Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

5 Reasons Why You Need a Signature Product

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Paul B. Evans. Paul is an author and international speaker who’s helped over 10,000 people create and launch their first information product. Follow him on Twitter @PaulEvans.

What’s the one thing you point people to when they ask, “I’m super interested in getting one of your products — which one should it be?”

Without hesitation, you would recommend your signature product. It’s the work you’re most excited to get into the hands of customers and subscribers.

But the question is: Do you have one?

A signature product is typically a digital product that costs anywhere from $97 to $997, and it’s the keystone offering you would recommend to just about anyone if they could only buy one thing.

But after working with thousands of people who want to share their expertise with the world, I’ve learned that most creative professionals — especially writers and artists — don’t have a signature product.

Why not?

Usually, it’s because of a fear or some sense of inadequacy (which is really just another version of fear). They’re afraid that they don’t know enough or aren’t good enough or that people will just reject them.

The truth is your audience needs what you have. But how can they do that if you don’t create it?

Here are five reasons why you need a signature product…

1. More income

“Whoooooaaaaaaa! Did he mention money right out of the gate?”

I know, I know. Creatives and money don’t always get along. We love to talk about craft, and message and art.

Let’s reframe. Instead of thinking about how much you want to make, here’s a new, better question:

How much do you want to give away?

Your signature product allows you to make more so you can give more — and so you can live more.

How much do you want to give away? How many orphans do you want to sponsor? What house or school would you love to build for those in need? What charity would you love to surprise with a giant gift?

Never apologize or feel guilty about making money. Yes, you can still help people for free by writing, speaking, blogging and podcasting.

But there are people and children and organizations that CANNOT be helped for free. It’s our responsibility to make as much as possible to help as many as possible. A signature product helps you do that.

2. More impression

There are more than 193 million blogs. Amazon publishes over two million titles. And the truth is ANYONE who wants to start a blog or get a book on Kindle can pretty much do it. There’s no real barrier to entry.

That means the tranquilizers (at best) get displayed right alongside the interesting. The initial impression may be the same by a casual reader of two vastly experienced bloggers.

On the other hand, let’s say a person lands on a goal-setting blog, and the person has a $10 ebook. Pretty good, right?

That same person lands on my site and sees a complete program called R.A.W. Results. It’s four modules with video, MP3 and transcripts. Plus, cool software that helps people accomplish more in less time.

Which site would the browser most likely trust? Who would she believe knows more about achievement? Who is she most likely to subscribe to? Even if an initial purchase isn’t made, the initial impression is vastly different with a signature product.

3. More impact

A higher-end product based in your core message allows you to help people at a deeper level.

Even if a person reads ALL of our blog posts, they will never move forward as fast as taking a course or going through a step-by-step program.

You can solve a specific problem for your readers and get them accelerated results if you offer a signature product.

4. More ink

Whether it’s publishing ink or guest posting ink or social media ink, it’s easier to get the attention of leaders when you stand apart from the crowd.

A few years ago, I desperately wanted to be featured on a particular website and epublication. I couldn’t break through. It didn’t seem to matter what I did.

Then I decided to send free access to one of my products. That opened the door: I was featured in their next release and gained an interview slot.

No, I can’t guarantee that will work every time, but it’s been far more successful than sending a standard query email. A signature product gives you leverage.

5. More identity

A published book remains one of the best ways to build your brand identity. A signature product deepens that identity ever further.

It proves that you know more about your subject than others in your field. And it demonstrates that you are anchored in the market and want to improve it.

It legitimizes your platform that much more.

6. More growth

The process of creating your signature product increases your…

  • knowledge
  • skill set
  • wisdom
  • experience
  • network

Focusing on this higher-end offering will allow you to grow in so many ways that will further sharpen your craft. As a result of creating it, you’ll be better equipped to serve others in the future.

7. More grins

The accomplishment that comes at completion — well, it will just make you happy.

You made a plan, stuck with it, and now have a resource to offer your audience. You’ve built something that adds value and makes the world a better place.

That should make you smile.

Not to mention, all the lives you are changing because you had the courage to share your expertise.

To find out more about signature products, you can watch this free video and sign up for more updates. (Disclosure: Paul has a signature product course, and I’m an affiliate. If you sign up, I’ll get a commission. This is one way I cover the costs of this blog and support my family.)

Do you have a signature product? What is it? If not, what would it be? Share in the comments.

About Paul Evans

Paul is an author and international speaker who's helped over 10,000 people create and launch their first information product. Find out more about Paul at his blog, or follow him on Twitter @PaulEvans.

It’s Not Too Late to Become a Writer

Download my free eBook on why now is the best time to become a writer.

In this book, I share everything I’ve learned bout what it takes to start writing for a living — and how you can get started today.

Click here to download the free book now.

  • Jonas Eriksson

    Interesting post. The more income part is very good. Instead of seeing money as the great evil, see it as a thing that, in the right hands, can do a whole lot of good. Be the right hands.

    • Hi Jonas!

      Love the way you put that! “Be the right hands!” Here’s a video that demonstrates that principle. It’s the story of my first wife who passed way. She worked hard to be the right hands to the world.

      https://yoursignatureproduct.com/story

      • Jonas Eriksson

        I’m sorry for your loss, Paul, but thanks for sharing this nice story. The ability to move and help others, no matter how great or small the number, is what defines us and our lives. The tiniest deed can have the biggest impact.

  • Alexa Mason

    I have been wanting to create my own info product for quite awhile now. I did write a Kindle eBook but ended up giving it away to subscribers. I need to quit making excuses and start working on my product NOW.

    • Don’t hold back!! You could have it outlined by tonight.

  • Heather C Button

    I think partly, I feel like my signature product is probably my architectural thesis, which you can download for free from my university’s website in PDF. So, I’m not sure how to translate that…

    • Hi Heather!

      #1 Most people will never find it unless you point them to it.

      #2 You can take it and chunk it into 4-10 Modules depending on length and areas covered.

      #3 Package it in a nice design and sell access.

      Since you already have the content the only issue is Design and Delivery.

      • Heather C Button

        I do point to it, I have a page dedicated to it. But I like the idea of repackaging it, and updating it too. Thanks for the feedback…

        • Awesome! Then I might take a small portion and give it away for free and the rest would be your Signature Product.

  • cindyfinley

    Great post! One question I have is about the timing of your signature product. Is it okay to get some other stuff out there first and intentionally grow toward a signature product? Or is better to come out of the gate with your signature product being the first thing you sell? And, then another question I have for Jeff … what would you say in your signature product?

    • Hi Cindy!

      There’s nothing wrong with growing toward a signature product at all. But here’s what I have noticed. If you are going to take the time for product creation it’s just as easy to launch an SP as it is an ebook. (To me it’s actually easier since I’m not a great writer.)

      I like starting with an SP because you have something to point to that’s different than most of the masses.

      • cindyfinley

        Thanks, Paul. That’s helpful. But led to more questions. An SP seems so weighty. I think of John Piper’s Desiring God. Everything he does arises from his belief in Christian hedonism as he explains in this book. Would you say that’s his SP? So, I’ve got a bit of procrastinating perfectionism kicking in. If the SP is going to be defining I want it to be really good… Do you think an SP should be more of a course than a book? Or does it the delivery style really depend on the goal of the product? Thanks so much!

        • Hey Cindy! For me it’s more a course than a book. As far as procrastination vs perfection. It doesn’t matter how perfect you feel your work is right now. In ten years you’ll look back and feel all of your writing and products were imperfect. So release fast. Grow. Update. Don’t let your head get in the way. Your audience is waiting.

          • cindyfinley

            Thanks, Paul. Makes me smile … and relax a bit. Just subscribed to your blog. I look forward to more from you!

    • KwinPeterson

      I just launched a site last month and then, two weeks later added a product for two reasons: 1) to make the free material on the site more easily consumable, and 2) to give people a chance to pay me. (The product is free, but people at least have the option to donate.)

      The site is so new that noting is getting much traction, but it’s nice to know the product is there.

      • Carrie Wilkerson

        love this ‘to give people a chance to pay me’ – smart man! 😉

  • I needed to hear this. Thanks!

  • So if you have a book (or are working on one), we should publish a chapter on our blog? Or are you saying – if you sign up for email updates or follow me, then I’ll send you the first chapter?

    • Hi Mikaela!

      That’s an excellent strategy for building your list. You’ll get even more opt-ins if you say, “I want to give you my readers’ favorite chapter!”

      The difference in “favorite chapter” and “a chapter” can be significant.

      • Does the book need to be already published before doing this?

        • That depends on if it’s self published or commercially published.

  • I like the idea of a signature product, but am not sure what would qualify as one in my area. I write children’s books. My blog readers tend to be other children’s writers, and to a lesser degree, teachers, and parents. I’d like to attract more teachers and parents. Any ideas would be most welcome!

    • Hey Susanna!

      For parents: “Write a children’s book for YOUR child – a four week course for an unforgettable memory.”

      For current writers: “Creating Your Children’s Book SERIES! – a six week course to move you from published to promoted.”

      Either of those (and more like them) would fit a “class” format where you can train writers and wanna be writers. 🙂

      • What an interesting idea, Paul, thank you! I actually already offer an online course called Making Picture Book Magic to teach writers how to write picture books… It took a LOT of work to put together… but I like the idea of offering something similar that parents and teachers could make use of.

  • Berkywriter

    Maybe you learned to count differently than I did. But I count seven (7)!!! Interesting ideas, but it’s still just another “come-on.”

    • Hey B!

      It’s actually 5.5.5 (my height!!) reasons!

  • Berkywriter

    Unfortunately, some of us are still in the “stone age” of computer technology. At age 72, I’m computer-challenged. I know how to write. I’m and excellent writer and editor with nearly 30 years as a daily newspaper writer and editor — including managing editor at 3 dailies. I’ve training others in good writing.
    But my computer literacy is rather limited to word processing, email and basic photo processing. I haven’t even been able to understand the computer terminology well enough to establish my own blog. And I have yet to find a “really simple” step-by-step tutorial — one that uses ONLY everyday language rather than computerize.
    Have you got any appropriate proposals or suggestions?

  • I’m a Christian mom blogger (I’ve written an eBook on marriage) and struggling to see what type of product I would need (if I do need one). Do you have good examples of people offering a product like me?

  • Paul,
    A great article. My signature product will be art lessons for the person who says, “I can’t draw.”
    The end product will be video’s , a transcript and a class similar to Tribe Writers. I have to figure out how the students can share what they draw.. Like an on-line portfolio review.
    I look forward to watching your video.

  • James Perkins

    Hey Paul,

    Love the input you gave Susan. Would love your input as well. My background is in counseling and I have several certifications related to enriching the quality of peoples relationships. I am planning a product that will help people cultivate greater “self-awareness” in life in order to make better decisions in living, loving, leading, parenting, and fulfilling their life’s purpose…I guess in a nut-shell. I want to help navigate people through a self discovery process of their life experience that will empowering. What are your thoughts on potential product offerings?

    • Hi James! I talk with people all the time who basically say “Who am I?” “What am I good at?” So a course for finding purpose and value in who you already are would be extremely valuable.

      Week 1: Learning Your Story (hint it’s not the one you are telling yourself)
      Week 2: Locating Your YOU
      Week 3: Finding Your Path
      Week 4: Forging your Legacy

      • James Perkins

        Paul,

        This is absolutely wonderful my friend. You have sparked my creative juices. Thanks for the valuable input.

        Much appreciated

  • Oh, wow! This is very interesting and has me thinking deeper. Right now I’ve just barely put up my first free book on my website. I’ve been so focused on getting my blog going and writing that I hadn’t taken time to look beyond that. My whole purpose is to help build strong families.

    My free book is a short book on commitment. I’m presently writing a 31 day series of blog posts on commitment going along with my book. I originally planned on turning that into another bigger book on the same subject.

    I’m now beginning to wonder if I should turn the series into a family strengthening course. I never thought about selling anything more than books. Now I have something new to think about. Thanks!

    • Hi Anastacia! Why don’t you do both? Think about Dave Ramsey. You can buy his book Financial Peace or you can attend a seminar or you can buy the home study. It’s all basically the same information delivered in various formats. You can do the same.

      • I’ve grown so much in just one year through the Tribe Writer course and community. Now you have me thinking along the lines of Dave Ramsey! Amazing how dreams grow with just the opening of a simple door of possibilities. I’m starting to get excited at where these ideas may lead. Thanks again!

        • Carrie Wilkerson

          we have a guy in our community that founded Strong Fathers, Strong Families and it started with a simple idea, ebook and now is a huge mission. I’d consider his seminars and workshops his signature product 😉

          • I’m in a similar boat to Anastacia. My blog is focused on “Family Leadership…helping men grow in their most important roles…husbands and dads.” I’m having a hard time trying to wrap my mind around what my signature product would be, other than a bunch of books.

            My first ebook on the subject of family leadership will be published this month (offered as a free opt-in), and by the end of the year I will have a marriage eBook completed.

            Would a signature product in this niche only be in the form of seminars/workshops? If so, could they be digital (Amy Porterfield comes to mind as an example in an unrelated niche). I’d love to hear from any of you…Paul, Carrie, or Anastacia.

            • Hi Jackie! All my signature products are digital. A seminar/workshop/class, etc is only a delivery method for you content – as is a book. Separate the idea of delivery from content. If a book has 12 chapters of content it could be converted to individual sessions for a digital product.

              • Hi Paul! Thanks for your quick answer. That makes sense (separating delivery from content). That is very helpful. So, some of these (book) ideas I have could be delivered in another way? Like seminars/workshops/classes/etc?

                • Absolutely. It’s ALL content to begin with. THEN it become a book or a workshop or an audio or a report or a webinar or a DVD or a streaming video or a ________. It really doesn’t matter. The goal it to place it in the hands of our customers/students/readers in a format that matches their learning style and desire for proximity.

                • Wow! Good stuff! That brings up another question. 🙂 How do I determine the format that matches my customer/student/readers learning style? Do I try/test multiple formats? Survey them? Or choose one and hope it sticks?

                • Thanks for asking those questions! I’m getting a lot of ideas just from following this thread. 🙂 My husband is going to wonder what happened to me while he was at work. When he went to work I was just planning blog posts and books and now he’ll come home to me planning seminars and workshops. LOL

                • LOL! I am learning a lot too! 🙂

          • That’s good, Carrie! I have never thought that far ahead. This has definitely given me some ideas.

  • I know you didn’t intend this post to make anyone feel guilty – but that’s how you’ve made me feel. I feel useless, a failure, and destined to fail, just when I was clear on my journey. Because there’s yet another thing I now have to do to be a successful writer.

    I love writing, I would write if no one read my work. But I am tired of seeing all these things I ‘have’ to do to be a successful writer. My writing doesn’t lend itself to courses, I am writing a book and have plans for others, I give away a free e-book and give free stuff of quality and value to my readers.

    Do I have to have a signature product now? I’m a writer – not a techhie genius, not a marketing genius, not course writer and I shouldn’t have to be one to be a successful writer, no matter what the world is like. There are lots of well known successful authors who don’t have signature products.

    I need a better reason to have a signature product than the reasons I’ve read, and if I really do need one, then what would it be? I have no idea.

    Would be interested to hear what you think. I apologise for the tone of this, but this post has really, really upset me deeply.

    I know you

    • Carrie Wilkerson

      Hey James… I think you can be a successful writer without a signature product…let’s look at Clancy, Steele, Mary Higgins Clark and Max Lucado.

      Their signature product is their volume of work, their volume of writing, their legacy of ink.

      However…I think what Paul means is that to exponentially increase all of the above points and maybe even hit it faster — a signature product can be a super-helpful tool!

      No need to be upset or have this disrupt your clarity. If you are clear and know your path…run!!!

      Congrats on Clarity! I know legions of folks that never hit that stage!

    • Hi James! No need to take it so literal. 🙂 It’s just reasons you need one. If you don’t have one you’re not a failure or destined to fail. If you don’t want to create one and never do it’s no problem. Since… “I love writing, I would write if no one read my work,” then I would just go with that. I’m just offering up options that you can consider, but your path is your own. 🙂

      • Thanks Paul, appreciate your response. Thanks for clarifying things for me.

    • Sue Neal

      Hi James,

      I understand and share some of your feelings about the message in this post. I think the problem lies in the headline, which is obviously designed to attract attention (and succeeds at that!) – but like so many good headlines, it incorporates an imperative (mistakes you MUST NOT make, tools you MUST use etc. etc.). I’ve recently started to get sick of post titles addressing me directly and telling me what I must or must not do to succeed, and I try to take them with a pinch of salt. Like all good advice, we shouldn’t swallow it wholesale, without sifting it and coming to our own decisions about whether to apply it or not.

      Keep writing 🙂

      • Great points, Sue! It’s really no different than something like 5 Reasons You Need to Exercise. Most of us wouldn’t be bothered or offended by that. I think that articles linked to personal success tend to have more emotional interpretation.

        • Sue Neal

          Thanks, Paul – and I think you’re right about the greater potential emotional pressure (as perceived by readers) conveyed by articles about personal development and success.

      • Great points Sue, thanks for the wisdom and encouragement. Makes a lot of sense.

        • Sue Neal

          You’re welcome, James – your comment got us all thinking, which is what it’s all about 🙂

      • I agree with you completely, Sue. Enough is enough! We have to take what is best for us and forget the rest.

        • Sue Neal

          Thanks, Joan 🙂

  • Maybe you could help me. I’m having trouble focusing on a specific topic. How do you help people discover their SP?

    • Hi Don! I take a person’s existing background, education, experiences and match it to the top three problems of their market. Those problems are evergreen and never go away. From there we look at content creation, formatting and delivery.

      • Sounds great! Do you provide targeted questions to help narrow this down? Or is this something we will know for sure about by the end of the first module? will we get this product validated through live question and answer in your course? I’m wanting to sign up but my only reservation is that I won’t see the clarity I desire. I feel like I could go in so many different directions. Thanks again!

        • I do provide targeted questions, plus there’s a bonus webinar this Saturday and our first class on Monday night focuses on the pinpointing your product. Live QA throughout. I would think you should have it nailed down by Tuesday and then start collecting content.

          • Thanks, that helps clarify it for me. See you on the flip side. 🙂

  • Terry

    Hi Paul – Really enjoyed your post. Thank you for your generositing in sharing your knowledge. I love the idea of offering a signature product – but am having trouble narrowing one down. As a Life Design Coacn – I help women design a life they will love. Sinice this encompasses so many facets of life, personal, spiritual, business, etc. I don’t know how to narrow a product down that will offer value to most women. I would welcome any ideas you have. Thanks, Terry

    • Hi Terry! Let’s say there are 6 facets. Do one a week for a self guided course. 2-3 hours of content a week. And maybe a call with you each week to really drill down. You could also create an individual product for each area then sell them individually or as a bundle.

  • I love this post! Thanks for this!