If you’ve noticed the proliferation of online courses, products and programs lately, you may be feeling the pressure to have a digital product to sell.
In the last decade of working with online business owners, I’ve had the privilege of seeing behind the scenes of countless online product launches, including information products, ebooks, online courses and mastermind programs while witnessing the months of planning, content production and marketing required to launch them.
I’ve seen entrepreneurs earn six-figure revenue in as little as 30 days with an online course, and I’ve watched business owners pour hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the creation of products that just don’t sell.
How do you know if you’re ready to make your service into a digital product that will actually sell?
Here are three signs that you’re ready to productize your services online and some signs that you should reconsider.
People Are Asking You for It
If you already have customers asking you for a specific service or product, it’s time to take note. But be sure that you test interest before you invest your time. You’ll want to be sure that market demand will support it.
For example, try setting up a simple landing page that outlines the product, its benefits and the problem it solves, and then collect sign ups (or even payment). If you aren’t able to get a lot of interest, you may want to rethink your product.
Your Service-Based Business is at Full Capacity
If your schedule is packed with clients, and there’s very little wiggle room or margin for error, you may want to use products as a way to free up your time and diversify your revenue.
You could reduce your availability of one-on-one services by creating a digital product which acts as an introductory self-guided offering.
For example, if you’re a social media manager, you could create a small online course which teaches business owners how to manage their own social media at a smaller fee than your one-on-one services.
You’re Giving the Same Advice Over and Over Again
If you’re giving the same advice to many of your clients, there may be room to create a digital product that could help speed up and streamline your workflow. These digital products could even be used as a way to save time and offer added value; you don’t necessarily even have to sell them directly to customers.
For example, you could create a digital resource library for new customers. This could become a paid digital product in the future once you’ve had time to work with enough people and get their feedback and iterate.
You Might Not Be Ready to Productize If…
You don’t have a lot of service experience.
If you don’t have a lot of service experience, you may want to reconsider productizing. The road to online product success means knowing the needs of your audience inside and out, and a huge part of that means a willingness to have conversations, interviews and an overall connection with your ideal customers. Once you’ve gotten enough service experience under your belt, you’ll be able to spot opportunities and gaps in the market much more easily.
You don’t have stable revenue.
Many business owners are lured into the idea of passive income, but digital products are not necessarily a “set it and forget it” source of income. If you are depending entirely on a digital product to pull in your required revenue, you’re going to need a large customer base. Services are the quickest way to pull in revenue; products are a long-term return on investment.
You don’t have an audience.
If you don’t yet have an audience or network that knows about you, your business and your products/services, you won’t be able to sell your product very effectively. You have to become an active participant in the conversations surrounding your industry. Whether it’s blogging, speaking, podcasting or another activity, you need make yourself known as a voice in your industry.
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