There are three main steps to selling information, and with a little practice (and sometimes a little help) it’s something anyone can do.
Step #1 – Research
The first step in selling information is the research or gathering step. If you know a lot about something or have a core expertise, a good part (but not all) of your research may lie in determining that the information you have is something other people want. In the upcoming paragraphs, we’ll discuss how you research, discover, acquire and/or organize your ideas.
What do you know that we don’t? Or who do you know that knows something that the rest of us need or want to know? You don’t need to spend years becoming an expert in something. You do however need to borrow, license, acquire or rent the expertise from someone. If you don’t have an expertise that you can write or speak about, the easiest way to go about finding someone who does is to look for an expert who is under marketed. Then ask them if they would consider letting you repackage their information and take it to the marketplace. Negotiate a way to split the profits that will be mutually beneficial; then they’re happy, you’re happy and you’ll both have more money in the bank. Here’s an example:
You go to a PTA meeting at your kid’s school there’s this guy there speaking on how to influence your children to form good study habits. He really seems to know what he’s talking about and is selling an under-priced Saturday seminar on the subject. You could approach him with an offer to either market for him on a commission based basis, or better yet, take his information and repackage it in the form of a self help book, ebook, audio or video disc, or anything else for that matter, then split the profits with him.
No matter whether you yourself are the expert, or you are using someone else’s expertise, proper research is essential. No matter how much you know, or how great your expertise, you need to be able to back what you have to say up with facts, studies and real world examples. Take some time to make sure that what you’re saying is correct and can be verified. Nothing ruins your credibility more than when a customer catches you saying something that is not true. If they catch you just once, how can they know that everything else you say is correct? Check, and double-check the facts before you put anything to print.
There’s been a saying that’s been floating around for quite a while; it goes like this: “Copying from one or two books is plagiarism, but copying from many is research.” That doesn’t mean to copy anything word for word, or to take other’s ideas and call them your own. But it does mean that you can learn from the experience of others, form your own conclusions, then put them to print, audio or video. Take any non-fiction book for example; most of the concepts and ideas in the book have surfaced somewhere, sometime in the past; everything is not by any means a completely new idea or concept. The key is how you package them. How you put them together into something that is concise and easy to apply and understand.
I believe it was Jay Abraham who said “All the notes had already been discovered long before Mozart came along.” It’s not the notes that are important, but how they are packaged together (into a song) that matters. Information is much the same, you can take the same information, repackage it into something that is easier to understand and implement and you have a whole new product. It’s a simple concept called repurposing or repackaging information. An ebook could easily become an audio CD set, or a home study guide.
In conclusion, make sure you take the time to produce quality work, and that means researching your information. Be sure others back up what you have to say, as a mistake can be drastically costly to you or your business. Don’t forget that once you publish your information, there’s no taking it back — it’s out there forever.
Researching the Market
Before you even start creating an information product, or make a deal with an expert to use his or her expertise, you need to research the market. An easy way to do this is to look for other people that are selling similar information. If there isn’t anyone selling it, there’s probably a good reason – there’s no market for it. That doesn’t mean there’s no one who wants your information, it just means no one wants to pay for it, or not enough people want to pay for it to make it profitable. It would be very rare that you come across a category of information no one else has tapped, and in my opinion you’re better off with something that is tried and true than something new. There’s no reason to try and reinvent the wheel.
Determine who your potential customers are and then determine their needs, wants, and expectations; figure out if there is a demand for your product. Get their opinions about it. Find out how they would like it packaged (book, audio CD) and how much they would be willing to pay for it. Then take a look at who your competitors are and how well they are doing. Find out what they’re doing, how they work, then do it better. It’s as simple as that.
While market research may appear to be a tedious, time-consuming process, it is often necessary if you want to be successful. It is an invaluable tool that can save you time, effort and money.
Step #2 – Packaging
Packaging isn’t limited to fancy graphics and showy slogans on the package of your product. Packaging is how your information is organized, including the form you sell it in, at what price, and how easy it is to use. The main goal of packaging is to make sure that your product is desirable to the consumer. That means everything from choosing the right format for selling your information, to making sure that it is organized in a fashion that is easy to understand and simple to implement.
These are the three steps which are essential to proper packaging:
1. How you physically package it
2. The way you organize the materials
3. Selecting the best price to sell your information for
This isn’t what color or type of packaging you should use, but the format that you use. The format is the medium which you convey your information through. This could be anything from an ebook, to a DVD, to hosting a live seminar.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of information marketing is how the information is packaged, or put together into a format that is easy to follow, can be quickly accessed, and can achieve fast results. That is what makes the information that you have to offer so much better then that of all the other information floating around out there. There is tons of raw information swarming all around us. But most of us don’t have the time to sit down and decipher it into something that is easy to understand, and easy to use. Not only do you need to provide the information, but you must provide the tools for the user of the information to integrate it into his or her business and/or life.
There are tons of different ways you can package your information. Thirteen of the more popular packaging techniques are listed below.
1. Publish a book or article
2. Host a seminar
3. Become a public speaker
4. Host a teleseminar
5. Publish a newsletter or ezine
6. Create a computer program or educational game
7. Produce a television program or infomercial (informative commercial)
8. Become a consultant
9. Teach or train
10 Publish a magazine or newspaper
11 Become a talk show host
12. Create a product (how to course, audio CDs, video etc.)
13. License your information
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What format of information would you want most? What would work best for your needs and lifestyle? Don’t stop at just one format though. If you start with an ebook, put it on CD. If you have a home study course, teach it in a seminar or teleseminar. Start with one format, then branch out and expand. Different people like different formats. Some people might like a home study course, then to go to a seminar and learn that way, then listen to audio CDs in their car as a refresher. Give some choice, but not too much or people will put off making a decision.
Organizing Your Materials
The big thing about organization in general is the fact that it keeps things neat and tidy and puts them in a place where you can easily find and use them. When you’re organizing information the goal is much the same. A good information product must be:
- Ready to use, on demand, instantly
Most people don’t have the time to spend studying and reorganizing the readily available data into something that fits their unique circumstances. They want something they can use now, which is easy to understand and provides fast results. And the best part is, they’re willing to pay for it.
To illustrate this, let’s say you own a late model car that requires lots of love (think maintenance and repairs) to keep it running in tip top shape. You may have a decent knowledge of how cars work and enjoy working on yours, but you don’t know absolutely everything about everything, and might need a little guidance once on a while. When you need help, you have a few options:
Ask a friend or acquaintance for help who might possibly know something you don’t.
Plop yourself down in front of your computer and plough through webpage after webpage in an attempt to find something helpful (and correct) on the internet.
Or, you buy a readily available book for $29.95 at your local book bookstore that explains everything you’ll ever need to know.
Do you spend the $30 for the book, waste countless hours researching for credible information on the internet, or ask a friend who might know? Since I value my time, the choice for me is easy; I spend $30 for the book. Research shows that most other people feel the same way. Why? The book gives you access to immediate, credible, specialized information that you can quickly act on.
A well-thought-out marketing strategy takes into consideration not only the marketing factors, but also pricing strategies. While it’s always important to make a profit, if the market won’t bear such a high price, it’s better to lower your profit margin than not do any business at all. You may actually be able to make more money with a lower price than you will with a higher one. Make sure your marketing plan combines marketing and pricing.
Also be sure your price is fair and competitive with the marketplace. If your price isn’t right, people will pass you by without even giving you a chance. Above all, always be sure you test different price points adequately to determine which will make you the most money, not get the most sales.
Step #3 – Marketing
When you’re selling anything, marketing is the absolute most important skill to have. If you wanted, you could market junk with right marketing campaign (not that you would want to).
Marketing information can be both harder and/or easier than marketing other types of more physical products. If you’re trying to convince people that they need the information you have to offer, it can be quite a chore to actually persuade them to purchase it; especially with all the free information floating around on the internet. However, simply find the right audience that knows the true power of properly packaged information and the impact that it can have on their lives and their business. If you find the right market and they’ll be begging you to sell them anything they can buy.