One of the things I learnt pretty early on when I started to monetise this blog, was that having multiple income streams was a good idea. While I continue to earn the bulk of my income from banner advertising and sponsored content, only relying on this every month wouldn’t be that smart. I mean, what if all my advertisers suddenly decided to go elsewhere?
Around mid-2012 I started to brainstorm other ways I could make an income from this site. One of those was selling products. I dabbled with a number of things but the most significant for me have been The Blogcademy, my print magazine and my headpiece collection with Crown and Glory.
If you want to start selling products through your own blog, then here are a few keys things you need to consider.
Bring your readers on the journey with you
The reason the people that read your blog will buy from you over anyone else is because they are invested in YOU. There are a million wedding magazines out there and a squillion brightly coloured headpieces on Etsy, but the reason mine sell is because my readers love the Rock n Roll Bride brand.
In order to capitalise on this fandom (for lack of a better word!), you should bring your readers on the journey with you. Share sneak peeks of the design process and tease the launch on social media. Run exclusive discounts or contests on your blog. Let your readers know, before anyone else, what you’re working on and when they can buy it.
Last week I was shooting the look book for my new collection with Crown and Glory (which is launching on September 15th by the way!) and I made sure I shared a few behind the scenes shots on Instagram. I also snapped some other photos to tease out slowly before the launch (ahem, like in this blog post!) This way, my readers are hopefully already excited about the new collection before it’s even released.
It’s important that you don’t give too much away with your previews though. You don’t want your readers to feel like they’ve already seen everything before you launch! You’ll notice, for example, that I haven’t shared any close up shots of the actual pieces yet. You need to keep some mystery!
Collaborate with others
There is no way I could sell any of my products without a team behind me. With The Blogcademy I have Gala (co-founder), Shauna (co-founder and designer) and Gareth (developer); with the magazine I have Shauna (designer) and Gareth (packing and shipping); and with the headpieces Sophie and (another!) Gareth of Crown and Glory (designer, making, packing and shipping). It would be impossible for me to do all these things on my own.
If you’re thinking of selling something yourself, collaborating with someone else might be a smart move. Not only can you pool your skills, but also your marketing power. Naomi and Josh of Love Taza just joined forces with Joy of Oh Joy! to launch their app, Pippit, for example.
Have a launch plan
It’s all very well and good spending months working on your product but if you don’t have a launch plan, no-one will ever know about it! Unless you have an enormous Kardashian-sized audience, if you don’t work hard to promote it, no-one else will do it for you. Word of mouth may start to spread down the line, but you need to kick the process off.
Obviously you should share your new products on your own platforms, but that’s rarely enough these days. What else will you do to get the word out?
You could reach out to other bloggers and magazines, do some paid advertising, or run some competitions. Marketing is a slow and steady process, so don’t ever launch a product without some kind of idea on how you’re going market it.
A Beautiful Mess just did this really well with their latest iPhone app, Party Party. First they announced it on their blog. Then, they sent out a care package with some fun props to some of their blogger friends with access to the app so they could try it and share the results on their own platforms. They now continue to write content on their own blog that shares the behind the scenes process of app building, as well as images and gifs made with the app. They’ve also managed to secure some major press features.
If you want to learn more about marketing a blog or product, have a gander at The Blogcademy Home School’s PR and Marketing module!