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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 …
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.