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Selling Information Products: The Four Big Myths of Information Product Creation


Creating and selling information products is all the rage right now, with forums filling with conversations about launches and techniques. I can understand the enthusiasm, and I would suggest a lot of the excitement is coming from Jeff Walker’s latest “Product Launch Formula” buzz. Sadly I think a lot of the people who are getting whipped up in the excitement might get mislead about the supposed “instant millions” they might be able to generate.

The good news is, while not quite as glamorous and easy as we might be lead to believe, once I cracked how to go about creating and launching information products I did see the benefits almost immediately. This made my many, many mistakes easier to put up with! If you are considering starting your own ebook, video course or other type of information product, then expect the reality to be quite different from the “turn the interwebs into your personal ATM machine” type snake oil, but not as challenging as you might think.

Let’s first talk about the bad news, we should start by clearing up some of the unhelpful myths and the hype.

Four Big Myths of Information Product Creation

  1. MYTH: “Information products are easy”. TRUTH: Most people never finish their product – Do you have a half completed ebook sat on your hard disk? Have you started yet? Out of the many people I have spoken to about creating information products, the vast majority have good intentions but little progress. The bigger the project they have in mind the less likely they are to complete. Shipping something is much rarer than most of us would expect.
  2. MYTH: “Build it and they will come”. TRUTH: Most people create something nobody wants – Out of the people who do create something, the next hurdle is getting people to buy it. The instant success that flies off the shelves is more dream than reality for most. While it is possible to create a market if you have the time and marketing budget, I find it much easier to serve a ready-made audience.
  3. MYTH: “Easy money”. TRUTH: Manage your income expectations – The big internet marketing gurus have million dollar sales days, you will probably not. If you are just starting out and have no authority, if your list is small or zero, don’t expect a huge launch, or even a small windfall. Also, don’t think “One big product and I am made for life” because while there are people who have super successful products that they can live off, most people can not build the Lamborghini, Learjet, seven figure lifestyle business you might be lead to dream about.
  4. MYTH: “Affiliates will sell for you”. TRUTH: Most affiliates will ignore you – If you have no authority and your existing sales figures are not impressive, don’t expect to attract big affiliates. The problem with a lot of the advice out there is the answer to low sales is to make up the slack with affiliates, which does work, but it’s not a given. Think from the affiliate perspective, they have lots of options for what to promote to their precious list, why will they promote YOUR product, something from an unknown quantity, a product YOU can’t even get to people to buy?

OK, that’s the doom and gloom section out of the way!

If you are not totally turned off information products at this point, here is the good news part.

Information products can and do provide a significant and recurring income that builds over time. Plus the more practice you put into it, the better you get, and the better your results.

Each of the challenges outlined above do have solutions but there are no silver bullets and they all take effort. More effort than most people consider putting in. This is actually good news for anyone who has it within them to apply a little focus and time!

Here are my suggestions:

1. Getting Unstuck

When I surveyed my customers, the biggest challenge facing them was getting stuff done. That is why I created Make More Progress as a combination of productivity and info product training. I realised most of the procrastination was coming from people trying to create these huge, daunting projects. It reminded me of my own stuck feelings when I was creating the first version of Authority Blogger back in 2007.

Ambition is good, but giving yourself too much to do can halt your momentum and make you feel bad about your lack of progress. Instead you need to streamline.

2. Sell Something People Actually Want

The first step in creating something that will actually sell is getting to know your target market. You might believe you are your target market, but that is dangerous thinking. You might be right, or disastrously wrong. Instead of creating a solution looking for a problem, investigate what your audience really wants, then test the market.

3. Create Once, Sell Repeatedly

Part of the joy of my rapid product creation process mentioned above is that each time you create a new product, regardless of how well it sells at launch, you have an asset that can bring you an income forever. Want a pay rise? Create another, related product, or sell more of the original!

How much can you make? Obviously the real answer is “It depends”, but you are very much in control of most of the variables. Let’s illustrate with some math.

In the chart above I am making the assumption that you can get 50 visitors per day to visit an offer for a $50 product with a comparatively poorly converting sales page.

(Conversion rate means the percentage of people who visit and go away versus buy. 1% would mean one out of every 100 visitors becomes a customer)

These are not ambitious numbers, in fact if you have read this blog for a while then they are well within your reach. If you put in the effort to have simple, basic foundations in place of course.

People in the business would regard 5% as a pretty reasonable conversion target, so 1% is not putting the bar high. My original sales page for Authority Blogger converted at 12% and that was when I had a lot less practice to now. Can you get traffic to your offer? Well if you are active in social media, hang out in your niche community, have a blog and an email list then you ought to be able to generate greater than 50 clicks through to an offer per day. If you have more authority and visibility then you can obviously drive much more traffic.

Regardless of where you are right now, we can see that if we can get just 50 people to visit our offer per day, and we can get 1% of those people to buy, then we can make approximately $25 per day or $750 per month. Improve the traffic to 100 visitors per day, or the sales page to improve the conversions from 1% to 2% and we can double that. What if you could improve the visitors and conversions at the same time? We could make $100 per day or $3,000 per month. So over a year, everything staying equal (that is, you can’t tweak your conversion rate or traffic up by even a small amount), that one product could be bringing in between $9,000 and $36,000 per year.

This, remember, is from one product. We haven’t even gotten into the more advanced stuff like cross-sells, up-sells, sales sequences …

4. The Truth About Affiliates

I won’t go over everything I already wrote in my article all about attracting affiliates and JVs, suffice to say if you want to attract affiliates, first you need to get some sales figures to share or build your authority, or both. People should not be expected to promote an unknown, and that goes for you and your product. If however you have some respect in your niche or some compelling results, then people will start to open up to you. Rather than say “Hey, please promote this” you can say “This is working really well for me and the people who already promoted”. The best place to start with gathering affiliates is your own customers, and they are the people who will start building your bank of case studies to take to the larger affiliates.

Bottom Line

Well done for getting this far, I know it was a fair bit to get through. If you feel inspired then the main thing to do now is to get started.

If you have an information product inside of you ready to get out then get moving. Nothing will happen until you do something about it.

Have I missed any myths? Anything confusing that you need me to explain? Are you ready to get creating your information product? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments …

Talking of being getting started with your information products … I want to tell you about my latest course …

Make More Progress: Kick Procrastination in the Face and Become a Rapid Product Creator.

Increase your productivity without any rigid organisation systems that cause even more work, rapidly create and launch information products in record time, and get more done with less effort.

Go ahead and click here right now to find out more!

 

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Comments

  1. As someone who created his first info product (a membership site) a year ago, I can appreciate your warnings, especially not to get your hopes up. I found that the gurus, while inspiring, will often highlight case studies that represent the best outcomes from their prior customers. Again, inspiring, but they don’t often do a good job of managing beginner expectations. Yes, I could make $10,000 a month some day, but chances are it won’t be with the first product I create, let alone the first launch of that product.

    The good news, like you said, is it should get easier, much like starting new blogs gets easier once you have a few under your belt. Thanks for this reality check!

  2. One thing I have noticed about people I have worked with is their fear of getting their product up and out on the web. They focus on tweaking the website, and making the header look pretty. They do all this other stuff and delay actually getting it out there.

    • Yes tweaking design etc FEELS like work, but really what is the point of further polish or analysis if nobody gets to see it :) Moving forward even with tiny steps is much better than “maybe someday” :)

  3. Great “sanity check” post Chris.

    One of the best humorous descriptions of internet marketers I’ve heard is “People who work 18 hours a day so they can make money while they sleep”.

    It all sounds so great, the passive income model. But as you say, it’s hard work. And you have to keep at it.

    Ian

  4. As someone who has been working for the last couple months on a product (and the launch is tomorrow!!) I feel pretty excited. I have a list of eager buyers which I have been building for a long time before I got up the gumption, and enough people kicked me in the pants to create the product. It can be very disheartening when your products don’t do as well as you’d hoped on launch day, but it is only one day, and the long term sales are what really count. Thanks Chris

  5. Yup – all sounds about right. :-) The only thing I would add is to challenge people to step back and ask if an information product really is the solution to the problem you’re solving.

    Sometimes, it isn’t.

  6. Great reminders Chris – and I really like the chart -now I need to spend some time with learning the sales page and conversion aspects – but appreciate all the honest helped you’ve provided with this process so far – realistic and “do-able” – gives me hope that I can make it happen if I keep on taking one step at a time.

  7. Another myth is the opposite to #1, people have it in their head that writing anything longer than a blog post, is too hard. Even though they know their topic well, they believe they lack writing skills, organizational skills, or both to fill 20, 50 or 120 pages. And they don’t finish either.

    The truth here is that a great majority of people can either learn the skills they need, or hire someone to help with editing and/or writing. With everything that’s available now, in my opinion, saying you don’t have the resources or the wherewithall to create a product, just doesn’t fly. In fact, many authors will tell you that writing is actually the easy part, getting the product known and keeping sales momentum going however, is often the bigger challenge.

  8. I’d also say not to look at it as a one time, be all and end all thing. Like you said, you can sell it again, which I think takes the pressure off the launch part, and also it makes you realise that it’s an investment, not a stop start point in your online business.

    Thanks Chris.

  9. As I slowly transition from being a service provider to a product creator I have to say that this is one of the best blog posts I have seen written on this subject.

    I shall be quoting you on my blog if that is okay!

    Perhaps I should interview you for part of my interview series on Product Creation… It might prove to be a nice lead in to your Kick Procrastination in the Face and Become a Rapid Product Creator, although I suspect this probably isn’t the best place to ask! Anyway will be in touch and thanks again for this fantastic blog post!

  10. “Most people never finish their product”

    Ow.

    The Internet is full of shiny things.

  11. Great article. I launched a product over a year ago, had affiliates sign up and start promoting without me contacting them. Like a lot of people, I thought my work was done. Sit back and them make the sales.

    Sales haven’t been very good :)

    I’m now planning a re-launch with a much improved plan of attack.

    One other statement that I run into a lot when trying to find partners for projects is – “It’s already been done before”.

    Your point here – “I find it much easier to serve a ready-made audience” is what I try to stress as an answer.

    Great article again.

  12. I agree, you have to manage your income expectations. There’s no such thing as easy money. Creating income online requires genuine work, time and effort.

  13. So true about the “build it and they will come” myth. I tell my clients to research a potential product by:
    1) Writing blog posts on the topics they want to turn into a product.
    2) Use trackable mini url’s in their social media updates that link back to these posts.
    3) Look at the stats and see what their followers are clicking on the most.
    4) Expand those posts into products.

    Let the market tell you what they want FIRST, and by all means make sure you are a credible expert in that field too. Thanks Chris!