I’ve been meaning to make this list for a while. It’s occurred to me that the splinter products, courses and downloads that Sell Your Service offers, has let me make sales without being in front of a customer.
Millions of dollars? No. But certainly enough to add to my bottom line.
Sales and marketing automation has meant that I get little payment notifications when I’m doing all the stuff below.
After the list, I’ll tell you exactly how I generate income while doing stuff I want to do.
In the cinema watching Rogue One
Surfing North Devon
Swimming on Boxing day
Curled up in bed ill
Driving to meet a sports therapist
Attending a networking event
Delivering a consultation session
Flying to Australia
Writing blog content
Filming an online course
Watching Adventure Time
Playing The Witcher 3
On a date with Liv
How I generate income on automation, without traditional selling.
Build an audience
Generating sales on automation has nothing to do with having more products. In fact, if you read ahead, you’ll see that “product creation” doesn’t even feature.
The start of any income automation is investing in your audience. Understanding what they want and who they are. It helps if you’re in that market already, but it’ll always need research and community.
Joining groups, networks, subreddits and forums is the fastest way to do it. Ultimately, we want more and more of this audience to join our own email list. Live broadcast on Facebook, tweet, record interviews with other businesses, podcast…the list of opportunities is endless.
Building a list is the investment into the business. It’s the raw materials that you’ll use to craft a brand, business and income for yourself.
Be useful and helpful
Your customers now expect you to be useful, helpful and valuable WAAAAY before they make a purchase. The key to selling a product online, without a sales call or a face to face, is TRUST. The customer has to fully trust that you’ll deliver on what you’re selling.
The only way to get to that stage is to over-deliver on the helpful and useful guides, posts and videos you present to them.
If you can help people online, for free, via your blog, they’ll want you to help again.
Don’t think of it as giving away too much. The human brain and buying process doesn’t work like that. In fact, our results show that if I show people what to do for free, I can show them how to do that exact same task for a purchase.
Be helpful, be useful. Look back at your blog post, video or lead magnet and really ask yourself “is this useful?”.
Sit down and focus
Sales automation is all about investment. Similar to stocks or funds, you’re putting harder work in up front. Investing the money that you probably want to spend, into a portfolio.
Sitting down, focusing and doing work, is a bit like that. You’re investing time upfront, hard effort that doesn’t seem that fun, to pay off in the long run.
I mentioned that product creation isn’t on this list, because you have an almost infinite number of ways to create products. However, if you’re starting from scratch, you need to build or have something that’s worth buying.
I spend hours and long nights creating the Marketing Funnel In A Box, The Gameplan and all our other products. But once they’re built, I can focus on promotion and driving my audience there.
You’re going to have to get some deep work time in for sales copy, email marketing, setting up automation, answering questions. But by putting that time in, upfront, you’ll thank yourself later.
Write a lot of emails
No getting around this. You’re going to have to write a lot of emails. Not only for the automation side but newsletters, blog post announcements, launch series’, customer questions and more,
At one point in 2016 I was writing close to 30 emails a day. Stacking them up and saving them for a later date. Creating email marketing automation series’, launch series’ and newsletters.
Again, a lot of these emails you only have to write once. We have email automation sequences up to 50 emails long, over a period of a year. It’s my job to get to people to the top of that sequence now.
Automate my email marketing
Which leads us onto my next point. You don’t need expensive or complicated CRM systems for your email marketing. We still use MailChimp and it serves us just fine.
We’ve used InfusionSoft, Hubspot, Marketo, SharpSpring, Active Campaign, CampaignMonitor and more. They’re all great to be honest. Some are easier than others, some have more features. But when starting out, all you need is emails sent to new optins, on automation.
All you’re really trying to do, is get that email subscriber back to your website. Don’t over complicate it.
Iron-clad promises and guarantees
Something that our products do, over a lot of our competition, is give promises and guarantees.
If you’re not willing to make a promise about your product. You shouldn’t be selling it, simple as that.
Often, I hear businesses object to this, stating “if we make promises and they break, then we’re liable!”.
Yep, that’s how promises work. So ask yourself this. Are you making a promise about giving them the moon, eternal life and infinite money? Well unless you can deliver that, don’t promise it.
Make promises about what you 100% can and will produce and deliver. I promise that this blog post has over 1000 words dedicated to explaining my marketing automation process. See? It’s easy.
As for guarantees, I make a point that I’m not selling this for a quick buck. It’s unsustainable to trick people into giving me money. Most of my refund policies are 60 day, no questions and I’ll refund at least 100%. To be honest, if someone’s grandchildren told me they wanted a refund I’d probably give it to them.
How many refunds have I had to give? 2 to date. 1 for someone who didn’t like the product and 1 for someone who accidently bought twice.
Offer the optin
So often I see people struggling to build a list, but they fail at the first hurdle. Offering the optin.
Your optin form, to join your mailing list, needs to be closely linked to the page or topic that they’re reading now. For example, if you’re writing a post on SEO, make sure you offer an SEO based optin.
Optin bribes are often referred to as lead magnets. Specific, valuable resources that people can get access to if they sign up. The key is NOT giving too much away. Don’t write a 200 page eBook.
People sign up if they understand what the resource is, how it’ll benefit them and why they should sign up. They need to trust you.
Work hard at creating a perfect blog post to optin pathway. Don’t assume that any lead magnet suits any blog post. Be specific, target your optins to an audience and grow your list.
Position a small product on the thank you page
Immediately after your new subscriber signs up, they’ll expect to be taken to the lead magnet resource. We’re not going to do this, for two reasons. First, they might have used a spam email address. We rectify this by only delivering the lead magnet to an email address.
Second a thank you page allows us to capitalise on the fear/excitement that our new subscriber is feeling. We can explain what’s going to happen, confirm they’ve signed up and most importantly, position a small product to them.
Most of our splinter product sales come from new subscribers on a thank you page. We’ll position a small $9 – $29 product to them, depending on what topic they’ve been reading.
Splinter products (explained here by Digital Marketer) are small sales designed to NOT generate revenue, but to pay for cost of lead acquisition. They also let customers test us without investing too much. Once they’ve bought something, they’re more likely to value it and a value their relationship with you.
Follow-up with more useful stuff
If someone signs up, whether they buy or not, we send follow up emails. These emails contain posts, other people’s blog posts, videos and resources related to what they’ve downloaded. If they sign up to a social media lead magnet, we’ll send them social based stuff.
It’s not always our own posts and media, sometimes we send curated content from other websites too.
Ask if they’re serious about a topic
After a few days of emailing, we’ll ask them if they’re serious about the topic they signed up to. Are you serious about social media traffic? Are you serious about blogging more? Etc.
This is when we position another (or the same product if they didn’t buy it from the thank you page) product. Again, usually a small one, nothing massive.
If they have bought before, we might increase the price. Maybe moving them to a full course or resource download. The point is that by asking if they’re serious about getting results in that subject area, we can help.
This is done with email marketing. We’ll write and send a few sales emails, to recent but not new subscribers. All on automation.
Write a sales letter page
A sales letter page (like this one here) is a written, long-form letter, designed to DUN DUN DUUUUUUNNNN….make a sale.
It’s structured in a very particular way. Introducing the problem, outlining what needs to change and moving into how to change it.
Do people scroll down and read the price straight away? Sure. Some people will click off, but if they’re just interested in the price, I probably couldn’t help them anyway.
My statistics show that most people read 75% of that particular page and most of my clicks come from the first buy button. The point of a sales letter is proof that you know what you’re selling. It’s also useful content. It isn’t 1000 words of me telling you to buy something. It’s 1000 words of me explaining what’s wrong, how it could be different and that I promise I can help.
We also turn our sales letters into video sales letters (or VSLs) like this one.
Offer a discount for early birds
If we’re launching a new product, we get people to sign up to a list about 1 month before. We write all the sales content, the sales pages, the launch emails and promotional emails way upfront.
Then we get as many people to sign up to an early bird discount. Usually around 30% of the final price. Only people that signed up (they don’t have to buy), get the discount. Then when we launch, they have a week to buy at that price, before it goes up.
Anyone who doesn’t sign up for the EBD doesn’t get a chance at the lower price, but we still launch and promote the product heavily to them.
Have a product page
A product page is slightly different to a sales letter page. For example, this one here. It has more design work, a few more bells and whistles.
It’s designed to be a product page that people can view at any point in the journey. If they’re browsing products or if we’re promoting something, this is what we’ll send them.
It’s also much easier to refer back to a product page when you’re talking to customers. Sales letters are designed to be just that – letters. Something you send for someone to read at their discretion. But a product page can be sent any time and is easier to talk through.
That’s about it
That’s how I’m able to make sales on automation. Think it can’t be done for your WordPress agency? Well think again. I’ve got a post just like this coming soon, exploring how I’ve applied the exact same model to my own business.
Secondly, we have the Marketing Funnel In A Box. It’s an entire marketing automation funnel, designed specifically for WordPress businesses to use on their own site. Click here to check it out. It has blog posts, lead magnets, emails, products, landing pages and more. Everything you need to deploy a marketing funnel to your own agency website.