I’m a blogger – why do I need an octopus?

One way of looking at a sales pipeline

I first heard about the idea of having an octopus at a private mastermind called Flip Your Nine to Five Live in Tampa in October 2015. The event was hosted by Jill and Josh Stanton from Screw the Nine to Five and Jocelyn and Shane Sams from Flipped Lifestyle. It was the second of two exclusive conferences, and it changed the way I viewed creating a sales pipeline.

Limited to 25 webpreneurs and wanna-be online business owners, this conference schooled me in online business best practices. Along with intense chats about sales funnels, content creation and list building, the octopus surfaced. That weekend, I learned I needed this invertebrate in my life something fierce. But what the heck is an octopus, and why do I as a blogger need one?

Spoiler alert: An octopus ain’t just an ugly animal living with The Little Mermaid under the sea. It’s also a money-making machine.

The octopus was Josh’s metaphor for multiple sales funnels leading to one core offer. In other words, that means establishing a system to sell a high-end (i.e., kinda pricey) digital product through several introductory avenues. The head of the octopus is the core offer, and each tentacle is a different sales funnel leading to that core offer. And when business gurus like Sylvie McCracken and Kat Loterzo agree with the concept, I’ll take their advice to the bank.

But let’s back up for just a moment. Before you can have an octopus, you have to first focus on your initial sales pipeline.

Initial sales pipeline (in other words, the first tentacle)

The best sales pipeline takes a person from brand awareness to loyal customer, and this is typically done with the following steps:

1. Make the prospective client aware that you even exist. They might find you via social media, an advertisement, organic reach — whatever. The point is, this is where the customer first encounters your brand (think of it like the end of the tentacle).

2. Give them a lead magnet (a.k.a. an opt-in) to snag their sexy email address. Opt-ins can range from newsletter signups, free downloads, coupons, etc. It’s the suction cup that gives you more info about your potential customers.

3. Follow up with a small sales offer. After wowing them with the opt-in, you introduce the small sales offer. This is generally a low-priced product that whets the appetite of the prospect. This is the meat of the tentacle.

4. Pitch the core offer. Then, once they buy said low-end offer (and fall in love with you, duh!), you pitch the core offer. The core offer is your big money maker. The head of the octopus. It’s the holy grail that makes you all the dollars. Cue the “shake what your mama gave ya” music!

From one to eight

 Sales Pipeline Tentacles
Photo: Neil T via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

Once you have one sales pipeline, you’ll want to create seven more to make your octopus complete.

For the sake of the octopus metaphor, eight is ideal. But don’t hold yourself to that strict number if it sacrifices the quality of the goods or services you’re offering. The whole point is to expand your earning potential, not stifle it by creating sub-par goods.

The idea is that all eight tentacles will bring the prospects into the core offer. In other words, you’re creating eight opt-ins and eight intro offers (low-priced products) to ultimately get all the customers into the big core offer.

Even if no one opts to purchase the core offer, you’ve just created multiple streams of revenue. That being said, if they do all purchase the octopus’s head, you’ve just achieved baller status as a digital entrepreneur.

After you’ve created all the tentacles of your octopus, as well as its head, you can put systems in place to run it all somewhat on autopilot. From here, you make millions of dollars and retire to your own island off the coast of some exciting place. You never worry about money again, and everything becomes amazing … dream sequence complete.

Octopus ideas for bloggers

Alright bloggy friends, now that I have you seeing dollar signs, let’s look at how you too can create your very own octopus. Take a look at your current blog and start thinking about how you can re-purpose all of that glorious content into a sales pipeline. Perhaps you have the makings of several eBooks in your pages. Maybe you’ve laid the groundwork for an awesome online course. Or you could have the beginning stages of a piece of software.

To help you brainstorm your digital products a little more, here are two examples of what your octopus could look like:

Octopus artsy fartsy

Blog topic: Painting made easy

Tentacle one: Opt-in is a painting video of how to paint a flower. Intro offer is a video series of painting several types of flowers.

Tentacle two: Opt-in is a video of how to clean your brushes. Intro offer is an eBook for best painting practices, including best lighting ideas, different brushes for the best strokes, recommendations for paints, etc.

Tentacles three through eight: Additional topics surrounding the concept, “painting made easy.”

Octopus head (a.k.a. core offer): An all-in-one course that includes:

  • Step-by-step painting videos for a variety of subjects, including flowers, pets and landscapes
  • The best painting practices eBook
  • Tutorials on color blending
  • An eBook for the best mediums to use for painting
  • and more!

Octopus foodie lover

Blog topic: Meals for two

Tentacle one: Opt-in is a short eBook with 10 recipes for two. Intro offer is an eBook with a month’s worth of recipes.

Tentacle two: Opt-in is a grocery guide to make grocery shopping quick and easy. Intro offer is a PDF template for meal planning for the month and an editable grocery shopping list to print out before going to the store.

Tentacles three through eight: Additional topics surrounding the concept, “meals for two.”

Octopus head (a.k.a. core offer): An eBook bundle featuring:

  • Cookbooks for entrees, appetizers, desserts and more
  • PDF templates for meal planning and grocery shopping lists for every recipe
  • A daily email with new recipes and cooking ideas
  • and more!

Under the sea … of money

Are your wheels spinning yet on how you can take your blog and turn it into a money-making octopus? Creating a sales pipeline doesn’t have to be difficult — the truth is, as bloggers we create amazing content all the time. We might as well turn our words into money in the bank.

Besides, you want to be prepared for the future. If Google’s next algorithm changes again and kills your page views and subsequent ad revenue, wouldn’t it be comforting to know you have something you can sell to stay afloat? What if the sponsor you’re working with halts all sponsored posts? This is why you need an octopus, my bloggy friends!

Repurpose your content into something you can package and sell. Sure, the income won’t be completely passive, and there will be learning curves along the way. But my guess is that you’ve got a plethora of digital products just waiting to be created. And if you want some additional tips, you can always try some of these free courses to level up your marketing skills.

Image by: NOAA Ocean Explorer via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA