It’s a good question.
There are multiple ways to make money through the internet: Physical Amazon products, software, displaying ads on your site, eBay, local business marketing and live events are just some of them.
But the advice given to most newcomers is to promote information products.
The virtues of this guidance are clear:
- Billions have been generated from the sale of eBooks, video courses, membership sites and audio products
- Information products are cheap to produce and cost nothing to sell so the profit margins can be huge
However, we need to ask ourselves why would ANYONE buy a how to eBook on, say, keeping bees when there is so much information freely available nowadays?
Logically, it doesn’t make sense at all. Surely, information products MUST be dying a slow death?!
Well firstly, let’s take a look at this chart:
Now obviously these are in part future forecasts to 2015, include all sorts of eBooks (E.g., novels not just “how to” style products) and are just for the US market.
But it does give a very strong trend so what the *%^$£” is going on?!
In a nutshell, buyers of information products want an easy solution to a specific problem that they have.
They don’t want general information about a topic from the likes of Wikipedia.
Next, there is the issue of trust. If I want to learn bee-keeping I want to get advice from an expert that I know, like and trust not be searching around the web piecing together unattributed snippets of advice from websites that I have never visited before.
Trouble is, paying directly for someone’s time can be very expensive so if I can access this information indirectly through an information product, I will buy it provided it’s presented in an appealing way (this, of course, is where the MARKETING comes in which is what we talk about here on this blog :-))
So if you want to enter the bee-keeping market then an excellent idea is to go and interview some existing bee keepers. I’ve generated thousands online from doing exactly this, in areas which I am not an expert in.
It’s also why Dummies hire experts to write their books. They just make money from the marketing.
Finally, in today’s world we are all increasingly time poor. How many times recently have you thought, “I haven’t got time for that?” Even if you are retired!
So people pay not just for the information but for the packaging of that information. They invest in the convenience so they don’t have to do the research themselves.
This is why the market for information products remains alive and kicking and is set to grow.
After all, as Gordon Gekko said in the classic 1980’s film Wall Street:
“The most valuable commodity I know of is information.”
Do you think info products are dying? I’d really appreciate it if you spread the word with the buttons below if you enjoyed this post and leave a comment with your thoughts too… Cheers, Rob. 🙂
Your right Rob. If someone wants correct information, then they will go for the knowledgeable source evry time. Unfortunately there’s a lot of incorrect information out there to “muddy” the water, so it takes time to find the real answer. Good article.
Thanks John and good to hear from you.
Sorting the good from the bad is a great point you make and perhaps the subject of another blog post altogether I think 🙂
Cheers – Rob.
Rob. You’ve hit the nail on the head by highlighting the main reason for the success of ebooks. Time is so important to us, and time spent researching could have been time spent doing something else which could be more lucrative. If an ebook costs $40 and the time spent on a more important project could generate $80 for example, then it is an easy decision. It is a very convenient arrangement. I’m glad you have decided in the ebook’s favour as from your headline I thought you were going to argue the opposite case! I have an information product on my site and was concerned that you might know something about information products dying, that I didn’t! 🙂 Good news then! Have a nice day 🙂 Laurie.
Well said and you make some excellent points. Hope I didn’t scare you too much with the title!
Great post Rob. I agree, there’s no way into products are dying. I’d say the way they’re being delivered and the way the content is packaged is changing.
I’m not the biggest lover of Apple (though the missus is), but I can see a large amount of traffic going through their itunes store and the “one click” subscriptions to weekly and monthly newsletters/magazines will accelerate even more after Christmas!
This one click method that Amazon have also adopted is definitely the way forward! Before long, people won’t even want to fill in their name, address or card details. They’ll just want to “click and go”.
Interesting times ahead. We just need to ride the crest and make sure we’re in the right place at the right time!
On an unrelated note. Loving Spybar mate. One of the best purchases this year bar none!
Great to see you here on the blog.
The “one click” stuff is really taking off and is really a way of adding convenience. I haven’t done it myself but I do know that the 1-click upsells on Amazon (e.g., “People who bought this also bought…”) is hugely profitable so you make an excellent point there 🙂
Glad you are enjoying SpyBar – that’s great to hear!
Cheers – Rob.
Amazon have actually gone one step further. I think there’s a certain setting in the dashboard that allows you to change the default “Add To Basket” to “One Click”.
I only know this since my bank statement has just come through and the missus has gone crazy purchasing all kinds of stuff! Man, it’s waaay to easy! Just wait until the kids get wind of this. We’ll all be broke 🙂
Information never dies. It just gets updated and redistributed. I think the issue is more along the lines of pricing. Text information products are the thing to watch. Why? There is a new inexpensive distribution channel in Amazon Kindle. Some of those $40 ebooks are now available at $2.99. So information that sells at higher price points is going to need more, such as videos and audios. But I think that is where the simple solution gets lost. Why the hell does as one need 3 hours to through the fluff in the video, including the life history of the expert and what he/she had for breakfast.
Well said Russ.
Agreed on the price deflation in eBooks. It’s no longer a necessity to get a publishing deal with a traditional house, the cost of distribution has fallen so much with Kindle as you say so volumes increase more than to offset falling prices, hence an increase in money value market size.
Repurposing information is something we’ve cover a few times here on the blog and videos and audios are a great way as you point out. Also, very easy to produce. Much quicker than text every time 🙂
“Information Products” are not so much dying as they are being strangled to death by the onslaught of mountains of drivel being passed off as “information products” at the urging of thousands of internet marketers who insist that marketing “information products” is the easy way to make money. Like all reasonably good ways to make money, there has been a pile-on, with the result that it gets progressively more difficult to sort through the crap to find any real information.
Marketing information products, if done right, is still a pretty good way to make money in IM, but it’s getting harder. Eventually, some other shiny object will come along to distract the horde searching for easy riches. With it’s inevitable pile-on. Etc. ad nauseum.
It appears that the current new shiny object is Membership Sites.
Good points and that depends which market you look at. Certainly the IM niche is one of them as you say but keep in mind that the IM niche is tiny compared to other markets. Clickbank claims around $2.2 billion paid out to affiliates since it started years ago but there are other markets which do 50x that every year. It’s easy to miss this sometimes as most marketers are subscribed to other marketers lists and not, for example, fitness or weight loss or golf lists.
Cheers – Rob.
So true. We are in the information age. People are still prepared for trustworthy information that gets to the point. The question is always how do you find the right info.
Thanks for the Spy bar it is working well.
Do you have nay ideas on free WP landing pages for high conversions?
Great to see you here.
Yes, knowing who to trust is very important. Here’s a post from the archives on exactly that:
On landing pages, I’m not sure I know anything for free but OptimizePress (my affiliate link) is probably the best things I’ve ever bought for my business. It’s incredibly inexpensive really when you consider what it can do.
I ditto what is being said about Spybar. Love it. Must use it at least 5 times a day. But it does look like those that use Thesis can make it look it is their own design. I am not a Thesis user, so is this observation of mine accurate?
Awesome Russ, always great to hear comments good and bad on my products. Glad it’s the former though naturally 🙂
Yes, this blog uses the Thesis theme and I’m very happy with it. Although you might like to check out WooThemes too. Never used them myself but they are definitely well respected and very customizable.
I don’t believe that quality information products will ever lose their market.
That’s why I also don’t believe that printed items will die out as has been predicted for many years (although that market has definitely changed radically)
When I am looking at a new subject (or even a subject that I am already very familiar with) I will look at all possible sources of information. That can be books, DVDs and increasingly – electronic products.
I think that electronic products have a distinct advantage because they can incorporate so many different media in the same product (text/video/links to other media etc etc)
Also – although I do visit bookshops – sometimes it’s a lot quicker to find a product that meets your immediate needs on the internet.
When I was recently diagnosed as a Diabetic – I bought both books and electronic courses on dealing with the condition. I found both of these types of resource to be equally useful to me.
I do think that, as mentioned in an earlier comment, that it’s quality that will win through in the end.
You don’t have to answer this as it is a marketing question.
The question is “what would you be willing to pay to cure diabetes in 30 days?” The cure is relatively simple.
It could be told in a 5 page $2.99 Kindle book. And I am convinced if someone did that, the industrial medical complex would attack.
How much would I pay? Zero. I’ve already done it, 12 years ago. Preventing (or curing) T2 (NIDDM) is trivially easy, and not very expensive at all. It’s hard to imagine charging money for that. Here is the secret, for free:
===Quit eating the stuff that causes it.===
What’s that, you ask? 1) Sugar (in any form, but especially fructose), 2) Wheat (or any other “healthy grain”), and 3) trans-fat (heated, hydrogenated, or oxidized, veggie oils, mostly). You might also need to limit or eliminate starch, depending on how far your T2 has progressed.
I have personally met several hundred people who have successfully applied this approach. A lot of them were on the last low-carb cruise.
Thanks for your comment – I think you raise an interesting issue….
I have no knowledge on diabetes but this sounds like the “How to lose weight” course that you buy and when you open it, it says, “Eat less, exercise more.”
Loads of problems people have can be distilled down to one sentence solutions but of course many people want more. A step-by-step plan, tips from people who have gone through what they have gone through and so on. Some people even want a personal diet coach. So there’s a range of solutions for every problem that is out there and people are willing to pay for it.
Cheers – Rob.
Not really. The things I listed are specific, actionable, and actually work. “Eat less, exercise more” is non-specific, not really actionable, and doesn’t actually work. I suppose I could write a book on *that* subject, but it’s already been done, several times, by writers more skilled than I.
Of course, you have to wade through a ton of trash to get to any of them, since the diet world is another area in which most of what passes for “information products” is utter crap.
Yep …. if anyone wants a good book about it and not the shyster BS, get Dr. Hyman’s Blood Sugar Solution at the library.
Or Dr. Bernstein’s Book, The Diabetes Solution. Also at the library, or as a free download from his site (search for it). Or Dr. Davis’ book, Wheat Belly (most of the info in that book available free on his blog). BTW, people who didn’t like Bernstein’s, Davis’ or Hyman’s book tend to be people with serious carb addiction problems.
Thanks for your feedback Russ – I will take a look at that book. Cheers – Kevin
Thanks for your reply Howard. It seems that I am already following this advice though my own research into the condition – but I do very much appreciate your feedback. Cheers – Kevin
Thanks Howard – I am already avoiding the foodstuffs that you mention – so hopefully I am on the right track .
Great points Kevin, especially on the quality. Do that and you cut through all the trash that’s out there.
Cheers – Rob.
Cheers Rob – interesting topic as always. I hope that all’s well with you?
Lunch is For Wimps 🙂
Another great Gekko quote. I really enjoyed that film 🙂
nice contorversial question in the subject!
But the answer is obvious. Information is king!
But if you want some of the apple you need to deliver a great content.
Thanks for that Rob.
All the best.
Agreed Erwin – definitely right on the great content. In my experience going the extra few steps towards that makes ALL the difference. Not necessarily to sales but to refund rates = happier customers & higher profits!
Cheers – Rob.
I’m a writer, so I have a stake in this answer. haha. I think that info products will get bigger and bigger due to all the new electronic toys like ipads. But I think that the days of the 300-page books are gone for the most part.
Great info, presented in an interesting way that will engage the reader/viewer, is the future…I certainly hope. Or at least a part of the future. Things are changing so fast these days that no one – not Andreason or Zuckerburg or Bezos – knows what’s next. Isn’t that just the best?
Thanks so much Rob. I look forward to every one of your posts.
Thanks Diane, appreciate your thoughts.
We are definitely living in disruptive times that for sure. I’d agree on the overall info product trends too, those devices will make it increasingly easy to consume them, we’ll have to wait to see what happens to prices and the “free line”!
Cheers – Rob.
A slightly more serious comment 🙂
Information Products are definitely not dying – they’re simply segmenting more & more.
This is actually a good thing for an Internet Marketer (well, a good one anyway).
Evergreen markets such as Health or Wealth (there’s been information products on these for over a 100 years) are getting more and more ‘niche’.
An example of this (used over and over again) is Gardening.
Gardening>Outdoor Gardening>Organic Outdoor Gardening>Growing Vegetables Outdoors>Growing Carrots Outdoors
If you’re an expert gardener (or simply know one) there’s 5 e-books there alone you could write.
Replace the word ‘carrot’ with a vegetable of your choosing and you’ve now got 25-30 subject matters or books to write.
Maybe, as a customer, you’ve decided to grow carrots but you need some information as a beginner, you wouldn’t sit in front of your pc and search for ‘gardening’ – you would be more specific (eg how do i grow carrots outdoors?).
As an Information Marketer you can take advantage of these ‘long-tailed’ searches by providing smaller, but more ‘niche’ solutions.
15 years ago you may have written a book on ‘How To Grow Vegetables’ now it might be better to write 20 books on each specific vegetable (just an example of a thought process that’s all 🙂 ).
Thanks for these additional ideas Ian. I agree on the fragmentation of niches and you’ve given some great examples – thanks a lot!
Talk soon I’m sure,
Cheers – Rob.
I thin information products will never by, because people are always searching for answers to their questions. But every customer (me included) will by more likely an ebook from a well known and trusted author than from Mr. Nobody.
To gain trust and a solid authority costs time – in any niche.
So stop talking – let’s start! 😉