The creation of your first info product is a huge first step toward implementing multiple streams of income in your business. It means that you have something to sell prospective customers to “size you up” as they consider purchasing your services, that you can sell something 24-7 from your website that demonstrates your expertise, and that you’re well on your way to creating a passive revenue stream for your business.
Your process doesn’t have to be as detailed as I’ve outlined here, but if you want to do a thorough job in the creation process, I suggest that you embark on all the steps.
1. Solution to a Problem. The best-selling information products provide a direct solution to a major problem of your target market. If you’re a professional organizer, the problem might be how to clean and store and organize holiday decorations so that they can be easily found and used from year to year. If you’re a weight loss coach, the problem might be how to stay motivated when you’ve hit a weight loss plateau. Jot down some of the primary problems of your target market and the process by which you help your clients resolve these issues.
2. Determine Your Offering. Info products come in all types of formats, from ebooks to ecourses to recorded teleseminars to podcasts to special reports to CD and DVD sets. Take stock of your target market and determine what format would best fit their lifestyle. Are they virtual business owners who work from home at their computers for most of the day? Then an ebook or ecourse would probably work well for this group. Are they busy executives who travel frequently? Then you might consider a portable audio format. You can also combine formats to appeal to a variety of learning styles or lifestyles.
And, of course, cost is a major consideration. Do you want to create a physical product that has to be shipped, or would an electronic download work? There are much greater costs on your end to produce a physical product than an electronic one, and you also have to deal with product fulfillment as well if you choose to sell a physical product. I tell my clients to start with an electronic version and test it out, and if it’s successful, move to a physical product, which has greater perceived value in the eyes of consumers.
3. Pricing. Pricing of info products is all over the map. Check out your competition (yes, there will be competing products on the same topic aimed at the same target market) and see what they’re charging. You also need to take a look at your contact database and make some assessments of the value of your information to them as well as what you think they will pay. You can survey your database to determine this info, or base it on comparable offerings in the marketplace. Many times my clients get hung up on the notion of comparing pricing for their info product to what they can find in the local bookstore. Generally, pricing for info products is higher than retail bookstores because the info being sold online is specialized for a target market and is delivered immediately upon order (if it’s an electronic download).
The pricing strategy that also seems to sell better online is ending your price with a 7, like in $17, $47, etc. If you offer a high-priced product, consider offering payment via an installment plan, where you charge a bit more each month for the product than if someone were to pay for the product in full at time of purchase.
4. Technology. Do you have the technology in place to create and deliver your offering? If it’s an ebook, you’ll need either a PDF writer program or ebook compiler software. For an audio program you’ll need a microphone and audio recording and editing capabilities. For an ecourse you’ll need either autoresponder software or a direct to desktop solution. For delivery you’ll need a shopping cart that can deliver electronic products or take shipping info for physical products as well as some type of merchant account to take credit and process credit cards. You’ll also want a sequential autoresponder service to follow up with your buyers.
5. Create the Product. This is typically the most labor intensive part of the process, as you’re actively recording or writing or videotaping your information for the product. Some products are easier to create than others, especially if you’re recycling other content that you have into a new product. If you’re starting from scratch, however, give yourself a full 3-6 weeks of steady work time for product creation. After creating the product you may want to have it proofread and/or edited in some fashion by a proofreader or an audio/video expert.
6. Graphics. A picture tells a thousand words, and more importantly, info products sell better when the visitor has a graphic representation of this intangible info product item. If graphic design isn’t your specialty, find someone to design an ebook cover or podcast album art for you. You may want to have the designer also create a website header banner for the product that you can use on your sales page. You can generally have both of these done for around $200. The more professional your image, the better perceived value your product has.
7. Domain, Hosting, and Website. I believe that each info product should have its own domain name and sales page to be most effective. Domain names are pretty inexpensive, so you could actually buy several for each product — one that reflects the product name, for example, and one that reflects the result someone will receive after using your product. You can use the various domain names and websites for a variety of testing purposes as you go to sell your product. If your plan to create multiple info products, you’ll probably want to obtain a website hosting account that will enable you to host multiple domains from the same account. Another option is to forward your product’s domain name to a “hidden” page of your primary site.
8. Copywriting. There is a specific formula to copywriting for one-pages sales letter websites. The best way to get ideas for your sales letter is to create a Marketing Swipe file of other sales copy that you like. From your swipe file take a look at the headlines, the introduction, the subheadlines, the listing of benefits, the product description, the outline of the features, the call to action (request to buy), the closing, and the postscripts. You’ll begin to see a pattern emerge when you look at 4-5 sample sales pages.
9. Shopping Cart. Once your product is complete, you need to upload the product into your shopping cart and set up the cart for purchases. This may mean that you also need to set up shipping and handling charges for physical products and integrate your shopping with your shipper of choice. If your state requires the collection of state sales taxes, you’ll need to integrate that as well.
10. Followup Autoresponders. Creating a series of autoresponders to follow-up with a customer after purchase enables you to stay in front of the customer and reminder her about your other product/service offerings. Design a series of 3-5 autoresponders that will be sent out after a purchase to check in with your customer and tell her the next step she needs to take after her purchase. This might mean referring her to another info product, asking her to join some type of subscription service, or experiencing your service with a free trial.
11. Capturing Contact Info. Sadly, not everyone who visits your website will buy what you’re selling. However, you can still capture their contact info by creating a free giveaway for those who may not be ready to buy. This might be a special report or free ecourse, and you follow the same steps outlined previously for creating this giveaway. You’ll also need to create 3-5 followup autoresponders here as well that will ultimately offer them your product once again.
12. Publish and Promote. Now, you’re ready to sell. Publish your website and begin to promote your offering to your own database. You can create a buzz about your product by writing a press release, offering a free teleclass, buying ads on other websites or in other newsletters, publishing articles, creating podcasts, purchasing pay-per-click advertising, requesting colleagues to send out notices to their contact lists, and creating an affiliate program in which others can sell your product for a commission.
Creating your first info product can be a time-consuming process. However, once it’s created, you stand to earn income from it for years to come. Start to expand your business offerings today with information products.