Being an author or publisher myself, I often look into ways to empower and inspire more entrepreneurs out there to leverage what's coming into our world. Often people think how make their millions as their dreams, I usually stop them by asking, have you made your 6 figure by using your expertise? Of course many did not commit to have a clear answer too.
Let's not aim too far but by being realistic here to make your very own 6 figures in your field first, whether you are an author, publisher, consultant, coaches, online marketer or professionals experts i.e. lawyer or dentist. I usual start with how about making your very own $150,000 dollar first....how would you propose in achieving it?
Taking some of the best practices from what I had learned from some of the finest leaders in the industry, here’s the four steps to make it all happen.
1. THINK LIKE APPLE — Build an Integrated Product Suite
How did Apple ascend to the #1 company in the world?
We all give rightful credit to Steve Jobs and team, of course. As a business strategist,though, I can’t call individuals “the strategy” that made it happen. The strategy, which can be replicated, was in the creation of what I’ve coined as an ”integrated product suite.”
(Somehow I’ve become well-known for this phrase—a writer’s dream).
The iPod didn’t make Apple #1. Nor did the iMac, iPhone, or iPad individually. What created the most successful brand and business in the world was the fact that all these products were similar in some way, they were tied together by a single platform (iTunes),and they added such distinct value to the end user that the user wanted all of them.
Simply, Apple has a series of great products that are connected by theme and platform, that escalate in price, and that serve a similar customer ambition. I call this an “integrated product suite” and it’s the most effective strategy for publisher to make it.
As an author, I created an integrated product suite, and I believe all authors/publishers should follow suit if they hope to fully monetize their content and knowledge.
In the content world, you have over a dozen ways to add new value and make money with what you know. You can create books, ebooks, audio programs, DVD programs, live webinars, recorded webinars, live webcasts, online video courses, teleseminar series, live events/experiences, mastermind programs, coaching programs, consulting services,certification programs, keynote speeches, gift items, online blogs, online magazines, and mobile apps.
Consider the following options to understand where the monetization of content can take place:
Option A: You write a business book and sell it for $10. That’s your entire business. Let's put a figure to sell 10,000 books in one year and you’ve grossed $100,000.
Option B: Same deal as Option A, but you create more products and programs that are distinct in value and escalate in price, all the while helping your fans and readers gain deeper levels of insight or mastery.
You also create a 6-disc audio training program on how to start a business, and you charge $97. You sell 30 of those per month, equaling $2,910 gross per month (Average out $34,000 per year).
You then could create a more advanced business training program, say a $497 online video course on how to optimize and generate more revenue. You enroll 10 people a month in that program and you’ve grossed another $4,970 per month(Average out $59,000 per year).
You also take people even deeper with a yearly $997 live seminar training event. You get 60 people in a seminar room and that’s another $59,820 per year.
Together with Option A’s results of $100,000, you’ve now grossed over ($152, 820.00 to be exact).
Lot more easier to make money than just focus solely one product by itself. Regardless what currency you are selling, by and large, it still a very handsome 6 figure income yearly, yet there are many expert entrepreneurs struggling to make that mark.
This integrated product suite approach is what resulted in all the numbers I shared with you earlier.
When I sell my books, for example, I’d made an attempt offer special reports, audio programs, online courses, and live event tickets at some point in my communication with my customer.
(Disclaimer: This is all illustrative, and you’re not guaranteed to earn any money by reading this post or trying anything I recommend.)
If this kind of product escalation sounds crazy, consider that you’ve probably willingly done it already. You bought the iPod at around $200 bucks, then the iPhone at $500, then the MacBook at $2,000. All these things add up and suddenly, Apple is #1 in the world.
This makes sense in the business world.
Somehow, in the publishing world, though, people often get very ruffled by all this. Authors worry about creating all this extra content to sell. I personally find this amusing, since after all, creating content is the writer’s muse.
If I’m asking writers to do anything unique, it’s in elevating their content to a more valued and actionable category—training.
In this way, I’m asking publisher to be more thoughtful educators, what I call “entrepreneurial experts.” Writers are smart and they should get paid for their intelligence. The easiest way for that to happen is in arranging their content together in such a way that it helps others advance in their lives or business.
I guide writers to ask themselves, “What do I know and what advice do I have based on my life’s story or career that could help others shorten their learning curve in their life,business, or any activities that are important to them?”
That’s the million-dollar question.
If you don’t know something that can help people—and I’d bet you most certainly do—then your job is to go out and research a topic until you can.
Of course, some fiction writers hate this idea and say it doesn’t apply to them; that it’s more amenable to nonfiction writers. This is true in some ways, but from a business and content-creation standpoint, that’s just being myopic and unimaginative.
When I wrote 7 Emotions That Prevent Your Success—a parable about second chances—I had to get inventive about the back-end of the book.
J.K. Rowling has turned her writing into other monetizable content as well, from movies to gifts to, yes, an amusement park at Disney. (By the way, who wouldn’t pay $997 all day long to hear J.K Rowling teach an online course on plot development?).
This isn’t just the musings of a lucky millionaire. An entire industry has existed for decades doing this and in many cases, even better than I do.
When you see Wayne Dyer or Suze Orman on PBS teaching from the stage and offering their DVDs for sell to benefit public television, that’s the expert industry at work. When you see David Bach on the Today Show talking about personal finance and referencing his website, there it is again. Tony Robbins and all his events and coaching programs?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be famous like these people. (Spoiler: these people became famous because of their books, products, and programs).
Any topic you can possibly imagine has been written about and monetized with back-end programs, just as I’ve shared. I know home organizers killing it telling people how to organize homes; quilters turned writers and educators teaching people how to quilt; piano players turned experts teaching others to play the piano; writers turned experts teaching others to create; strippers turned experts teaching women to…well, you get the idea.
Cynics often dislike integrated product suites, suggesting that price escalating is absurd or hurtful to consumers and especially students. Well, then I suppose we should do away with getting MBAs or doctorates, as those are certainly higher-priced training programs too, right?
I agree with cynics on one count, though, and it’s that a lot of content in the how-to space isn’t all that good, and that some students in the industry don’t apply what they’ve been taught.
But again a parallel rebuttal is needed:
Most college programs are terribly outdated too, and according to the New York Times, less than 50% of college graduates land a job related to their degree. Most college graduates I know are not using their degrees at all, and don’t plan to.
But does this make education any less worthwhile? I would argue no. Who are we to judge how people choose to learn and what is right for them to act on? I’ve learned a lot of things in life that I don’t act on or utilize on a daily or consistent basis - that doesn’t diminish the value of what I have learned nor the teacher.
All I can do is insist that anyone following my advice here does it with excellence and integrity, focusing on giving great advice and creating great content that serves people. I hope you will too.
Another concern I often hear is how “hard” it must be to create products. That was true decades ago when we didn’t have all this great technology to facilitate easy content creation and commerce. Today, it’s far far easy.
2. CREATE A VALUE-TO-SALE MARKETING SEQUENCE
What prevents most authors from earning income isn’t the quality of their content, it’s their aversion to what they think is marketing. I emphasize “think” because most authors are operating from an out-dated understanding of what actually constitutes marketing in the modern era.
Today, marketing is essentially creating and sharing valuable content, something writers excel at.
Here’s what marketing an integrated product suite can look like:
a). You create three pieces of phenomenal content people will absolutely love. These can be written articles, webinars, special reports, videos, or a mixture of all three.
I personally recommend these content pieces be video training as video resonates better (and is shared more often). The video can either be direct-to-camera (you talking to the camera and teaching), or screen-capture presentation based (you can use software like Screenflow to record your voice narrating your Powerpoint or Keynote slides and kick the recording out as a movie file). Writing a series of blog posts is fine too.
b). You drive people to a page where they have to register with their name and email to receive the three pieces of phenomenal content. This is usually called an “optin”or squeeze page. Once someone enters their information, they are taken to a page where they get the first piece of content/training. There’s no sale, just awesome content. Over the next few days you send them the remaining two pieces of content, which they absolutely love because that’s what they registered for.
For technology, you can use pretty much any email provider (I like GetResponse- Easy with Enriched Features) or shopping cart software to make this happen via autoresponders (Office Autopilot, 1shoppingcart, Infusionsoft & even Paypal are all good options).
c). A few days after they receive all three pieces of content they registered for, you send them an email directing them to a sales page with marketing copy or a sales video that essentially says, “Hey, if you liked that free content I just gave you,
I’ve got this other program that goes even deeper. Here’s what it is, here’s how it will help you, here’s why it’s different, here’s why it’s a great value, here’s why you should buy it now.”
This process is what I call a “value-to-sale sequence,” or value sequence in short. (My mentor Jeff Walker created revolutionary internet marketing course called- Product Launch Formula, which basically pioneered this process online).
This sequencing works because you added a lot of value to people through the three free content pieces, then you offered something for sale. In other words, you gave before you asked. That’s the new world of business: it’s not ask and you shall receive, it’s give and you shall receive.
This strategy is basically how I launched my two New York Times bestselling books as well all my popular online training programs. It’s how I do almost all of my marketing, and it’s led to millions of dollars in sales.
3. AIM THE INFLUENCERS
Once you have a value sequence online, the next step is to get as many people to see it as possible. The best way to make that happen is to have people who already have large audiences drive their people to your site, either because
- they flat-out like you,
- they want you to guest-post or collaborate on something,
- they get paid to, or
- a combination of a-c.
The most effective strategy I’ve found for driving a ton of traffic and moving a ton of books is affiliate marketing. Basically, you aim a bunch of friends and influencers to promote your value sequence on a predetermined date, called “launch day.” Each affiliate is given a unique affiliate link so that you can track their traffic. (For the tech on affiliate tracking, you can use almost any decent shopping cart system these days including Office Autopilot, 1shoppingcart, or Infusionsoft. Note: I am not compensated in any way to recommend these providers nor any of the products in this post).
Why would affiliates mail their subscribers for you?
First, because they know your content rocks and their people will be interested in it.
Second, because if their people opt-in to your value sequence and end up buying anything, then you’re going to give them 50% of the sale as affiliate/referral compensation. Yep, you pay them for the referral.
Affiliate marketing is my favorite traffic strategy because it’s win-win-win: you get a new audience referred by someone they trust, the audience gets great content from you, and the affiliate looks good to their people for sending them to cool stuff and also gets compensated for any referral sales.
Other strategies for getting traffic to your sites include SEO, paid search, guest posts,major media appearances, traditional ad buys, and co-promotions with major sponsors.
4. KEEP CREATING - YOU ARE A CREATOR
Authors and entrepreneurial experts get paid only when people are seeing and buying their content. For this reason, it’s important to be prolific and stay out front by creating, posting, and promoting good content that people enjoy. That should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people tip their toe in the content world and then walk away.
Like any career, the more you learn and experiment, and try and fail and stick to it, the more you end up succeeding.
Along the way, some fast tips:
1. Create content that engages and motivates you personally, or don’t create it.
2. Focus on writing content that connects with people’s hearts and also moves the needle for people in their ability to succeed. The rest is noise.
3. Great publishers/authors broaden people’s perspectives by offering their own personal journey coupled with solid research. So live an awesome life and be a disciplined student.
4. Never let your small business make you small-minded. Just because you’re starting out at something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have grand ambitions to share your voice with the world. My first efforts were small, but I kept at it and it paid off.
5. Stop to listen to constructive criticism, but walk briskly past the jaded, cynical, and rude.
6. Care. The more you do, the more you feel alive and the more your audience believes in you, buys from you, follows you, and shares your work.
7. Read. A lot more. Remember, people are paying for perspective.
Here’s what I believe:
Your life story, your knowledge, and your message—what you know from experience and want to share with the world—have greater importance and market value than you probably ever dreamed.
Use your knowledge and content to help others succeed, and in the process you can build a very lucrative business and a profoundly meaningful life.
Write. Help people. Make money. Share your message with the world.