With social media, blogs, and online shopping carts, it seems like it should be easy to sell information products online, right?
Many internet marketing gurus would have you believe that if you build an information product today, you will have a line of people just waiting to buy whatever you’ve created tomorrow. While it is absolutely possible to add a five or even six-figure revenue stream to your service-based business selling information products, there are some basic elements you need to have in place. In this series, I am going to breakdown the foundational elements of what it takes to create information products that sell:
- a clear target market
- credibility and visibility
- a well-structured sales funnel
- the right type of product
- automation and delivery systems
- a launch and promotion strategy
- post-sales follow up
Know Your Audience
When it comes to creating information products, most people make the mistake of starting by creating content. They get an idea for a product and go to work putting something together. They make videos, audios, ebooks, and slide decks, but skip the foundational step of having a clear picture of exactly who they are creating the product for.
Let’s say you’re a style and image consultant and you want to create an information product that helps people makeover their professional image. The guidance you offer for a man is going to be different that what you offer a woman. A woman entering the job market after 14 years has different needs than the woman that needs to transform her image because she’s been promoted to an executive leadership position. And a 22-year old recent college graduate trying to find a comfortable professional style for a new career, has different needs than a woman that has had to recently downsize and needs to learn how to be stylish on a budget. Of course you have the expertise and experience to create a product that address all of those scenarios. But with that approach, chances are your audience would be disappointed because only 2 or 3 sections out of the entire product addressed their actual needs.
When it comes to creating information products that sell, identifying your target market is the first and most important step to success. A vague and general product that attempts to interest “everybody” will turn out to be a big waste of time, energy, and money. Without a clear target market it will be challenging to create an effective marketing and promotion strategy. It might feel like choosing a specific target market will exclude too many people as potential buyers and make it hard to sell your product. But the truth is, choosing a target market or niche is more about concentrating on a specific profitable concept rather than leaving people out.
Marketing to a well-defined niche means “finding and serving small but potentially profitable market segments and designing custom-made products or services for them.” It’s all about finding your special place, and the products and services that fit. Instead of thinking of your potential audience as everyone in the world with computer access and an interest in your site’s topic, picture the person who will most want, need, and be willing to pay for the information you’re providing. Focusing the content you create and your marketing strategy on that group of people, helps position you as “THE place to go” for information, products, and/or services for that group.
What does successful “niching” look like?
Let’s go back to the example of our style and image consultant. Instead of creating a general product, she decided to focus on a specific target market with a specific problem by creating a product that helps moms who are ready to get back to work, create a professional image on a budget. Now her product is clearly speaking to a targeted audience that has a problem that they are motivated to solve (which means they will also be motivated to invest in the solution). Not only that, but the product lends itself to women that are already working and have realized that they need to upgrade their image, and to women who are thinking about going back to work or currently looking for a job. And if her sales funnel is done correctly, she will have a service or another product that she can up-sell to for those that want more support than the initial product offers. On the front end of the marketing funnel, she’ll be able to write blog posts on her site and guest posts for other targeted sites on this topic, positioning herself as the “go to” person for that audience.
Where are you right now?
Even if the subject of your information product is very general and you didn’t spend enough time doing research before you created it, you’ll want to narrow down your market possibilities to increase your chances of getting more sales. (Eventually you’ll want to go back and revise your product so that it speaks to a specific target market.) You can do the homework now to narrow down to the target market you want to reach out to. Think about who’s already in your audience that will benefit from your product and be willing to pay for it.
If you are just getting started with creating information products, spend some time today creating a well-defined profile for your ideal client. Your profile should include demographics and psychographic details along with answers to the 7 questions I cover in 7 Things You Need to Know About Your Ideal Client.
Bottom line: Creating information products that sell starts with having a clear focus. Having a thorough understanding of your intended audience means you will have a well-defined subject matter, and create a clear marketing message and strategy.