Find out how to creating a recurring income in Photography
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Today our special guest is Taylor Mathis. He started a recurring income business with selling education products online. We’re going to dig really deep to find out how to do it, what things you use and what you should be doing to make money where you’re actually selling your time for money. I really enjoyed this podcast. It’s something that’s very close to my heart because this is what I’m doing right now.
Let’s jump right into it and enjoy! Brent
Highlights – Time Codes
(01:05) – Do a piece of work once and continue to get paid for it
(01:50) – How it started
(02:40) – Started with one and expanded to a year
(03:24) – The email funneling
(04:11) – Success in recurring business
(04:25) – What you can earn
(05:22) – Find a way to solve a problem that no one else has solved
(06:13) – Taylor takes a taste
(07:19) – Customers getting hooked
(08:42) – “I think this is a good idea”
(11:44) – Search Engine Optimization
(12:38) – All traffic takes time and money to get to your site
(13:33) – Getting people unto your email list
(14:40) – Opt in prompt for first time site visitors
(16:25) – Confirming leads to be on the list
(19:17) – Making money as you sleep
(20:31) – Doing an auto responder
(25:31) – Developing an email list for starters
(27:03) – Burning your list
(28:30) – Soft selling
(30:14) – Not to worry about people unsubscribing
(31:13) – Hiring customer support service
- The idea of recurring income is that you do a piece of work once and continue to get paid for it
- Besides licensing your photos, you can also create something that will make you income for long term
- Look at the amount of effort and expenses you are making when you conduct a workshop and try to calculate how much you are really getting per hour in doing it
- Creating something online will free you from all the stress of prepping and will give you continuous income with less effort. Digital product.
- You have to know what problems your clients have and come up with a solution to sell
- Make something relevant to your audience’s interest
- Aggravate the problem that people don’t know they have and give them a solution
- Know what the people are expecting from you while you’re creating the product
- Be in constant communication with them finding out what they want
- Create something that people will want to know
- Direct them to your site to opt-in
- Make sure people get what you promised them
- Building a relationship and trust with them is key to stay in the business
- Do not push product in. People will leave your email list once they feel like you’re only selling materials to them all the time
- If you start pushing people to buy your product even if it’s not relevant to them you will start “burning your list” where your email list will drastically deteriorate.
- It is important and helpful to hire a customer support to make sure your leads are getting the right attention and service. Make them feel valued.
- If you’re just starting out, start with building an email list and find out what they want or what problems they have and provide a solution.
Brent: Hey Guys, Brent Mail here and welcome back to Photo Profit where we talk about the business of photography and today my special guest is Taylor Mathis. He’s started a recurring income business with selling education products online. We’re going to dig really deep to find out how to do it, what things you use and what you should be doing to make money where you’re actually selling your time for money anymore. I really enjoyed this Podcast. It’s something that’s very close to my heart because this is what I’m doing right now. Just remember all of the show notes are in Photoprofit.net and let’s jump right into it.
Brent: So I’ve got Taylor Mathis here and he’s a very successful online photographer. How are you doing, Taylor?
Taylor: Doing pretty well, Brent how about you?
Brent: Yeah, great! So today we’re going to talk about creating a recurring income in photography. I believe you’ve done this in the past; can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve done and why it’s a good idea to create a recurring income when it comes to photography?
Taylor: Yes, so the idea of recurring income is that you do a piece of work once and continue to get paid for it. Probably most common people knows this as a stock photography but in the photography world there’s actually a lot of ways you can do this besides just licensing your photos. So that’s actually not what I’m going to talk about today. What I’ll talk about more is on the education side or even on the digital product side. So, that’s kind of what I’ve done when it comes to series of photography instructional PDF that I’ve created. So, do you want me to start like how I got into it?
Brent: Yeah, give us a quick 5 minute run down of what you did; how you started and the things you’ve learned along the way and your success, you know, what you’re exactly making up to right now.
Taylor: The whole thing started a couple of years ago when I was blogging about food and had people as “Hey, can you teach me some food photography?” or like how to take pictures of food and I said “Okay, sure!” and I actually did some workshops. I did two in the middle of a weekend and I quickly learned that food photography requires a ton of props, a ton of prep and just a lot of work into it and it worked out; like the amount of time it took me to prepare and renting a space and moving things and all that. By the end of it, I was making less than minimum wage for hours that I’ve thrown into it. So, I did two of those and I think there’s got to be a better way. So I looked towards the internet and decided that I’m going to create a digital product that I can sell to people. That will teach them how to do this. So, I created a “Photographing Food PDF” series that taught people how to take pictures of their food and it started out as one issue and then it expanded over the course of a year and eight issues. So now, there are eight issues in the set and they continue to sell like doing a workshop but I don’t have to take everything everywhere.
Brent: Okay, so you went from putting in time for money, you know, workshop situations and you’ve actually worked out how much time you’re spending and how much money you’re getting in. Basically, you’re effective hourly rate. What’s pity is you love it. So then you probably spent the same amount of energy creating your digital product PDF document, an ebook I suppose a lot of people call it and you’ve sold that for quite a few years. How long has it been selling for?
Taylor: I think it’s in third year now. So it started in the end of 2012. So we’re closing in on three years and it just continues to sell. I’ve got a system setup where I’ve got kind of an email funnel that brings people in and attracts them with something called an “Opt-in” which is like a free “9 Tips of Food Photography”. So from that, I can bring people in who are interested and I give them that for free. I get their email address and I’ll send them a couple of emails just describing the problems of why you need good photography and that kind of thing and if there’s someone who’s in the market or improving their skills, they generally buy the product in the end. That’s kind of the simple thought. But the general premise is that I’m identifying the problem people have and I’m providing the solution because people pay for solutions.
Brent: Totally! We’ll get into the details of the system in a minute. Let’s just run through your success like what kind of success have you had and how has it changed your life? So, where were you getting your income before, where are you getting your income now, what can people expect by going into this route of doing educational product online and it’s all automated or as much as you can?
Identifying the Problem and Offering a Solution
Taylor: Well, as far as I can remember on what you can earn? I mean, it can be really absolutely nothing or it could be hundreds and thousands of dollars. It all depends on what your market is and how valuable the solution you have for that problem and how much people are willing to pay to have that problem solved. So, I know that doesn’t really give people a definite answer because I can’t say “If you do this you’ll make $50,000 because you may”. But then again, you may not. So it comes down to this idea. I’m sure a lot of photographers have seen people selling educational products and everything like that but there’s a reason why because people want to learn. With the low period entry to digital photography now. There’s hundreds and thousands of people in a year that picked up a camera for the first time and what to improve in photography. So the education market is wide open and a lot of photographers are actually getting into it but the problem people have when they struggle is that they haven’t found a way to solve a problem that no one else has solve yet or to solve it in a way that other people really want to know how you did that. So, a lot of it comes down to how you’re marketing it and do you already have an audience that’s ready to buy your solution?
Brent: Okay, perfect. So we’ll jump into that in a second. I just want to let people know that there is quite a bit money to be made in the education online arena. I’ll let you know my best month. This is a joint venture that I had with some other people and we sold it through an affiliate. We did our first six figured month online. We sold over $100,000 worth of education videos in a single month but you can make quite a bit out of this way if you do it right. So, let’s jump into solving the problems. So you have to identify the problems out there. How do you do that?
Taylor: I do that through or I had a blog called “Taylor takes a taste”. That was about kind of a food blog. It was about a bunch of different things but mainly around food and photography and then kind of the recipes too. But in the beginning, probably I had it for about five years. So in its first year people were asking “Hey, how would you do this when you food shop?” and people were asking me questions. So I did some post explaining on what I was doing and those took off really well. People were really interested at that so I kind of saw “Oh, wow, there’s an interested people for that”. So I saw those and I’ve kind of develop an audience who’s really interested in the picture side of the food blogging. So from that, I was able to talk to people, figuring out what they’re having trouble with, what solution they need. So I would just talk to them and find out what their problem is and from that I was able to develop my photographing food solution and the way I went about doing it was I started out with just one issue for $5. Low cost entry, trying to tell them $5.00 no brainer. Definitely want to sign up for that and that what happened. People started buying and then they got kind of hooked. So from that, I had an audience who bought the first issue then I went to them and say “What do you Guys want to do next?” And that’s how I did issue two and I kept repeating the process throughout the course for a year and was making money with every issues. I was doing like “Okay, I’m going to do a set of issue, I’ve got this set of problems that people need solutions to and they’re going to buy it when it comes out”. And that worked for over the course of a year. I was able to build up this product and that now continues to sell over and over again.
Brent: Okay, perfect. So your product was a cheaper product. I guess a smaller one which is $5.00 and not difficult for people to buy and then did you add a more expensive product down the line?
Taylor: Yeah, it eventually evolved into. Of course for restaurant photography, kind of there’s a video workshop in there too and then I’m almost done with it but it’s ongoing. It’s a weekly course that goes through the editing side like Lightroom, Photoshop and using design to layout things. So that’s kind of where it evolved into. It’s a little more expensive product.
Brent: How much is that product?
Taylor: Probably $125 when it’s all said and done.
Knowing what the People Expects while Creating the Product
Brent: Okay and the workshop video that you put in. Is that the workshop that you just recorded?
Taylor: Yeah, I just recorded it and actually what I found from that is kind of what I wanted to talk about when you’re designing a product and designing a solution to a problem. It’s easy to get stuck in this track of like “Oh, I think this is a really good idea therefore other people will too”. And that’s a really dangerous position to be in because if people don’t think it’s a good idea, you’ve put in a ton of work into doing it.
Brent: Okay, so getting feedback from your audience while you’re actually creating the product.
Taylor: The video workshop, it was kind of like “Oh, I think this is going to be a great idea”. And I think it turned out well but the problem was, it did sell like one out of two and I realized that my audience wasn’t telling me they wanted a video workshop. I just felt they did. So I guess it was my fault as well as the issues did. But with the issues I saw exactly what their problems were and I guess it was kind of a double edged sword. I did a really good job solving the problems but I kind of made a product that was almost redundant and that it covered a lot of the same stuff and people didn’t really need that information because my first lesson already solved that.
Brent: Okay, so that’s a great tip for creating a product. If anyone is thinking of doing that, get some feedback from your audience while you’re creating or even before creating or maybe you can survey and find out what or how it is for a product to be sold. Is it a Webinar that they need to talk to you one to one, do they need a workshop that they can come to, that they can record the video, is it a PDF document or is it just an audio like how we’re talking now that can solve their problems. So, it’s really good to get that information back. Now jumping to the whole system from the beginning to the end, basically the customer flow, how the customer comes into your business and how that flows through your business. A lot of people call this the “Follows”. Getting people in, you’re attracting leads or people online or through other ways and then they fall into this big funnel at the top and you funnel them through so you might get a thousand people coming in to your website. Key people will opt –in, will give you their email address so you can keep talking to them on a regular basis. You might set up an order responder sequence that shoots a bunch of emails at the same time to people that actually signed up and you can nurture your leads coming through so that they get to know you; trust you and like you and then eventually might buy a course and spend money consuming the course and give you feedback. I mean, that’s the way I think about it. Just a very simplified way of how the customers flow through your business. So, let’s go through each one of those steps. So firstly, how do you attract your customers, initial leads or people coming back to your website? How do you do that?
How the customer comes into your business
Taylor: So there’s a bunch of different ways you can do it. One way is I use to write for www.fstoppers.com and for about a year I did food articles in there. So my name is connected to my product in that sense. So with the photographing food people kind of find it from going through those articles of photographing food and then also just from SEO. People that found the blogging and stuff like that, they’re connected to that.
Brent: So for people who don’t know what SEO means, can you explain it?
Taylor: Yes! SEO is Search Engine Optimization and basically it’s kind of where you come in Google. When someone types in a question like “How do I do this” for instance; so “How do you do food photographing?” I come up into certain parts and the people can find my content through that and also just word of mouth and social media, you know. Other people refer my site to people. There’s a whole art of getting people to your site.
Brent: So basically, I’ll expand just very quickly on that. So you’ve got free traffic which is like Search Engine Optimization, writing for other big blog post like Fstoppers or Digital Photography School or whatever. That’s considered free traffic but it’s actually not free because it takes your time to do it and then you get paid traffic which is advertising through Google or Facebook, pay per click or Adsense. I don’t know what it’s called now but there are other ways to get traffic but in the end all traffic takes time and money to get to your site and I guess you have to work out what it actually cost per lead that actually comes to your site. Then you can figure out if that’s a profit because in the end you’ll stay out of it. Once you know your numbers, out of a thousand leads, a thousand clicks back to my website, one person is going to buy the product or whatever it is and that person is going to spend. Let’s say $10, so out of a thousand lead you got $10 so that will determine how much you can pay per click or per lead to be profitable.
Taylor: That’s exactly the simplified version of how it works. Occasionally, when I got sales or launching a new product I will use Facebook advertising and target certain people or target fans on my Facebook page. So there are different ways you can do with the paid. Once we get people to the site then the goal is to get them unto the email list.
Brent: That’s the Opt-in right?
Taylor: That’s the Opt-in, correct. So the best way to do that is to offer them something for free.
Brent: And that’s an open lead bait, right?
Taylor: Yup! And the key to this is you want to make it something that people actually want to know. I know it sounds kind of obvious but just putting anything up there may not get response and also something important to know. It also needs to be relevant to the problems that you’re going to sell; your solution to. It needs to fit into that. So for instance, if I was selling stuff on food photography but my opt-in is something for wedding photography you know, that kind of really wouldn’t work with that well because people who go for my free opt-in might not have any interest in food photography at all; so that kind of defeats the purpose.
Create something that People will want to Know
Brent: So when it comes to the Opt-in what are you using? Are you using something like lead pages or a pop-up where it pops when people comes to your website? Is it on the sidebar where it could be a “Click Subscribe” or “Grab this thing for free” or whatever it is?
Taylor: Using both but I use leadpages so when people come to the site for the first time they’re prompted with the opt-in.
Brent: It’s a pop-up.
Taylor: Yes, it’s a pop-up. Like “Hey, here are 9 Tips to help your food photography”. I mean, if you’re coming to a site called photographingfood.com, generally, you’re interested in food photography. So, I have a pretty high success of people who comes to the site signing up for the opt-in just of the nature of how I present it and that type of thing.
Brent: Do you know what your conversion rate is for that pop-up opt-in? And when people or maybe you can explain what a conversion rate is.
Taylor: I should but I don’t; off the top of my head. I know it’s really good.
Brent: And by “Really good”, is that above 2%?
Taylor: Yeah, I think it’s above 2%.
Brent: Okay, so 2% is above the average. Around 1 or 2% that I’ve looked at for a pop-up opt in for a website and it all depends on how good you’ve written that opt in form. So I know I’ve just created one on my website and it’s around the teens, around about 13% right now. But I’ve just started it about a week ago to test it out and it offers one of my three free courses that I’ve actually had on my website as the free offer or the lead banks depending on how you want to look at it.
Taylor: So, I just looked it and it’s 34%.
Brent: Wow, that’s amazing!
Taylor: So, it’s pretty good in a sense that targeting my traffic. I know they’re interested in food photography that’s why they’re going there.
Brent: Alright perfect! So, when someone opted in, they put the email address into your opt in form like to the back that says “Subscribe” or “We’ll send you this free course”, what happens then?
Taylor: So, they then get an email saying they want to be confirmed on my list. That’s kind of the key to getting them on the list. They have to confirm it.
Brent: What kind of software are you using for that, Mailchimp or Active Campaign?
Taylor: I’m using Aweber. So like constant contact, Aweber, Mailchimp, Mad Mimi. I mean there are a bunch of good ones out there. If you’re going to start getting into this email marketing thing, you’re going to need to have an email service provider and that is someone who’s going to send out your emails. You’re going to compose them, you’re going to keep up with your list and just because it has anti-spam walls and everything; it’s the safest way to go because Google and all the email providers know that Mailchimp and Aweber that they’re not just spamming organization. So you’ll have a much higher opt-in rate and you won’t go blacklisted and that kind of stuff if you go through that.
Brent: So the believability, what you’re saying is choose a legitimate email provider like Mailchimp or Aweber. And I’m using Active Campaign now. Just move there from Mailchimp because I can segment my list a little bit better. And there’s also some automation features in there but if you want to make sure that your emails are getting delivered to your customer or lead and they don’t go straight into the spam folder. So that’s a really good idea to use one of these legitimate companies. It does cost you monthly, you have to pay. And you pay for how many people you’ve got on the email list; so the more you got, the more you pay.
Taylor: Hypothetically, the more you have the more money you’re making; so it’s okay.
Brent: Okay, so someone opt-in and they get an email saying “Confirm your subscription”; they click that and then what happens?
Taylor: And then, when they click that, they are taken to a page that has the PDF. So, some people will click and then click and it will take them to you know, an up-sale page or it will take you to expire offer. There are a lot of different kinds of strategies and things you can do but if you’re just getting started with this, I suggest you take them to the free download.
Brent: Okay, and I used to do that. I’m now taking them to the “Thank you” page where I actually have an offer there. Like you said, an expiring offer that’s only available on that page and it’s actually quite good. It’s working. People are loving it so, alright!
Taylor: Creating that sense of urgency which that’s a little bit more but we’ll get into it in this conversation. But there are lots of different things you can do, but if you’re just getting started with this, I suggest taking them to a thank you page that has a download link to the PDF or taking them straight to the PDF.
Brent: Yeah, and that can be automated with the email provider that you’re using; so you set up the way you want to send them after they’ve opted-in.
Taylor: Yeah, that’s the beauty of all these is it’s all automated. I don’t do anything. I don’t touch it. It just happens 24/7. I’m sleeping, I’m doing other things like a meeting, it’s always working for me.
Brent: And that’s what I love about this recurring income model; it is like I went surfing when we had our promotions we had our “How to photograph kids” course; naturally came out and I was in a caravan trip with my family and I was up the coast. I went surfing and I came back and I looked up my Paypal account, I found out I made a couple of thousand dollars while I was actually surfing. So, I waxed up my board and I went back out surfing.
Taylor: That’s a good surf session.
Brent: Yeah, it was. Then I came back and I hadn’t made as much so it didn’t work the second time. Yeah, so you can make money while you’re sleeping but it’s not effortless. You do have to put in a lot of work beforehand and ongoing. Alright, so someone grabs your PDF, the free opt-in offer; the reason they actually signed up to your list and that’s really important that you give people what they signed up for unless they’re going to unsubscribe straight away. So they got the free offer what happens next?
Making sure you give people what they signed up for
Taylor: So that kind of varies. I’ve tested a lot of different things. So when you start to create something, call it auto responder series which is what is going to enter into after the PDF. And what that is, it is a series of emails that you cued up to go out on a certain number of days or weeks or certain time period after they clicked that initial opt-in.
Brent: Okay, so why do we do this?
Taylor: So, there’s a couple of different things why you do this. One reason, you’re doing an auto responder, so you don’t have to do anything. It’s automated so that you don’t have to follow up like “Okay, I have six people signed up yesterday, two last week so these people can take this list”. You don’t have to think about that. It just automatically goes and the point of doing this is you’re starting to build a relationship with that reader and you really start to get to know them. They get to know you and you got content that you’re cuing up and that kind of continues that theme of what problem you can solve for them.
Brent: And that’s really important. What I’ve done with my free courses is instead of telling “You get the PDF right away” as the people sign up, what I’m doing is I’m sending out email one lesson per day for about nine to ten days. So they get one lesson per day and the reason I’m doing this is two reasons. One is, so that people don’t feel overwhelmed with too much information straight away and they can’t actually consume it and I’ve noticed a lot of people will download a PDF and never read it or they would if you send them a course. They would consume the first couple of lessons and they never get to the end of the course. So what I’m doing is I’m feeding the content or the course that they’ve actually signed up for over a number of days and also it gives me an excuse to talk to them every single day. Send them an email every day and they’d see it in the inbox and they would actually build a better relationship with me over ten days; so I’m testing that now.
Taylor: Yeah, and really a lot of these like there’s no certain rule like you have to send two emails every three days apart and all that. It’s going to come down to what your audiences respond to and what problem you’re ultimately solving. Say you’re doing something on wedding photography where someone has a business centered on this and there are a lot of different complexities and things you need to explain and ultimately. Say your course is around $400, that’s going to take a lot more time to build that kind of trust than if you’re selling that’s $15.00.
Brent: Okay, so once you send the Email auto responder series, what happens at the end of doing that series? What are you trying to achieve in that series other than building a relationship with your lead?
Taylor: Ultimately, I’m trying to state a case of how this problem you have with your food photography and here’s how I can solve it and here’s why you should trust me to solve it and then at the end, after a couple of emails, I present them with the offer of “Here’s the solution to the problem we’ve talked about”. Generally, you’re going to present a product or what you’re selling and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a PDF course. You could sell, I know a lot of photographers out there do Lightroom presets and they do pretty well with that or Photoshop actions. The key is you want the product, if you’re interested in creating recurring revenue you want it to be scalable and that you can sell one or a thousand and nothing else changes. You don’t have to do anything else.
Brent: So, there’s no time for money?
Taylor: Yeah, or there’s no physical goods you have to ship or inventory issues. There’s nothing like that. You’re just doing something to be replicated a million times if you needed it to be.
Brent: Yup, exactly. Okay, so digital product that’s downloadable or emailed through and you don’t have to ship; you don’t have to do anything. If someone buys it, it’s all automatic. They go through Paypal or Strike or Credit card connections and they get the product delivered automatically.
Taylor: Yup, but this whole opt-in series, if you are interested in doing live workshop, you can charge a premium for those and that’s kind of what your business motto is. You can use that to find people who would want to take a class of yours. So you can use this method for other type of things than just the digital products. But you know, it just works really well for digital products.
Brent: That’s awesome! Alright, so people go through or they come to your website and we go through how it really works. So people come to your website because of the attraction mechanism that you put out there either written for other big websites. You’ve got some search engine optimization, you’ve got a bunch of blogs on your website, you’ve done paid advertisement on social media, shared some of your blogs or done something on social media where people talk about you so people come to your website, you then have an opt-in form pop up, and third of the people who actually entered their email address onto your website and then get the PDF 9 tips. I think you’re talking about so they get that straight away, they’re going to order responder series so they get one email every few days or every day for a certain amount of time, building relationship with them, you’re giving them a lot of good information, you’re solving the problem or you’re maybe aggravating the bigger problem that they didn’t even know they have and then you offer the solution to their problem and that means that they need to buy something from you to solve that solution. So the buyer or some people will buy the solution and what happens after that?
Taylor: It continues to go on. I’ve got some other emails that I’ll send out. It’s kind of depends on what time of year it is but because I’ve built a relationship with these people and once you start developing an email list of people who trust you and like you and they think you know what you’re talking about from an education standpoint then it opens up the door to doing something called JV or affiliate offers that you can do where you partnered with somebody who’s got a different solution; they’ve developed and you share it with their list.
Brent: Okay, so let’s say the different products created by someone else is going to solve their problem because it’s a similar problem that the people have. So for instance with me, my kids photography course, I have an affiliate person who’s got a very big email list to promote my kids course to his photographers. I thought it would be a good fit for his photographers and then what happens with that affiliate is you pay them with a commission on the sales that they generate and that depends. But I like the 50% commission rate; so what they do is they send your offer to their list and whatever you sell you give the affiliate half.
Burning your list when trying to sell
Taylor: Yup, especially a percent is generally how it works. When you’re doing one on one. Like one time deals that type of thing and the key to all of these working is the product you’re promoting. It has to be good. The track you get into is “Oh, I’ll just push any products”; you’re list will quickly deteriorate if they’re seeing you just push out other offers. It has to be something that you truly believe in and that you really want to share with your list because you think that this solution can really help them.
Brent: And that’s called burning your list if you’re trying to sell to your list or your leads, your email customers. You try to sell to them all the time or too much, you basically burn your list and they don’t listen to you anymore. They don’t trust you anymore because “Hey, this Dude. All he does is gives us stuff to buy all the time and some of them are not even that good”.
Taylor: That’s kind of you know, that will just basically erode anything you’re creating because you’re just getting started with this. I would give it at least six months to even a year before you start pushing other products. I would really just take the time to instill the trust in your list and that you know, you’re there to help them because ultimately, yes it’s nice getting compensated but it’s also about solving people’s problems in the education side. You know, that’s why you’re there because you want to help people with their problems and with photography there are a lot of different ways you can do that.
Brent: One of the ways I acquired in years is sending my list when I’m doing a broadcast email. So this is not an automatic email, it’s not an auto responder email. It’s a broadcast which I only send once or twice a week and it’s normally content related; so I’ll send my list of really good information on photography. Really good content which will send them back to my website normally and sometimes in the “P.S.” at the bottom of the email I may have an offer in there for them or just something interesting about what I’m up to and that way it’s kind of a soft sell, you know. The whole email isn’t about buy, buy, buy. It’s about “Hey, here’s some really good information. Something you can learn and by the way, I actually have this thing that you can buy if you want to”.
Taylor: Yeah! That’s a great strategy too, you know, the kind of softer sell you know. Because the solution may not be right for everybody but if you can present that solution to someone who has that problem then it is a helpful thing for them.
Brent: Alright! And what would you say to people that are doing this whole business model and they’re scared to send an email because of people unsubscribing? So they send a broadcast email, say they have a list of let’s just say a thousand people on their list and they send an email and then get ten people unsubscribe every time they send an email no matter how good the content is or how “salesy” it is, they always get people unsubscribe. What would you say to that?
Taylor: There’s a couple of different or if you are taking it as you’re constantly sending out useful content to people and someone unsubscribe; then I would not worry because that just means that that person, they either solved all their problems or they no longer have an interest on what you’re providing. So ultimately, they were never going to buy anything from you anyway; so that’s okay.
Brent: So don’t take it personally.
Taylor: Yeah, don’t take it personally. But if you are consistently getting tons of unsubscribe, I would kind of look at that as a red flag like “What am I doing wrong?”. Especially or if you don’t really get that many unsubscribe and then say it quadrupled after one email, I would take a closer look at that email and see like “Okay, was it something off footing?” or “Is this information has nothing to do with my audience?”, you know that kind of thing. So I would kind of think of that. Sometimes it could be your content. But if generally, you have a targeted audience that you know has a certain realm of interest or problems you can solve, you’re providing consistent useful information, then just don’t worry about unsubscribe.
Customer support and services
Brent: Okay, so going back to the whole system, is there anything that happens after that once you’ve done joint ventures with affiliate offers and those types of things? What else is there? What about customer support?
Taylor: Yeah, customer support and services is a huge part of this and that’s why you will hear the term passive income. I do not like that term to describing this because that implies that you don’t do anything and it makes money. You’re still working a lot. I mean, you’re still answering people’s questions. And especially if you’re doing digital products and something goes wrong like the delivery of the product that you set something up is wrong or it’s the wrong file delivers to different parts of the world; people has different speed connections and the product is a really large file especially if it’s delivering a video product and it’s a couple of Gigabytes. You may have issues of people being able to download it. So having customer support is something you need to have in place and it’s either something you’re going to do yourself or you’re going to find someone else to do it and by someone else I mean hiring; I’m blanking out of word.
Brent: Customer support person or you can use software. One of the ones I used is called Zendesk?
Taylor: Yeah, Odesk or Zendesk and stuff like that.
Brent: So Zendesk, what happens is you create an email address. For me, it’s email@example.com and what happens is if someone emails to that email address, it automatically creates a ticket in Zendesk and then I get my customer support person who is in another country to actually support that ticket something like “Hey, I can’t login to check out my course”. They can solve that issue. If it’s say payment issue like “My credit card didn’t go through properly”. Then that’s something that I need to solve; so it’s a really good idea to get a customer support person or at least get Zendesk or something similar to do your customer support tickets so you can take care of everyone that’s obviously having problems and you want to solve them. So we need to wrap up pretty soon. Taylor, can you give us a couple of action steps if someone wants to take this? I guess this route and do a recurring income model through education products? Maybe you can give us a few resources where we can get more information and just a couple of action steps on how to get started?
Taylor: I think the first place you have to start is to start building an email list if you’re blogging or something not like you’re saying “Hey, I have a product coming immediate to sell to you” but just kind of figure out how you can develop that audience to where they can tell you the problems they’re having. And then you can find the solutions for that. I think that’s one way to start or this is a little riskier but if you know that there’s a problem you can solve and you think it’s a really good idea and you want to take the time go ahead and develop that problem, sorry, develop that solution then you could just go to straight affiliate approach and try and pitch it to other people. That may work and it may not.
Brent: So, that’s creating a product and selling it through affiliates?
Taylor: That’s a little riskier and the amount of work that you put into it may not pan out but if you don’t want to build the email list and you just want to develop products, then you could go that route.
Brent: Okay, any resources that you follow for more information and more detailed descriptions on everything we’ve spoken about?
Taylor: As far as like the whole online blogging, there are some people who has some awesome blogs like Pat Flins, the guy has got a blog called “Smart Passive Income” which he does some great tutorials and tips and information. He’s been doing it for six or seven years or maybe longer than that and he’s doing very well in it; so he’s a good resource. Leadpages is a great platform for getting people onto your email list; MailChimp, Aweber for the email software is great. I didn’t really talked about this but the actual on how you sell like the check out mechanism, I use e-junkie, I’ve also used Sendout or Gumroad; all are great options for getting started. As you get more advanced, CRMs will cost a lot more.
Brent: Perfect! I think we’ve covered a lot here and I hope someone listening to this is not overwhelmed. You can always go back to the show notes Guys at Photoprofit.net to check out our links to different resources. Thank you so much for being on the show. I really enjoyed talking with you today. You’re very knowledgeable and I love the online recurring income. It’s the way I’ve gone educating; and for me, my ultimate goal is to get people into my community, my photography community because that’s where I can really help them. Awesome, Taylor! If anyone wants to find out more about you, where should they go?
Taylor: Well, if you’re interested in food photography, you can go to www.photographingfood.com and also I’m on Twitter, @Taylor_Mathis and that’s probably the two best places to find me.
Brent: Awesome! Well, thank you so much for being on the show and I’ll catch you later. Bye!
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