Making Money with Information Products

There are basically two approaches if you want to make money with information products:

1) Don’t do any research, create the “perfect” product and then try to find a market for it…

or

2) Research a hungry market, find out what they want, and then give it to them…
Both methods can work and both have their advantages. However, investing time in niche market research is usually a more predictable path to financial success because it’s easy to sell a person something you already know they want.

Others prefer to grow their success organically by focusing on a narrow topic they’re knowledgeable in and passionate about. Either way, if you can find a niche with high demand and successfully tap into it, you can make a lot of money.

The Top 6 Information Products Today

The top 5 information products today can all be delivered for free via the internet. This is the primary reason it is so easy for you to start an internet business, work from home, and make money with information products online.

Thanks to the internet, we can now find whatever information we’re searching for in just a few seconds. Not only that, but we can choose how we prefer to receive that information – either in text format, audio, or audio/video.

The flexibility of multiple formats is appreciated by most customers, and it also provides additional sources of revenue for the person or company providing the information, creating a win-win exchange.

The top 5 information products are popular because the information is easy to access and in a format the customer is already comfortable using.

Traditionally, many hugely successful information products were heavily marketed through T.V. infomercials and print advertising. This was often necessary to raise awareness and desire for the product, and it was very expensive. Until recently, books and videos were also expensive and difficult to produce, frequently risky ventures for entrepreneurs and corporations alike.

The internet has changed everything. It is the most cost-effective distribution tool in the world and it is widely accessible. Now people are discovering they can also use it to create a source of income. Finally, it is actually possible to work from home and make money with your computer.

Learning how to sell information and becoming an infopreneur is an easy way for almost anyone to start an internet business. For examples of how to make money with information products, read about these successful infopreneurs. Most people are astonished when they begin to comprehend the potential for information products online.

Cookbooks and workout videos have been around for years and are two of the most well known information products. Yet people don’t think of them an ‘information products.’ Almost anything how-to or research based can become an information product.

You may not believe it at first, but EVERYONE has either interest or specialized knowledge about one or two things which could become an area of focus.

There is a market for almost anything you can think of online, and lots of stuff you’ve never dreamed of. If someone wants to become an infopreneur, sometimes the best ideas are right under their nose, hidden in plain sight. For more ideas about where to start, see the article on niche marketing.

Leveraging the Top 6 Information Products

Many successful infopreneurs have mastered the art of generating revenue with a single product type, i.e.: ebooks. But now it’s possible to increase revenue by offering the same product in multiple formats.

Multiple formats allow for different distribution channels and potentially more revenue. And now it can be created just as easily for someone starting out as the experienced internet entrepreneur.

Here are the top 6 information products easily created by the average person:

1. Books

Self-publishing is a popular choice for many writers today, who use online ordering and mail-order to distribute their books worldwide. Your self-publishing options include:

A. Vanity Press

A vanity publisher is a publishing house that prints and binds the book at the author’s expense. Typically, vanity presses make most of their money from author fees and not book sales. Because they are not selective, vanity presses do not have a great reputation among distributors and retailer and they lack the recognition and prestige of commercial publishing.

B. Subsidy Publishing

A subsidy publisher selects books to distribute under their company umbrella. While subsidy publishers also charge authors for printing and binding, they will typically contribute a portion of the cost for editing, distribution, and in some cases marketing. Most subsidy publishers take a portion of the publishing rights and the author has little or no input into the book’s presentation.

C. True Self-Publishing

True self-publishing means the author undertakes all of the costs and responsibilities for publishing their book. The author retains all rights to their work and can produce a higher quality product in line with their own vision because they control every step of the process.

D. Print on Demand (POD)

Print on Demand is growing in popularity due to its short run printing option and online accessibility. As with vanity press, they do not screen submissions prior to printing. For an additional cost, POD publishers typically offer enhanced services such as editing, cover design, proofreading, marketing and publicity. Many also offer ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) numbers which allows a title to be searchable and listed for sale on websites and in hard copy.

A major attraction is that some POD publishers have a connection with retail outlets including Amazon and Books in Print and many also have a direct order function on their websites which writers can publicize. Most POD companies now offer ebook publication in addition to hardcover and paperback.

E. Blogging, Twitter and Texting

The popularity of blogging, Twitter and texting has produced a whole new way of communicating, sometimes called ‘bursting.’ Bursting breaks a book or story into small segments and offers them up over a period of time, providing readers with short bursts of information to read.

Burst publishing is gaining momentum as a compliment to busy lives and short attention spans. Frequent contact with readers also helps to develop rapport and increases the chance they may visit your website (where they can often buy a physical copy of the book or donate money to support you).

2. Ebooks

Ebooks make money online in number of ways. Because ebooks allow you to include internet links people can click on, you have the potential to direct readers to specific websites or products.

Ebooks can generate passive income by mentioning (and linking to) products or services online that pay commissions on referred sales. It’s common now for ebooks creators to even give the ebook away for free, hoping to the product will go viral and generate passive income on the back end, through referral commissions. Some successful ebooks make money online for years if the subject is still relevant.

Ebooks make money online through a number of channels. What is amazing is that almost anyone can easily gain access to the distribution channels, either for free or very cheap. If you can create a quality ebook, be assured you will be able to find somewhere to sell it online. You can even attract the attention of others and pay them on a commissioned basis to promote your ebook.

There are a large number of online etailers who may be interested in helping you sell your ebook. Pay special attention to the Terms of Service to ensure you are making the right decision. If your ebook contains valuable information and you package, price and market it well, there’s a good possibility you can generate revenue.

3. Special Reports

‘Special Reports’ are typically 5-15 pages long and have a very narrow focus or theme. The main difference between a Special Report and an ebook is the amount of information they contain.

Their low price point (usually around $10) is a reasonable risk for people who, aside from the online presentation, are often unfamiliar with the quality of the source. You will have far greater sales success if you pre-qualify yourself as an expert first through your website and establish some credibility.

Non-fiction ‘how-to’ topics are the most common and successful. Reports can cover any topic of value – recipes, tip sheets, collections of information, quotes, contact or resource lists, website compilations, photo collections, databases, etc.

It is becoming more common, particularly with non-fiction topics, for authors to sell their book online by the chapter (with each chapter relabelled as a ‘Special Report’) instead of in book or ebook format. This enables the buyer to purchase only the targeted information they are interested in at a low price. It also allows the author the potential to generate more income from the same information (for example: 20 chapters x $10 per report = $200 for all the information that would have otherwise been published in book or ebook format).

Because of the narrow focus, some people initially find it easier to produce 5 pages of valuable information versus setting out to write an entire book. This can be a fantastic way to begin your venture into infopreneurship.

4. Creating Audio Products that Sell

Creating audio products is another excellent option for those who don’t like to write or who are camera-shy. Recorded music, audio books, educational and motivational products, podcasts, interviews, spoken word and speeches are all examples of popular audio products.

Traditionally produced in a professional recording studio and then manufactured on cassette or CD, it used to be quite expensive for the average individual to bring an audio creation to market.

However, the introduction of affordable and easy-to-master recording software and equipment for the home computer has leveled the playing field. Anyone can now build a basic recording studio with one trip to their local electronics store. Many projects are still developed in professional studios but it is no longer a prerequisite to creating a successful product.

It’s now possible for anyone to take what they know, record it on their computer at home, and offer it for sale online through a variety of online channels. As a result, the audio market is exploding.

While many products are still offered on CD via mail-order, there is a growing shift to digital distribution and pay-per-download. The popularity of file sharing, the iTunes store, iPods and other portable music players has played a significant role in the increased demand for quality audio products.

5. Video

Learning how to create video products is a great option for people who have something to teach but don’t like to write. They are an excellent way to get your message across, and it’s often easier to show someone how to do something than to explain it to them in audio or book/ebook format.

When people want to know how to do something today, they turn to the internet. There is a ‘how-to’ video online for almost anything you can think of, and for far more subjects than you’ve never even considered. Video products are essentially no different in concept to the millions of videos, with one exception: they’re valuable enough that people will pay money to watch them.

Video marketing is no longer the exclusive domain of large companies and television advertising. The digital camcorders and editing software options available today are remarkably powerful yet easy to use. As with audio products, you can find everything you need to get started at your local electronics store for under $500.

Once you establish that the production quality is high, two key elements become important factors in the success: your on-screen personality and the overall entertainment value of the video. More often than not, these factors become the dominant selling features of your product.

Good lighting and audio quality are critical and you should consider using a tripod to eliminate camera shake. Research and explore some of the video products available online to become familiar with techniques, formatting and presentation. Spend some time on YouTube and take note of what you like and don’t like in a how-to video.

While YouTube has become one of the most powerful marketing tools on the internet, it’s currently only effective for promotional videos. To sell and distribute your product you can choose to either offer the digital file exclusively for download online or you can elect to also sell physical copies on DVD, CD-ROMs, etc.

Both options can easily be achieved. Only offering digital files eliminates the manufacturing costs but having it available on DVD via mail-order can give you added credibility and offer flexible viewing options for your audience.

6. Blogging & Vlogging (including YouTube)

While most people think of text and writing when they think of blogging, you can also create a photo blog, a video blog, or an audio blog (known as a podcast). It can be serious or entertaining, but most people advise it be something you’re genuinely passionate about – especially since you won’t be making any money in the beginning but there will be a ton of work needed to develop your content.

Blogging & vlogging is a great opportunity to express yourself and share it with the world. Only a very small percentage of people who commercialize their blog are financially successful, but it IS possible to make money this way.

People who make money by blogging/vlogging typically focus on a very specific topic or theme. Most of these people have been doing it consistently for at least six months and posting at least twice a week. And with few exceptions, they all spent the first six months working without making any money. You really CAN make money by blogging and vlogging, but you need to develop your readership first, and that takes time.  YouTube actually just recently implemented a policy that YouTube channels with fewer than 10,000 views cannot generate revenue with their advertising.

Most successfully monetized blogs & vlogs have a specific theme. Whatever you topic, if you can develop a following of people (your traffic), who like to read what you write and who subscribe to you, you have the potential to make money.

If you like to write, proficient with online research, or if you have a strong opinion or a passion for a subject, there’s a good chance you can entice people to subscribe to your blog and/or follow you on Twitter. There is an abundance of lousy websites and blogs out there so you need to figure out what makes you different. Some of the most successful YouTubers are entertainers – they post short videos regularly and build a following over time.

If you are patient and diligent, blogging/vlogging can be an amazing way to make money online and really enjoy what you’re doing.