10 min read
When you hear the phrase, “Earn a living with your blog” do you automatically think about digital products? If so, you’re not alone.
Aside from ads/sponsorships (which all non-blogger-muggles believe is the monetization holy grail), most bloggers believe digital products are the best way to grow your business and find that sweet passive income. It is the obvious choice, right?
By creating digital products for your business, you have little overhead, you don’t need to worry about packaging or shipping, they can be easily updated, and your scalability is endless. You can also be relatively hands-off as your digital product customer base grows, leaving you time to create more and more digital products for your shop.
But while these information products in fact may be the backbone of the professional blogging industry, there’s still something beautiful and unique to be said about physical products. I’m talking tangible, hold-it-in-your-hands, feel-the-weight-of-it, and put-in-on-your-mantle kind of physical products.
Yes, physical products will take up more of your time and money. You’ll have to get it manufactured, packaged, shipped, and stored. But don’t let that scare you. Creating a physical product for your blog can give you an incredible and unique advantage over all your digital product producing peers.
As you probably know, the perceived value can affect how much a customer is willing to pay for your product. So, in this case, a physical product will almost always beat a digital product. There can be an actual value placed on it because you can see it, use it, and know what it does.
Selling a digital product that you can’t see involves a lot of salespersonship. You often need to rely on social proof and faith in your brand to make sales happen. But with a physical product, a customer can touch it and feel it. They can actually see how it works, what it does, and how it will benefit their life. No brand faith required.
Think of what you’re teaching on your blog in your courses, eBooks, etc. Whether you’re educating your audience on cooking, finances, wellness, or leadership, there is always a possibility to create a physical product that can correspond with your lessons.
“I look at the products in my Etsy shop as an extension of my blog. Through my blog, I encourage people to live positively, purposefully, and productively, and the products in my Etsy shop reflect that. I write a lot about productivity, and the notepads I create allow people to take that one step further and really implement my tips.
I also sell coffee mugs and t-shirts. For me, wearing a shirt or drinking from a coffee mug with a fun quote is certainly something small, but also something that can genuinely lift my spirits, and I hope others can take away the same positivity.”-Erin of Very Erin
That bit of humanity is important to keep in today’s world as we take steps further and further away from how our grandparents did business. That personal touch can also help your customers feel like they're part of your community.
When I created my site back in 2013, I never thought I'd sell physical products. But I have found that the physical products contribute to the sense of community. It's something your audience can hold that represents the space you occupy online and in their lives. … It was and remains important to me to develop and maintain an authentic, non-pushy way to sharing our offerings with our audience. So we focus on providing value to our list, and in return they become an even more invested member of our community with the mug to prove it. – Tonya at MyFabFinance
There truly is a simplistic beauty to selling a physical product.
But it’s not all happy customers and hand-crafted work. There are some big drawbacks to get over if you want to sell physical products.
Businesses that create and sell physical products operate on a very different financial basis than those creating digital products. They have to think about the cost of manufacturing and shipping. There’s overhead, inventory, and storing to also consider. After all, once you’ve created your product, you have to put it somewhere, and I’m guessing you don’t want your living room to become your warehouse.
Creating and keeping up with your physical product is going to take a lot of your time, particularly at the beginning. Prototyping, testing, creating, and manufacturing an actual physical product is no easy feat. Unless you can afford to hire a team that handles that day-to-day creation, packaging, shipping, and customer support, it will be difficult to scale your business.
While these are definitely big hurdles, they are by no means insurmountable. People do it every day. Are you ready to be one of those people?
Selling a product online is easier than ever these days. A newbie could have a storefront up and running in no-time with shops like Etsy and Shopify. And you really do have your pick of the litter when it comes to choosing an ecommerce platform. But when you’re selling a physical product, there are a couple other steps you need to think about.
Of course, you need to figure out how to manufacture your product. Will you make it on your own or will you outsource it? Or will you even be selling something you’ve created? There’s a ton of bloggers out there selling other businesses' goods. Think about all of your friends who sell essential oils or resell items on Etsy and eBay. They’re all selling physical products online!
But for the sake of not keeping you here all day reading this one blog post, let’s just talk about the beast that is shipping.
Making the sale is nowhere near the end of your journey. Now it’s time to actually get your physical product to your expectantly waiting new customer. There are a couple ways you can go.
Going at it on your own has it’s benefits. It allows you to be flexible and it’s cheap (yes please!). Most bloggers selling physical products will start out shipping on their own. It’s basically wise to stay in this DIY stage until your business is growing and you’re creating enough revenue to expand your process.
But once your business has reached the point of your inventory taking over your living space, it’s time to look into third-party shipping and fulfillment. And it will be pretty obvious when the time comes.
Moving your product to a fulfillment center is a big leap, but well worth it when the time comes.
The next step is to find the right fulfillment center for you and your physical product. All fulfillment centers function differently and many specialize in certain areas of business. Try to find one that specializes in your industry and already works with businesses similar to yours. This will help you know that they can handle whatever needs you might have.
One of the more popular fulfillment centers right now is Amazon. I mean, we use Amazon for everything from ordering granola bars to Christmas gifts, so it makes perfect sense to add them into our business process, right?
Amazon’s FBA can be your one stop shop for warehousing, packaging, and shipping. If you haven’t checked into their services yet for your physical products, it’s time to look now. Here’s a quick overview of the why’s and why not’s to choosing FBA for your fulfillment needs:
Now that your mind is buzzing with the possibilities of selling physical products, it’s time to make your move. Create a storefront, find a fulfillment center, and get selling! The world is waiting for your entrepreneur-focused books, cheeky coffee mugs, gluten free brownie mix, hand-dyed fabrics, beer-scented candles, essential oil starter packs, or whatever it is you’re selling.