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Think your audience is too small to launch? Think again.
The Real Rebel we’re talking to today launched to an audience of less than 260 people and made more than $1500 with one e-book.
This episode is part of our Real Rebel Series featuring rebel women who are creating and launching products all over the world in all different niches. Today’s guest is one of our Rebel Boss University members, which is my membership site for creative women who want to learn how to create and launch a product in 90 days.
Our guest today is Emily Reiter, and her story is incredibly inspiring because she pre-sold her eBook and before she even wrote it. She also didn't use her small audience as an excuse not to launch, she launched anyway and had a lot of great results.
Emily also used affiliates in her e-book launch and her small, very niche audience generated over fifteen hundred dollars with a very small product.
Pay close attention to Emily's story. She's probably got a very different product than you with a very different audience, and you’re probably in completely different markets. But she’s got a lot to share that you can learn from and apply to your own approach.
Emily’s story is incredibly inspiring. She used her passion and creativity to take what she loved and create a very small niche for herself, which has led her to great success.
Emily’s background is in academics. She was working on a PhD when she started her journey to motherhood. Today, she’s a wife and mom of five kids, which she had all within the span of 7 years. When she started focusing all of her time on being a mom, Emily says she felt a little bit guilty that she had achieved so many degrees but didn’t feel like she was using them.
At the same time, she also started to realize that the academics she had pursued for so long wasn’t her true passion. “My passion was doing crafts. It wasn't doing the thing that I was getting my degree in. And the whole time I was there was like I'd rather be crocheting or doing cross stitch right now. That's what I want to do. But I never thought that that could actually provide a valuable career.”
Skipping forward about four years, Emily had three kids and she’s following a lot of budding mom blogs and craft blogs. She befriended one of the online crochet designers that she was following and decided to become a tester for her. In the crochet world, a tester makes items that a designer creates. After a designer creates a pattern, they send it to testers who actually stitch it for free and give feedback to the designer.
Emily gave feedback for about a year or two, and this designer started to really rely on the editorial feedback that she provided. “She started to tell me that I needed to be a tech editor and [I had] absolutely no clue when a tech editor was or that it was a career kind of thing.”
Emily started tech editing for this designer and looked into how she could break into that field. She realized that there was no real certification or test to become a tech editor, so she decided to start putting herself out there and building her reputation.
In 2018, Emily started a website, reached out to other designers, and started to promote her crochet tech editing business.
Right around the time she started her business, Emily started to sell a lot more products in her Etsy store. People started buying her Olympics-themed products like crazy during the 2018 Olympics, which meant that she ended up having to spend a lot of time hand-making crochet hats.
This gave her a much-needed income boost to set up web hosting for her site. It also helped her to realize that she wanted to create a digital product, something that could exist online all the time and didn’t need a lot of upkeep.
Emily listened to her audience, which ultimately helped her to decide on what product she wanted to make. “I was also getting a lot of feedback from the designers. A lot of designers were really learning from my advice that I was giving them about how to write.”
She asked her tiny email list, that maybe had 200 people on it, what they would be interested in seeing for a digital product. She got amazing feedback and decided to commit to creating an eBook for her audience.
Emily invested in an RBU membership, because she knew it would help her stay motivated and on track for her launch. She jumped into the section that fit where she was best, Pitstop 2, and started thinking through her pain point, which was the mathematical, technical aspect of crocheting that can be scary for creatives.
“That's what was really great with [the RBU] pit stops for me to really hone in on. Don't be afraid. Have confidence. Like putting it putting that positive spin on the fear of the unknown.”
She used what she learned from identifying her audience’s pain point to lay out the tools they needed to overcome it in her book and built her pre-launch and launch strategies.
Once Emily figured out the details of her product and the format, the procrastination started weighing on her. She decided she just needed to sit down and get it out there.
She picked the eBook format because she figured it would be quicker and easier to make, and because it fit best with the information she was trying to share. She also realized that an eBook didn’t need to be fancy or over-the-top to be a good product.
“An eBook doesn’t have to be fancy. You can have a pretty cover and just have text on the inside. And so that gave me permission to not be as fancy as I as I thought I needed to be.”
She struggled to price her product in the beginning, because she herself is generally a pretty frugal person. Ultimately she realized it was a great value product, and decided to go with a $47 price point.
Emily also decided to sell a print-friendly version of her book, which was a black-and-white word document version of her book without the Canva designed pages. She included this as a $2 add-on, which brought the total price up to $49.
What really helped Emily get her book finished was setting up an account in GumRoad, establishing a page for her product and declaring a launch date. Once that information was out there for her audience, Emily knew she had to meet her deadline.
Emily knew she was going to have to build her launch week and decided to have a pre-release sale to sell her product. Once she put her product up on GumRoad, she also decided to start with pre-sales. This strategy ended up being a big success for her. “It was just amazing that before it even launched, I think it already sold a thousand dollars or something.”
Emily set her launch date on a Friday, and then 10 days before she decided to start pre-selling her product at a discounted rate. She started at $30 for the first two days, then upped the price to $35. Throughout launch week, her price kept going up until the actual launch day.
Emily sold 27 copies of her book at her $39 price point before launch day, which meant her total sales were $1053. That’s before the book was even launched.
The best part? Emily didn’t need to spend a lot in order to sell her digital product. The only thing she was paying for before her launch was education-type stuff, like Rebel Boss University, and a toolkit for Canva templates. Emily had very minimal expenses but was still able to create a product that she’s now selling over and over. That’s straight up profit.
Because her product was so specific, Emily realized she had to plan her pre-launch and launch strategically to best reach her target audience.
First, she realized that she needed to make her product seem accessible to anyone who could be interested in what she was offering. She was worried that her target customer would be afraid of the math and spreadsheets that she was using in her product, so she designed a mockup of the eBook that looked simple and addressed those fears of her audience.
Next, she identified the best platform she could use to market her product, which turned out to be Instagram. She set it up so that it automatically posted on her FaceBook page, so she was covering that as well.
Emily put a lot of thought into strategically identifying which platform would work best for her. She thought about Pinterest, but realized that it wasn’t exactly where her target audience lived.
“Designers are going to Pinterest. But are they going there to look for tech editors? … I think they're posting a bunch of stuff on Pinterest for people that are looking for crafts to do. They're not looking there themselves, but they were looking and responding on Instagram. So I've really focused my advertising.”
Even though Emily has a small audience, she was able to leverage her audience to her advantage in order to be able to maximize her profits. She initially didn’t want to send too many emails, because she didn’t keep up with her email list and newsletter consistently. She herself didn’t like to receive too many emails, so initially she didn’t want to send too many to her audience.
Emily later realized however that this needed to be an essential part of her strategy. She only had about 200 people on her list when she decided to launch her product. But that audience is extremely targeted and niche, which makes all of her audience members her ideal customers.
“For the most part, I'm trying to market to crochet designers. And I never thought there would be more than 50 when I first started because it's like, you only know who you know. And I didn't realize how many are really out there.”
There are a lot of people out there trying to be successful designers. Once Emily started putting herself out there and put her product on the market, she realized that there actually are a lot of people looking for help with the specific problem she was addressing with her digital product.
Not only did Emily’s small email list not hold her back from launching her digital product, she was also able to use her launch to grow her list and her network. By launching her product, she actually got a lot of new email subscribers.
Emily posted a lot of the advertising content for her product on her Instagram. She used this strategy to promote her email list by offering special sales to members of her audience that they could only access by email. This encouraged her audience to sign up for her list, and she was actually able to grow her email list throughout the pre-launch and launch process.
Emily hadn’t considered setting up an affiliate program initially to sell her product. But once she had set her product up on GumRoad, she realized that they had a very easy-to-use affiliate feature that could help her easily build out an affiliate program and get more sales.
To find affiliates, Emily sent out an email to some of her clients and mentioned it in her newsletter. She was able to connect up with quite a few other designers, some of whom she invited and some who emailed her out of the blue, who agreed to be affiliates for her. Most of them were other designers who were interested in her product, and that helped her to get a handful of sales and promote her product.
“Gradually more designers are using the book and they're reading it. They're seeing how easy it is to to make their concepts come to life. And they're posting about it with praise on their own Instagram feeds and stuff. And just last week, one designer posted about it and I had two sales within a day and collecting really amazing testimonials.”
About $200 of her profit came from referral sales, through affiliate links and other sources. That’s pretty significant – it’s money that Emily wouldn’t have had otherwise had she not set up this affiliate program.
Emily loves the feeling of having a product out there in the world that can bring in income without her even promoting it. For example, a few weeks after the launch a designer put a reference to her book in their Instagram stories and Emily got two more sales almost immediately.
Even though the sales have been sporadic since the release, Emily says she’s always amazed and super excited whenever she sells another eBook.
“It's just amazing to see it happen and think, wow, that's going to be $46 in my account. That would never have been there had I done nothing. And that was the whole reason why I started the website in the first place in 2018, I thought, ‘well I can go through a whole other year and get to December and say, well I didn't try that, or I can say I tried and I made ten bucks, ten bucks I didn't have the year before.’”
She says her mindset from the beginning was hope for the best, but expect the worst. Even if nothing happened, at least she tried. She kept her goals realistic, and then was pleasantly surprised when the outcome was much better than she predicted. “I'm just happy if it sells and if it helps somebody.”
Does Emily consider her launch a success?
Yes. She’s proud of the work that she did, and is even considering what she’s going to do for her next book.
In the meantime, she’s still strategizing different ways that she’ll continue to market her first eBook. Improving it, editing it, launching it a few times a year, and she’s even considering creating an online course or teaching a class related to the book at the professional meeting for the Crochet Guild of America.
Now that she’s got the groundwork done, she’s got a lot of great opportunities in front of her.
//LINKS IN THE SHOW//
Visit Emily’s website – https://fiatfiberarts.com/