I sold my first info product for only $19.
And while I didn’t get rich from it, I learned some powerful lessons.
Like the importance of doing some research up front. Or, figuring out what you want to do (because you’ll spend a good chunk of time working on it so you want to enjoy the work).
Also, de-risking your efforts by knowing early on it if there is a market for it and what people are willing to pay.
That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it?
Yes, in practice, most people fall off the path and lose heart — because the path is unclear.
And we all fear what we don’t know… you know?
That’s what this guide will solve for you.
After reading it you will be 100% more prepared for creating and selling your own info product.
I’ve had some failed products in the past and luckily more successes. I used those lessons to help get my team and I see 6 months of fast, super-consistent sales growth as I shared in our last monthly report.
Now, for your benefit, I’m laying out those same lessons in this guide below.
- How to define your target market
- The key to picking the right product to sell
- Selecting a price point
- … and much more
Now let’s dive in!
What Do You Want to Do?
OK, sure. We’re talking about info products here. But let’s going to get deep for a minute. Real deep.
Do you know what you want to do with your life? Have you ever really thought about it?
Granted, you can change your mind—but that’s not so easy once you’ve started a business.
A lot of people don’t realize how much of yourself you actually pour into your work as an entrepreneur. It takes an enormous amount of time and effort. Work/life balance is hard to achieve, and honestly, if you don’t love what you do, you’re going to burn out fast.
As Steve Jobs said,
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Steve Jobs was a genius, so you should probably just take him at his word.
But, in case you still need further convincing, this article from U.S. News & World Report says that the benefits to loving your work include:
- You have more energy to put into success
- You feel more confident
- Persistence comes more easily
- You have a sustainable source of energy
- You enjoy the rest of your life more
My personal opinion?
I wouldn’t suggest going into business until you’re 100% sure of what you want to do. And this applies whether you’re going into business for yourself or someone else.
As a little aside: for those of you on the fence about entrepreneurship, I have this to say…
I had a long conversation with a friend the other day. She took a “traditional” career path. You know: good college, respectable career, great salary … student loan debt, stress, regret.
Guess which one of us is happier in life? For the full story, check out this video from a recent Matt Hack.
Anyway, to put so much effort into something only to realize that you hate it—well, that would suck.
So, how do you figure out what’s going to keep you happy for the long haul?
Personally, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do before I started AutoGrow.co, I created a Venn diagram. Sort of like this one here:
You can see that the three circles are labeled “skills,” “interests” and “opportunity.” Here’s how that breaks down:
- Skills: Is there something that your friends or co-workers are always telling you-you’re really good at? Something that everyone always asks you to help with? It could be anything, from cooking the world’s best pancakes to debugging a computer. If nothing pops to mind, ask people—you might be surprised by what they have to say.
- Interests: What you’re good at and what you enjoy are not necessarily the same thing. For instance, I’m really great at doing the laundry… but I don’t especially like it. So, for this part, you’re going to think about all the things that you naturally LOVE doing.
- We’ve all at some point said, “I wish someone would pay me to ____.” What’s your thing? How would you fill in that blank? Play video games? Eat ice cream? It can be anything that gives you joy! The point is for this circle not to focus on whether or not it will fit in the other two circles.
- Opportunity: Look at the world around you. Talk to the people you know. Pay attention on social media. Read the news. What are people discussing? What are their pain points? Look for what people are complaining about. What do they wish they had more help with?
Take some notes and you’re likely to see topics start repeating themselves. When you see multiple people complaining about the same thing again and again, that’s where the opportunity lies.
Now take all those ideas you just came up with and write them down in the appropriate circle. What you should do with your life falls in that sweet spot where they all connect.
That spot is the perfect mix between what people need, what you’re good at and what you love doing.
Who Needs That?
You can have the best idea in the entire world—but if it’s something no one needs, it’s not going to sell.
And if you can’t sell it, you won’t grow and succeed.
That’s the simple truth.
For example, if you’ve created a course on how to sell your $500k+ home, but you’re marketing it to millennials, you’re not going to sell anything. Many millennials need to work more than one job just to pay the rent on a 1-bedroom apartment—they definitely don’t own homes worth a half-million.
That’s why it’s important to do some research and properly identify your target audience before you start marketing. There are several ways you can do this.
Use the “Funnel Approach.” This should be your first step, as it doesn’t require any special research or vigorous effort. It’s simply common sense.
According to Forbes Magazine, it’s helpful to think of your market selection process as a funnel with multiple filters (Note: this is different from the stages of a sales funnel, something I’ll talk more about later).
For example, your first stage may be age range—if you’re marketing a product for recent college graduates, that will likely knock out anyone over the age of, say, 25. Your next stage might be geographic location—for example, perhaps your product is intended for people living on the northeast coast of the United States.
You play with the order arrangement of the filters to see how the end result varies.
Using only basic information about your product or service, it is possible to greatly narrow down your market right from the get-go.
- Check review sites. Visit sites where people discuss similar products or services to what you’re offering, and see what they’re talking about. Look for any pain points, or issues that people are complaining about/need help with.
- Listen on social media. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can be great for market research. People often air their grievances on social media, and all you need to do is observe. Look for groups, chats, and hashtags related to your niche.
- Think about your current customers. Run an analysis and see who does the most business with you. Do those people have anything in common? It’s likely that they do, whether it’s industry, age range, or even hobbies. Other people like them could probably benefit from your services as well.
- Research the competition. It is highly unlikely that you’ve come up with a 100% unique product (sorry to burst your bubble). Luckily, that means that you can check out the other guys and see what they’re doing. Who follows them on social media? Who’s commenting on their blog? Find these their followers and invite them to like your page, too! It works.
Bonus Tip: use this time to research the competitor’s products as well. Figure out what you offer that they do not, or how your products/services differ from theirs. That will be your unique selling point.
How to Build Your List
Once you’ve identified your target market, you NEED to start building an email list.
This is important for so many reasons.
- Your email list is a receptive audience
- You already know they’re interested in your products or services
- You can reach out to them when you want feedback on your business
- You can use them to test new ideas and strategies, as we did in this original case study here
- Most importantly: people read emails!
You may think that no one reads email newsletters anymore—but you’re wrong. The average open rate, across all industries, is 25%.
That means that if you have a list of 2,000 people, at least 500 people will open it. And 500 people is nothing to scoff at.
Further, there are people who open it who you can’t track for privacy reasons. The true open rate could be closer to 30%.
So, what makes email special?
Everyone uses email. People might take breaks from Facebook or Snapchat, but it’s almost impossible to take a break from email. In today’s world, the vast majority of communications are handled electronically—more often than not, via email. Sending a message to someone’s inbox almost guarantees that they’ll see it.
It’s customizable. Most email marketing platforms offer several customizable fields, from including a personalized greeting, to adding social share buttons like a forward-to-friend link just for certain readers. Using analytics, you can easily determine which information should be shared with each particular reader, creating a truly intimate, friendly vibe.
It’s inexpensive. An email marketing campaign is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business. If your list is under 2,000 people, many email marketing providers are free—and even beyond that, they’re fairly cheap. Compare that to a paid ad on Facebook or Twitter, and the savings are beyond comparison.
So, how do you do it?
Decide on the specific topic or niche that you’re going to write about. You can’t be all things to all people, so decide on one topic that you can specialize in. It should, of course, be related to your ultimate end-product. So, using one of our examples from above, if you are marketing a product which educates people on selling luxury homes, your content (which will be published on your blog, and distributed via your email list) should be centered around that.
Possible topics might include: “How to Stage Your Home for Maximum Effect,” “7 Home Renovations You Should Do Prior to Listing,” or “Top 10 Features People Are Looking for in Luxury Homes RIGHT NOW.”
Determine which marketing tools you’ll use. Publishing content requires you to have, at a minimum, a blog and, of course, at least one social media profile. These are where you’ll publish your content before you have anyone on your list, and they’re how you’ll get people to sign up.
And, since the goal here is to grow your list, you’ll also need to sign up for some email marketing software (such as MailChimp or Convertkit). Everything should be ready to go for when the sign-ups start rolling in (because they will!).
Put together a starter list. Begin with people you’ve done business with in the past, or friends and family that you know would find your content interesting. It doesn’t matter if the list is small.
The goal is to write quality content that these people will then share with their friends and contacts, thus prompting them to sign up as well.
Optimize your webpage for a higher email opt-in rate. Placing sign-up forms in the appropriate places, utilizing well-timed pop-ups and writing compelling copy can all help maximize opt-ins.
Offer a powerful incentive. If there’s one thing that’s true in this world, it’s that people like getting stuff for free. Offering a valuable incentive like a lead magnet is often all it takes to get people to sign up for your list.
Not only does offering a lead magnet build your list, but it also helps build a relationship of trust and positions you as an authority.
Typical offerings include instructional videos, PDF worksheets or even a short slideshow.
For more in-depth information on building a high-quality email list (and fast), you should check out How to Build an Email List of 10,000 Subscribers (& Make Sales from It) or 47 Best Email List Building Strategies Proven to Get You Results.
Building Trust with Your Audience
Once your prospects trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you. I mean, think about it: would you buy something from someone you didn’t like? Probably not.
Robert Cialdini gives an amazing example of trust-building in his newest book, “Pre-Suasian”.
In it, he tells a story about a door-to-door salesman.
I can’t remember exactly what he was selling—it might have been homeowners insurance—but I don’t think the product is really relevant. It’s the method he employed that is important.
This gentleman (we’ll call him “Mitch”) went door-to-door selling his product. Once inside a home, he’d sit down at the table with the owner and immediately claim to have forgotten something in his car.
“Oh, I forgot something in my car. Do you mind if I go get it?” he’d say.
He’d then get up, let himself out, and come back into the house all on his own. By completing that action, it triggered something in the prospect’s mind. It preemptively gives them the opportunity to trust him.
As a business owner, you’re likely not going to be sitting down in anyone’s home, but the same basic principles apply. You need to give your audience the opportunity to trust you before you ask them to purchase anything.
Here are some tips that have worked for me:
- Understand your audience. We’ve already touched on this a bit. Doing audience research is crazy important. Understanding their pain points not only helps you determine which products to sell, but it helps you relate to them. When you really recognize what your audience wants and needs, you can create quality content that when they read it, they’ll feel like it was written just for them.
- Be active online. Having a web presence is not only an easy and affordable way to get in front of people—it is also expected of you. In fact, 70%-80% of people research a business online before making a purchase with them. With numbers like that, you can’t afford to NOT be there via a website and social media profiles (the latter being a good form of social proof).
- Be available. Simply having an online presence isn’t enough. You need to be there to interact with your audience. Respond to comments, answer emails and DMs and reply to questions and complaints. Being there for your audience goes a long way towards creating confidence.
- Be consistent in your message. Don’t hop around from topic to topic. Like I said above—choose one topic or one genre to focus on and stick with it.
It may seem counterintuitive, but writing “deep” on a single topic can bring in more traffic. That’s the idea behind “Pumpkin Hacking”.If you’re not sure what to write about, consider the “fire bullets then cannonballs” approach. This well-known strategy really comes down to quick trial and error:Start by writing about a variety of topics related directly to what you’ll be selling, then using analytics, determine which ones get the most traction.From there, you can eliminate the subjects that no one cares about and expand on the ones that do.
- Post testimonials and reviews. Testimonials and reviews are different from anything you might say about your own product because they are unbiased comments. As such, they are far more convincing than your run-of-the-mill sales pitch. A good review helps to establish credibility and promote your product in a convincing fashion—and they can increase conversion by up to 270%
Let me say that again. TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY PERCENT. You can’t ignore a number like that.
- Share case studies. Original case studies can be great for demonstrating the usefulness of your product or service. They demonstrate real results from real customers, proving that you can do what you say. Pro-Tip: the more visual, the more persuasive and memorable.Of course, if you’re new to business, you may not have any of your own case studies yet. That’s OK! With permission, share one from a competitor, news report, or other similar business. Of course, present it as an example and not as your own.
- Deliver on your promises. This is essential. Don’t promise the fastest shipping in the industry or 24-hour customer service if you can’t deliver on it.
Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. Think about that and you’ll do things differently.”The first time you don’t do what you say, or don’t follow through on a promise, the reputation you worked so hard to build will be destroyed.
Determining Your Product and Price Point
Right now, you’re probably saying, “but what about the actual product?”
So we’re going to talk about creating an info product that will sell. (It shouldn’t be too hard now that you understand your target audience.)
By now, you should know your topic. You’ve done your Venn diagram, you understand what you’re good at (and what you love), and you know what your audience needs.
Now think about how you can turn that into a product. Can you create an instructional video? An online course? A workbook or template?
Here are some of the most popular options.
Types of Info Products
E-Book: A digital book that is available online, typically through a service like Amazon Kindle. Depending on length, writing an e-book can be time-consuming—but if you know your topic, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Best of all?Once it’s completed, it’s passive income. You won’t have to do much work on it ever again, aside from selling it.
Webinar: Webinars are live videos that usually last for 1 to 2 hours. The topic could be anything, depending on your level of expertise (for example, “How to Write and Publish a Journal Article” or “Home Buyers Success Seminar”). Products such as webinars or video training series are very popular, as today’s audience tends to favor visual products overwritten.
Yes, since you’re probably thinking it, webinars in the traditional sense are more often offered as free events in exchange for your email and your attention. However, selling it as a live training product is not uncommon in case you haven’t seen that elsewhere.
One big plus: You can record a webinar and continue to sell it after the fact.
Online Course: If you’ve taken a college course online, you understand how digital learning works. An online course requires a significant level of expertise on your subject, as well as a significant time investment.
Courses usually include multiple modules and offer an in-depth review of your given subject.
Websites such as Teachable make it easy to host a course for little-to-no investment, and once you’re done with all the back-end work, it’s passive income.
Pro-Tip: for in-depth, advanced online courses, position them as something premium. Do this by calling them a “training program” for example and consider combining with other benefits, like an online community for program members to interact, learn, and network.
Private Group: Often, when a group of people need ongoing information on a particular topic, a private group or membership site can be highly appealing. Sites such as Slack, Facebook, or even a private URL with a password can offer an easy way to share ongoing tips and information with your participants.
Private groups do require ongoing participation from you, but they also tend to be one of the cheaper products, so that’s something to consider. Bonus: You may not make a lot of money off of groups, but they go a long way towards building trust in your brand.
Workbook: A structured form with questions and exercises for the customer to complete, a workbook is usually one of the easier info products to create. Workbooks are great for people such as coaches, with topics like “Creating a Budget to Get Out of Debt” and “Designing a Healthy Eating Plan” being quite popular. You can also think of a workbook as an interactive template towards accomplishing a specific task.
Bonus: You can sell this as a stand-alone product or add it on as an upsell with another info product, like pairing it with your most premium training program. We do this at AutoGrow with our 6-Figure Sales Funnel product.
What you choose will depend on several things, including:
This is your product, your business, and your life. You get to choose and design it how you want it to be.
Some things to consider…
The amount of time you want to spend creating it (a PDF download, for example, is far less labor-intensive than an e-summit). The level of ongoing involvement you’d like to have (an online course may require you to actively check in with participants, while a video series is probably a passive source of income).
How much money you’d like to make. Typically, the more time and effort you put into creating a product, the more you can charge for it.
What your audience can afford. Above, I mentioned targeting people who had recently graduated from college. That particular audience would probably have a limited budget and therefore couldn’t afford a more expensive product. If, however, your target audience is mid-career professionals, they might be willing to pay for a more premium service.
- Your level of expertise. “Fake it till ya make it” is a common mantra in business… but don’t. Your audience will see right through it, and they’ll be angry that they spent money on something that doesn’t really offer much value.
If you’re a newbie and don’t have a ton of experience yet, stick to something simple like a template, ebook, or worksheet. You won’t be able to charge a lot, but you won’t ruin your reputation, either.
Your price point will depend on two things: the amount of time and effort you put into creating your product, and (to an even greater degree) how much your audience can afford to pay.
You can spend 8 weeks putting together a 15-hour online course—and obviously that’s an enormous amount of work on your part—but if your audience can’t pay for it, it won’t sell.
Ultimately, the effort you put into creating that product will be a complete waste.
This is why, yet again, it’s important to understand your audience. With a little bit of internet research, you can easily determine what sort of products they’re already buying and how much they’re paying for them.
Say, for instance, your competitor is selling a $150 webinar/private group combo—it’s unlikely that your audience will invest in a $500 online course with you.
The key? Start small and work up to a higher price as they gain trust in you (AND as you gain confidence in yourself and your understanding of who your audience is).
One of my favorite ways to do this is by offering a “pre-sale”. A pre-sale lets you offer your product at a significantly lower price point without devaluing it.
By allowing your audience to come in at a “special rate” prior to selling to the general public, they get a price they can afford. And you can say, “Hey, this product is actually worth XX dollars, so you’re getting a really special deal!”
My one suggestion: unless you’re selling an ebook or a tripwire, never drop below a price point of $97 (after discount). When you undervalue your products, your audience will undervalue you.
In general, there should be a direct relationship between value and the price you charge.
An ebook is sold for less than an audiobook typically because the audiobook has the value of convenience (you can listen while driving). Similarly our premium 6-Figure Sales Funnel training program commands a higher price than our Sales Funnel Diagram Pack.
Creating a Sales Funnel That Works
Now that it’s time to launch your product, the best thing you can do is create a good sales funnel.
Here at AutoGrow, sales funnels are our bread and butter. I’ve built 3 six-figure funnels for our own business in 10 months, 6 months, and 2 months, respectively, and many more for our past clients from our agency days.
So I feel like I can tell you a thing or two about how to do them right.
First, a sales funnel is simply a series of steps intended to attract prospects and lead them towards a purchase decision. You can read more in my Non-BS Guide to sales funnels here.
That should be every business owner’s goal, right? It should certainly be your goal if you’re trying to sell a new info product.
Having a website just isn’t enough, no matter how fantastic or well-designed it is. A sales funnel is a multi-step process that involves many working parts.
Some of the basic steps include:
Add links, buttons, opt-in forms and call-to-action (CTA) buttons to your website. These will help move people to the next step in your sales funnel. The goal, typically, is to get them to subscribe to your email list.
Over time, consider sharing those same CTAs in social media posts, YouTube videos or paid ads (anywhere your audience hangs out, really).
Follow-up via autoresponder. This is typically a series of anywhere from 2–5 emails set to go out automatically as soon as someone joins your list. In the case of an info product (or any new product), these emails should be used to create hype pre-launch.
I always like to suggest starting simple, and then moving up to more complex automations and personalized experiences as you grow.
—it will continue to drive business for as long as you use it. You can sign up for my 11-Point Perfect Sales Funnel Checklist to make sure you have everything down pat.
That being said, a product launch should include a few extra steps.
First, your launch should be a really BIG event. You want to make it exciting and fun and build up anticipation. You want people to believe that it’s something special, and not just some run-of-the-mill event.
To do that, set up a pre-launch email funnel. This email automation is similar in nature to the automation your audience receives when they sign up for your list, only its express purpose is to build up excitement around your upcoming product.
Each email should reveal a little more information and give a little teaser about what your audience can expect.
The goal is to build anticipation for… what’s coming.
Just remember not to give it all away. You want to entice the audience with just enough with quality information to make them want to invest in the paid product.
The actual day of launch should be a huge event. Consider hosting a webinar giving away even more information than you have before. Create a script, use slides, include a worksheet—and then let your prospects know that there’s even more where that came from.
The information in your emails and giveaways is good, but your info product is great. It’ll really help take them to the next level.
At the end of your webinar, create a reason for urgency. Tell them that if they purchase in the next 24 hours, they can get a super-special discounted rate (we touched on this a little above). Maybe include a bonus add-on that only “early bird” purchasers can receive.
Make them want to buy RIGHT NOW.
Just remember to include a sales page on your webinar, to drive people to make that purchase. Chances are, they’re not going to go digging through your email chain looking for a link—you need to make sure it’s right in front of them.
What to Do Post-Launch
The day after launch can feel sort of… anti-climactic.
You spent a ton of time and effort getting your product ready, you had your big launch event, you made some sales and now you just want to chill, right? There’s nothing else to do…
Wrong! There is so much more to do.
These are some things you may want to consider:
Host a post-launch live Q&A. This is a great opportunity not only to find out if everything is working (Were there any glitches? Was everyone able to connect/download/whatever?), but also to collect feedback.
Customers can tell you what they liked and what they didn’t, allowing you to revamp the product before the next offer.
Use the information gathered to plan out bigger opportunities. Sure, this product was great, but what else can you do?
You might find that during your Q&A people say things like, “This workbook is fantastic! I wish you offered a whole course!” or “I really loved your e-book. I wish it came in video form.” You can use this feedback to help plan out any future opportunities (ones that you already know people are interested in buying!).
Highlight customer stories. Social proof examples are so, so, so powerful at building trust (and of course, growing your sales). Share any success stories you gathered during your Q&A on your social media, in your newsletter, or on your blog. Seeing real stories about other people that enjoyed your product will make others more likely to purchase from you in the future.
Continuous Sales. There are really two ways to do this:
Keep the product available indefinitely. Create a permanent sales page on your website, advertise it on your blog and social media and continue to solicit prospects.
This tends to work out fairly well, since the initial launch garners some attention and you now have a few reviews under your belt.
You can also offer ongoing discounts, despite the fact that the “early bird special” has expired.
One common tactic is to promise all new email subscribers a certain percentage off of your product as a bonus for joining your list.
The second option (and this is my favorite) is to create an evergreen launch. We’re actually doing this to be doing this with our newest product, The Six-Figure Sales Funnel Training. So far, it’s going well and the last two months where were tried it sales have grown by a total of 30%.
Basically, this means that post-launch your product will only be available for purchase for a very limited time. After that, you will re-launch it on an ongoing basis, whether that’s quarterly or yearly or something in between.
This creates a sense of urgency in the audience—a feeling of, “If I don’t buy this right now, I’m going to have to wait another 6 months before I have another opportunity.”
Trust me, it works because losing out on the opportunity gives people a good reason to decide to buy now.
Info products can be a fun and simple way to create a new source of income. And knowing how to create and sell them correctly can be the difference between success and failure.
Here are some key takeaways:
- Take the time to think about what you really want to do. Don’t just hop on whatever bandwagon is trendy at the moment—because if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll burn out fast.
- Determine if there is a market for your product. A quick Google search and glancing around social media will usually do the trick.
- Target the appropriate audience. You might have the best product in the world, but it’s not going to sell if you’re marketing to the wrong people.
- Using the information you gather on your audience, create a simple first product and determine a price point that will work for them. You can more expensive and more complex products later on. The idea is to launch fast, make money, get motivated and LEARN from customer feedback for future iterations.
- Set up a great sales funnel. It’s the KEY to success not only in your product launch but in business overall. Otherwise, you risk “starving” in between launches like some marketing “gurus”.
- Don’t slack once your launch is complete. Continue to amp up your product and create demand.
Have these suggestions given you a clearer idea of how to create and launch your own info product? What steps have you already taken?
Keep hustlin’, stay focused,