Archive for March, 2011

Vegetables vs. Dessert: How to Write an Info Product that Sells

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Steve Slaunwhite’s latest article answers the question “What is the best topic for an info product?” In the article, he challenges the reader to answer questions such as “Does the information help solve a problem or fulfill an aspiration?” and “Is your target audience hungry for the information?”

 

They are good questions and you really should spend some time writing down your answers. They will you figure out what should go in your info product and what to leave out. The answers will also come in handy when it’s time to write the sales copy which is easily the hardest part of the whole process.

 

What Can You Do to Give Your Info Product the Best Chance of Selling?

 

Writing a quality info product is incredibly difficult and takes more time than anyone thinks it will. In order to create a quality product plan on writing it, setting it aside for a few weeks and writing it again. If you’re not willing to take the time to do it right, don’t bother.

Over the years, I’ve worked with many clients to write and promote info products and in that time I’ve learned a few things about what sells, what doesn’t and why.

 

Go Light on Theory

When you’re an expert, you have a unique understanding the problem. You’re steeped in your theory about how the problem came about, the dynamics at hand and the intricacies of the various ways to solve it. You’re looking at the problem from the outside-in and not the inside-out. Unless people want to do what you do, they don’t really care all that much about your theory. They just want to know how to solve the problem. In the writing process that means go light on theory and heavy on stories and examples.

 

Vegetables versus Dessert

People want to eat dessert first. But as the expert who can solve their problem, you know they need to eat their vegetables. I hate to break it to you but until you can demonstrate why they need their vegetables, they’ll buy dessert first every time. Let me illustrate with an example.

One of the services I provide is search engine optimization (SEO) which is the art and science of getting website to rank well in the search engines. Ultimately, the purpose of SEO is to get people to buy your service or product. The first and most important step in the SEO process is to figure out what words and phrases your website should rank for. This is called “key phrase research.”

Considering that key phrase research is literally the “key” to making sales online, you’d think people would rush to buy an info product that showed them how to do key phrase research. You know what? They don’t. A product called “How to Do Key Phrase Research” is vegetables and only people who want to do SEO for a living see the value of vegetables.

Other search marketers are not my target market.  Entrepreneurs trying to sell services or products online are my target market. The only people who visit their website are people who already know them. Their most pressing problem is getting in front of new people and building an online audience.

That means I need to make the focus of my info product “how to build an online audience.” My job is to get people thinking “Yeah! I need that!”  And then when they ask “How do I do that?” is the time to tell them the first step is key phrase research. Once I’ve given them dessert, I make the case for why they need to eat their vegetables. They get what they want and I get to give them what I know they need.

 

Get Feedback

So how do you figure out what’s vegetables and what’s dessert? Get feedback. Sending your ebook to a handful of friends and asking them what they think is not enough. They’re going to say it’s great. Even if they give you some constructive feedback it’s not going to be as helpful as if you got face-to-face feedback.

I strongly recommend that you teach the material at least once, preferably twice. Invite some friends over for snacks and drinks. When you invite them, tell them what you’re doing and what you want from them. Be specific about what you want. Make a list of questions such as “Does this part make sense?” and “Should I leave this in or take it out?”

See where the energy is. I recently taught an internet marketing basics class and was totally surprised to see where the questions led me. People couldn’t care less about how Google works. What they wanted to know about was building an online audience. I wound spending 30 minutes on a topic I’d only planned to spend 5 minutes on. Believe me! That feedback greatly changed the structure of my next info product and the language I will use to set up the problem.

While you’re writing and gathering feedback, think about what are the “vegetables” of your topic and what is the “dessert.” Then when you write, start with dessert first.

 

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Posted in Strategy, Writing | 2 Comments »

Are you Protecting Your Most Important Online Asset?

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Imagine you’re a real estate agent and you have a website where you list your properties for sale and use to get clients. Now imagine one day you come into the office, fire up your computer, go to your website and see this:

It happened to a husband and wife real estate team near where I live in Portland, Oregon. Here’s a local news story about what happened.

So what can the real Bergeron Properties do about this? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

How did this happen? They let their domain name expire. When the registration lapsed a guy in Tennessee with an axe to grind scooped it up and put up this website.

You might think this is a rare occurrence but swiping domain names from unsuspecting owners is more common than you think.  Several years ago I had a client who let an old domain name lapse. She’d forgotten she has a website with a shopping cart running on that site. The people in Yugoslavia who swiped the domain name also scraped the website. Then they hosted the website and the shopping cart on their own servers. To customers it looked like the same site and they had no idea my client no longer owned it. Customers would enter their credit card information and next thing they know their identity has been stolen. The only reason why we were able to get it taken down was because the thieves stole the entire site. If they had put up their own site, there would have been nothing we could do.

Your domain name is your most important online asset and there are 3 simple things you can do to protect it.

#1 REGSITER YOUR OWN DOMAIN NAME!

You wouldn’t say “I don’t want to deal with the DMV so I’m going to have my mechanic go down there and register my car in their name.”  That would be nuts! Although you might be driving your car, in the eyes of the law you wouldn’t really own it. But business owners do this all the time when they have their web designer register their domain name for them.

Sometimes web designers try to talk you into letting them do it. This is concerning for a couple of reasons. First of all, unscrupulous web designers will try to strong arm you into letting them do it because they know they’ve got you over a barrel if you try to take your business elsewhere. Secondly, even if you have an ethical web designer, if something happens to them (like they die), you can’t contact the company they registered it with and say “Hey. That’s really my domain name. Can I get that back?” Nope. Even if  the domain is your name and your picture is plastered all over the site, they can’t give it to you.

Registering a domain name is easy and only takes a few minutes. I use www.godaddy.com but I can’t give them a full endorsement because they try to get you to tack on all kinds of stuff to your order that you don’t really need.  There are hundreds of registrars out there. Here’s a list from ICANN which is the governing body of the internet.

#2 Use an email address you check regularly.

The main reason why so many businesses lose their domain name is because they start using a new email address and forget to update their contact information with their registrar. When it comes time to renew, the registrar sends emails to the email address in their records. If that email isn’t up to date, the first sign that you forgot to renew your domain name could be finding another website where you expected yours to be. Burn it into your brain. If you change your email address, update your contact info with your registrar.

#3 Set your domain names to auto-renew.

You might consider registering your domain name for multiple years at a time. If you don’t do that, I suggest setting it to auto-renew. That’s what I do with my important domain names. Of course, when the expiration date on your credit card changes, you need to update your card information. But if you’ve used an email address you check regularly, that won’t be a problem.

Imagine the amount of lost business and reputation damage this simple mistake is causing Bergeron Properties. You domain name is your most valuable online asset. Take some simple steps to protect it.

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