In this episode, I shared the following:
I announced the name of the podcast – Learning with Leslie. I like the ring of it because it emphasizes the fact that we are on this journey of learning together. I'm not a guru, nor do I claim to be. What you see here is the result of an average guy trying to do extraordinary things.
Then I go on to answer the following questions:
- Why should I create a Free Product?
- When should I choose to create a Free Product?
- What are the types of Free Products I can create?
- What are the steps involved in creating a Free Product?
- How do I make money with a Free Product
Listen to This Episode
I really think there's a lot of value in the content of this episode, so download it, listen to it on your MP3 player – just do whatever you need to do to soak up the value in this one.
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If you are the reading type, I will have the entire transcript below, so check back later today.
Hello! Welcome to episode 3 of Learning with Leslie. Yes, that’s correct I finally chose a name after all this time. I got some great suggestions, and I want to thank each and every person that submitted a suggestion. The one that I chose, Learning with Leslie was submitted by Monique which is a subscriber to my blog. She left a comment and she gave this suggestion, Learning with Leslie.
I really like it because it emphasizes the fact that I’m not a guru. I’m here to learn along with you. Through the Podcast that I’m going to be doing, the interviews that I’m going to be doing with experts in different fields, I’m going to be learning a lot. What I’m learning is what I’m going to be sharing with you. You’re right here learning along with me, and I’m excited about that. So, Monique, you’ve won the prize. You can go ahead and send me an email with your PayPal email address and I will send that $50 grand prize over to you. Thank you for your submission.
Thank you everyone that participated by submitting your name. I really do appreciate it and I love to see the interactivity! I love it when people leave comments and even calling to the hotline and leave comments and suggestions.
Now, the topic for today is a follow up from the last topic that I spoke about and I was talking about giving away free information and how that can help you grow your business. What I want to talk about specifically today is how to create a free product that will make you money. I know that might sound a little bit like an oxymoron but, it is a system that works and it is something that I highly recommend. That is what I’m going to talk about.
I’m going to break it down in a number of different categories and hopefully, you can get a lot of value from the content today. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it. You can let me know what you have to say by leaving a comment below or calling the hotline at —. I’d love to hear your comments. So, go ahead, leave a comment or call in. I’ll be excited to deal with your question either by responding to you in the comments or by even making a Podcast to deal with your specific question or comment.
So, the first question I want to answer is the following, “Why should I create a free product?” And that’s a great question to start with because it’s something that you really need to understand if you are going to go this route of creating a free product. The first reason, I would say, is because it gives you credibility. There’s something about having a product that when someone sees that, they look at you in a different light. It’s almost as if they look at you as if you’re an expert. And, you may or may not be an expert, but the fact that you have a product behind your name, that gives you credibility.
Credibility, specially when it comes to internet marketing, and actually when it comes to any kind of marketing, credibility really gives you an edge. And having a free product or having a product whether it’s a free or a paid product, it really does help to give you that credibility.
The second reason is because having an online product is like owning your own piece of online real estate. It has value and it is an asset. It’s an asset that you can even sell in the future and you can think about it as you buying a house or you building a house and, if you build a house, you have something that you can sell in the future. It’s worth something! And when it comes to the digital age that we’re in right now, having an online product is like owning your own piece of real estate. That’s a very important point.
The next point is that, and this is probably, in my opinion, the most significant point, when it comes to internet marketing, it gives you leverage for getting people on to your list. Now, if you’ve been in internet marketing for a while, you’d know that your mailing list is probably one of the most valuable things you can have. And the reason for that is, when someone comes to your website, they might come to your website via Google Search or someone linked to your website and they visit that website quickly. They didn’t really ask you for information.
Now, when you get someone on to your mailing list, they are requesting for you to send information. And that’s a very valuable concept because they’ve given you permission to contact them. They’ve given you permission to nurture relationships with them and, they’ve given you permission even to sell products to them depending on what you are trying to accomplish and what the purpose of your list is. So, getting people on to your list is very valuable. It’s a way you make a significant amount of money. It’s how you can get people coming back to your site and staying up to date as to what you are doing and keeping them interested in what you’re doing. Now, one thing people struggle with is getting people on to their list.
The reason they’re having issues getting people on to their list, is they’re not giving them a strong enough reason to subscribe. If you have a free product, and it’s a product that provides value, it’s a product that helps them solve a problem, that is an enticement for them to join your list. That is your goal. You want them on that list. Having a free product is a great way to do that because they don’t have to pay anything at that point. It’s a very low entry point. And, it’s really easy for someone to give their email address if they’re getting something of value in return. So, those are the reasons why I think you should create a product.
The next question I want to answer is, “When should you create a free product?” and my answer to that is, as soon as possible. I don’t care how experienced you are or how inexperienced you are, if you’re starting an online business, if you have a website, if you have a blog, you want to start getting people on your list and a great way of doing that is by having a free product. So, I recommend you starting this as soon as possible. If you’re just starting your blog, I would say, “Go ahead! Try to develop a free product.”
It doesn’t have to be something that is extremely difficult to create. We’ll talk about that a little later on this episode. But, basically, the sooner you can start, the better. The sooner you can get someone on your list, the better. Now, I don’t want to say this and have you just focus on a product and spend a whole bunch of time on the product and not spend enough time creating contents for your website or for your blog. But, it is a good idea to have one as soon as possible.
Question number three. What are the types of free products you can create? This is a question that I love because there are really so many different types of products that you can create. I’m going to start with the one that I think is the easiest product to create because I think it’s a good way for someone to get started specially if they’re just starting out trying to grow an online business. That product is an interview product. It’s really simple. You look for someone that’s an expert in your niche and you contact that person and you ask them if they’d be willing to do an interview with you. Now, I’ve been doing this for a little while and I’ve contacted a number of people to do interviews and I’ve never had someone say, ‘no.’
You’ll find that people are really, specially experts in whatever niche you’re in. They’re really ready and willing to share information with whoever wants to listen. If you can give them an avenue to share that information with someone, they’d be more than happy to do it, usually. I’m sure there’d be some people out there that might say, ‘no,’ but, I’ve never encountered that person to this day. I don’t know anyone who has been turned down from an interview. So, that is an easy product to create. One of the main reasons why it’s easy to create is that, you don’t have to produce the content. And that is what I love about it.
You can call someone up on Skype. You can send them the questions beforehand just so that they have an idea of where you‘re trying to go with the interview. Then, you can call them up on Skype and you can just have a casual conversation. But, one that’s targeted. One that contributes value. One that’s relevant to your target audience. That is an easy, easy product to create that you can give away in exchange for someone getting on your list. So an interview product, very easy, you don’t have to be the expert, specially when you’re starting out. That’s a great thing because you might not know as much as someone that’s an expert in your niche.
So you can actually leverage their knowledge and their wisdom and use that as a way of jumpstarting your list building efforts. Another benefit to doing an interview with an expert is for some reason it has a way of giving you even more credibility. When can interview someone that’s an expert in your niche and people listen to the interview, for some reason they have a way of ascribing that authority to you. It’s as if even though you’re not the one delivering the content in terms of you’re not the one that’s answering the questions and producing the product, yes, you might be conducting the interview but, even though you are not the one that’s delivering that content, you get credibility by association with that expert. That’s the concept that I love.
It really helps you to look smarter and it’s probably the reason why I am going to be interviewing so many people. It really does have that effect. When people listen to you interviewing an expert they automatically assume you‘re an expert and that definitely helps you out. So, that’s the first way you can make a product. That’s an easy way to get started for having something to get people on to your list. Now, that’s not a technique that I’ve used for getting people on to my list personally and the reason for that is, coming up with content is relatively easy for me but, different people are different and you know, writing an e-book might not be easy for someone listening to this or coming up with an e-course might not be easy for someone listening to this. Doing something like that is a great way to get started. I know some people that have done that and have done them very successfully.
Okay, I think I have beat that to death now so, let’s move on to the next type of free product you can create. The next type would be a free report. This can be a really simple PDF. It doesn’t have to be long. It can be relatively short. It can even be a page that summarizing a concept or explaining how to do something, how to start an online business, for example, or how to train a dog, or you know anything, depending on what your niche is. It can be from a page to three pages, six pages depending on how much content you plan on delivering or how much you feel comfortable starting out with.
The main thing is, you’re providing information that’s valuable that can help someone accomplish some part of their goal or accomplish a specific goal. I hope that makes sense. This doesn’t have to be as long as the next one but, it does take us into the next topic which is writing an e-book.
An e-book is kind of like a free report but, it’s longer. An e-book might be 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, I’ve seen some even over a hundred pages. I wouldn’t go that far. But, depending on your niche and what you’re trying to accomplish, that might be something that’s feasible for you and that might be something that’s attractive to your audience. So, an e-book is a next option where you just type in a book but, it’s delivered electronically. That can be shared with people online. That can also give you credibility and it’s easy to deliver once you have the content typed up. You can change it into a PDF and give that in exchange for someone opting into your list. So, we have an interview product, a free report, and an e-book.
Another one would be a free video way of showing how to do something. I’m the kind of person that really loves doing videos as you probably already know if you’ve gone through any of my training. But, putting together a free video that shows someone how to do something can be a strong enticement to get them on to your list. That’s an option that you might want to consider also.
The next step up, I guess you can say, is providing something like an e-course, and this can be, for example, my 7-Day Boot Camp where I have free video training and people can signup. On day one, they get one video. On day two, they get another video and so on. And that goes on for seven days. That’s the way I’ve applied it to my business and what I’m trying to do with internet marketing. I’ve seen people also do the same thing but, not with videos. Just by sending out one email a day for seven days or for three days or one email once a week for a month. You know, it varies.
You can do it however you think or however works best for your niche and you can try it out in different ways and see what works best for you. But, an e-course is definitely another great way of getting people on to your list. It’s another great free product that you can have and there are so many benefits to having an e-course. This is the method that I’ve chosen and it’s one that has worked well for me and it’s one that I have been able to make a significant amount of money even while giving away valuable information for free.
The next type I want to talk about is not a specific type. It’s developing something that’s specific to your niche. You know when you’re dealing with stuff like internet marketing, dog training, and weight loss, you know, it’s very concrete in terms of the types of products that people typically do. But, if your niche is something that’s totally different, there might be something that you can develop that’s specific to your niche that your target audience might find extremely valuable.
I’ll give you an example from what I’m doing at my Biology website. So, I’m a Biology teacher. I have my interactive Biology website at Interactive-Biology.com and people come to that website because there are Biology videos, Biology resources and so on, that they can use to either help them to learn the material or they can use to teach their classes. So, what I decided to do is put together a series of PowerPoint because I know that teachers are always looking for PowerPoints. So, I put together a few PowerPoints and I gave that away at my blog in exchange for them signing up to my newsletter.
So, that’s not an e-book. It’s not an e-course or a typical internet marketing product that you would think of but, for my niche, it is very specific and it’s something that my target audience is very interested in getting and that’s why I have people signing up to my e-mail list on a regular basis. There are a number of people that sign up everyday just to get those PowerPoints. So, you might be in a niche that’s not a typical niche, which is a good thing in some ways.
There might be things that are specific to your niche that you can produce and give away at your blog, and if that’s the case, go ahead and do it! Be creative. Some creativity can go a long way. It’s something I definitely recommend doing, just thinking outside the box maybe, and coming up with a product idea that can be valuable to your subscribers.
Okay, so I’ve dealt with why you should create a product, when you should choose to create a product, and the types of products, I’ve been talking about free products so, the type of free products that you can create.
Now, I want to talk about the steps that you need to take in order to create a free product. First thing you need to do, is you need to decide on what type of product you want to make, all right? That’s really the first step. Just make a decision which works best for you. Which do you think you can produce the easiest or which do you think would be the most effective for your target audience, for your niche. Decide on the product and once you’ve made that decision, just do it.
Don’t beat the idea to death and think about a million different products that you can create. Once you’ve made that decision, then you just need to take the steps that you need to take in order to do it. That sounds a bit redundant, take the steps that you need to take. But really, it’s all about taking action and if you’ve been listening to what I’ve been saying for any period of time, you know that, I always say, take action because if you don’t take action, you definitely will reach nowhere.
Okay, so, once you’ve decided on the product that you want to create, the next step is to make an outline of that product. Now, this is a very good idea. It’s not one hundred percent necessary but, it’s something that I recommend highly. It helps you to organize your thoughts, organize the content that you want to put into that product, and it gives you a good overview. It’s good to have a full picture of where you want to be before you actually start and that can be something that’s very valuable and it can save you a lot of time in the long run.
So, have an outline, I usually have a program that is called Evernote. It’s a program that I use to jot down my ideas, to write my articles, and so on. I usually outline my ideas and outline the types of things that I want to put into that product in Evernote. The thing I like Evernote is, I know I’m giving applaud for Evernote but, I really think it’s a valuable piece of software, and it’s free so, it’s a really good deal. The great thing that I like about it is I can have them on my computer and I can type stuff out there, and if I’m on the go, I have my iPhone with me. I can open up my iPhone and have the same program on my iPhone and, whatever I type on my computer, it’s on my iPhone.
And then, when I make changes on my iPhone, it’s on my computer. And, if I go to work, I have the same program there and I open up the program and it’s there with all the current changes. It’s automatically synced with all of your devices whether it’s a phone, iPad, or some other mobile device. It comes in very handy and it’s just something that I really like using. Okay, so that’s just an additional plug, an additional tip there that you may or may not want to use. Oh by the way, if you have a PC or Mac, it doesn’t matter. You can use it on either.
All right, so once you have an outline, the next step is to, well depending on what the product is, if it’s an interview for example, you want to contact the people that you think would be good to interview. You can just go to their website, or to their blog and you can usually find their email address, and you can send them an email, let them know who you are, what you’re trying to do. You want to interview them and give that away to your subscribers so that your subscribers can find out more about them.
The way you want to approach these people is you don’t want to make it seem as if you want them to help you make money. You want to make it seem, not you want to make it seem, this is the way it should be, you’re trying to contribute value to them. And them being interviewed in your blog and you exposing them to your audience is valuable to them. Whether your audience is one person or two people, it’s getting someone to their website and that’s a good thing for them. So, approach them and let them know what they’re trying to accomplish. It’s a great idea if you already have a relationship with someone, to contact that person, someone that’s in your niche, and is an expert in your niche.
If not, you can always nurture relationships with them by commenting on their blogs and you might want to consider doing that first, comment a few times on their blog and then, let them know that you’re getting a lot of value from what they’re producing and you want your audience to have that same value and you’d like to interview them. That’s a great way of getting someone to do an interview and being able to take that interview and posting it and giving it to people in exchange for them subscribing to your mailing list. So, that’s it if you’re doing an interview.
If you’re doing a free report, or an e-book, it’s really straightforward. Just open up a word processor like Microsoft Word if you’re using a PC or a Mac even. I personally use Evernote as I said before, or sometimes I’d use the program Pages on the Mac. I love that program Pages because it’s like Microsoft Word but, “on steroids.” It really makes it easy to come up with something that looks really, really good. So, I would normally do it in Evernote and transfer it into Pages and then, go ahead and make it look nice in there.
Once you’ve finished writing the e-book, and formatting it, putting nice images in there, or however you want to do that, whether it’s an e-book or a free report, you need to convert it into a PDF. If you’re on a Mac, you can simply just go to “File” and then “Export to PDF,” and you have your e-book! If you’re on a PC, you can get a PDF converter and you can get them free online, and you can convert it into a PDF. I’m not a PC guy. I’m a Mac, an Apple fan boy as you will probably get to know as you listen to my Podcast in the future. I’m all Mac. I have a PC downstairs and, don’t hate me for it or anything of that sort. If you’re a PC person, I apologize. But, every once in a while I would probably say something that might offend you a little bit but, please still, you know, come back and listen to what I have to say.
I’ll try not to be too biased, no. I’m just joking, well, no, I’m not really joking. Anyhow, yes, you want to convert it into a PDF. There are many free services that you can use online to do that if you don’t have a simple way of doing that. Just do a Google search for “convert to PDF” or “convert Word document to PDF,” and you’ll find a number of different options for doing that. So, that’s if you’re doing a free report or a free e-book or anything of that sort.
Now, let’s talk about my personal favorite, online video. If you’re going to be doing video, there are a number of easy options that you have. If you’re recording yourself doing a video, an easy option would be getting a flip cam, or an inexpensive digital video camera, or even if you have an iPhone or a cellphone that does video. You can use that to make your videos. It’s really straightforward. You just shoot, you just get in front of the camera, and start talking.
Now, of course, you’ve already outlined the product, so you have an idea of what you want to be doing. You can now sit down in front of the camera and talk about whatever it is you are trying to contribute, whatever value you’re trying to give, whatever problem you’re trying to help someone solve, you can just talk about it, just like I’m talking right now on this Podcast and you can use that as your video. It’s a really good idea in my opinion, if you’re going to do a video, to get a nice little lapel microphone. You can get one for maybe $20 in Amazon and connecting that to your camera or connecting it to some kind of a recorder so that you can have a decent audio because one big aspect of online videos that really makes your videos look professional, even though it might sound a little strange is by having good audio.
If your videos look professional, and the audio is crappy, it kind of eliminates everything that you’re trying to do. If the video doesn’t look that good but, the audio is really good, in some ways, that over compensates for the lack of quality on the video. And because you have a clear sound, people are able to clearly understand what you are trying to do. And that’s always a good idea. Now, if you’re uncomfortable being on camera or if you just don’t want to do camera, there are other options, of course. You can use Camtasia on the PC or Mac, or you can use ScreenFlow on the Mac, those are programs that you can purchase and do like what I did with the 7-Day Boot Camp.
You just have a PowerPoint, or in my case, it’s a Keynote on the Mac. You make a PowerPoint and you just basically walk through that and you record the screen, and you record your voice as you’re going through the slides on the PowerPoint. That’s a very easy option. Those programs are once again Camtasia and ScreenFlow. I am going to have links to them in the show notes so you can definitely go to those and check those out. If you’re looking for a free option, of course, there’s some free options.
You can use a program called CamStudio and I think that’s only for the PC. So, you can use CamStudio or another one that you can use is Jing, that’s easy quick one, that’s online or you can use Screenr.com where you can just go to the website, click on record, and start recording your screen. That’s a very easy option also and those options are also free. I’ll include links to all of the resources that I’m talking about in the show notes.
Those are ways that you can get started with developing your own free product. I hope you got some ideas from that. Now, the question that I still have not answered, and this is probably the question that is on most of your minds, that question is, “Okay, so now that I have a free product, how in the world do I make money with this free product? That’s an excellent question. This is the part that you really want to listen to. I’m a firm believer that if you provide value for free, that value will come back to you. That might be monetarily and it might be in other ways. If you’re trying to make money from this product that you are developing and giving away for free, there are a number of ways that you can do it.
But, there’s one way that I think is the absolute best way and that’s the one that I want to talk about. And that’s by promoting affiliate products. Now, let’s take my Boot Camp for an example. I have my 7-Day Boot Camp where I teach people to set up websites. I teach them how to install blogs and install a nice screen to their blog so that the site can look nice. I show them how to do keyword research and I show them how to drive traffic and make money with their blogs. Now, in order to do this, there are a few things that they’re going to need. Number one, of course if you want to develop a website, you need to have a website in the first place. So, you need to get hosting for that website.
Now, because you need to get hosting, and I know that that is something that is valuable for anyone that’s trying to go through my program, I’m going to recommend a hosting company for them to get their hosting through. In doing so, I can use my affiliate link and whenever someone clicks on that affiliate link and makes a purchase, I make money. Now, for keyword research, there’s a number of ways you can do keyword research. The one that I recommend is the one that I think is the best which is using a program like Market Samurai because that makes it much easier. It helps you to save a lot of time and it’s just much more efficient.
So, when I recommend Market Samurai, of course, I am going to use my affiliate link to Market Samurai and if someone makes a purchase, I get a commission. So, those are two examples. I can name a number of different examples in terms of, for the courses that they can go through in order to learn more advanced information and in recommending those courses that they can take, of course I can use an affiliate link, and in doing so, whenever they make a purchase, I get paid.
The good thing about doing that is with all those programs and the products and the services that I recommend, those aren’t products and services that I need to develop personally. They are products and services that will contribute value to my subscribers and it’s something that I believe that they should use. So, right there, you can see that my goal isn’t just to make money. My goal is to help them to accomplish their goal. And by doing so, I can use affiliate links, and whenever someone purchases a product, I make money.
This is a great way to make money with a free product because you’re using the product to get them on your list, you’re using the content that you’re providing to establish yourself as someone that knows what you’re talking about, and in doing so, they grow to trust you and see you as a credible person, a credible source of information so that, when you recommend something, they are more likely to buy it.
I hope that makes sense. It’s what I’ve done with my 7-Day Boot Camp and I think it’s a great way for someone to do it. That’s definitely something that I highly recommend.
Now, beyond that, there’s one other way that I’d like to mention because it’s a way that is very effective for a number of different reasons. And that is, you can have more of your own products and you can promote those as a part of your free program. So, for example, if I were to develop a more advanced course to my Boot Camp that I would say, sell for $47, or $97, or if it’s a membership site and I can charge a monthly premium for it, that would be a perfect follow up to what I did in my free 7-Day Boot Camp course.
So, if you can develop your own products, which you can do, if you decide to develop your own products, you can have them as up sells, you can have them as alternatives for people to join and learn even more advanced information about the content that they are already interested in. You know they’re interested in that content because they’ve already gone through your free product.
So, there you have it. That’s how to create a free product, one that will make you money. I told you why I think you should create one, when you should create one, the different types that you can create, the steps that you need to take in order to create them, and lastly I showed you how you can make money even from your free products. I hope you found value in it. I’d love to hear what you have to say about this episode.
You can go ahead and leave a comment below or you can call in on the hotline at 888 835 2414 and leave your comments there. Of course, if you have any questions, you can ask those questions. I’d love to know what you would love to know. So, go ahead and leave a comment or call in the hotline and let me know and who knows, I might even make a follow up episode to answer your specific question. If for some strange reason, you are listening to this Podcast and you haven’t gone through my free 7-Day Boot Camp Training, I would recommend for you to go and check it out. It’s at 7daybootcamp.net.
I basically take you through seven days of training in terms of how to get started and build your online business, how to grow your online business, drive traffic and make money from that. Of course, if you want to hear more Podcast like this, you can come back to my blog at the freebieguy.net where I’ll be providing you with lots of free information that you can use to help you grow your online business and take your online business to the next level.
That’s it for this episode and I’ll see you on the next one.