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Ooo, second to last lesson guys. I’m going to make sure it’s a good one for you. 😉
So today we’re going to look at how you can better create and sell your own information products. This is an important thing to learn how to do, as the lack of creating information products is the downfall of many internet marketers.
While creating your own products are one of the best ways to take things to the next level, many people find this process overwhelming, and never even get one finished. They may find they never actually get started with making one, or they may start then stop when it all seems like too much work.
Depending what kind of information product you’re making and how much time you have, the process can take months. During this time, it’s easy to start doubting whether or not you have a good product on your hands, and whether or not people are actually going to pay money for it. It’s also easy to feel like you don’t want to do any more writing on this subject, and get a mental barrier up about working on this ‘never ending’ project.
This lesson aims to help you deal with some of these problems, as well as giving your tips on how to increase sales when your product is complete and launched.
We have of course looked at creating a membership site in lessons two and three, as well as Kindle books in lessons ten and eleven. The information in this lesson can be used in conjunction with those lessons, as it helps with information product creation in general. So for example you can use lessons two and three to decide what you’re going to make a membership site on, this lessons to help you get the membership site created, then this lesson and lesson three for tips on launching your finished product.
Before we go any further though, let’s look at when we’d want to create our own information products.
Aims Of This Lesson
- Income Stability.
This lesson will help you stabilize your monthly income, and give you more consistency.
- Community Building.
This lesson will help you build up a loyal community.
Why You Would Want To Create Your Own Information Products
Ok, so here’s a quick look at the main reasons we’re going to want to create our own information products:
- The Potential Income Is Much Greater Then Being An Affiliate.
Without doubt, the biggest reason you are going to want to create your own product is to increase your income potential! Yes you can make a good amount of money from selling affiliate products or putting pay per click advertising on your site. But for the majority of people, there is a lot more money to be made by having your own product.
Let’s say you have a high traffic website and are promoting a $100 affiliate product with 75% commission. You make 30 sales of this product a month, which equals $2250 a month in revenue ($75 per sale x 30). Not bad.
But imaging instead you’re the product owner, and you have 20 decent affiliates who are also making those 30 sales a month. Your share is 25%, so that’s $15,000 a month you’re making ([$25 per sale x 30 sales] x 20 affiliates)! And that doesn’t even include any personal sales you make from your website, or the other affiliates making the odd sale here and there. Furthermore, if you took 50% of all sale and gave 50% to the affiliates, you could make even more money.
I’m not knocking affiliate marketing at all or even displaying pay per click adverts on your site, but neither of them have the potential for earning anywhere near as much as selling your own product could.
- You Help Stabilize Your Income.
As we’ve touched on in previous lessons, having your own product will help stabilize your income. A membership site can keep money coming in for months or years after it’s initially sale, and a ebook can be sold on other platforms if one goes down.
- You Don’t Always Need A Blog.
If you’re the creator of a product, it’s not always necessary to have a blog to sell your product from. While it can help as you can build a community and have an instant buyer base, it’s not essential. Without a blog, you still have a few options available to you. You can sell your product on Kindle, you can create a sales page and just promote that, and you can:
- Use Affiliates To Promote Your Product For You.
Even if you haven’t got your own blog but still have a product, you can get other people to sell your product for you on their own blogs and to their list. This is one of the biggest plus points about having your own product: Instead of you having to graft to sell other people’s products, you can get a load of people doing that hard graft for you instead. Nice.
- You Help Establish Your Name In Your Niche.
If you are successful at putting together a good quality product, a lot of people in your niche will see you more as a go to figure in your industry. This’ll make it easier to establish your name in the community, and in turn get more people looking into and buying into you.
Think about it, would you sooner buy into someone who has just another blog in your industry, or someone who runs a top quality course teaching people how to excel in what it is you’re interested in?
So now you know why you really need to create your own product, let’s get into actually putting something together.
Should Your Create A Membership Site Or Ebook?
Alright, so should you be creating membership sites or ebooks? Well, you should be creating both! At different times, providing a different format could be beneficial to your community. Here is when you should provide each type of product.
- When You Should Create A Membership Website.
Membership sites, which we looked at in lessons two and three, should be used as your main product. It should be the ultimate ‘end game’ for your community, as these kind of sites will provide you with a recurring income to help stabilize your business.
- When You Should Create A Ebook.
Ebooks will also have a use in our business model. There are a number of instances where creating an ebook will be a better idea then creating a membership site. First of all, you can use an ebook as a free gift for your opt in form. As you may remember in lesson five on list building, giving away a free gift to people that sign up to your list can be a good way to gain extra subscribers. A PDF ebook or report is ideal for this, so it’s easy to send, and often reasonably quick to create.
You will also want to create a ebook if you want to get your work in front of a lot of people. While blog posts are good for that, ebooks have a higher perceived value, and are easier to share on different devices. They’re also more sort after, as they’re seen as collectable items by some people.
So say for example you want to get word out about your membership site. One option is to create a taster ebook which offers a lot of good value in it’s self, and give it out for free to your community and in other places you think people may find it useful (On forums, social sites, websites related to your niche etc). Encourage people to share this book, and see how well it takes off. If it gets shared a lot and is a good book, you will get a good number of people coming back to your site and checking for more information on you and your course.
I’d suggest you always use a membership site as your main product. While it’s possible to use a ebook as your main product, a combination of the ongoing communication, the monthly recurring fees and the higher perceived value makes membership sites often have the most profit potential.
Giving Your Product A Unique Selling Point
Ok, so there’s no point releasing a product if it’s going to be the same as a load of other products that are already out there. Furthermore, there’s no point releasing a product if it’s going to contain the same information that people can already get for free online. While profits can still be made from this (Some people will go straight to you instead of looking around to see if they can obtain the same information free first) you should still take on board my next point:
Whenever you want to create a product, you need to ask yourself “What will help my product stand out from the crowd?”
In other words, you need a Unique Selling Point. A unique selling point, also known as a USP for short, is the thing about your product that makes it different from everything else out there. It’s the thing that people can only get by joining your course or buying your ebook, and this is what will make people choose you over other people.
Finding Your Unique Selling Point
So how do you create a unique selling point for your product?
Well before you can identify what your USP is, you need to be aware of what else is already out there. Let’s say for example you’re creating a course which will offer people forex tips and advice. You can’t create a unique selling point without knowing what everyone else is offering, as who’s to say it’ll be unique at all?
So firstly, check out any courses that are doing anything similar to you. Read up on their sales page, and look at their features. Look at the reviews people have left on other websites, and find out all the information you can on these products.
It’s not necessary to buy these products, as you only really want to see what the product is advertised to offer. A unique selling point should be mentioned for everyone to see. If it’s not, they aren’t giving people a reason to buy their product over any others, and are missing out on a big opportunity.
When looking at your competitors products, you will want to make a note of any common features they all have. So say for example they all offer an introductory guide on how to trade forex with their tips, it’s a good idea to offer this as well. If you allow your competitors to offer more then you in important areas, you will already start off on the back foot. You of course won’t want this.
The only time you can offer less then your competition, is if you’re taking a different path, and your USP is so strong you won’t need to follow the competition. Your USP will have to be so good that people will still buy your product despite it’s lack of other features however.
Once you have finished looking into the features of your main competitor’s products, you now need to figure out what you can offer that they don’t (Or at least don’t advertise to offer). Sometimes, this will be obvious. Maybe the alternatives to your product is slow to be delivered, or maybe they don’t cover the subject completely enough. Maybe they’re all too expensive, or maybe they don’t cover a certain angle enough. Whatever it is, make sure the problem is solved in your product, and advertise that improvement.
You won’t want to call out other product names when advertising your unique feature, but you should make it clear that your product is the only one that offers what it is you offer.
So say for example you could get forex trading tips from a well known trader before anyone else. This is a USP, as you’re the only one that can offer that. People will want to get access to that trader’s information before it gets out to the masses, so people would choose your service over another one if all other things were even.
Another example of a USP is the DRC Traffic Pro course. I’ve been creating sites and marketing for years, and have built up a lot of knowledge I know works over this time. Despite that, I’ve never created a marketing based course until this one for one main reason:
I didn’t have a unique selling point.
But when the Panda and Penguin updates hit and I could see that people needed help with this, I saw my USP. No one else was offering the knowledge on how to do well after these Google updates, and I thought I’d fill that gap in the market. It’s something that is needed, and it’s something that my competitors aren’t doing.
Sometimes just reading up on things in your niche and seeing a problem that isn’t being solved will give you your unique selling point, but other times you will need to do more.
What Happens When There Is No Clear USP
Alright, so what happens if there is no clear feature that your competition isn’t offering? Does that mean that you can’t have a USP? Nope, it just means that you have to create one!
If your competitors are offering everything that you were planning to offer, you need to add something extra to tip the balance in your favor. If there’s nothing else that people need from your course and you can’t lower the price to make it unique in that way (Your product still has to have decent profit margins) then you could add something that they may want as a side feature.
So going back to the forex example; you’re offering everything the same as your competitor. You can’t sell cheaper, and you can’t get in any expert tippers. What you could do however, is make your course more interactive then the others. How about adding in a test your members can do to test their forex knowledge? Or personalize each customer’s ‘forex trading manual’ so they really feel like they’ve enrolled in a course?
If you do these things, mention them. While they’re not essential in making the course better, you’re still adding more value then other people, so this could work in your favor. When thinking about a USP you can create for your product, just think about anything additional that could add to make your course that bit more enjoyable.
When To Keep Your Unique Selling Point Quiet
Alright, I know I’ve basically been saying your should shout your unique selling point from the roof tops, but there is a time where you should keep your USP quiet. When is this? Before the product is launched!
Remember, even if you create a USP of your own, it doesn’t mean that other people won’t copy it. It’s not ideal, but it’s just the way it is. So before you tell people about your USP, you want to make sure your product is already out there and can gain a reputation.
While your ideas may be taken eventually and incorporated into another product, you want to be the originator of a certain feature. This in it’s self is a USP, and one that should be advertised.
If however you tell people about your unique selling point before you launch and someone steals the idea and uses it in their product, it’d be hard for you to make this claim. Furthermore, you will probably lose out on customers that could have been yours if you launched as the only person offering this feature.
So no matter how excited you are about your product and USP before the product is ready and launched, contain your excitement and keep your ideas to yourself.
How To Write A Product Without Becoming Overwhelmed
Note: The beginning of this section isn’t meant to scare you at all. Know that I do go on to give you tips on creating a quality product without the stress.
With that said: 😉
One of the biggest reasons I’ve seen that people don’t create their own products, is because of the size of the task at hand. In general, products that you sell are going to involve a lot more work then your average sized blog post. You will want your product to be EPIC, and that often involves more writing then you’ve ever put into another project, or more video and audio content then you’ve ever recorded before.
Although it’s possible to do smaller information products such as Kindle books, free books and other products such as betting services (Where you just have to give tips rather then doing a lot of writing), you will generally have to put the effort in to make your paid information products worth the money.
That isn’t to say you should drag it out when you have nothing more to say, but make sure you include everything you need to and in as much detail as needed.
It’s because of the potential size of the task, that many people start to get overwhelmed when creating a product.
Making your own membership site or ebook doesn’t have to be overwhelming though.
Below I’m going to give you a selection of tips and strategies that will help you create a product more easily, and allow you to break things up into more manageable chunks. Through simple planning and mind hacks, you are going to find it a lot easier to create your products.
1. Brainstorming What Your Course Will Include
Before you start creating your product and writing up the content, your first step will be to get a good idea of what it will involve. Then, you will want to write it all down.
This stage is done after you’ve done the initial research about your product (E.G. You know your USP, you have an idea of who your competition are, you know what angle you’re going to come at with your product etc). If you haven’t got all of these details just yet, you can still continue and fill in the blanks later.
So load up a word document (Or OpenOffice / Pages, whichever one you’ve got) and call it ‘*Project Name* Ideas’.
In this document, I want you to jot down all the ideas of things you can put in this course. Some of the things you should jot down include:
- The name of the project.
- An overview of what you want to achieve with this product.
- How you’re going to differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Who your target audience are.
- Any potential ways you can promote this product (Just get ideas from the top of your head, you can find proper places at a later date).
- How much you’re going to charge for the product.
- And anything else you can think of that is relevant.
- An overview of what subjects you want to cover in your information product.
You should also include a brief description of what will go in each of these subjects.
So say for example you want your first lesson or chapter to be about making sure your cat has shiny hair. Your header could be ‘How To Make Your Cat’s Hair Shiny’, and underneath you could write:
‘Why (As in why you’d want to get is shiny), first steps, ensuring you have the right product, making sure you cat stays relaxed, drying your cat’s hair, follow up details’.
These ideas will later be used in your product layout, so make sure you can understand what your notes mean for when you have to refer back to them. Do this until you have a few notes on all the things you want to cover in your product. Get as many ideas down as you can for now, you can always add any you forget at a later date.
All of these things can be changed at a later date, but it’s good to get something written down from now. You want to get down all your thoughts about the project, so you can refer to it later and remind yourself what the project is all about. This will help you stay focused, and allow you to create a better product.
2. Laying Out Your Product Pre-Hand.
Note: You can find an example of this section here. You can want to look at this while you’re reading this part so it’s easier to see what I’m talking about.
Once you have a complete over view of your project, the next step is to lay out the information in a way that makes sense and will be easy for you to write. Once of the biggest mistakes people tend to do at this stage is to just start writing a product like they would a blog post. They just write as they go along, adding in headers along the way, and generally taking things in the direction that they think of at the time.
While this may be ok if you’re writing a short blog post, this becomes a lot harder to do when you are writing a more lengthy product. You tend to forget what you’ve written about already, and it’s a lot easier to lose track of where you are in terms of what you need to do. It’s because of this, that you should layout the whole project before you begin writing any of it up.
You can lay it out using the notes you made in the above section ‘1. Brainstorming What Your Course Will Include‘. In point 8, I mentioned you should title each chapter or lessons, and give brief notes of what you’re going to include in that section. You can use this as a layout for your course.
So let’s say you’re creating a membership site with a new lesson each week. Firstly, you create a new document for each week’s lesson. This is so we can keep lessons separate, and be able to focus on one at a time. It’ll also mean we don’t see too much work to do at one time, and allows us to feel like we’re actually moving forward as we manage to complete each lesson / separate document.
In each of these lesson, you will then need to create a main header for the document. This will be your header 1, so use the Heading 1 format to highlight it. You will only have one of these in each document. You should call it whatever the lesson or chapter is going to be.
Next, you should create smaller headers within the document using the Heading 2 format. You can use the descriptions you wrote down in section 8 of the ‘1. Brainstorming What Your Course Will Include‘ stage.
In that section, you’ll remember we used the example of ‘How To Make Your Cat’s Hair Shiny’, and had the following notes for this lesson:
‘Why (As in why you’d want to get is shiny), first steps, ensuring you have the right product, making sure you cat stays relaxed, drying your cat’s hair, follow up details’.
The next stage is to turn these notes into header 2s we can better elaborate on. So for example, if I elaborated on those notes, the header 2s would look like:
- Why You’d Want To Get Your Cat’s Hair Shiny
- What To Do First
- Ensuring Your Have The Right Products At Hand
- How To Make Sure Your Cat Stays Relaxed
- The Easy Way To Dry Your Cat’s Hair
- What To Do Next
Under each of these header 2s, you should also add a couple of brief notes about what you’re going to talk about in each section. This is mainly so you don’t forget yourself, and will make the next step a lot easier. When you add in all the header twos, you should have laid out everything you’re going to talk about within that chapter or lesson. This will be the structure of your article, and will make writing the content as easy as ‘filling in the blanks’.
If you need to further break down any areas, you can add header threes within the header two sections. As I mentioned before, the example of this lesson can be seen here.
You will want to do this for every lesson of your course or ebook, until the whole thing is completely laid out. Do this all before you start writing up any lessons properly.
If you’re creating an audio or video product, these same stages apply in terms of you planning how you’re going to record your content. You still need to clearly lay out the structure of your recording, so you have a good idea of what information you’re going to be sharing. This will mean you make less mistakes per recording, and mean that you most likely get a good quality product finished quicker.
3. Filling In The Content.
Once you have done the above for all your lessons and have the whole course laid out, the next step is to fill in the content. As we now know exactly what we’re going to be talking about at each stage of the way, this will become a pretty easy task. It may be a bit time consuming if you have a lot of information to get written down, but due to the structure being set already, it will be a lot less overwhelming.
By laying out the course well, we will have made it easy for us to stop working on it one day, then pick up from the same place another day without much confusion as to where we were. I’ll give more tips on how to easily carry on from where you left off in section 5 below.
Ok, so now it’s just a case of filling in the blanks. If you want, you can think of each header as a blog post in it’s own right. So when a new Heading 2 comes up, just write to it like you would a blog post. If there’s any Heading 3s inside the Heading 2s, just see that as part of the same blog post.
You will of course want to make it to a better quality then your blog posts if your blog posts are generally short, and make sure what you’re writing is worth paying for.
4. Write The Parts You Find Easiest First
When you’re writing up your project, you’ll find there are some parts that that are easier to do then others. In this case, you should focus on all the easiest parts of the lesson first, then work your way around to the other parts after. The reason for this is because you want to get as much written down as possible while you’re flowing. The easy parts will go down on paper, and require no or minimum research. I’m guessing as it’s a subject you know about, you will be able to write the majority of the lesson up with no trouble. Hopefully, you should be able to get at least 3 quarters of the lesson down with no trouble.
The last quarter though, you may have to research a bit more, or have to look at your notes to refresh yourself on how to do things. That, or it may require a bit more brain power to get your ideas down in a way that makes sense for the reader.
It’s easier to do this bit of extra work when most of the lesson is already written. As this will be the last bit of the lesson, it’s easy to think ‘Just do this bit and I’m finished’. If we was taking longer on this harder part at the beginning when none of the lesson had been completed, it’s easier to get overwhelmed and feel like you’re never going to finish this lesson as there’s so much to do.
So do the easier headers first, then anything that requires research and that bit more brain power, leave till after or till when you feel in a good mood to tackle it.
5. How To Know When To Continue From
One of the things I found hard when I started creating products, is to know where to continue from. I’d do a load of writing in under one header, then get a really good idea and start on a new one without finishing the previous one.
The way I solved this was simple: If I had started writing something but not finished it off, I would highlight the last couple of words in the sentence in red. What this does, is showed me I haven’t finished this chapter, and I need to add more.
You can also do this when you can’t do any more work for the day, and want to highlight where to pick up from next time. This will make it easier to scan your document when you next sit down to work, and see what you still have to do.
I pick red because it’s easy to notice when you look through the document, and means I need to ‘stop’ and do more work here.
This lesson is continued in Lesson 12 Part 2: Digital Product Delivery, Testing, And Boosting Sales With Affiliates.