One of the folks on my list shot me an email asking the following:
“I’d love to see content on the topic of starting a supplement business in these economic conditions.🚀
It seems (at least for now) mass consumer spending will migrate online.👨💻
And I’ve always wanted to use my copywriting skillset to leverage
and fast-track success in creating my own supp business.
Specifically, in the woman’s anti-aging market. wrinkles, etc.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.”
So, here are my thoughts on this topic…
Yeah, I think right now is as good a time as any to start a health supplement business…
Provided it’s something you’re truly passionate about…✅
And that you’re strategic in how you approach this.
In my opinion – starting a supplement company isn’t all that hard…
But there are several important elements the uninitiated usually aren’t aware of, including:
It’s vital that you pick the right niche in the supplement industry. Generally going “gut” or “turmeric” isn’t going to cut it. It’s better to focus on a specific pain point, and then find a product that helps resolve that pain point. Typically, it’s also better to start with a proven paint point – rather than taking a stab at a novel one. So for example – blood sugar, memory, blood pressure, weight, vision, energy, etc – those are all proven. But a niche product about having thicker eyelashes… not so much.
Product Selection and Sourcing
I personally would start with an on-demand formulation from Ship Offers. There are also instances where you can get manufacturers to do custom formulations for you “on-demand,” but you usually need a bit of history and a relationship with them first. Otherwise, they don’t really want to do this because it’s too risky for them.
But the point is: I wouldn’t really be spending any money on inventory upfront. I’d pick a proven niche, then pick a proven on-demand product, and launch that way. Once you’re up and rolling, you can then parlay that into getting custom formulations.
This is where a lot of people get into trouble. They either think they can use Stripe when they can’t (because their claims are too aggressive), or they think they’ll get a ton of processing out of the gate when they won’t.
The worst case is that you start with Stripe, your offer is working, but then suddenly they shut you down and hold most of your money in reserve for 90 days.
This happened to me at the start of 2015 with my HLH company, and it nearly put me under. Personally, I’d say either go with a marketplace like Clickbank (unlimited processing if you use their platform, but have to play by their rules), or get your own MID (your own way to process payments).
For me, I like having my own MIDs. I’ve worked with Travis at Cambridge Commerce to do this for the last 5+ years and gotten millions of dollars of processing through them – so they’re my top rec.
Sales Letter Creation
Obviously you need a killer sales letter here. Mediocre isn’t going to cut it unless you’re a really good media buyer. This is actually the part where a lot of people go wrong – they take a mediocre letter, put it out to the world, and are shocked when nobody buys their product. Without good sales copy you’re dead in the water.
Sales Letter Creation Part II
It’s also generally a good idea to have at least two variants of your sales letter. One that’s specifically for Facebook/Tier 1 Native Networks, and one that’s for affiliates. The reason why is because you may have to further neuter your copy for FB/Tier 1.
That’s fine – but it doesn’t make sense to give affiliates that same neutered copy too. So have two versions and you maximize sales.
Funnel Design + Flow
This is another place where people go wrong. They hire a random designer who makes all kinds of conversion killing mistakes. It’s better to find some funnels that you know are working, and then have your designer model heavily off of those. Also related to this – I don’t think you need a nice, highly produced video sales letter to go live. Instead, you can start with a text sales letter. This will save you money and time.
Email Marketing and Data Monetization
It’s better to have this set up from the start. So an autoresponder sequence, plus a list of affiliate offers to promote to your list.
You should also have reorder sequences set up based on when the client bought. So, If they bought a 1 month supply, they start getting reorder emails after 24 days. If they bought a 6 month supply, they start getting reorder emails after 165 days.
Plus, don’t forget about special holiday sales. Running promos during holidays to your list and selling them more of the product they already bought is a goldmine.
Another huge issue that happens – people launch supplement offers without having any idea how they’re going to get eyeballs to their sales page. It’s better to have a traffic strategy in place from the beginning. Whether this is internal media buying, working with media buyers on an agency model, or working with media buyers on an affiliate model – have a plan.
Also speaking of affiliates, getting those folks lined up and committed to promoting your offer when the time comes.
Initial A/B Testing
Once your supplement offer launches, a lot of your time will be spent split-testing your funnel to get the metrics where they need to be. So testing headlines, different leads, call to actions, pricing, etc. It’s very rare that you just launch an offer, it works perfectly, and you don’t need to spend any time tweaking it.
Managing for Profitability
You MUST know your numbers. You need to understand what your COGs are, what your refund rates and chargebacks are, what your merchant processing fees are, what your media costs are, etc.
This is one of the most common mistakes of all. People launch their supplement offers (and other offers) and have no idea how much money they’re actually making (or losing). It leads to tons of problems down the road, you in debt, and your offer shutting down.
Call Center Strategy
Inbound + Outbound + Welcome Calls + Partials and Declines. You should be generating significant additional revenue by leveraging a call center. This is stuff that increases your bottom line by another 10-20% – it’s vital and not enough people do it.
Additionally, having an inbound call center dramatically reduces refunds and chargebacks too. Obviously for this one I recommend my call center, which is Turtle Peak.
Additional Upsells and Product Creation/Selection
You’ll want to be continuously testing upsells too. Both the products and the copy, until you get these things dialed in.
Average Order Value
I’ve talked about this so many times, but AOV is key. Too many people launch a supplement offer, have an AOV around $120 or $130 and just assume that’s fine. It’s not. Your AOV should be $180 – $200. That’s a massive difference – the kind of difference that influences whether your offer is able to scale or not, along with whether or not you get rich from your efforts or you end up wasting your time.
You should have a conscious strategy for avoiding refunds and chargebacks….
Be doing reviews and audits for regulatory compliance frequently.
And, there’s even more.
Now, all of this may make you feel overwhelmed. But the truth is, once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes second nature. It’s really, truly, not that hard.
With that being said, though…
When it comes to copywriters who are considering launching their own supplement offer…
I typically advise that they find someone who is already having success selling supplements…
Offer to create a promo for them in exchange for a percentage of the profits…
And then have them plug that offer into their existing infrastructure.
Your road to profitability is dramatically shorter…
Your odds of succeeding are significantly higher…
And you get to learn the ropes with way less potential downside.
P.S. If you want intros to anyone mentioned in this blog post just LMK.
Ship Offers on the supplement side…
Turtle Peak on the Call Center Side
Travis and Cambridge Commerce on the Merchant Processing Side…
I also personally use Konnektive as my preferred CRM – so if you’re getting your own processing you may want to consider going with them.
P.P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link.