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

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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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 11:25 am and is filed under Strategy, Writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Vegetables vs. Dessert: How to Write an Info Product that Sells”

  1. Tia says:

    Thanks, Elge! Super information here. I’ve never heard the vegetables vs dessert debate, but when you explain as you have, I think about that all the time. It makes perfect, perfect sense. I haven’t created info products yet but I plan to do so in the near future.

    Thanks again. I have tweeted this out.

    Cheers,
    Tia

  2. Elge says:

    Thanks Tia! Took me a lot of thinking about “Why is it some great info products don’t sell?” to figure that one out.

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