Copyright 2006 Joe McVoy
The key to success is to start with a group of people who are proven buyers of what you want to sell (the market), not with the product. If you make sure there is a “starving crowd” of people wanting to buy a certain category of information, then you know theres a market for it BEFORE you create the product.
Heres a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
1. FIND A HOT MARKET – METHOD # 1:
Go to a store that has hundreds of magazines and look for niche magazines that have direct response ads in them (direct response means they are asking for an order). Then look to see if the ads are good or not. If all the ads are good, that means its a hot market but also that a lot of savvy marketers are already in it.
Not good. We want an easier way.
So, keep looking and find magazines with direct response ads that suck. Then look at a years worth of back issues to see if their ads continually run. If they do, you have a winner. If any ad is run in many issues that means its working. If you find bad ads getting run over and over, thats a great opportunity to do a good ad and take over the market
So how do you know if an ad is good or not? If you have no experience in direct marketing, you want to look for ads with a good headline that catches your attention and then a long letter format with a lot of copy. The copy should have subheads and flow easily from one paragraph to the next. Lastly, there should be an easy way to order and a compelling reason to act now, not later.
2. FIND A HOT MARKET – METHOD # 2:
Go to a major city library and get a copy of Standard Rate & Datas “Direct Mail List Source”. This book has something like 50,000 different direct mail lists. This means lists where people have bought something by mail. The info on each list tells you what they are selling, how many customers they have and what the average order is. Pretty handy.
From the information given on each list, take the number of customers for the last 30 or 90 days (“hot line” customers), multiply that number by the average order size and then multiply that number to get annualized sales.
This tells you how much sales the list you are looking at did in the last year. Do this for each list and youll know how big the total market is.
Look in categories that interest you and see how many lists there are of people buying things in that market. If, like with golf, there are 100s of lists of buyers of golf products or info – you know its a hot market. You can rent all these lists for your own mailing.
3. DECIDE ON A THEME
for your information product. From looking at your market, what do you think people might want to know that is not readily available?
4. GO TO THE LIBRARY
Yes, the library. You are going to find and quickly read every book in the library on your topic. Heres how. For example, say you are looking at golf and want to create a report on how to hit a longer drive. Look at the table of contents in each book and the index in the back for anything in the book about hitting a drive further. Ignore everything else. Then, copy or take notes on everything you find.
5. GO ONLINE
and do the same thing. Research your topic with as many key words as you can think of and note everything you find on your topic. After these two steps, you have the information to be a world-class expert on your topic. This can be done in 1 day.
6. MAKE AN OUTLINE
of your information product from all the information you found and group all your info into sections to make an outline. Make a list of all the benefits this information will give someone and group these benefits into logical sections or “chapters”. Write down all the “proof” you find along with the benefits. By that I mean what 3rd party evidence, testimonials or other data that proves each item is true. You’ll need this for your sales letter.
7. WRITE YOUR SALES LETTER OR AD
to sell the product. Do not create the product yet; write the letter to sell it first focusing on the benefits to the purchaser. If you dont know how, either learn from all the books and courses available or find someone to do it for you for a piece of the profits.
8. TEST YOUR LETTER
you can use Google ad words and do it in a few hours or rent a email list of buyers or rent direct mail lists and send out your letter to at least 3 lists to see if it sells. If it does, great. Create the product. If not, return everyones money and try another product.
There are FTC rules about selling something you dont have, but if you are just doing a test and refund 100% of whatever people paid, I wouldnt think there would be complaints but be sure to check with your legal advisor first as Im no lawyer.
9. REVISE YOUR OUTLINE
If it sells, or if you decide to do the product first, revise your outline to deliver on all the promises you made in your sales letter.
10. BREAK EACH CHAPTER DOWN INTO 4 – 5 SUBPOINTS
Then write 3 topics for each subpoint and then rephrase each of them as questions.
11. GET A DIGITAL RECORDER THAT CAN MAKE MP3 FILES
If you’re creating an audio product have someone ask you all the questions along with any others than come up during the conversation. If youre doing a printed product, ask the questions to yourself and answer them.
12. PICK AN ONLINE SERVICE TO TRANSCRIBE YOUR AUDIO
and have it transcribed. You can get this done for 1 to 1 ½ cents/word.
13. EDIT IT & YOU’RE DONE!
Consider selling several versions of your information. A printed report could be a $29 – $49 product and you could also offer a $199 or $249 audio version. I did exactly this with one of my products and included the transcript with the audio CDs to add even more value.
The key point to all this is that you started by finding a proven market, picked a topic that is in demand in that market, researched all the available information on it, and finally prepared your information product from all this giving your customer something better than whats available now.
I like this business because your cost of goods can be as low as 0% to 10% of your selling price. If delivered electronically, your cost of goods is 0. If sent by mail, costs are still very low.
If you get past the testing phase and have a winner, there are plenty of people who will finance the roll out for you. They will handle all the execution and fund the project as well. I can refer you to people to finance it for you once you get to that point.