4. Sell Information Products
Information products are digital, audio and video based products, typically delivered electronically via download. Tens of thousands of people make their living selling “virtual” products in industries as diverse as eldercare, test preparation, scrapbooking, and pet care. If there’s a group of avid people online and you can identify their needs, you can create a product to meet those needs.
Selling information products is a natural extension of blogging. You’re already building your audience and creating information for them, so sometimes creating a product is just a matter of pulling together the information you’ve already written or recorded and repackaging it. Here are some of the most common information products:
Consolidate blog posts on a certain topic into an eBook. For instance, Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog (http://www.problogger.net/31-days-to-building-a-better-blog/). This information was originally shared as a series of blog posts, and Darren repackaged them as a for-sale product.
Record a webinar or teleclass. Hold a free call on your topic of choice, record the event, and then sell it as a digital download with a call guide or FAQ sheet.
Record an interview with an expert. Take advantage of someone else’s expertise by interviewing them, recording the conversation, and then marketing the resulting audio to your readers. Bonus: If your interviewee has a rabid fan base of their own, you may be able to capture some of their market’s ears – and wallets!
Record screencasts. Are you a Photoshop whiz or video editing expert? Record yourself showing your stuff with Camtasa or Jing and sell the tutorials in a batch or individually. How-to sells!
When selling your information products online, you have a variety of delivery options, including:
Directly through PayPal or another payment processor
The market for digital products is exploding, and the rate of that explosion continues to grow rapidly. Online education has become a $15 billion a year industry. That’s billion, with a “b.” E-book sales exceed $5 billion annually.
And those are only two types of digital product!
A digital product is anything a buyer can download to his computer or consume online. At its heart is quality information, but most information can be presented in any number of ways. Here are some of the most familiar:
- Emails and autoresponders
- Live-streaming video from services like Blab or Periscope
- Online courses
The beauty of digital products is that storage and shipping are never an issue. Once you’ve created a digital product and made it available for purchase and download, it’s totally scalable. It doesn’t require any more time for 10 downloads than it does for a single one… or for 1,000 or 10,000.
You can also take the same information and repurpose it to work on different media, then market it to a slightly different audience.
- Redo a series of blog posts to make it an autoresponder course, or an e-book.
- Take written content and turn it into a podcast or a video.
- Create a webinar from an e-book.
- Take an e-book in PDF format and turn it into a Kindle book to sell on Amazon.
- Turn coaching sessions into a video instruction series.
- Parlay some how-to articles into a course.
There are lots more ways to create digital products, though. Some are obvious. If you’re a photographer, you can sell your photos online, either through your own site or on a site like iStockphoto for stock images or Etsy for art images.
Sometimes your path isn’t quite so obvious, though. If that’s your situation, knowing your subject area and your audience is the key. Keep in mind that, whatever type of digital product you create, it must solve a real problem for your audience and give them a lot of value.
Before you spend a lot of time creating something, ask your audience. Find out what kind of information would be helpful to them, and whether they’d be willing to pay for it. Then determine the format that will work best.
If your audience learns by watching YouTube videos, don’t give them an e-book. If they like to consume content during the daily commute, audio is probably best. Some people prefer to read.
Start with a minimum viable product. That’s the simplest or smallest version of your offering. Once you know that’s working, you can expand on it, add to it, or make it available in a new format.
Pros: Extremely scalable.
Cons: Takes time to create and market.
Each of these has their advantages and drawbacks, so you may have to do a little bit of research to figure out which is best for you. If you’re new to information marketing, start small – don’t feel like you have to offer all the bells and whistles before you’re making the money to back it up!
5. Join an Advertising Network
Back in “the day,” you couldn’t visit a website without being accosted with a number of blinking, flashing, marching-across-the-screen pop-up ads. Yuck! Thankfully, advertising has changed significantly since then. Now, the majorities of online ads are text-based or include photos rather than home-drawn neon images.
By joining an advertising network, you can reserve space on your website and allow the networks you join to serve ads directly to your site. Ad networks will then pay you per impression (how many people view your ad) or per click (how many people actually see and click on the ad).
Depending on the network, you can specify the size, shape, and types of ads you deliver. Some of the most common ad networks include:
- Chikita Network – Always my number choice
- Google Adsense – Probably the most well- known and versatile network.
- Kontera – An in-text ad network that provides links directly in the text of your already-created content.
- Text Link Ads – Another in-text ad network. And many free to join advertising networks out there.
The advantages of advertising networks:
They’re easy to incorporate into your existing structure
Advertisers are brought to you; you don’t have to find them on your own You are paid regularly for work you’ve already created, making it a passive income stream
Pay can be extremely modest unless you have high volumes of targeted traffic (it’s not uncommon to make $.10 – or less! – per day).
A chunk of the revenue is taken as a fee-for-service.
You don’t have full control over what sites are advertised.
You’re encouraging people to click away from your site.
Many people find ad networks an easy way to make money online by including advertising on their blogs. As you grow your reader base and traffic, you may want to investigate approaching advertisers directly. But in the meantime, picking up some spare change for doing nothing more than adding a little code to your site might be attractive.
Loving the information? Please share with your friends and family. Continue to read – Advertising, Coaching, and Sponsorship – Option 6, 7, 8 here or Go back to Introduction to making money online, or Make Money Online Blogging, or Affiliate and Online Auction