Questions

Which is smarter, and why: Building an audience with free content, versus selling knowledge?

I have conducted a survey, and found a painful problem that I know how to solve, although it is complex. It cannot be "done for you", and can only be "done with you", or "do it yourself". I know done with you can be lucrative, but it's not for me. I would rather not consult a few people one on one for thousands of dollars. So do it yourself seems most appropriate. Hence I have two options: 1) Package the problem into an en ebook or online course, and sell it at $20-$200 Or; 2) Create an online resource (blog, online magazine, etc) build an audience of 2-3k visitors/day and 5k email subscribers slowly, and then sell to them multiple products and services (plus I can monetize the traffic with ads etc) Some facts: I am too broke to spend money on advertising. No one knows who I am in the industry and I have no formal qualifications, so the trust level is low. On the upside, I know exactly how to solve the problem, I can write killer content and I am an email marketing wizard. I am decent with SEO, and I am willing to learn. I don't expect people to see my ebook and buy it in thousands.. Unless I advertise the heck out of it and myself. And I don't have money to advertise like that. I am more than willing to take 2-3 years to build the audience before I monetize it. I am playing the long game and looking to make 20k/month consistently. Which would be smarter to do here: - Package all my knowledge into the book/course and sell for cheap Or; - Create the audience, monetize the traffic and email list. And why. Thanks!

3answers

Hi,
First of all, based on the informative manner in which you phrased your question, you seem very intelligent and business/internet savvy - so either way, I'm sure you'll do great.
Answer: I would go for both. Why? Because they are not exclusive to each other. Some people will just want to read about a specific subject/issue/solution within the field, and others will want to read the entire e-book. Also, some people like to have a book layout, versus others who prefer reading short posts. The online concern with an e-book is the re-publishing of the content by a third party - but if you release the eBook only after you publish most of the content on your website, this won't be a problem because Google recognizes who published the original content first.
If the above us not an option because of the specific subject you're covering, then I would go with the online resource option (and not the e-book). The eBook is a once off profit model, whereas you could probably sell numerous products/services on the website (I would of course need to see all the numbers to give you a 100% answer).
p.s.: if the business has a lot of potential (backed by numbers), I would be willing to consider a small investment (if this interests you).
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs, and am happy to help you as well.
Best of luck


Answered 18 days ago

No matter what product you are selling, you need people to see it in order to buy it.

Building an audience by sharing content for free is one way of building a future customer base without spending on advertising. It's a long term game, as you say.

If you started selling your content today, you'd struggle to find a customer base without advertising. You'd need to find buyers elsewhere - on a marketplace (e.g Udemy) or by traditional book publishing.

Hope that helps - happy to discuss further!


Answered 18 days ago

Hi--
You're not going to like my answer. But I'm not going to blow smoke up your a$$ either.

The smarter play is always the longer, repeat revenue. This rules your one-off purchase out. You can still turn the purchase into recurring revenue by making it a SaaS. But the world is a SaaS graveyard at the moment. This leaves you with a few options, none of which are listed above. But first, some reality.

1. This ain't Field Of Dreams. There is no "build it and they will come." You are over-simplifying if not completely neglecting marketing, especially when you're aiming for $20k per month. You are an email marketing wizard and have some SEO knowledge, great. I get, on average, an open rate of 47% on a cold list, 76% on a warm. Let's assume yours is somewhere between the two since I don't know if your list is cold or warm. At $50/purchase, assuming a 20% click rate, and 5% conversion rate (all super super super generous), you'd need a list size of fresh emails (<3 months imo) of 8,000. For one month. For one year of business at 20K per month, assuming you can maintain the stats, you need 96,000 emails, assuming you can maintain those killer stats, Mr. Wizard.

2. You're not the first person ever to have a unique solution for ___Insert Problem Here______. That being said, you didn't acknowledge your competition. Who are they? How big are they? How dense is the competition in your space? And I don't mean competition from a "well, no one has a product like me so I have no competitors" perspective. I mean who has your target market's attention in this space? What are they up to? How are you different? What's your *gasp* competitive differentiation?

Basically, you're asking an EXTREMELY complicated question with no context and you've boiled it down to irrelevant facts rather than focusing on the business viability.

Oh, there's also no such thing as get rich quick. Sorry, kiddo.

So there ya have it. The truth like no one else will give it to you. That being said, here's my gift to you. This is how you make this pile of dog crap into a business:

Path 1:
1. Get ready to do some work. With no money to market or advertise, you're relying entirely on organic social, email, referral, affiliate, SEO, word of mouth, and partnerships. That's what's in play. I can't make a recommendation as to which channels are the most viable without knowing more about your target market.

2. Take your knowledge product, split it up into modules and put it into the open source Canvas LMS or Moodle.

3. Get a friend with some design skills. This is important. Illustration is preferred. Illustrate or at least design the hell out of the site and modules.

4. Seek the advice of an attorney, as you will want to protect your assets. Otherwise, if they are that valuable, they will be stolen and you will never be able to make a buck.

4. Or, offer the first module in beta for free. If it's good, people will subscribe once they know it exists.

5. Begin activating the channels from number 1 based on market engagement.

6. Hire a professional. You may be a super expert in your field, but you need some business wisdom to guide this.

Path 2:
1. Get ready to do some work. With no money to market or advertise, you're relying entirely on organic social, email, referral, affiliate, SEO, word of mouth, and partnerships. That's what's in play. I can't make a recommendation as to which channels are the most viable without knowing more about your target market.

2. Give the knowledge away for free.

3. Build a personal brand.

4. Begin selling tangentially endorsements.

5. Become Neil Patel.

6. Begin activating the channels from number 1 based on market engagement.

6. Hire a professional. You may be a super expert in your field, but you need some business wisdom to guide this.


Answered 15 days ago

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