Some people think the opportunity for entrepreneurs and freelancers to earn an income online is long gone. The truth is, the potential for this type of lucrative career will only continue to grow as our technology does. While the Internet does provide a lot of information for free there are still ways to sell products and make a living. All it takes is proper product placement and incentives.
Below are 10 tips from the experts on how you can sell information products and earn an income online:
1. Start free. The best place for any Internet business to start is with a website. Fill it with great content—on photography or divorce law or celebrity gossip or whatever you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Then, surround that content with ads using programs like AdSense or Microsoft’s Content Match, which will “read” your pages, serve ads that match the subject, and pay you fees that range from a few cents to tens of dollars for each click the ads receive. It’s the easiest way to start hearing that “KaChing” sound.
2. Choose your knowledge wisely. There might be some risks associated with information products, but the costs are low…and the brainstorming is very simple. If you’ve created an online business in a field that you enjoy, that you understand, and that you’ve already spent time in, you should have a feel for the market. Your customers will be people like you, and you’ll have a sense for what you—and others with your interest—would be willing to pay to learn. Still, that doesn’t mean you should rush out and create the first information product you think of.
3. Listen to your readers. Remember, your readers are both a vital part of the market and a market that talks to you. The comments they leave at the end of your blog posts and the actions they take on your site give you tons of valuable information about what sort of information they might (and might not) be willing to buy. It’s possible that some users will say specifically that they’d be prepared to pay for a book that would tell them how to build their own patio or how to cook dinner parties in a snap, but you can’t rely on those kinds of posts to tell you what information product to create. What you can do is look at the number of comments your posts receive to see which topics push people’s buttons the most.
4. Create by the stats. Your website stats tell you which pages are the most popular and how long users spend on them. If a blog post topic has generated lots of views and persuaded your readers to stick around and read through to the bottom of the page, that’s a good sign that people are gripped by the subject. As you’re wondering what sort of topic you should use for an information product, take a few minutes to look at your site stats. List the ten pages that generate the most views, the ten pages that generate the most comments, and the ten pages that generate the longest views. You should find that there’s plenty of overlap, giving you a good idea of what attracts your readers the most.
5. Ask yourself, How can I deliver results? When you’re asking people to pay you money for information, they’re going to reach into their pockets only if they believe that money is going to come back to them. That ROI doesn’t have to be in cash form—although you can certainly find plenty of information products on the Web that promise to help people earn giant stacks of cash—it can also come in the form of money saved.
6. Book it. There’s no one way to create an information product. Instead, there are a number of different ways of transforming the information you have into a format that can be sold online. Two great options are e-books and print books. Creating an e-book is simple enough. You can write it in Word and convert it into a PDF format. Don’t worry about being a literary genius or trying to sound like a newspaper. Simply write the information the way you speak. You’ll want the e-book to be at least fifty pages. You’ll want it to contain solid, practical information that delivers real benefits. And you’ll want it to be priced in line with the competition rather than relying entirely on the perceived benefits the book will bring.
7. Star in DVDs and webinars. Once your site is up and running, and once it has regular readers enjoying your knowledge, you should find that many of your readers will want individual, one-on-one learning opportunities. A great way to offer that is through informational DVDs and webinars.
8. Remember, copy is “KaChing.” Once you’ve created your information product—whatever kind of product it is—the next step is to build a sales page that pitches it. You don’t want to limit yourself to market to only your regular readers. You also want to bring in readers of other websites—anyone, in fact, who might have an interest in the information your product contains. You’ll want to convert them right away by persuading them, as soon as they reach your page, of the benefits of your product. That means creating a page filled with effective sales copy—and usually that means creating a one-page sales letter.
9. Build your shopping cart. As you may well know, online shopping carts allow your customers to choose the products they want and process a payment. As you might have guessed, that’s all been systematized, simplified, and made a breeze. A number of different companies can help you get started. One of the best is E-junkie (www.e-junkie.com), which comes with all of the features that you’ll find most useful, including buttons that you can just copy and paste, the ability to accept discount codes, calculators for sales tax, VAT, and shipping, and even an affiliate management program.
10. Launch for success. Properly launching your information product allows you to generate publicity, provoke word-of-mouth recommendations, and build the kind of buzz that brings even more sales. It’s your product’s birthday, a time to celebrate, throw open the doors, and get those cash registers ringing. The preparation for a launch begins a long time before the launch itself. Most of that work will take place behind the scenes, but when you leak small snippets of what you’re up to, you can help to build anticipation so that buyers are ready for your big announcement.
The fact is, most people are online looking for a product, service or valuable information and even if they intended to find the information for free they won't mind paying for it if it is exactly what they need at a good price. Keep this in mind as you research what to target and how to go about selling it. All it takes is dedications, hard work and patience.
Do you have any tips or advice to add about successfully selling information products?