Building Your Product Ladder for Your Author Business
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In this episode, I talk about the three tiers in your product ladder, and why they are important for your authorpreneur business. Some people call a product ladder a marketing funnel. Yes, even fiction authors can create a product ladder for your readers to move through your books and other products. I share some ideas for each tier for both fiction and nonfiction authors.
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Hey fellow Indie Authors! Welcome to this week’s episode of the Indie Author Biz Guide podcast. In this episode, I talk about the three tiers of your product ladder. Listen to the end for free resource you can download to help you in your indie author business.
Welcome to the Indie Author Biz Guide Podcast. I’m Tora Moon, genre bending fantasy and sci fi author, indie business author, and entrepreneur. Here we talk about the business of self-publishing, or as I prefer to call it, indie publishing. As an indie author, you have entered the wonderful world of entrepreneurship. On this show, I guide you through the rocky waters of the indie publishing industry.
I share business basics and principles you can apply to your author business, really, any business. Other Indie authors share their experiences and expertise to give you insight in your career and build your business. You can download your free indie author business, checklist, find additional resources, and the show notes at Indie Author Biz Guide dot com. And now, here’s today’s episode.
THREE TIERS IN YOUR PRODUCT LADDER (Or Marketing Funnel)
General business principles advocate that you have at least three tiers in your product ladder, or some people call it your marketing funnel, in addition to your reader magnet if you’re writing fiction, or your lead magnet if you’re writing nonfiction.
I like using the term product ladder because that’s seeing people move through in progressive steps through the things that you offer. Whereas a marketing funnel, is focusing more on, Oh, you’re bringing them in and then you’re bringing them down. I like seeing them progressing through your product offerings, your books in a growth manner. So you’ll hear me talking about a product ladder rather than a marketing funnel.
In your product ladder, there’s three tiers.
You have your first tier, which gets people into your ecosystem, into your world as an author, and that’s a low or introductory product or offer. And this gives them a flavor of what you do. For fiction books, quite often, we see this as a perma free or 99 cent books like the first in series free.
That is in your low introductory offer, that’s in your first tier. And I would categorize your books that are 2.99 and less as part of that first tier, of you’re just getting people into your ecosystem and learning about who you are and what you write. And it’s easier for them to come in at a low price point. It’s easy to say, Oh, that book’s only $0.99. I’ll try it. I don’t like it. No big deal. Or even 2.99. I can do that. That’s no big deal. I’ll try that author, and if I don’t like it, fine. If I do, oh, they have other things I can read.
And for a nonfiction author, and if you have another business besides writing, then your books, your nonfiction books would be your low introductory offer, because most of the time, if they’re e-books, they’re going to be under $10. If they’re print books are going to be under 20, $25. So they’re in that really low price range.
The thing with your low price range and this tier in your product ladder is you want things that it’s an easy yes to. That’s why we do the perma free books, that’s why we do the 99 cent books is it’s an easy yes. People see that price and they say, Oh yeah, I can do that. I can try that. I don’t know anything about this person. I don’t know anything about this author. I can try this book at that price point. And then once you get into your world and it’s like, Oh, I like this author’s writing style. I like what they write about. I like the themes in this book. I like these characters. What else is there?
Then you move them up your ladder to your second tier or your mid or medium priced products and offers, and this draws them more into your world and lets them just experience you even more.
And this is where you can turn your casual readers into fans. And for fiction books, these are your individual books and your series or your standalones. However you structure your product offerings, your book offerings. You know I write fantasy, which is series. Fantasy readers love series. So I always structure mine in at least a trilogy, if not more like my Legends of Lairheim is four books. That’s what it needed for that complete story arc. My Sentinel Witches looks like it’s going to be about eight books.
So you want to bring them in with your medium priced offers and your medium priced books. Most of the time, for authors, this will be in that 3.99 to 9.99 range. And because of Amazon, we’re limited on our e-books to 9.99. Some of the other platforms don’t have that artificial limitation. Go figure Amazon. And so this gives them more to read more to read, it’s drawing them in.
For nonfiction authors and writing isn’t your full business, your second tier is most likely like your self-study courses or your group coaching. It’s higher than your low priced, but it’s not your premium offer.
And that’s your third tier is your premium offer that it’s exclusive and it’s for your raving fans.
For nonfiction authors, this is your signature program, your one on one coaching, your one on one consulting. This is your main thing that you offer that’s premium priced. It’s a premium offer. They’re getting time with you.
For your fiction books, we can also have a premium offer product, and that would be a boxset or a collection or omnibus of our series. So my Legends of Lairheim series, I could put all four of those books into one collection, and that would be a premium because they’re getting all of that all at once. They finish book two and they want to read book three, then they don’t have to stop and buy it. It’s all right there. And you can charge a premium price for that on everything except for Amazon. What a lot of fiction authors will do that are wide, is do a box set and sell it everywhere but Amazon because they can sell it for a higher price.
If you’re selling direct on your website, one of the things that you could do as a premium offer is do that collection and it’s only available on your website. Premium items that in this top tier could also include merchandise like special maps that you have a special map made of your world if you’re writing fantasy, epic fantasy there’s always maps and people like maps. And you can have one in your book, but you can do one that special that you have printed out and laminated that you sell, and that would be part of your premium offer. You could do special edition hardbacks, you know, those lovely ones with the painted edges and different illustrations inside. Those would be a premium offer and those you could do only on your website or a limited number of copies of that premium hardcover.
And that’s part of what to think about in that high tier is how do I make it exclusive, not just higher priced, but it’s exclusive for my raving fans. These are things that, oh, my readers, my people really want, and they’re willing to pay a premium for that.
Those people who are just entering your world aren’t going to do that. They’re most likely, because they don’t know anything about you, they don’t know anything about your books, world or all the cool things about it, they’re not going to buy the premium things. Where those who have read the entire series and they’re like, Ooh, I want more. What’s more here?
WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR PRODUCT LADDER?
So I invite you to examine your products ladder. Do you have something in each of the three tiers? Something in the low priced introductory, in the medium priced, and in the premium exclusive tier. And if not, what could you do to fill in the missing tier or add more to it?
If you need help looking at your product ladder and figuring out what you could add or what you’re missing, my micro coaching or business development consulting would be ideal for you.
You can find out more information about these programs and all of my author services on my website at Indie Author Biz Guide dot com.
I hope this episode has helped you in your author business and we’ll see you on the next episode.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Indie Author Biz Guide podcast. I hope you found value in it. You can get your free business checklist, find more information, and any downloads mentioned at Indie Author Biz Guide dot com forward slash podcast.
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Thank you and I hope you have an amazing day!