I deal with a lot of authors in my marketing consulting business and one of the most challenging concepts for them to grasp is the fact that their book is actually a front-end product that should be positioned primarily for customer acquisition rather than as a primary revenue source that’ll make them rich.
Unfortunately, for many authors, the harsh reality of it is that they usually don’t make enough money off their book project to even recoup their time and their investment. Sad, but true. On the other hand, the authors who understand that 60%+ of their profits are made on the back-end, not on the front-end are the ones who become very financially successful. In this blog post, I’ll touch on front-end marketing and how front-end products work. I’ll write about how the back-end of the product funnel works in another post.
What Are Front-End Products?
When it comes to selling your knowledge, your prospects are going to be wary of spending too much money on your advice in the beginning.
That’s simply because you haven’t earned their trust just yet.
This is especially true if you sell your products via the internet because there are so many shady people on the internet that online consumers have become very skeptical to give out their trust. That’s where front-end products come into play.
Front-end products are low-cost, low buyer risk investments such as a book or report that work to convert your prospect into a paying customer. Front-end products usually come into play after you’ve attracted some leads onto your opt-in email list, usually through your website. New prospects tend to be resistant to purchasing a big-ticket product or service, especially from the net, so you want to make the transition from prospect to paying customer as smooth as possible by lowering their resistance and hesitation by offering a low-risk, front-end product.
Why Front-End Products Won’t Make You Rich…Immediately
The real objective of a front-end product is not to kill it in profits generated, but rather to use your front-end products to convert a prospect into a customer. Since it can cost a lot to market to a target group of suspects, the profits made on the front-end product should ideally be enough to recover your marketing costs.
I’ve actually seen some information product businesses that are willing to spend upwards of 3-4 times the gross revenue of their front-end product in marketing costs, but they have their customer lifetime value dialed in so precisely that they can count on making it all back over time. Of course, until you know exactly what your customer lifetime value is, you should keep your model simple and just strive to, at the very least, break even with your front-end profits and your marketing costs. Needless to say; however, that you shouldn’t expect to get rich off your front-end products – at least directly that is.
What Happens After The Front-End Product Is Sold?
After you acquire a customer, you have someone of value on your list who you know will invest money on what you have to offer. This is important because by offering different lines of products that offer different levels of value, at different price levels, you’ll move your customer up your product ladder. This is called ascension and it’s very important for the information marketer.
Why Physical Books Make Awesome Front-End Products
Typical front-end products for information-based businesses can include a multitude of low to medium-priced products. I’m personally a big fan of physical books as a front-end product because it has several advantages beyond being a front-end product for the person selling their knowledge.
- A physical book legitimizes you as a credible expert on your topic and carries a higher perception of expertise at least as much, and often more than, academic credentials.
- A physical book is something tangible that people can hold in their hands and carries more credibility than an eBook.
- A physical book makes a great business card when you’re networking with other people. It not only carries your contact information, but it also showcases the expertise that’s in your head.
- A physical book can be sold during seminars and at booths if you have a booth at an event.