How too many products can hurt your business
Each time I launch a new product I see a nice spike in revenue that trails off over time. After The App Design Handbook launch I saw revenue drop down to about $2,000 to $3,000 a month without much promotion. My immediate thought was, if I add another product not only will I see a giant spike in revenue (which is wonderful!), but also my baseline monthly number will be twice as high.
That was true. Later with The App Design Handbook and Designing Web Applications I had a decent baseline revenue stream. I then added Authority, both because I wanted to write the book, and because I wanted to get my baseline revenue closer to $10,000 per month.
This line of thinking left me with a lot of products. Actually, now that I am writing this I have 8 different products currently available for sale:
That’s a lot of different products to be running! I should add that this is after I’ve killed off or sold 3-4 products that weren’t a good fit for my core audience. Having this many products has made it easy to make a lot of revenue from a smaller list, since there is a lot to cross sell, but is it causing me other issues?
The first problem that I started to see was confusion. Emails came in, “I read Authority, what does Mastering Product Launches cover that is different?” or “Do ConvertKit Academy and Mastering Product Launches cover the same thing?” “Which one should I start with?”
I had answers to all these questions, but you have to remember that for every person who asks, there are plenty more who are just as confused, but don’t take the time to write in.
What I realized is that with my 4 marketing products there wasn’t a logical flow between each product. I needed to specify: start here, then do this product, then this one.
And out of all this, no one even brought up Building Profitable Audiences—my course and community on growing an audience based business. In fact, as I was recording Mastering Product Launches I realized just how much overlap there is. I qualified that by thinking, “Oh, but that is written content, this course is video.”
Even recording the interviews I had a really hard time deciding which should go where. I recorded an interview for Building Profitable Audiences with Laura Roeder who is a perfect case study for BPA, but she is also really good at launching products! I wanted to put the interview in both products, but that would upset people.
7-figures from 3 products
Speaking of Laura Roeder, I mentioned she has an amazing business, but when we were talking I was reminded that she makes 7-figures per year from her training courses and she only has 3 products!
Here I was trying to make more money by creating new products and Laura was saying, “No, you just need to sell more of your existing products.”
And she was right. It’s easy to fall into a trap where you think you’ve saturated your market. But the truth is 99% of people who think that, haven’t come anywhere close. None of my products are anywhere close to reaching their full revenue potential—and I’ll never get close if I keep this scattered approach by always creating new products.
One product, massive sales
Someone else who has inspired me lately is John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire. He has his entire business down to systems so that he can run product launches every week. But he has one product, Podcasters Paradise, that he has been making over $100,000 per month on! I wouldn’t have thought that was possible with his list size, but then I’ve never tried to promote a product as hard as he does.
Because of my scattered approach to products I always launch a new one, then just count on the sales that trickle in from the occasional blog post. John takes the opposite approach. By focusing on just one core product he devotes everything to driving sales. He runs Facebook ads and webinars every single week!
Read his February income report for more details: http://www.entrepreneuronfire.com/income6/
My friend Jeff Goins runs a community for writers called Tribe Writers. He launches the course every few months and each time he generates more revenue. At first the launches were small ($20,000+), but they grow with each launch. He always increases the price and adds more value. Now each launch is truly massive even though he opens it up multiple times each year.
By having one main product he can keep making it better and adding to his community. He doesn’t generate recurring revenue from the product (it’s a one time purchase), but by launching it consistently he can drive meaningful revenue. His audience also knows that if they are planning to buy, now is the time because the next launch the price will be higher.
Jeff has also been really encouraging me to sell fewer products.
But making products is fun!
One reason I make so many new products is because I enjoy it so much. Creating something from scratch is more fun than updating and tweaking existing products. I love it!
But the downside is that it is so much work. I got rather burnt out a couple months ago while trying to run ConvertKit Academy, launch Mastering Product Launches and write (and travel for) two talks for Pioneer Nation. The times that I’ve relaunched an existing product (the Photoshop course) it has been so much easier. The second launch is always less stressful, things go smoothly, and I have more time to spend with my family.
So what’s the conclusion from all of this? Here are a few thoughts:
- Be really careful about creating more products.
- Know that you have not—and probably never will—saturate your potential audience.
- Avoid confusion by having a clear step-ladder approach to your products.
Now these aren’t random musings without any action behind them. We all know that would be useless. So here’s the change that all these thoughts bring about: I am combining (and re-launching) two products. Mastering Product Launches and Building Profitable Audiences will now be one product that is even more valuable.
This new product will be called Building Profitable Audiences and will include:
- An online course with 12 written lessons that take you through rapidly growing your audience, adding more products, hiring a team, and many more critical topics for growing an audience based-business.
- A community of like-minded writers and entrepreneurs who can support and provide advice to you while you build your own business.
- The entire Mastering Product Launches video course, included for free!
- 12 video interviews on product launches, hiring a team, growing your email list, using paid acquisition, and much more!
- Detailed case studies—that include exact revenue numbers—on the type of business you are trying to build.
Combining the products was definitely the right move. Now I have one clear up-sell from Authority and I’m able to focus better and be less scattered between products.