How To Create Evergreen Products With Marlon Sanders

June 13, 20160 Comments

Marlon Sanders
Welcome to another episode of the Real Fast Results Podcast. I’m so pleased you are here!  I have a very special treat for you. I have a good friend and a mentor of mine, Mr. Marlon Sanders, on the line. We are going to talk about something that’s really important for the longevity of your business–that is creating evergreen products. In other words, information products that sold five years ago, ten years ago, and they’ll sell fifteen years into the future. They are evergreen.

These are great types of products to focus on within your business. Not only will your product be evergreen, but the potential to sell that product and profit from that product long-term also exist. I’m all about leveraging your time and your efforts to get the most bang out of the least amount of effort. Focusing on evergreen types of products, are a really great way to do that.  And a master of this is Marlon Sanders.

Why Evergreen Products?

Here’s the thing that people need to know: We all got into this business because we would rather trade ourEvergreen - create products for money than we would our own personal time. However, if you have to keep creating new products in order to do that, you’re kind of in a rat race. It’s like being on a treadmill because you created the product, you launched it, two weeks later the sales are dead and now you’re having to create another product.

I’m not criticizing that, but imagine this. This is a future state. Imagine that you have a product that you created ten years ago and you’re still getting paid for it. You have a product you created five years ago and you’re still getting paid for that. You have a product you created six years ago, you’re still getting paid for it. That’s the beauty of evergreen products.

Because now:

  •  you can relaunch them
  • if you set them up right, these products can sell literally for years

Product creation itself has changed because the market has morphed and changed. Trying to combine launches today and having a successful launch today with an evergreen product, that’s a little bit of a trick. Those are the topics that we want to discuss today. I want t break it down as much as I can.

Step By Step Overview On How To Create Evergreen Products

We’ll review the steps in brief and then detail each one.

  1. Step number one is to find timeless topics. If you’re doing a topic that is going to be dramatically different six months from now, then it’s going to be really hard to have that as an evergreen product. Nonetheless, there are certain topics that are incredibly timeless.
  2. Step number two is nailing the product format. What format do you deliver on, that allows it to sell long-term? This is something that’s really huge and it’s something most people don’t know and don’t do.
  3. Step number three is what’s selling today? How do you combine this with what you can launch today and what’s selling today?

Those are the three basic steps that we’ll break down into more detail.

Step 1 – Timeless Topics

Technology Topic Concerns

One of the things that sort of comes to mind for some people is, “Well, what if I’m in a tech industry or what if I’m in some industry that doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to an evergreen topic?” I believe that in just about every industry you’re going to find topics that are more evergreen than others. It’s all relative, and we’ll compare it to a chess game.

Static Advantage

In chess, when you study the theory of chess, there are advantages during a game that are called static. Meaning they’ll last the whole chess game. It’s a static advantage, right? You’re up a rook. It’s a static advantage. They’re not getting a rook back. You’re up a rook the whole rest of the game. That’s a static advantage. It stays the same. Not forever in chess, but for that game that you’re playing.

Dynamic Advantage

Then you have dynamic advantages. A dynamic advantage in chess is when you have it right now on the board. Their pawn is backwards. There’s an open file that you can seize. There’s a combination you can take advantage of. That is a changeable dynamic, very short-term advantage. The thing is that the game that you play with tech topics, is more like chess. The nature of that game is shorter than the game.

Maybe it’s in internet marketing, but you still have static plays within whatever the parameters of that game are. That’s how I would look at that, and I would try to identify the things within the tech field that are more static than they are dynamic.

Another idea to mention to people who have the “tech topic” as a concern is, “What is the variable in this puzzle that doesn’t change?” Generally that’s a human being. If there’s some aspect of your product that deals with human psychology, human behavior, human looks, anything like that, those tend to be more evergreen topics. As a machine, humans don’t change from generation to generation like computers do.

Finding Timeless Topics

Evergreen - timelessIt’s amazing how much things change and how much they don’t change. If you study books and magazines from the very early 1900’s, there are ads  and products you could take from then, that would still sell today. It’s amazing how much things don’t change.

For example, back in the early 1900’s a popular product was about memory. You would think that today with iPhones and iPads that people wouldn’t still buy memory courses, memory training and memory books, but guess what? They do. You go down to Barnes and Noble. You go to the self-help section, and what are you going to find books on? How to improve your stupid memory.

They were selling that in the 1800’s. You pick up that book on how to improve your memory, and the methods in it were invented around the 1700’s. It’s the same method. You go back and you study. You think, “This is the same stuff.” They probably taught it better in the 1700’s. It’s amazing how much things change and how much they’re the same. Character analysis back then was a big thing. Analyzing people, analyzing people using many of the same exact methods, very similar to the way they are taught today.

There are so many more. The subject of motivation. Hypnosis. Great in the 1800’s and 1900’s about hypnosis. My friend still sells the hypnosis stuff today. Joe Vitale and Steven Jones sell more hypnosis audios than you can fathom. There isn’t anything new about it. They’ve been doing hypnosis since the 1900’s and before.

Another piece to look at is what are things that have sold long-term? How about analysis? Selling analysis. People have been buying personality analysis, business analysis, literally since the early 1900’s. What’s an analysis? What’s the value of an analysis? An analysis is going to be evergreen. People perceive value in an analysis.

There are all of these timeless topics, and yet within them obviously things are updated and changed, so you’re living in both worlds. You have a foot in the past and a step in the present and kind of a third foot going into the future. Or, eyes going into the future.

In step one we’re hitting on the evergreen topics. Yet, you’re also trying to get in touch with what aspects of those topics people are wanting to buy now. If they don’t want to buy it right now, then it’s not going to sell. Therefore, it’s updated with current angles and so forth. It’s still something that’s going to sell over time. There’s a bit of a balance there and a bit of an art.

On a side note, if you’re looking for evergreen topics and evergreen content within your niche, make sure to download show number two: Publishing And Profiting From Public Domain Content With Tony Laidig. I think we all understand step one, Marlon. Let’s jump into step number two.

Step 2 – Product Format

The format is important when selling evergreen products! In general, PDFs are a tough format to sell long-term. I Evergreen - product formatdon’t have a lot of PDFs that I wrote ten years ago that sell well today. It’s a very controversial topic and people have an awful lot of opinions about them. Some people say, “Oh, don’t worry about them.” All I know is PDF products struggle to sell long-term and I don’t know why.

Dan Kennedy said one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard, and here’s what he said, “Don’t produce your info product in a format people can compare.” Now, I’m talking about the item you’re selling for money. Obviously, a Kindle book is a Kindle book and you’re using it to generate new customers, probably not as much for profit.

I’m talking about your moneymaker. Don’t make your moneymaker something that people can easily compare it to. In other words, if you know anything about Dan Kennedy and buy something, he might include some books, checklists, some templates, some conference calls, or even just his old simple products.

Dan Kennedy wouldn’t just sell you a book. It would be a manual with this ugly thing stuck in it with cassette tapes popped into there. Then some other sheets and items stuffed in a big nine by twelve envelope. How do you compare the value of this with someone else’s info product?

Another format is example is, Dan Sullivan. Dan teaches people in all kinds of industries to create and sell processes instead of products. It’s one of the most profound things I’ve heard. He’ll take somebody in a really difficult commodity type industry. Let’s take a financial planner. If you ask, “Well, what’s the difference between Johnny and Jimmy financial planner?” Most people would just scratch their heads and say, “I don’t know. They both, what? Give you a plan?”

Dan Sullivan teaches how to create this process with these steps. They have these fancy graphics created for it and give it this name, like, “The Parents’ Easy Transition Process,” to easily transition your finances when your parents are elderly. It would teach them to create a process, create illustrations and diagrams and put a name on it. Now how does someone compare the value of that to the value of a Kindle book, a course or a PDF they’d buy on the internet?

I have a treasure box that’s actually a card file, like a Rolodex. I write my ideas in there because I’m scared if I stick them on my iPad or iPhone it’ll crash and I’ll just lose them all. I still trust index cards. The point of this is let’s say you bought a product and I shipped you this little thing of index cards with notes on them. What’s the value of that?

That’s the reason I do dashboards. I created the dashboard format. A few people have done dashboards, but there’s not very many. What’s the value of a dashboard? The value of a dashboard is what I tell you it is and what you feel it’s worth.

Product Platform – Planners

Evergreen products, here’s a great idea. Planners. I don’t care what niche you are in, people love planners. It’s the weirdest thing. They just sell. People love buying planners. It’s great. It’s a repeat business because they use them (take a look at show 4: Profiting From Low and No-Content Books With Kristen Joy).

Grant Cardone sells so many of his 10X Planners that it’s insane. He’s got a place where you write your appointments for the day and then a place where you brainstorm your goals.

Evergreen products contain information that you can’t easily compare. Information that has perceived value over time. I did a planner just because I knew that every year when people get on the planner thing, they’re going to be buying a planner. What I learned about planners is the simpler the better. And don’t forget, people love workbooks as well.

Product Platform – Dashboards

I want to just spend a moment here, Marlon, because you’re known far and wide for your dashboard type of products.  I love your dashboard products. I first knew of you by buying your dashboard products. And really, when I was a pup in this industry, it was you, Marlon, that really helped me along. Not you, directly, but your products. I’m eternally grateful to you because they were so doggone easy to use and attractive.

I knew what I needed. I needed to follow along the top row, then go to the next row and follow along that, and it was just all right there and very easy to use. I’m going to recommend to you, if you haven’t yet bought one of Marlon’s dashboard products, I like the marketing one. Well, I like them all. I own practically every one of them.

Thanks, Daniel! We have Traffic Dashboard. People are always going to need traffic. We have Info Product Dashboard. That helps you create Info Products, and as long as people are buying information that’s going to be the product that sells.

We have one called the Marketing Dashboard because, hey, people are always going to be wanting to market. Big Ticket Dashboard is the most recent one. Daniel, is probably most important for you community because I see some of your people sell consultations on the back-end of their products.

Evergreen Point

There’s an evergreen point here, which is that people love information broken down step by step. Systematic, step by step. Here’s something you don’t know. You know, the magazine, Newsweek, wasn’t always called Newsweek. In the early 1900’s, the magazine sold more advertising than any other magazine in America. It literally had a hundred pages of advertising. The magazine was about three hundred pages long every month.

It was called “The System.” It documented the systems used by the largest businesses in America in the day. It’s the most phenomenal magazine ever published in the history of the United States and probably the history of the world. It was an amazing magazine by A.W. Shaw who was a brilliant guy. Around 1923 (give or take a few years) Newsweek bought it because they were the ones selling all the advertising and Newsweek wanted to be a part of that. So, Newsweek bought and assimilated the magazine.

The point is, you want to build step by step systems into your products. People eat it up. They can’t get enough of it, and they love it. Dashboards are just a way to create a product that people can’t easily compare the price and value, and it breaks it down step by step.

Step 3 – What’s Selling Today

Evergreen - salesWhat’s selling today? That’s really the third part of evergreen products. Not every evergreen product is going to be a good launch product or sell today. Launches have changed. When I launched Big Ticket Dashboard I added a small piece of software as a bonus and found out that people eat up software like it’s Oreo cookies or something.

People just cannot get enough software right now. If you can add, even as a bonus, some kind of software element today, especially if you’re launching, affiliates love it. Like JVZoo. They love promoting as the “product of the day” items that has a software element to it.

You’ve got to look at what’s evergreen, but it has to be combined with what’s selling now/today. It’s a bit of a balance. Nobody said being an entrepreneur was always easy. To get both of those things happening can take talent and brains and it’s why we get paid instead of a computer. Otherwise, a computer would just assemble stuff, assemble a sales letter and launch it.

Having Software Created

Here’s a great question: “What if you don’t know how to create software or don’t even feel comfortable talking to a programmer?” Talking to programmers can be challenging because they have a language of their own. Here’s what you do.When I did Push Button Letters, which is a software program that’s been selling since 2001. It cost me about $350 in 2001 to have it created. I don’t know how much of it I’ve sold, but it’s been a lot. It’s great software.

My point is, I wrote out everything in enormous detail. Now, your more sophisticated people, especially stuff that has a GUI, a graphical user interface, they go into Photoshop, usually. However, some of them use Balsamiq or other programs, and they map out their user interface, They basically use a specs doc. For every little button on the GUI, that matches up to a document that explains the functionality of that button for the programmer.

You spec it out in extreme detail. The people I know that are successful getting programming done, that’s what they do. They leave as little to imagination as they can. They do the GUI interface and they spec out every single function: what it is, what it does, purpose of it, etc.

Now, in my case the software I included with Big Ticket Dashboard, it was a bonus. It was really simple and it probably stretched the imagination some to call it software, but I am a copywriter. I didn’t have anybody complaining.

The software today is one of those elements, and it’s hard for software to be evergreen, it’s probably not. This is part of an evergreen product and it’s funny. It goes back to a Gary Halbert expression.  I miss Gary because he was so colorful. Some of the people listening may or may not know him. He was a very famous marketer. Gary said, “Man, I love marketing and sales. I love sending out thousands or mailing pieces of direct mail and just seeing those checks come in, but I’ll tell you what. Fulfillment is a bitch.”

In his case he went to jail because he said he didn’t actually fulfill. So for him it was literally a pitch. I don’t know what the reality of that situation was, but what I do know is someone has to maintain the products. Even though it’s evergreen, there’s still got to be maintenance. Somebody’s got to do it. Either you have to assign staff or you’ve got to buckle down and do it yourself. Now there is a solution to this, which is called relaunching.

This is something I’m personally going to do because some of my products now need updated. After you update your products, you relaunch them. If somebody has been patient and managed to listen to me this long, here’s the payoff. This guy named Alex Jeffreys was number one, two, three, four top JVZoo vendor. I think maybe last year or the year before he was number one. He literally relaunched products every four to six weeks.

He would add a bonus or two and call it version three or call it version four. He put up fresh, new ten thousand dollar prizes for affiliates, and he would launch the product and get another three thousand sales just like he had six weeks before. He averaged like two to three thousand units of sales and he would throw in a bonus or two and not even rewrite the sales letter or anything. 

When it comes to marketing and marketing your digital products, think of your target audience as parade goers. It’s not like you get everyone that’s ever going to buy your product into a room and you get to sell them all at one time. That’s not how it works. That’s one of the reasons why this sort of relaunching periodically does work because there are buyers that come into the marketplace and there are buyers that leave the marketplace. It’s like a parade. That’s one of the things you need to focus in on with regard to this whole idea of relaunching.

Before we move on from the software, I just want to point out that you can, in fact, find public or PLR software. PLR software that’s almost all the way built and you just have a programmer add an element or two. There is a site called Dynamic Drive where you can get software applications that you can use for free.

If you’re brand new and you haven’t added software, don’t start off with huge software. Keep it in the back of your mind or go look for something that’s already been created. Something that you could buy either PLR or get for free. I’ve actually given away free software and shareware before in packages, and I really say, “Hey, yeah, this is a freeware.” You don’t have to create it, is my point. You can go out and find it elsewhere. It’s simple. It’s probably two or three hundred dollars to get it programmed if you have something real simple.

Examples of Evergreen Products

I’m going to turn the tables here a second, Daniel, because we haven’t put you on the hot seat yet. What is the one speakers cruise freeproduct you have that is the most evergreen and why? For me it’s very easy. It’s the “Speakers Cruise Free” book. It’s very sexy to be able to trade your talents for free on luxury cruises. There’s a big industry around it, but it’s really a niche within the speaking niche.

I keep buyers coming because I still have affiliate relationships from ten years ago that still send me traffic and it still sells. It’s a beautiful thing. Not only that, for me, because mine was so niched down, I’m about the only person that still survived in this niche. If you want anything to do with cruise ship speaking, you go buy my book, which, by the way, is available on Amazon.com. You should buy it if that’s one of the things that you’re interested in.

The second big evergreen product for me actually happens to be my Real Fast Book program. Eighty percent of the United States, I’ve heard that statistic anyway, wants to write a book in some way, shape, manner or form. They want to write the great American novel or to get a memoir out.

For me, I put together a very step by step program on how to do that using CreateSpace and Kindle. By the way, if you go to Realfastbook.com, you can get a seven part free course that steps you through exactly how to go about putting together a print-on-demand book completely for free. Yes, there’s going to be an offer at the , very end, but you’re still going to get exceptionally good value in the seven video lessons that I put together. That’d be my second one.

Daniel, back in early 1900’s books were new then and that kind of topic was still selling back then. How to publish a book. They were doing it way back then, believe it or not. It‘s endlessly fascinating how some of these topics just keep enduring. Some of these topics just keep enduring.

Recap

Number one is you’ve got to find your evergreen topic.  Daniel just gave, what I think are, two marvelous examples. Number two is format. My preference is a format that’s harder to compare the value on. We talked about adding a software element, if possible.

The third step is merging it with what’s selling right now today. Which is where software comes in. Or other current angles that are selling right now today that you could throw in as a bonus with it. Just because the product itself is evergreen doesn’t mean you can’t make it extremely timely by throwing in that hot sexy new topic as a bonus with it or as bonuses with it.

There’s a company that does about five or six hundred million dollars a year just using that marketing method. Agora publishes financial newsletters, like two or three hundred of them and options, stocks. Investing can be kind of dry and boring, but they make it incredibly interesting by adding in these bonuses on the hottest thing going. That’s the bonus when you subscribe to the newsletter. They sell this stuff like there’s no tomorrow by tapping into what is hot today. Whatever the hot topic is right now today, they’re creating a bonus on it, packaging it in when you buy their newsletter.

Marketing Evergreen Products

I had a product, and evergreen product called “Book of Secrets.” My best marketing secrets I learned in a lifetime. Well, I had typos in the sales letter and typos in the book. I personally don’t care about typos. Other people care. I just don’t care. I care about information. I don’t care about typos.

Anyway, Frank Kern comes along and says, “It’s one of the greatest sales letters I’ve read in a long, long time,” and people just go off on his Facebook because it has typos in it. I mean, they just go off. The sales are like pouring in from Frank’s post. More and more people are seeing this. About a hundred people have commented. Sales are pouring in, pouring in, pouring in.

Finally, I fixed the typos and all of the controversy died down and the sales stopped pouring in. I should’ve just left them in there. The headline had a typo in it. It was really bad. I should’ve just left them there because people are like, “Oh my God. I can’t believe this,” and just more sales keep pouring in for it. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Contacting Marlon

I have a Facebook group. On Facebook search, Marlon Sanders, you’ll find my Facebook group. If you go to Marlonsanders.com I have a link over to my blog. Marlonsanders.com is an easy way to find me. If you want the modern version of “Creating The Products Quick,” that’s at the quickiestart.com.

Tips and tricks icon

Daniel’s Real Fast Results Tips: Evergreen products

  • It’s OK to use more than one format. One evergreen product may be a book, the other may be a dashboard.
  • It all boils down to the topic you pick. Make sure your topic is timeless.
  • Relaunching old products with new bonuses is an excellent way to go.

 

Resources

Dashboards by Marlon Sanders:
Traffic Dashboard
Info Product Dashboard
Big Ticket Dashboard
Marketing Dashboard

Previous Podcasts That Help With Evergreen Products:
Profiting From Low and No-Content Books With Kristen Joy
Publishing And Profiting From Public Domain Content With Tony Laidig

Open Source Software You Can Use As Bonuses – Dynamic Drive

Daniel’s Best Selling Evergreen Products
Realfastbook.com
Speakers Cruise Free

Filed in: Digital PublishingInfo-Product CreationMarketing StrategiesPodcast
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About the Author ()

Daniel Hall is a bestselling author, speaker, publisher, nurse, attorney and host the Real Fast Results podcast. He is also the creator of other highly popular “Real Fast” brand of training products. He left law practice 10 years ago to build his publishing business and has never looked back. Daniel is a true serial entrepreneur and his list of URLs is longer than a piece of paper, so you can check out Daniel’s hub at www.DanielHallPresents.com or the podcast right here on this site!

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