I was going to open this blog post with a joke, but I really don’t want to ‘taco’ about it…
Did you ever hear the old adage about Mexican food all being basically made up of the same stuff? Meat, veg and some sort of ‘outfit’. That, and having spent the last two weeks dressing Barbie’s with my six year old, got me to thinking about marketing and digital products.
The mind boggles, but there is a connection, I promise.
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Digital Products and the ‘Periphery’ Customer
Creating digital products is an excellent way of sharing your skills or knowledge with a part of your audience or customer base who may not already be buying from you. Customers who are watching you but not buying your digital products usually fall into one of three categories: logistically unable, financially unable or DIYers. I call these people your ‘periphery’ customers.
Let me explain…
These people love what you do, they watch your business on social and even interact with you in some way…
but they don’t buy from you. This is usually because;
- Logistically, they can’t access you. This could be because of time zones, the location of your brick and mortar store or even postage costs. The list is endless, but there is usually some logistical constraint preventing them from buying.
- Financially, they can’t afford you. This could be for a number of reasons but is often because your offering is limited to a certain budget type – of course, because you’ve niched down like a sensible business owner and your target market fit into one of the higher tick boxes on the ‘household income’ form.
- They want to do it themselves – the DIYers sometimes come as a result of examples 1 and 2, or as a result of some eager need to be responsible for creating and building everything in their lives from scratch, but whatever the reason, they can be found hanging around businesses trying to figure out how to do it all by themselves.
Identifying these ‘periphery’ customers allows you to have a better understanding of your business, but does not mean you should be changing anything to accommodate these folks. I cannot stress that enough…
DO NOT CHANGE WHAT YOU ARE DOING!
This is where a solid digital product can come in and sweep up all these lovely people, providing them with a service that’s accessible, within budget and self-instructed. It’s great for them because they get to ‘work with you’ remotely and it’s even better for you as a business owner because you can create passive, semi-passive and potentially very scalable products that add to your inventory.
Digital products allow you to reach folks you wouldn’t normally, and to create something once that can be sold time and time again without any effort on your part.
But it’s at this point that my clients often get stuck.
They know their actual market and niche so well, that the idea of introducing a new client avatar into their business completely baffles them. Or, there are so many potential additional niches to market to, that they don’t know what action to take next to move forward.
That’s where Barbie and Mexican food comes in.
Introducing Business Barbie Eating Nachos
Essentially, as mentioned before, Mexican food is the same innards wrapped in a new outfit.
Barbie is exactly the same; whether she’s a First Responder, Olympian or Princess on any given day, it doesn’t matter – underneath it all, she’s still Barbie (with her over-eager smile and infuriatingly tiny waist), just in a different outfit.
If you apply the same principles of ‘outfits’ to your digital products, you can’t go far wrong.
It may be that you’re writing a book, but know it’ll appeal to more than one reader type – great. Do not try to appeal to everyone, because as you well know, that’s how it appeals to no one at all.
Instead, write the content in a super-generic way that shares all the skills and knowledge you want to convey, without being specific to your customer. i.e. naming them outright.
Then, simply give the book ‘outfits’ that specifically appeal to the consumer-type you’re trying to appeal to.
The same applies to digital courses; create the content of the product to do the job but then adjust the marketing, imagery and copy so that it appeals to the customer/s you’re trying to attract.
When it comes to making a purchase, especially of a digital product, people really don’t care that they’re buying 6 videos, 4 PDF downloads and an eBook; what they buy is the transformation.
Always remember: People buy the outcome a product can provide for them, not the content of the product.
A good example of this is a nice outfit.
You don’t go out to buy 6 meters of fabric, 6 kazillion stitches and a zipper… you buy how you feel when you’re in it. You buy the transformation, the feeling, the outcome.
How to Apply the Barbie-Mexican Food Principle to your Own Products
Let’s take the very specific niche of wedding etiquette. (Go with me, this is a real life example from an Academy member)
My student came to me with the concept of creating a book (and eBook and course; because why wouldn’t you repurpose into multiple product types) about wedding etiquette. His extensive experience of the industry had told him that there were principles that apply to ALL types of wedding, no matter what ceremony, venue or religion! These basic principles were the cornerstone of all weddings.
But, that won’t sell. Because it’s too generic.
So, by applying the Barbie/Mexican food principle, I explained that he could literally package the outcome to any customer type he liked.
Create the content – generically applying his principles to the copy of the book incorporating all the key messages of wedding etiquette and being specific, only where necessary.
From there, my student was able to create and sell multiple titles and cover designs (all within his branding guidelines, of course!) to market the book to each specific wedding ceremony type. These included titles like:
Etiquette Essentials for your Church Wedding
Essential Etiquette for your Civil Ceremony
Etiquette at your Vivaha…
You get the idea.
The same applied to a digital course created by a student of one of my other courses who is a highly sought after hypnotherapist. She wanted to tackle anxiety, as she saw this as the most common issue raised by her periphery clients.
But as we all know, anxiety can be brought on by numerous triggers, so we set about creating a course which solved the problem (because the problem remains the same, no matter what outfit it has on and therefore the solution, the course content, is the same). We then created appropriate titles, cover images and copy to appeal to just three of the most common ‘triggers’ for this issue.
It’s the same course, because the outcome and solution are the same, but it’s dressed to appeal to the right people and guarantee the sale.
It’s Important to Remember with Digital Products…
This isn’t about deception or creating the appearance of multiple products just for the sake of it; this is about providing the easiest optics for your customers to identify with.
It’s about saving you time and energy (or, as one of my Strategise clients says; “pressing the easy button”) when a product is clearly a solution to multiple problems.
This only works when the solution, i.e. your product, is the same solution that can be used to solve multiple problems.
It’s about positioning your products in front of the people who need them, and appealing to them in the right way.
This does not work when the solution is different or when you’re trying to solve multiple problems. If that’s the case, consider splitting your content down into numerous products or creating specific products with even more specific solutions.
Don’t try wrapping Barbie in a fajita or baking her into enchiladas…