Starting your own business comes with a unique set of challenges. When I started my first internet based business I had the challenge of creating products. I had the motivation, resources, capital, and inspiration to start my own business, but not the products. Without anything to sell there is no business or money coming in.
So I had to create products. But I didn’t want the process to take months and months during which I couldn’t run my business. I needed to make money NOW and get my business up and running A.S.A.P. So I turned to the oldest, easiest, cheapest, and fastest type of product to create…information products.
When most people think of information products they only think of E-books. That’s simply not true anymore. Information products come in a variety of formats: online courses, tutorials, videos, audio recordings, podcasts, software programs, reports, photographs, CD’s, DVD’s…the list goes on and on.
The only other requirement for an information product is that it can be delivered electronically or downloaded. This is why information products are also called digital goods. Basically, if it delivers knowledge and you can e-mail it to the customer or offer it as a downloadable file, then it qualifies as an information product.
Why do I like information products so much? So many reasons…
• Information products are great because they can be created with little or no money. My first product was a tutorial. It only cost me a few dollars to buy a domain, hosting and a copy of Adobe Acrobat so I could turn the word files into PDF’s.
• You never run out of inventory. The great thing about selling products that can be emailed to customers or downloaded is that you never have to tell a customer that they won’t get their product for three weeks or longer because of a re-print. You can sell a million copies a day and never run out.
• No shipping problems! Believe me this is a real hassle with other products I sell. I spend a good deal of time resending products to customers that claim they never got their first copy and replacing items the postman damaged in transit. With information products, shipping costs and problems are completely eliminated!
• Best of all my customers love getting their products delivered to them as soon as they buy! No more waiting and checking the mailbox every day for a package.
• Less people to hire and manage. Physical products require printers and production. I don’t have to hire a production assistant to keep the process in check. I don’t have to keep a warehouse manager to keep track of inventory levels or a shipping manager to oversee the shipping function.
Over the years I’ve created a lot of information products; everything from tutorials to videos. Along the way I’ve learned what NOT to do and what I should ALWAYS do. I’ve come up with some guidelines to follow to ensure your next information product is a success.
My biggest lesson over the years was learning to target a specific niche of people, instead of trying to appeal to everyone. Realize that you can’t be everything to everyone. There may be fewer potential buyers in a niche, but they’ll be much easier to convert once you’ve found them. This way you end up selling more and more quickly! For example don’t just sell information on losing weight. Sell information about how to tone your upper arms in 30 days.
Find a topic you enjoy and would like to build a business around. It could be anything from fitness to crafts. Once you have your target identify your target audience within that niche. Who will want your information? Seasoned pros or newbies? Young or old people? Don’t target everyone in your niche. Continuing with the fitness example. Are you targeting athletes or people who haven’t worked out in a long time? People who want to lose 30 pounds plus or just tone up a bit? You’ve got to narrow down who your ideal customers are and write information specifically for them.
Once you have researched your niche and target audience, you have to narrow down the focus of your information. It’s always better to cover one specific topic in great detail instead of trying to talk about every facet of it. For example, skip the too general topic of losing weight and instead focus on one aspect of losing weight, like “Get Rock Hard Abs.” This will have a much bigger pay off and allow you to create multiple information products around one general topic.
Whenever possible include personal experience or case studies. People want to know that results are actually achievable and not some made up story. Your audience will trust you more if you can demonstrate that you’ve had experience with the topic. Learning by examples is one of the best ways to take in information and apply it to your own situation. It’s why I always write about problems I’ve solved myself in my weekly newsletter to you.
The “meat” of your information product will be in teaching someone how to do something. You’ve got to break down the actions, into small, more manageable steps. I always pretend I am talking to a group of junior high students. Don’t use jargon or other technical terms here. This is not the time to assert your dominance; it’s the time to assert your teaching skills. To come up with an action plan for my audience I begin by imagining the point where my customers are now and then where they want to be after getting through my product. Then I list every step along the way. Anytime you can create a day-by-day list of activities your audience needs to preform to get them to their goal, the better success they’ll have.
At the end of every information product I create I include a list of resources helpful on the topic. People in general are lazy. They want someone to do all the work for them. In fact, people will pay top dollar for the convenience of having everything they need organized and catalogued for them. Compile a list of helpful resources on the topic and include it at the end. For example if you are writing a tutorial on how to make jewelry, include a list of places people can easily buy the materials from.
Over the years I’ve changed the format I deliver my information products in. Like I said, my first information product was a tutorial. It was a pdf that customers were emailed once their order was processed. But creating the same format gets boring doing it time and time again, not only for you, but for your customers. Mix up the format. Test out how your customers best like to receive information. In recent years video tutorials have become more popular than E-books.
Regardless of which format you choose, your information product will give you the edge you need to make your business a success. There is a reason my very first product was an information product. They save time, frustration, money and resources just by their very nature. The advantages are enormous!