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Susan Heid | The Confident Mom


eBook Information:

ebook: Become the Confident Mom You’ve Always Wanted to Be

date published: January 2013

copies sold: 2,145

ebook: Got Dinner?

date published: April 2011

copies sold: 301

ebook: Summer Survival Calendar

date published: First edition, 2010

copies sold: 2,775

ebook: Back to School Survival Guide

date published: July 15, 2012

copies sold: 1,200

ebook: Weekly Household Planner

date published: December 2011

ebook: Become a Frugalista in 30 Days

date published: March 20, 2013

copies sold: 1,345 (plus 7,400 free downloads through Amazon KDP)



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Case Study:

You've published a variety of digital products, including both ebooks and planners. How do you come up with product ideas? How does your process vary for putting those together?
Coming up with ideas is easy! As I worked with moms during both private and group coaching, there were common themes of areas that mom’s need help with and struggle with. I saw a need, created a product that met a need or solved a problem and priced it so that the value received would exceed their expectation. That is how I feel I’ve been able to continue in business: I value delivering a product that is beyond the buyer’s expectation. This way they will be return customers – coming back to buy problem solving solutions from someone they know and trust. A happy customer is your best advertising. I cannot tell you how many emails I get from people asking me about a product that their friend told them about, or they heard another mom talking about at their MOPS group.

But to back it up a minute, I think it is key to build your platform and share with your readers information and tips to give yourself credibility before you just go and try to sell them something. That is part of the process. You can have a ton of great ideas, but if you do not have a following or created community, it will be much harder to get your idea off the ground.

The process for my products now has become much more streamlined, which is really good! We now come up with a general idea, see if it is feasible and then brainstorm with my team to come up with an overall plan of branding, compiling, editing, delivery, advertising plan, promotional materials, etc. I now have a fairly practical and realistic way of going from idea to product delivery with the team I have. The best thing I ever did was to hire out for things that are not my strong points – editing and graphic work.

Your product line also includes several annual products that you update each year. What pros and cons do you see to publishing this time of time-sensitive product?
This has been a big PLUS! You basically have the “idea” but you do have to update it each year, so instead of it sitting in the back of your site, you get to “roll” out a new version each year, creating traffic, excitement from those who’ve purchased before and obviously a return income on a product that has already been out generating income.

It can be tough when you are releasing new ideas and then the timeline coincides with a product that needs a revision or update, so I’ve had to really buckle down to schedule correctly and not go by the seat of my pants!

I honestly do not see a con with this type of product at all. Although I likely will not be developing more that take time away from new ideas and projects. I currently have three products that require updating, the planner is the most time consuming, as we’ve made big revisions each year to meet need, suggestions that mom’s have sent in and create a better product.

Can you talk a little bit about your experience with Amazon's KDP program? What benefits did you find from offering your ebook free through that program? Were there any drawbacks?
The first book I put on Amazon, Becoming the Confident Mom You’ve Always Wanted to Be, was a great learning experience.

I had done some research on other authors who’ve sold on other venues (Nook, iTunes, etc) and the sales with these other options were very small. I also felt that most of my audience would feel comfortable using Amazon to purchase a Kindle, even if they didn’t have a Kindle, since Amazon has made it so easy to read kindle books on most any device. I never did a free promotion with that book, but when I released it, the first few days it was marked for only $0.99, which sky rocketed me into the top of certain categories, which is what you want on Amazon!

My second book on Amazon, Become a Frugalista in 30 Days, was offered free for two days on it’s initial release. I was flabbergasted that it was downloaded 7,400 times in the two days! My heart is to get my information out to those who can use it, so offering it free is always a nice part, but I also have to make some money to keep my business going, so it is a nice combination – to offer it for free at certain times. Offering it free then leads to those who downloaded one book to be fed my other book on their recommendation page – where they might purchase that one too.

How big of a role do affiliates play in your product promotion? How do you keep affiliates updated about current promotions and product updates?
Affiliates play a huge role in promoting products sold from my site. The items sold on Amazon do not really create big revenue for them, but I do keep them informed. I am lucky enough to have a huge reach with my own newsletter subscribers, so when I have a new product come out I always pre-release to my subscribers and offer a discount that will not be offered on my site to the general public. They love this, and I love doing it – sharing with them is what it is all about, they are the heart of my community.

I will give affiliates information so that it will be easy for them to promote it – web copy already put together, tweets, an email for their subscribers and also facebook status text. This makes a big difference on if they will share or not. If the work is already done for them, it makes it much easier. I also will try to work with them and offer either a giveaway of a product or a discount code for their readers. I prefer a discount code, as a giveaway tends to not lead to sales, as people forget and do not want to buy the product if they have a chance of winning it. So I tend to work toward offering a discount for a certain period of time.

I use my own affiliate program on my WordPress site, so capturing emails from those affiliates who are enrolled is easy, just copy and paste to my email I’m sending out and I am good. In addition, when I issue affiliate commissions, I will add a small note to the next product that is coming so they will get excited about it and remember it when the next email comes. It is the perfect time, they are receiving money from promoting a product and I give them news for an upcoming product and the opportunity to earn some more money!

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