One of the challenges of selling info products is that there's so much free information available online that many people aren't willing to pay for information anymore. And those who are need to be convinced that your product gives them something they didn't get from the 50 free blogs posts they just read on the same topic.
So how do you convince people to buy information? Here are a few ideas:
Make it Easier to Consume
Free information isn't much good if it's difficult to access. Last month, Nate Hoffelder wrote about how one blogger is selling more convenient access to content:
Chris Dixon, entrepreneur and blogger, has set out on a new digital publishing experiment. He's gathered 100 of his best blog posts and he's now offering them bundled as an eBook on the Kindle.
Chris (and others, like Seth Godin with "Small is the new big") is not only selling information that's available for free, but information that he himself is giving away for free.
Why would anyone buy it?
- Because it's easier to read on their Kindle than a blog is.
- Because it's collected into one place.
- Because it's a "best of" collection, so they don't have to comb through the rough to find the diamonds themselves.
How else might you apply this concept:
- Take information that's only available offline and put it online.
- Take information that's only available on webpages and put it in PDF.
- Take information that's only available as a PDF and make a Kindle version (you can read PDFs on the Kindle, but it's pretty clumsy -- the text doesn't reflow when you scale, so it's often either too small or you have to scroll back and forth on each line).
- Take information that's only available in written format and record it as an MP3.
- Take information that's only available as an MP3 and create a transcript...
- ...or add slides and make a video of it.
Add Exclusive Content
Let's say you want to sell a book that's in the public domain. A classic example of an old book that people are selling today is Think and Grow Rich. (Anybody who's buying isn't looking very hard, because it's easy to find for free too, but that's beside the point...or is it?)
One way to sell it would be to create a new version that includes extra commentary, insights, and updates to make it more applicable to today's world. You'll have to create some original content, but not nearly as much as if you'd had to write the whole thing.
Give Some, Sell More
Build your credibility by giving away valuable, unique content. Then offer more to people who like it: more depth, more detail, related topics, etc.
Don't Just Tell -- Teach
Back in March, over at ProBlogger, Jules Clancy wrote:
1. People are willing to pay to learn new skills online but not for information
Think about your own online browsing and spending habits. With so much free information, there's no need to pay. But learning new skills is a whole different situation. As Martyn Chamberlin wrote recently on ProBlogger, you need to teach, or your blog will die.
While my ecookbook sales have been okay, the response to my Virtual Cookery School, where people take cooking classes from the comfort of their own homes, has been way beyond my expectations.
If you have an information product that's focused on the information, think about how you could use it to create a product that teaches a skill.
The line between giving information and teaching a skill isn't necessarily all that sharp, so it may just be a matter of adjusting your marketing to focus less on the information and more on how it will transform the consumer.