#3 – Add Swipe Files or Native Format Files to Your eBooks

One thing I’ve learned in developing dozens of ebooks and online courses is that people really like to have a starting point. The blank screen can be a momentum killer. A starting point – any starting point – helps people get going.

As you consider what you are teaching someone about a topic, consider whether you can give them a starting point in the form of a swipe file. For example, in my work for business analysts, I have a product where I offer samples of all different kinds of visual models I’ve created as a business analyst, like workflow diagrams, data models, and even slide decks.

Your swipe file could be a filled in version of your template, for example a draft of a meal plan. Or it could be a file unique to a tool used by your customers, such as presets for Lightroom, visual models for Visio, or an ebook template in Word or Scrivener for authors.

Think about any tool you use, any digital file you create, and consider whether you could offer someone a native format file to use as a starting point. Again, these can be easy to create. Find a decent example, clean it up, remove any proprietary information, and save it in a usable format for your buyers.

When in Doubt, Break it Out

To sum up this post in one guideline, when in doubt, break it out. It’s relatively easy to expand the box of an ebook into a digital toolkit and create an immensely more valuable digital product.

At the same time, you open yourself up to increasing the price by a factor of anywhere from 3 to 10. Add enough, and a $20 ebook can become a $97 toolkit, and sell better too.

>>How to Learn More

In our Digital Product Workshop, I help you expand, extend, and refine your ideas and decide which one is the best possible starting point to build out your digital product catalog. The workshop is self-paced and available for immediate download.

Click here to learn more about the Digital Product Workshop