You Don’t Need A Golden Toilet. Or, How To Create And Sell A Valuable Digital Product.

You Don't Need A Golden Toilet. Or, How To Create And Sell A Valuable Digital Product.

What IS The Right Way To Eat A Cupcake?

Right before we started recording, Cynthia Sanchez, our guest on today’s episode, told us about a video she watched about how to eat a cupcake.

We didn’t think it was that hard, but apparently someone has now posted the official instructions. And apparently we’re supposed to take the bottom off and plunk it on the top so the frosting is in the middle.

Thus follows a debate over crumbs, more vs. less frosting and the right texture for cake. We don’t quite resolve everything but do decide that it would probably be a good idea to eat and test a lot of cupcakes.

What do you think?

And Now… Web Images Made Easy

We asked Cynthia to join us today because she has just released a new product. It’s an online video course that teaches you the fundamentals of how to create great images for your website, blog and social sharing – even if you’re not a designer.

She put this together over a year with her partner Jason Lange and it’s 27 video tutorials plus a bunch of templates and bonuses. It teaches you how to improve your images and then shows you how to use some popular image editing tools to rock your visuals.

Since Pinterest is Cynthia’s specialty, it makes sense that she created a product to help with images, but that’s not why we wanted to talk to her.

What we really wanted to talk about was how to create a product and what goes into it – not just what we’ve been sold by slick marketers who want to sell their products that purport to “teach you to be rich” or “create your own six figure product in two hours.”

This is the real deal and Cynthia shares the experience so if you’re thinking of creating a course, book or some other digital product this is insight you can use.

Even if you’re not thinking of creating one, maybe this will inspire you to try your hand at some recurring passive income.

It Starts With Your Audience

Unlike much of the advice you have probably heard about how to create a product (ie: sit down, think of an idea, create something then sell the heck out of it with lots of psychology and upsells and affiliate links), Cynthia started by listening to her audience.

And what she heard was that people were frustrated with images. They struggled to create images, didn’t know how to make them look good and felt defeated by their lack of designer skills.

And so Web Images Made Easy was born.

It Takes Time

Yes, it took Cynthia and Jason a year but they also both moved across the country during that time, ran their respective businesses, spent time with their families, did speaking gigs and probably even ate and slept.

Still, it wasn’t something they did – or wanted to do – quickly.

Cynthia said that a 4-5 minute video could take two hours to produce.

Ah-ha! You say… but if that video had been her product, she could have created it in two hours!

Well, sort of true, but there are things you don’t see – like the amount of time it took to come up with a name, find and secure a URL, build the sales page and website, set up the payment processing…

So yeah. It takes time.

It Has Value – All By Itself

If you listen to “the product people” you’ll probably learn more than you want to about the psychology of pricing, offers and upsells.

There’s the “it’s worth eight billion dollars but it’s yours today for only $3.99!” trope.

There’s the “hey, you bought my $3.99 thing but what you really need is my $500 thing… buy it today only!” trope.

That stuff must work because people buy, but those kinds of slick offers can erode trust and lead people to believe big promises that are quite often under delivered by their 2-hour products.

We decide that Cynthia’s product will sell based on its value. Not based on tricks or tropes. People are going to buy it because it’s great.

And because Cynthia takes an open, honest and truly people-centered approach to what she puts out into the world.

There’s A Boat Load Of Stuff To Think About

Turns out the “creating a product” thing isn’t the whole story.

I mentioned a few additional pieces earlier – the URL, sales page, website and payment processing. But there’s more!

Do you want affiliate marketers? You’ve got to decide what you’ll give them and set it up.

How will you price it? You’ve got to choose a strategy (subscription? one time?) and assign an actual price tag.

Will you maintain it? What happens when things change and your product is outdated? You have to decide what investment you’re willing to make in improving, editing, updating, etc.

Oh, and how will you sell it? You can’t just build a sales page and let it sit there until the masses pour in. You have to get out there and actually promote the thing.

Cynthia and Jason also spent time getting feedback from people before they released their product into the wild. They asked whether it was helpful, whether the messaging was clear, whether it worked technically. And they incorporated the feedback to make the course even better.

That’s how you create a product.

You Don’t Have To Be Rich If You Don’t Want To Be

Ok, admittedly that sounds like a very weird thing to say. But if you run a business, follow your passion, freelance or consider yourself an entrepreneur in any way, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to make a lot of money.

People seem to be in a mad rush lately to get VC funding or be the next big thing bought out by Facebook.

Everyone wants to sell you a product (oh irony) that will teach you how to turn your hobby into six figures or finally be able to work from the beach.

But… maybe we’re actually fine working from a condo in New Jersey.

Maybe we don’t want to be billionaires but just be able to buy all the X Box games we want.

There is huge pressure to “think big” and if you’re not aiming for major cash then you suddenly feel like a failure.

Don’t believe the hype!

Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be striving for. Don’t let anyone define what happiness and success means for you.

Don’t believe anyone who wants to sell you a product that makes those kinds of “live the giant dream” promises. Can it happen? Sure. But so can winning the lottery.

Cynthia Doesn’t Need A Gold Plated Toilet

By the end of the conversation we decide we want to own our businesses and products, produce something of value, be proud of what we do, help people… and be able to buy all the X Box games we want.

And drink wine.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Cynthia: The next time you see someone’s product for sale, decide whether it’s something that can help move your business forward or if it’s just a big promise that will put a few bucks in someone else’s product. You don’t have to try and buy everything – even the inexpensive stuff. If it seems like there’s more in it for the seller than for you as the buyer, move along.

From Ralph: If you’re thinking a producing a product, think of something that you’re doing that’s helping you run your business or save time. And then think about how you may be able to package that and sell it to people who do what you do so it can help them too. Dedicate some time to figuring out what your product will do, how it will work, how your end users will use it, what value it has and how you’re going to sell it. But in light of our conversaitons about GTD lately, better make this a project.

From Carol Lynn: Buy Cynthia’s course! Just do it.

Links & Resources

  • Sign up for Web Images Made Easy and learn how to produce better images for your marketing. It’s only $49 for lifetime access including all updates and there’s a 30 day money back guarantee.
  • Find Cynthia’s blog and podcast at Oh So Pinteresting

Where To Listen

iTunes

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Ralph M. Rivera
Hi, I'm Ralph! I'm a web developer at Rahvalor Interactive, a creative marketing services company that I founded in 1999 with my wife and business partner Carol Lynn. In January 2012 we created Web.Search.Social as a branded service offering that brings enterprise-level services to small businesses in an affordable way. I'm also founder and CTO of Podcaster's Toolbox, a SaaS platform designed to help podcasters plan, produce and promote their shows. I teach web development at Manhattan College in New York City. Carol Lynn and I are home based near the Jersey shore but we're currently location independent and traveling the country for a year, working and podcasting. I'm also trying to build a flux capacitor, but that's not going as well as the other stuff I do.
Ralph M. Rivera
Ralph M. Rivera
  • “Product Creation and Cupcakes”

    To hell with all the upsells!
    Screw the whistles and bells

    Trickery feels like an attack
    Now I want my money back

    Buying from you causes regret
    Your icky upsell mimics a threat

    You’re cheesy, sleazy, and worse
    Hitting your buy button is a curse

    Cynthia Sanchez doesn’t use these tactics
    Web Images Made Easy sounds fantastic!

    Now I want a cupcake (while sitting in the hugs and snuggles seat) 😉

    • Gluten free cupcakes, even! I haven’t had a cupcake in eons (I’m on an ice cream kick) but now I suddenly have a craving 🙂

      • I want a yummy cupcake that’s just for me
        One that’s dark chocolate and gluten free!

  • Cynthia’s and Jason’s sales page looks GREAT. Love the video intro (with Jason’s soothing, hypnotic voice), logo, design, and layout. They should have absolutely no fear their course will be a flop. It looks freakin’ fun! 🙂

    • I know, Jason really does have the most calm voice. I will share that input! I bet they wouldn’t mind people sharing the page. They did a great job.

      • Ditto that! Great job.
        And, yeah, I don’t think they’ll mind if people share their offer. 😉

  • I cannot tell you how excited I am about this… This is one of those things that I really need. I have this print out next to my head of the list that Jeff left with us the last time he visit on what the picture requirements are for each platform. What have I done with it since then? Printed it and put it next to my head. Yep, that’s it. I know that I need to do optimize my images, I know that it will reallllly help me and my business. I know that Pinterest is a platform that is already bringing a ton of traffic. I am having a hard enough time with my fancy shmancy camera, I do not have it in me to get online and figure out all about the image resizing as well. Like I said, I really needed the GTD. There is ONLY one of me. Finding something that will show me how to do all of it in a way that I can absorb it and all in one place.. I am falling in love as I type.. Cynthia does NOT have to worry about no one buying it because I am…

    • YAH! I hope you find it helpful. It’s especially good to get some tips on how to actually make interesting photos because sometimes you can just sit in front of a tool and go…. now what? Don’t worry, we’ve already talked to Cynthia about cloning. If anyone can figure it out, she can 🙂