In his groundbreaking book, Think Two Products Ahead, my friend Ben Mack compared marketing to playing pool.
…What exactly does a marketer and a pool player have in common?
Besides needing balls, you might not see the connection just yet.
Moving away from bad puns, once a pool player starts thinking two shots ahead of where he is now, the way he plays the game changes.
He sees the bigger picture.
This is also true for marketers and is directly responsible for a dramatic change in how I run my businesses.
Creating An Ecosystem
Before I read Ben’s book I would create a product, launch it and then take a long unproductive break for months on end.
This approach meant that while I typically worked for less than 6 months of the year, my info product business never really grew and sales never progressed too far beyond the same group of loyal customers.
I never considered other possibilities.
Working for less than half a year might sound attractive, but realistically I was living from one product launch to another. Should one of those products fail then I would have been in trouble.
Then I read Ben’s book. He actually sent me a review copy way back in 2006 or 2007 but I didn’t take his advice on board for a number of years.
And without realising it, that cost me a lot of money.
I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture.
As soon as I began seeing how my products could ‘connect’ with one another, how they could belong to the same ecosystem, and how it would create even more benefits for my customers, well obviously my approach to running an info product business moved up a gear.
You might have seen a ‘small’ company called Apple doing the very same thing.
Right from the beginning – and I’m talking the very first chapter, Think Two Products Ahead tells you how to easily create this ecosystem.
It gives you the formula right there on page one or two.
Ben asks you to think about what your customer needs next, after they purchase from you.
Next doesn’t have to mean immediately, it just means sometime in the future.
The great thing about this principle is that it can be applied to almost every aspect of your marketing, not only your products.
Specifically, the book asks you to think about…
- What two purchases will your customers make next?
- What can you do to make those purchases happen?
The Biggest Companies Know It
Look at Apple.
Have an iPhone? Then hey, wouldn’t it be cool if you could buy stuff from say.. an App Store?
Wanna listen to some music on that free music app? Well try on iTunes for size.
Awesome, now that you’ve got iTunes.. how about one of those Apple TV boxes?
See how it works? It just makes sense.
So how can you apply this to your business?
Let’s imagine that you’re selling an info product that helps golfers to improve their drive. Logically, what’s the next step in the purchase chain?
Maybe your product recommends a certain brand of club. In which case, you could make it easy for your customer to buy one.
What you’re doing here is providing helpful advice that will benefit your customer – putting their needs first, while making sure that your own needs are also looked after by getting an extra sale.
So, in your niche what is your customer expecting to buy next? And what comes after that one? And so on.
Hopefully you can see how just this one concept alone can be incredibly powerful and could result in a boost in your profits.
That’s why I made this approach a fundamental component of Profit Copilot – which actually held back the release of all products for a considerable amount of time, until I could create my own ecosystem.
But I suggest that you don’t do what I did. Instead, launch your product, your list, or whatever you’re working on, and then build this concept into what you’ve already got.
Building the entire thing from scratch can take a long time.
I took what Ben said and then in true Spinal Tap fashion, dialled it all the way up to eleven.
Imagine creating two or three substantial products, one after the other. And if you know my stuff then you’ll know exactly how much care goes into each product.
But I also applied the concept to every element of my products, kind of like a marketing version of Inception – but without Christopher Nolan, and only slightly less entertaining.
For example, when I created The Easy Peasy Newbie Guide I thought about every step the customer needs to take in order to build their first passive income website.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
What’s the next logical step for someone who wants to build a website? A domain name. And then they’re going to need some hosting.
So included in the step by step modules, I provided links to a domain name registrar and a web hosting company that I trust. With both being affiliate links, I managed to make it easy for my customer to get what they need, and also boost my own profit at the same time.
Whenever I realised that something else might benefit my customer, I provided an affiliate link each time (if the product or service I recommended had an affiliate program).
But listen, to use this idea for yourself you don’t need to create a series of products.
If you’re selling (or giving away) digital products then you can just embed affiliate links through your existing one (most professional marketers do this).
As long as your desire to profit does not outweigh your desire to provide amazing value to your customer, everything is golden.
And with that in mind, wouldn’t you say the logical step for you right now is to buy a copy of Ben’s book? If so you can order it here – but I don’t want to eat into whatever royalties Ben receives (if Amazon works that way), so this is not an affiliate link.
I happily earn nothing for this recommendation.
And I know you would do exactly the same.
Now, (again in keeping with the theme of this article) if you’re looking for more fresh ways to increase your sales, then I’ve got something for you over here.
Or, because I know lots of novice marketers are reading this, if you’re completely new to things and want a solid business model that works, this is what you need.
Either way, although this is the first time I’ve reference Ben Mack’s work,t it won’t be the last, (at least as long as he’s cool with it).