Don’t worry – I fell for the same trap.
Back in 2008, when I first found this “online marketing” thing, I quickly realised that information products were definitely the best way to make passive income online.
You make something once (an eBook, video product, audio course, etc), and then sell it over and over again.
I even had an idea for a product.
I am, after all, a hypnotist…
So I created a “Quit Smoking” product and hurled it up online.
(By “hurled”, I actually mean that I dabbled and dithered for about 6-months, trying to figure out how to pop it into a sales page, get it set up with ClickBank, write a convincing sales letter, etc).
Suddenly, it was all ready to go.
I had everything in place, ready to make my overnight millions.
I built it and I waited patiently for them to come.
Unsurprisingly, no one came for a LONG time.
So I spent another 6 months learning the whole “traffic” thing.
Bit-by-bit, I started to see visitors landing on my site and even made a few sales.
It wasn’t an ideal retirement fund, by any means, but it started to make back some of the cash I had spent out on the whole thing.
Towards the end of 2009, I started to learn my lesson.
I literally assumed that all you needed was a product, a sales page and a download page.
Truthfully, when you have those things, you DON’T have a business… you only have a single “cog” of an overall business.
Like MANY other people before AND after me, I fell into the “trap”.
When you JUST have a product and a process for selling it, you’re lacking a ton of the general infrastructure, to make your business sustainable (ie. Keep it afloat) and scalable (ie. Make it grow).
Since then, I’ve discovered that there are 6 primary elements in your online information product business which are essential. If you take any of them away, you aren’t as strong or as profitable as you could be.
If you’re ready, let’s take a look:
1) An Attention-Grabbing, Authority-Pounding BRAND
You need to identify a core brand concept, which is bigger than the product itself.
Here, my brand is Marketing Kickstart. Within it, we have our individual products.
It’s tough to build a brand around a product alone, so you really want to build your product range out UNDER a brand that people can trust and “click” with.
Your brand is much more than a name and a logo. You need to truly understand WHO you’re looking to serve and WHAT you want to help them achieve, along with HOW you plan to do it.
At Marketing Kickstart, I’m aiming to help people to start, build and scale their online businesses.
That is my “core” mission statement, and the products that I create, all fall under the one of those three ideologies.
So decide WHO you are (your brand could be YourName.com or it could be a third party brand, like mine).
2) A Content-Packed, Value-Driven BLOG
People aren’t blindly buying products from “faceless names” online, as much as they used to.
Years ago, you could just drive traffic to a sales page and hit much higher conversions (at much higher prices) than you can today.
Truth is that the TRUST just isn’t really there now.
Customers in all niches have been “burned” in the past by increasing numbers of scammy marketers and shitty products.
There’s also a LOT more products being released and a LOT more marketers competing for their customers money.
That’s not really a PROBLEM, but it does require you to think “bigger” than just your product.
Having a blog is the single best way to continually STAMP your brand firmly into the minds of your customers and prospects, keeping their trust levels high, their loyalty strong and their interest rife.
I know, most marketers HATE blogging, but let me tell you… it REALLY helps. It’s actually the single coolest way to deliver massive VALUE to your entire marketplace, quickly and easily.
More customers than ever before now head off to Google and do a little research on the “people behind the products” than they ever did in the past.
If they find an awesome looking blog, packed with great and valuable content – they REALLY buy into you, far more than they would straight from a sales page.
It’s also easier to drive free traffic to a blog, than it is to any other website on the internet. Once that traffic hits your blog, you can pre-sell them on YOU as an expert and then send them to any of your products that you want.
Blogging helps you to build a more solid relationship with your prospects, indoctrinate new people and continually build your brand.
Heck, you can have the whole thing set up in under an hour and keep it maintained with just an hour each week writing content.
Don’t have one? Get one. Before you do anything else.
3) A Highly-Responsive, Loyal E-mail SUBSCRIBER LIST
Ah yes, after all… the money is in the list, isn’t it?
Together with your blog, your e-mail list forms the “profit hub” for your business.
Its your key vehicle for keeping your brand and your products directly in the minds of your prospects and driving traffic to any site… instantly and on-demand.
Whenever you’re launching or promoting a new product, just pop out a quick e-mail and BOOM, you’re sending a horde of interested traffic directly over to the offer… and profits roll in, very quickly.
You should aim to build a bunch of awesome lead magnets (free gifts, given away in exchange for an e-mail address!), relating to different topics within your niche.
Put each one into a list building process and watch your list grow.
You can also use your list building process to fuel your blog and your paid promotions too.
4) In-Demand & High Converting PAID PRODUCTS
Ok, so NOW it’s time to talk about creating and selling your own information products.
Of course this is a BIG and important one.
(After all, if you’re going to make money, it stands to reason that you need something to sell).
So you need to choose topics within your niche, which you know are causing people some kind of pain or problem.
Then you create value-packed information products that help people to relieve or solve that problem, in the most efficient way that you can.
Start with one and then build out your product range over a period of time, until you’ve created products to solve all of the major pain points in your niche.
Obviously you need to keep your products within the scope of your overall niche and underneath your general brand.
Notice that the products are the FOURTH thing on this list, not the first. This isn’t incidental. It’s essential.
The difference between people who make some (or even a lot!) of money creating and selling products…
…and the people who build a REAL, passive and massively sustainable business, are the things which go BEFORE the products get created.
Let’s face it, if you were going to buy a product about building a business from “Average Joe” marketer that you’ve never heard of, or the guy whose blog you read every week, whose e-mails you open every day and whose brand you really know, like and trust… who would win?
So remember to build the infrastructure BENEATH the products, first.
5) Targeted, Qualified & Ready-To-Buy Traffic
If you think that you can simply “build it and they will come”, like I used to, then you’re wrong.
If you build it and don’t actively strive (work!) to drive traffic, then NO ONE will come.
And when no one comes, it’s embarrassing and incredible UNprofitable. Trust me, I’ve been there.
There’s two aspects to traffic..
a) Traffic GENERATION – actually getting traffic to your websites and offers in the first place.
b) Traffic RE-CIRCULATION – keeping that traffic flowing and weaving, in and out of the various other elements of your business.
You need to build an evergreen flood of traffic coming into all of the different parts of your infrastructure, and learn the various traffic methods that are ideal for each of those different things.
- Traffic to your blog.
- Traffic to your list building machines.
- Traffic to your sales pages.
- Traffic to your webinar offers.
- Traffic to your affiliate promotions.
- Traffic to your social media profiles.
Then make sure that you’re constantly pushing that traffic through and around all of those aspects of your business.
People who land on your blog should be pushed to your paid products, list building machines and affiliate offers. People who opt-in to your list should be upsold product and pushed back to your blog, etc.
It’s about creating an “omni-presence”, and being everywhere.
6) A Profitable & Scalable Back-End
Let’s face it, you need to generate a shit-load of $27 or $97 product sales to make a six or seven figure business, doesn’t it?
That’s where your “back-end” comes in.
Don’t panic, I’m not flirting…
By “back-end”, I mean that you need something to DO with your subscribers and customers, after they come into your business.
This is what you DO to make more money from every person who comes into contact with your business.
I’m talking about activities such as:
- Affiliate promotions – sending them to other marketers offers, in exchange for a commission.
- High-ticket products – selling them $1k, $2k, $5k+ programs, to help them succeed further and faster.
- Membership sites – putting them into continuity programs for monthly recurring billing.
- Cross-selling and up-selling – offering them other products in your own product range, to give them the “next steps” from what they’ve already bought.
There are others, but these are the four main things that I would suggest that you focus on to grow your back-end.
You ultimately need to track and carefully consider the average LTV (lifetime customer value) across your business.
In other words, how much money – on average – will your customers spend with you, in their lifetime.
If all you have is the initial $27 or $97 product, then your LTV is super-low. But if you have these back-end processes in place, then you can crank that much higher and make a lot more money.
And there you have it.
1,790 words later and you now know the 6 essential elements of a super-profitable online info product business.
Anyone can create a product, throw it up online and start driving some traffic, but that’s only a tiny fraction of the real game.
Combining these 6 cogs turns a simple money-making-system into a thriving business, by pulling together all of the individual parts.
Best of all, this entire infrastructure is easily replicable across a bunch of different niches.
So, once you’ve built the whole thing out to a six or seven figure level in ONE niche (and made it totally sustainable) then you can clone the whole thing, in a new niche, with a new brand and different products… over and over again.
(But that’s a whole different blog post, which you can check out here).
Follow this roadmap to success and you’ll join the league of extraordinary marketers who make the maximum money that they can!
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