What's a gateway product?
A gateway product is the first product that somebody buys from you, the one that turns them from a prospect into a customer.
It's the gateway from one place (Prospect City) into another place (Customer Land).
It's a handy rule of thumb to assume that a buyers' list (the list of people who have bought something from you, however small) is about 1000 times more valuable than a prospect list (people who haven't bought anything, no matter how much they love you).
I don't care how many people live in Prospect City. Customer Land is the only population that really matters.
Give me a list of 100 buyers over a list of 10,000 highly interested parties any day of the week. Transitioning someone from Prospect City to Customer Land is about the most valuable and important thing you can do as a business owner.
So today, here are some rules of thumb for making your gateway product as appealing as it can be.
1. Make your gateway product cheap.
In general, first offers should be cheap. First offers should come out of disposable income.
Why? Well, consider your own behavior. Are you in the habit of giving a hundred, two hundred, five hundred bucks to virtual strangers, having never seen anything they've made before? Probably not. It's safest to assume that neither are your customers.
Gateway products should come out of disposable income.
Yes, there are exceptions. Some people's first purchase from you may, indeed, be in the four figures. Assume this is extremely rare, and price your initial offer for the majority.
2. Make the offer urgent.
Keeping in mind our first rule of thumb (make it cheap), it's also a good idea to make it a hell of a deal.
Limited time offers should be the first option you consider for your gateway product. Not every business will use this strategy, but every business should at least consider it.
Deadlines sell products.
To put it in context:
A $7 gateway product sells well.
A $47 gateway product on a limited time offer for $7 sells very, very, very well.
This doesn't just apply to single-digit price points, either. A $100 seminar is a lot more attractive when it's usually $500 or $1000 and the offer is ending soon.
3. Make checkout easy.
All of your products should be easy to buy. Your first product should be very easy to buy.
Again, we'll put it in the context of your own experience. If you're shopping in a brand new store because you saw a cool gate-crasher in their flyer…
- How long are you willing to wait in line?
- How many hoops are you willing to jump through?
- How many fields in a form are you willing to fill out?
This is an untested product, from an untested seller. How long before you just walk away?
If it takes more than 15 seconds to get from “add to cart” to ownership, it's taking too long.
No hoops to jump through. No survey in the shopping cart. No asking for any information you don't absolutely need. (And gateway products should almost never have choices. Small or large? Pink or blue? Regular or VIP? Thanks, but now is not the time.)
One offer, one price, we're done.
4. Make full ownership instant.
Your entry level purchase should not be dripped out. If I buy it now, I get the whole thing now.
This means no Candle of the Month club. This means no membership programs. This means no 30-day e-courses.
If I buy it now, I get the whole thing now.
(And if you're selling physical products, this rule still applies, although “instant” takes on a different meaning. For a first product to be a gateway product, when I buy it today, you put it in the mail today.)
5. Make gratification fast.
Whatever benefit I get from owning your gateway product – either physical or digital – must occur very quickly. I should either know something instantly usable in short order, or have something physical I can use right away.
Whatever promise you're making, it should be fast acting.
In the case of IttyBiz, I have a product called The Ultimate Digital Marketing Template Pack. The templates are instantly usable. Anybody can take a template and use it right now.
On the other hand, I have an ebook called 300: How To Get 300 Loyal, Repeat Customers Buying Your Stuff. 300 is not instantly usable. There's work involved. You have to think and do worksheets and stuff.
Therefore, the templates would make a good first offer (except for the price), but 300 would make a much better follow-up or upsell.
Gateway products are awesome and you probably want one.
Follow these tips, and you'll have more people in Customer Land before you know it.
What to read next: The Golden Minute – what to do when you get an insta-fan.