Marketing an Information
Marketers consider this to be close to the ideal business.
Done right, it has an easy potential to bring in anything
from a few hundred bucks a month to many thousands a month,
for years to come, even for a relative
Now, let me jump in here
immediately with a dividing issue. I'm dedicating the
remainder of this page to Information Products that you
build and make available in digital form, for an instant
download. But be aware, this means I'm deliberately
excluding what some believe to be a more
lucrative option - developing Information Products that
sell in the form of hard copy printed manuals and CD's. I'm
"into" both approaches and at some point I'll add a lot more
to this site on a specific approach to generating and
marketing hard-copy products, but for now I'll focus on the
The simplest approach starts
with you identifying a how-to product that has an
already-established, hot-to buy market that you can easily
reach. You write, or otherwise develop (there are many
ways that don't involve you being the writer) a how-to
product … perhaps 90 to 100 pages, single-sided, often in
big letters with wide margins (seriously). You put together
a web site that is essentially 3 pages … a long sales
letter, an order page, and a thank you page. You arrange for
a service called Clickbank to handle all the payment issues,
dealing with credit cards, handling fraud, returns, etc. You
upload this web site, along with a copy of your product, to
your web hosting account. Then you buy some advertising that
sends people to your web site.
People searching on a topic see
your ad. They are interested … they click and get taken to
your sales letter. They read your letter … and some will buy
your product. As soon as their credit card or paypal
transaction has been verified, they are taken to a Thank You
page where they are advised to check their e-mail for
information on downloading the product (and told what to do
if they don’t get the e-mail). 30 seconds later they have
2 e-mails in their In Box … one from Clickbank saying “thank
you,” and one from you (but sent automatically, perhaps
while you were asleep or on vacation) saying, "click here to
download your product."
Within minutes they have
typically downloaded your product to their hard drives,
opened it, and are reading it.
Elapsed time from seeing the ad,
to reading the actual product: can be 5 minutes. (Can be
weeks, of course; some folk simply take forever to decide;
but the order-to-receipt process is still minutes.)
In the meantime … you can
monitor the sales page, test new headlines, test different
colors, test different offers, test different prices,
consider adding audio or video to the sales page, ...and
when it's making you a decent profit you repeat the whole
process on a new topic, while collecting checks from
Clickbank from the sales made from the sites you’ve already
done. And perhaps you are also capturing names and e-mail
addresses from the sales page to e-mail other offers to at
Now … is it really that
In fact, if you develop a
so-called digital product, an eBook or report that exists
only as a file on a computer so it can be downloaded easily
by a customer, it can be very, very, close to being that
easy in terms of getting all the mechanical elements
right. Of course, you still have to create the elements, and
you HAVE to do them correctly ... but there are a lot
of excellent, affordable, expert guides to help you.
As a business, this is hard to
beat. You develop your own product(s), so you don't depend
on anyone. It's usually inexpensive to create ... primarily
your time if you write it yourself, low hourly transcription
costs if someone transcribes an interview you recorded
(we'll talk more about that later!). You don't need
expensive tools to create it, if you already have a PC and a
word processor. Your product sells on autopilot, making
money for you while you're asleep, on vacation, or out at
the park with the kids. You can operate the business from
anywhere in the world that you can find an Internet link
from time to time. It costs you nothing to print, or
package, or ship your product because you never do any
of these activities. There's no inventory to carry. It costs
you the same to deliver it to 1000 customers as to deliver
it to one. Your profit margin can be tremendous ... the
value of the product has nothing to do with its cost, and
everything to do with what the information is worth to
someone (provided you market it correctly!).
There's another beautiful aspect
of this business that 99% of people trying it do not know;
and, it's the single most important aspect.
It's simply this: You never,
ever, develop a product that you haven't already PROVEN will
sell to a large enough market for a good enough fee. Never.
Ever. And, proving it is relatively quick and
Can you see the value of this?
You can test whether you have a business before you've
invested much money, or much time. One of the expert
guides I mention later will walk you through this testing.
It's astonishingly simple to do. This characteristic of the
business is incredibly powerful, and simply doesn't apply to
most other businesses.
And there can be some very
useful money in this business, ... again, PROVIDED you
listen to the experts and don't make the elementary mistakes
that 99% of people do. The biggest mistake, by the way
... writing what you want to write, and assuming or
hoping there's a market for it, rather than doing the
research and testing in advance.
Numbers to Think About
Here’s the type of numbers you
need to think about:
Let’s say you sell the product
for $39.95. (You probably won't want to sell anything for
less than $29.95, but it's not unusual to find digital
Information products selling for $197, sometimes more.)
Clickbank takes $1 plus 7.5% as
their fee. So, your net revenue from a sale is approximately
Let’s assume that your selling
page is good enough that you convert 2 of every 100
visitors. That means that you earn $70 from every 100
visitors, on average. Your AVV (average visitor value) is
Now, let’s assume you find a way
to place Google Adwords ads such that, on average, you pay
$0.20 per click. In that case, you pay $20 per 100 visitors
to your site.
So, the big question: if every
time you pay Google $20, a stranger pays you $70 … how
long are you willing to keep that going?
Are these numbers realistic?
One guy who went public with his
numbers (Frank Kern, with an approach he calls the
"Underachiever's strategy") showed an average of 2 sales per
day, from an average 100 visitors a day, generating in his
case an average profit after allowing for advertising
expenses of $33 per sale, so $1,980 a month, $23,760 a year
per product … and he had more than a dozen products at the
time (and has added many more since!).
On the other hand, you might
find your conversion rate is less than 2%. That your best
selling price is less than $39.95. That your Ads cost more
than 20 cents a click.
Here again is the beauty of this
approach - in your testing you can test prices (you should
also test them after launch, by the way; you never stop
testing if you want to squeeze the most money out of the
product. Or you can be lazy and just 'set and forget" the
site, too; it's your call). You know what Clickbank charges.
You can find out how much it will cost to drive 100 people a
day to your site via Google Adwords, the best PPC
advertising to start with. You can even get a good idea of
the conversion rate (sales per 100 visitors) of your sales
page even before you have a product. You can come up with a
respectable projection of profits before you invest more
than a few dollars and a few hours.
And, you don't HAVE to make
money from the product (always it's highly desirable to do
so, of course). Provided you are not losing money, revenues
less expenses, you should still be
interested because your real money shouldn’t be
coming from these sales, anyway. It should be coming from
capturing people’s names and e-mail addresses, and selling
other products to them over and over and over
again! Many leading marketers don't just know their
AVV ... they also have a good idea of the Lifetime Value of
a visitor (LVV). This tells them how much they can afford to
spend to win a new customer, knowing the customer will be
with them, and buying from them, for a long time.
You should be selling other
related products that you’ve developed, other related
products that others have developed, in a Joint Venture
(preferably) or as an affiliate; potentially selling
entirely unrelated products that will also appeal to your
list; and so on. This is the “back end,” and this is where
the real money is made.
So provided you break even up
front – and experienced marketers with money behind them
will say, provided you don’t lose too much up front –
selling information products can genuinely be a low-risk
strategy that can make you a significant additional income
each month at worst (if you do it right!), and potentially
make you a fortune and absolutely transform your quality of
life, at best.
But first ... let’s take a look
at all the obstacles.
Obstacle #1: I don’t
know what to write about!
You’ll find there are several
different ways to deal with this; this is actually a trivial
obstacle, although it might be looming large for you right
One piece of advice you’ll hear
is, go with something you are passionate about. If you have
a parrot that talks, write an e-book on how to train parrots
to talk. Do you know how to tie a fishing fly that’s a
killer? Go with it. Know how to get listings for Real Estate
better than most realtors? Go for it. And so on.
I have a LOT of reservations
about this advice. Not the least being that this gives a
totally wrong impression that this opportunity is only
open to poeple who know something that many others will pay
for. And that is simply not true.
To be sure there’s some
rationale for the idea of working with something you know,
something you're passionate about. For a start it greatly
reduces the research effort to develop a product. And if
you're going to write a book yourself it can be hard work,
and it certainly is made easier by working on a topic you
enjoy rather than grinding on a topic you
Unfortunately, that’s not
enough! You also need the book to be on a topic that a lot
of people are interested in, AND willing to pay money for.
If you have knowledge that leads to an Information Product
that meets all the necessary criteria for business success
... wonderful. But you are better off working with a topic
you despise to develop an eBook that will sell well for
years, than to cruise in your comfort zone to write a book
that won’t sell well, period. To put this into perspectiove,
I'd be astonished if Frank Kern, whose example I used
earlier wrote a single one of his books. He couldn't care
less what the topic was ... provided it met his criteria for
a successful product.
One of the people who
revolutionized the Information Products business before the
Internet existed is Jeff Paul. I listened to a
teleconference of his a while ago where he gave his criteria
for a "hot market."
1. The people should be Passionate about it
(think golf, fishing, hunting, ... the list is
2. They should be irratiional about it.
(Teeing-off at 5:30 on a frosty morning??)
3. The people must have money to spend! (IF
you develop a product for College students, aim it at their
4. They should ideally be proven repeat buyers
of products associated with that market.
5. Their desire for related products should be
insatiable (3 months ago they bought that new putter that's
sitting in the garage while they drool over the new one
they're watching on a TV informercial).
6. They should be addicted to the topic.
(Remember that Tee-off time? Well, it's not just once, it's
every weekend ...)
7. They must be reach-able ... you have to be
able to reach them somehow with an ad or other message.
8. They should already be interested in
whatever you are going to sell them (if you have to
persuade them that they should be interested ... you should
give this some sober second thought unless you want to
invest the funds to convince a large market they have "ring
around the collar" or "medicine breath" or whatever like
the big boys do).
9. They should already be motivated to
buy (You're raising a flame from embers, not trying to use
a tinder box to raise a spark).
10. They should already be predisposed to buy.
(They will buy rather than not buy even if you don't make a
So just be aware … there are
techniques to perform the research to find market “niches”
with the ideal characteristics for an e-Book. There are
techniques to find out “what’s hot.” Techniques to confirm
there’s money in it. Techniques to confirm there is a
sizeable market. And because the existence of a niche isn’t
enough – you also have to be able to reach it – there are
techniques to do this research, too. Then, techniques to
test your specific sales letter, your specific offer. So
that when you start, you know you’re on to a winner before
you write a word of the product itself.
Again, you'll find these
techniques in the how-to courses and eBooks I'll mention
later; some cover some techniques better than others, of
Obstacle #2: I don’t
know enough about anything that people will pay
You know, you might be right. Of
course, if you know ANYTHING that others don’t … don’t
underestimate that it might indeed be of value to others.
And, you can always go to the Library or use your web
browser to research enough to write a decent eBook.
But who says the eBook has to be
If you've done the research to
identify a "hot" market, there are places on the ‘Net where
you can explain what you want writing, and ask for bids. In
24 hours, you’ll have a half-dozen or more bids from people
who will be willing to send you samples of their work. You
check them out, choose one, define terms, and say “go.”
(There’s a bit more to it than that, but you get the drift.)
Now, sure you’ll have to pay, but for less than $1000
(probably $750 - $1000) you can get a 100+ page eBook
researched and written, with a choice of a “neutral”
personality (so you can add your own to the product) or the
One such place is Elance; it's an amazing place, well worth
a visit just to see an aspect of the business world you
probably never realized even existed!
When you have a book
ghost-written this way, it's yours to do with as you
will; certainly, you will claim authorship of it. That’s
part of the deal.
Oh yes, I said "explain what you
want writing ..." to the bidders on Elance. Sounds good, but
where do you even start? There are actually several easy
routes to take; the easiest of all is to find a market where
several eBooks are already selling well (there are ways to
do this!), and use their sales letters as a guide to your
Chapter headings and contents! Another is to visit the
forums where the target market "hangs out" and start
studying their posts ... it doesn't take long to get a good
overview of what the most-asked-for topics are in that
market, which topics generate the most questions, which the
most replies, which the most heated discussions, etc. Once
again, these are the types of topics that the books and
courses on how to develop and market Information Products
are filled with.
Now, $1000 might seem like a lot
… and it would be if you were guessing. But if you’ve done
your research first, you’re NOT guessing. You know it’ll
sell. What you don’t know with precision is, how many, how
soon. But if the arithmetic from earlier applies, you could
see your investment recovered in less than a couple of
months, and after that it’s all profit. Potentially for
There are many other options open if you
don't have the knowledge yourself. You can record an
interview with someone who DOES know something valuable,
then get it transcribed, for example. Heck you can even go
to a web site called guru.com to find an expert and pay him or
her for an hour to do a brain dump of the topic you're
I hate to sound like a broken record,
but the eBooks and courses cover all this stuff.
#3: I’m not
a good writer!
There are three things to think
First of all, even if you intend
to write the product yourself, you don’t have to be a good
writer. What you need to do is write as you’d speak to a
friend, lousy grammar and all. In fact, one of your options
is to buy the software (you can get a great price on the IBM
Via Voice product on eBay) that allows you to dictate to
your PC’s hard drive. Then you send the recording to a
service that will turn it into a Word document for an
astonishingly small fee.
But as I also said in dealing
with Obstacle #2, you can make an excellent high-value
e-Book from interviews with others. Or, you can pay someone
else to write the eBook for you.
Your writing skills (or lack
thereof) should not be an obstacle.
Obstacle #4: I don’t know how to put up the web
Some of the real gurus, like
John Reese, will tell you that you should never know how to
do this! This is what you pay others to do while you focus
on marketing. The Elance site I mentioned earlier is a
perfect place to get bids on building your site.
But at least in the beginning,
many of us want to learn some of the basics about every
aspect of the business; some of us also have a technical
“bent” and enjoy the learning; and some of us have more time
than money (or think we do).
If you decide to do this
yourself, you have three primary things to think about.
What software to use to build the web site.
How to written an effective sales letter (the main
page of your 3-page mini-site).
How to build-in the code that enables people to buy
your product via Clickbank.
I’m going to deal with each of
these in a moment, but first you should be aware of a
product that Jim Edwards created. He calls it his
Mini-Site Creator Course and although I
already knew quite a bit when I bought it, it has proven to
be solid gold for me. It’s a Four-CD course where he takes
you by the hand from ground zero to a fully functioning,
attractive, mini-site that is absolutely perfect for selling
Information Products. He walks you through choosing a domain
name and a web host, finding software to create the site,
and generating a header graphic; he gives you a bunch
of templates to use, and shows you how to create 4 different
types of mini-site. He then takes you through the steps of
setting up autoresponders and download pages, setting-up the
Clickbank connections so your customers can pay by credit
card and download the product automatically, and so on.
I watched the first CD with a
pal who is a complete techno-peasant, and he was blown away
by the level that Jim pitches this course … he has a real
knack of providing advanced “meat” while talking at the
level of a complete newbie. I still refer back to it
regularly, it's easier than trying to remember everything,
and he has an excellent index on every CD so it's easy to go
to exactly the right topic.
OK, now for my opinions.
1. What software should
If you are willing to make the
substantial investment of time to learn a lot about web
site development, and want to really get “into” the whole
web site development concept, go for Microsoft Frontpage
(more user friendly) or Dreamweaver (a better quality code
and a higher snob value among techies). I have to say,
though, that you're putting the emphasis on the wrong thing
if you do this lightly; web sites to sell Information
products don't need ANY fancy design whatsoever, and there
are tools to get Information Product web sites built with a
fraction of the learning curve that you'll need with
Frontpage and Dreamweaver; and that gives you more time for
what really counts, the marketing.
But if you want the minimum
barrier possible to development, I have to recommend a
little gem of a piece of software called XSitePro. It is quite simply the quickest
and easiest way I know to create an attractive, functional
web page or web site. My wife (who was completely
non-techie) has used this software to build some beautiful
web sites, almost all with more than 50 pages. My daughter
generated a beautiful site on the travel topic in no time at
all; she’d never even attempted to build a web page before
this, had never heard of html code (and still hasn't,
actually). Friends are using it too, very successfully.
I’m reasonably comfortable with
Dreamweaver and Frontpage but even so I use XSitePro for ALL
my mini-sites; and, this entire website is built using
XSitePro, too. The software does a LOT more than
mini-sites; even a lot more than just web page development.
It provides a database to organize domain registrar, domain,
affiliate information; provides 1-button inclusion of
Adsense ads; and much, much more. Of the thousands of
dollars I’ve spent on software in the past 10 years, this
ranks up with the best buys I’ve ever made. It's good enough that my wife and
I actually talk to each other about how good it is! (Yeah, I
know, I know, we need to get a life.) XSitePro also has an
excellent manual, excellent video tutorials, excellent
support, and a user forum packed with expert users'
know-how. I rave about it, as you might have gathered by
now; despite knowing a few of the software's
flaws. Someone already skilled in Frontpage or
Dreamweaver might find XSitePro a bit limiting (for example
you don't have direct access to edit the CSS file ... at
least, not in the current release), but for most of the rest
of us this product does everything we could want, and more,
without having to know even a word of html. And it allows us
to focus much more on marketing.
2. How do you write an
effective sales letter?
If you’re going to sell e-Books,
the sales letter is the single most important element; and,
the copy-writing skill is without doubt one of the most
valuable skills in the Internet Marketing game.
Sure, you can out-source the
sales letter writing (Elance again, for example), but unless
you can afford a genuine professional copy writer you should
try to do it yourself. You’ll find a TON of material out
there to teach you how to write good copy, but most of the
really good stuff is VERY expensive; you’ll even find
courses costing more
than $4000. A while ago, I bought a guide from a guy called
Brian Keith Voiles … today, he offers a “clinic” that costs
$247 a month! Dan Kennedy is beyond being a guru of
copywriting, he sits on God’s right hand; anything by Dan
Kennedy is worth reading; but again, his material is often
pricey. Earlier I mentioned Joe Vitale, of “Hypnotic
Marketing” fame … again, his material is pricey. Yanik
Silver … ditto.
Why are they mostly expensive?
Because good copy is pure gold! If you can “make your words
sell,” you can write a ticket to a fortune. The best of the
best charge tens of thousands for a single sales letter.
But, you can also “cheat!”
The good news is, the sales
letters you see for most mini-sites are very formulaic. If
you have clicked on any of the product links on this web
site, you’ll have been taken along to a sales letter which
has a lot in common with the sales letter for every other
product. One book that teaches the formula as a formula
(Step 1, do “x”; step 2, do “y” etc) is Bob Serling’s
Power Copywriting for the Internet. It’s
not a new book but I still use it today; it’s as effective
now as ever. So, if you want the outcome (the letter)
without learning the “craft,” I strongly recommend this
Also, there is a product called
Instant Sales Letters, by Yanik Silver,
who is one of the best Internet copywriters on the planet.
He includes top-quality templates for sales letters of all
kinds ... including letters that follow the exact formula
for selling Information Products; he knows it rather well
because he pretty much invented it! One of his bonuses
includes all sorts of different headlines, different wording
for warranties, powerful opening paras, powerful sale-
closing paras, and more.
3. How do you build in
the code to work with Clickbank?
Well, if you buy Jim Edwards
Mini-Site Creator course, you’ll find this explained in
great detail. He literally walks you through the process.
But if you don't buy his product, what do you know … there's
actually a free and valuable product that explains it
all! It's called Working with Clickbank, it's a pdf-format
report that you download, and it tells you exactly how to
set everything up.
#5: I don’t
know how to publish or format my eBook
Now, this can get quite
You really have three choices
(actually more like 2, plus a variation of the 2nd).
Write the book using a word processor such as
Microsoft Word, then convert it to a pdf file for
distribution/download. (You NEVER want to sell an
eBook or Report in MS Word format, which
anyone can edit or change.)
Write the book in html, like web pages, then use a
special piece of software called an eBook generator
or compiler to “compile” the e-Book from the html
As with option 2, but use a service that enables
you to turn anyone’s eBook off if they decide they
don’t want it after buying it.
Let’s deal with each of these in
Option 1: The PDF
The pdf option is by far the
most common option today, for everything from 3 or 4 page
special reports and whitepapers, to 300+ page manuals. PDF,
standing for Portable Document Format, is a brilliant
It solves the problem that while
people can develop word processing documents from any number
of word processors, spreadsheets from any variety of
spreadsheet programs, slide presentations from … and etc. …
the problem is that the only people who can read those
documents are people with the same software. For example, if
I wrote a document in MS Word and e-mailed it to you, and
you don’t have MS Word on your PC, you’re hooped. You can’t
open the document.
What PDF makes possible is that
any document that can be printed, can be made into a pdf
format file; and, anyone with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader
can open and read the document.
So you can see why it's so
popular for eBooks; almost everyone has Acrobat Reader
and if you don’t it’s just an easy, free download away.
Plus, the pdf file format can't be edited by most people
(and can be set so it can't be edited by anyone except the
creator). Plus "pdf" format files aren't usually taken
as a threat for viruses or worms, so pdf’s can be downloaded
without any issues with firewalls, etc.
The “con” on the pdf format is
primarily that anyone who receives your pdf book can
distribute it at will to anyone else. Sure, you can
password-protect the pdf file but passwords can easily be
distributed, too. So, be prepared for the reality that your
eBook will be “stolen” a great deal. Some authors get really
ticked off about this; others shrug and consider it the cost
of doing business.
To convert your MS Word document
into a pdf file, you can always buy Adobe Acrobat, which is
THE software application to create pdf's; but it's very
pricey and you'll use it perhaps for 5 minutes a year!
(Acrobat Reader, which reads pdf files but doesn't create
them, is of course free.) Instead, you can convert up to 5
files into pdf format for free at this Adobe page; for $9.99 a month you can
convert unlimited numbers of files, not a bad
deal. Alternatively, you can download this
free pdf creator; it's always worked great
Option 2: The
eBook Generator or Compiler
This can have some major
advantages over the pdf file ... but naturally there are
some significant disadvantages, too.
For a start, you can usually do
some neat things like make just a few pages available to the
reader; so, they can download the book for free, read the
first few (hopefully, mind-blowing) pages for free and
decide it's worth buying. Then on paying a fee, the
remainder of the book opens to them. This can be useful. Or,
you can set a “timer” so that the book cannot be opened
after a certain number of days have elapsed, or after it’s
been opened a certain number of times. (This is most often
used for promotional give-aways, not for purchased
products.) You can usually include audio and video in these
eBooks, too. Many of the generators also give you the option
to prevent anyone "cut and pasting" your contents, or even
printing the eBook.
Also, you can have a password
that works only with the computer on which the
software is installed. So sure, they can distribute
the eBook to others … but their password will not work. So
your theft rate is greatly diminished.
But as I said, there are
One major one is that many
companies have their firewalls set to refuse to accept files
with a "dot exe" extension, and that’s what these files
have. That can be a real nuisance. You can generate some
customer service issues, "I tried to download but ..." types
of thing arriving in your e-mail inbox..
Another problem is that it can
be a real chore to have to write the book in html. Even with
a great html editor, formatting can be a chore.
While pdf is by far the dominant
format, there are several eBook generators on the market,
and most of them are really not very expensive. I
checked a few out on trial before I chose one called
Activ E-Book Compiler. It’s as easy to use
as any, more powerful than most, and very affordable. It's
great for non-techies, it's mainly aimed at these; but
techies will find the ability to do some neat stuff with a
scripting language that's quite powerful.
Unfortunately, the eBook
generator format shares a common problem with pdf files
... someone can buy and download the e-Book, then take
advantage of your “money back in 30 days” (or whatever)
guarantee, claim their money back yet keep your product.
The next variation is intended
to deal with that.
Option 3: The
eBook you can turn off
On some of the other pages
(though not enough to do him justice), I've mentioned a guy
called Corey Rudl. He was one of the pioneers of the whole
Internet Marketing world, and built a multi-million business
… only to die, tragically, in a car crash in 2005. However,
his business continues to thrive, managed by Derek Gehl, a
guy who was Corey’s right-hand man for many years.
One of the products Corey
introduced was an eBook compiler called eBook Pro, where the eBook made with
it has to be registered, on being opened for the first
time, with an on-line database. It's all
automated, of course. Then, from time to time, if someone
opens the book, if the PC is online it again “checks in”
with this database. The advantage of this is that the author
of the e-Book can “turn off” or deactivate your specific
book if, for example, you asked for your money back.
One problem with this product
was that anyone who bought a book compiled with their eBook
generator had to download a special reader just to read
eBooks created with this tool. That problem has now been
solved; the reader comes built-in with the book.
Another problem is that some
people simply have a hard time with a book they’ve bought
that “phones home” every now and again. I suspect the
return-and-money-back rate is higher for books created with
this tool than for those created by the more common
compilers, although I have absolutely no proof of this. But
the response from the originators would probably be, that
that’s a small price to pay in comparison to the elimination
of the theft-by-return problem.
Incidentally, these folk
have done an interesting thing with their latest
version; they've given you the ability to use a free report
(that you generate using their eBook Pro) to build your
list, which can be very powerful. What happens is that when
the person with the eBook opens it, it asks if he wants to
send a copy to anyone else; if so, the software sends an
e-mail from them to the "target" which encourages them to
download the eBook and explains they'll have to register
their name and e-mail address in order to access the book.
If they follow through they are asked to agree that they're
happy to receive e-mails from you, the author of the report,
and if they are you are given their name and e-mail address.
I'm one of many who would probably decline because I'm
paranoid about giving my e-mail address away; but the point
is, SOME will sign up, these are people you would probably
never have reached anyway, and every person on that list is
worth money to you.
Worth Thinking About
- Digital products versus Physical
While I hope the advantages of
offering a digital product, one that a buyer can download
and view within seconds, where you have no shipping or
packaging or inventory to think about, are obvious, you
don’t have to stay with this route. Often there is a MUCH
higher perceived value in a physical product, one that has
to be printed or (in the case of a CD or DVD), “burned” and
And once again, the advantage of
the information product is that people recognize they are
buying it for the perceived value of the know-how; not for
the physical properties of the product itself.
For example, a few weeks ago I
paid $147 for a product that consisted of two physical,
plastic-bound "books." When I say plastic-bound, I mean a
plastic spiral … the type of thing you can get done for a
few cents at almost any copy center. The front covers of
both books were color printed, and made of a thin card. The
content of the main book was simply printed or photocopied,
black and white, single sided, wide margins. 120 pages in
total. The secondary book has 20 or so pages, and they are
black-on-white screen captures, intended simply to
illustrate some of the points made in the main book. Total
cost to generate the books, stick them in an envelope, and
mail them to me, is probably less than $10.
How happy am I to have paid
$147? I am delighted. I have read the main book twice and am
on my third run, and I’m still finding fresh ideas. Many of
them I have already used … and I’ve already received my
investment back many times. Actually, a single contract I
won as a result of using one of the ideas will generate a
53,792% return on my investment. Incidentally, I'd have been
just as happy to pay $147 for a digital version, but I think
I'm an exception.
How many of these products has
the marketer sold? Certainly hundreds and I’d guess probably
thousands, over the last couple of years. It’s one of
several products he has, and he’s well known in the
Now, let’s take a different, and
John Reese applied an ingenious
“launch” strategy to sell more than $1 Million of a
particular course in an 18-hour period, in early 2005. The
product, Traffic Secrets (currently unavailable as a new
version is being developed), is a collection of CDs and DVDs
(I can count more than 18 of them on my shelf from where I’m
sitting) plus three books. The topic of the main course is,
how to get traffic to your site. But there are bonuses in
there too, CDs on testing and tracking, Outsourcing, Exit
Traffic strategies (more people leave your site without
buying than after a sale, if you can take advantage of their
superior numbers you can make serious money). He covers
Traffic Conversion, Affiliate marketing, e-mail secrets …
there’s a LOT there. And it’s not cheap. I paid $997, I
By the way, another form of
information product is to produce a monthly newsletter; I
talk about this on another page focusing on Newsletters.
Many newsletters are free. Some charge for them. But now
look at what John Reese (again) has done. He offers a
monthly Report (a Report, not a
newsletter, note!) that is printed and mailed ...
accompanied by a CD that covers the concepts in his 22-page
Report in tremendous depth with videos, etc. I pay $97 a
month for that Report, I was one of the charter members a
year ago, which means that so far I've paid almost $1200 for
264 printed pages and 12 burned CDs! Total cost probably
under $20! How do I feel about that? Actually, I'm peeved...
because when I joined he limited the number of
subscriptions, but he's now opening the newsletter up
to others and I don't want them to get the incredible
information I've been getting!
And on the eBay page on this
website I mention a different type of Information Product
again, marketed in a different way ... where you use a home
video camera to record yourself doing something that others
find useful ... for example, how to groom a horse properly;
change the oil in a car; and so on. Put several of these
videos on a CD, sell it via eBay, and you have a formula for
making a few hundred bucks a month, even $1000+, from each
product of this type.
The Guys Who Know How To
Make Money At This
Several times so far I've
mentioned that if you're interested in this opportunity, you
should absolutely learn how to do it right, from experts. In
fact, if ANY of the Internet Marketing opportunities
interest you, consider reading the how-to material written
by the guys who sell Information Products on how to
make money from the Internet by selling Information products
... because these guys are not only very, very good at what
they do, they cover a lot of material that's useful no
matter which Internet Marketing opportunity.
Here are the guys (and the
courses and eBooks I recommend) - if you're interested at
all, I strongly recommend you visit their sales pages and
subscribe to their newsletters simply to see how the whole
thing works. Compare the formats, the headlines, the opt-in
offers ... click on the order form even if you have no
intention of buying ... read the e-mails that arrive in your
in-box within minutes of subscribing, see how they come at
you again and again in a way that is highly persuasive!
At the low end, Jim Edwards got
together with Dr. Joe Vitale, a copywriting specialist, to
produce a $29.95 eBook called How to Write your own e-Book in as little as 7
days. It's a solid starter if you want to
explore the topic further.
Jim Edwards is one of my
favorite people on the ‘Net. I have bought a LOT of stuff
from Jim, he has more than $1000 of my money, his products
have always been of superb quality, his service has been
first class, and – most important of all – I’ve learned an
enormous amount from him. Jim has a quality that is far from
common – he knows how to teach in ways that help people
learn. And while he covers some advanced concepts he is very
good at making his material clear to a complete beginner
too, which is again a rarity.
Another Jim Edwards book I
recommend is eBook Secrets Exposed, which covers more
ground and in my opinion is worth the extra few
bucks for the bonuses alone. He gets into things
like 6 ways to get someone else to write your product
for you; 9 ways to write an eBook fast; how to slash the
number of refund requests; and so on. One of the bonuses if
you buy this eBook is a report he calls "Topic
Detective," which gives you a lot of excellent ideas on how
to come up with a topic for your Information Product.
Another explains Copyright basics. Another goes into the
design of the mini-sites most commonly used to sell
Information Products. Tremendous value.
Now, if you want to take a
serious look at the opportunity of developing and marketing
an Information Product, you have a couple of top-notch
resources to choose from. You will be floored by the breadth
of the coverage AND the depth these guys go into. If you're
going to get into Information product marketing these give
you the opportunity to save hours, accelerate your
profits, and magnify your profits.
The first of these I want to
mention is Information Products Mastery, by Ryan
Deiss and Jimmy D. Brown. This is probably the most
comprehensive course out there, and it includes 11 CDs,
with more than 12 hours of audio, plus 5 work or
reference books, 8 checklists, and the bonus are also great;
for example, mini-videos on choosing and registering a
domain, setting up a web hosting account, building a web
page, uploading it to your site, working with
autoresponders, and so on - 24 in all. You get a 90-day no
questions warranty with this.
And another top-end product
is Instant Internet Profits by Yanik Silver.
This is a very different style of product than the one by
Brown & Deiss, with very different types of bonuses, too
- Yanik personally views and critiques your product (and
potentially gives you a testimonial for it), and you have a
shot at him forming a Joint Venture with you to promote your
product to his list. For those who qualify for this, it's
pure gold, of course; pretty much guaranteed sales. But of
course he won't do that for everyone.
Again, if nothing else take a
look at how they've structured their sites, made their
offers, etc ... and sign-up for any mini-courses they offer
to see how they work the magic they do. You don't have to
buy from these guys to learn a lot.
Summary of Resources
mentioned on this page
Elance - A resource where people will
bid on your book-writing project for surprisingly low
guru.com - a resource to find experts you
can interview on any topic
Mini-Site Creator Course - an
excellent course by Jim Edwards describing in detail how to
build the type of Mini-sites used to sell Information
XSitePro - superb easy-to-use
software to build web sites of all kinds
Power Copywriting for the Internet -
a step-by-step guide through the "formula" of writing a
powerful sales page
Instant Sales Letters - templates of
effective sales letters, including the sale of Information
Working with Clickbank - free, how to
set up your site to enable Clickbank to handle all credit
Free pdf creator - a useful utility
to create pdf files from any original document, such as MS
Activ E-Book Compiler - software that
creates a certain style of eBook, using html pages
eBook Pro - creates eBooks that can
be deactivated if the purchaser requests a refund
How to Write your own e-Book in as little as 7
days - an inexpensive eBook on how to write your
eBook Secrets Exposed - my favourite
low-cost eBook on how to develop and market an Information
Information Products Mastery - a
comprehensive high-end course on making money from
Instant Internet Profits - a
different style high-end course on making money from