3 Mistakes I made Selling My First E-Product

A few years ago, I was selling an e-course on growth hacking your Instagram.  I had grown my Instagram from 100 to 2,000 followers in 2 weeks with a little formula that I decided to teach others.  It was valuable.  It worked.  The followers just flowed in.  But, it didn’t sell like I thought it would.  In hindsight, I know why.

  1. I didn’t even know what a sales funnel was.

I have been in marketing for over a decade.  I can build your brand and get you a following so fast your head will spin, BUT, sales?  I knew nothing.  A lot of people knew about my product.  I had guest blogs written about it.  I had people talking about it on social media.  I had a Facebook group dedicated to people who wanted to learn it.  By all means, I had the audience begging me to sell it to them, but I couldn’t actually get people to click the purchase button.

What was I missing?  I needed a perfect sales funnel.  I was in the business of getting products and services known.  Once they did, I sent the leads to sales to finish the job.  However, in my own e-course business, I didn’t have a sales team.  That was me!  So, I needed to learn how to create a sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel?

  • Awareness - Get your audience to know your product or service (that, I was good at).
  • Interest - Gauge your audience’s interest.  For an e-course, this could be done in the pre-qualifying stage.  
  • Decision - Your audience is at the point where they’re ready to make a decision about your product.  This is where you prove to them yours is the best.
  • Action - Close the sale.

2.  What is closing a sale?

I didn’t feel comfortable closing a sale, and to be honest, I didn’t know how.  How do I get people to feel comfortable parting with their hard earned money?

Now I know.  People feel comfortable parting with their money if they know that they’ll get more value out of what you’re selling than what they’re paying.  For example, $600 is a lot of money to me.  Meet Edgar isn’t a cheap social media automation platform.  However, the time I save by being able to automatically recycle posts and have a schedule set for my posts is way more valuable than $600.  I could be on vacation for a month with no cell reception and my following would hardly notice.  The value I receive is worth more to me than the $600.

How do you convey the value of your product outweighs the cost?

Let’s use an example at random.  Let’s say you sell essential oils.  How do you convince your prospects that essential oils are worth the price?

  1. Find the audience that wants a chemical free life.  Perhaps follow Minimalist, Self-care, or Zero-waste groups on Facebook.  They will probably be your people.
  2. Answer questions that they post about living chemical-free, self-care advice, or natural skincare.  Drop links to your content upgrades whenever it’s natural (EX. A PDF checklist of essential oils that can replace cleaning products that they need to provide an email to download).  You will build your list this way (hint:  You can also answer questions on Quora, Reddit, LinkedIn Groups, or other community groups).

Bonus Tip:  Create a content upgrade with every piece of content you develop whether it be a YouTube video, blog post, or Podcast.  In addition, create a lead capturing product on your site’s home page (a 5 day challenge, a free e-course)  
  1. Begin an email campaign that consists of this:
    1. 3 weeks of nurturing emails that give free educational advice - 1 email per week.
  2. In the Crazy 8 email method, you create urgency and FOMO, and set a true end date to your offer.  If you’re offering something evergreen, like essential oils, the FOMO offer could be a coupon that expires, bonus gifts with purchase, or an e-book guide to making your home chemical free.

3.  Cheap = Poor Quality

I underpriced my e-course and people generally equate low price to poor quality.  My e-course was only $17.  It was a mini-course, and I justified the small price with that, but the people who took my course kept saying it was so valuable.  So… $17 was probably a little low.

Psychology has shown that people equate price with value.  In the Psychology of Influence by Robert Cialdini, he gave an example of this.  His friend could not sell any pieces from a particular line of jewelry.  It was priced low to get it out of the store, but no one would buy.  She went on vacation and wrote a note to her assistant.  Her note said, “price ½.”  The assistant saw, “price x2,” in the woman’s poor script.  The assistant doubled the price, and the jewelry sold out while the owner was on vacation.  Cialdini explored the reasons why jewelry that couldn’t sell was selling out when the price doubled.  After researching, he discovered that the buyers equated the price to the value.  Even if the jewelry was cheap, touristy jewelry, the price made it appear as though it was more valuable.  Pricing my course at $17 told people it was not valuable, so they would not get more value than they paid.

To wrap that up, don’t sell yourself short.  Price your services based on the value you provide, and make your product so amazing that when people buy, they know the next product from you will be well worth the value.

To sell your e-product you need to do these 3 things that I did so horribly wrong the first time around:

  1. Develop a sales funnel.
  2. Use a tried and true method to close the sale.
  3. Price higher than you think.

Let’s come up with an action item for you.  In the comments, tell me 3 places you are going to start answering questions.  Give me specifics -  Facebook groups, Quora, LinkedIn Groups, Sub-reddits, Inbound.org.  While we’re at it, how about we do a challenge?  Let’s do a 5-day challenge to build your email list.  For 5 days in a row, you will receive an email from me with an action item that you need to do + a how to guide on how to do it.  By the end, let’s aim to add 50 people to your list.  Sound like a plan?  Sign up here.


Thanks for the insight! Still learning how to sell a product so you are ways ahead of me!!
Unknown said…
Anytime! Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions!
audrey said…
This is so helpful and came at the perfect time. I'm literally just getting started researching sales funnels because not only do I need one, but I know my audience needs to learn how to do it, too!

I'm on YouTube, so I've been trying to be helpful in similar video comments sections. Now I need to find some related facebook groups to join and engage with.
Unknown said…
Thanks, Audrey! Some of the best places I have learned about Sales Funnels are from Teachable's blog (http://blog.teachable.com/) and Mariah Coz is a genius at funnels (http://academy.teachable.com/p/fuck-yeah-funnels).

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