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Episode 250: Discover Your Next PROFITABLE Digital Product with Monica Froese

In episode 250, we chat with Monica Froese, a digital product coach for women owned businesses, who provides online marketing education so they can build profitable revenue streams through online digital products.

We cover information about what a sales funnel is at the simplest level, how to take people through a journey to bring them into your business and to remind you its easier and more affordable to nurture a current customer than constantly be talking to new ones.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Monica Froese
Website | Instagram

Bio Monica is a digital product coach for women business owners and host of the popular podcast, Empowered Business. She has an MBA degree in finance and marketing and runs two brands Redefining Mom, a site for helping women thrive in both motherhood and business, and Empowered Business, where she empowers women to create financial independence through building 6-figure digital product businesses. She spent 11 years working for a Fortune 100 company running multi-million dollar marketing campaigns with large brands like Microsoft and HP. Now she provides online marketing education to small businesses that are looking to build a profitable revenue stream through digital products through her online courses and podcast.

Takeaways

  • A sales funnel is the customer journey. How you bring someone into your business, get them to know and trust you and pay you money.
  • It is much cheaper to keep a current customer than to acquire a new customer.
  • A business is really built on the holistic journey of what you can offer your audience and constantly reiterating to the needs of your audience.
  • A digital product is simply a solution to someone’s problem.
  • A very common thing that happens is that people tell us what they want and it’s not necessarily what they need.
  • Reverse engineering will help you to determine what your audience actually needs, not just what they want.
  • Your audience is sharing with the 3 major search engines what solution they are looking for.
  • You create a freebie to lead to something that you’re selling.
  • There’s this perception out there, especially in the food blogging world, that people won’t pay for what you give for free. That is not true because people love to pay for aggregated, easy information.
  • Be careful not to send your audience to a sales page and then confuse them with ads not related to what you’re actually selling and wanting them to click on.
  • People want to learn from another person. They want to learn from someone they can relate to, from someone who has been in their shoes. From someone who’s come before them.

Resources Mentioned

Video series on reverse engineering

Transcript

Click for full text.

250 Monica Froese

Monica: HI, this is Monica Froese from Monicafroese.com. And you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.

Megan: Hey food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. I’m your host, Megan Porta. Today Monica is joining me to share all about how to land on a profitable digital product. She has some other wisdom to share that I’m super excited to start talking about. Monica is a digital product coach for women business owners and she’s also the host of the popular podcast, Empowered Business. She has an MBA degree in finance and marketing and runs two brand; Redefining Mom, a site for helping women thrive in both motherhood and business and Empowered Business, where she empowers women to create financial independence through building six-figure digital product businesses.

Monica spent 11 years working for a fortune 100 company running multi-million dollar marketing campaigns with large brands like Microsoft and HP. Now she provides online marketing education to small businesses that are looking to build a profitable revenue stream through digital products through her online courses and podcast. Monica, I am so happy. You are joining me today. I told you before we started recording that three people have suggested that you be on Eat Blog Talk. So I am just so thrilled that you’re finally here. So welcome to the show. Yes. So excited to have you. I ask all my guests this, and I’m going to ask you too. What is your fun fact to share? 

Monica: All right. So I’m going to go with streaming services nowadays, and you can binge watch any TV show out there. I often get text messages from people who I don’t necessarily, I haven’t known for my whole life. They’re not high school friends or people I met. Maybe through the blogging world or whatever it is. They’ll say I was just watching Hulu and I think I saw you on TV and it’s because when I was in my early twenties, I was an extra on One Tree Hill several times. That’s my thing I did. I got to know the cast and crew and it was a thing in my life. So sometimes people who know me fairly well, but don’t know that interesting fact about me, get really confused when they see me pop up on screen. 

Oh, my gosh. That is super fun. So you have to share, because I did devour that whole series. Who are your favorite actors from the show? 

Oh gosh. I feel like that might be such a hard question for me to answer because of my history with all of them. So I’m from Buffalo. So Chad Michael Murray grew up here and he went to school with my husband and my boyfriend in high school as well. I would say Chad knows who I am. He actually follows me on Instagram and watches my stories. So it’s different. Yeah. He’s probably the one I have most in common. We’re both huge Buffalo Bills fans. So he’s probably who I have the most in common with. James who plays Nathan on the show. He’s really quiet and I love all the girls. They’ve done really great things. They actually just started a podcast themselves, the three main girls on the series. They go through each episode and talk about just how different the world was. They also were really big into the me too movement. So the showrunner of One Tree Hill, Mark Schwann got caught up, which was very disappointing to me because I knew the show runner decently well, and it was just very upsetting to see how he treated people behind the scenes. It was like a whole thing. 

Megan: Wow. I feel like you have this new level of fame in my mind now. So that is, that’s crazy. Not many people can say something like that. So I am so glad you shared that. Glad to know that. We’re here to talk about other stuff, other important business stuff today. So let’s kick off our chat by addressing, I think it would be good to just start by addressing the importance of having a sales funnel. Because I feel like this is a baseline necessity for selling digital products. Do you agree with that?

Monica: I 100% agree with it.

Megan: Tell us how do we get started with a funnel? Because, I know for me, for so many years, I was really intimidated by that word funnel. It was just the sales terminology. I didn’t know where to start. I avoided it for a really long time until I realized it’s actually really simple. But I would love to hear you just talk through how a food blogger might get started with this.

Monica: Okay. So I think that the very first thing is to define what a sales funnel is. Which is honestly just the customer journey. How you bring someone into your business, get them to know and trust you and pay you money. That is all a sales funnel is. The whole reason that the jargon is called a funnel is because if you just think about interactions in life, someone who might find you through Google and clicks through to your blog. That doesn’t mean they’re going to take the next action once they arrive on your blog. So a funnel up top, the most amount of people you can reach are out in the universe right out in Google and they’re searching and then they come to you. Less people that found you in search results are actually going to click through to your website. Then the people who clicked on your website even less are going to take the action you want them to take once they’re on your website, which could be a sign up for your email list or pay you money. Then even if someone pays you money, there’s even less of a chance that they’re really going to stick around.

So the whole idea here, the reason we focus on it as a sales funnel is because the more people you can get to stick around in all aspects, as you move down the funnel, the more money you’ll make and the more happy customers you’ll have. The number one rule in business and I learned this when I was getting my MBA and I, it seems so obvious, but I think a lot of people overlook it, which is that it is much cheaper to keep a current customer than to acquire a new customer. So it makes sense to constantly have your attention on your buying journey, which is what the funnel is and making it so optimized so that the most people who find you, will also buy from you and then buy from you. 

Megan: That was said so well, and you’re right. It’s easier and cheaper to keep the people who are here, as opposed to spending all of that effort and energy and money finding new people. So keeping your focus on the people who are in front of you and who really consume your content and really appreciate you.

Monica: A hundred percent. That’s really where a big focus of what I teach, which we could get to later but it’s called product Ascension ladders. I think sometimes people think, there’s all the buzz about tiny products or whatever you want to call it out there. But a business isn’t really built on a $27 product. A business is really built on the holistic journey of what you can offer them and constantly reiterating to the needs of your audience. So it’s not that you create one thing and then that’s it, that’s very rare that’s going to be the case if you run a digital product business. So understanding how things connect together and how you can bring your customers along on a journey so that they keep paying you money is essentially the deal. 

Megan: So how do we land on that captivating topic that draws people in the first place? So let’s say somebody is coming from Google. They’ve never heard of you before. How do we find that one thing that’s going to go, oh, I need to find out more and go on that journey. 

Monica: So first a digital product is simply a solution to someone’s problem. That’s all it is. It seems sometimes I feel that my students get lost. They build it up to be something that’s much bigger than it has to be. So when we boil it down and there’s a process, I call it reverse engineering, which I stumbled upon accidentally, many moons ago. But basically I thought to myself, ok. I want to create something to help my audience. So I had a small audience at the time and I’m like, I want to create something for them and okay. I could go out and ask my audience what they want. But I think a very common thing that happens is that people tell us what they want and it’s not necessarily what they need. As a subject matter expert, food bloggers are definitely subject matter experts on what they’re blogging about. It’s easier for us. We actually know, because we know our topics so well, we know what they need. So it’s one of the things, there’s a disconnect. A lot of times when people ask an existing audience, because the audience might’ve come for a different reason than what your product will be about as well.

So what I tell my students is that, start with the search engine. Google, YouTube and Pinterest, because those are the three largest search engines on the planet. When you think about a search engine at its root, someone goes to a search engine to search for a problem. So what they’re entering into the search bar is actually the problem that they’re experiencing. What are they looking for when they put that problem in? They’re looking for you for a solution. They’re looking for the answer to their problem. So I use all three search engines in a different way. I’m a little biased because I taught Pinterest for four years. So I always start with Pinterest, but I think it makes sense in most cases and definitely for food bloggers. Not all niches, I would say start on Pinterest, but for food bloggers, it’s still a very valid place to start. So there’s two things I do on Pinterest. There’s Pinterest trends and then there’s just the good old search bar on Pinterest. So Pinterest trends is actually really smart because they put that together as a way for advertisers to find the keywords and the trends of what people are searching, so that you can run Pinterest ads at opportune times for when the search volume goes up.

But what it does is it also tells you the keywords that are related in the algorithm, which is very important because you really want to get in the mind of your customer. So if I have a problem, I might Google it or put it into Pinterest one way, but the algorithm will connect like keywords to it. So you can start to identify what your ideal customer is actually searching for. It might not actually be what you think. So the reason it’s that Pinterest is so powerful for this is because Pinterest is a visual search engine. So if you really just envision going to Pinterest and putting in, let’s just say keto recipes. It’s just easy for me. So if I put in keto recipes and you are given visual images automatically, as the person searching the problem can visualize what the solution might be when you click on the pin. So let’s say that I’m looking for keto recipes and I have a certain thing in my mind. We have chicken that needs to be eaten. I don’t feel like freezing it and it needs to be cooked right now. So I want a chicken keto recipe. You’re going to be able to see in the pin images, if it is a chicken recipe.

So that’s already putting them in the mindset that when I click through on this pin, I’m going to be presented something that’s going to help me eat my chicken. So, playing this through the reason that this is important is because when you are trying to figure out what solution that you’re going to offer for your topic, you want to put yourself in the shoes of the person who has the problem. So what is the problem that they’re searching? I call it the five whys. We always say, why is that a problem? You back it up until you arrive at like the actual reason people are having this problem. Sometimes it gets stripped back to the point that the person’s not even searching for a keto recipe, the person actually has a bigger problem. It could be that they don’t even know how to eat keto and they need a beginner guide or whatever it might be. But this is what reverse engineering brings out. It’s like a rabbit trail that you go down. So Pinterest presents these visual solutions to you. So it’s a really great place to start because you can start to see as things come up on the top of search results, what people are actually clicking on because Pinterest is in the business of rising pins to the top that people actually click on. Otherwise it would be a really bad algorithm and they wouldn’t be in business. So as the person trying to figure out what digital product can I create, you get to see, okay, these are the types of things that people need. I’m going to go to Google and YouTube, and then I’ll circle back to what we actually do when we click through.

Google is really great because Google is actually telling you straight up the questions that people are asking. If you put your topic into Google, Google tells you, people are also asking, which are not only great blog topics, which I’m sure anyone who’s into SEO knows, but guess what? Those topics also make great digital products and great opt-ins to your digital products. Because I don’t believe that you create a freebie without it leading to something that you’re selling. That’s my entire philosophy. Then YouTube is great because there are a lot of topics out there, especially food, right? How to make stuff, people visually need to see it demonstrate it. It’s the same thing. So when you use all of these search engines together, you start to gather different ways people are searching for your topic. The related keywords, and you start to see the solutions that are already being offered out there. My students go from having no ideas for digital products to having too many, which is actually a great problem to have too many. But here’s the other thing that we do often in reverse engineering, which is probably the most important thing. So it’s one thing to put yourself in the shoes of people who have the problem that you want to solve and try to see yourself. I always tell people to just go back to the beginning of your own journey, what were the problems you were having? But once you click through, cause you have to click through on the pin, you have to click through on Google. When you do that, what you’re doing is putting yourself first. Okay. I tread lightly here because I completely understand why people use display ads, but I am not a big display ad fan from a user perspective or a business perspective.

One of the things I always say is why are you spending all this effort to get clicks to your website just to send people away? It honestly makes zero sense to me when you could keep them in your ecosystem, get them on your email list and offer something of yours to sell to them. Even if you want to do affiliate marketing, get them on your email list first. So then you own that relationship and you can continually talk to them. Instead, from a user’s perspective, what I like to do is when I reverse engineer, is I click on a pin, let’s say, and I just sit there and look at what comes up above the fold. There will be things blinking at me on the sidebar and down below. If you think about it from a user’s perspective, what are they supposed to do when they arrive there? I clicked the pin to get X. Whatever X is, but that’s not actually what I’m being presented, like 90% of the time. It’s a bunch of distractions. So the whole point of a sales funnel and this whole thing is, first of all, you always want to start with the end in mind. So the end is you want to make a sale, which is your digital product. What happens is once you determine what your digital product is going to be, you build your entire customer journey out. That is your one objective. But when you start seeing all of the content that you create through that lens, it makes so much more sense. If I want people to buy my digital product, because I know I can solve this problem they’re having, and I know they’re having this problem, because my audience has told me, and I’ve validated on the search engines, then yeah. Why would I want them to click on that display ad? Or why would I want them to go to Amazon and I get paid 4% commission on that when I want them to buy the thing I created because I can solve their problem. So it’s a really different mentality to get into digital products from the blogging world. So here’s the other thing. I actually do have a very popular keto blogger that I follow and I give this example a lot. She gives all her recipes away for free. That’s amazing. That’s cool. You can go get all of her recipes and make these delicious dishes, which I’ve made from her many times. Except her website is practically unusable to me. I’ll be cooking. And it’ll be on my iPad and the screen will be jumping around because there’s so many things going on and display ads and stuff. I actually, I emailed her and said, can I just pay you for all your recipes? I would literally pay her for a PDF with a table of contents. It’s like chicken recipes, pork recipes, dinner, breakfast, however she wants to break it down. That way I can easily access that information and get inspiration every night when I’m so sick of eating the same boring thing.

But instead there’s this perception out there, especially in the food blogging world, that people won’t pay for what you give for free. That is not true because people love to pay for aggregated, easy information. If you can get them from point A to point B faster and more streamlined. There will always be people that will pay for that. Always. 

Megan: Oh I think you’re right, monica. This is such a different, unique mentality that we haven’t quite accepted in the food blogging space. I’m wondering, do you know of any food bloggers who have tried this whole experiment where you don’t have ads, but maybe you do ask your people, your loyal audience, to pay for your recipes. Do you know anyone who’s been really successful with that? 

Monica: You know, off the top of my head. I have students that are food bloggers that I don’t know if they’ve completely given up on the display ad side of things. So here’s what I tell my students that get real nervous about display ads. I’m not asking anyone to cut off a mainstream of their income. That would be foolish. I’m not asking for anyone to do that. So would you say it’s true in the food blogging world that usually there’s like a handful of recipes or posts that get the majority of your traffic? 

Megan: Yes, definitely.

Monica: Okay. So those are probably your top earners in terms of display ad income. Okay. So what I have my students do, and then I’ve seen them be more receptive to this way. Once you decide what your digital product is going to be, if and ideally it’s going to relate to one of those top posts, because you’re already getting the validated traffic to it. So that makes the most sense. It’s a low hanging fruit. That post gets turned into essentially the start of your sales funnel. So no sidebar. So this is the other thing, sidebars and menus and stuff. The thing is, do you know how often I go to someone’s website and the sidebar is asking me to opt in for something that is not related to what the actual blog post is? If you think about it from a user perspective, they’re like which one should I look at? If you confuse people or if you don’t tell me what action I should be taking immediately above the fold, people have a three second attention span. So the whole entry point has to be so super clear that when they click and then get there, they realize that you have the answer to their problem. Whether that be through an opt-in or straight to a sales page, I actually send a lot of people straight to a sales page and it works brilliantly, but if you’re going to leverage one of those top blog posts, we turn everything off. You turn off your sidebar, you turn off your display ads and we optimize it so that your call to action is above the fold, it’s reiterated multiple times. There is only one call to action. I asked them to give me a month on that one post to see if it will convert and get the data behind it.

Now, alternatively if that makes people too nervous, the other thing you can do and I’ve seen many people be successful with this, is okay, then leave your display ads as they are, let them keep running. Don’t mess up your display ad income and build a funnel that you drive targeted traffic to. Cause that’s really all a funnel is, a way to bring people who know nothing about you, into your world and to buy from you. You know how to get traffic to your blog, send people directly to your sales page. But this is where people go wrong. A sales page can actually educate just as well as blog posts. I think that gets missed a lot. People think they have to give everything away for free, but essentially a blog post is an education piece. So can a sales page and the education that you’re giving them is why your solution is going to solve their problem. 

Megan: Wow. That’s so interesting. I love this perspective. You said something early on that really hit me because I did this for so many years, embarrassingly. I would ask people to come to my blog and then they would leave and I was okay with that. I was like, got that traffic. Is that okay? There’s a better way. There’s a way to actually bring people in who want your solution that you’re offering and who want to have a relationship with you because you’re helping them solve a pain point.

I think if we just shift our mindset to see it like that, we would do things so differently. Because it is such a trend, I feel like in the food blogging space, especially to just bring people in and then we don’t really care what happens after that. 

Monica: Which now you’re not leveraging the repeat, right?

Megan: Exactly. 

Monica: This is one of the objections you hear frequently from food bloggers. Why would anyone pay me for it when they can get it on the internet for free. Do you hear that a lot? 

Megan: I hear that all the time. 

Monica: I have an answer to that. I have a really good answer to that. Okay. So I actually just give a very practical example. Which is the very first digital product I launched accidentally. I didn’t even realize what this digital product thing was. Very early on in my blogging journey, I never resonated with sponsored posts because it made me feel like I was still working for someone. I didn’t want to be on someone else’s deadline. So I didn’t resonate with that. I didn’t resonate with the display ad income because my background is in corporate marketing. To me it was like, wait, I’m going to spend all of this effort to get someone to my website, to send them away. That seems really backwards. So I never resonated with that and affiliate marketing, I was like, okay, no, that makes sense to me to recommend a product that I’m never going to create, but can help my audience, my customers, my community, but it doesn’t make sense to me why, again, I’m sending them to my website, spending all this effort to get them to send them away. So I identified early on that affiliate marketing I was going to do primarily once they were on my email list. So I recognize all of this and then. I still was like, but how am I going to make money?

So at the time, Redefining Mom was my main brand and it was a working mom blog. Still is a working mom blog. I don’t actively work on it right now, but it’s a working mom blog. It was very pro women’s right to work after they have kids. The fact that there’s no federal paid maternity leave in the United States, I had a lot of issues with that. That was the origin of this. Then I quit my corporate job and a lot of my moms and my community were like, wait a minute, you quit your corporate job. I thought your whole platform was about your right to work and being a working mom. I’m like, oh no, I’m starting my own business. So they had a lot of questions about that. So one of the things I identified early on was the biggest hangup that women had to get a more flexible working arrangement for themselves and to leave corporate finance. I swear, I have a point here. I swear, it’s a good point. 

Megan: I love cliffhangers. I’m totally leaving you on a cliffhanger moment here while we take a little break to hear from our sponsor, aka Eat Blog Talk. We’ll be back in a minute. 

Sponsor: Hey food bloggers. Do you ever get caught up in the confusion about how in the world you were going to make money? Take the free quiz I’ve put together for you that is going to help you get to the bottom of this problem. Go to eatblogtalk.com/quiz to find out which stream of revenue is the next perfect one for you. Your results will be personalized based on your answers, and they will provide you with action steps, and resources that will help you launch into monetizing your blogging business in a new way. There are truly so many ways to make money as a food blogger. So don’t waste another second. Again, go to eatblogtalk.com/quiz and get started on your next revenue stream today. 

Hey guys! Just reminding you to head over to iTunes, if you haven’t already to subscribe, rate and review Eat Blog Talk. It adds value to this podcast when you do that, and I would be so grateful for your time. It will take two minutes, press pause, go do it and come back and keep listening. 

Megan: Okay. We’re back from our break. So now you can hear the rest of this amazing conversation with Monica. 

Monica: So basically what people were asking me was, how do I start my own business? But that actually was the wrong question. What my moms’ really needed to know was how to arrange their finances to allow them to start their business. That was step one. But they were actually trying to go three or four steps down the road. When you really know your audience and what your topic is about, you can pull these things out. But people are asking you the wrong question. I say that all the time, even about digital products. They’ll be like, how do I get people to come and see my digital product? How do I get people to my sales funnel? I’ll say, you’re asking the wrong question. You don’t even have something to sell yet. It’s just the wrong question. So, they were asking me one thing and I realized, oh my gosh, what all these women need is how my husband and I set up our budget so that we could afford to do this. So I launched my very first digital product called the family budget spreadsheet.

Now, anyone who’s listening here, open Google on your phone or on your tab, wherever you’re listening and put in a budget spreadsheet. Tell me how many budget spreadsheets come up for free. Because there are millions of them. Ones that are better than what I sell for $17. Okay. But I have made over $250,000.

Megan: Because it solved a problem. 

Monica: Yes. Because people want to learn from another person. They want to learn from someone they can relate to, from someone who has been in their shoes. From someone who’s come before them. You could download a free budget spreadsheet, but no one’s showing you how to use it, or it’s not relatable maybe to your situation. Whereas I had a very particular angle when I launched it, of helping moms figure out their financial situations so that they could quit their job. So it’s all about that relational aspect. Then being able to picture themselves in my shoes that they wanted in my budget spreadsheet. So when people use the objection that I know it’s out there for free so no one will pay me, I was like, wow, I would be $250,000 in the hole if I had taken that approach five years ago.

Megan: I love that story. Because your people, they knew you, they liked you and they trusted you. That automatically adds value to whatever you’re offering. Even if it is a budget that you can find anywhere, it’s not a budget from you. When it’s from you, it’s suddenly more valuable because they liked you.

Monica: Here’s the brilliance of this. I’ve rinsed and repeated this process more times than I can count. I’ve seen so many students do it. I don’t sell the family budget spreadsheet predominantly to people who already know me at this point. The way I sell it is through a funnel and straight to a sales page. So people search for a budget spreadsheet. They might search, one of the big parts of it is how to project out your family’s cashflow for a whole year, so you understand especially if you’re paid on commission, that was actually how I founded it in corporate, because we were paid on commission and one month we were short and I was like, whoa, we have to understand the holistic picture of our finances. 

So people come to my sales page and it is a sales page, but the sales page is structured in a way that it does the typical things that you would expect. Of course it shows results from other people, how they’ve used it, but more importantly, it’s an educational piece about how this budget spreadsheet will solve their particular problem. Then it goes into how it solved my problem and what it did to help to change my life. People buy it. So that’s the beauty of a funnel. It’s when you bring people into your world that know nothing about you and get paid at the same time, that’s what it is. So all of this free content that your food bloggers are putting out, all of this free content, they could get paid for it.

Megan: So I love your little touch there about adding a story, your own story, to pull people in and say, oh my gosh, this transformed Monica’s life. How important do you think stories are to tell? 

Monica: I think they’re very important. Yeah. I think actually, as I’ve been doing it for five years now and I would say it over time it’s just gotten even more important for there to be a story because there’s so much noise on the internet. So you want to really be able to relate and people want connection. I think, especially after the events, worldwide events of the last 18 months. People are, they don’t just want a faceless thing, I guess you could say. Connection is very important, I have found. Pretty much across all niches that I work with. 

Megan: Oh, so true. Connection right now, people are just starving for it. So anything you can do to offer that connection to your people, I think, and then connect a story to it, is so valuable.

Monica: People just don’t want to feel like they’re alone in what they’re struggling with. 

Megan: Oh, my gosh. That’s so true. 

Monica: Yeah. That’s essentially what it comes down to. The other objection I get a lot is people think that they need to be the foremost expert guru on their topic. I have another analogy for that, that I give to my students, which is okay. If you want to learn how to play basketball. Would you really want to learn from LeBron James? Cause I would be honestly pretty embarrassed to go on a basketball court with him. We could all agree that he is an expert in his field. He is the top dog. But, really, do you want to learn from him or would you like to learn from the high school basketball coach who is a little less intimidating, a little bit more on your level, can really talk to you about how the game works at its most basic. That is what we’re dealing with when it comes to creating digital products. You don’t need to know everything and you don’t need to be the biggest expert for this to work. 

Megan: Such an important message. Honestly, I think this is one of the most important things that food bloggers and really entrepreneurs of any sort need to hear, because we put so much importance on quote success. I’m not the best chef. I didn’t go to school to be trained as a chef. I didn’t do this, but none of that really matters. There’s so much value and you just being you and bringing you and your ability to be personal. You’re a charming personality and the weird way that you make mushrooms. There’s so many unique things about each person that’s really what matters, and this is your message, which I love.

Monica: Yeah. The other thing about food blogging is that I think I see food bloggers get caught up in the fact that the only thing they could do is offer recipes or something. That’s what you blog about. So that’s clearly all I could offer, but I know we have a mutual friend who created a meal planning system in Air Table, which was an extension. She’s a dessert blogger. The thing is, it does not have to be in a tunnel of the topic of your main blog either. It could be a system that you’ve honed in on with meal planning or different areas. There’s so many areas of cooking. Oh, I have one food blogger actually in my course who created a whole digital product on food photography. Surprisingly what she found from that, because it just happened to be a side-effect of she’s a food blogger. So she had to get good at her food photography. She ended up finding she had a huge passion for it, but she was making money off of her main food blogging sites. So she couldn’t really figure out how to monetize the love of food photography. So then she created a digital product which led to multiple digital products. How to do shadows? I’m not a photographer so I don’t know all the technical terms, but she basically built a product ladder of food photography products.

What was really cool that came out of it is that she thought that her target audience was going to be other food bloggers. Was not her target audience. Turns out there are a whole ton of people out there, which she discovered through reverse engineering on search engines, that just simply love taking awesome pictures of their food.

Megan: Oh, that’s a cool story. Wow. 

Monica: So she ended up spinning up a whole secondary. So the thing about a sales funnel too, is that it doesn’t have to be directly related to your main topic if you already have a website or food blog. Because a funnel in and of itself is like a silo that you can set up where you just are feeding traffic to it, through whatever organic means that you use or paid ads. It can operate separately as well. Right now the family budget spreadsheets still make us a ton of money, but I’m not focused. I think I said earlier that I focused on Redefining Mom right now. So it just runs in the background and makes us lots of money each month. It introduces new people to me every single month without me doing any work, I haven’t even pinned in two years. 

Megan: Wow. There’s nothing better than passive income, right? You’re just letting it happen and you’re not actively participating, which is so appealing. 

Monica: I will say right now the family budget spreadsheet truly is right now, a very passive product for me. I’m also letting it be a passive product right now. I could be putting attention to it and running more targeted ads, especially seasonally. I know budgeting takes off in January. I could put some ad spend behind it to really douse the fire. I just choose at this point, not to. But amazing, amazing to think of all the levers that you have to pull when you own. Because the other thing about a digital product is that it’s an asset that you own in your business. So essentially I have this asset that I created out of a need that was born in my family, that took me about four hours on a Wednesday to put together, to package, to sell to other people. That’s actually incredible when you think about how four hours has resulted over five years and multiple six-figures because I created an asset once.

Megan: Oh, that’s powerful. I love that. Okay. We reverse engineer. We find what people are needing because people don’t always know what they need or they don’t know how to express what they need. So we figured that out by doing Pinterest, Google, YouTube searches. Then do you recommend just experimenting a little bit with freebies or how do you recommend starting.

Monica: I teach two core funnels, which is the freebie to tripwire. So in other words, they opt in and then you immediately present them with a paid offer on the backend. It’s usually a limited time offer, usually for 20 minutes. Then you follow up in email of course, if they don’t take the offer, you reiterate the offer through email. That’s funnel, number one. Then funnel number two is you send them directly to a sales page. But in my world, I call it my triple dip funnel sales page. So the way it works is you send them to an educational sales page, the whole connecting with them, the know|like|trust factor.

If they decide not to buy at the end, I offer a freebie. So it says something like, not ready to buy yet? Because remember these people arriving on your funnel, they don’t know you. So they might not be ready to buy. This was born out of the fact that I’ve had, I was just looking today. I’ve had 1.2 million hits to the family budget spreadsheet or something crazy like that. Early on, I realized I was getting all of these cold people that were coming to the spreadsheet and if they didn’t buy from me, there was nowhere else to go. So I was losing that opportunity and I could retarget them with ads, but I thought, I’m missing something. We put this freebie at the end, not ready to buy yet? That’s okay. I have something free to offer you. So let’s still form this relationship, even if you’re not ready. Of course that leads to a limited time offer. Then if they don’t buy. I also have their email. So now I’m following up with them. So it’s the triple dips. Because when you go for the sale too, you go for the email and three, you go for the limited time offer. The really cool part about the triple dip funnel that blows my mind is I get, I guess the term is funnel hacked all the time. Reverse engineering I’m very clear with people is not meant for you to steal anyone’s ideas. You are the expert. You already have the knowledge within you. You’re just making sure that there is a need and you’re addressing the right need with how you package it together when you’re reverse engineering. You’re not taking something from someone. But needless to say, if you go through a lot of funnels through Pinterest, you’ll find a lot of people that have the triple dip funnel, because they’ve basically reverse engineered me, which is fine. 

Megan: Oh, this is so good. I think this gives us a lot to think about, and in the world of food blogging, there are so many endless options. You touched on a few of them. Just because you’re a great cook doesn’t mean you have to limit it to that, right? You can look outside the scope of food blogging even and provide an amazing spreadsheet that’s going to help people meal plan. Or you can dive into your photography. What about your videography skills? Honestly we could go on and on. There’s so many options, so I love this because it’s such a simple way to start and just see what people are wanting and needing on those three main platforms. 

I want to ask you a few questions that are a little bit unrelated to this, but definitely have to do with your story. I know you feel strongly about this. So, can you talk a little bit about the importance of financial independence for women? Even if they are connected with a supportive spouse who maybe has another job. There’s always this importance for this topic. I feel very strongly about this too. I would love to hear just a few minutes of that. 

Monica: Yeah. I think originally my feelings about this topic were born out of some really personal experiences that I either witnessed or went through myself. One of the prevailing themes in my twenties that really came out was that when women don’t have equal access to financial resources, we are at a disadvantage in so many ways. We’re at a disadvantage if we get divorced. We’re at a disadvantage if we’re in an abusive relationship. We’re at a disadvantage if we don’t have equal access to money, if our spouse dies. There were a couple of personal things that happened to me, but the thing that really and I guess it’s still personal, but it happened to my sister, that solidified why this was so important was twofold. One I witnessed a few friends in emotionally abusive situations where they were completely cut off from access to their own money. Some of the ways that this happened was they weren’t allowed to have credit cards in their own name. Actually that is super important, even if you’re married, that you are a primary on your own credit cards that you’re using. Because you’re not building your credit, then you’re building your spouses. It’s really important to build your own credit. They just had access to nothing. So they had no way out. So I saw a lot of that. The other thing that happened was my sister’s husband passed away in the Air Force when she was three months pregnant with their first child. All the credit cards she was using at that time were in his name. Same thing. She was just an authorized user. You know what happens when that happens overnight? Everything just went away. In her situation, they were just young. It wasn’t that he was trying to control her, it was just, they were young. I watched her go through some pretty awful things. It really just solidified for me that I need to be able to support myself no matter what happens. I need to be able to care for my children financially and myself, because my husband, my husband’s great. He’s a very supportive husband and he’s very supportive of my business and he never tries to keep money from me or anything like that. He used to take it personal, but I was on this crusade of financial independence and finally I said to him, you know what, it’s not about divorce. What if you are gone tomorrow? What if something happens to you? How do I take care of our girls? If I don’t have means to make my own money. If I don’t have my own retirement account. If I don’t have my own credit built up, how do I go get a car? If I don’t have my own credit built up and you’re gone. How do I get them from point A to point B? How do I take them to school? How do I pay the mortgage? Because guess what? His W2 paycheck goes away if he dies. Then it also bleeds into the fact that money is power in the sense of us having a voice for things like being able to accomplish getting paid maternity leave. Money is really what impacts the entire world. We’re 50% of the population, we need 50% of the wealth and the power. I also just saw really bad situations in corporate, too, where women did not have equal say in things. That goes to my whole, I really strongly believe in building my own table to sit at. I sat at a lot of tables with where women were not welcome. We had very little say at those tables and I thought, Why am I trying to get the one seat that they might offer at the big table when I could just build my own table? I call it my little micro economy. So at this point, my business is built to the point where it’s not just about, I get to help all of these students build their digital product businesses, but also I employ full time employees who I offer things like paid maternity leave too, even though I don’t have to. I have a full-time nanny who we pay on payroll and we pay fair livable wages. Now my table is expanding around me and I am helping other women be financially independent through offering good job opportunities. By teaching them how to build their own businesses. I view myself as a hub who has many spokes that come off of it and those spokes become their own hubs. So when you think about the multiplication of the impact that we can have, it just really excites me. 

Megan: Oh, Monica, you were making such a big difference and impact in this world, especially for women. I just thank you for that. I was almost in tears, listening to your talk. That was super powerful. So awesome. I love this topic. I think it is so important and I don’t feel like we talk about this enough. It’s something that we’ve unfortunately, probably all of us women have experienced on some level. I know I have many times. I used to work in the corporate world and there was such inequality there. Not just pay, but just in so many ways. I feel the weight of this too, and yeah, super important. So I hope that all of you women listening, have perked ears a little bit and just bring it to the top of your mind. It is something that we need to talk about more often. Such a great reminder. Thank you, Monica, for being here and for everything. The digital products, the funnels. If we want to learn more about what you offer as far as helping people with funnels, where can we go to learn that?

Monica: Yeah. So I was actually thinking while we were talking about reverse engineering, that it is a very visual skill. So luckily, I put together a video series where I actually walked through and visually demonstrated reverse engineering. So you can see how I go from a topic, reverse engineering it, and then how I use each of the three search engines to figure out what my topic will be and what the opt-in will be, what the product will be and we even talk about upsells. It’s pretty robust training. If you go to monicafroese.com/eatblogtalk, you can sign up for that. It’s called the Passion To Profit experience and it’s totally free. There is a podcast, a private podcast version of it as well, but I think it’s pretty powerful to watch at least the reverse engineering training visually, so you can see how that works and bring it full circle from what we talked about. 

Megan: Yeah. I’m totally going to watch that because yeah, you’re right. Hearing it is one thing, but then when you can connect the words to a visual, then sometimes just clicks. So everyone go check that out. Thank you again so much for being here, Monica. Before you go, I like to ask all my guests if they have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share. 

Monica: Yeah. We actually just got a whole ton of stuff printed with this quote on it, which my husband told me is my motto, even though I didn’t quite realize how often I said it, which is, “I don’t do failure.” Everyone’s going to fail at some point, that’s part of life. But my attitude is there’s no such thing as failure because even if something, let’s say I have a launch that doesn’t go the way I want. I always am like, okay, what can we take from this? What can we learn from this? How can we improve it? So to me, it’s not a failure, it’s just a learning opportunity. I always say when I’m my back’s against a wall, my attitude has always, I don’t do failure. I will figure this out. 

Megan: Love that so much. Yes. I’m taking that to heart. Thank you for sharing that we’re going to put together a show notes page for you, Monica. If anyone wants to grab all of those resources that we’ve talked about, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/monicafroese. That’s spelled F R O E S E. Where can we find you on Instagram? Anywhere else you want to mention?

Monica: Yeah, I do actually interact on Instagram. So if you message me over there, I will respond. It’s Monica.Froese. 

Megan: Okay. Okay, perfect. Everyone go connect with Monica and thank you for being here today, Monica, and thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time. 

Outro: We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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