The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Information Products
Information products are a great option for anyone who wants to make money online.
The market for education, training, self-help, and self-improvement is massive. Here's the complete beginner's guide to information products in 2017!
- Companies spend $70 billion a year on corporate training programs in the U.S. and $130 billion a year worldwide.
- Higher Education in the U.S. is a $450 billion industry.
- The self-help industry brings in $10 billion annually.
At the same time, the internet has given everyone the opportunity to create and sell training products online—including you.
From business training to golf instruction, if you have expertise, you can create, sell, and profit by creating an info product.
The Benefits of Selling Information Products
The obvious benefit to information products is that you can make money by doing so. But there are many other benefits, including some you may not have considered:
1. Info Products Can Be Sold for Much More Than a Book
Many people dream of writing a book. And you can do that.
Anyone can self-publish a book on Amazon. But if you do, the most you can realistically sell it for will be $10 or so.
Info products, however, can be sold for much higher prices. Many are sold in the $50 to $500 range, for example. But some sell for tens of thousands of dollars or more.
This means info products give you the opportunity to make much more than you could by simply writing a book.
2. Info Products Let You Help More People
A successful info product will help thousands of people—far more than you could reach as a personal coach, trainer, or consultant.
If your goal is to help the world, an info product can help you dramatically increase your reach.
3. Creating Info Products is Flexible
Not a great writer? No problem.
You can create a video series or a set of audio training programs instead.
Are you a fantastic public speaker? You can record your talks and turn them into products.
Whatever your style, info products give you the flexibility to create your materials in the format that’s best for you.
4. Make Money Without Trading Dollars for Hours
If you have a job or you work one-on-one with clients, you’re trading hours for money.
Selling info products lets you break free from the hours-for-dollars hamster wheel. Instead, you spend time creating a product once, then profit from it over and over again for years to come.
5. Info Products Perfectly Compliment Individual Coaching Programs
Creating an info product will instantly position you as an expert in the eyes of potential clients.
If you’re a coach, consultant, or trainer, the prestige from having an info product can help you raise your consulting prices.
You'll also be able to deliver your services more easily.
Instead of starting from zero with each client, have new clients go through your training product. Then meet with them to help them implement the material.
In that way, you can raise your prices, attract more clients, and deliver your services in less time than it takes you today.
What If I'm Not an Expert at Anything?
Countless people let this question stop them from making an info product.
I have two responses.
1. Everyone Has Special Skills
Longtime Jeopardy host Alex Trebek once said, “We are all experts in our own little niches.”
Alex is right.
Have you ever had any type of training? Have you been through a school of any kind? Have you played a sport or mastered a video game? Are you a genius at finding things on the internet?
If so, you have special skills. If you can’t think of one for your situation, try asking yourself this question:
- What is the thing that people come to me for help with?
Repairing cars? Relationship advice? Fixing leaky pipes? Resume help? Technology?
Whatever it is, take note. Their questions mean they believe you have expertise in that area.
2. Learn in Public
Even if I can’t convince you that you have special skills, at least we can agree that there’s nothing stopping you from learning to be great at something new.
If you’re willing to document a learning journey, you have all the subject material you’ll ever need to create an info product.
Think about it. Wouldn't it be amazing if there were video diaries from when Prince was first learning to play the guitar?
There is huge demand for this type of thing. Just search for "early footage of" in YouTube and you'll be amazed at what you can find—and by the numbers of people who have watched the content.
To use Prince as an example again, this recording from a 1982 Prince concert was published on YouTube in August of 2014. At present, it has been viewed over 2.7 million times.
People love to watch other people try new things in public. That's exactly why reality television is so popular.
So, make yourself into a reality star. Document your journey from zero to achieving something amazing.
Types of Info Products You Could Create
Another area where people get stuck is the format of their info product.
You may have hesitated to create a product because you didn’t know how to design an eBook, or because you don’t think you’re a good enough writer.
The good news is: you can be as creative as you want when choosing a format for your info product.
Anything that can be read, viewed, listened to, used, or downloaded can be sold online. And you don't have to choose a single format. Many info products include a combination of several different items in several different formats.
A video series might include cheat sheets. Or an email training product might include a private community for people going through the course.
Don’t feel like you have to create one specific type of content over another.
What follows is a list of different types of content you could choose to create and sell as an info product.
1. Things to Read
Whether short or long, physical books remain a popular choice. They can be self-published and sold on Amazon. Or you can add a link to your website and fulfill orders directly.
Workbooks are often included with other training materials such as a video course. Workbooks are an easy way to help people ensure they take all the steps they need to get the result they're looking for.
Email newsletters are often free, but they don’t have to be. Many top gurus use email to deliver members-only newsletters to paying customers. Email newsletters are also often used to compliment mastermind groups or paid community memberships.
As people struggle with email overload, print materials have enjoyed a renaissance. Simply putting a stamp on a letter and sending it through the mail can be a great way to differentiate yourself from others in your market. Like email newsletters, print newsletters are a wonderful addition to other training courses and online community memberships.
Some products work great as simple, automated, daily emails. If you want, the entire contents of your training can be delivered in the body of these emails.
2. Things to Watch
Step-by-Step Instructional Videos
Instructional videos, like the ones we create at Performance Marketer, are among the most popular options for info products. They can be especially effective when combined with cheat sheets and guides for students to use as they move through your material.
Recorded Q&A Sessions
Students will always have questions, and often the same questions will come up over and over again as you interact with your audience.
Collecting those questions into a recorded Q&A can be a great way to clear up any confusion. It makes a great addition to an existing training course.
Live Case Studies
It's one thing to learn a theory, it's another thing to see a series of videos that track a real person's journey. Documenting your own journey is one great way to create this type of content. You can also track the progress of one of your students.
3. Things to Listen to
Clearly the market for audio-based content is growing. Here are a few ways you can take advantage:
Audio Trainings ("Podcasts" by another name)
The term "podcast" usually refers to free audio programs. But you can create similar audio programs and sell them as info products just by changing the term you use to "audio trainings."
If you’re writing a book, get a microphone and record an audiobook as well. Sell them as a bundle or individually to give your audience a choice in how they consume your material.
Expert interviews are often offered as bonus content—that little something extra to get people to click "buy" for a larger training course or program. If you have smart friends or connections to well-known experts, get them on a Skype call and ask them some questions.
4. Things to Use
Interactive content is one of the best ways to get people to take action as they learn something new. Here are a few ways to create tools people can use:
Checklists and Cheat Sheets
Include simple, one-page checklists and cheat sheets as a supplement to your other content. This gives your customers a great way to stay on track as they move through your material.
Some training courses are now delivered entirely within an app. Using push notification reminders can be an especially effective way to help students stay engaged with your content.
Surveys are a great way to create additional content for your info product. Ask your customers "what's your biggest challenge?” Then answer those questions to create additional training materials for your products.
Questionnaires provide individual feedback for a customer. They can be advanced, self-grading tests, or they can be a simple series of questions using something like a Google Form.
5. Things to Do
For your customers, a private forum can be a vital support community as they work to improve themselves. These can be custom websites with unique logins, or they can be as simple as a private Facebook group.
Mastermind groups are led by an expert (usually you) and include regular, structured video calls or in-person meetings. In this way, the group members get personal feedback, regular support, and a built-in accountability system.
Office Hours Calls
Office hours are essentially live Q&A with you and your customers. They are perfect for when you have a large number of customers. They give people a chance to interact with you—which feels very valuable to them. But it keeps you from having to personally support each individual member.
Recordings of these calls can also be used as free content or for future info products.
You may not be able to help everyone one-on-one, but you could pick one member of your customer base and help them through their issues. Record their progress and you'll have another great piece of content to add to your info product.
Other Content You Can Use
Here’s a secret.
You don't have to create all the content for your info product yourself.
I'm a big fan of using other people’s content to give examples of the concepts you teach in training courses. I also like live breakdowns and analysis of what others are doing in my market.
Don’t plagiarize of course. But you can use public content such as YouTube videos as examples or illustrations in your content.
Or if you want to give your customers another perspective in your product, ask another expert to help you create part of your training for you. This can be a great way to provide a more comprehensive product for your audience, even in areas you don’t know very well yourself.
The Tools You'll Need
Ready to get started making an info product, but don't know how to create the content?
There are countless free and paid tools available to help you create, sell, and deliver everything we've discussed in this list.
Here are a few to consider:
Tools for eBooks and other Readable Content
iBooks: Free for Mac users. Provides easy to use eBook templates.
Blurb: An online tool for eBook publishers. Includes templates and tools for distribution.
Scrivener: A great tool for anyone writing a book. Mac only.
Tools for Audio Content
Garage Band: An easy-to-use audio editor for Mac users. Great for beginners.
Audacity: A powerful, free audio editor for both Mac and Windows.
Soundcloud: Upload and share your audio files. Free and paid plans available.
Tools for Video Content
ScreenFlow: Captures a live recording of your computer screen along with audio. Perfect for live demos or talking over a PowerPoint presentation. Mac only.
Camtasia: Similar to Screenflow but for Windows.
Google Hangouts on Air: Broadcast a Hangout with up to 10 people on the call. Google automatically records the hangout and publishes it to YouTube when the call is over.
YouTube: The most popular place to host video content. You can set videos to be public or "unlisted." Unlisted videos cannot be found in search. They are only accessible for people who have the video link.
Wistia: A premium video hosting service that provides much more control of your video content than YouTube.
Tools for Interactive Info Product Content
Google Forms: A simple, free form builder.
SurveyMonkey: One of the most popular survey tools. Free and premium plans available.
WuFoo: Another form builder option.
Tools for Information Product Communities
Facebook Groups: Free and easy to use. If your audience uses Facebook heavily already, creating a private Facebook group for them is a great option.
Tools to Collect Payment & Deliver Your Information Products
Kajabi: A content delivery platform. Customers create a user ID and password. Then they can view your content after they log in. This is a great way to deliver courses with multiple content types—including video, downloadable PDFs, etc.
PayPal: One of the most popular ways to collect payment online.
Stripe: A payment processing tool that's a proven alternative to Paypal.
E-junkie: A shopping cart tool designed for online sales.
Amazon S3: Easily create download links for your electronic products. Anything that can be saved as a file can be delivered this way. Pay only when files are transferred.
Gumroad: Payment and product delivery in one integrated tool. Designed to be easy to use for both product creator and customers.
Final Thoughts on The Beginner's Guide to Info Products
I hope this article has opened your eyes to the tremendous opportunity for anyone interested in selling information products.
There has never been a better time to profit from your knowledge.
If you have an internet connection, you can create, sell and profit from information products online.
All it takes is a willingness to get started, and the courage to publish what you create.