How to Find Out Which Information Product to Sell – A 3-Step Guide

Here’s how most first-time product launches go:

Let’s say that you’re a blogger.  You see that after months of work, you now have a sizeable audience. So you decide to sell an ebook or course – or any kind of information product. Time to fully captialize on that audience! Passive income, yeah!

So you spend a month or two creating the product. You write the ebook, or plan the course. You tell all your readers about the upcoming launch, creating “hype”, and, during your quiet moments, you do “mental pre-sale math”:

Since I have 200 unique visitors per day, if only 1% of them buy my $47 ebook… Why, I can make an extra $2,820 per month! WOW!

Once the product is done, you create a sales page, spend a week designing it, and maybe you even get paid tools to A/B test the sales page to ensure that it converts as high as possible.

Then, you make The Big Announcement. You launch The Product…

…and nothing happens.

Sure, some sales might trickle in, but when you start computing the time and money you’ve put into your product, you might realize that there’s very little ROI.

Kind of like this all-too-common horror story: http://www.thefinancialblogger.com/blogging-reality-check/

So how do you avoid an unsellable product? How do you ensure that you’re making something your audience wants in the first place – let alone make something that they want to pay for?

Here’s a 3-step process you can try:

Step 1: The Hint

When most people release an information product, they often announce it too late. By the time they let their audience know, either the product is already in the works, or they have already decided what the product will be about.

The problem with that approach is that you’re already investing time, money, and feelings into something you thought about in a vacuum. You need to get your audience’s feedback first and test the waters. You can do this via a blog post, email campaign, a social media update – or you can use all 3.

You can make an announcement like this (just change it based on your usual tone and the specifics of your blog/audience), just replace the placeholders in square brackets:

 

Hi everyone!

 [Your Blog] has been up and running for the past [Amount of Time Your Blog Has Been Live].

In all that time, I’ve received a LOT of emails, messages, and comments from you. Through these, I’ve learned your most burning questions, your hopes and dreams about [Your Niche] and the things that get in your way.

Because of this, instead of posting about the usual stuff, I’m going to start giving YOU want. Focus on what YOU have been telling me over the past [Amount of Time Your Blog Has Been Live].

This means I might be making something more comprehensive, something that goes deeper and reveals more than what I share in this blog.

Do you think you’d be interested?

I’ll post another update within the week. But, until then, please tell me the #1, most important thing you want to know about [Your Niche]. Leave a comment below or, if you’re the shy type, email me at [Your Email Address].

 

Why is this step important?

Essentially, you are asking for their advice and testing for interest. This can tell you if your readers are mostly lurkers, one-time visitors, or devoted fans who need and want your help in changing their lives.

Also, by including readers in the creation process early on, they’ll feel like they are active contributors and will therefore feel more invested in the end product. You’re turning your blog around from a medium about you to a medium about THEM.

If you get absolutely no feedback, then it might not be the right time to release an information product. But if you hear from even a handful of readers, you can move on to the next step.

 

Step 2: The Story + Informal Survey

 

Now it’s time to tell a little story.

Write a blog post reminding your readers that you’re making something for them (link to the previous post you wrote for Step 1). Then, let them know that for them to understand why you’re doing this, you’re going to tell them about how you went through a significant change or journey – just make sure that this is relevant to your blog’s topic and that you come out successful in the end. Tell them that you’re sharing this story because you think it might be their story too.

Then, at the end of the story, you remind them about how you want to help them out. But for you to know exactly how to help them, they need to take 2 minutes to answer a couple of questions.

You then send them to an informal survey. You only need to ask these two questions:

  • If you could magically achieve anything regarding [your topic/niche], what would it be? You’re trying to learn their goals and their ideal scenario. By knowing what your readers want to achieve, you can find out the solutions you can provide to help them get there
  • What’s your #1 frustration regarding [your topic/niche]? The answers to this question will tell you about their barriers. What’s getting in their way? What’s preventing them from being successful? When you find out what this is, you can make a product that helps reduce or eliminate these barriers.

 

To gather responses more effectively, here are some tools you can use:

  •  SurveyMonkey (Note that if you use the free version, you can’t download the survey responses in bulk – you have to manually copy and paste them one by one. So either get the paid version or use another full-featured tool from below.)
  • PandaForm
  • Google Docs also has a forms feature
  • KwikSurveys

 

Why is this step important? Psychological research shows us that storytelling can be a very persuasive tool. If you can, use “modelling”, where the main character (usually you) successfully goes through the journey or transformation that you want the reader to go through. This can be a very compelling tool for behavioral change, especially if you want to transform your readers from mere lurkers into doers.

 

Step 3: In-depth Analysis

 

This is the grueling part, but it’s my favorite because it helps me get to know readers on a much deeper level than before.

Once you’ve collected a good number of survey responses (this depends on the size of your audience, but at the minimum you should have 50), it’s time to study them.

Unlike formal surveys with multiple-choice questions, analyzing the results for your survey is a bit tougher – all the responses are in essay form. What you have to do, then, is print out all the responses and go over them one by one highlighting or underlining any important statements/sentences.

For each reader response, ask yourself the following:

  • Why is he/she saying this?
  • What does this answer say about his/her goals? What does this say about his/her fears and barriers?
  • Are there any hidden messages here? What is he/she not saying?

 

For the survey as a whole, you have to look for useful patterns. Are there any repeating words/phrases? Any common sentiments? Underline or highlight them.

Here are a couple of useful resources in case you need more information on how to analyze this kind of survey data:

by Cvent

 

Why is this step important?  By understanding your readers’ goals and barriers in their words, you can determine their needs not just from the text itself, but from any subtext. You’ll be aware of goals and pain points that they might not be ready or able to articulate. Also, you can use their exact words in your copy when you finally get around to making a sales page.

Have you ever released an information product? If so, how did you test your product idea before you released it?

——

 Celine Roque helps online businesses produce content for their blogs and websites. You can reach her via her blog at http://www.celineroque.com.

Comments

  1. I listened to your podcast and wanted to try out your Action Comments plugin! Thanks for that tip in the podcast.

  2. Great tips! Very interesting

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