Maybe you offer a product or a service. Maybe you’re just starting out. Or maybe you’ve been making a few sales here and there but you want to scale your business to the next level. No matter what stage of your business you’re in, here is one secret and the exact action steps for you to use in your business, to help you make more sales, increase your profits and help you make more money online.
Why It Is Easier to Sell To Existing Customers Than To Find New Ones
I’m going to let you in on a secret. Finding new customers, marketing to them, and getting them to spend money with you for the first time is a lot of hard work. Getting them to then by something else from you is MUCH easier. And for good reason.
Before a new person is ready to pull out their wallet and spend their hard-earned money with you, they have to know, like and trust you. To build that kind of trust and show that you are a person that’s likeable and knows what they are talking about, takes time and effort.
You have to go out and find these people, get in front of them, share content, get them on a list, and then build that relationship. Eventually you get to a point where they turn into paying customers.
The big mistake most new online marketers make is that they stop there and then spend all their time and efforts to find new people. They work hard to convert those new people into paying customers. While that’s great, and certainly something all of us need to do, there is a second part to this process and it’s where most of the money for your business is to be made – the backend.
There are a couple of things that happen when someone turns into a paying customer. The first thing is that they know and they trust you. They know you do good work, and they are comfortable spending money with you. Hopefully your product is exactly what they needed and it’s helping them reach their next goal, or entertaining them. They are then highly likely to buy from you again.
If you’re an avid fiction reader, you’ve seen this in action with yourself. If you find an author you love, buying the next book, particularly in the same series, is a no-brainer. You don’t even need to read the synopsis. You buy it and dive in. The same happens with your existing customers.
You also know a lot about a person once they buy a product from you. You know what they bought and what they like or need.
Let’s say you create and sell an info product or course about getting your first website up and running. You know your customers are interested in that topic. For your follow up products you come up with courses on things like creating content for your site, setting up an autoresponder, monetizing your website, getting traffic to your site etc. Since you know your customers are very interested in website creation, chances are they also want to learn more about those related topics.
Create those products, email your customer list about and watch the sales come in. Then go out and promote to grow that customer base.
What Are Backend Sales?
Let’s talk about backend sales. A backend sale is an additional sale or sales you make after a customer bought the initial product. These sales can happen immediately after the initial purchase is made or over the coming weeks and months.
Here’s why this is an important topic, and something you should study and work on. Backend sales are where most of your money will be made. This is particularly true if you’re selling info products online. It doesn’t matter what niche or market you are in. This is true if you’re teaching people how to make money online, how to potty train their kids, and even when you’re writing fiction books.
The hard part is finding those new customers and convincing them to make that first purchase. After that it becomes much easier to sell them again and again. You will have passed that first hurdle of proving to people that you know what you’re talking about and that you create good stuff. Next, it’s simply a matter of sharing other products they may be interested in with them.
You can offer a few different types of products to your customers on the backend. They can be products on similar topics, they can be products that help them reach the next step towards their end goal, they can be products or services that help them do what you teach in your info products, or they can be coaching programs where you help them implement what they’ve learned.
That sounds like a lot of different products you need to create and have ready before you make that first sale, doesn’t it? The good news is that you don’t need to have all the pieces in place from the beginning. It’s something you build over time. Start with that first product and work on your first few customers.
Here’s some even better news. You don’t have to create all or even any of your backend products. You can recommend high-quality products other markers, writers, coaches, and teachers have put together, and make money through affiliate programs.
If you don’t already have a good product to offer on the backend, go out and find one that you can promote. Grab your affiliate link, and start earning commissions without having to go through any product creation.
If you find that you’re selling a lot of a particular product as an affiliate, or if you’re finding that while the product works well, there is something missing, or you could do a better job, create that product. Once you do, you can replace the affiliate offer, with a promo for your own product.
With each new product or service you create, think about different ways you can cross promote with what you already have to offer. Send out a couple of emails to your list of customers, but also mention related products within your content, on your download pages and throughout the content you share on your blog and social media. Putting a little bit of effort into product planning and backend promotion can have a huge impact on your overall business profitability.
3 Ways To Make Backend Sales
Backend sales are some of the most profitable sales you can make. They allow you to make multiple sales to the same customer with only a little more work and effort on your part. These backend sales can be for your own products, or other people’s products that you are an affiliate for. There are three main ways to make those sales.
Promote Inside Your Products
The first way you can start making backend sales is by mentioning and promoting other products within your own products.
For example, if you’re writing an eBook on writing Kindle books, you could promote conversion software that takes your word documents and turns them into kindle ready files.
If you’re teaching a course on how to start a blog, you may want to promote your favorite hosting company. You could also mention follow up products toward the end or your course where you teach them how to set up a list, or how to come up with a social media strategy.
Promote On Download Pages and Create One Time Offers
Another great place to promote your products and start making backend sales is on your download pages. You can both provide the download information and then follow up with one or a few related offers or you can set up a special one-time offer (OTO), also known as an upsell offer.
Here’s how an OTO usually works. A customer buys product A. After the purchase goes through, instead of the download page, they are redirected to a special sales page where you thank them for their purchase and make an offer. It’s basically a slightly modified sales page.
Make sure the offer is closely related to what they already bought, and build in some sort of scarcity. You can use a tool like Deadline Funnels to help you achieve this. Usually this means that they get a discount if they take you up on the offer right now.
Toward the end of the sales page, you should also give them the option to decline the offer. Either the person takes the offer and is then redirected to a page to download both products, or they decline and go straight to the download page for the product they already bought. This is a great way to make a backend sale right away and greatly increase the value of each customer.
Send Emails For Related Offers
By far the most effective way to make frequent backend sales is email marketing. Start by promoting each product to your existing customer base each time you launch. Then make it a point to mention older products periodically to your entire list, or even better to everyone that has not yet bought this particular product.
Another great strategy is to set up follow up auto-responders for each product. Keep adding more and more emails to this auto-responder and promote both your own products, and related offers that you are an affiliate for. Over time, you can see a steady and ever-increasing stream of backend sales from the auto-responder emails. Best of all, you do the work once, and you’re done.
Designing Product Funnels
The key to making lots and lots of backend sales is designing a good product funnel. Instead of creating and launching products at random here and there, stop for a moment and come up with a strategy that allows you to cross promote and boost your income.
The best way to design a profitable product funnel that results in lots of backend sales is to get out a piece of paper, or grab your whiteboard and start mapping it out. If you’re so inclined, mind-mapping software may work for this as well.
Start with the products, free offers, and lists you already have. Then think about your customers and why they are signing up for your list and buying your products. What are they trying to accomplish, and what do they need next. Or what do they want to do, read, or watch next.
In other words, fill in the blanks of your product funnel with things you know your audience wants or needs. Then get to work creating them one at a time. It’s ok if this takes some time. Don’t feel like you have to have every single piece in place before you start promoting and making sales. Add to it over time and keep growing your product funnel.
Now here’s the important part. Every single time you finish a new piece of the funnel – be it a paid product, a membership site, some coaching sessions, or a new opt-in freebie – refer back to the mapped out funnel and see where you can cross promote.
Find content on your site where you can promote the new offer. Go through your existing products, download pages, and auto-responder messages and find places where you can mention and link to the new piece in your funnel.
Once that is done, look at this new piece of content, or this new product and figure out what you can cross promote either within the product, or on the download page. Get that set up.
Last but not least, write up a series of email messages and load them up as an autoresponder that starts to go out anytime someone buys or downloads this new piece of your funnel. Within these email messages you can promote all your other paid products and service, but also things you’re an affiliate for.
Consistently working on building out your funnel and cross promoting anything and everything that’s a good fit will help you make more sales and make them consistently as you promote each piece of the funnel.
Promoting Affiliate Offers In Your Backend
Backend sales are great and for most marketers it’s where the majority of the money is made. You create a new product, launch it with the help of JV partners and affiliates and by the time you figure in affiliate commission, PayPal fees, web hosting, and the various expenses you had to create the product in the first place and there isn’t much leftover once all the bills are paid.
It may seem a little depressing on your first launch. What you have to realise is that you’re building an incredibly valuable asset – a customer list.
Most of us, at this point, think that we have to start all over and create a new product to make more money. While that’s certainly a great option, there’s a quicker way to start profiting and that’s with affiliate offers.
The idea here is to make more offers to customers either right after they buy the first product, or through email messages and various other pieces of content as time goes by. Affiliate offers are the perfect match for these backend sales.
Here’s why I love them as part of my funnel. With affiliate offers, you don’t have to go through the whole process of product creation. The offer is ready, the sales page is ready and all you have to do is grab your link and write a little promo.
With most info products, you can expect to make anywhere from 20-50% commission on each sale. As an added bonus, you don’t have to deal with any customer service, or download issues. It’s very hands-off and highly profitable.
Think about a product you have up and selling right now, or one you’re about to launch. What does the product do and who is the ideal target audience for this product? Once you have that firm in your mind, go out and look for related products.
These could be other products and services your customers will need to implement what you’re teaching them. Or they could be courses and books on closely related topics. Keep looking until you find two or three good offers for products you can fully support and recommend. Grab your affiliate links and start incorporating those offers in your backend.
That means you add them to a recommended resources section in the product itself as well as on the download page. Next you want to incorporate those same offers, one at a time into follow up email messages.
Start by thanking your customer for making the purchase and remind them where they can download the product if they haven’t already done so.
Then let them know that you’ll be in touch over the coming days and weeks with helpful tips and recommendations for products, tools, and services they may find helpful.
Write those emails, load them to the a/r and then sit back and watch the affiliate commissions come in over time. The more you promote your initial product, the more backend sales you can expect to make.
Introducing Your Customers To All Your Products
If you’ve been in business for quite some time, chances are that you have an extensive catalog of products and services. As time goes by, you develop more products and get into a pattern of creating a product, launching a product, and then come up with the next product idea and start working on that.
Your big paydays come during each launch, but for the rest of the time, unless someone stumbles upon another product of yours, or asks about something, chances are you’re not making a lot of sales.
In other words, you’re focused on product launches and getting more customers, which is great, but you’re leaving a lot of money on the table and are making your life harder than it needs to be.
Creating and launching products is a lot of hard work. You put a lot of time and effort into each product, and if you’re anything like me, you make sure they are as helpful and high quality as you can possibly make them. So why not make sure all your customers know about each and every product you have out there?
They have already bought something from you and hopefully liked it and found it helpful. Why wouldn’t they buy something else from you if it’s a good fit? It is actually much easier to get an existing customer to make another purchase than it is to find someone new… best of all, these are products that are up and running. Aside from writing a couple of emails, there’s no extra work involved for you.
Your customers will appreciate learning about other great products that you have to offer. And as you grow your customer base with each new product launch, you have more and more people you can promote your entire back catalog of products to.
There are a couple of different ways you can go about this. Feel free to mix and match them.
The easiest way to get started is to simply grab one of your products each week, and write an email about it to your entire customer list. Tell them a little bit about it and who you think this would work for.
Get in the habit of writing these emails regularly, rotating through all your products. Don’t worry about some of your customers seeing the same product offer more than once. Often it takes multiple emails and messages before a customer is ready to buy. Sometimes it’s a question of timing. Maybe they weren’t interested in this course 3 months ago, but now it’s a perfect fit for what they are trying to accomplish.
Another great strategy is to set up an autoresponder sequence for each product you have to offer. Find a couple of related products from your back catalog and introduce your customers to them one at a time in a series of emails.
Other ideas include recommending products within your info products, on download pages, in newsletters, and on social media. Pick a product and start mentioning it everywhere. You’ll start to see more sales without all the work of a product launch and your current customers and prospects will appreciate learning about everything else you have to offer.
Using Backend Sales To Foster Relationships And Grow Your Business
Here’s a pretty cool idea I’ve been playing around with. You can use backend offers to foster relationships and grow your business. I don’t have to tell you that the key to successful product launches is having other marketers help promote you. However, before that happens, you have to develop a relationship with them.
The best way to do that is to make a few sales for them first. Promoting them on the backend of your products is a great way to do just that. Here’s how it works.
Choose a few people you’d like to connect with and then start a plan to get on their radar. Sign up for their affiliate program and find at least one good product of theirs that you can recommend to your customers.
Then start promoting it in your emails and in your backend. As you’re following up with your customers, mention the product recommendation here and there. This can happen on the download page, in various emails you send to your customers to stay in touch and help them consume your product, or even in the product itself. The idea is to introduce your customers to this potential JV partner and make a few sales for them.
Trust me, the marketers that you will want to work with most will take notice of the people they’re sending money every month. From there, you simply want to start having a conversation with these people and get to know them.
Ask about other products they have or have in the works that might be a good fit for your audience. Ask them for a special offer or coupon you can share with your best customers and offer to return the favor. The idea is to start a dialogue and to begin building a relationship. This is very different from the way they are approached by most other marketers who ask them for a mailing right away.
Next, one of two things will happen. The marketer will either start to promote you without any prompting from your end, or they will ask you for things they can promote for you, a link, a special offer or coupon etc.
If they don’t start that conversation then take the opportunity to introduce yourself and offer them something to share with their list. Mention that you have a product that you think may be a good fit for their audience. Send him or her a review copy and offer to set up a special offer page for them, or give an exclusive coupon for their readers.
Make them feel special, but keep it very low key. If they don’t bite, you haven’t really lost much. You still made good contact for the future and have a great affiliate offer that you can continue to promote to your list and monetize your backend.
Rinse and repeat regularly to make new contacts and get on the radar of other bigger players in your niche. It’s a great way to grow your reach and your business while getting to know some people who are great at doing what you’re doing.
Here’s a tip: The more you do this the faster your income will grow!
Giving Away Free Content Can Make You Money If You Focus On The Backend
Here’s how it works. Once you have the product you want to promote created, think about a topic that’s related to what you cover in your main info product. Ideally, you want to talk about something readers need to know before they buy your product, or you can even repurpose the first little bit of content.
For example, if your product teaches students how to get their first website up and running, a good topic for a free short report would be why you need a website for your business, or how to find a webhost for example.
Of course a free report isn’t your only option. If you offer a video course, you could send them to the first lesson, hold a free webinar, or create some other free content for them. For the purpose of this post, let’s use a free short report that prospects can download as an example.
Free Report With Offers Inside
One way to start monetizing your freebie, is to simply make product recommendations directly in the report. You can work them in throughout the content where appropriate, add a dedicated page of recommended resources, or create a short call to action at the end inviting your readers to check out your main product. Of course you can also mix and match these ideas.
Free Report To Build Your List
In addition to “just” giving away the report, you can also use it as a lead generator. Set up an opt-in page, and give the short report away in exchange for an email address. This helps you build a list of prospects. In addition to getting sales from links clicked within the content of the report, you can also follow up with your list and make product recommendations. It’s a great way to build yet another business asset.
Bonus Reports That You Can Offer To Others
Last but not least, consider giving the short report away as a bonus. This could be as a bonus for your own products, or those of other marketers. A great way to make this into an attractive offer for another info product seller is to take the original short report with the offer to your paid product in it, and edit it so the link to your sale page is the affiliate link for this other marketer.
Then allow him to offer it as a free bonus to anyone that buys a product, or even as a free opt-in freebie. When someone reads the report, clicks on the link, and buys your product, the marketer will get an affiliate commission. It’s a win-win situation. You get your content and offer in front of lots of new people, and the info product seller has a bonus that adds value for his customers and the chance to make affiliate commissions.
Creating Profitable Backend Offers For Your First Product
Most profits you make with your info products aren’t in the initial sales, but in the backend offers that you make. Making that first sale is the hard part. Anything else you can offer your customers for purchase is gravy. That, of course, brings up the question of what you should do about creating profitable backend offers for your first product.
We all have to start somewhere and no matter what our product funnels look like now, we started with one product. That doesn’t mean you won’t have any other offers to make your customers from day one because there are all sorts of different marketing strategies and techniques.
Here are two very simple ideas you can implement right now to monetise the backend for your very first product.
Make Affiliate Offers
The easiest and fastest way to monetise your backend is with affiliate offers. Look around and see what you can find that you can whole-heartedly recommend to your customers. This could be additional training, other info products, books and resources, tools or services. Make sure the offers are closely related to your first product and something your customers can actually use.
Grab your affiliate links, make the recommendations on your download page and in your follow up emails with customers. As these people take you up on your offer, you make commissions.
The big benefit of using these types of backend offers is that you don’t have to do any extra work. You just grab your link and start promoting. You can be up and running with this within a few minutes.
The downside is that you don’t have any control over the products, customer service and such. It is, however, a great place to start and if you find you’re making a lot of sales for a particular offer, you can create your own version to offer down the road.
Offer An Upgrade, Training, Or Done For You Service
If you want to keep all of the profits and have a little more control over the content and such, think about offers you can create that don’t require any more work upfront on your end. Offer things you can create on the fly.
For example, if your first product is an ebook, consider an upgrade where you go through the ebook in a series of webinars and sell it as a multimedia upgrade. Or offer additional training to show them step-by-step how to apply what you are teaching in the info product. A third and very profitable option is to offer a done-for-you service.
For example, if your info product is all about setting up and customizing a WordPress blog, offer a service where you do all the set up and customising for your customers.
Aside from creating the offer or sales pages, these types of products and services don’t take an additional upfront work and they are something you can offer right away and create on the fly.
Give both of these options a try and start building a profitable backend from day one.
Don’t Be Lazy About Your Backend – It’ll Cost You
I’ll admit it. As much as I talk and teach you about the profitability of the backend and how important it is to work on it, I don’t always do what I preach and it’s a costly mistake that I want to help you avoid.
Here’s the problem I run into and that I see a lot of other people have as well. You get into product creation mode, launch, and then get busy working on the next project. If building out the backend isn’t part of that product creation, chances are it will never get done.
You might have the best intentions of working on it later, or adding an email every few days. But guess what? We all get busy, and there are lots of projects and people grabbing our attention.
Let’s talk about two strategies we can both take to make sure we monetise our backend. We can either make it part of product creation as I mentioned already, or we can make it a project and set aside some time to go back and get it done.
Both are great approaches. Ideally you want to start incorporating cross promotions and the follow up emails into your product launch process. That means that anytime you create a new product, you make a running list of other products and services you can promote. Those can be your own or affiliate offers. Where applicable, work them into your info product as recommendations.
Hand pick one or two offers to feature on the download page and get that set up when you create your sales and download pages. Before you start mailing your list and marketing, take the time to write a short follow up email sequence for anyone that buys this product.
Part of it will be making sure they received the download and are happy with it. Part of it may be training on how to make the most out of what they bought but part of it will also be follow up promotions, or backend offers. It’s perfectly fine and actually a good idea to feature the same offers again and again.
If you haven’t done all of this for your existing products, set aside some time starting this week to work on it. I recommend you tackle one product at a time, and focus on monetising the backend.
You don’t want to overwhelm yourself. Break it up and take care of one product per week, or even per month. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you as long as it gets done. Once you start to see backend sales trickle in, you’ll be motivated to go back and take care of all your product funnels.
What do your backend offers look like at the moment? Which strategy will you implement to start making more money with your existing audience? Although there’s a lot of information here, don’t get overwhelmed. Make sure to take one step at a time in creating profitable systems to bring your business to the next level.