As an author, you can produce information products that complement the subject matter of your books, and then sell those products to readers for passive income. You can also use them for marketing purposes to attract new readers for your books or distribute as bonus items for new newsletter subscribers, event attendees, or in conjunction with a new book launch.
Information products can be offered in a variety of formats:
- Special Reports
- Audio Recordings
- Everything Else (white papers, transcripts of recordings, booklets, databases, formatted spreadsheets, worksheets, templates, audio or video recordings on a disk, or card decks)
Product Bundles – Keep the content train rolling by bundling together many of the items listed here. You could create packages that include your book, workbook, a ticket to your workshop, and an hour of consulting time. Get creative! Product bundles can be quite attractive, either as a one-time promotion or something that you also make available on an ongoing basis in your online store.
When it comes to information products, it’s important the content meets a need for your audience. To increase your chances of success, start by doing a bit of research and planning prior to product development. Following are the steps you can take:
1. Generate Product Ideas – Start by listing the questions you are asked most often by your readers. If you find yourself answering the same questions repeatedly, consider that insight into potential product development opportunities. Also make a list of any topics that you didn’t cover in your books that you think readers would enjoy.
2. Get Input from Your Target Audience – Survey your target audience—not your friends or your family, but the people you most want to reach. Find out what needs they have that you can fill with the right product. You can use a tool such as http://SurveyMonkey.com to gather data.
3. Evaluate Internet Search Demand – Google’s free keyword tool (https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool) allows you to type in a key phrase and see the number of monthly searches conducted locally and globally. This tool also generates a list of related keywords, which can be a great way to inspire product ideas while determining demand for the products you create.
4. Find a Market Need – The best information products fill a need for the buyer, which means your product should solve a problem, provide how-to advice, or reveal hard-to-find industry information. Also, a product that is too broad may have a harder time finding an audience versus one that is designed for a niche market. For example, if you’re an author of a travel guide, instead of creating a report with general travel packing tips, you might create a series of reports with packing tips for specific destinations. For example, “Packing for Your Australian Vacation” or “Packing for Your Caribbean Cruise.” Including a niche focus will help your audience connect with the product and will increase appeal for those who fit that need.
5. Choose Your Format – Decide if you are creating an ebook, special report, audio series, video series, workbook, or other type of information product.
6. Establish the Right Price – Every market is different and your price will depend on many factors: how much your audience can afford to pay, how much they want or need your information, scarcity of competition, your authority and reputation in your field, and perceived benefits of your offer. Also consider the perceived value of your product. A price that is too low may send the message that it won’t be worthwhile, while a price that is too high may limit the number of purchases and raise expectations with those who do buy. For best results, test different pricing options to determine which will work best.
7. Create a Great Sales Page – I despise long-form sales pages. I can also tell you that you can absolutely sell products without them. Instead, create a great, content-rich sales page that describes the benefits of your product, includes compelling testimonials (from real users who received an early sample copy, not friends or family!), establishes your authority as the product creator, and makes it easy to purchase.
8. Automate Delivery – Consumers buying online want instant gratification. Make sure you automate the purchase and delivery of your products using a shopping cart system such as http://ejunkie.com,http://oneshoppingcart.com, or http://payloadz.com.
9. Promote, Promote, Promote – You can have the best product on the planet, but if nobody knows about it, it won’t matter. Make sure your product page is optimized for search engines. Consider purchasing Google pay-per-click ads to test sales conversion. Cross-promote your product on your blog, social media sites, newsletter, speaking engagements, and everywhere else where you have the opportunity to reach your target audience. The more effort you put into it, the more rewards you will receive.
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