E148: How Digital Products Can Bolster Your Ecommerce Business

Many of us starting on the ecommerce entrepreneur route debate between selling two types of products: physical or digital.

It's relatively easy to demonstrate the value of a physical product, and it tends to evoke the feeling that you're running a real business. Physical products however require higher overhead, as you need ample amounts of inventory and money on shipping operations to keep the business running. On the other hand, digital products require almost no overhead and creating them doesn't tie up any money. On the downside, digital products are far more difficult to create and creation is very time-consuming.

Between these two, what would be best for someone who wants to foray into ecommerce? Our answer – Both.

In this episode Dave and I talk about how a combination of both physical and digital products is excellent for ecommerce businesses. We use Tactical.com and Coloring Club case studies to demonstrate this. In particular, we talk about the following:

  • How Dave's entrepreneurial journey started with digital products
  • How Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income inspired Dave to integrate digital products into his physical products business
  • The challenges of selling digital products
  • Types of digital products that are good complements to physical products
  • The secret to creating home-run digital products
  • Getting the help of experts and influencers to establish authority
  • Tips and tricks for those who want to sell digital products

This episode is a great way for us to officially announce our new membership plan called EcomCrew Premium.

Over the past few months we've been releasing courses with individual pricing and we plan to keep on releasing new ones in the future, and selling content on a by-course basis has proven to be difficult and unscalable. We've been giving course discounts to those who bought our previous courses, and keeping track of who gets X amount of discount has become a bit of a headache. That has led to a decision to scrap the by-course pricing model and use a subscription model instead.

With EcomCrew Premium you get access to ALL of our courses for a very cheap monthly price. Aside from that, you also get access to exclusive monthly webinars, monthly Q&A's, templates and swipe files. And of course, there's the private email coaching with both Mike and Dave so you can reach out to them anytime you hit a roadblock.

Click here for more information about EcomCrew Premium.

Resources mentioned:

E117: How an MMA Fighter Built a Multi-Million Dollar Company Selling Digital Products
EcomCrew Premium

Thanks for listening! Until next week, happy selling.

Full Audio Transcript

Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 148 of the EcomCrew Podcast. You can go to EcomCrew.com/148 to get to the show notes for this episode. And today we're going to be talking about how digital products can apply to your e-commerce business. This is something that I think everyone should listen to. People discount this way too much and don't think about how digital stuff can help bolster their e-commerce business in so many ways.

And along the way we're going to be talking about our new digital product for EcomCrew called EcomCrew Premium which you can find at EcomCrew.com/premium. We're getting rid of all of our individual courses and making one major subscription thing. So basically EcomCrew Premium will be a subscription. We’ll give you access to everything EcomCrew has to offer. No more individual courses and ticket prices. We'll talk about that at the end.

But the bulk of this episode is to talk about how digital products, blogs, courses, podcasts and lead magnets and all these different things can apply to your e-commerce business to really prop up and bolster your e-commerce business in ways you probably weren't thinking about. Even if you're just an Amazon seller, or if you're selling on Shopify or everything in between, this is really, really important. And it's so important that I got Dave Bryant to come join me today, really looking forward to hopping into this conversation right after the intro. Talk to you soon.

Mike: Hey Bryant, how is the going my friend?

Dave: Good, good, happy to be back in Vancouver.

Mike: Yeah, you’re finally back on Pacific Coast time. We're both in the same time zone, we both of relatively good internet. I actually just upgraded internet because you were making me self-conscious about my internet. But yeah man, it's great to have you back on this time zone. And I've been the one doing all the traveling lately, so I haven't had a much of a time to talk EcomCrew with you since we've been back. But as soon as I get back with this next trip we’ll be doing a lot more EcomCrew stuff together.

Dave: Yeah, I'm looking forward to actually getting back on the podcast hopefully at least a couple of times a month because obviously now being in the same time zone with reliable internet, it's way easier.

Mike: Definitely, definitely. So, today we want to talk about digital products and how they can affect your e-commerce business. But we are trying to figure out a way — you guys know from listening to the podcast that our main goal of the podcast is to provide value. But we also want to figure out a way to talk about our new EcomCrew Premium subscription, and how can we wrap all that into a podcast that provides value and gives us an opportunity to be some sales people all at the same time, and this is what we came up with.

But I do think regardless, this is one of these podcasts where you might hear that and hit stop and go to the next one. I highly encourage you to listen to this. I am actually bringing 15 plus years as a digital marketer to this podcast episode. It’s something that I feel pretty strongly about, and I think this is something that everyone should listen to. You can pause at the end, the last five minutes we're talking about what we're doing with EcomCrew Premium. But I think the stuff that we're going to talk about here to start with will be incredibly important.

So let's dig right into it. I'm just curious Dave because I've never really talked to you about this specifically, what background do you have with like digital products outside of e-commerce? And I know obviously you had Chinese Importing for a while and we merged that into EcomCrew and we're doing that together now. But have you done anything besides that as well?

Dave: I mean my entrepreneurial journey began with digital products when I was 14 and selling pirated software. This was about 1999 when pirated software was not really a big thing, and I forget what I was selling. It was…

Mike: Everybody was doing it.

Dave: I know, I know. And the worst of it was that I was like to get access to the software they had to click a link in some banner ad and then find a word on a page. And this was back in right before the internet bubble, so people were paying stupid amounts like a dollar per click or something. And so that was kind of my intro to digital products. That's not what we're going to talk about today though. We're going to talk about legal ways to do it.

In my previous e-commerce businesses, my real only experience aside from ChineseImporting.com when I had the importing course was basically kind of your traditional ways of digital products, basically an e-book that we did for anchor.com. And it was basically just how to pick the right anchor, how to anchor your boat, how to dock your boat this and that. And that was kind of our lead magnet to get everyone on to our e-mail list. We did it both through people that came to our website and people that bought on eBay.

You can actually set it up on eBay. So after somebody orders, you get an e-mail and then basically users after they bought on eBay, they were given the option to kind of sign up for the e-book and then obviously get put into our funnel. And so we did that for two or three years and it was really productive actually in terms of getting emails. And they were getting probably close to 5% conversion rate I would say from that, then you can kind of sell them a lot more stuff.

Mike: Interesting and it's cool you’ve been doing that for three years. I actually kind of a couple more questions from that. What kind of transpired to make you think of doing that three years ago to kind of get the lead magnet thing rolling? Was that just because of some of the previous stuff you had with your hacker software or did you have some other articles you read or what kind of made that transpire?

Dave: And actually it's probably longer than three years ago, it was probably five years ago. And I think who actually kind of inspired me was Pat Flynn on Smart Passive Income and basically saying, no you've got to start collecting e-mails and you got to have a lead magnet. And I remember I thought well this doesn't apply to me, he is selling basically courses and digital products. I thought well this doesn't apply to me. And then I started to realize, uh you can do this for e-commerce too.

So that was kind of my revelation that if you have an e-commerce product, you can use a digital product as basically kind of a conduit to sell your physical product.

Mike: Yeah I definitely agree. And I mean this is what we're doing obviously. We built our whole e-commerce business really off of this model. So as I was mentioning I have basically 15 — it dates me now, it gets crazy to even be saying I've done anything for 15 years except suck my thumb or something because I feel old now, but legitimately 15 years. I started in 2004, early 2003 doing digital marketing.

I didn't even know what I was doing at the time that it was even going to be digital marketing. It was so much in its infancy, but yeah I mean creating websites with information was basically how I got started and how I ended up at this spot. And I’ve said, I was actually talking to someone at lunch about this, this cumulative experience is what's led us to get to where we are in e-commerce so quickly.

I feel like we are definitely at a pace that is ahead of the curve with most of the people out there doing e-commerce. And I feel like the total cumulative body of experience that I've had is what has led us to be able to do that. And that information product stuff is really the crux of it. So I just want to really kind of want to dig into today.

Dave: And in 2004 you were recently on the podcast stuff because it wasn't really a thing really.

Mike: Yeah we were just getting started in doing that specifically in January 2004.

Dave: Yeah it's funny. I think the people who are kind of I guess from I don't know “traditional internet marketing” were selling digital products. I think in some ways I don’t know they're more privy to internet marketing in a lot of ways than people who are only exposed to e-commerce. And I don't know you can really combine the two, digital marketing with a physical product where you kind of marry the two. You can get really good results and obviously that's kind of the theme of today's podcast.

Mike: Yeah so I'm going to use Tactical.com as a case study. And we've talked about on the podcast before and reiterate kind of what our plans are there. When I first mentioned this a lot people thought I was crazy I think even including you a little bit. But let me kind of go over the whole idea here which is basically again to take all of this experience that I've gained over the period of many years and pulling it all into one thing.

And owning a domain like Tactical.com what I consider to be a category killing domain name. It's not something that you have to have but it was something that I had in my back pocket and it was also a niche that fit everything else that is important to me, things we talked about on the podcast before. But the biggest ones are something that people have a passion about. Very important, there's a direct Facebook audience with the things that people buy more than one of, I can differentiate etc.

So it was like all these things in a perfect storm. So what we're doing with Tactical.com, even though I always talk about Tactical.com as being one of our e-commerce niches. If you go to Tactical.com, there's nothing for sale on it at least on the surface. Listen, a blog is a digital product. Just having content out there that you're building is a digital product whether you're selling something directly or not. And it takes a long time to get traction with a blog.

It's the same thing that we're going talk about here that's happened with EcomCrew. This is the syndrome I call this is writing to yourself, the writing to yourself syndrome. Because for the first six to nine to twelve months when you launch a new blog that's pretty much exactly what you're doing, because no one is reading it because Google is not going to give you any love to start with and it's hard to gain social traction to begin with and it's hard to find your way and know exactly what to write about to begin with. But over time that switch flips.

And we're like in that period right now with Tactical where we're just now starting to rank for it like all kinds of crap. Like we we've never “SEOed” for Tactical.com because I think the best way to SEO for a blog like that to start with is just to write great content and not worry about ranking for any particular article for the first many months which is what we've done to just look as natural as possible for Google and then start to push limits then. But we're ranking for all kinds of like really awesome terms now and it’s starting to dictate that conversation.

And I really want to kind of dig in [inaudible 00:10:55] but I've been talking for a while. I’ll let you throw some thoughts on that.

Dave: Yeah so with Tactical, that's purely a blog. I thought you were actually going to use coloring club, that's going to be your example for a digital product.

Mike: I am going to talk about that too. Yeah I’m definitely going to talk about coloring club for sure.

Dave: I mean I guess that's – sorry to speak over you. I was going to say I guess that kind of opens a question, what are the types of digital products I guess that somebody can either sell or give away as a lead magnet, like what I guess we have a blog, you have an e-book, courses and memberships. Those I kind of think are the four biggies. Would you add anything on to that?

Mike: No you steal my thunder, those are the — I think that the content you know would be a fifth. That was like one of the things I was starting with here with Tactical.com. But just purely having content like great content on the internet that organically ranks and people consume and find value out of, I think would be the fifth one of those things.

Dave: Yeah.

Mike: And the thing I think that's really important here and the reason I was bringing up the blog to begin with is that the blog is like the most organic long term type traffic strategy. The other ones probably require some direct response advertising to your lead magnate or to your digital product or whatever. So for me like the root of all this is having organic traffic that comes in month after month, same thing that we're doing with EcomCrew.

I mean the articles that you write rank really well and they’re starting to rank even better and better because we're getting more links in and stuff because they are incredibly valuable and good articles. But it takes time and eventually you're getting all this free traffic that you can then dictate the conversation with. To me that's the exciting part of it because – and what I mean by that specifically is that depending on what you're doing at the moment, you can drive traffic wherever you want.

So let me like lay out a few scenarios what that could mean. It could mean, oh I'm launching a product on Amazon this month so your link gets updated to your Amazon listing. Or it could mean Amazon suspended me like god forbid and I’m now going to dictate or send all my traffic to my Shopify store. Or it can mean that I have an affiliate offer that I want to sell right now. I'm sick of selling physical products because the dollar got really weak or whatever, and I’m not going to sell somebody else's offer or whatever it might be. That traffic is always worth money, and if you're if you have a traffic source within your niche it can be quite valuable.

Dave: Yeah, and I think that's a big cue of digital products is that — and this is a kind of a big advantage is that you first kind of need that audience to sell that digital product. And I think that's what you do with articles that you're trying to build that audience and either you're going to go try to sell traditional digital product whether it's a course or membership or a physical product. But you need to have that audience if you're trying to sell a digital product.

And I think that's also the big cue of the blog where normally a blog and digital product kind of go hand in hand. And that’s one of the challenges for e-commerce entrepreneurs is that normally we just have products and some of us have audiences. But for the most part with Amazon kind of dominating more and more, there's a few of us who have no audiences anymore. So it's not like one channel where you can simply go sell your digital product on. You need to have that audience first before you can actually sell that product.

Mike: Yeah and I think the reason that a lot of people don't have that audience anymore for that point is that Amazon made it so easy. People saw this like easy money opportunity which was certainly there for a long time.

Dave: Still there.

Mike: And a lot of people — it's still there for sure like obviously still there. We have hopefully we’ll be an eight figure businesses here based off of that. But it makes it so you get a little bit lazy and don't think about the other stuff because Amazon does make it so easy. But that only works for a while it works. And for me it's thinking about the bigger picture. And there's still a tremendous opportunity out there in off Amazon searches and traffic and building a list off Amazon in a community that has long term value, because again with traffic there is always money and that's quite valuable.

Dave: Yeah, so kind of your process I guess is get the traffic to the blog and then I guess as any process somebody can follow up and have a digital product, get your traffic and then get your digital product created and then you sell it.

Mike: Yeah so let's kind of go over the things that we're planning to do with Tactical that are basically the revenue generators. And keep in mind here, for every $1,000 in revenue that you make selling digital products; it's the equivalent of selling ten to $15,000 in e-commerce products because it's basically 100% profit margin or close to it. So that's something else to keep in mind.

The numbers might not sound that sexy, but as Dave always says and I completely agree revenues are vanity and profits are sanity. And having this supporting business can help with that significantly. I mean especially a business that generally has 10% net margins, e-commerce maybe 12%, 13% if you're lucky, being able to add $10,000 a month in digital product revenue to your business can increase your net profit overall by like 10 or 20% in a lot of cases for a lot of businesses. It could be very, very significant.

Dave: And that’s the great thing with digital products is that there is definitely that kind of psychological component to it where you're adding ten grand on to your bottom line. And sure you know at the back of your head that's great, but if you look at your revenue numbers and everybody tracks a revenue number, you only see your number going up ten grand a month you think that you're not doing amazing things.

But again you just have to track that profit because like you mentioned, digital products they're not 100% pure profit because the marketing component of it is so huge to actually get eyes for your product. But they're nowhere close to as low as they are for e-commerce where like you mentioned 10% is fairly average our industry. With a digital product if you want 100% that's not reasonable, but you're well over 50% even after all the advertising costs.

Mike: Yeah I completely agree. And the other thing that's really cool about digital products is there's no inventory. So like there's less risk in having — you know they have the cash outlay as well.

Dave: Well I think just on that note too I think there is a huge inundation of online courses especially from Amazon sellers and different e-commerce entrepreneurs including us. I think we have the best product of course, but there is a lot of these products out there. I think part of the reason is the fact that e-commerce is such a huge cast sock, and digital products they have absolutely no cash outlay really for the most part.

And you definitely come into scalability issues with an e-commerce company where if you want to grow your company to a trillion dollars; well you're going to roughly need 10% of a trillion dollars to fund your inventory. And that becomes an issue over time where with digital products they're kind of scalable to infinity because you don't need that cash outlay like you do for a physical products based company.

Mike: Yeah I definitely agree. All right so let's take into some more meat and potatoes as far as like what is our business plan specifically for Tactical.com. I see three main revenue sources for Tactical.com the first being again the content angle. And the content angle that has the most potential for making money would be ranking for what I call best of terms.

When someone types in best tactical gloves or tactical flash light or tactical shop, whatever products  we’re going to be selling on Tactical.com, and they're doing a search on Google looking for reviews of these products, and there's lots of these affiliate review sites out there. Just the affiliate revenue off of those terms is quite lucrative. We’re already ranking now for a couple of these things. We've got some review pages up that Christiana has been working with us in the Philippines writing.

And they've done just an incredible job. I mean I'm still just like tickled pink with the job that they've done over there. We send the products out to them, they do all the testing like actual like put a ton of work in to it looking at the products, taking pictures of the products, reviewing them and writing a legitimate review unlike a lot of the stuff that's out there which is just complete BS. And so our stuff is starting to rank higher already than a lot of the established content out there and it's just going to get better.

But the thing that's really cool as far as a revenue driver for us not only is it the Amazon affiliate revenue but we can also again we can dictate that traffic. So our product can be the number one rated product. It does require an FTC disclaimer on the site now to do that which doesn't change the click through rate or anything, it just has to be there and just warn people and make sure they're aware of that.

But certainly our product for this disinterested party seemingly from the visitor is the number one rated product. We get affiliate revenue for people clicking through it whether they buy our product or any of the other products on the page. But now we're sending outside traffic to Amazon and getting sales from that that is going to help our product rank on Amazon and get a bigger piece of the Amazon pie. So for me that's revenue opportunity number one from the blog.

Dave: Yeah and the interesting thing I think too with a couple of notes. So basically you're doing kind of like a wire cutter type thing with Tactical, buy best tactical knives that you can purchase kind of aggregating the reviews of the five top knives and then obviously send them on to an affiliate link probably to Amazon. A couple of things, number one kind of my observations is number one is that that's still kind of a pretty easy Google hack right now.

Google seems to — just ranking for those types of article seems to be really easy to do. Hard of course but in terms of relative SEO, I think that's one of the easiest ways to actually get organic traffic from Google. You can kind of voice your opinion whether you agree with whether that's still easy or not, but that's kind of my opinion.

Mike: I think it's easy and hard, and let me tell you…

Dave: Easier I should say.

Mike: Let me tell you the two differentiators there. So I think it's hard from the perspective of it requires a lot of work putting the article together. You can't — what I've told our guys in the Philippines, what I believe for a long time with SEO and especially as time goes by it gets harder and harder to rank for anything because there's more and more competition all the time. So in order to be number one, you have to legitimately have the best article, expendentially better than anybody else to be able to like literally get to number one.

So that's the approach we've taken. The majority of the articles out there are stock photos off of the Amazon, people are taking the photo right off Amazon or off the manufacturer's website and writing ten sentences or five sentences about the product. And they legitimately never even buy it or hold it and they’re writing a review. That’s just all BS, it’s just all fluff. We've taken the approach of — again we're buying the products, we then ship them to the Philippines. And because we have a whole team there we can execute this.

We have one person or one department, our graphics department takes multiple photos at different angles with the products and then the person writing the article actually will go use the product and sometimes it requires like a camping trip or something for some of these articles. They like literally go out of the office and use them, and we take them more lifestyle photos of it in the field. And then they actually write a legitimate review based on the quality, and what they're seeing, and they can actually write real pros and cons.

So that part is harder because that's a lot of work. It takes – we’re only able to generate two or three of these types of articles per month, mix them with our other content stuff because we are putting so much effort into it. So that's the hard part. The easy part is letting Google do its thing after that, which is I do believe that that stuff percolates to the top over time way easier as you were alluding to because it is the best content.

And not only do you rank in Google search but also in Google images as well as well which is another big component to SEO people don't think about a lot. And so our images will start to show up as well and people will find our content and articles by doing that. That's the easier part is just kind of being patient and waiting for those articles to start to rank.

Dave: Yeah and I think the other thing is too again none of us knows Google's algorithm. But I do think that once Google places you in an e-commerce kind of bucket, your ability to rank for those types of articles is a lot harder. I think that’s where what you’ve done with Tactical, what I’m trying to do with offloading building kind of a content site away from your e-commerce site.

It gets you away from being a not e-commerce bucket and it's a lot easier to rank than and if you're trying to sell this on a strictly e-commerce site. Hey the five best if you’re selling garlic presses, five best garlic presses. Of course Google is going to give a bias so that you must be ranking your garlic press number one. This is a biased result so they're going to penalize you in your rankings for that. So I think trying to stay away from doing this on your own e-commerce site is going to definitely give you a lot of advantages trying to rank this type of stuff.

Mike: Yeah definitely. Cool so that's opportunity number one. Opportunity two for us I see with Tactical are courses which is very similar to what we’ve done obviously with EcomCrew and we'll talk about that here in just a little bit as well. But we're in the process already of developing some courses that are Tactical minded like how to prepare a bugger bag or things of this nature. And if you ever listened to the episode that we did with Dan Faggella, this is actually where this — it wasn't where the idea came from, but this is the method we were going to use because it was like, well this is way easier than the way that I was going to go about it. His method was just like dah.

So we're in the process right now of working to get these influencers to help us with this. And it's working so well because we're already contacting influencers right now anyway for launching all these products. It's a part of our Amazon launch strategy and our course that we have is to get influencers to help launch our products on Amazon. So when our products come in, we get the first ten samples or actually I just sent you a picture before this podcast of the new things that we're launching here.

So we always get ten samples now air shipped ahead of our containers so we have them here and get them in influencers’ hands. And when we were talking to these influencers, it's like, oh hey by the way can you produce content for our courses. So that's something else that we're going to be working on. And these partnerships work really well. It is a two way street. So we're paying them, they're helping us launch products etc. We can potentially get them to write for our site later.

But we own the courses at that point; we're just paying them for the videos that they're going to do producing ten to fifteen maybe twenty videos from these people that are literally I mean what I would call subject matter experts. I mean just being definitive about these are ex-military guys, people that are way smarter into this stuff than I am. I don't have to be an expert and I have these guys that will do it relatively cheap, produce these videos. Now I have courses that I can sell on Tactical.com. And we have success obviously doing already from coloring club and EcomCrew experience doing all this.

But it isn't necessarily just the sale that I'm looking for getting that is what I'm doing there. It’s not a vacuum. It's also now someone that pays money to become a member of that course, a lot of the products that we have can be recommended within that course. So they go buy the products, or I now have people on my email list that have already giving me money that are going to trust recommendations that I make. So it also helps with like this whole ecosystem of selling products and that’s to me like how it really ties into e-commerce.

Dave: Yeah and I guess just to give a quick a summary of Dan's process and who is doing that, he’s basically as Mike said finding a knowledge expert in a particular field and then they will do all the course content. You would own the content and then you're basically free to sell that content. And of course if you're not an expert in a particular field, Mike is probably not an expert in tactical, I'm not an expert in offloading products.

So being able to hire a knowledge expert like that, they can basically do the content for you, you pay them a consulting fee, or however their fee structure is basically an hourly rate, and you get all that content which is yours for life. They're happy, they're getting a really nice hourly rate more than they probably get speaking to ten people in some conference room, and you of course get that content.

Mike: Yeah exactly. So yeah I mean I think it's definitely going to be really good for us. I'm excited about doing that. It's also something else I can market because like we're good at Facebook ads as well. So that's something else I can — a way to get people in the door that way

Dave: Yeah.

Mike: And then the last thing for us is the membership. We're also going to offering a membership which will include something like literally like a membership card. We’ll have a card and e-mail people but it will offer discounts on products, so we will work with people to get discounts. The one thing that we're really going to work on is building behind a fire wall or a password protected website with deals for things in the tactical space that we both can get through wholesale agreements and also through things on AliExpress.

Most people don’t know that AliExpress even exists. So it's basically like a Costco type thing for online for specific curated products that we will buy and test to make sure they're good and then offer those to our members for some type of a membership fee of maybe even ten dollars a year to start with. It doesn't really have to be a large amount. But again you get them to give you money which helps with the micro commitment trust levels, and then be able to sell them other products later.

And some of those products can be your own products as you're launching products on Amazon. If you think about this, if you have a 1,000, 10,000 members or whatever paying you $10 a year, that's one 100k a year. It adds up pretty quick. It’s not an insignificant amount of money, but these are people that if you have a deal, 40% off of your new tactical widget as you launch on Amazon, whatever percentage of people buy that, if they're getting a deal they're happy.

They are curated private members that aren't part of some like stupid review group that's going to cause you problems. It's completely white, it's your own group of people that you're offering these products to. It's another amazing way to be able to launch e-commerce products that other people just don’t have a leg up on you on.

Dave: Yeah absolutely. I mean I think there's still a lot of value in that for people just being a part of an exclusive club. I mean I think that's where a lot of things like these work. People just kind of want the VIP treatment. In China I've been – I worked in China for seven months and the Chinese is for everything. They always have a VIP club. It doesn't matter if it's a coffee shop or a restroom or whatever; they have a VIP club for everything because people want that prestige and just being different than the rest.

So even if necessarily the value add is not significant, there's always going to be a percentage of people that will pay just to be kind of ahead of the pack and separated from the rest of everyone else.

Mike: Yeah exactly. So that's my Tactical plan. Did you have anything else to add to it there?

Dave: No, no actually and I'm curious to see what you're doing with coloring club.

Mike: Yeah so I mean it’s just [overlapping 00:30:45]. Yeah the results have been amazing. We have 1,000 members for that now. We're using it more and more as a top of funnel conversion strategy, so again people that are more in a downloadable stuff versus physically buying something. So like you got — the revenue is 5,000 a month. I mean it's not something that's like seems crazy, but like it's the same as selling $50,000 a product every month which is not insignificant. It's $600,000 a year, it’s the same thing as selling $600,000 a year in physical products is what it comes down to with a lot less hassle and stress.

But again it's just another way to get people into our ecosystem which to me is the most important thing, because people that are a member of coloring club are going to be way more likely to buy our gel pens or our pencils or our paper, or maybe one of our books someday. It's obviously the idea would be to get them to buy physical books, but even if they're coloring with paper that they print out of their printer at home, they still need gel pens and they still need pencils. And it's way easier to sell to them. We say it's our sister company and those conversions do very, very well.

Dave: Yeah absolutely. I had poked around coloring club. I think you’re doing in a really nice way. I'm curious, how do you do it with WordPress.

Mike: It’s not WordPress.

Dave: Is it not?

Mike: It’s ClickFunnels. The content is on WordPress so there's a blog on coloring club as well which we're working on ranking organically for a lot of other terms which is working well. But the site itself, the whole sales process and the membership area is through ClickFunnels.

Dave: Okay interesting. And you don't have anything else to add there. I wonder, perhaps we could give kind of some tips and tricks that we've learned doing different paid content and digital products.

Mike: Yeah it's really interesting because you started out with Teachable, right?

Dave: No I didn't. I started off with the WordPress plug-in which was an absolute [overlapping 00:32:47].

Mike: I didn’t even know about that.

Dave: We talked about this when we launched on ClickFunnels we had a huge issue of people signing up, and they wouldn't get their log and passwords in. You might even be listening to the show if you signed up during our first EcomCrew course where you didn't get your membership information immediately. And that was the exact same problem I went through with the WordPress plug-in where it was just a real pain in the butt, because people would sign up and they just wouldn’t get their login information immediately. And of course people pay money and they want immediate access, and it was just a huge customer service nightmare.

So that was kind of my takeaway is that I love WordPress to death. But in terms of actual platform for hosting any paid content, I probably wouldn't recommend it. Maybe the software has changed now, maybe there's something better out there. I was using kind of the top of the top in terms of WordPress course plug-in and still it really struggled.

Mike: Yeah this is where Abby cues up the circus music, right? It was pretty much exactly how it was. To me it's embarrassing because I'm the guy that likes everything to be perfect and I want to treat people like I like to be treated. And if someone just pays us $500 for a course and then they don't get the login right away, that's not the experience we want to create and that's exactly what was happening.

So the ultimate result is we switched to Kajabi to host everything which has been really awesome. But as every other SaaS that exists out there, there's advantages and disadvantages with every single one of these things. So while Kajabi is really strong, other things are or where it's we could just say other things are stronger and vice versa, Kajabi is really amazing like the actual backend. So I think that people that are now members of our course like it's really easy to navigate our courses. It's laid out like really well.

It’s something that I'm really proud of now versus when it was in click funnels. It was a little chancy just to be honest. I mean the content is the same content but like the presentation sometimes, it's just like the reason we spend all this money and time doing packaging with our e-commerce products. I mean this is just as important as the content. So I'm way happier with that. Kajabi does a really good job with pipelines whether it's giving out lead magnets or doing webinars and things like that. Where it sucks is email and analytics.

Dave: Yes the analytics which yeah I even forgot about that one. So with Kajabi everything Mike mentioned that aspect of landing pages, page builders, in terms of actually a course back end and platform beautiful, but their email is — it can’t replace something like MailChimp even or something more sophisticated like Drip. And like Mike mentioned, there's really no analytics.

So you don't know where people are buying from, you don't know how they got there, you don't know what point of the checkout process they abandoned it, but everything aside from that is perfect. But I think that's where when you're evaluating these different platforms, of course platforms you always got to figure out, where is this really going to struggle because it's always easy to see the best features of a product, but then you always have to ask yourself, okay, what sucks it. And they don't advertise out, that's a problem and the only way that you can figure that out is you’re talking to other people that have used it, reading different blogs and articles on the internet, and sometimes just getting in there and finding out on your own.

Mike: Yeah definitely. And that's kind of what happened with us. We kind of figured out on our own, but I would say overall like I’m pretty damn happy with Kajabi at this point. I can’t imagine switching at this point.

Dave: Yeah I mean they are probably one of the best SaaS products actually I've probably experienced in a long, long time. I would say they’re Shopify of course platforms right now.

Mike: Yeah I kind of agree with that. So cool so yeah I guess the last thing we want to talk about here, so if you're not interested in a sales pitch, you can move on to the next podcast. But we did want to talk a little bit about what we're doing with EcomCrew and kind of the life cycle of that here. So for those of you who are familiar who’ve actually purchased our courses in the past at this point which we've had an overwhelming amount of support, it's been very humbling actually.

More than anything the comments we've gotten have been – I mean I’m kind of a little bit of an emotional guy. So I read some of these comments and it just gives me like more fuzzy as you see people just saying these awesome things that have helped their business. And it makes me feel really good like we can do that. And that's probably what drives me to do this more than anything else to continue with the podcast, to go speak at these events and to put the effort into recording courses.

So that's definitely been really rewarding and cool. But there's been some — I don't know, it's not disjointed but we’ve released three courses at this point, we're working on a fourth one now. And every time we release one, it's another fee where we're going to charge for it and there's been some other things that we’ve wanted to add into it. So Dave and I made the whole executive decision while we were in Asia, and we're just rolling this out now to do something called EcomCrew Premium, which is going to be EcomCrew.com/premium.

And the whole idea here is just like one flat fee for everything that we've ever done, everything that we will do and also some additional content that we're going to providing moving forward like webinars and things of that nature. But basically for $159 a month if you go month to month, or $79 a month if you sign up for a year, you'll get access to all of our courses that we've done. So it doesn't put the pressure on you to have to continue to buy more courses and keep sinking more money into it.

It's I think just the best value we can possibly do. And whatever courses you need at the time that you need them, they're there for you along with the talks that I've done at events and that Dave has done, we're going to move those into the paid area and not have those there for free anymore because they are worth a lot of money just on their own.

But the real value add that we're putting into this now is a twice monthly webinar where Dave and I will be talking about like specific things that are happening in our business, which no one else is doing, like just full disclosure. Here's the products we launched this month, here's what our sales have been, and going over those things plus having a Q&A.

So any questions that you have at that time you can ask them on the webinar. We’ll stay to the better end trying to answer those questions for you. And then obviously we still have the all access email support. So overall I think it's a pretty amazing value and that's what we're doing for our digital product strategy with EcomCrew specifically. And I don’t know it's pretty cool. I'm excited to see what happens from here.

Dave: Yeah, I mean I think the big thing is we've kind of realized aside from courses, the biggest value add that the most impact that we can make on people is through our support. And that's always been kind of our big selling features that we have one on one a limited support, there are so many questions people have, they can contact us through email as a matter of all of this, picking a product or launching on Amazon or basically anything business related.

We get a lot of interesting questions, and so a lot of people they kind of go on a monthly plan, people might be in the early stages of launching their e-commerce company and so every month they have a question up and therefore they probably want to stay on board for indefinitely. And then maybe people just need some really pinpoint help on a particular part of their business. They join for a month and cancel up every month that they want, but hopefully they figure out that we're giving continuous value and it's worth it just to kind of stay on indefinitely as well kind of on a monthly membership.

Mike: Yeah I think the questions that we get asked the most, it's always like that reinsurance type questions that come about. I'm evaluating these products like what do you think about this, what do you think about that? And obviously we've evaluated a lot of products and niches. So for us it’s quite easy to like here is the three reasons why I think that this is actually a bad idea, or why it's a good idea whatever it might be. And just knowing that before you sink four or five figures into a product that you're getting ready to launch, having some reassurance that that's probably the number one question we get.

Some other things we get is just like we had a question just some simple things like how do I add a Facebook pixel to the Gleam contest. It’s something that did take us days to kind of figure out going back and forth with support because I know how to do, but now that I do it's just a simple like here you go. So it could be something as simple as that when you get stuck with things. So there's all kinds of things that come through question wise. But for me it's financing that stuff because we know that we're helping people.

Dave: Yeah and I know I think we take it for granted now where we're old dogs I guess old salty dogs, and we really benefit where we've kind of built our e-commerce networks for both of us ten years plus now and we always have somebody we can ask about things. But if you don't have anybody kind of in the e-commerce field to just kind of toss the single idea off and get their opinion on it, it's really tough. And hopefully for the people $79 dollars a month, that's what they get as they get our ears and our mouth also to give our two cents on it.

Mike: Yeah I mean what ends up happening in these situations; I know I've taken this type of thing for granted. When you're doing this stuff day in and day out for 15 years it doesn't seem like what you're doing — and you know I'm like this all the time. You always tell me that's really interesting, or I feel like that like really clears that stuff more to me. It's like naive and a big deal in any way shape or form because it's just kind of been my life. And one day at a time when you're doing this stuff it doesn't seem like much of anything, because it's kind of have been your life.

But the times that I realize that we do have a lot to share, number one, when we hire a new employee. When you're trying to explain all this crap, like we have a new marketing manager who is one of the best employees that I’ve ever had in my life anywhere ever, I mean she's amazing. And trying to do a brain dump from my head to her head is still like just exhausting, because there's just so much that's happened in our business and so many things that I need to explain to her and try to implement in our business. And that's when I really realized like all the little things that we're doing here that are high level and the amount of detail it takes to get it executed properly and right, that's when you're really realize like all the things that are out there.

Dave: Yeah absolutely. And yeah I think just being able — like we mentioned just being able to be that conduit for people to get an answer to whether it's one question or a question a month that they have, that hopefully we're able to kind of lean on that experience that we've built. And the best part is you get me and Mike. If you stump one of us, we could assign that to the other.

Mike: Yeah it's hard to stump Dave though.

Dave: No impossible but…

Mike: Nice. All right we're past our budget for time for today. So I want to thank people for sticking out for a little bit longer than usual. Again you can go to EcomCrew.com/premium to sign up for the new subscription model. Again it includes all of our courses that we've done so far, the courses that we will be releasing in the future. The next one that we're going to be working on actually is going to be on Facebook Messenger. So that one is going to be coming out in June so you'll get access immediately once that's out.

Again the webinar is going to be for people who are in EcomCrew Premium only. So we're going to be showing behind the scenes stuff that no one else is going to see, specific products for launching the dollars and everything behind them, ad campaigns that we're doing full behind the scenes of Terran which is our parent company and also some of the stuff that Dave is doing over at offloading, and then all the email support that you need and then Q&A during the webinars.

So it's a lot. I think it's a great value. It's awesome value when you compare it to like we were charging 997 for the Amazon course alone. So you get all this other stuff basically for free and everything else we’re doing. So definitely go check out EcomCrew.com/Premium. Dave again I want to thank you man for doing the show with me today, and I look forward to having you on more podcasts here over the next few months now that we're back in the same time zone.

Dave: Absolutely. You can count on it.

Mike: All right, awesome and take it easy.

Dave: Yeah you too.

Mike: And that's a wrap. Just as a reminder, you can go to EcomCrew.com/148 to get to the show notes for this episode. And one more plug for EcomCrew Premium and includes all the courses that we've done so far which is our Importing from China course, How to Build a Seven Figure Brand, and How to Launch a New Number One Best Seller Product on Amazon the White Hat Way, completely white hat and our future courses. The next one coming out is going to be on Facebook Messenger, also includes monthly webinars, e-mail access to both Dave and I, and a whole bunch of more stuff that we're going to be doing.

EcomCrew.com/premium to sign up today. The price for that is an introductory price. We're going to be raising that in the future. So go sign up for that while the price is still at the introductory price. We look forward to having you there. If you're already a subscriber to one of the EcomCrew courses, just e-mail support@EcomCrew.com. We will give you a special upgrade offer for a huge discount.

So, EcomCrew.com/premium, and I want to thank you guys for supporting the EcomCrew Podcast and EcomCrew Premium and everything else we do here. We really appreciate. Again it's super humbling all the things that you guys have said that we've been doing. It really keeps us going and I want to thank you guys for that. So until the next episode, happy selling, and we'll talk to you then.

Michael Jackness

Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.

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