Marketing an Information Product...


Many Internet 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 amateur. 


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 digital products.


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 your leisure.


Now … is it really that easy?


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 inexpensive.


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 $35.


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 $0.70.


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 now.


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 despise.  


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 endless).

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 parents!)

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 pitch!)

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 course.


Obstacle #2: I don’t know enough about anything that people will pay for!


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 YOUR knowledge? 


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 author’s personality.


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 years. 


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 to find an expert and pay him or her for an hour to do a brain dump of the topic you're interested in.


I hate to sound like a broken record, but the eBooks and courses cover all this stuff.



Obstacle #3:  I’m not a good writer!


There are three things to think about here.


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 site!


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 you use?


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 just  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 guide.


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.


Obstacle #5:  I don’t know how to publish or format my eBook


Now, this can get quite interesting.


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 pages.

  • 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 turn.


Option 1:  The PDF file.


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 idea.


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 for me!   


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 some negatives.


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 products


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 labeled.


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 industry.


Now, let’s take a different, and extreme, example.


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 believe.


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.


Good hunting!


Summary of Resources mentioned on this page


Elance - A resource where people will bid on your book-writing project for surprisingly low fees - 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 Products

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 Products

Working with Clickbank - free, how to set up your site to enable Clickbank to handle all credit card transactions

Free pdf creator - a useful utility to create pdf files from any original document, such as MS Word documents

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 own eBook

eBook Secrets Exposed - my favourite low-cost eBook on how to develop and market an Information Product

Information Products Mastery - a comprehensive high-end course on making money from Information Products

Instant Internet Profits - a different style high-end course on making money from Information Products