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Do I hear you asking “what on earth is an information product and how can I sell it”?
Basically, information product sales are a way of earning income from your knowledge. It is usually in the form of an online digital product sale. Instead of standing in front of a class of students, week after week, giving a speech on how to take photographs of horses, you use your expert knowledge in this field to write or film a how-to guide on equine photography. Then, you post it online, market and promote it and charge people to read it or watch it.
There are numerous ways to create and sell your information product so that you can do the work, sit back and let the pounds roll in.
This guide will teach you
- How to start on your journey to create an info product.
- Will give you a list of Information Product Suggestions.
- How to leverage social media platforms and SEM (Social media marketing) to advertise your info products.
- How to turn your info products into passive income assets by monetizing them.
First, what skill are you selling? Are you an accountant, a photographer, a historian, a seamstress? What are you really good at and, preferably, have had some experience of delivering your knowledge? You need to be honest as selling information product only works, like any sale, if you are selling a good product.
Also important, if you are not the world’s best writer or videographer, your information product will look amateur so invest in a ghost-writer, proofreader, editor or professional filming company.
Once you have decided upon the skill you have, look at what you can create to sell it.
It is often a good idea to create your own website to promote your information product. If you do not want to build a website from scratch you can also buy one. Using an established website, to promote and market your info product will have numerous advantages in terms of search engine rankings. Even if you do sell directly from your own page, you can use it to direct to where you do sell or to links to your social media. (A point of note is that the link should link directly to the information product you are promoting, not just a home-page. People will soon lose interest if they have to go “fishing”!)
Different sites have different payment methods but many use PayPal so make sure you check before you sign up.
Although paper books still dominate the market, more and more readers are becoming open to the idea of E-books and sales are increasing each year. E-books are also an excellent way of entering the market as a writer due to self-publishing through sites like Amazon and Smashwords.
The possibilities of subject matter are endless but make sure you choose something about which you are truly knowledgeable. Here are some ideas:
– Fiction (romance, science fiction, historical; anything you love to write about)
– Biographies (great if you are a student studying someone, try to include an interview)
– Travel guides (can be from your travels or even your home-town)
– Cookery books (choose a style you love to cook and make sure you test every recipe)
– Healthy living (nutrition, fitness)
What can you write about? What do you excel at? Write about it.
Of course, the market is swamped by amateurs writing about all manner of topics so be sure that you can write well. Study sites about writing styles and make sure you are competent in the basics of grammar and spelling. If you feel you have a great idea but are not comfortable with your written language skills, you can hire a proofreader/editor or even a ghostwriter through sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
Once you have your final product, you need to post it, promote it and then start selling it. The cost of self-published books is obviously lower than printed books but the idea is to price low and then sell high quantities.
Learn more: How to generate residual income from eBooks.
2. How-To Guides
How-To Guides are pretty self-explanatory. They are a way of teaching amateurs to perform tasks from total ignorance until advanced levels. Be clear from the start, and in your marketing, for which level you are writing.
For example, if you are great at decorating cakes, you can write “Sarah’s Cake Decoration for Beginners” which includes basic icing, piping, making roses etc. As your write, you have to think that the reader has no knowledge at all and every little detail has to be explained, including the names of the tools or materials used.
Once you have published that, you can go onto “Sarah’s Cake Decoration Intermediate” and then advanced and so on.
Some ideas for How-To Guides:
– Arts and crafts (knitting, painting, making gift cards)
– Technical skills (car mechanics, welding, plumbing)
– Accountancy (how to do your taxes)
The most important thing is that you know what you are writing about. If you don’t, you will get bad reviews and then no-one will by your guides.
Instead of sending employees on long and costly business trips to attend seminars, webinars are becoming more efficient and popular. Most are live, although you can also film them and sell the finished results later (if all parties have given their consent.)
The webinar host markets the event and, using specific software, all parties join in for a fee. Some software is available for free (Google Hangouts and Skype) but can be limited with regards to numbers of attendees or duration. Start with the free sites and, as business picks up, invest in more flexible software.
Possible subjects for a webinar include:
– IT and Software (new releases and how to use them)
– Training (customer service, sales techniques, others which include audience participation)
– New product releases (companies wanting to promote or train for new products to suppliers)
Clearly, no-one can expect just to advertise a webinar and expect people to flock to join. You will need to have a known name in the field and then market well.
4. Templates and Forms
Templates and forms can be on all matters, such as legal documents (including wills, lease agreements, employment contracts) but care must be taken to ensure that the legal details are accurate. In any case, a disclaimer should be clear.
Other templates can include accountancy documents such as business plans, profit and loss reports and balance sheets in Excel or accountancy software. (Offer them formatted in as many different types of software as you can to reach a larger market.)
Templates and forms are usually sold for only a few cents per page but, if well promoted and reviewed, high sales volumes can generate a steady income. There are many possible sites for selling such as Formget but do some research to find out which sites are best for your information product.
5. Online Courses
Online courses tend to be static, in as much as you upload the content and charge people to take the course. Some involve personal contact but then that starts to become more like coaching.
Firstly, you need to establish your credentials as clients are unlikely to want to pay for a course from an unknown.
Courses can be short, a matter of hours, or on-going with a monthly fee. Many of the How-To Guides can also be in the form of an online course or a combination of both. They often share selling websites as well, such as Skillshare. You can also create your own courses on sites like Udemy and Appspot.
The most popular subjects for online courses are:
– Education (studying for specific exams, languages, college and school assistance)
– Food and beverage (cookery, nutrition, wine knowledge, cake decoration)
– Arts and crafts (scrapbooking, woodwork, painting, beading, jewellery making)
– Skills (graphic design, video editing, animation, DIY, social media, real estate)
As people might find it difficult to simply follow your course without any interaction, you could turn it into a kit. Include worksheets, guides, audio and video. Ask them to complete the worksheets or workbooks and send them to you for comments.
Coaching can include many fields such as lifestyle, business or sports. You can offer group courses or one-on-one sessions or a combination of both.
When it comes to coaching, you need to be clear on what your client will receive; for example, one hour of video twice a week and 20 minutes of one-on-one online time weekly.
However, it is the personal touch that differentiates coaching from online courses so it is important that clients feel a connection with you. Coaching also means you need to answer questions in a timely manner, usually 24 to 48 hours maximum but the quicker the better.
There are sites such as Teachable which charge a monthly or annual fee for members to access any coaching. Although the amount payable to you will be small, it is a good way of getting your foot in the door, so to speak. Once you have established yourself, you can join other sites such as Toptal through which your payment will be higher.
Alternatively, you can have a subscription-only YouTube channel or your own website but, again, you need to be clear what you will offer before asking for money. The more you ask for, the more you will need to offer.
Some of the more popular information product coaching covers:
- Lifestyle (health, fitness, exercise, dance, aerobics, fasting, nutrition, yoga, meditation)
- Life skills (self-improvement, self-confidence boosting, asking for a pay rise, assertiveness)
- Sports (golf, tennis, any sport)
- Relationships (dating, how to make the first approach, how to talk to strangers, communication in marriage)
- Business (public speaking, customer service, sales skills, small businesses)
- Finances (how to save, how to get out of debt, pensions)
- Skills (photography, videography, arts and crafts)
One way to interact regularly with your clients is to set them challenges. You will find that some of them react very well to being given challenges and deadlines, almost like homework. With the busy lives we all lead, your clients are more likely to succeed when held accountable and you can do this via email or videos giving them tasks to accomplish. If you feel you are losing their attention, you can do spot quizzes or competitions to re-spark their interest.
You can write articles, blogs or stories. Some people require ghostwriters as they have the story they want to tell but not the writing skills. Alternatively, you can proofread and edit someone else’s work.
There are also opportunities for writing music; jingles, soundtracks, songs etc.
The best way to work with all these sites is to start by bidding low (it may seem ridiculously low for the work involved) but then to build up a good client base, get good reviews and then gradually increase your costs.
8. Use Your Voice
Do you have a good singing voice? You can earn money online by recording singing for companies, commercials, soundtracks etc.
You can also do voice-overs, especially if you have a distinctive voice. Voice-overs are used for many purposes and can be recorded online for future use.
Different sites such as Voice Bunny require different voices so have a browse and choose the one that suits you best.
Consultancy and advice is a personal approach to information product. You get to know the client and advise accordingly.
Consultancy is often offered for financial services and planning. It is not enough just to offer an online course. You will need to know your client’s financial situation, income, outgoings, savings etc.
Connected to finances are consultancy services with regards to stock markets and crypto-currencies. No matter what the sites selling these services may say, you will not make money if you have no knowledge or advice so consulting on these subjects can be a profitable venture.
10. Apps or Games
If you have software writing skills, you can create an app or an online game.
All types of apps are available, such as games, dating, food ordering, finding your way, baby care tips and so on. The list is endless so the key is to find something that you think is lacking in the market. Perhaps a historical tour of your home town; a guide to ordering lunch in Italian; photo-collages or even 10 songs to sing your baby to sleep; they can all be made into a small, low-priced app.
Apps tend to sell for a very low price, usually 99c but, again, volume counts so if it is useful and clever, good reviews will result in more sales and it becomes self-generating.
Games are more and more popular with some games earning billion annually. Develop your game, beta test it with friends and families and then publish.
When it comes to publishing apps and games Google Play and IOS Apple are the market leaders. Google Play is slightly easier to get accepted into but both have a massive database of similar items so yours will need to stand out from a very large crowd and you will have to market it.
If you just want to make a quick buck, you can sell your game outright. You will not receive any steady income but you also won’t have the hassle of marketing and promotion.
11. Memberships, Clubs and Groups
You can create online groups to bring like-minded people together. A joining fee, after meeting the required conditions is the norm. Further income can be generated from sponsorship and affiliations.
Memberships can include dating, relationship, support, skills related (i.e. photography), forums and so on. Don’t be tempted to accept any applicants for their fee as the other members will soon notice and you your will lose its core purpose.
Social Media now dominates most forms of marketing. A good and real social media following can open doors for your information product with very little expenditure. By “real”, I mean do not be fooled into buying fake followers. You are simply buying someone to click like once and never look at your page again.
To succeed you will need to be diverse. Be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, blog sites and so on. Post regularly and only post quality content. Make a monthly plan. Write properly and use good photography and videography. Amateur contents will not attract followers.
Link all your social media together so your follower is only one click away from your other sites.
Once you have started posting, you will need to expand your followers.
How to Build a Social Media Audience naturally
The internet is flooded with hopeful social media “wannabes”. The top earners on social media have millions of followers that, whatever their subject matter, they earned by talking and writing in a way that they are truly connected with their followers. (Do you know the top YouTube earner in 2018 is an 8 year old boy who opens toys live online? His reaction is watched by millions of followers to the value of US$ 23 million a year in advertising, sponsorship and even a range of toys at Walmart?)
Followers feel they know the person and, therefore, are likely to be convinced to buy, do or use something recommended.
To start building your audience, first of all use your friends and relatives and ask them to share everything, in turn asking their friends and family. This will get you a few hundred followers depending on how popular you are (or aren’t!)
Then, look for sites that will work well with yours, not in competition. For example, if you are offering customer service training as an online course, get in touch with mystery shopping companies. If you work together, you will gain more followers and possibly more customers.
On other social media, you can comment and like symbiotic sites, encouraging them and their followers to follow you too.
Followers like to feel their opinion or comments count so, as much as you can, respond to questions and comments quickly and have “conversations” with as many as you can.
As you are building your base, make sure you remain honest. If you receive sponsorship or payment in any way, you should declare it clearly. Some sites such as YouTube offer you this option automatically as you are uploading your video. Your followers will respect you for your honesty but will stop supporting you if you pretend to like a product or service in return for a secret payment.
Most importantly, keep posting high quality and interesting content, professional looking video & images and, more than anything, be true to your passion.
With an ever-growing fan base, you will be able to sell and market your information product more effectively.
Marketing Your Information Product
Marketing is a generalised term for promoting whatever it is you are trying to sell. You need to get your name, your product and your credentials to the right audience.
The first thing to decide is who is your target audience?
Some things will be clear from the start about the people to whom you are marketing. For example, if you are trying to sell your services for online software support, you are looking at small companies with less than 20 employees, not mega-corporations. In this case, you can promote yourself through local small business associations.
Don’t waste your time trying to promote yourself to everyone. Decide who your information product would be best for and target them. Once you have succeeded at that, you can always expand your target audience later.
Show Up and Network
Go to events, conferences, seminars, and so on where you can talk about your services. Give free speeches to charities, talks at photography seminars, offer financial advice free of charge to the elderly etc. Become active in your community so your name is known. Then promote your services whenever appropriate.
Use Your Contacts
Use email addresses and phone numbers you already have to send out information. Emails may seem a slightly old fashioned way but studies prove they still work if well written and eye-catching. Even if those contacts do not have something for you, they may know someone who does.
Don’t forget that you can ask followers on your social media to subscribe to your sites and ask them for their email addresses in the process, thereby creating your own fan database.
Very few of us can afford to market our products with the help of true celebrities. However, if you have written an e-book biography about a scientist because that is your field of expertise, ask him or her to share the information with his/her followers and to mention you in his/her social media.
If you are coaching and using stories about successful people, ask those successful people to share and comment on your work. Their followers might become yours.
Think about the community in which you live and see how to can target them directly. If you offer business services such as accountancy, you can visit potential clients. Of course, this moves away from the concept of digital information product but, once you have made your contacts, you then move to the digital side.
Use local notice-boards in supermarkets or community locations to put up a flyer about your services or even start a competition with one of your information products as the prize.
There are numerous ways of promoting yourself if you have the budget to do so. Google and Facebook are professionals in paid advertising so might be worth looking at if you can. They each ask for your target demographic details such as age, sex, country of origin, interests, etc. and work on a basis of pays per click. This means that, every time a reader sees an ad in which they are interested and click on it, they charge a small amount.
You can set daily limits so, if your ad is very popular, it doesn’t break the bank!
From comments and feedback on your social media, you will also be able to see which subjects were of most interest to your followers. You can even get the statistics from your own web site to see which pages are most worth promoting.
Look for Reasons to Celebrate!
We are constantly bombarded with “buy this” or “use this” both on social media and elsewhere. Instead of pushing your products, share experiences such as new product launches, anniversaries or success stories. This will be something that people are more likely to read and want to participate in.
Use the concept of teasers in your social media to announce that something will be happening soon. I can’t promise that everyone will be sitting at the edge of their seats but they will look forward to something happening.
The growth of affiliate marketing has been explosive over the past 5 years. Blogs, articles, social media and product reviews all link to other sites and products where the originator earn money per click or per sale.
The largest selling affiliate site is, of course, Amazon Affiliates. Being an Amazon affiliate can earn between 2% and 10% on each product purchased.
Clearly, you will need a significant social media following before you can affiliate with any company. There are specialist companies that will assist you in contacting potential affiliates such as Famebit or Grapevine which will also assist in obtaining sponsorship.
Learn more: How to use Facebook to promote Affiliate deals.
Other ideas on how to monetize your info product.
- Paid Newsletters
- Recurring Memberships
Information products are a rapidly growing way to share your knowledge and skill sets and profit by doing so. They are not a get rich quick scheme and are unlikely to make you a millionaire overnight. However, with the right habits, the right motivation to generate passive income you can achieve a state where money and work are no longer a concern.
However, they are a way of using what you already know to make money and, for many truly professional individuals; they are a way of making a very good living.
If you feel the information product is the future for you, sit down, think about what you can offer and start offering it.