We’re going to be talking about templates today. Something that I love, and I know you love as well. It’s a great way to take your business in a new direction that, perhaps, you haven’t considered before. So, that’s what we’re going to focus on.
Benefits to Offering Templates in Your Business
I think it’s important to recognize, first of all, that we as human beings are hardwired to respond to templates. I mean, after all, we are based on templates. DNA, right? Everything that surrounds us falls into some sort of template. We may not think about it that way, but the fact remains.
Anything that takes a long process, a long series of steps to do, over and over, repetitive-wise, can be turned into templates. Anything that is outside your wheelhouse, like maybe designing a book cover… You’re not a graphic designer, or whatever, but you want to have something professional-looking. You can accomplish that using a template.
So templates, across the board, save us time and save us energy, they save us effort, and that’s one of the reasons why I refer to templates as “the perfect product type”, because of those reasons alone. We love saving time, money, and effort. That’s really it. Imagine taking product development, from that perspective. You have customers, regardless of what business you’re in. How can you help them save time, save money, save effort?
Even McDonalds, their hamburgers are made using templates. The process is a template. Actually, the hamburgers are too. They may not be the best hamburgers, but they are still made using templates. Why? Because out of the hundreds of thousands of McDonalds stores, restaurants, they want the hamburgers to be the same. It’s a form of branding. You know, you want predictability. So, templates give us that opportunity.
Part of my career past was that of a cover designer. I worked in the publishing industry for 20 years as a book cover designer. So, it’s easy for me to create a professional-looking cover. I’ve done it hundreds of times, but for a new upcoming writer/author who wants to publish their book, they don’t want it to look like crap. It won’t sell. But, they don’t know anything about designing a book cover.
If I, as a designer, create a template that they can follow and just plug in their information, now all of the sudden, for a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the time, they have a professional-looking book cover that they can be proud of. It will boost their sales. It will boost their following. You know, all of that. I think that’s just the beauty of working with templates.
Let’s say you want to start a new LLC, a new company. You go to MyCorporation.com. What do you do? You fill in a template, and you pay a nice chunk of money for that template, but still, it just speeds up the process. Imagine having to fly across the country, and sit down with an attorney, and fill out all of that stuff manually, face to face. Holy crap! We’d never do it. So, it just saves us so much time, and not only that, think about what you have in your business. What are people asking again, and again, and again? What are they communicating with you like, “It’s so hard for me to do X.” You know, or “I’m having a lot of trouble doing Y.”
What are those things in customer support, or in FAQs, or in your Facebook group, or whatever, that people are struggling with? How easy would it be to help them to provide better support and create a new product by creating templates that help them solve that problem? Another thing, like courses, they can take days, if not weeks, to put together. Templates you could bang out in an afternoon. A couple of hours and then you’re done. I love that feature. That’s why I say that it’s such a win-win at so many levels.
Identifying and Developing a Template or Template Bundle
You know, we have our friend Felicia Slattery. Felicia is a speaker, trainer, and she’s brilliant. She’s coached me on my speaking, teaching on webinars, and all of that. She noticed something starting to occur within her business where people were wanting to get more speaking gigs, and she teaches how to do that. In order to professionally reach out to groups and reach out to organizations, and places like that where a speaker would want to be, folks were struggling. They didn’t know how to make that connection. She’s like, “You need a one-sheet. You need a way to communicate what your speech is, and where you’ve been featured, and who you are as a person, and all of that.”
They just really weren’t sure how to accomplish that. So, Felicia had the great idea, “You know what? I could create a series of templates that people could just fill in the blank, and all they would have to do is put in their information, what the name of their speech is, their bio, their photo, and so on. Then, they could pick colors, they could make it look professional, and Boom! Done!”
She set out to do that. She created a series of templates. I believe there were four or five. It was one basic template, and then she changed the colors. Ten different colors, and now instead of five different templates, there’s 50 different templates, or whatever the case may be. But, it was just different colors.
People loved it. Talk about creating a service. She had never done anything like that before. She had never created templates like that before. Coming from something that was a little bit outside of her wheelhouse, because she normally teaches speaking, but saw that need, provided a solution to that need, in the form of templates, and now all of the sudden, here’s this little product that turns into a $15,000 payday for her. The other side of that being how she did with it.
I remember whenever she released them, people tagging her on Facebook with a screenshot of their speaker template that they just created for their own thing, and it was fun to watch. It was fun to see people achieving that level of success so quickly, when they didn’t have any idea what to even do before those templates were out. It’s such a great example of what can be done, very quickly, just by identifying a problem and then producing a template to solve that problem.
Step 1 – Identify What Your Customers Are Asking For
The first step is to identify what your customers are asking for. What are the sticking points for your clients and your customers? You need to be looking at things like your FAQs, and what people are mentioning on your support desk, and on your support emails, and what they struggling with as communicating on social media, etc. That’s essentially Step 1, and then the second step is to create a template that sort of fills that gap you have identified.
Step 2 – Create a Template That Fills in the Gap
One thing that I want to point out is that you should ask yourself what you would need to experience success whenever you are identifying what to create. As the template creator, one thing that you would really need to be aware of, and conscious of, is that when you are really good at something, like cover design or whatever the case may be, the process can become invisible to us, where we think it’s easy when it’s not. You want to even think about templates from that perspective. “Oh yeah, I can whip up a cover in no time,” and somebody else, they’re like, “What? I got nothing.” They think it looks pretty, and well, we won’t say what it looks like. So, what would a template look like to accomplish that?
We’re not talking about step-by-step training, but we’re talking fill-in-the-blank, is really it. You know, what blanks need to be filled in order for your customer to experience the results that they want? You talk about Real Fast Results. That’s the name of this podcast. How will someone achieve real fast results from a template that you’re creating. What are those blanks that have to be filled in?
Templates are all really unique. Felicia’s templates are perfect for speakers, and that’s what they were created for. But, quite frankly, authors could use them to advertise their books, coaches could use them to advertise their coaching service, and on and on it goes. Real estate agents could honestly use it to talk about what markets they’re in and that kind of thing. So, there’s a lot of adaptability there, and that’s the other facet of templates. Don’t pigeonhole them to the point where, “Oh, you’ve got to only use it this way.” You know, our job is to create a framework where people can be flexible.
Adding Templates to Your Business
Decide what kind of template will best serve your audience. Of course, there’s the creation process. You have to create that template. There’s a number of programs that I like to “play in,” so to speak, when it comes to template creation because a lot of the templates that I work with are information-driven.
Tools to Develop Templates
- My favorite, probably, is PowerPoint. That’s the same program that Felicia used for her templates. It’s really easy to set up, to modify the data, and so on.
- Microsoft Word could be another example, because Word documents are very easy to fill in.
- Even Adobe Acrobat, you can use to create some pretty cool templates.
- From a cover design perspective, I’ve created some templates using Photoshop, which of course is the #1 image editor on the planet. But, I’ve also created them in PowerPoint. So, it’s identifying the tool.
Now, something to keep in mind here, with the tools, it depends on who your audience is. You don’t want the tool that they need to use to modify the template to be cost-prohibitive, or require a steep learning curve, or those kinds of things. It’s usually a good idea to include some sort of instruction on how to modify the templates, but you can get PowerPoint as part of the Office 365 Suite for $10 a month. You know? And, if you really don’t want to do that, you can get OpenOffice for free. So, there’s a lot of flexibility in using a presentation-style software for creating your templates because… free, $10, I mean, whatever… It’s available to pretty much anybody, and it’s pretty easy to figure out. So that would be the next step.
Free Templates Vs. Paid Templates
If you go to the Microsoft website, where they have Office, you’ll notice that they have hundreds of templates there that you can download and use for free, which begs the question, “Yeah, if my customers can go to Microsoft, or other places, and find templates for free, why on earth would they buy templates from me?” And, it’s a good question; it’s valid. I’ve never let that stop me.
To me, it’s a non-issue that the templates are available for free because they aren’t mine. They aren’t my templates. So, whenever you’re buying templates from me, or from whomever, you’re not just buying a template that you can download somewhere. You’re buying expertise, you’re buying insight, you’re buying business experience, professional results, and those kinds of things.
You’re not just selling a template. You are, but you’re not. You’re selling yourself. You’re selling your results. That’s a huge factor in it. Relationship certainly plays a role in that. Felicia certainly has a reputation of being a great speaker. She has spoken thousands upon thousands of times. So, she can draw upon those results and that experience to bake that into those templates.
I’ve created nearly 600 book covers. That means I know a thing or two about book cover design, and I can bake that experience into my templates, and that’s really what it comes from. That goes back to the question of, “What specialized knowledge do you have that will solve problems for your customers that could be turned into a template and save them time, money, and effort?”
Step 3 – Sell Your Templates
The last step is to make them available, to sell them, which is an obvious thing. I had a thought that I’d like to share really quickly just, again, to drive home an example. So, let’s say that you serve the publishing industry, and you have a first-time author who wants to publish their book. What all do they need, as it comes to you as the publishing professional?
Obviously, they need a book cover. They need the text of the book laid out. They need a website. They need branding. They should have an author one-sheet. They need a media kit, a book trailer, an Author Central page, a professional bio; you know, all of those things to help them promote their book, right? Every one of those, every single item, can be template-ized, and they should be. That’s just one small market, and the same could be true of a myriad of markets.
Learning More and Connecting with Tony
I have put together a pretty stout on-demand webinar. It’s available to you right now. You can head on over and register at RealFastTemplateProfits.com. The easiest way to connect with me would be to visit TonyLaidig.com. I’ve been working on redesigning my site, making it look pretty and functional. But, that’s the best place. You’ll get to learn more about me and see what I’m up to. My courses and trainings are all on there as well.
Real Fast Results Community
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