Common Info Product Mistakes For Beginners

Many people enter the information product niche full of hope, expectation, and excitement. Often they haven’t taken the time to gather and understand the data surrounding their chosen niche or have a clear plan on how they will make a sustainable income. Some will misunderstand or ignore the relevant facts and accepted wisdom and end up working towards failure.

Here are some of the common mistakes that are made.

Not recognising reality

There’s a lot of data to gather before you should enter a niche. The size of the potential market, sustainability, competition, how to reach your prospects, accepted price points, etc. All of this can be researched before you even decide on a product or service. Once you have the data you need to be certain that your plans reflect the information you have gathered. This is the worst time to be wearing ‘rose tinted spectacles’.

Poor Business Plan

Even with all the correct information it’s possible to put together a business plan that will fail to deliver the profit you’re hoping for. Many people starting out online concentrate on the revenue they could produce and fail to offset the costs of delivering a product or service. These costs are much lower online compared to running a brick and mortar business, but it does not mean they can be ignored. See my previous post Is your online business model profitable?

Unwilling to commit resources

Many newbies fail to realise the resources they will need to get their first product or service up and running. Even businesses online need some start-up capital and the quality of some of the basics does depend on how much you are willing to spend. Website hosting is an area where they may be tempted to go cheap, and subsequently find that their site occasionally goes missing, and that technical support is almost non-existent. As well as financial capital there’s also the investment of time and effort. The have-it-now, get rich quick approach rarely works in business, even online.

Shiny object syndrome

Conversely, many people overinvest when starting online. They probably don’t have a focused business plan and start hopping from opportunity to opportunity, throwing money needlessly as they go. With a realistic understanding of the data and a good business plan it will be possible to predict how revenue will grow in the early days. This will indicate the size of your budget and, together with a focused business plan, should prevent any temptation to invest in shiny objects.

Creating what is not wanted

Too many start with an idea for a product or service they believe their niche will crave yet they fail to do any market research. Consequently they throw themselves and their resources into producing something that the niche will completely ignore. As this is likely to be their first attempt at product creation it will probably have taken a substantial amount of time to get the product ready for launch. Time that could have been spent more constructively if only they had evaluated the product first.

Spending before receiving

Cashflow can be a problem for an online business just as it can be for a brick and mortar one. With all the stories of online entrepreneurs becoming rich quick, it’s easy to be over optimistic about the sales your start-up will achieve. This is where you need to control your budget, continually revise your expected levels of revenue, not forget the effect of commissions if you pay any, and avoid spending money that has not yet entered your business account.

Poor customer service

Neglecting customer service is another beginners mistake. If your product or service hasn’t pleased the customer the worst thing you can do is offer a poor level of customer care. It costs a lot more to keep acquiring new customers than to retain ones you already have. Underinvesting in customer service will have consequences for the long-term future of your business.

The above are some of the most common mistakes made by people hoping to make money with information products. There are plenty of other areas where mistakes can be made. The quality of the product, how well it is marketed, and the use of upsells, downsells and cross sells will all have an impact on the business.

Providing The Content Your Audience Needs

Backlit keyboardYour audience will always want content. As technology and the internet evolves the needs and expectations of your audience will evolve too. If you want to remain relevant and be sucessful you are going to have to evolve with them. Below are some points to check that your content is what your audience needs.

Your content is targeted

It’s really basic, but it should never be forgotten. Creating content that is of no interest to your audience is a waste of time and effort. Make it focused on the needs of your audience and you’ll get more views and more engagement.

Your content is useful

Aiming your content at the right areas of interest is not enough. What you produce has to be useful to your audience. It has to be pitched at the right level. If your readers are mostly beginners in your field you’ll be wasting their time showing them how to complete an advanced level task they are not yet ready for.

Your content grabs attention

The changing capability of the internet is affecting content online. Gone are the days when text was enough and you just had to have a good headline to make a written piece attract atention. Today it’s also about images. Ideally every blog post should have at least one image. Several positioned throughout a written piece to break up the text would be better. Embedded video or short audio is another option or your content could be entirely video based.

Your content is multimedia

Ideally you should not just be producing written content. Bog posts, articles, short reports and ebooks are still important, but your content should also be available as video, audio, infographic and other image based content. Repurposing your content into as many forms as your audience pays attention to can help establish yourself as an expert.

Your content is mobile

More people are consuming online content via mobile devices than ever before. If your content is not displayed in a mobile friendly way it will probably fail to reach an appreciable section of your potential audience. Creating a separate mobile website and a regular desktop site, then having to handle separate content and sites for each type of device is a waste of time and money. Having responsive websites will make your content consumable on all types of devices with a minimum of effort.

As a content creator you need to understand what your audience is consuming and expecting from you. Regularly use an analytics program to keep track of the content your audience likes best and the devices they are using to consume it. You should also poll your audience and ask them directly what content they want and which formats they prefer it in. Knowing these factors will help you stay useful, relevant, and available to your audience.

Can PLR Products Help You Accelerate Your Business Growth?

Private label rights (PLR) products offer a tempting opportunity to gather content that you can use in your business. It is content you can purchase that usually includes the rights to present it as your own work. They are usually in the form of ebooks, images, slideshows, and even video. The quality of PLR material has improved greatly over the last ten years and at first it may seem a great way to almost instantly have your own products to sell and hence grow your business. But it’s not as straightforward as it may seem.

The Right PLR For The Right Need

Even if you are not using PLR you still have to identify a niche you can serve and come up with ideas for content that the niche will be hungry for. Most PLR producers keep to the most popular niches like weight loss, making money online, and dating. Even when you find material you can use you still ahev to fit it into your marketing and present it correctly to your audience. If you want to work in a more obscure niche it’s less likely you will find much PLR material.

You also need any PLR products you find to be of good quality. There was a time when most PLR was poorly written, with awful grammar and terrible formatting. Today these English-as-a-second-or-third-language written products have been replaced by better quality material. However they may not cover content that matches the product ideas you want to sell, or they may be so affordably priced that a great number of publishers in your niche also purchase and use it. You either have to find PLR that has a limited availability or is so expensive that it disuades others from buying. If the PLR is expensive it may be better to pay ghost writers to create your product.

Repackaging

Once you purchase the PLR material it’s important to package it in a new way. Don’t use it exactly as it is supplied. Most people are lazy. The largest group of people who buy the same PLR content as you will probably not even use it. The second largest group will just put it online as quickly as possible with no alterations, hoping to make a quick buck. To make it unique to your business you have to reorganize it, add to it, and personalise it. This will take time, but it does mean you will have a product that is more suited to your business and your audience.

Use as research material

Instead of creating a product directly you can use PLR material as the starting point for your information product. Used as research material it is much better than a blank page and can help get the creative juices flowing.

In conclusion PLR content can speed up the process of product creation, but not as much as some may think. It can be really helpful if you are currently spending all your time creating content and have little opportunity to work on other areas of building your business. It can save you time in research, writing and editing, but it certainly is not a push-button get rich quick method. It can be a starting point, but there is still work to be done if you want to create a good quality, unique product that can hold its own in the market.

Hook and Promise – The Foundation of Your Effective Marketing Message

Fish-hookIf you’ve ever found it difficult to create an effective sales letter, sales video, or opt-in message here is a new perspective that can help you make them more relevant to your market, increase the value you are offering, and make more sales or get more opt-ins.

Whatever your marketing message is it will be more effective if it is based on a hook and a promise.

A hook is that part of your message that grabs a prospect’s attention and makes them want to continue reading, watching, or listening. It needs to be relevant to their problem and convey a benefit to the prospect. It also needs to appear new. You don’t want your prospect thinking they’ve seen or heard this before.

An example of a hook is something like:

“If you’ve been online for years and never made a dime, there’s a new software that guarantees to build you a six figure income in only 4 months.”

If a prospect has been unable to make money online for the past few years, no matter what they’ve tried, it grabs their attention because it’s aimed at them and their specific problem.

It’s also an offer they would not have seen before because it says the software is new.

If you want another example of a hook take a look at the first sentence of this post. If you’ve read this far you’ve been hooked!

A promise is the part of your message that tells the prospect about the benefit they’ll gain if they continue watching, reading or listening to your message. It should include a specific result they’ll get from continuing to consume your message and also show or imply what their life will be like after you have resolved an urgent problem or fulfilled a deep desire they have.

Using the same example again:

“If you’ve been online for years and never made a dime, there’s a new software that guarantees to build you a six figure income in only 4 months.”

The promise is that the software guarantees to build a six figure income in only 4 months. Notice this is a specific result.

In case you’re wondering, yes there is another example of a promise embedded in the first sentence of this post, although it could be improved by being more specific.

Develop the hook and promise based on what your market wants, not on what you think they want. Once you have these two foundations for your marketing you can make them the focus of your sales message. This will make it more effective.

If you write a sales letter based on a hook and promise before you even begin creating a product or service and use it as a guide for what you create, it will also make what you offer more relevant and of more value to your market.

10 Ways To Come Up With Topic Ideas

We all experience writer’s block at some time. Whether we have a blog post to write, an article to create, or a book to plan we eventually reach a point where we can’t think of anything more to say. Here are ten tips for coming up with new ideas.

  1. Use the News tab in the Google Search Engine to discover the latest news in your niche. You can also search for “niche name blog” to find the latest topics mentioned on blogs in your niche.
  2. Read the comments below blog posts and articles in your niche. They often include further thoughts, opinions and point out any errors in the article which can inspire new content.
  3. Take a look on Twitter to see what topics are currently trending.
  4. Look for complaints and problems appearing on social networking sites and forums. If you can provide a solution you have a topic you can write about.
  5. Use mindmapping to connect topics in your niche. You may find connections that inspire ideas or you may find that as you dig deeper into a topic you’ll get more topic ideas.
  6. Find magazines in your niche (virtual or hard copy) and look at the titles on the front pages. This will show you topics that are currently trending. If that doesn’t give you enough inspiration put the titles into Google and see if the results are more helpful.
  7. Do you have any previously drafted or unfinished articles? Search through your hard drive, notebooks, or wherever you would create drafts and see if you can uncover something that you could now finish. Perhaps reading this type of material will give you ideas for improvements, alternative angles or perhaps an opportunity to write an updated piece of writing.
  8. If you have been an expert in your niche for some time it may help to step back and regard your niche as if you were a newbie. Are there basics or terms commonly used in your niche that you could explain?
  9. Visit a forum or Facebook Group related to your niche and see if there are any topics that are receiving a lot of comments. Particularly look for topics that are generating a lot of debate.
  10. Is there an anecdote from your experience or from someone else’s that you could use to illustrate a point? Stories involving people in your niche are more likely to hold the attention of your readers than a dry, factual article.

This is a list of just ten possible ways to identify topics. Are there any ways of coming up with topics that have worked for you?

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons symbolA creative commons licence can allow you to use content that has already been created and incorporate it into your own work. Anything that is created is automatically protected by copyright. That means every piece of audio, video and text content you see online is already protected, unless someone has waived the copyright.

Copyright dictates who can share and use the content. If you want to share or otherwise use that content you have to obtain the creator’s permission.

If a content creator wants others to use their work but does not want to have to personally give permission to every individual who wants to do that they can use creative commons. The creator can apply the creative commons licence to their work and this overrules the automatic copyright.

Often there are conditions or rules to the creative commons licence. These rules are called creative commons elements. One that is most often used is that you have to acknowledge the person who produced the work as the creator of the content. This is called attribution.

Another commonly used element is known as non-commercial, which means that no one except the original content creator is permitted to make money from the content. For example you could print a creative commons image onto T-shirts and give them away, but you are not allowed to sell them.

Another element is ‘no derivatives’. This means the original content cannot be changed by anyone except the original creator. So for example if non derivatives applies you cannot take an image and process it through Photoshop or similar software to change the image.

Share alike is another element and this means any new content that incorporates the creative commons content has to carry a creative commons license too. So for example in this case you could use creative commons images in a video, but the video has to be made available subject to the same licence conditions as the creative commons images used within the video.

For more information on creative commons go to creativecommons.org. You can also search for creative commons content using search.creativecommons.org.

How to provide valuable content

Providing valuable content online helps build relationships and establish you as an authority. Provide useful content on a regular basis and your readers will see you as a helpful marketer rather than one who is always talking about yourself or your products.

To get yourself in this position you first need to identify what information is useful to your audience and what is not. You also need to provide information that is not being shared by everyone. Why would someone come to your site if all you’re showing is the same piano playing cat or what colour is this dress discussion as every other site?

Once you have solutions to these two challenges (I suggest a couple below) you need to have a set routine so you are finding and considering content to share on a regular basis. This could be a daily routine or you could do it on a weekly basis. If you have a routine, a system and some automation it’s more likely you’ll keep on top of curating good content for your readers. Depending on your audience you may want to post the content to different platforms or just concentrate on one.

You can use Feedly to collect RSS feeds from blogs in your niche that post useful content. You can also set up Google Alerts that will notify you when relevant content is published.

If you find useful links to information in emails you can set up the Pocket app on your phone, tablet or computer (see https://getpocket.com). There is also a bookmarklet that you can put on Google Chrome so that whenever you find content of interest you can use the bookmarklet to add it to Pocket for later reading. This also means you can delete the email but still have a link to the useful content.

Have you any experience using the above tools or would you recommend others? Leave a comment to let us know.

Infomarketing – The 10 Commandments

Ten CommandmentsOver the Easter weekend I found myself wondering if there could be 10 commandments for infomarketing. Yes, I know Moses is not connected to Easter, other than also being mentioned in the Bible, and Old Testament movies sneaking into the Easter weekend schedules. Anyway, here’s my attempt at some infomarketing commandments. What do you think?

Thou shalt focus on your valuable message

Concentrate on the information you want to pass on. Don’t worry about whether you are good enough to produce a product. There are plenty of people you can hire to check grammar and spelling, plenty to get a video or audio presentation right. Make sure you are creating something your customers will find helpful and the rest will take care of itself.

Thou shalt be brisk

Decide on your product and get it done. Not so hastily that there are glaring errors and poor production values, but speedily enough to mean it’s still relevant to the market when it’s launched. No one wants a product that’s out of date when they buy it.

Thou shalt help your customers grow

Think about the journey your customers are on. What will they need to do first? What should they learn after that? Focus on how you can help your customers improve and progress and you’ll be able to plan your products, offers and bonuses so they are of greatest value to your market.

Thou shalt be a follower of rules

Once you have found something that works to grow your business set up a process that you can follow. This will give you confidence that what you are doing works and frees you up to think about the more creative parts of your business.

Thou shalt be usefully active

Don’t fall into the trap of doing tasks that don’t contribute to the growth of your business. Don’t be forever learning but not earning. Once you’ve learned something new act on it. Actively and regularly interact with your market. Don’t be passive when customers challenge you. Respond and aim to make improvements.

Thou shalt build lists

If you don’t have a list your business needs to start one. If you have one it should be growing. If it isn’t your income is likely to suffer. If it is growing look at how you can segment it to make it more targeted and profitable.

Thou shalt gather insights from your customers

Your customers are your greatest resource. Not sure what your next product should address? Ask your customers what they want. Not sure whether to create an ebook or a video series? Ask your customers. With the ability to run surveys online or even to just put a question to them there’s no need to guess how to get on in business.

Thou shalt use testimonials

Social proof is one of the most powerful ways to pursuade prospects to become customers. You can ask via email or, even better, you can ask for feedback via your blog, Twitter, Facebook or any other means of sharing their comments. It’s not just a matter of collecting testimonials, you have to spread the word of your customer.

Thou shalt develop and improve

The internet is growing and developing so quickly that it seems there are new methods and opportunities appearing all the time. As each new means of generating traffic, spreading your marketing message or selling products appears there are often other additions that can be incorporated. New methods often spawn new software or new ways of using old resources. One of the challenges is to keep up to date without being overwhelmed. If you cannot you are bound to fall behind.

Thou shalt persevere

The only way to fail is to give up. You won’t succeed if you don’t stay in the struggle. Creating products and marketing keeps you in the game. Just by remaining a participant you are beating the vast numbers who give up.

So, those are the ten commandments that occurred to me. The original 10 commandments seemed to focus on images, coveting, and forbidding things. Have I been distracted from better options while writing my list? I’m sure there are more, so did I miss any important ones?

How to outline content

Having an outline for your content ensures that you focus on the most important topics, present them in a useful manner, and achieve the objectives you want. It can prevent you wandering from the main focus of the content and prevent your readers, listeners, or viewers becoming bored or distracted.

1.Pick the Topic

The first step in creating an outline is to pick a topic your audience will find interesting and useful. You can get some ideas by looking at paid products, either by looking at books that are selling well on Amazon.com or the products that are doing well on Clickbank.com. Niche forums and blogs can also be good sources for topic ideas, especially if you find sites that are active and have good interaction with lots of people asking and answering questions.

2. Decide the Primary Goal

Having decided on a topic you next need to set a goal for your content. Are you preparing content for a blog post, a video, or an audio presentation? Are you intending to pass on information, presell a product, or both? Is the content going to be presented as a set of tips, action steps, or in some other format? Perhaps your main intent is to provide motivation rather than information. Whatever the primary goal of the content, you need to make sure you are clear on what it is. Are you creating content that is going to be free or paid for? This could affect the depth and exclusivity of the information that you use. Lastly think about what you want people to do after they have consumed your content. Do you want them to take action, feel better, or have some other outcome?

3. Research

The next step is preliminary research. If you are creating content for use online you should start with a keyword search, using the Google Keyword Tool or some equivalent software. Identify the best keywords for your topic and use them within your writing, or as tags for video and audio content.

The next step of research involves gathering information. This could mean using Google, looking at books in Amazon, and searching for information on YouTube. You can also use physical resources and gather books from your local library or contact and interview experts in the topic.

4. Create the Outline

The next step is to create the outline itself. You will want to create your content so that it follows a logical order. If it is to be presented as step-by-step instructions you need to ensure you have all the right steps in the correct order. You may want to organise your content so that it starts at a beginner level of information and progresses to advanced. An alternative is to start writing about what can get you fast results and move on to what produces results more slowly. For example, if you are organising content about getting traffic to websites you could start by talking about online advertising, pay per click, etc. and then move on to the methods that produce results more slowly, like search engine optimisation.

5. Two Checks

Having created your outline you should then do a couple of checks. Firstly does it meet the goal that you identified earlier? Secondly, you may have a word count in mind for your content. If it’s a blog post 300 words might be sufficient. However if you are creating a chapter for a book you may want a higher word count.

Whether you are creating articles, blog posts, books, or scripts for video or audio presentations it pays to create an outline. This way you can ensure the finished product flows properly, contains useful information, and is more likely to reach the objective and produce the results you are after.

4 Resources for Clear, Readable Blog Posts

Blog key on keyboardThis week I’m going to outline some resources that may make it easier to produce clear, readable blog posts. All of these are free. I hope you find them useful.

1. Blog Topics

If you’re stuck for ideas for your next blog posts take a look at Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator. Enter some nouns that best describe the information you want to convey and the software will produce a list of five post ideas.

For example I entered the words “Facebook” “privacy” and “Europe” and received these suggestions:

15 best blogs to follow about Facebook

10 Signs You Should Invest in privacy

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Europe

14 Common Misconceptions About Facebook

5 Tools Everyone in the privacy Industry Should Be Using

Okay, in my opinion some suggestions are better than others, but it gives you a place to start.

You can also get a year’s worth of suggestions in exchange for some details (email address, etc.). Take a look if you’re frequently short of ideas.

2. Content Ideas

Another resource that might help with content ideas is Portent’s Content Idea Generator.
Put in a keyword and you’ll get a title that may be instantly useable or one that suggests others.

Having written your blog post it’s time to edit. Here are a couple of resources that will help you improve your first draft.

3. Clear writing

Go to Hemmingway and you’ll see an explanation of how it works. Essentially the text is colour coded to highlight where you could use a shorter word, a verb instead of an adverb, and how easy sentences are to read. There’s a key at the side of the page to explain what you should be aiming for and there’s also a colour bar to indicate the readability of your text. Get a grade less than ten and you’ve produced a piece of bold, clear writing.

Select the Write button on the page and you can paste onto the page or type in your text. Then click the Edit button and your text is evaluated. Alternatively a desktop version is available.

4. Readability

If you want to check the readability of a post you’ve already published go to The Readability Test Tool. Here you can enter a web address and get an analysis of the content. At first the results seem a bit too technical to understand, but scroll down and you’ll get an explanation. Essentially anything given a green colour is easy to read.

You can also enter your own text as with Hemmingway, but this time the tool strips out any HTML coding that is included.