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I’ve had modest success creating and self-publishing information products, such as ebooks, audio programs and self-study courses. So it’s not surprising that many Marketing Memo readers and listeners have asked me, “Steve, how do I create a profitable info product?”
Well, I’m hardly the expert.
But I do know that your choice of topic is critical. After all, if the subject matter of your info product doesn’t interest your target audience then few, if any, are going to buy it. (Well, maybe your Aunt Edna will!)
Let’s say, for example, that you have a topic in mind for a new audio program but you’re not sure if it will sell. Here are some questions that will help you make that determination.
1. Does the information help solve a problem or fulfill an aspiration?
Ultimately, there are only two reasons why people purchase an info product. They either have a problem, such as wanting to prevent a divorce, or they have a goal, such as a desire to make a side income buying and renting out homes. If your info product doesn’t address one of those two “master motivators”, then it probably won’t do very well.
2. Is your target audience hungry for the information?
In other words, is your info product going to be a “nice to have” or a “must have”? The more your target audience feels that your topic is something that is absolutely crucial for them to know, the more likely it is that your info product will fly off the (virtual) shelves.
3. Has your target audience asked for it?
As you get to know people in your target audience, you’ll discover they keep asking the same questions, complaining about the same problems, or dreaming of the same aspirations. In a way, they are telling you the topic of the ebook or audio program they want you to create for them. Listen!
4. Is the information readily available for free?
Free is tough to compete with. So if your info product is on a topic that has been covered extensively in tips and articles on the internet, then it’s going to be difficult to persuade someone to pay for that same information.
One way to deal with this is to focus your topic on a narrow niche. There are a gazillion articles on the web on writing effective sales copy. But how much free information is available on writing FDA-compliant copy for healthcare products?
5. Does the audience know you?
People tend to buy info products from those they know and trust. So if you have a popular ezine or blog, or have a huge social media audience, or do a gazillion seminars each year, or are simply well known to your target audience, then your info product has a much better chance of success.
These questions should get you on the right track to selecting the best topic. But beware. As with any product development project, there is no guarantee of success. I’ve certainly had a few flops!
But once you’ve decided on a topic, jump in with both feet and create the best, most useful info product you can for your target audience. If it ends up not selling as well as you hoped, at least you have quality material you can use in other ways, such as in articles and presentations.