Category Archives: info-products

Why the Road To Perfection May Run Through Imperfection (A True Story)

This post is dedicated to all of you who want your “gift” to be perfect before releasing it to the world. I’m talking about those books and info-products and any other projects that aren’t quite ready and need “another round of edits” before they’ll be “perfect” and ready for the world.Musings_02

August 2014, I released my first Love-Based Copywriting book. While on so many levels it was a big hit (the comments and feedback I received took my breath away — people telling me my book and message made such a huge impact on their business and life) it was also pretty flawed:

* The title wasn’t quite right. This is evidenced by some of the comments on Amazon — if you look you’ll see several pretty negative reviews, which were very difficult to read and process.

Now, once I was able to soothe my very hurt writer’s ego (which included a lot of angst where I obsessively looked at other books and said “they don’t have negative reviews like that, what’s wrong with my book?”) I realized that the problem was the title promised something the book didn’t really deliver (and even though I tried to fix expectations in the intro of the book, I clearly wasn’t successful). The reviews I’m talking about are the ones who comment on the teachings in the book — the ones that attack my writing style, including one memorable one that said the book was “absolutely dreadful” and I’m “writing to a 6-year-old” I can’t do much about except to acknowledge you just can’t please everyone.

So clearly the book was flawed. And yet, I still released it. Continue reading

3 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When They Start to Sell Information Products

This series was inspired by the first time I dipped my toe in the info-product pool. You can read my story on my blog: http://www.michelepw.com/blog

Last week I talked about the mistakes entrepreneurs make when they create an info-product. (You can check it out here.) This week I’m covering the mistakes they make when they try and sell it.

Ready to get started? Here we go:

1. Your expectations are out of whack with reality. I once had a self development consultant tell me he wanted to sell a million dollars of his $497 product in one year. So I ran the numbers for him on what he would have to do to get that. He got very, very quiet.

Look, I’m all about thinking big. I’ve thought big my entire life. But if you want to do more than simply think big and actually accomplish big things, you need to understand what it takes to get there.

Let me give you a quick example. Let’s say you want to sell one information product a day off your web site. If you have a 1% conversion rate on your sales letter (and that’s not a walk in the park to do, but we’ll start there because the math is easy) that means one out of every 100 people are going to buy your product. To sell one a day, means you need 100 people looking at your sales letter a day. (Note, I don’t mean 100 people looking at your web site a day, I mean 100 people looking at that sales letter a day.) That means you need to get 3,000 visitors to that page a month. And if you’re not getting 3,000 visitors a month, you probably won’t sell an information product a day.

So let’s say you’re this entrepreneur. You just finished your product, you wrote the sales letter and stuck it up on your site and are now sitting back and waiting for the sales to pour in. And instead of getting one sale a day, you’re lucky to get a sale a month. Or every 6 months.

And when this happens, you’re probably feeling very frustrated and discouraged. But you shouldn’t be. Because if you understood how the numbers worked, you would know what was realistic and you would ALSO know what you needed to do in order to sell one a day. (Note, for more information about this, check out my “Why Isn’t My Web Site Making Me Any Money?” product — http://www.michelepw.com/10easysteps)

The problem I’ve found is entrepreneurs create their first info product sure this is their ticket to easy wealth. Then, when the days, weeks and months go by and it doesn’t sell, they get frustrated and give up. And giving up is the REAL problem. Not the lack of sales. (Lack of sales CAN be fixed.)

2. You don’t spent the time and energy selling it as you did creating the product. Sending a couple emails to your list is NOT putting a lot of time and energy into selling your product. Or, worse yet, throwing up a sales page and expecting people to flock to it and buy is also not putting enough time and energy into selling it.

Products are great, don’t get me wrong. And while they can be passive income, what they mostly are is leveraged income. Making sales every day from your site is NOT magic. Nor is it an accident. It’s a combination of doing the right marketing tasks to drive warm visitors to your site, collecting their contact information, and starting a relationship with them with an ezine or some other communications. It’s about doing visibility activities. It’s about doing product launches to up your visibility and take your marketing to another level.

When you do all these things, you find your overall sales go up. And when you promote a product specifically, sales spike further.

3. You give up. I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs I run into who have unrealistic expectations about selling their product, and then do little to no promoting or marketing of their product, and then give up because they don’t sell any. They incorrectly assume there’s a problem with their business, their clients, the product, themselves, etc., when it’s a problem with their marketing.

Before you decide there’s something more drastically wrong, make sure you understand the numbers and the marketing. Only then can you make a determination if there’s a deeper problem then simply bad marketing.

3 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When They Create Information Products

This series was inspired by the first time I dipped my toe in the info-product pool. You can read my story here.

So this week I’m going to talk about the mistakes entrepreneurs make when they create an info-product. Next week I’m going to talk about the mistakes they make when they try and sell it.

Ready to get started? Here we go:

1. They don’t create a product their ideal clients actually want. This can manifest itself in several ways. Here are a few of the big ones —

Your ideal clients NEED this product, never mind that they don’t actually WANT it. Case in point — how many of you say to yourself on a regular basis “I really need to exercise more.” And how many of you are rushing off to hire a personal trainer to force yourself to exercise more. Or take out spending money altogether — how many of you are simply shifting your daily schedule around so you DO start exercising more? Or how many of you say “I really need to floss regularly.” How’s that flossing going?

Yeah, you get the picture. Need and want are two entirely different things. We buy what they want and then we justify the purchase by saying we need it. We don’t buy what we need only what we want.

You’ve created the wrong product for the wrong market. This happens more frequently than you might imagine. You have a great idea, but you’re trying to match it to a client base that has little or no interest in it. There’s a mismatch. Luckily, this one can be (relatively) easily fixed — find your right ideal clients who DO want your product, tweak your product to fit that client base and all is well.

You’re writing it for you — NOT for your ideal clients. This happens mainly with authors who are writing books. Now there’s nothing really wrong with this — it’s your vision/message/brilliance you’re writing about. And sometimes this can turn into a massive success. But not always. Your ideal clients may either not be ready for it or you’re selling to the wrong ideal clients or you haven’t educated your ideal clients enough for them to realize they need it. (Or want it, as the case may be.)

There’s nothing wrong with crafting a book or a product that’s a labor of love. I’m a writer too. You just need to understand that labors of love don’t always translate into immediate cash or overnight success stories.

2. You don’t package your idea in a way your ideal clients want to purchase and consume it. This manifests itself in 2 ways:

You write an ebook and your ideal clients hate to read. Or you force them to watch hours of videos and they really don’t want to watch videos, they’d rather listen to audio or read but you don’t give them that option.

It doesn’t matter how much your ideal clients want the information, if they aren’t comfortable with how you’re presenting they won’t buy or if they do buy, they won’t be happy.

Your ideal clients are interested in the idea, but you’re going about it all wrong. For instance, you’re a sales trainer and you teach a very high pressure close methods to a client base that’s uncomfortable with that technique. Or you want to teach “how to” to a group of people who really just would prefer to hire you to do it for them. If this is what’s going on with you, you may be perplexed why your sales are so sluggish when you KNOW your ideal clients are interested in what you sell. (Note, it also could be your selling methods, which we’ll talk about next week.)

3. You’ve taken WAY too long to complete your info-product. If you’ve been working on an info-product for longer than 6 months, this is you. You need to get it done and get it out there. The longer it takes you to complete it the more likely it is that someone else will bring your idea to market before you do. If this is you, set aside time THIS WEEKEND and map out how you’re going to finish your info-product. And besides, every day you don’t have it done is another day you can’t be selling it.

Tune in next week to find out the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make selling their info-product.

The Mistakes I Made Creating My First Info-Product

My first information product was an ebook called “Got Ideas? Unleash Your Creativity and Make More Money.”

Bet you didn’t know that, did you? That’s because it was a complete flop.

Yes, my first foray into the wonderful world of info-marketing was pretty much a train wreck.

So why I am talking about it now? Because I realized the other day the lessons I learned were invaluable and my failures could help you become a success.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and let me share the story of my first info-product. It was in 2004 — which was the beginning of my 2-year “transition” period where I transformed my business from freelance copywriter with 80% of my business coming from local businesses to entrepreneur/business owner with a national and international client base and having the resources and team to help my clients on a much bigger scale.

Needless to say this was a nerve-wracking time, filled with ups and downs and LOTS of “learning opportunities.” One of those “learning opportunities” came in the form of my first ebook.

When I first decided to make this transition from freelance copywriter to entrepreneur/biz owner, I did what many of you either are doing or have done — invest A LOT of time, money and energy learning stuff. And one of the things I learned was I should be selling an info-product.

Well, I’m a writer, right? I could write an ebook.

At the same time, I was also in the middle of a rebranding (remember, I was making a transition so everything was changing). Since creativity is one of my passions, I had decided to combine creativity and marketing/copywriting and have that become the foundation of my business. This would be perfect I thought. No one else is doing it, I could be the only one, and I’ll kick this whole thing off by writing a book about it.

So I spent MONTHS writing this book. I put aside HOURS of my time every day writing it. It ended up being 144 pages of solid content. I finally finished it that summer, put up a (pretty bad) sales letter and waited for all the money to come rolling in.

Needless to say, that never happened.

I did sell a handful of them. Maybe a dozen or two. Not nearly the amount I had assumed I’d sell.

Now, I wasn’t exactly discouraged after this but it was a shock. Like being dunked in the ice cold water of reality. It caused me to do a heck of lot more research into how to successfully sell online. I didn’t take my failure personally — rather I instead decided to use my failures as a jumping off point that would help me turn my next product into a success.

However, I know a lot of you DO venture into these murky waters, end up with a failure on your hands and become so discouraged you never sell anything online again. I don’t want that for you. You see, EVERYONE who is ever sold anything online has had a lemon or two (or ten or a hundred). It doesn’t mean the process doesn’t work (it does) it just means you need to know the pitfalls to avoid so you end up with a success and not a failure.

So what mistakes did I make? Well, let me tell you, I made a bunch and I’m going to share those with you over the next couple of weeks. But one mistake I did NOT make was having a bad product. Like many of you who are struggling selling a product, your product is fabulous. The flaws are in the other parts of the process and that’s why you’re not seeing the success you deserve.

So stay tuned for next week and part 2!

Ask PW — “Do you have any tips for selling an ebook?”

Today’s question comes via Facebook from Ann Sandretto — and as it’s one I get asked a lot, I’m glad you asked!

To start, I’m going to make a couple of assumptions that you want to sell this ebook for less than $100 (or maybe even less than $50). If that’s the case, these tips will definitely work for you.

First off, make sure you have a good sales letter that sells it. An ebook is not something you want to be wasting your time selling on the phone — this is the sort of product that’s perfect for a sales letter and online, automated campaign that requires little or no work from you once you get it set up and running. (If you want to see an example of a sales letter go here: http://www.michelepw.com/10easysteps )

Second, look for ways to work this into your online marketing funnel. Is it a good next step after someone signs up for your free downloadable gift? Then direct people there in an auto-responder sequence or on the thank you page. Can you send people there directly from other sites? Does it make sense to experiment with a little pay-per-click ads? (Be careful with that one — you don’t want to lose your shirt with PPC ads.) How about putting an ad in your ezine for it?

Lastly, be realistic. A $29 ebook is probably not going to make you rich. (To make you rich you’d have to send an awful lot of traffic to that page and much of it would need to be paid traffic. I outline this more in my own ebook — the link above — if you want to check it out.) But it can be a great way to leverage your income streams AND provide an easy first step for your prospects to take before investing in a bigger commitment with you.

So do you have any tips for selling your ebook? Please share below in the comment section. Or if you have a question about marketing, business or writing copy, feel free to put in the comment section and I’ll answer those in a future Ask PW column.

7 Simple Secrets to Reducing Your Refunds (Part 2)

There are few things in life as deflating as refund requests can be.

You’ve spent weeks or months (or years in some cases) creating a product. You work so hard to market it and get into your ideal clients’ hands. And they buy! It’s so exciting when you make sales.

And then you get a request for a refund. Argh!

Luckily I have good news. There are things you can do to reduce your refund rate. And many of them won’t cost you a dime. I’m going to walk you through these 7 simple steps, 3 last week and 4 this week.

Let’s get started.

1. Call them to thank them for their purchase. Yes, you read that right. Pick up the phone and give them a quick welcome call.

This can be a very powerful strategy for a number of reasons. First off, almost no one does it in the Internet world so you’re really going to stand out. Second, it’s another way to overdeliver value to your customers. Third, it’s a way to connect with them so they know they’re more to you then simply a sale.

I can hear all of you saying “I don’t have time.” That’s fine, have someone on your team do it. It doesn’t have to be a long call, just a quick phone call to welcome them into your community and to see if they have any questions or need anything from you. That 5 minutes can go a long way to really communicating a high level of customer care.

2. Set up a welcome auto-responder series. I’m currently working with a client to create a very integrated 30-day follow up email campaign. You don’t have to do something that elaborate, but even 5 or 7 follow up emails to help your customers get started with your product can go a long way. These emails can:

* Reassure them they made a good decision by purchasing your product

* Give them some additional tips for using the product

* Tease them about what’s in the product, to get them excited about diving in and getting started (remember, people who actually go through your product are far less likely to return it)

* Ask them for a testimonial or encourage them to refer a friend

* Upsell them to the next level

3. Add in live calls with you. There was a time where you could sell an information product and get top dollar for it and not include any interaction with you. Those days are gone. If you want to sell an information product with no calls or support from you, the price needs to be lower and be prepared for higher returns. But if you add in a couple of training and/or Q&A and live coaching calls, then you can raise the price plus it will reduce your refund rate.

People want accountability (and having those calls does add a level of accountability because they’ll need to go through the program to keep up with the calls) and they also want to interact with you. The more you can give people what they want, they more likely they’ll become loyal customers and raving fans.

4. Follow up with snail mail. I’ve found mailing people a postcard or a newsletter is a great way to build and deepen the relationship with my customers. Again, you’re reaching out to them outside the online world, sending something physical and doing this after the sale. So it’s a great way to stay connected with your clients. Of all the tips I gave, this one is the most costly, but over the long run, it can really pay off in a big way.

7 Simple Secrets to Reducing Your Refunds (Part 1)

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There are few things in life as deflating as refund requests can be.

You’ve spent weeks or months (or years in some cases) creating a product. You work so hard to market it and get into your ideal clients’ hands. And they buy! It’s so exciting when you make sales.

And then you get a request for a refund. Argh!

Luckily I have good news. There are things you can do to reduce your refund rate. And many of them won’t cost you a dime. I’m going to walk you through these 6 simple steps, 3 this week about simple tweaks you can make to your product to make it more valuable and next week I’ll cover 4 easy follow-up strategies.

Let’s get started.

1. Put a Quick Start CD or report in the product. Information products can be overwhelming. You open up the product and you have all these CDs and DVDs transcripts and worksheets and you don’t know where to start. A Quick Start guide (either audio or written) can give people a place to begin and it can help them consume the material more easily.

If people are feeling overwhelmed, they may just decide they don’t have time to figure this out after all and pack it all up and return to you.

(And yes, you can still include this even if the product is all digital.)

2. Include a Welcome letter or extra gift (or both). Let’s go through the Welcome letter first. A Welcome letter should:

* Reassure them they made a good decision by purchasing your product

* Get them excited about digging in and using the product

Welcome letters can also give them additional information and resources, or it can double as your “Quick Start guide” and give them instructions on how they should get started. Either way, it should make them feel good about their investment. (This again can and should be included with digital products.)

Now let’s look at gifts. A gift can be small, just a little extra bonus. Maybe it’s a promotional item, such as a pen or a bookmark. Or it could be an extra bonus, maybe an additional unadvertised report. Whatever it is, it just adds to the value and helps make your ideal clients feel like you’re overdelivering on value.

3. Send them an extra, unadvertised bonus at a later time. With this one, instead of bundling the bonus in the product, save it and send it to them later. This accomplishes a couple of things — your ideal clients feel taken care of plus it gives you another opportunity to reach out and connect with them again. This is a good way to further build the relationship with your ideal clients so they don’t feel like they’re simply a “walking wallet.”

Next week I’ll cover the next 4 strategies so stay tuned.

The Dirty Little Secret Behind Adding Info-Products to Your Service Business

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You may have heard adding information products (or info-products) to your service business is a smart business decision. And indeed it is. There are many benefits to selling information products as part of your business.

However, there is a dirty little secret around selling info-products. The dreaded refunds.

You see, when what you’re mainly selling services, you rarely run into refund situations. You may run into other challenges with getting paid but not refunds.

But, unfortunately, the unpleasant reality is refunds and info-products go hand-in-hand. And when you’re first confronted with this, it can throw a lot of entrepreneurs for a loop. Even if you know intellectually you’ll get a refund here and there, emotionally it’s a much tougher pill to swallow. And what I’ve found ends up happening is people create “stories” around refunds that simply aren’t true.

So let’s take a moment and talk about refunds and bring this dirty little secret into the light.

First, let’s talk about what’s considered normal. A normal refund rate is 10%. And, in fact if you’re Dan Kennedy, you’ll go as far to say if you DON’T have a 10% refund rate you aren’t selling enough. (Isn’t that an interesting spin on refunds?)

If your refund rate is higher than that, you may have a positioning problem or you’re selling to the wrong ideal client or you need to implement some stick strategies. (Note I didn’t say your problem is the product is bad.)

So let’s assume your refund rate is at or below normal. Now let’s look at the top 4 reasons why people ask for refunds.

1. The product isn’t right for them. Read that again. The product isn’t right for them. NOT that the product is bad. This is where a lot of the “stories” come in — entrepreneurs spend so much time and energy creating an info-product and then when someone returns it, this sends them into a tailspin because they immediately come to conclusion that there’s a problem with the product. If this is something you’re concerned with, I can assure you that your product is fine. How can I know that? Because you ARE worried about it. People who create bad or low-quality products are not at all concerned about the quality.

So why isn’t the product right for them? Perhaps it’s too basic or too advanced for where they’re at right now. Perhaps they’re not your ideal client. Perhaps they read the sales letter wrong and thought something was or wasn’t included and so it didn’t fit their current needs. Whatever it is, it has little to do with you and everything to do with them.

2. They have second thoughts. Again, this has nothing to do with you. Perhaps they run into a cash flow problem. Perhaps their spouse gets angry with them. Whatever it is, they’ve decided the easiest way to fix the situation is to return your product.

3. Something unexpected comes up in their life or business. Things happen. People get into car accidents, spouses get laid off or family members get sick. Whatever it is, it derails them from their current business plans and they have to put things on hold or rethink what they’re doing.

4. They want to take advantage of you. This is a very, very small group but it bears talking about. The reality is there are unpleasant people out there who are looking for ways to get something for nothing. My advice is not to worry about them but know they exist.

So as you can see, it really isn’t about you. It’s about them. Refunds really are just the cost of doing business as an info-marketer and aren’t worth getting upset about.

On the other hand, there are definite things you can do to reduce your refund rate. Next week I’ll share those.