Bryan Harris is the content creator behind Video Fruit (http://videofruit.com), where he helps people grow their business through online marketing. Bryan reverse engineers marketing strategies that other companies use for online marketing to create a tactical approach for others looking to to do business in the online space. Video Fruit’s purpose is to teach people how to market online based on proven formulas of other entrepreneurs.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- The proven method to approach your list for a product idea
- The 3 most important steps for validating a product before you create it
- How to strategically introduce and sell an online product to your email list
To See These Tactics In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim: Welcome to ConversionCast, the only podcast that gets to the heart of the metrics. Now here’s another data-driven case study.
What’s up fellow marketer? Today we’ll be talking about one of the simplest, most effective ways of validating your product that I’ve ever seen. To see the exact screenshots that show how today’s guest validated his product and generated $6000 before he even made it, visit ConversionCast.com/VideofruitDownload, again that’s ConversionCast.com/VideofruitDownload.
Now one of the biggest mistakes a lot of new business owners and new marketers make is creating a product and then finding out if people want it. This can result in spending a ridiculous amount of time and money only to find out that no one is willing to give you any money for it. The smart way of creating a product is to find out if there’s a market that’s willing to take out their wallet for it first and then build it.
So Brian Harris from Videofruit used the tactic that Clay here at LeadPages discussed in our podcast to get a fantastic site wide opt-in rate of 12%. But what he did with those opt-ins is what we’re focusing on today. He used the tactic to find out who would be potential customers for a new product. It’s a really cool tactic that you’re going to go nuts for and you could probably do it today if you were so inclined.
It’s that simple. Go get the screenshots that show how Brian did it at ConversionCast.com/VideofruitDownload and then listen on. I’m Tim Page, the conversion educator here at LeadPages. This is Conversion Cast and here is Brian Harris from Video fruit.
Hey Brian, how is it going?
Brian: Doing good, Tim.
Tim: Good man so I’m excited to have you here and we had recorded another episode but I realized that I wanted to dig into something that was a little bit more kind of unique in what you were doing. So I’m really excited about this. So before we kind of talk about what you did, tell us a little bit about who you are and kind of what you do.
Brian: Yes, so I’m Brian. I run Videofruit. It’s mainly a blog. 99% of what I do is free, public, you can get access to. I would reverse engineer the marketing strategies that other companies use. So I’m not really good at all my marketing but [[0:02:30]] [indiscernible]
Brian: –for the last nine months, I’ve just like looked at what guys like Clay and Neil Patel and Noah Kagan, all those guys do and reverse engineer that and install them into my business. I just report on the findings of that. So that’s the main purpose of Videofruit is just to teach people how to market online not because I’m a talking head but based on proven formulas that other successful entrepreneurs have hatched and executed in the past.
Tim: I love it and if you’re listening to the show and you’ve ever been on one of my webinars, you’ve probably heard me talk about Brian because I’ve referenced Videofruit all the time in my webinar. So it’s just you know you have this really incredible implementation of the blogpost specific lead magnet. If you’re not doing this in your business right now, you need to do it. I mean go to blog.videofruit.com and look how the blogposts themselves have specific giveaways. If you go to ConversionCast.com, you see the blogposts have specific giveaways. The conversion rate on those is just amazing, isn’t it?
Brian: Oh man it’s if you only had to do one thing to build your email list, forget everything else, don’t put a subscribe bar anywhere. Like if you only had to pick one, just spend another 15 at the end of the post and create a post specific bonus or content upgrade or whatever you call it. I’ve seen as high as 60% conversion rates on individual posts using post specific updates.
Tim: Yeah it’s unbelievable. We’ve got a few that are up in the 90s and it’s insane —
Tim: –that they covert that high. You know, there are really easy ways. This is not really what we’re talking about but that’s okay. They’re really easy ways to do it. I mean even if you don’t want to create some kind of a lead magnet to give away, you know, you could do something as simple as if it’s a blog post, just create a PDF version of the blogpost and give it away to people to opt in or do what James Shramko and Ezra Firestone are doing and get a transcript of your podcast and give that away. I mean it’s just that simple.
But today what we’re talking about is kind of I guess a little bit of a spinoff off that. So why don’t you just kind of first before we talk about the specific tactic, tell us the results that you got from doing this.
Brian: So I was able to validate a product that I had a hypothesis of would be really – would do well to my audience. I was able to validate by selling 31 copies of this product at $200 per year within I guess it was a three-week period to my list of people. So that was the end result. I don’t even know what those numbers are. I guess that’s a little over $6000 per year and that’s only emailing, I don’t know less than 3% of my entire list by using the results of a course specific opt-in.
Tim: And that’s a product that you hadn’t created yet at that point, is that right?
Brian: Yeah it doesn’t exist. Actually through the different validation stages that I’ve gone through, it does exist now in kind of a version 1.0 primitive type of form. So after I sold – when I sold the first [[0:05:21]] [indiscernible] as it didn’t exist. I created it when I sold the next six copies. You know, I got fine-tuned a little bit and then when I sold the next 20 copies to a slightly bigger segment of my list, you know it’s at a form now that is so saleable and that’s something I’m like massively proud of the way it looks and everything.
Brian: I mean that will come with time. I think the founder of LinkedIn said if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product then you probably launched too late. So I’m like right there.
Brian: Like it’s functional, it’s beneficial, but it doesn’t look pretty.
Tim: I think that that’s fantastic. Such a good way to go. Just to get it out there and avoid the issues that so many people have where they spend thousands of dollars and months of their lives creating something that they have no idea if anybody wants and that’s what I love about this. So I think the best way to go about this would be to just kind of hear your process of how you did this because you used a lot of strategies that you’ve seen other people use but you just turned it into a great way to validate. So can you tell us a little bit about kind of the process from just from the very beginning when you’re writing a blogpost?
Brian: Sure. So I have published around 68 blogposts in the last nine months or so. I think that’s roughly yeah nine months, eight months, 68 blogposts and around half of those right at 40 of them have post specific opt-in. So the end of the post there’ll be some kind of a bonus associated with it. There might be a video, an eBook, a transcript, a PDF version, software, just any number of things that I’ve tried. That has got my site-wide conversion rate right at 12%. So 12% of everybody that comes to my site wound up opting in to the blog. So it’s been able to build up my email list you know, to write over 6000 people with not a lot of traffic. As I’ve said, traffic isn’t something I’ve really pointed at and focused on a whole lot yet. But it’s been really interesting. I’ve picked up that technique from Clay. He did a podcast with Pat Flynn May last year and he just was talking about it and really resonated with me so I started doing that. The number one goal of that was just to collect email subscribers, to have people that wanted to hear from me. But it’s been really interesting the side effects of that. There’s other benefits that probably even out [[0:07:37]] [indiscernible] collecting an email address that have come out of that. One of which is this product validation method.
So now I have around 40 posts that people have opted into and in the beginning you need to get 10 or 15 people opt in because I didn’t have much traffic at all. Now a low performing post will have 200 or 300 people opt-in. I had one or two over the last month, a month and a half that had around 500 to 600 people opt in to it.
Brian: What that’s equal to are this 500 to 600 people that have raised their hand and said yes I’m interested in that topic. Please tell me more about it. I want to know so much about it that I wouldn’t even give you my email address which isn’t as good as money but it’s the next closest thing to somebody giving you money for something.
Tim: Oh definitely.
Brian: So I’ve used that and just looked at the spikes. Like just open up your LeadPages account, your Google Analytics account or your MailChimp or Entreport account and look and see where the spikes are. So over 40 blog posts. I’ve had three that have passed the 400 opt-in mark. All three of those had to do with resources to implement a particular strategy. So I had one post a few months ago that was called the Picasso Formula and it was how I designed, I stuck at the design. The title of the post How to Design if You Suck at Design. [Laughs] It is basically —
Brian: — just hacked up together. It is on my site and terrible at it. So at the end of that post, I had a downloadable bonus that somebody could take away and help them do that. So this product that I was looking at building kind of built on that idea. So all I did was emailed all the people that opted in to the Picasso Formula and said hey the first thing – now this was a three-part series. So the first email said I’m working a big project. I would love to get your feedback, are you interested. Nearly everybody replies back yes. So anybody replied back yes, I would send them another email and it was – it said hey, here’s the description with a link to a Google Doc literally, a public Google Doc that somebody could get into it. It was a sales letter for it. It’s just the first version, very rough version describing what the product was.
And then the second thing I ask them to do is to fill out a survey. The survey asked them for their name, their email, do you want to buy the product. That was the third question, yes or no.
Brian: And then after that, it just asked them for feedback. You know what was the number one thing you liked, what was the number one thing that you had a question about, what’s the number one thing you disliked and there might be one other question. But that was invaluable feedback. So the first email I sent that out to 40 people and eight people said they would buy in their survey and those eight people when they said they would buy I immediately in under an hour sent them a link back manually in Gmail, I did all this.
Brian: So screw automating stuff. Just like manually you’ll do it and five of those eight people wanted to pay me $200 for a product that didn’t exist yet.
Brian: Just a sales letter, just survey and I told them like they weren’t buying something and thinking they were getting robbed.
Brian: There was no dishonesty going on. And they paid $200 for that. And I’ve just repeated that process a few time since so now I’ve sent it out total to 300 people and 31 of those 300 people had bought. So just over 10% conversion rate in total. I’ve built a product now that’s been refined based on user feedback and user use not just my hypothesis of what people would but actual people using the product. It isn’t a prefect product yet. It’s useful, it’s functional and it’s getting better because I’ve had customers go through it.
So it’s been really, really fascinating because I haven’t had to blast my whole list. I haven’t had to run ads anywhere. I just send an email to a couple hundred different people that opted in to some stuff that they said they were already interested in with a similar product and the conversion rates. I mean a 10% conversion rate for a $200 product —
Brian: A $200 per year product —
Brian: -is like really [[0:11:18]] [indiscernible] so like run that number, extrapolate that out of your whole email list and those are really good rates.
Tim: Yeah I mean really fantastic and there’s so much that I love about this. The first thing that kind of standout is the fact that if you are brand new in business and you know if you don’t have a product at all, you maybe have a blog or you have some expertise in an area and or even your graded extrapolating expertise from other people who do have it, you know you could simply just have a blog. You know you don’t need a lot of tools to do this. You could have something as simple as LeadPages with LeadBoxes right on your blog. You could collect email addresses from your blogpost and just see how it goes with minimal traffic. I mean you said you had very minimal traffic and you know it’s not like you were collecting tens of thousands of email addresses every month and just going crazy. But you did this with a small number of people and did it very quickly and then just send them a Google Doc and then just send them an opportunity to buy manually in Gmail. So if somebody is new, they really have no excuse to you know, not to go out and try this right?
Brian: Yeah. There’s no paid part of anything I described here. WordPress, I guess LeadPages because I used LeadBox and everything.
Brian: Because I still don’t know how to create a form anywhere.
Brian: So like I literally don’t have a forum on my entire site. It’s a LeadBox everywhere. So go pay $30 and just get it, it will save you a ton of time or find some other version if you hate LeadPages for some reason.
Brian: Like they’re the easiest thing I found and they work and they’re nice people. So like I said Google Form, a Google Doc, a WordPress site and LeadPages. You don’t even have to honestly you can just go do three guest posts somewhere else and use other people’s traffics. Send them to back to your landing page and collect their email address. You don’t even have to publish content on your site. I’m a firm believer especially if you’re before 100,000u uniques a month, like if you’re at that stage of business where not over 100K uniques. Your best content needs to be on other people’s site anyway. Because it’s going to do way more work for you.
So one of the best articles I’ve written in the last two months was on LeadPages’ site. I’ve collected over 500 email addresses from that one LeadPages guest post.
Tim: I love it.
Brian: If it were on my site and I collected maybe 100, 150 new email addresses, so yeah I’ll do that. I’ll repeat that all day along. I think that’s a good number like I can do that times four and I collect 2000 a month. So yeah just go put your stuff on other people’s site. Send them back to your own site, and then look where the spikes are. See where you get the most direction from.
Tim: Yeah that’s a really nice additional strategy and you know especially for traffic generation and getting emails that way. But one thing I’m wondering is you know, if I’m listening to the show right now and I do have a lot of traffic, and I’ve got kid of a sophisticated brand, you know, and people –you know, I’m trying to keep things on a certain level. I mean if that were you, would you implement it the same way? I mean would you still use it pretty basic or would you try to kind of snazzy it up a little bit and maybe use some more sophisticated tools?
Brian: With the validation process?
Tim: Yeah. Kind of from once you’ve collected the email address, I mean would you then you know, try to make the validation process a little prettier or would you kind of just go with it the same way you have down and dirty?
Brian: No. I think it’s a bad idea to get complicated real quick. So I’m working with a guy right now and he has around 150 uniques, 150,000 uniques a month and he has this strong desire to make everything extremely polished from the beginning. What that does is cause this thing to move at a snail’s pace.
Brian: It’s not the only focus where you have a business run. Like literally sit down. You send an email to 50 people. I mean just sit down and write the email and send it to them. Like it isn’t – I mean you could get more complicated and you could get InfusionSoft and automate a bunch of stuff and set up rules and spend eight hours building that or you could just spend two hours and do it.
You know, I wouldn’t send more than two to three hundred emails this way because you just getting [[0:15:13]] [indiscernible] and you don’t have to send it to that many people. If you send an email to 100-targeted people and nobody buys, like something is wrong. I’m like it is better for you to find out now with only an hour or two of investment as opposed to making and doing tons of design work and doing all this work as opposed to just do it, see if people buy. If those people don’t buy at maybe slightly discounted rate with a somewhat ghetto product, people aren’t going to buy with a more polished version. That’s a fallacy that we’ve told ourselves.
So no, personally I wouldn’t. I would do ghetto to begin with and then make it prettier are you go. Definitely before you send it to your 100,000 email subscribers make it pretty.
Brian: But the first 200 to 300 of your super fans like they’re more honored for you to send them an email that says hey man, you’re in my top 1% of my audience as far as engagement and downloads and everything. I would really get your feedback. Here’s kind of the raw version. People like that. Like that’s an attractive thing as opposed to having this super polished version out there.
Tim: I love it and as we wrap up I just really have kind of one more question. So if somebody does this, at what point you know, or at least in your case, at what point do you consider it validated enough to go forward and build a product? I mean is there a certain number of sales, is there a certain revenue going? What’s the point at which you’re ready to move forward with a product?
Brian: Yes so my goal. You just have to decide that based on your own metrics. There’s just thousands of applications for this. So there’s no like blanket thing. But for me I can speak to myself and what my goal was. I had a goal going into it and my goal was to get 8% of a targeted segment of my list to convert. If I could get 8% of the targeted segment, my hypothesis was and that’s what most business is, is hypothesis.
Brian: is that I could get a 2% to 3% conversion rate with the entire list. So based on just some numbers in the past that I’ve seen, that is somewhat accurate based on the price point and conversion rates. Also if I could get 8% conversion rate with these 300 people then I would consider it validated. That put me at selling right at 30 copies and that’s what I did. I did it just a little over 80%. I did 10.5% or something. So for me it was a success and now I can roll out to my whole list in a month.
Tim: And is it an information product? Is it software? What is it that –
Brian: It’s a resource. So it is —
Brian: –called the volt. It has three different components to it. Number is every contractor that I’ve ever used. So I have a list of 50 contractors, designers, coders, writers, researchers. One of the biggest pains in the butt if you’re doing a lot of business is trying to get people so that solves our problem.
Brian: The second thing is a swipe file. It’s every swipe file they had styles into swipe files on pop-ups, landing pages, Facebook ads, YouTube, thumb nails, explainer videos all that stuff. You can go to and have editable templates where you can build that stuff and the third component is workflows to piece that together. So if you want to build a landing page in LeadPages that’s great. How do you do it and it shows you exactly how to piece that together. So it’s called the – it’s more a resource than an informational product. It’s actual tools and components that you can use to build your business.
Tim: I love it. And yeah so the reason why I ask is because chances are you know if this is – if somebody is trying to validate a SAAS product or something along those lines, you’re going to want me to do more validation. You’re going to want maybe you know, more people to have purchase because it’s a high time investment. It’s a high money investment and maybe you go for that or maybe not. I mean maybe it’s enough to validate with a smaller group like that. So that something really interesting and I think people will I think people are going to use this to validate. This might be the way of the future.
Brian: I don’t care what you’re validating if you can get a 10% conversion rate-
Tim: That’s true.
Brian: — or $200 a year product like that’s good. You need to do more of that.
Tim: Yeah, yeah.
Brian: So okay if you want to validate a thousand as opposed to 300 knock yourself out. Because the more you do, the more accurate your number is going to be.
Brian: But I wouldn’t get too caught up on that. If you have you know- if you can severely target or very acutely target your list and presell that thing then use real life feedback to build it, those are very proven principles that are behind on how it works.
Tim: Brian, as always, you’ve been awesome. Thanks for sharing all this stuff with us and I hope that we can have you back to talk about some of more of the ridiculously awesome things that you are always doing.
Brian: Thanks Tim.
Tim: Thanks for listening to this episode of ConversionCast. If you liked what you heard here today, we have something awesome that we want to send you. Our amazing team has created a free reference guide for you with every single split test and piece of conversion data that we have access to here at Conversion Cast. This free booklet is packed with incredible case studies and real metrics from real people to show you what’s really working across multiple industries right now. This is the kind of information you won’t find anywhere else.
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Listen To Discover How Video Fruit Consulted An Email List To Validate And Sell a Product Before It Was Made