How you can get more followers with your own products and become financially independent at the same time
Whether you are blogging, podcasting, or creating content on social media. Short-term monetisation of your content will depend considerably on your reach and your followers’ engagement. But regardless of your reach, the right offer and the right mix of products or services can lay the foundation for a sustainable, long-term revenue stream while you keep building your audience.
It does not really matter if you are selling an online course, a customised t-shirt, or a beauty set. You must provide something that creates and delivers value to your customer or your community.
Why you should avoid becoming too dependent on centralised platforms like YouTube or Instagram
Your reach dictates your value and hence your monetisation options. This is particularly more true if you earn your money primarily on
a centralised platform. Income opportunities may vary depending on the platform, your niche, and the kinds of brands you work with. In any case, your reach remains your currency. (for more info on this, I recommend trying the social media income calculator, a playful tool that tells you how many views and followers you need to give up your day job.)
Platforms benefit from your content to generate their own earnings. You and the platform win. But you could win so much more…
It’s about time that you leverage the actual financial value of your content as well as the true potential of your community for yourself.
Whether you are a blogger or an influencer: use your reach to launch your own products
Many of your followers are fans: and fans want to be close to their idol. The product establishes the link between the idol and the fan.
The basic idea behind influencer marketing is that brands pay you because they assume that their products are more likely to be bought by your followers simply because you recommend them. There is plenty of empirical evidence that Influencer marketing works. The same principles apply to brands paying for guest articles or banners appearing on your blog.
“Word of Mouth” existed long before marketing did.
What works with other manufacturers’ products works even more with your own products. Your reach will help you just as much to market your own products.
Own products even without much reach? How do I prepare a good product?
Whether you already have many or just a few followers, readers or listeners, you can create a successful product even without a broad reach.
Whatever you create or develop, It is essential that your product fits your central message and simultaneously satisfies a need or solves a problem for the buyer.
Whether your community is large or small, focus on them when choosing the right product and deliver both the quality and price your followers expect.
Here are a few basic principles to consider when it comes to product development:
- Problem recognised, problem solved
Your product should be desired. A desired product solves a problem or satisfies a need that the buyer has. But how do you know what the problem (or need) of your buyer actually is? Check out my blog article How to start your next project with success in which I have addressed the principles and tactics of truly understanding problems that are worth solving. Key take: talk and listen attentively to your potential customers and shy away from assumptions. If you have a real problem that you can solve, you have achieved the first major milestone.
- Creativity: Become your own child
Finding the solution to the problem. There are no limits to your creativity here. Creativity thrives when breaking down boundaries. We adults often find this process difficult. We don’t manage well to free ourselves from assumptions and give ourselves the space we need. My tip: Watch the kids in your surroundings and try to think as they act. As Pablo Picasso once put it: “I could draw like Raphael at an early age, but it took me a lifetime to learn to draw again like a child.”
Once you have passed this step, check with your potential customers whether your solution appeals to them.
- Profitability – Time to hit the numbers; otherwise, it will be expensive.
After the creative process, it’s right back to reality. Apart from the necessary positive feedback from potential buyers, you should become clear about whether your idea is also economically viable. How much will the project cost you? How much can you charge? How much do you have to sell to make a profit? Is the market big enough? Be honest with yourself. Fooling ourselves is human but can quickly become expensive.
- Is it doable? – it’s never been easier to create and launch a product than it is today
It has never been easier to create a product. But you should be clear about the tools and suppliers you want to work with as well as about the potential pitfalls. How do you create your product? Which shop do you want to use? How to ensure that your product reaches the right customers?
I’m not saying that’s all there is to it. A successful marketing and brand strategy are additional components of a successful product. But for the conceptual design, these points clearly are fundamental elements you should rely on.
Satisfied customers pay, come back again and again, and recommend you
A product is successful when it sells well and when you gain and keep happy customers.
The product or service must create value. Your customers will return the value in the form of money. But they will also recommend your product to others and, if satisfied, will come back again and again.
Being recommended is a value in itself as it creates new sources of income without additional marketing efforts and can easily exponentiate if the third person recommends your product yet again to someone else. If you want to dig deeper into this topic, I recommend reading The Customer Factory Manifesto by one of my favourite authors, Ash Maurya.
Use your product to increase your reach
There is no denying that an extensive reach can strongly influence the success and sales of your own product. But with excellent positioning, and if you are addressing a real need or desire, chances for success are great. – regardless of the size of your community. With the right strategy, great products sell even without much reach.
The whole thing can even have a reverse effect: new, successful products are an extra source of income: But they also help you increase your own reach and favour the growth of the number of followers, as long as the product fits your core message.
Take a typical merchandise sales cycle: one of your followers buys your custom-designed t-shirt and starts wearing it. Not a standard off-the-shelf product, his or her friends will want to know what brand is behind the shirt. By wearing your shirt, your followers not only promote your product but your entire personal brand. At least five of the friends will look you up on social media, initially triggered by the shirt.
One of the friends buys your shirt and starts wearing it “offline”, and the process repeats itself.
Four of the friends may not buy the shirt, but they are on your page, consuming your “online content”, and are likely to turn into new followers.
Your “offline” product increases your “online” reach.
The regular income – products – loop
A good product will give you an additional source of income. Should you manage to link the consumption of your product to a specific contract period, you will even generate a regular income out of the product.
Hence, a good product can have a direct growth impact on your reach. The thus increased reach and the income from your first product enable you to launch new products and distribute them together with your existing products. Each new market launch then becomes easier. You create the security of sustainable monthly income thanks to a variety of revenue streams.
What are you waiting for?
You don’t have to wait until you become the top influencer in your niche. Start developing your products now. Each market launch becomes more seamless.
Conditions have never been better for creating and launching new products or services. As a content creator, you are in an unequally advantageous situation. Not only can you leverage your own expertise, but you have an entire community that can help you during the process. Thanks to your community, you already have the most competent and loyal customers and brand ambassadors one can imagine.
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