Webinar Experiments: Creating Information Products That Sell
Making information products is a way for freelancers to add another income stream to their business. It’s exciting to create your first product.
It starts with an idea – you realize that you’ve got some good information, and you think people would pay for it. So you choose a format for the product. Maybe it’s an e-book, or a video series, or an audio training program.
Then you outline the product, section by section. Then there’s content creation, design layout, and editing. And finally, promotion.
Many months and lots of late nights later, you’ve got a product all set and ready to go. You post about it on your blog, email your list, and ask your Twitter followers to take a look. And nothing happens. Nobody buys it. It turns out that you built the wrong product…
Why Building a Product Is Such a Gamble
Building an information product is a gamble because people don’t want to buy anything and everything. This isn’t to say that there isn’t money to be made with products – you just have to build the right product.
And let’s face it – if you’re in a position to build a product, then the truth is that you could build a lot of different products. Here’s what I mean; if you’re a designer, you could build a product about:
- Do-it-yourself logos
- Fixing homemade website designs
- Using design elements in landing pages
- Breaking into the design business
If you’re a writer, you could build a product about:
- Writing landing pages that convert
- Coming up with ideas for interesting blog posts
- Writing quickly, so you can keep up with demand
- Breaking into the copywriting business
And if you’re a marketer, like we are, you could build a product about:
- Fixing the most common marketing mistakes that businesses make
- Getting more cash out of your business, website, or blog
- Using online marketing for offline businesses
- Finding more profitable marketing clients
Get the idea? There are a lot of options – so how do you know which one your audience will want to buy?
One option is to build an overarching program that teaches everything you ever wanted to know about the subject – that’s what we did with our marketing training program.
But that’s a huge amount of work – in our case, we spent over 2,500 hours building it. For your first product, you probably don’t want to spend that much time. Which means you need to test what your audience will want to buy. But how?
Friends, Family, and Focus Groups – Oh My!
Our first reaction is usually to get feedback from our nearest and dearest. You tell them that you’re thinking about creating a product about XYZ, and what do they think? Of course, they’re your nearest and dearest – so they tell you that they think it’s a great idea, and you’re such a go-getter… good for you!
It’s all very validating – but rushing off to start building the product is premature.
You realize that they might be a little bit biased, and they aren’t really in your target market anyway, so you have to do some more thorough market research.
That’s when you turn to focus groups. You reach out to a bunch of your favorite clients, and explain what you’re thinking about doing. Do they like the idea? Would they find it useful? Would they pay for it? Yes, they say – it’s a great idea, and good for you.
It’s all very validating – but rushing off to start building the product is premature. Not just because they’re your favorite customers, which means that they probably like you, and want to make you feel good. And not even because they might not want to risk damaging your working relationship by telling you something that you don’t want to hear.
The real problem is that people aren’t very good predictors of their own behavior, and the answer to the question “would you spend money on this” is very different from the answer to the question “will you spend money on this right now?”
The best way to predict what people will do is to look at what they are doing… but then how can you test to see whether there will be a market for your product?
The Solution: Test with Rotating Webinars
The solution is to hold a webinar.
Take the first product idea, and create a webinar around it. Tell your customers about it, and promote it on your blog. You can even run some advertising to get people to opt-in. See how many people express an interest. Then hold the webinar, and see how many people show up. Then take your second product idea, and do it all again.
In this way, you can test to see which ideas get traction, and which don’t.
If you want to be extra-realistic, then charge a small fee ($10-$20) for people to attend the webinar. See which subjects get them excited enough to actually pull out their wallets. It’s that simple. Run 3-4 webinars, and you’ll have tested 3-4 product ideas. Without having to create even one product.
Speaking of webinars – we’re holding one over at Firepole Marketing about how you can find more leads, and get more of them to turn into clients. Why not stop by and sign up?
Over to you – have you ever created a product, only to find that your audience wasn’t interested? How have you tested your product ideas in the past?