Welcome to September! This is the month that many of us are dealing with “back to school” tasks, so I thought it would be the perfect month to discuss information products and how you can use them in your business.
Information Marketing is not new — just the ease with which you can get into the business has become much more easy. Before, information booklets were sold via mail order, but now you can bypass shipping expenses and offer them as downloadable products through the Internet.
There are basically three different kinds of information products you can create and sell over the Internet: the written word (e-books, special reports, etc.); the spoken word (online audio, CDs, etc.); and the enacted word (video). This is a good thing, because different people have different learning styles and, therefore, prefer a different method of receiving information.
Also, some information lends itself to being communicated via one method over another. In other words, sometimes it is more effective to show someone how to do something (video) than to tell them (audio). Sometimes information is easier to grasp if you can read it over again (written) rather than see it (video). You get the picture.
So, when you are deciding what type of information product you want to produce, you need to keep two things in mind:
- What method of delivery will best serve the information?
- What method of delivery will best serve your target audience?
The first question is usually easier to answer. And sometimes, if possible, providing the information in more than one format helps you take care of the second.
So, to help you with the first question, I’ve written up a little primer on the three main methods of information delivery:
1. The Written Word (e-books):
This type of informational product is by far the easiest and least expensive to produce. Pretty much all you need is the information and a word processor, such as MS Word. When complete, you transform the document into PDF format (often as simple as printing to PDF), and voila! you’ve got an e-book!
This medium lends itself well to a wide variety of topics and can even be used for many “how-to” information and motivational products. A well-written e-book that is filled with timely and relevant information sells well on the Internet. E-books can be sold at a much higher profit margin than other kinds of products because there are no direct production costs — the investment is usually entirely the time to author such products.
2. The Spoken Word (audio):
Audio informational products require all of the same research that an e-book requires, but then it also requires production and distribution investment, as well. The good news is that with today’s computers and the software available, recording audio is a fairly simple thing to do and the quality is as good, or almost as good, as recordings made in sound studios. Audio information products are generally used for producing motivational, marketing, finance, and business products. The products can be delivered via download with very little expense, or production, shipping, and handling of a physical CD can be done by a fulfillment center. There are many such companies.
3. The Enacted Word (video):
At present, this is the most difficult and usually the most expensive to produce information products. It is also the most effective for many topics. Unless you have the capability to make the video yourself, you will have to hire a videographer or at the very least you will have to buy or rent video equipment. However, there are some informational topics that just cannot be created in any other way, i.e. action-oriented themes like sports, dancing, learning to play a musical instrument, etc. A fulfillment center must be hired in order to mass produce a DVD and distribute it. Of course, some video products can be available only online which eliminates the need for a fulfillment center.