How to Create Information Products that Sell Like Hotcakes

January 29, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

informationA few days ago, I wrote about the reasons why you need to sell information products. Selling info products is one of the most lucrative business models on the web and there are tons of opportunities whether you’re completely new or already have an established site. With proper planning and some hard work, you’ll be well on your way of finding a loyal audience and making a killing with your products. Are you ready to take your business to the next level?

In part 2 of this information products series, I want to go into the process of researching, planning, and creating an information product. You might understand all of the benefits of doing so but you may have a lot of doubts and questions as to how it’s actually done. Hopefully this guide will give you some good ideas and help you build the confidence you need to create a quality information product.

Researching & planning an info product

Find the best topic

First, you need to establish a specific topic or niche for your product. What do you know a lot about or have experience in? This will ultimately determine the quality of what you have to offer. If you already have an established business, or even a blog, it’s a good place to start. Leveraging your assets and your audience will enable you to get higher distribution of your information in a shorter period of time.

Find a general topic that you enjoy and would like to build a business around. It could be anything from dancing and fitness to fine dining and cooking.

Do a lot of research

Now that you have a general topic in mind, it’s time to research it as much as possible to look for big opportunities. See what type of content receives the most response on related blogs (better if you have your own), talk to potential customers on forums, discussion boards, and social media sites, hold surveys, and read books and magazines related to your topic. Obviously you want to play to your strengths but at the same time you want to create something that people will actually want and pay for. Strategically position yourself in an area where you have an advantage (e.g. insider info, expert status) or get involved in a field that doesn’t have much competition.

Research is extremely important when selling information. Invest a lot of time doing it early to prevent wasting even more time later on.

Identify your target audience

Realize that you can’t be everything to everyone. Even after you decide on a specific topic, you have to segment your potential audience. Do you go for the newbies or the seasoned pros? Young or old? For example, if you want to work in the fitness niche, there are tons of people under that umbrella with very different needs. There are mothers who want to lose weight, old people who want to stay fit, young men who want to look good for the ladies, professional bodybuilders, athletes in various sports, and more. It’s not enough to just decide on a topic. You have to identify your target audience and cater to their needs, both in the value you provide and in your marketing efforts.

Be super specific

Once you have a well-researched topic and a target audience, you have to come up with a specific product idea. Don’t be too general or else you’ll dilute your message and have a hard time gaining customers. Instead, be super specific. That way, your products will be more targeted and relevant with less competition. For example, rather than selling a vague “How to Lose Weight” guide, create something more targeted like “The Ultimate Guide to Rock Hard Abs for Beginning Bodybuilders”. In doing so, you carve out a specific sub-niche (abs) for your target audience (beginning bodybuilders).

9 Info product content ideas

There are a lot of different ways you can deliver information to your customers and the distribution tools available online make it extremely easy. If you’re stuck on the types of info you can offer, see the list below for some good ideas. Your goal is to provide as much value as possible. Just remember that the perception of value is highly subjective so keep your target audience in mind at all times.

1. Coaching programs

Believe it or not, the teacher is sometimes more important than the information itself. People want to learn from someone who has a likable personality and an engaging style. Why do you think TV watchers have their favorite news anchors when the news is always pretty much the same? If you start your own coaching program, you’re able to add your own stories and experiences and give the information your own personal flavor. That in itself will get you loyal fans and customers.
Example: Billy Blanks Tae-Bo fitness tapes

2. Beginner’s guides

What’s common knowledge to you may be Greek to someone else just getting started. Generally speaking, there are usually more beginners than experts so this is a big market no matter what niche you’re in.
Example: Intro to Bodybuilding for Beginners

3. How-to guides and videos

Everyone wants to learn how to do something as illustrated by the how-to videos hosted on sites like Experts Village and eHow. People will pay for access to more comprehensive and in-depth information as long as it provides them with the benefits that they’re looking for. In other words, as the saying goes, people want a hole in the wall not a drill. Don’t get caught up with the formats, just seek to provide real value in your content.
Example: Step-by-step how-to videos for bodybuilding exercises

4. Reviews

Smart shoppers always want to spend their money on the best products and services for the lowest cost. In-depth reviews are high in demand because they fulfill this need. Review and analyze related products in your niche and sell the information to interested customers. A lot of the consumer magazines and books operate under this model.
Example: Reviews of exercise equipment and nutritional supplements

5. Expert interviews

If you don’t have the authority to teach or explain a topic, a good alternative is to gather the top people in your niche and conduct interviews with each of them. This way, you’ll provide a lot of well-rounded content to customers and benefit from the authority and expertise of others. Essentially you become an expert by association.
Example: Interviews with the top bodybuilders in America

6. Lists of resources

There is a ton of information out there on the Internet and it can get very overwhelming at times. In fact, people are willing to pay for the convenience of having everything they need neatly organized for them – even if everything is freely available online. The time saving factor is very valuable in this case. Compile a list of the best resources for your topic and sell it to people who are looking for the information. You’ll be surprised at the results.
Example: List of the best bodybuilding workout guides

7. Case studies & examples

Case studies are useful because they provide context to abstract ideas and theories. Learning from examples is one of the best ways to take in information and make it relevant to “real life”. Use interesting case studies whenever possible, either from your own experiences or from those of others in your industry.
Example: How I lost 30 pounds in 6 months

8. Insider information

If you’re in a position where you can attain insider information of some sort, leverage it to sell your product (as long as it’s legal). For example, Daehee Park of Penn State University won the Google Online Marketing Challenge and is now selling an e-book that shows you how to crack the competition. Similarly, Thor Schrock sold an e-book on how to get on the Top Affiliate Challenge reality show.
Example: How to win the Mr Universe bodybuilding competition

9. Timely news and alerts

Timely information can be extremely valuable in some industries, particularly in investing and gambling where timing is everything. For example, penny stock investor Timothy Sykes sells a product called TimAlerts where he sends out newsletters containing his stock picks in real time. The information is exclusive and valuable for only a short period of time so people are willing to pay for it to help them make more money.

Information Formats

E-books & reports

E-books in PDF format are extremely easy to create and distribute. As long as you have quality content, PDFs have a higher-perceived value than a blog article on a standard web page. However, the biggest weakness of an e-book or PDF report is that it’s limited to only text and images. You can’t take advantage of video or audio to relay information more effectively. Still, using e-books is a good way to deliver a lot of content in a complete, easy-to-read package.

Membership sites

A membership site is by far the most flexible information format because it allows you to foster a community on your site and deliver your content in a wide variety of ways including text, presentation slides, interactive software, video, and audio. You also get the benefit of a continuity model that pays you every month via membership fees. I’ve already talked about the huge benefits of continuity programs and why you should set one up. If you’re working with a topic where you can take advantage of various formats, go with the membership site model.

Print copies

Print books and publications are still popular today because people want to take them around wherever they go without having to use a computer. However, printing and publishing requires a lot of money and time and is detrimental to people trying to sell online. The one benefit of publishing a book is that it gives you a boost in reputation and authority. Being able to say you wrote a book will get you speaking gigs and open up new opportunities.

DVDs & CDs

If you’re creating multimedia content via video and audio, you might want to ship out physical DVDs and CDs in addition to streaming the files online. People enjoy getting physical products in the mail and are more likely to use them if they have them at hand. It also gives people the option of using them away from the computer – on the TV or CD player.

Email newsletters

Almost everyone on the Internet has an email account, which is why email marketing is by far the most effective. Take advantage of this by offering content via email newsletters. The one downside to this however is that your email may get lost in a sea of others. The perception of value is also lower because there is a ton of spam out there that people have to deal with on a daily basis.

Was this article helpful to you? I laid out the beginning steps of creating an information product along with some ideas for content types and formats. Hopefully this will get you started in the process so you can begin your jouney into info marketing. In the final post of this series, I’ll be going into the ways you can market your information products and achieve the most sales possible. Stay tuned.

What types of information do you plan on selling on the web?

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Comments

45 Responses to “How to Create Information Products that Sell Like Hotcakes”

ZK@Internet Maketing Blog on January 29th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Do you have any guides or ebook that you ve written ? Would love to read it

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

I’m coming out with an ebook and membership site within the next couple of months. Stay tuned!

 
 
Classifieds on January 29th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Info Products are great way to make money off them especially if they are unique and offer things that people are interested in

 
Jen on January 29th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I like that you gave the content ideas. Sometimes people have a lot of ideas but don’t really know how to put down what is floating around inside their head.

The How-To and Beginner Guides are my favorite.

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

Glad you liked it Jen! What most people don’t realize is that they have knowledge that other people want. You don’t have to be the best at something to teach it. Like you mentioned, you can create beginner guides for a topic you know about and sell it to people who are just getting started.

 
 
Eric on January 29th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Anyone have experience with membership site software? Something that will take care of sign-ups, payments via PayPal, affiliates, etc.

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

If you’re using WordPress for your membership site, I’d recommend a plugin called Your Members (http://www.newmedias.co.uk/wordpress-membership/)

If you need something more extravagant (and expensive), go with aMember.

I’ve tried both and I really like Your Members.

 
 
Jane on January 29th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Info products are great. Where most people go wrong is they try and tackle on a big range of articles in one that could get condensed down into a bunch of niches. Also turning your ebook into an offline product can prove very profitable aswell. Great article.

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

Thanks Jane. That’s a very common problem. People want to write about a whole range of things and overload themselves. It’s better to start small and build up as you gain more customers.

 
 
Frank Carr on January 30th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

On print copies, check out spiral binding and comb binding. These methods are relatively inexpensive and more durable to the end user than cheaper staple binding. This works great for cookbooks, cheat sheets, instruction books and more.

An alternative to CD/DVD’s is to purchase branded, pre-loaded, USB drives or even MP3/Video players. This is also higher cost but provides more value to the customer. You just need to charge more to make up the difference while selling the customer on the added value proposition.

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

Great suggestions. The spiral binding is actually pretty durable and yet a lot cheaper than the more extravagant print methods. I know that a lot of universities use it for their study packs.

As for the USB drives, that’s a great idea. Yaro Starak loaded some with his Blog Mastermind program and gave them away to people who bought Product Launch Formula using his affiliate link. Worked very well for him.

 
 
Will Lowrey on January 31st, 2009

Very informative post on creating products. This would work well for those that are not wanting to sell, but also create their own info product as a opt-in offer.

I am in the latter part of creating an info product. Granted, I am not going to sell it – I am giving it away in exchange for building my list – but the principle is the same.

As for Membership Sites – I spent an entire summer working on setting up a membership / training site, based on Brian Clarsk Teaching Sells concept. It never launched. As a first endevour I think I bit off more than I could chew. My recommendation would be for people to start with the ebook/audio/video – something that is quick for them. Success is contagious – so start small and keep it going.

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Will. I’m sure a lot of people here can learn from them. If you don’t mind, why did your training site never launch? Was it the lack of content? Or was it just overwhelming?

 
 
Melvin on February 1st, 2009

DVD and CD’s are too old school by now. As everyone knows, most come in form of EBook. But ebook spreads pretty fast I think

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

Actually, a lot of marketers are still using DVDs and CDs with good success. Physical products still have a higher perception of value and makes people use them more. For example, in most cases, a print book will be easier to read than an e-book.

 
 
Donny Gamble on February 1st, 2009

I will take this much needed advice when planning to launch my new ebook in a couple of months

 
Ann Arbor Web Design on February 1st, 2009

That is quite a comprehensive guide, will file it for now and refer to it at a later date when I feel I am ready for something like this.

 
Dalirin on February 2nd, 2009

I would prefer membership site because I want to the coach to hold me by my hand. But if I hate it when the membership site is big and only the coach runs the site because he would not have time to reply to your email or private messages.

 
Tom - Home Business Tips on February 2nd, 2009

Good points.I would start also start a membership site and this would generate monthly residual income.

 
Swastik on February 2nd, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Agree. Products, reports, eBooks have been a good revenue source for me, and I personally enjoy creating and selling’em.

 
Gennaro on February 2nd, 2009

Good point. Pairing great content with active marketing to the correct audience is a recipe for success in almost every circumstance.

 
Cheap Mobile Calls on February 2nd, 2009

Thank you for the advice on this topic. I would like to release an e-book very soon and will take your advice in to consideration. There are some great ideas floating around here!

 
Jacques @ SEO Tools South Africa on February 3rd, 2009

Your blog is proving to be most helpful in guiding me with the setup of my 1st proper personal WordPress effort, and I really enjoy the thorough nature of your posts. You should write a Internet Marketing for Dummies Book!

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

Thanks Jacques for the encouraging words. I’m actually planning on launching an Internet marketing membership site within the next few months so stay tuned for that.

As for an Internet marketing for dummies book, I think they already have that. But I have something better coming soon. :)

 
 
Mitch on February 3rd, 2009

This in no way contradicts what you’ve written here, because it’s great stuff, but the only thing I don’t have that you’ve talked about above is a membership site. Now, my main business topic (not my blog topic, by the way), may be a little too exclusive, in which case I’ll have to research and see what people really want to know about and purchase, but one thing that still needs to happen is that people have to write about what they know.

If there were 100,000 searches about dog training and you don’t know anything about it, the best you could do to look like an authority is to take what someone else wrote and change the words around. That wouldn’t be honest, though some marketers don’t care (I’ve seen some things that have proven this for me). The big time marketers say they’ll pay someone to write these books for them so they can slap their name on them to sell them; I kind of find that dishonest also, because some topics, especially medical health, needs to have someone with the bonafides behind them to make sure someone isn’t going to get hurt on the back end.

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

Hey Mitch,
I totally agree. The most successful information products are those that are actually created for the customer, not the creator. Sure people might be able to make something by copying someone else’s work, but in the end it will show.

Honesty is key in every business and I’m glad you brought it up here.

 
 
Brandon on February 4th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

This is great information and very timely for me. I’m working on an e-book for anyone considering buying or investing in a franchise. Thanks for the tips.
TAM

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

Hey Brandon,
Glad the article was useful to you. Best of luck to you with your franchising ebook. A lot of people dream big but never get started. By taking action you’re already way ahead of the game.

 
 
BAD Business Advice on February 5th, 2009

practical advice. thanks for sharing!

 
Make Money Online on February 5th, 2009

How about some focus on timeless information?

Ben

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

That really depends on your niche. For example, all of the information in the technology industry is going to be tied to a time period because everything changes so fast. On the other hand, topics in the gardening niche might be more timeless.

 
 
Will Lowrey on February 5th, 2009

Well, after following your messages here, I have finally finished my DIY Guide to Ethical Bribes. Thanks for giving me the kick in the butt I needed to get it done.

Gyutae Park on February 6th, 2009

Hey Will,
Ethical bribes, eh? Tell me more about where I can get this!

 
 
homebased business on February 8th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Gyutae,

you say you are coming out with an e-book in the next couple of months, can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Probably be worth it’s weight in gold considering the gems you give away for free in your articles.

Rick.

 
Dominique on February 11th, 2009

I have come up with a few ebooks and have currently edited one that I used to offer free with additional information for sale this year. will have to work on promoting that book though and add in other ebooks for sale..hopefully will be able to make some decent revenue from it.

 
Donald Brown on February 24th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

This post on creating information products is one of the best posts that I have seen on this topic. However, there are a few things that are vital to creating a really great information product, and one of them is to have a quality graphical representation of your product in the form of an e-cover, virtual box cover, or virtual CD cover.

Believe it or not, these items help to sell your product greatly. A graphical representation of your product gives the buyer a sense of tangibility, even if the product is digital in nature.

Doing all the research, and coming up with the right niche is all vital to your success online, and like was mentioned in the post, if you’re not an expert in a particular topic, then interview those who are experts. That can really boost your credibility, plus if done right, and you interview the right expert, you will be more likely to make more money from the sale of that product. So choose your experts wisely.

As far as e-book formats go, PDF isn’t the only format. There are executable e-book formats, but these can only work on Windows systems. However, unlike PDF files, executable e-books can have audio, video and other types of multi-media that can’t be implemented into a PDF document.

However, PDF is still the standard for e-books because so many people use them on a daily basis, plus they’re recognized as a standard in e-book formats.

The more quality information that you provide inside your information product, the more your customers will get out of it. Like was mentioned in the post, make sure that you solve some sort of problem, or come up with a valid solution. People are always looking for solutions to problems and situations that they’re in. These types of products sell very well because if people can get their problems soved, then that makes them that much happier in the long run.

Of course, standard e-books aren’t thte only format that you can use because in the post, there was mention of audio and video information products. CDs and DVDs are great tools to use for creating information products because they give the customer yet another format to choose from besides the standard e-book format.

Remember, not everyone wants to be tied to their computer screens, so audio and video are a great option to seriously think about when generating information products.

Once you grasp all these concepts, you will be well on your way to cranking out one winning product right after another and you will be generating an income for yourself. If you want to grab some low cost information products that can help you in your business, then may I suggest my site?

It is called Low Cost Ofers and it can be found at the link here below.

Low Cost Offers

This site is continuously growing and more and more really great deals are beeing added all of the time, so go and check it out. You just might find something that can really help you with your business there.

I will even place your low cost offer ont he site if you want, and you can ask me about it by contacting me from the site.

 
victory motor cars on February 27th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

thanks for share. Nice to you

 
rimam1 on June 3rd, 2009

I like the comment about distributing info products on USB drives… it’s amazing the comments you get from blogs sometimes.

Audio products seem like the easiest by far. Next is probably video, but it’s still a pain in the neck to script, shoot, and edit the video so it looks half way decent. Still, videos probably offer the greatest value to the customer…

 
Dave on November 18th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Gyutae thanks so much for delivering on your promises. I’m sick of reading hype only to be asked for $47 (or whatever) before getting any useful information. I’m only a few pages into your Winning Way PDF and I’ve already learnt at least 5 things. Good on you, and feel free to ‘pick my brains’ anytime.
Cheers,
Dave

Gyutae Park on November 18th, 2009

Dave,
I’m really glad that you find the Winning Way checklist useful. It was created the help people – without all of the hype and the fluff. It’s free of course, but only to give you a taste of what’s inside my premium program, Winners Circle. Check it out.

Alex Castro on June 12th, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email

Where do i find info on Winners Circle?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Dorothy Bellisario on February 4th, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email
 
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