For those of you who follow the email list, you may remember the Low Content Product course we put together recently. David and I (Stefanie) have been doing low content products for a while now, and they can be a great way to boost and diversify your income.
One of the things we talked about in the course was the idea of making low content products for a specific audience. If you have one or more niche/authority sites, you’ve got the audience. All you need to do is figure out what kind of low content products would be useful to them.
We often use our British TV site in examples, and this case is no exception. It’s currently my favourite of the projects we’ve got going, and I have a lot of fun making products for the audience. For those not familiar with the site, we report on British TV – especially lists of shows to stream in the US – to a devoted fanbase of mostly older women (like my own granny).
A lot of British TV fans like to keep track of what they’re watching, what they want to watch, and where it’s available. We already have a “field guide” to British TV shows with short descriptions of 1700+ shows, and while it DOES contain scattered note pages, I wanted to create a proper log book for those who wanted a more organized way to journal their viewing.
After about 30 seconds of deliberation, we decided to call it the “Telly Tracker”. In case it’s not totally obvious, “telly” is British slang for “television”.
To start, I made two versions of the journal pages in Canva – one for the left-hand pages, and one for the right-hand pages. You don’t necessarily HAVE to do this, but if you’re not making the lines go all the way to the edge and you want to give the maximum space for writing, it’s helpful. Inner margins (near the binding) need to be bigger than outer margins, so if you don’t make different pages for each side, you’ll have to make the margins really big on both sides to keep text out of the gutter.
Here’s the left-hand page:
Once we had the two sample pages, we created a title page with our site URLs, a “front matter” page (copyright info, ISBN), and then put it all together in Affinity Publisher. It’s like Adobe InDesign, but much cheaper and a bit easier to use.
For the cover, we used Creative Fabrica and Creative Market to find seamless images that could be tiled to make an attractive, British-themed pattern. We then built the covers in Canva. To begin, we made two different variations of the cover – one with a very simple, clean feel and another with a more vintage look. They’re nothing wildly unique or impressive, but they’re fun for anyone who likes having a little reminder of Great Britain.
In total, we invested about 2 hours in creating this product. Much of that was spent finding seamless images that were actually seamless. We found a few were labeled as seamless, only to download the files and realize that they weren’t seamless at all – meaning they couldn’t be tiled to make the covers.
We weren’t really sure how well this product would go over. Most of the time, we do pre-orders to let us know there’s some interest. After all, who wants to spend weeks or months building something, only to realise nobody wants it? Since this product wasn’t going to take much time or money, we decided to skip the pre-order thing and just order a couple boxes to see how they did.
Our promotions (for the period covered in this post) consisted of:
- 1 Facebook post
- 2 emails to our list
- 1 photo post to our Facebook group showing the new inventory that had come in
So – we’re talking about a couple hours of product creation, maybe half an hour or two to create a page in Shopify, and another half hour for social media posts and adding it to the email newsletters.
It’s been a little less than 2 weeks since we put the products live in our shop, and our sales so far are:
- Vintage London: $255.68
- Classic Black: $159.80
It’s likely we would have sold more, but we had some supply issues. For those reading this post months or years down the road, it’s worth noting that we’re currently in the midst of a pandemic and Amazon has de-prioritised non-essential products like books (and rightfully so).
Since we weren’t sure about demand, we made a very small initial order. We sold out of our first batch almost immediately, and it was only this week that we got in another box of the Vintage London style. We’re still out of the Classic Black.
Each book nets about $5, so the copies sold so far have been worth around $260 in profit…or so you’d think.
In reality, quite a lot of the orders ALSO ordered other books we sell – so the true profit from those sales was more in the neighbourhood of $600-900.
We can’t really be sure how many of those people would have ordered the other products without the Telly Tracker being available, so we’ll just give a rough estimate.
We did put the product up on Amazon, but we’ve never promoted it there. We’d much rather have people buy directly from us, and there are a few reasons for that:
- We get the profit almost immediately – no waiting months for Amazon to pay out
- There’s a good chance people might find other products they like in our shop
- When people buy directly from us, we know who they are and we can reach out to them in the future
- With direct customers, we can provide the highest level of customer service – making sure that anyone who comes to us with a problem gets personal attention from someone who isn’t using ill-fitted robo-answers to answer their questions
Even still, we’ve sold a couple of copies on Amazon. They didn’t happen on the days we promoted the books, so I’ve no idea whether they found us ON Amazon, or whether they just went there looking because they prefer the free Prime shipping.
This isn’t one of those wildly impressive 5 or 6-figure case studies, but hopefully it gives you some ideas on how you can create simple products to incrementally increase your site’s revenue over time. Once you get a handful of products that appeal to your audience, you can build up a fairly powerful extra stream of income – something independent of display ad RPMs and ever-changing affiliate programs.
And what if you don’t HAVE a site to promote to?
There’s no reason you can’t make products for specific markets and use Amazon ads (or even Facebook ads) to get them in front of the right people – and if you hit on something that really works for you, who knows? It might just be your next niche site project.