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3 Things Successful Creators Do

Here at Gumroad, we get to work closely with thousands of creators across verticals ranging from publishing to music to software and more. One of the best things about having access to this community is studying everyone’s efforts and sharing the knowledge and insights we’ve gained with everyone.

To that end, we’re excited to share a new three-part video series featuring Gumroad’s own Ryan Delk. Ryan has been with Gumroad since the early days, which means he’s had more conversations with creators than just about anyone on the team. In this video series, Ryan goes over three best practices of Gumroad’s most successful creators, with a special emphasis on efforts that are relatively easy to implement and available to all creators, regardless of vertical.

Here’s what Ryan covers:

Tip #1: Sell in tiers

You’re nearly done creating your project, and you're gearing up to launch. Time to pick a single price point, right? Not so fast. We’ve seen many creators have a lot of success—even doubling or tripling their revenue—by offering their product in multiple packages, each at a different price point. In this video, Ryan explains the concept of tiered pricing and why it works so well.

Keep in mind that all of your potential customers are not necessarily on the same page. Your audience exists on a spectrum, from new followers who are just testing the waters to super-fans who can’t wait to get your next project in their hands. If you only release products at one price point, you’re potentially missing a huge percent of this spectrum.

The magic of tiered pricing is that you’re able to take advantage of every person in your audience—of where they are, what they want to buy, and how you can deliver them value.

-Ryan Delk

When figuring out how to apply a tiered pricing strategy to what you’re working on, Ryan recommends starting with three tiers. It’s better to keep things simple rather than overwhelming your audience with too many choices. Here’s what that could look like:

  • Low tier: Priced at 1X. Includes the base product. For example, a book for $10.
  • Middle tier: Priced at 2.2X - 2.5X. Includes the base product plus some supplementary content such as four video lessons.
  • High tier: Priced at 5X. Includes the base product and the supplementary content plus a ton of additional value like case studies, audio interviews, excel templates, and more.

Want to see tiered pricing in action? Here are some examples of Gumroad products offered in multiple packages.

Can’t get enough of tiered pricing? We’ve written about it in a few more places. Supplemental reading to the rescue!

Tip #2: Emails are gold

If there’s one thing that nearly every single one of the most successful creators on Gumroad does, it’s building their audience through email. In this video, Ryan talks about the value of investing in an email list.

Sure, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have prominent places in many creators’ audience-building toolkits. But email can be far more direct and personal. When it comes to building authentic relationships with your audience, email is an incredibly powerful tool in the long-term.

The do's and dont's of email lists

Don’t: Forget about your email list until you’re ready to launch your product.

Do: Regularly send updates out.

Do: Share your process and progress.

Do: Give your audience behind-the-scenes access to what you’re working on.

Do: Let your audience feel like they’re part of your creative process.

Don’t: Spring your launch on your audience without any warning.

Do: Plan an email launch sequence.

But what exactly is an email launch sequence? The idea is to drip content related to your product out to your audience over time. This way, your audience has plenty of time to get excited about your product before it’s available rather than being expected to make a purchase the first time they hear about it. Here’s an example of what this could look like.

  • 6 weeks from launch day: Thank your audience for following you and let them know you’re finally getting ready to launch.
  • 5 weeks from launch day: Send your audience a cool snippet of your product. This could be the first chapter of your book, an extended trailer for your film, or a single off your album.
  • 2 weeks from launch day: It’s time to really get into launch mode. Let your audience know exactly what your product includes. Share the full table of contents, track list, or lesson plan. Include details on the price point (or price points if you’re going with tiered pricing).
  • Throughout the final 14 days before launch: Send an email every couple of days, letting your audience know about the exact timing of launch day, special promotions you’re running (like launch day discounts or pre-order offers), related content you publish, reviews from people who’ve gotten early access, and events you host (like Twitter chats and webinars).

Don’t: Give up on your email list after launch.

Do: Continue marketing to people in your audience who haven’t purchased yet.

Do: Stay in touch with your audience after launch.

Remember, investing in email is about building an ongoing relationship with your audience. Here are some things you can share with your email list after you’ve launched.

  • Details on how the launch went and insights into what you’ve learned from the launch
  • Updates to your product
  • Bonus content and behind-the-scenes content
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • What’s next for you

Want to learn more about building your audience through email? Check out these additional resources.

Tip #3: Add value first

The third thing that we see many top creators doing is really less of a strategy and more of a guiding principle— one that can be applied to building a creative business, growing an audience, or launching a product. In this video, Ryan talks about what it means to create value before you ask for value.

When it comes to launching products, offering value before you ask for value is a matter of sharing awesome content with your audience before asking them to buy something from you. This strategy works because it enables you to build trust. You get time to really show your audience that you have valuable knowledge and a valuable skillset. This way, when you do have a product to sell, your audience already knows your work is worth buying.

So what is this oft-mentioned value that we speak of? Because really, value is in the eyes of the beholder, right? Most simply, ask yourself how you can do the following:

  1. Teach what you know, for free
  2. Share your creative work, for free

Practically speaking, this value can be delivered in a few different ways:

  • Through public posts, on your blog, a website, Medium, etc.
  • Over email
  • As a digital download
  • Via webinar or another live event

Eager to learn more about how you can put the principle of delivering value before asking for value into practice?

Ryan mentioned a few different Gumroad features that can be used to easily put all three tips into practices. You can learn more about these powerful features in our Help Center, or by clicking on the links below.

  • Tip #1: Sell in tiers - You can use Workflows to automatically deliver Offer Codes to customers who’ve purchased low and medium tier packages, as a way of encouraging them to upgrade to higher tiers.

  • Tip #2: Emails are gold - Create a landing page and collect email addresses using Audience. Then, use Updates to email your followers leading up to, during, and after launch.

  • Tip #3: Add value first - Build your following using Audience. Use Workflows to automatically deliver valuable content to new followers as soon as they’ve signed up for your list.