“George, I share your philosophy on the creation of valuable free content. I’ve been blogging daily for almost 2 years, creating YouTube videos and free webinars. I would do this work regardless, and want to develop trust with my audience, and ensure I am inviting clients who would be the right fit. However, sales have been slow. In your experience, what is the tipping point when your free content begins to translate into revenue?” — a reader of my blog.
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First of all, I applaud the consistency of your content!
You have no doubt developed greater depth and breadth of knowledge in your field, much faster than if you hadn’t been consistent with content. You’ve also increased your ability to communicate it skillfully.
As well, your audience’s trust in you / your brand has grown, and it is well-deserved and solid.
Likely, your content has even changed the lives of some of your readers, even if they haven’t taken the step to let you know.
However, content doesn’t automatically translate into sales or revenue… and there is no tipping point.
One content creator could have a full business within a few months, while another one may never grow sustainable revenue.
The difference? Resonance, Sampling, and Visibility of one’s offerings.
We entrepreneurs have this problem: our creativity is usually led by our passionate vision.
We develop our offerings (services, products, programs) from an idea, or a peak experience we had, and then assume that we’ll find enough people that would find it as interesting as we do.
Once in awhile, we get lucky and make enough sales. Most of the time, though, the sales only trickle in, if at all.
If this is the case, we need to invest more energy into developing offerings (or re-framing our existing ones) based on focused compassion.
This means doing thoughtful “fan interviews” and market research (what relevant products/services is our audience buying now?)
From those insights, we create offerings that match very well their understanding of the world, and what they are looking to spend time and money on.
We are looking for the intersection of their passion and ours.
For a brief synopsis of this method, read this post:
Passion & Compassion: Dual Focuses in Authentic Business
For the in-depth teaching on “fan interviews” and market research, consider taking my Resonant Marketing Course.
I’m going to use an analogy here. Think about how this might apply to your own offerings:
I enjoy veggie burgers. But when I go to Costco and see that I am forced to buy a pack of 24 if I want any at all, I don’t buy it, because I don’t know if I’ll love that brand, or if I even like veggie burgers that much.
This is why Costco and other smart stores often do sampling of some of the products they want to sell more of. They’ll have an employee handing out small samples of veggie burgers for shoppers to try. If I like it, I might splurge on the pack of 24.
Even so, buying 24 veggie burgers is a bit too much for me: I’m concerned that I might get tired of it, or too lazy to spend the time preparing it to my liking, or maybe it doesn’t actually fit into my freezer.
Instead, I will go to Whole Foods to get a pack of 2 to try first. If I love it, then I’ll get the 24-pack at Costco, since it’s a much better deal.
Let’s apply this analogy to your offerings.
Are you trying to sell your audience a 6-month coaching program, or a 12-module online course?
If it’s not selling, and yet you have done the legwork of making sure it’s resonant (refer to that section above), then it’s a sampling problem. Or rather, lack of sampling!
Instead of a 6-month coaching package, can you sell them a pack of 3 coaching sessions? Even then, they might need 1 session first to sample what it’s like to work with you. You could sell per-session at your highest rate, then 3-pack at a lower per-session rate, and finally the 6-month at the lowest per-session rate (a rate that you would still be happy with.) Additionally, you could offer a free “discovery call” or complimentary session to help remove the risk of trying out your coaching.
If people aren’t signing up for your complimentary sessions, let’s take Sampling to the next step: can you record a complimentary session with a willing participant, to share as a video (or part of the video) for your audience, so they can literally see what it’s like?
When it comes to selling your 12-module online course, what might Sampling mean? How about selling a single webinar that lasts just 60–90 minutes and is very affordable?
Besides Resonance and Sampling, you may also be facing a Visibility problem.
There has to be enough people seeing your offerings before you get even 1 sale. If your offering has been shown to be resonant, and if you’re offering a low-risk sample, but people aren’t buying yet, then it simply needs to be shown to more of the right people.
Visibility is important for both your content (which builds trust and educates people on your philosophy/framework) as well as your offerings.
What I have been recommending to my own clients is to start with at least $30/month of Facebook Ads. Used effectively, FB ads are a miracle for the small business owner, allowing you to reach millions of the right people that you couldn’t otherwise. To learn FB Ads step by step from me, check out my Facebook Marketing course.
Personally I spend $200–$300 per month on FB Ads just to distribute my articles and videos to new audiences as well as my existing audience. I then spend an additional $150+ per month on FB Ads to sell my courses.
If you aren’t doing FB Ads yet I recommend starting with $30/month and grow from there.
All the while, keep consistent with your content…
While you’re working gradually on Resonance, Sampling, Visibility, be sure to keep your Content rhythm consistent. That is the foundation from which true growth is built.
Your authentic content builds you an audience of true fans which then gives you the opportunity to share your offerings with them. Without that trust, they won’t even give your offerings the time of day.
But with enough trust, they will at least be willing to take a real look at your offerings, and, if it’s a resonant sample they can see themselves using, they will take action and buy from you, much more than they would buy from someone else who hasn’t built the trust.
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