July 14, 2011
My good friend, Wendy Piersall’s new book, “Mom Blogging for Dummies” has just been released. When you get a chance go over to her facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/MomBloggingForDummies) and learn more about the book. Then go buy it!
Congrats Wendy! Look forward to checking it out.
PS. I know I haven’t been writing much on this blog. At some point I plan on talking about that in more detail, but right now I am still working out the details.
October 8, 2010
Have you seen the video for the Kajabi marketing software that came out earlier this week?
I have been waiting for months to see what Kajabi was and so far it looks pretty cool to me. After watching the video, I decided to join their affiliate program so the links in this post are my affiliate links.
Anyway, they just put out a really good ebook about some of the roadblocks many of us face when trying to make money online. You can click here to download the free report.
When you finish reading it let me know which of the roadblocks have prevented you from making money online.
May 5, 2009
I wanted to quickly tell you about two cool pages you should check out.
First, Yaro Starak just opened his Membership Site Mastermind training program and he’s taking
students for one week only. He’s also offering some bonuses that are only available TODAY.
You can join right now by clicking here! (WARNING: it’s a long page, so watch the video instead if you don’t like long sales pages).
The next thing I wanted you to know about is a FREE video by Eban Pagan that reveals the reasons people have such a hard time selling information products.
October 17, 2008
Among the other uses of the PDF ebook is the ability to drive traffic with it. If you know how to make a PDF ebook, then you can make its shorter cousin, the viral report.
While you can sell reports, the purpose of a viral report is a bit different. Viral reports are designed to drive traffic by trading content someone else can use for their ‘help’ in getting your links out to interested people. You do this by creating the report and letting others use it for free. When you do this, you should keep some things in mind.
- First, you have to know where your report is intended to drive traffic. You want to write about a subject related to your site to prequalify the traffic, so don’t start writing until you know.
- The average person has to look at an ad seven times before they respond to it. So when you write your viral report, focus primarily on advertising a single link. Put it in the footer, the title page, and at the end of your report at the very least. You can also put it in the body of the report, but be careful not to spam it.
- While you want to give anyone who reads your report enough good information to earn their trust, they won’t buy the cow if they can get the milk for free. So when you write your report, keep the subject more focused than what you are selling on the site where you want them to go.
- If you want to use the report to drive someone to an affiliate product page, make sure it’s about something related to the products on that page. You want interested and targeted traffic, not generic hits.
- To make the report go viral, clearly state what you’ll allow someone to do with your report on the cover. Can they give it away? Sell it? Do other things with it? Also, make sure that you explicitly forbid them to alter it, or distribute it in any form but digital. If they do change the report, or distribute it physically, it defeats the purpose of using it to drive traffic.
- If you have an affiliate program for the site where you intend to drive traffic, make your report rebrandable. Someone is much more likely to use it if they can make money from it and get free content than just to get free content alone.
- Viral reports aren’t oversized sales copy. To make them work, they have to provide real information to anyone who reads them in a well-produced way. You also want them to be used by other merchants as list builders and bonuses for buying something else, which won’t happen if all you do with is just try to sell your own stuff in a PDF that looks like a spam site.
Viral reports are handy if you make them correctly, and know what you want to do with them before you write them. With a little preparation, you could be making viral reports that work for you.
June 20, 2008
Are you thinking about selling your own product online?
Doing that is a bit on the high-maintenance side, but you can get a lot out of it. Selling your own products lets you make money, make back-end sales, and build a larger list all at the same time. The trick then is to find out what kind of a product you should sell, and I personally recommend an info product (short for information product) like an ebook or my personal favorite, the short e-report.
You may have noticed that there are a lot of these around. Electronically published ‘How-to’ guides are everywhere, and it’s something you could sell too.
Why should you give this real consideration?
- With the state of software and technology today, making a well-formatted PDF ebook or short report is well within the budget and technical know-how of a home entrepreneur. I make small reports with some regularity myself, and it only takes me a few days from start to finish.
- Ebooks allow you to turn knowledge you already have into a sellable product. You just take something you know, write it up, add pictures if you need to do so, then arrange and edit it into a polished ebook. It won’t make much of a difference what type of knowledge you have, because the Internet is so big, it’s more than likely you’ll find an audience for it.
- Ebooks and reports can be filled with affiliate links, which means they have the potential to keep generating income after they’ve generated income with their sale.
- Info products have no delivery costs. In fact, you could create a mini-site that will sell them, process payments, and then deliver your ebook to the customer without any input from you whatsoever.
- Info products, and particularly short e-reports, have more uses than to simply be sold. If you can learn to make short reports quickly, you can use them to drive traffic, make them incentives, or build lists with them.
- ‘How to’ guides are in demand, especially if it’s about doing something better, faster, or more easily.
If you’re thinking of selling your first product, I highly recommend you make it an info product. They’re comparatively easy and inexpensive to produce, and can be used for all sorts of things.
June 13, 2008
Writing viral reports is a good idea, and it works like this:
- People need freebies to give away with products or in exchange for an opt-in
- You provide it with a short report.
In exchange for content and some rebrandable links, you could get a lot of traffic to your desired web site.
Nowadays, rebrandability is a must. Everyone else is making theirs rebrandable, and the people you want distributing yours won’t accept anything less. They can be made with software called rebranders, which will let you make your own rebrander packages without much trouble.
Once you get that far, you have to find some way to get your report found, and there are any number of ways you can put it in front of interested prospects. You can put rebrandable reports in your affiliate areas, and that’s a good idea. You could advertise them on free ebook sites, which is also a good idea. You can announce them in the free ebook areas in places like The Warrior Forum. And you can put them in the Butterfly Reports viral report marketplace.
I don’t talk about specific sites much, but I’m starting to see some promise in the Butterfly Reports site. As of this article, it’s still in beta and shaking out bugs, but I’m still liking it so far. A free account there will let you both submit one rebrandable viral report to the web site, and take one for your use each month. There are additional paid levels, but you don’t need to worry about them right now.
Now, they have some rules to submitting reports, of course. To use the Butterfly Reports marketplace at all, any viral report you submit has to contain at least four links that can be rebranded through Clickbank or PayDotCom. Since this makes them more palatable to people who want to use them anyhow, that’s not such a bad thing.
It’s still a little glitchy, and the affiliate link limitation meant I had to rewrite my first submission before I put it on the site. Still, it looks like a good source of extra income and traffic, and I look forward to using it significantly in the future.
May 4, 2008
Disclaimer: I need to start by saying that my opinion on this ebook is going to be slightly biased, since the writer of “The Ebook Walkthrough” (Ryan Ambrose) is also one of the writers for my blog.
That said, I am going to give you a quick review of Ryan’s book “The Ebook Walkthrough“.
In his ebook, Ryan walks you though the process of creating an ebook from start to finish. He explains what tools you will need, how to use those tools to create an ebook, and how to make money with your ebook.
The Ebook Walkthrough lives up to it’s promise. It reveals exactly how to write and publish your own ebook in clear, simple and easy to implement steps. I would recommend this ebook to anyone that wants to learn how to create their very own ebook.
April 17, 2008
img by azza-bazoo
What can you do with a report? I’m talking about the 10 to 20 page reports that are the tinier cousin of the ebook. Most of you probably already using them with the $7 Report strategy invented by Jonathan Leger. But what else can you do with reports, and what sort should they be? I’m going to throw out some suggestions, and invite you to add your own in the comments.
So then, how can you use a report to make money?
1.) Build lists: You can use them as freebies to build a list. You sell any visitor on how amazing your report is when they come to your opt-in page, then tell them they can get it free just by giving you their name and email address. It’s a classic technique, but I still see it used.
2.) Make them freebies with a product sale: Freebie additions to products tend to become more necessary as that product’s price increases, and reports are great for that. As it is, freebies are a matter of course when you’re selling online nowadays, though I do see some exceptions (like the $7 report strategy).
3.) Driving traffic: You write a report, and then put a link to your web site along with a pitch selling why someone should visit it at the end of your information. Afterwards, you make that report spread far and wide by:
- Publishing it with blanket giveaway rights, so anyone can use it to list build.
- Sell it with resale rights, and make some money in the process before others sell it for
their own profit.
- Sell it with master resale rights, and watch it go far and wide.
- Give it to your affiliates with the capacity to rebrand it, and let them drive traffic to
you with their rebranded affiliate link. If you do this, your site link should be the only
link in that report.
All of this puts your report in circulation, and can potentially give you massive link exposure.
4.) Affiliate link backsales: You can put affiliate links in a report, just like you can put them in an ebook. Better still, you can do this, and still use it with many of the other theories. If you do, use topically relevant affiliate links for a higher likelihood of making sales. In other words, don’t try to sell calling cards in a report filled with cookie recipes.
Now, given all of the things you can do with a report, what makes a report desirable for the
people who might want to read it? What approach to your information will be so appealing to
a potential reader that the report will actually help you do one of the things I mentioned
1.) The ‘How To’ report: This type of report is just as the name says. It’s about how to do something someone in your niche may not already know. A report-sized topic would be fairly specific, such as “How to Make Scented Soap”, for example.
2.) The ‘Easy Button’ report: I mentioned the appeal of convenience in a previous post, and this is the info product equivalent of it. It’s about how to make something easier, faster, or simpler for someone else. The readers in your niche may already know how to do what your describing, but it’s difficult or annoying the ‘old’ way. An example might be “How to Make Beautifully Scented Soap Affordably”.
3.) The ‘Avoid’ report: This report can be summed up simply as identifying something in your niche someone would want to avoid, why they want to avoid it (if it’s not already obvious), and what they can do to avoid it. Going back to the soap example, it might be something like “How to Avoid Ruining Your Scented Soap”.
Reports are quite versatile, even if you can’t sell them for big bucks. Because of this, it’s worth your time to make and use them.
November 19, 2007
Have an offline business? Then you have knowledge and skills that someone else would pay to know. And an ebook is an excellent way to get someone to pay you for them. Even if you don’t want to take your business online (or can’t), it doesn’t mean you can’t create ebooks, training packages, or other materials you can sell online. These spin-offs can help you increase your income with comparatively less overhead and expense than your offline efforts currently cost you.
What can you sell with an ebook?
- Traditional text: It still sells well, especially when you pair it up with useful and interesting illustrations that help make your point.
- Videos: These are growing in popularity. Instead of just writing an ebook, you can make videos that your customers can download or watch over the Net. But, if you want a video product, produce it to a higher quality than you find on YouTube. People are paying you for it after all.
- Audio: You can make audio training you can listen to over the Internet. However, if your skills are best taught with some demonstration, use video instead.
You already know what you know, so why not make extra money from it? Even if you don’t want to sell proprietary information that could rob you of a competitive advantage, there’s still plenty of market for the basics. So if you want to add to your bottom line, consider spinning off a profitable training product.
October 16, 2007
T.M. Harris, the author of the Ebay Profit Loophole wrote me a few weeks ago to review his ebook. I get lots of offers to review Internet marketing info products, and most of them just aren’t worthwhile. Anyway, I went ahead and took a look at the ebay loophole and I was pleasantly surprised.
The book explains a step by step system to make money with ebay. While I was aware of this “loophole”, I was very impressed with the simplicity of the system. It actually doesn’t look to me like it would take too much work to do and it could pay off really well. I also think it could help you make more money if you’re already making money with ebay.
The ebook is short (only 22 pages), and he could have gone into more details, but overall it is a really good read. I think it is definitely one way you can make some good money online.
For those of you who want to make money online and want a very simple step by step guide, I recommend you go buy the ebay loophole. It’s a great price ($9.97), an easy read, and looks like it should be a very fast and easy way to make money online with ebay.
September 25, 2007
I thought I would just quickly mention that Yanik Silver has just released a new product called:
As you probably know, I love Yanik’s products. This product is basically the same “brain dump” he gave to people at a $15,000 per person conference. Since, I haven’t seen the product I can’t really say whether it is good or bad, but either way it looks like a pretty complete training package for people wanting to get into the information marketing business. I would definitely buy it over other similarly priced products.
You can check it out by clicking here.
August 22, 2007
A while back, Jeff Hunsaker asked me what steps I was taking to creating an online product. Since I am currently working on creating two products I merged the steps from each of them to create a generic set of steps that I am taking to create e-products. I am not including all the details, because that would give away the nature of the products.
Here are the 39 steps to create a new product:
- Conduct Market Research
This is one of the most important steps in the process.
YOU MUST KNOW YOUR MARKET!
That is a little easier when you are part of your target market (like with my project). That said, there are many resources for doing market research. During my market research stage, I used some techniques that I learned from the Reese Report, and some that I learned from elsewhere. I am not going to go into detail on the market research that I have conducted, but I will go ahead and tell you about a simple tool I used for quick demographics research. It’s called “Microsoft adCenter Labs Demographics Prediction Tool” and it’s pretty cool. When you type in a search term the tool displays demographic data about the people who search for that term. For instance, if you type in “make money online”, you find out that 52 percent of the people searching for “make money online” are male. 26.8 percent are between the ages of 18-24 and a majority are under the age of 34. It’s not a bad way to get a quick look at your target market’s demographics. However, you will want to do a more in depth look at your market than just using the Microsoft demographic tool.
- Write The Business Plan
I talked about my business plan a little while ago. In short, I filled out the business plan from the SCORE template gallery. It is an extremely useful step, one that shouldn’t be skipped.
- Write A List Of The Tasks That You Need To Accomplish
This list of 40 steps is an example of the list of tasks that I created for myself. Some of the steps listed here are broken into smaller steps in my actual list.
- Assign Estimated Times To Complete Each Task
You need to estimate how long each task in your task list is going to take and write that number down. When estimating how long each task is going to take, you need to allow some time for unexpected circumstances. I estimate on the conservative side, because I find that I often underestimate how long tasks will actually take.
- Assign Tasks From The List To Yourself Or Others
If you are doing all the work yourself, then you will be assigning everything to yourself. If you are relying on other people to do some of the work, then you need to assign their names to the tasks they will be doing. This will help you with the next step.
- Create A Time Line
It is very important to create a time line for finishing your project. Creating a deadline helps motivate you to take action. I recommend creating a Gantt chart using Microsoft Project, Microsoft Excel or with a free Gantt chart creator like ganttproject.org. A Gantt chart is a chart that tracks a project’s progress over a period of time. For those of you who are intimidated by the thought of creating a Gantt chart, or you just don’t want to, I have also developed a “lazy” method of creating a timeline. What you do is add up all the days from your estimates. Go to a calendar, and figure out when you will be done. A Gantt chart is better, because you can factor in other things like dependencies (tasks that are dependent on other tasks being completed). However, having some sort of timeline is better than nothing.
- Select A Domain Name
This can be a fun process. I wrote a good article about choosing a domain name for blogs and it applies to regular websites as well.
- Come Up With A Name For The Product
This goes hand in hand with previous step. You should choose a good name for your product. Names are very important.
- Set Up A Mailing List
I wrote about setting up an email list two weeks ago.
- Promote The Mailing List
There are many ways to promote your mailing list. In my case, I am currently only using this blog to promote my list by displaying it prominently in the upper right hand corner of the navigation. I will have to write more about promoting email lists in a future post.
- Choose Affiliate Management Software
If you are going to have an affiliate program (and in most cases you should), you will need to determine what affiliate software to use. There is a plethora of choices, and I am not going to cover them in this article. I will cover this sometime in the future.
- Determine All The Tools And Technologies You need To Create The Product
This can be a time consuming process. You need to figure this out early on, in order to come up with an accurate budget for your product.
If you are starting a new corporation for your product, then it goes without saying that you will need to incorporate. Just like with the product name, it is a good idea to choose a meaningful and memorable name for your company.
- Conduct Pricing Research
There are many methods of finding the right price for your product. I recommend reading the free ebook – “Make Your Price Sell!” to learn the basics of choosing the right price for your product.
- Choose Payment Processor/ Merchant Account
If you are going to take payments over the Internet, you will need to determine how you are going to handle that. In most cases, you will need to have a merchant account. There are many things to consider when choosing a merchant account, and I recommend you do some research before choosing your merchant account.
- Choose A Web Host And Purchase Web Hosting
Choosing a web host can be one of the most difficult decisions you make in the process and it can be an easy decision. If you are like me and you want to find the “perfect” web host, then you will spend years and years researching web hosts until you discover…
“All web hosts suck!” 🙂
Once you discover that all web hosts suck it will be much easier to choose one by flipping a coin, playing darts, whatever method you deem acceptable 🙂
Ok, all web hosts don’t suck! In fact I like mine, but you can certainly find some fascinating stories by searching for your favorite host along with the word “sucks”. In other words, don’t spend all your time searching for the perfect host, because there isn’t such a thing. Find a host that suits your needs, and preferably one that comes highly recommended by someone you trust.
- Come Up With Unique Product Launch Plan
I strongly considered buying Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula for this launch (and I still might). However, after watching quite a few product launches and after talking with a few established Internet marketers there is a good chance that I am going to make do without the Product Launch Formula for this launch. I am putting together a product launch plan and my wife and I brainstorming ideas to make our launch out of the ordinary. If I was launching a product in a niche other than the Internet marketing arena, The Product Launch Formula would be a more appealing purchase.
- Create Marketing Plan
Along with the product launch, Jill and I are coming up with a marketing plan to encourage people to buy the product. That said, I only want people who REALLY need and will REALLY use this product to purchase it. I don’t want people to buy it just because it’s the latest and greatest thing. I don’t want people to buy it because they think it will answer all their problems. I know this is likely to mean I will have less customers, but I would rather be able to sleep at night than sell the product to someone who is not going to use it and/or doesn’t need it.
- Purchase The Tools And Technologies I Need From Previous Step
This is both one of the least fun steps (parting with money) and the most fun steps (getting cool new tools) of the product creation process.
- Create The Product
This step needs to be broken down into many other steps. For instance, if you are creating an ebook, you will need to research the book, create an outline, write the book, create an ebook cover, etc.
- Decide On Delivery Mechanism(s)
How will your customers get the product? Is it a download, does it ship on CD, is it an audio file, video, membership site, email course, etc.? You may want to offer a product in multiple formats to maximize your earning potential. For instance, if you are selling an ebook, you might want to let users also buy it in audio format or have a hard copy mailed to them. You can charge more for the various options.
- Consult Attorney On Legal Aspects Of The Business
It is always good to consult an attorney to help prevent potential legal problems.
- Build A Swipe File For The Sales Letter Based On Similar Successful Products
One of the first steps people use to create a sales letter is to find similar products that are selling well and “swipe” their sales letters. In other words, you leverage succesful sales letters as a guide for creating your sales letter. Don’t use these sales letters verbatim, because that can get you into legal problems for copyright violations. However, take a close look at the things in your competitor’s sales letter that convince you to buy their product. Use those same techniques in your sales letter.
- Create Sales Letter Based On Your Product’s Swipe File And Based On Copywriting Products That You Own
I am currently working on creating the sales letter for the new product I will be selling from this blog.
I own a product from Yanik Silver called Instant Sales Letters. When creating a sales letter, I like to go into the Instant Sales Letter members area and use one of the letters as a guide for writing my first rough draft of a sales letter. It helps me to focus on creating a sales letter with all the right components. I also will sometimes review some of the copywriting principles I have learned from other products I own (like Instant Web Profits System, etc.)
- Create Camtasia Video For Sales Letter
While not necessary, video does increase your conversion rate. You can create a sales pitch with the video, and/or show success stories, and/or show a behind the scenes look at the product. If it is in your budget, you should definitely create a video to help sell your product.
- Create Camtasia Videos For Help System (optional)
I marked this as optional, because most products don’t need video to help their users understand how to use it. However, videos that help users understand how to use the product can help, especially with more complicated products and higher end products. They can also be a major selling point and increase the percieved value of the product.
- Create Affiliate Training Material, Sample Ads, Sample Emails, Banner Ads, etc.
You should create as much promotional material as possible to sell your new product. Affiliates will love all the options and they are more likely to promote your product if they have less work to do. You can also offer your affiliates training. Studies have shown that giving your affiliates training will improve their conversion rate.
- Create Incentives For Early Customers
It’s important to come up with incentives for people to buy the product when they first learn about it. You should always offer an incentive for ordering immediately.
- Create Website That Will Sell The Product
This is fairly self explanatory. You have to create the site that is going to sell your new product. This can be broken down into many steps, including a few steps I mention in this list.
- Test The Product To Make Sure It Works
Testing is important, not only with your marketing, but also with any product you create. Make sure you have created a product that your customers will value. In fact, you need to over deliver on your promise. Make sure your product is BETTER than you say it is.
You need to have good legal terms of service, privacy policies, membership agreements, financial disclosures, etc. You need to make it clear how people are allowed to use your product and/or website.
- Create Customer Service Plan
Create a customer service plan to keep your customers happy. Don’t neglect your customers, they ARE your business. This might include decisions like whether or not to offer phone support, whether to have a customer support ticket system , whether to outsource your customer service, whether to have a customer support forum, etc..
- Create A Company News Blog And/Or An Affiliate Blog (optional)
While blogs aren’t a necessity, having a customer/product news blog and a blog for your affiliates will help you grow your business faster.
- Set Up Affiliate Contest For The Product Launch (optional)
Most product launches I have seen have run contests for their affiliates. If you can afford it, come up with a good contest for your affiliates.
- Recruit Affiliates
If you have an affiliate program, you need to spend a good amount of time finding people to join your affiliate program. Having a powerful group of affiliates promoting your product will make a HUGE difference in the amount of money you make.
- Get Testimonials
Testimonials offer the social proof you need to convince people to buy your product. You can never have enough testimonials. For those of you who don’t know about social proof, social proof is a psychological trigger that occurs when people see other people behaving in a certain way and, therefore, assume that behavior is the appropriate behavior to take. For instance, say you go into a new town and are trying to find a place to eat. You find two local restaraunts. At one of the restaraunts the parking lot looks pretty full, the other restaraunt only has two cars in the parking lot. Which restaraunt do you assume has better food?
The restaraunt with more people.
That is social proof in action. Testimonials offer social proof that your product is good.
- Submit Articles Promoting The Site To Article Directory (optional)
Writing articles that other people can reprint on their website, or in their eZine is one of the most effective ways of getting free traffic to your website. Writing articles allows you to get free traffic from websites that reprint your article, you get a link to your website which in turns helps your Search Engine rankings, and allows you to develop a reputation as being an expert in your field.
- Write Press Release (optional)
Press releases are an excellent way to get your online business free publicity, and free traffic. Publicity Insider has a good article on the details of writing a good press release.
- Hire Accountant
Last but not least, you need to hire an accountant to take care of the millions and millions of dollars you are going to make after your product is releaseed to the public 😉
Be sure to set deadlines on each step and don’t waste a lot of time on any one step. If you spend a month trying to find a web host, you just aren’t spending your time productively.
The steps above are fairly generic, so you can use them as a starting point for the products you create.
If you would like me to write a more detailed post about any of these steps, please let me know.