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SPI 741: Adding Profitable Physical Products to your Brand with Kerrie Fitzgerald

Many companies lose sight of one of the key principles for success — treating customers well. But an audience-first mindset can help us stand out in online business. It can also create new opportunities for us to level up and even help us expand our offerings into profitable physical products.

In this episode, Kerrie Fitzgerald shares her organic marketing tactics for tried-and-true growth with zero ad spend. She also makes a compelling case for physical products in today’s digital world and details an easy way to start creating and selling them.

Kerrie is an ecommerce expert, author of Customer Obsession [Amazon affiliate link], and host of the Ecommerce Society Podcast. Today, she and I explore everything from nurturing superfans for free promotional help to getting the best deals on while-label products from Alibaba.

This is an incredible discussion you shouldn’t miss if you’ve ever thought about creating and marketing a physical product, whether basic merch or something more innovative. Listen in and enjoy!

Today’s Guest

Kerrie Fitzgerald

Kerrie Fitzgerald is the founder of Kerrie Fitzgerald LLC, an ecommerce and product business consulting and educational agency. She also hosts the Ecommerce Society Podcast and is the author of Customer Obsession.

As a digital marketing expert, Kerrie helps ecommerce businesses create “wildly in-demand” brands that their customers are obsessed with. Her unique framework stems from organic marketing that brings in consistent sales and traffic without focusing a dime on ads.

After starting her first high-end pet ecommerce business, The Dapper Dog Box, in 2016, she grew the business to multiple six figures of revenue in two years without funding, staff, or support. Kerrie successfully sold The Dapper Dog Box in 2019.

She is a proud boy and dog mom, a hot sauce and coffee lover, and an East Coast transplant living in Seattle.

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SPI 741: Adding Profitable Physical Products to your Brand with Kerrie Fitzgerald

Kerrie Fitzgerald: People don’t understand the importance of treating your customers well and how, if you treat your customers well, you take care of them, you involve them with your brand, they become obsessed with you.

And when you have customers that are obsessed with you, they promote you, they tell their friends, they post about you on social media, they write you reviews, and then you get business just because of them.

So you don’t have to do other things. You don’t have to show up on social media every day. You don’t have to do advertising if you don’t want to. And I really feel like that’s the future of e-commerce.

Pat Flynn: Have you ever thought about creating a physical product business? Or perhaps you have an audience already, and you’ve thought about creating a physical product to share and sell to your audience?

Well, if that is a thought that’s come across your mind, then this is definitely an episode for you. We’re talking with Kerrie Fitzgerald, from KerrieFitzgerald.com. She’s also the host of the Six Figure Product Business podcast, and she helps business owners create physical products for their business. Everything from teaching them how to create merch and things like t shirts and mugs, which is sort of on the simpler side. All the way through things like white labeling and manufacturing and whatnot.

So we’re going to talk about a lot of things today, including an incredible launch strategy for your product that I definitely agree is the number one strategy. And she, she brings the heat with this today. She also has a book called Customer Obsession, because what I love about Carrie, she’s not just about the products and the making money.

And she’s been able to do really, really well with her own physical product businesses before teaching others. But it’s about. helping people and brand loyalty and getting obsessed with your customers. And that’s in fact, the name of her book, Customer Obsession, which I love. And it fits perfectly with my book, Superfans.

So really good vibe here. And I really love the information that Carrie had to share. And so if you’ve thought about a physical product, this is the episode for you. Session 741 of the SPI podcast with Kerrie Fitzgerald. Here she is.

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, Nerds Gummy Clusters are his Kryptonite, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Keiery, welcome to the SPI Podcast. Thank you so much for taking the time today.

Kerrie Fitzgerald: Thank you so much. I am so excited to be here.

Pat Flynn: Now, the first time that you and I sort of crossed paths was through a mutual friend of ours, Rick Mulready.

And I went in to speak at a mastermind group and you were there and I didn’t know much about what the individuals in this space were doing. And I had no idea that what you’re doing is so cool. I mean, and I say that because I’ve touched a little bit of what you’re doing and I have so many questions.

Why don’t you tell the world a little bit about who you are and what you, your superpower is today?

Kerrie Fitzgerald: Awesome. Thank you so much. So my name is Carrie Fitzgerald and I am definitely a multi passionate entrepreneur. I definitely do a lot of different things like you, but I help people start, create or grow or scale their e commerce or product based businesses.

So I work with a lot of people who have an idea for a physical product, but they get stuck at that. Okay. I have an idea for something, but like, how do I bring it to life? There’s so many questions. There’s so many things that people get hung up on. And so I help people kind of take an idea and then figure out, is this the right idea?

Is this going to be profitable? How do I do this? And then I also help people once they have an online store to grow it through mostly organic marketing. I don’t do anything with ads, so I’m all about organic like email marketing, affiliates, customer loyalty programs, all that kind of stuff. So I kind of do both things, but I’m really, really, really passionate about helping people start a product based business because I know when I started my first business seven plus years ago, I had no idea where to go, had no idea, like how to get started. And I think so many people out there listening in terms of your audience probably have an idea of a product that they might want to do, but they just have no idea how to get started. And I think that can like paralyze people.

And so I love helping people just kind of dive in.

Pat Flynn: And I know today it’s easier now more than before to start one of these kinds of businesses. However, we still need the guidance and that’s why. You are here. However, I want to start with you making the case for a physical product specifically. Why should we even think about doing that when a digital product is so much easier to manage to, you know, there’s no inventory there’s, you know, if you, if something is wrong, you can fix it immediately and it’s changed and it’s scalable.

Why a physical product though?

Kerrie Fitzgerald: I think a few reasons. I think one, the future of purchasing, I mean, more people are buying stuff online, more people. Yeah. Are gravitating away from the brick and mortar, you know, like, think of Black Friday, maybe 20 years ago, you would have to, you know, wake up at 5 a. m, wait in line outside like a Best Buy to get a TV.

Now it’s like click, click, click Amazon done. It’s already on your way to your house. You’re sitting in your house, whatever you’re doing. So I think more and more people are buying online. E commerce is growing is booming. And when I hear that, I just see opportunity for people. And I think we can look at Amazon vs small business. And Amazon is obviously Amazon. They are the giant in the room. But there’s a place for small business. There’s a place for being the smaller person. And I think, you know, another part of why physical product is something that you would appreciate because obviously, you have your book customer Superfans.

And I think with physical product, there is such a level of like, personalization. People get invested in brands. You get, let’s say, like a jewelry or a makeup product and you get in your mailbox and you can, like, gush over the packaging and the customer experience. And then the brand is sending you emails.

They’re inviting you in to be part of the brand. And I think there’s a special thing that happens. It’s like a special relationship that can really grow from a physical product that can’t really happen from a digital product. So I love digital stuff. I sell that too. I think it’s great. I think it’s great to do all the things, but I think there’s something to be said for a physical product and grabbing a customer in.

And then once they buy from you once you put the charm on and then they buy from you over and over and they are a customer superfan. So. a few reasons why.

Pat Flynn: No, that is a great answer. I mean, for somebody who has created one physical product, the SwitchPod, I can say there is some sort of magic in selling something and seeing a person open that thing and get like immediate use out of it.

And you know, it’s all of a sudden made something more convenient or has helped our lives in some way. Instantly versus sometimes a digital product. That’s like, okay, I’ve sold a course, but you still have to go through the course and stuff to implement. And it can take some time. It’s a little bit of a delay before that reward.

And there is something so beautiful about creating something that people purchase and just get immediate value from, which is great, which leads me to my first question, which I’m sure a lot of people are asking, which is like, where do I even begin with all this? I mean, let’s say somebody. Has an idea actually even before that, like what are the best kinds of physical products that we could be thinking about?

I mean, the, the possibilities are endless, right? I could, I could come up with an idea for something electronic that could do this thing, but then my mind goes, well, I don’t have any experience with that. I don’t know how to make that. I don’t even know what’s possible. Can you help wrap our heads around.

The directions or maybe some of the first steps here when it comes to building a physical product. I

Kerrie Fitzgerald: think the biggest thing, and I forgot to mention one other thing I want to touch on when you ask why physical is, I think for a lot of people in your audience too, it’s like they already have audiences, their course creators, they have memberships, they they’re doing all those things.

They already have an audience of people. Like literally ready to buy. So I think part of the issue when you are starting a product brand, when you have no audience, which is what I did when I started my first business, you have to build that audience up and that can take time. So if you already have an audience, like it’s jackpot.

So I just want to touch on that because I forgot to mention that. And that’s such an important point. Does that

Pat Flynn: mean if we don’t have an audience, we’re not quite ready yet? No,

Kerrie Fitzgerald: not at all. It just, it. You have to work differently. You know, when you have an audience of people ready to buy you, you sprinkle the seed, you let them know you take them behind the scenes, but you have people that are like the day you launch, they’re buying their pre buying for you with a someone who doesn’t have an audience.

You just have to work on building that audience from scratch, which that’s what I did. That’s mainly the people I work with. They have no audience and they have to build all that. It doesn’t mean it’s It doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it’s just takes a little bit longer and you have to be more patient.

But totally

Pat Flynn: possible. Okay, let’s consider the person who does have an audience. Many of our audience does have an audience. And where might they start with trying to determine whether a physical product makes sense or what that even might be?

Kerrie Fitzgerald: Yeah, I think it’s just you have to kind of think of one, what would you be excited to talk about?

I think a lot of people will sit here and say, Oh, don’t do something that you’re not. Don’t do something that you’re passionate about. Make sure it’s like the moneymaker. But I think in the end, if you’re not going to be excited to talk about it extensively, then I wouldn’t even bother wasting my time. So something that you could talk about.

Number two, think of a pain point that your audience has. This is the obvious one. What is something that your audience needs that you could introduce Thank you. And it would solve a pain point for them or like work with your services or something. And then I think three, just, is there something that you’re already using?

Like for example, someone I worked with, she’s a business coach, a course creator, and she was always wearing scrunchies in her hair. She would always wear scrunchies. She, that was like her thing. So she thought I’m going to create my own scrunchie brand. I’m already wearing them. Let me just, let me just create my own scrunchie brand.

And when she launched it, it was so seamless as an integration into her brand, cause she’s already wearing them already talking about them. And then she could kind of create this thing around like my scrunchies make you feel more confident when you’re on camera on your zoom call. So it just like seamlessly fit in.

And I think a lot of people that launch things like that, it makes so much sense because you’re already. You’re already like wearing the product. So I think in that kind of sense, there’s, is there something that you’re saying, like a phrase that you might say? So for me, I use the word obsessed all the time.

I, I say it all the time. I think I don’t even mean to say it, but I always say it. So for me, I might come up with a t shirt or a hoodie that says obsessed. Am I going to be the only one who buys it possibly, but that would kind of make sense. So is there like a tagline that you say, is there something that.

a journal. If you’re like a mindset coach, you could create a journal with prompts instead of buying someone else’s, you can create your own. So that would be a starting point. But in the end, I think if you have an idea for something that sort of fits in with your brand, awesome. If, if not, that’s also okay too.

You know, you can really create anything, but I think it’s easier if it fits in with your already. Business or audience. That

Pat Flynn: makes sense. I love this scrunchie example. Cause on the surface, it’s like, that has nothing to do with the thing that they’re probably teaching. However, it’s everything to do with the relationship that’s being built with that person who’s listening or watching the videos or a part of that brand.

And it’s a part of the culture. Right. And a lot of people want to support because they’re a fan of something, not just because it’s a thing that, you know, would actually help them. And if it helps them, that’s even better. We’ve seen examples of entrepreneurs in our space, like Michael Hyatt go full on with journals with his full focus journal.

John Lee Dumas did the same thing with his mastery journal. So a journal is very popular now. I know in the world of like. T shirts and stuff. There are services out there that, like, you can just literally tell them what you want and then they’ll make it, ship it, and do all the drop shipping for you and everything like that.

That’s probably an easy low hanging fruit for people who already have a brand would be something like a phrase like obsessed on a shirt or something like that. We have our surf first shirts and stuff so we do something similar. Would that be a good sort of starting point to create merch rather than like a utility if

Kerrie Fitzgerald: you will?

A hundred percent. Yeah. So that would be called like a print on demand type of product. A hundred percent. And it’s not even just the t shirts. It is like, you can do print on demand for so many things, any kind of apparel house where I know mugs are a really popular one too. Yeah. Print on demand is great.

Cause I think the biggest thing too is with print on demand, you can test different ideas and see if they work. So with. traditional e commerce. I shouldn’t say traditional because you can do whatever you want, but you would buy, you know, you would order 100 t shirts, they would get shipped to your house.

And then when someone orders you ship them out yourself with print on demand, they’re doing it for you. But I think the benefit of print on demand is like one, you don’t have to buy upfront inventory, which is huge. I’m definitely an advocate of like, try not to get a ton of inventory before someone buys it because you end up possibly with Inventory that is stuck in your house.

And I’ve made that mistake many times. But with print on demand, you can test ideas. So you could come out with 10 different t shirt idea designs and just see, okay, which one do people buy? Then, you know, okay, if people buy these two, I’m going to focus on my marketing on those two. And I’m going to maybe create other things with those.

Designs or slogans or something. So I think print on demand is awesome for testing and validating an idea, which is such an important part of e commerce. Love

Pat Flynn: it. When it comes to things that, actually, first of all, do you have a print on demand service that you recommend or that you’ve worked with before that you like?

Yeah. Printful. Printful. Yeah.

Kerrie Fitzgerald: Printful and Printify are like the top. I think they’re like the top two, but they’re both good. I’ve sold a kid’s t shirt on one and worked with clients on other ones, but I think they’re both good for different reasons, but they’re both good for anyone who’s just starting out and they offer so So many products.

It’s

Pat Flynn: crazy. What about a product that’s not necessarily a mug or a t shirt or something that’s printable, but like you kind of have to get the thing made. Right. I don’t even know what it would be, but do you have any examples of students of yours who’ve like made some, maybe the scrunchies is the example of, of something that actually had to get manufactured, what, what’s that process?

Like, cause I think once people get to that realm of physical products, it’s like, oh, there’s not a service out there that can just. Kind of print on it, print it for me. That’s way out of my league. I’m not qualified. Like this will never happen, but I know that it’s not true.

Kerrie Fitzgerald: Yeah. And I can give you another example.

That’s like a step easier than the like full manufacturing prototype, all that kind of stuff, but I do have a good example for that. It would be something like different phrases people use, but like white labeling or reselling. So for example, I actually have an idea. I, this is something that I’ve. It’s been in my like millions of ideas on my notepad for a long time, but I like I love paddleboarding and I really, really, really want to start a paddleboarding brand or like a brand focused around paddleboarding or kayaking accessories.

So like a hero product of A waterproof phone pouch and then maybe like a couple different versions of like coolers that you can strap on the paddle board. So like that’s my idea. So if I wanted to sort of take that to life, I would go to maybe like an Alibaba dot com, which is a manufacturing website overseas.

I would find someone who’s already making the product. Then I would just white label it or create my own brain colors, logo and that kind of thing. So you take a product that’s already made. And you just jazz it up with your own branding. So that would be really the next easiest thing to do other than like a print on demand, because you don’t have to create the product from scratch.

It already exists, but you can really personalize it with, for your vision, your vibe with the colors, logo. And design. Then sometimes, yes, you can also customize it with other things. But if we’re just trying to keep it simple, you could think of like a waterproof foam pouch with different colors, different designs, but things like that.

And that’s actually how most people will do physical product brand. They take a product that already exists and they just make it unique and different to their brand. And then it’s really all about your marketing and your vibe. I mean, like paddle boards, there’s a million paddle board companies. The one I like in particular, that’s really popular.

Their designs are super colorful. They’re bright, they’re vibrant. They have this like really vintagey feel to it versus a different paddleboard design that’s like plain, the branding is plain, it’s simple. So you’re going to attract different people. So I think that’s actually the next. Really easy way to do a physical product

Pat Flynn: brand.

That’s really great. And that reminds me of actually the switch pod. When the switch pod was created, we actually, that was like a literal new invention and that was hard. And we went to a bunch of people who had done physical products before. We’re like, Hey, do you have any advice? And they’re like, Why are you inventing something from scratch like that?

You’re going the hard route because there’s so many parts that we had to do it to get to the solution we wanted because that solution didn’t exist. However, our second product was an accessory to go along with that. So you had mentioned like a hero product and then you have your like your accessories and that’s a great way to continue to sell to the same customers.

You just kind of have add ons and things like that, which is kind of cool. Our second product was. ball head that goes on top of the SwitchPod. Caleb was actually in China to look at the SwitchPods coming off the line. Caleb’s my partner on that project. And he saw a whole bunch of ball heads that were of different shapes and different sizes, different colors.

And we were talking and they were like, we could make these and you could put SwitchPod on them. Call them switch pod ball heads. And so that’s exactly what we did. And we made a couple changes. We wanted a better rubber on one of them, but it moved the way we wanted it to. And we basically. Cleaned it as our own, which is kind of cool.

And that’s exactly what you were talking about. And that has sold really, really well. And now it’s sort of a bundle package that we sell together. So I really love that, that, that idea. And so you said Alibaba was the resource for that. And do you have any quick tips? I know there’s, you likely have a lot more information in depth on your own podcasts, as well as books and perhaps educational things that you have to offer as far as how to go about doing that.

Cause it’s a process I’m sure, but any tips for people going onto Alibaba for. You know working with a company on the other side of the world and making sure, you know, everything’s cool and safe and works well.

Kerrie Fitzgerald: You know, look, there’s definitely a lot. I know in my experience with Alibaba for the, some of the products that I’ve I’ll use the word manufacturer cause it’s very loosely, like I manufactured dog bandanas, so it’s not like I’m creating a.

This in intricate phone carrier, but you know, in the end, do you still have to work with people? I think the biggest thing is like looking at ratings and looking at like MOQ, making sure that they don’t require huge quantities of inventory up front. So someone who has a low MOQ,

Pat Flynn: it’s minimum order quantity, is that,

Kerrie Fitzgerald: yeah.

So if you’re looking to manufacture water bottles, I’m looking at a water bottle, my office, you know, find someone who can be flexible with the. Initial order amount and always get samples, always get a sample. Oh my gosh. Yeah. I’ve made that mistake of not getting samples and you, and it’s a mystery of what you might end up with.

So be cautious of those things. And then just in general, like my best tip for. A physical product brand is choose something that is as small as possible, lightweight, and not breakable. I’ve made the mistake of ordering huge products and they come in that I have to pay a billion dollars of custom fees and this and this verse.

If you get something that’s lightweight, like I did dog bandanas and I had, they were custom made. They were awesome. But if it’s lightweight and small. You know, you can order a huge quantity and they show up at your doorstep. There’s no fuss. It’s so much easier and you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping.

So a lot of people are like, I want to create this product. And it’s like these huge breakable things. And I always say, Oh my gosh, don’t

Pat Flynn: do that. I ordered something on Kickstarter. It was like an Enzington. Hourglass and it had these beads in it and it would count for like a half hour and like half the people got them broke On on shipping and like it was just an absolute mess.

So I really love that piece of advice with relation to that Sample that you should get and or samples with the minimum order quantity and I know it depends on the product But like what would you recommend for a person just starting out? To expect to pay to at least get a sample to see what things are like.

I mean are we talking? You know, a hundred to 200. Are we talking thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars? Where, where are we at? And what, where would you kind of recommend we kind of start if we’re kind of just dipping our toes in the water?

Kerrie Fitzgerald: No, the samples would be, I would say close to what the, whatever the product price would cost.

So if the product, I mean, it depends. It manufacturers will charge different things. I know if, again, for like my dog bandanas, I think I paid. Like 20 bucks to get a bunch of samples of things. So not too much money. It depends on the product itself. Sometimes that they will charge you more money for it, but it’s sort of relative to whatever the product costs.

So if your product is like a hundred dollars, it might be 200 for a sample. It might be a little bit less. It kind of depends. I’ve worked with a few different manufacturers and I think they, they’d really do charge different

Pat Flynn: amounts. Yeah. That’s some will charge a little bit more because it’s like. They have to like make it like once and it’s not going to go through a process where it’s easier.

So that makes sense to me. So just be conscious of the money you’re spending up front. I mean these things add up, I’m sure. What are, you had mentioned like customs, fees perhaps. And I know that, you know, with SwitchPod we dealt with like tariffs and whatnot. Are there any other like hidden things, costs related to this before we get into a little bit of the…

The fun sort of pricing and marketing aspect of the conversation. Do you mean

Kerrie Fitzgerald: if you order

Pat Flynn: from overseas? Or just, just in the whole process in general, where, where are people spending money where they maybe are surprised that they’re spending

Kerrie Fitzgerald: money there? I mean, for me, the customs thing was a, was a huge shock.

I had ordered boxes and this was, I was new in business. I had started the business maybe six months and I was like, I’m going to order my boxes overseas because they’re way cheaper and I’m going to save so much money. And so I ordered these boxes. And, you know, again, didn’t get samples. I was living in Southern California at the time.

So I had to drive to Long Beach and go pick them up. And yes. So the box that initially cost, I think 1 ended up being 5 each because of the extra fees I had to pay. And I didn’t know, again, this is part of the game when you’re an entrepreneur and you have a new business, you make mistakes. I’ve made a million of them.

Taking money and throwing it up into the air like confetti, and it’s part of the process, but in the end, and now I know, okay, if I’m going to order a product that is large, you have to know that you’re going to have to pay extra money if it gets shipped over on a boat. So now I know, but yeah, I ended up paying like 1, 000 for these.

And the boxes were so hideous. They were so bad. And my packaging for me with that business was really important. And I was so embarrassed and I was so upset because I just didn’t want to use them, but I had to pay so much money for them that, you know, I would say that’s a, that’s a huge expense to be aware of.

Otherwise, you know, if you’re, if you’re getting stuff locally and you are. Doing the prototyping and it’s like you’re creating a product from scratch. That’s where you’re going to have to pay fees with prototyping samples. legal things, which we haven’t even talked about. And you can start simple with legal stuff, but I think if you’re doing something from scratch, it’s like, it’s kind of a whole other, like you did, that’s a whole other, you went like to the hardest possible

Pat Flynn: way.

Yeah, we, we did, didn’t we? Gee whiz. We had to pay hundreds of thousands to get the molds made, to then pour the casting metal into, I mean, it just like was a thing. Thankfully it worked out in the end, but it was, it was, I was also seeing it as like, Education. So I’m paying for my education on this too. And, you know, I feel like starting with somebody who’s teaching the kinds of things that you are and at that level makes the most sense, especially if you have an audience, I mean, you can get these things out relatively quickly, right?

Like what’s the timeline on, on most of these products, as far as idea to like, you have the prototype and you’re like, okay, like this is it I’m going to. I’m going to go with this, like how soon until it’s in your people’s hands. So we can, we can start talking like launch plan and all that kind of stuff.

I

Kerrie Fitzgerald: think if you’re doing like a white labeling or something like that, it’s, I would say a few months because if you’re getting products shipped from overseas, you really have to factor in delays.

Pat Flynn: Chinese New Year, right? Everything,

Kerrie Fitzgerald: stuff gets delayed, stuff gets lost on the ship or lost in port or whatever.

I’ve, you know, run into a million issues of things getting delayed. So just being mindful of that kind of stuff, but I would say a few months is normal. If it’s a product that you got samples of that you ordered, sometimes it can be faster, but I would say minimum like three months. I’ve worked with people where stuff just gets held up.

That feels right to me. But I think a few months is manageable. So, and that’s if you’re doing something from overseas, if you’re buying stuff in the U. S. then much faster. I was, for my, for my first business, most of the stuff I did at first was all in the U. S. and so I was able to come up with my idea.

Again, I had no experience with the business. My background was not in. E commerce at all. And I just had to figure out what to do. I came up with my idea in March of 2016 and I launched in July. And that was like soft launch. Small audience, scrappy as heck, you know, figuring it out.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I think the SwitchPod was two and a half years.

So again, another case for maybe not inventing something from scratch. The Six Figure Product Business Podcast is your show. Definitely recommend everybody listen. We’re not done yet. I’m just making sure people know where to go to find out more. And then also you have a book, I believe, that just came out, Customer Obsession, which I love.

Hearing a title like that, because this is, you know, I’ve written super fans. It’s very much customer centric and serve first. And I love that. What’s the book about just really quick so people can know what to look forward to in it. Thank

Kerrie Fitzgerald: you so much. Yeah, it comes out next month. I’m so excited. It’s really about customer loyalty.

So not, I know your book is. Customer super fans, you know, all about the same thing. Mine is very much centric around e commerce product based businesses only. So it’s definitely not for like a course creator, but it’s really all the things that I learned with my first business, how to get your customers just to be obsessed with your brand.

And I think to do that, you have to be obsessed with your customers. You have to understand why they’re buying from you. You have to treat them well. Customer service. I have a whole chapter about customer service, which I think for most people, they think, Oh, that’s boring. Customer service for a product based business is so essential.

And just other things like how do you involve your customers with your brand? I think for me, that was a huge way that I grew my business. I didn’t use advertising. I relied heavily on my customers to be like these brand evangelists for me, and I didn’t know what I was doing. And I grew my business from zero to like $400K in sales in two and a half years.

So for some people they might think, Oh, that’s like pocket change. But for me, like I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t use advertising. I didn’t pay influencers or anything. It was totally organic, totally scrappy. And I did that because I took care of my customers and I had this customer first mentality from day one.

And I really just built this community of people with my first business. And I a hundred percent attribute. me making any money with that business to doing that. And so when I sold my business in 2019, I started my current business. I thought of this book idea a couple of years ago, and it just sat in a Google drive folder for like a year and a half.

And I was like, you know what, I want to teach people this concept because I work with so many people now and they don’t understand the importance of like treating your customers well and how, if you treat your customers well, you take care of them, you involve them with your brand, they become obsessed with you.

And when you have customers that are obsessed with you, they promote you, they tell their friends, they post about you on social media, they write you reviews, and then you get business just because of them. So you don’t have to do other things. You’re like, you don’t have to show up on social media every day.

You don’t have to do advertising if you don’t want to. And I really feel like that’s such a, like the future of e commerce. So,

Pat Flynn: yeah, I agree a hundred percent. I mean, that’s the, that’s why I wrote super fans and I’m excited to see more. books and especially an e commerce specific one, because I feel like an e commerce, that’s a huge opportunity to build brand loyalty and connect with people.

People are often leading with their dollars and wanting to buy the product. And that could be the start of a relationship. However, most companies are treating it as like, okay, that’s the end. You got your product and we’re kind of done. And I’ll just promote the next one when it’s ready versus the relationship.

So awesome. And when, when does that book come out? It’s coming on October 18th. Okay. So by the time people hear this, it should be available on all the places, right?

Kerrie Fitzgerald: Thank you. Yeah, I’m excited. It’s like a year and a half of. So much effort and tears and everything, every other emotion.

Pat Flynn: Oh, I know. I know.

That’s why I want to make sure you get, get some love for it and credit. As we come into the final lap here, I’d love to talk about the launch plan. You know, there’s a lot more that goes into this. We could get into the weeds of pricing. I mean, obviously we don’t want to lose money. So if, you know, There’s some obvious things.

Make sure that you are keeping track of how much money you spend and how much a product, you know, cost of goods sold versus how much you’re making profit. And you don’t want to go under, like those things are kind of, you know, table stakes, but you know, you’re not going to sell products if you aren’t launching.

And so tell me what a launch in your eyes is like and how you’ve done it. How do we get our audience? Excited about the product, the physical product that we now have ready to share.

Kerrie Fitzgerald: So I think the biggest thing is taking them behind the scenes with you, taking them on the journey with you is the easiest way.

And in hindsight, I didn’t do enough of that with my first launch, but

Pat Flynn: how soon in the journey are we taking them with us?

Kerrie Fitzgerald: I would say immediately, like,

Pat Flynn: like before the things

Kerrie Fitzgerald: even made. Oh my gosh. Yes. Yep. So like you have an idea for something. You start the branding process. You come up with the name for it, like involve your audience, involve your people, get feedback from them, show them all the behind the scenes stuff that you think is so boring.

They think it is so interesting. And by the time you launch that thing, They are so invested in your product because they’ve been through the whole journey with you and they’re excited about it. So that would be my biggest, biggest, biggest, biggest tip. And that’s the thing that I see a lot of people making mistakes on is they, the product is ready to go.

And then they’re like, Oh, okay, I should probably tell people. And it’s not that it’s too late. But you’ve missed a big opportunity. So I always tell people record everything like record the process of you with prototypes, with getting samples, with getting the packaging in the mail, taking video of you making Canva designs of your logo or any of that stuff.

People love it. People go crazy for behind the scenes, but I think the biggest thing it does is it humanizes your products. You’re not a face of Amazon brand. You’ve you’re like this person who’s sitting in your house at 10 o’clock on a night, on a Saturday, working on a Canva design. And you share that with your audience.

They love it. Relatable. Yes. So get people excited as early as possible and share everything. It doesn’t mean you have to share your personal life, but just share the product, like it’s a creation, the making all that kind of stuff. And then, you know, email marketing is your best friend. I am definitely a huge fan of email marketing.

Send people emails, get people on your email list, give them an incentive to join your email list. No one wants to join a boring newsletter for a product business. They want to get your discount code. So have an incentive to get them to join early, give them some sort of special VIP something or other.

And then when you launch the product again, now you have an email list of people who are ready and aware to buy from you, you know, and then just getting, getting them excited. You know, countdown two weeks to launch one week to launch three days. So things like that are things that a lot of people miss opportunities to do.

But email marketing, setting samples to friends, family, like micro influencers. And then on the launch day, you have all these people that are like promoting your product for you. So I would say those are a few easy and scrappy ways to launch a product. Getting people on board early is the most important thing.

And to do that, all you have to do is show those like behind the scenes. Samples and that kind of

Pat Flynn: thing. Love that. Yeah. It’s called marketing, which means you are getting your market ready for the thing. It’s not producting where you just wait till the product’s done. That’s dumb. But anyway, you had mentioned micro influencers.

I think this is a unique opportunity that we have now versus, you know, a decade ago that we have the ability to connect with other people who have audiences who trust them. Can you share a method? That if I have a product and I have an audience and maybe I don’t have a lot of connections with other micro influencers in the space, like, do I just send a whole bunch out and just kind of hope and pray?

Or do I include a letter in there? What’s your method for, for, for doing that and doing that, you know, with grace and not spamming people?

Kerrie Fitzgerald: Yeah. And influencers are, it’s definitely, it’s a thing that has changed a lot. I know, at least when I had my business, I think it was a little bit easier to get people to.

Promote you for free. I think now a lot of people, like everybody wants something, or you have to pay me money to post a real, I think, you know, the easiest thing is to find people on, you know, if you’re doing it organically, you know, Instagram but in the end, like, where’s your customer hanging out? That’s actually the most important place.

If your customers are going to be hanging out on Tik TOK, then find a couple of Tik TOK people. Sometimes follower count doesn’t not sometimes I think follower count doesn’t always matter. I actually think people with smaller accounts that have really loyal audiences like engaged audiences, you know, look, look for comments.

Don’t trust the people who have 2 million followers, but you look at their posts. And they literally have like one comment, oftentimes it’s a smaller accounts that will actually get you the good sales because they’re not spamming. Like I think some of these big influencer accounts, they’re promoting products every single day and no one wants to be sold to 24 seven.

So I think those are some easy ways. There are, there are definitely apps and platforms that you can join that I’ve, I personally don’t know what those are, but I have heard that there are platforms that you can join. And maybe it’s Billy or Billy, Billy, Bimeo. I forget the word, it’s something with a B I and it’s like an influencer account.

So that could be a good thing

Pat Flynn: to like connect to your product brand to influencers. Exactly. Yeah. If you don’t go through those, I think I do know of a few others that exist, especially for YouTubers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it if you don’t have a YouTube channel as far as reaching out to maybe some dream influencers that you have.

You know, there’s one or two in the space that you’re just like, Oh my gosh, I love this person. It would be so amazing if they were to talk about my product. Is that something we should consider? And do we give them the product for free? Or how do we go about doing

Kerrie Fitzgerald: that? You have to assume 100 percent that Especially if they have a bigger audience that they will want to be compensated.

There’s a couple of workarounds around it. One is if you have an affiliate program. So I’m a huge fan of affiliate marketing and the product space. It gets you features by like YouTubers, bloggers, creators, gift guides, media features, things like that. It’s you’re much more able to get those features if you have an affiliate program.

Cause then. the person can at least say, okay, well, if someone buys, I’ll make a commission. But I think when you reach out to people, you have to expect that you’re going to give free product. That’s a given. Like you have to give free products. You have to offer them product. It’s just a question of, well, they want to charge you for that.

And I think a lot of, a lot of influencers do want to be compensated nowadays, but you can’t like, I’ve never once paid an influencer with my product based business or clients that I work with. Like we always can figure out ways to get. And I’m not trying to undercut, you know, influencers, I think people deserve to get paid.

But if you’re a small business, you might not have the budget to pay a lot of money for something. So you have to find smaller accounts. Smaller bloggers. I love YouTube as an opportunity for working with an influencer. Cause I feel like, I don’t know, at least with my experience, YouTubers seem more open to doing it without charging like a million dollars.

But yeah, you have to expect to give free products, but having an affiliate program is something that I find if you offer product in an affiliate program and maybe a small. Fee that you’ll get a lot more people that will be willing to work

Pat Flynn: with you. Nice. Carrie, we could go on and on about this, I’m sure.

And I think we’ve just scratched the surface, but enough that a person who might be interested is going to get excited about this and want to work a little bit further to figure this out. And I know they can figure that out with you. Where can they go to figure that out and get some more of your info?

Kerrie Fitzgerald: Yeah, thank you so much. You can go to my website, which is my first name, last name. com, Carrie Fitzgerald. And that’s with an I E. And then Instagram is a good place to connect. I’m definitely very active there. So it’s Carrie. a. fitzgerald and my podcast, the Six Figure Product Business

Pat Flynn: Podcast. There you go.

Well, Carrie, thank you so much for this. This was incredibly helpful and I look forward to hearing how people respond to your book and all the other businesses that you’re helping and the physical products that they’re creating. So well done and we’ll chat soon. Thank you so much. All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode with Carrie Fitzgerald.

Again, you can check out her book, customer obsession, as well as her podcast, the six figure product business podcast and Carrie Fitzgerald. com. You can find her there. And on Instagram, like she said, we’ll have all those links in the show notes and resources mentioned here on the show notes page at smart, passive income.

com slash session seven for one against smart, passive income. com slash session. for one. And I know we’re coming down to the end of the year here. Maybe a physical product might make sense for you and your business. And you can start simple as you can see, and you can also go very complicated like Caleb and I did with a switch pod.

That’s very educational. And I do feel like, although it was difficult, although it took a ton of time, that it was definitely worth it. So you can check it out yourself. Thank you so much. Smart passive income. com slash session seven for one. And here’s to an awesome end of the year for you. I hope you are happy, healthy, and all the great things. Cheers. All the best.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!


Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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