Creating an information product is the first thing most people want to do when they start an online business or transfer their offline business online. Why not? Information products have very low overhead, since they’re developed electronically, and other than time for product creation and formatting, they are pretty simple to create.
However, creating a product is NOT the first thing to do in your online business. Why? Because there is a foundation that needs to be constructed before the product creation process begins. You would never start with the roof when building a house, right? The foundation and support beams need to be in place before you can begin work on the roof. The same principle applies with information product development. Too many people develop a product without doing any of the research necessary to determine the need for their product.
Here are the 7 biggest mistakes information marketers make when creating a product:
1. Haven’t chosen a niche or a target market. Trying to sell a product to everyone will never work. It’s only when you target a specific market or a specific niche that you will find success online. It’s so much easier to market to a specific group of people or a specific industry than targeting everyone online. Pick a niche or a target market that is familiar to you, either because you’re passionate about it or because you have experience in that marketplace.
2. Failure to understand the major problems of your target market. What keeps your target market awake at night, either in fear or in joy? By getting a handle on the problems and interests of your target market, you get a much better understanding of what will cause them to buy. Typically, consumers are triggered by three emotions to make a purchase. Will your product save them time, money, or effort? If so, you’re headed in the right direction.
3. Have no traffic to your site. Just because you put up a web site doesn’t mean that visitors will show up en masse. You must have a traffic generation plan in place to ensure that people see what you are offering. How do you generate traffic? With your ezine, blog, article marketing, podcasting, video, radio show, strategic alliances, hosting teleclasses or webinars… and that’s only the tip of the marketing list. People won’t magically find your site — you have to create a strategy to drive them there.
4. Have no list and no email marketing system. The money is really in the list, provided the list contains members of your target market. When you engage in the traffic generation strategies described above, be sure that you have a way to capture your visitor’s contact info, thus creating your email marketing list. If you capture their mailing address as well, you can take your marketing offline to direct mail.
5. Lack of relationship with your list. People buy from those whom they like, know and trust, whether they’re doing business online or off. However, when you’re online, you don’t have the ability to get to know someone face-to-face at networking or association meetings. So, you have to create that relationship virtually. Put your headshot in your blog and ezine header. Write great content about your specialty in a conversational tone. Share what’s going on in your life in your ezine or on social networking sites. Be helpful and answer questions on industry discussion forums. Visit industry blogs and post relevant comments.
6. Inability to purchase what you’re selling. The worst thing you can do when you’re selling something online is to make it difficult for people to purchase from you. The cleanest and easiest way to make purchasing easy is to get a merchant account and a shopping cart system. You can use Paypal as your payment system, but you have to ensure that it is set up properly so that your customer is able to immediately access the info product she has purchased.
7. Lack of research on competitive products. I think it’s always helpful to research what your competitors are offering and the price points at which the products are being offered. This information can help you determine the market saturation for this info as well as give you pricing guidelines. In fact, you may discover a superior product that already exists, and instead of reinventing the wheel, you decide to become an affiliate marketer for that product rather than try and create it on your own.
Bonus tip: Lack of content. The #1 reason that info marketers don’t create products is because they lack content. When faced with the task of creating a product from scratch, the entire project becomes overwhelming and it falls through the cracks. However, if you’re in the habit of regularly creating new content via the articles you write for your ezine and the posts you submit to your blog, in just a few months you have enough content to easily begin repurposing into products.
Make sure your foundation is solid before proceeding with product creation. By creating a solid foundation first, you have just enhanced your possibility of success by a factor of 10.