Developing your own digital information product is definitely a worthwhile endeavor. In fact, having your own product is one of the best ways to not only make money online, but it can help you to build and establish a brand, develop mutual beneficial joint ventures with other business owners and create your very own partnerships with affiliate marketers who are willing to promote your products!
Affiliate marketing is not just for you to make money promoting other peoples products but on the other end it’s a way for you to get more sales utilizing the lists, persuasion and experience of quality affiliates. You can see far greater results through the efforts of a large group of affiliates than you ever could on your own, thus your time is much better spent creating your own products rather than simply promoting others.
Unfortunately those looking to start or add an extra income stream think creating an infoproduct is expensive, time consuming and difficult. The truth of the matter is, creating a high quality information product isn’t that hard, especially when you outsource some, if not all, of the steps! Really you could have your first product ready to sell 48 hours from now or even less.
This post is meant to teach you the framework to create your own product – an eBook, video or audio infoproduct, from researching markets and topics to outlining and selling and even marketing it!
So let’s get started.
Choosing A Topic
Many people create a product on something they have a personal interest in or have knowledge or experience in an effort to create a quality product. For the most part this is true although it doesn’t necessarily mean that said product will sell.
A good way to get an indication of what type of material is selling well is to take a look at various online marketplaces and search through the bestsellers in various categories. If you already have a topic in mind, go to a section that correlates and see if anyone else is selling a product on a similar topic, and if so, how well are they selling?
Let’s say you want to write a product on growing cacti. Here’s an easy way to research.
- Visit Amazon.com.
- Hover over “Books & Audible” in the menu on the left.
- Click “Kindle Books” or “Books”.
- Then click a category that closely matches your topic, in this case, Nonfiction, then Crafts, Hobbies & Home, and then Gardening & Horticulture.
- This will show you a list of “New and Popular” titles in the genre, and you can drill down further. In this case, I clicked “Ornamental Plants”.
- The first book in “Ornamental Plants” under “New and Popular” is “Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties” by Debra Lee Baldwin. There are also several other books about cacti and succulents on this page.
- Click the bestselling book on your list, in this case “Succulents Simplified’, and look for “Product Details”. This will tell you the book’s bestseller rank overall in the Kindle Store as well as in some of its various categories.
This particular book, at this moment, is #28,495 in the Kindle Store. It’s also #1 in several categories, including Ornamental Plants and Flower Arranging.
A good general rule of thumb is that a book with an overall rank of #30,000 or lower means the title is probably making fairly decent money for the author. A book with a rank of around this number generally sells (and this is a very general number) around 50-75 copies per month.
This number can vary widely based on several factors such as current new releases that may affect rankings drastically, and the fact that a book may rise very quickly and fall just as quickly, but it gives you a good idea of what you might expect around that ranking if you stay there for a while.
Remember that rankings are highly volatile on Amazon. A book could be in the top 1,000 one day and drop to 15,000 the next, or vice versa.
Rankings are based on sales in correlation to things such as length of time since the last sale and how well other books are doing. It’s not easy to predict.
Another way to find out if a product might sell is to check out magazine publishers to find out if any magazines are being published on the subject. If so, a product would probably sell well, because it’s not likely a publisher would create and market a magazine without doing research first into whether it would sell.
You could also write their advertising department to ask what their current subscriber number is, or their reach. This will give you a good indication of how popular the magazine is and how large the market might be.
Remember, interest in a market does not necessarily equal sales!
For example, there could be hundreds of thousands of websites about insect collecting, but if people in that market aren’t spending a lot of money, all the traffic in the world won’t matter. So look for products that are actually selling, not just general keyword numbers or website numbers.
You can use this same technique with virtually any online or offline marketplace. Some ideas include:
- Your local library or bookstore
- Websites of Barnes & Noble and other booksellers
- The ClickBank Marketplace
- Affiliate forums
- Internet marketing discussion groups (WarriorForum.com etc)
Browsing these sites will give you plenty of ideas, and checking out bestseller lists will make it easy to find out what is selling and what isn’t.
Choosing A Product Type
The next thing you’ll want to do is decide exactly what type of product you’d like to create. This could be an info product, an eBook to be sold via Kindle and other outlets, a video series, or something else that will appeal to your target audience.
Remember that some types of product formats may work better for certain topics and markets than others. For example, some people prefer to read content while others prefer to watch it in video format. Just the same, different groups of people do better at learning new material in various formats, such as detailed, step by step tutorial guides or comprehensive, “watch over my shoulder” videos.
Additionally, you can repurpose the same product into several different iterations in order to get the most out of it. For example, an eBook created with the intention of being sold on ClickBank could also be sold on Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other platforms. You could even use the same basic content to create a video series!
There are even other ways of repurposing content so that you’re able to extend the value of every product. For example, a single book could have its content converted into all of the following formats:
- An eBook for Kindle, Nook, iPad and others
- A print book sold through CreateSpace or Lulu
- An eBook sold through ClickBank
- A video series sold through ClickBank
- An audio series sold through ClickBank
- An audio book sold through ACX, Amazon, iTunes and others
Multiple formats will give you a wider distribution net and far more income than you ever thought possible, all without having to invest in additional products until you have recovered your initial investment.
Ebooks are perhaps one of the easiest type of info product to create, regardless of your skill level or experience. Using software such as Microsoft Word or Open Office you are able to create a simple PDF-formatted document that can be sold to your audience.
If you want a general idea of how easy it is to create a book for sale on Kindle, for example, take a look at this checklist:
- Write your book in Word or another word processor and save it in .doc format.
- Add a title page with the book’s title, author name and copyright notice at the front.
- Be sure each chapter has “Chapter One”, “Chapter Two”, etc. set as “Heading 1”.
- Create a flat book cover design at 1600×2400 pixels, or pay someone to do it for you.
- Submit the doc file and cover JPG to Kindle.
It’s really that simple! There’s no special formatting required in most cases, because their conversion program can convert your doc file to the .mobi format used by Kindle.
And here’s a fantastic free resource that will compile all of your documents into the many different popular formats, including mobi and .epub!
If you want to sell your book on ClickBank or another similar platform, all you need to do is take that same document and export it as a PDF file, zip it up and it’s ready to go!
Creating An eBook Cover
People say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the fact is, almost everyone does. It’s only natural, because the cover is the very first impression you get from most books. Unless someone tells you how great a book is before you see it, you probably won’t know anything about the book other than the title and what the cover looks like.
This is especially true online.
As you’re browsing through a traditional bookstore, most of the books only present the spine. Thus, the title generally becomes the first impression for most books, except those few that are displayed with their front cover facing out. But that is generally reserved only for big sellers.
But online, you see the full front cover displayed as a small thumbnail amongst many others. If your cover doesn’t stand out and grab attention, the rest of your marketing – your title, your description (blurb), your reviews… none of that will matter.
Fortunately, there are a number of decent designers available on sites like Fiverr.com. For $5, you can get a book cover that is probably better than anything you could do on your own, unless of course you’re already a good designer. For $20-$50, you can get a really excellent cover done by a highly experienced designer.
Your book cover is definitely not a place to skimp. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and it better be a good one
You can also buy a premade book cover at sites such as:
There are also thousands of designers that can create quality covers for you. Check out their portfolios to find someone whose work matches the goals you have for your cover.
Creating videos is a little trickier, but with the right software or service you can easily create video products that will sell. In fact, there are online services that make it incredibly easy to create videos just by uploading a few images or slides and some music!
Some of these services will even allow you to make a simple video for free so you can see how easy it is, thus allowing you to choose one that works best for you without having to pay to test out a ton of services you may not like.
Services that can help you make videos:
Stupeflix – With personal plans starting at $5 per month and Pro plans starting at just $39 per month, Stupeflix is a great option for making simple videos very quickly. They have a number of different themes available, and a sizeable library of music available, or you can upload your own music or audio.
Animoto – Animoto makes video creation as simple as 1-2-3. Just upload pictures, choose music, add some text, and press a button and your video is created. They currently have 47 video themes available for pro users. Pricing for business plans starts at $39 per month or $249 per year.
GoAnimate – GoAnimate will help you create cool animated videos on a variety of themes using built-in animated cartoons. The service has plans starting at $39 per month or $299 per year and going up to $79 per month or $599 per year.
OneTrueMedia – OneTrueMedia will allow you to create 30-second videos that feature their branding for free. You can store up to 200 MB with a free account, and you’re limited to 3 songs per video. With their paid account, which is $3.99 per month or $39.99 per year, you can have unlimited songs, nearly unlimited storage, up to 1-hour videos, and you can download your videos and even post them to YouTube and Facebook. This is a cost-effective solution, but all videos are branded with a OneTrueMedia splash page.
Wideo – Wideo is an affordable solution for creating videos. Instead of just uploading images, there are built-in colors, shapes, objects, text and music files you can add to a project, creating unique videos that no one else will have anything like. You can create a video for free, but it will be branded.
You can remove the branding from one video for $9 or all videos within a year for $150 per year for videos hosted online, and you can download a 1280×720 MP4 of one video for $29 or all videos within a year for $249 per year.
These apps and programs are also useful:
Windows Movie Maker – If you have a Windows PC, you can use the Windows Movie Maker software. There are plenty of tutorials online to teach you how to use it, and making a video is simple. This software is free for Windows users.
iMovie – For Mac users, the iMovie program can create stunningly professional videos quickly and easily. The software isn’t free, but it comes with a large variety of templates you can use to make videos. There is also a version of iMovie for the iPad. Again, there are plenty of tutorials online to help you learn how to use this powerful software.
Video courses are on the rise. Getting started on a platform like Udemy could both make you a lot of money and establish your brand. Also, Vimeo On-Demand has a platform to sell on-demand videos that can really create a nice income if marketed right.
Selling Your Products
There are a couple of different ways to sell eBooks with little or no upfront costs involved. You can sell them directly, either on your website or on ClickBank, or you can upload to Kindle and other platforms.
Let’s take a look at some of the best places to sell your products. Remember, you shouldn’t focus on a single platform. Sell your products through as many platforms as you can and multiply that income!
For years, ClickBank has been one of the most popular places to sell digital products, and for good reason. ClickBank has an unbelievable number of active affiliates who are always looking for new, quality products to promote. This is a major benefit, because your products can make money even if you’re not great at promotion yourself.
If you’re going to sell on ClickBank, you need to keep things in mind:
- It costs $49.95 for your first product and $29.95 for each additional product, paid on approval of your product, to sell on ClickBank. This could be cost-prohibitive for some people who are just starting out, but it’s definitely worth the cost if you can afford it.
- You’ll need excellent sales copy and very good graphics in order to attract the attention of the average affiliate. This could also be cost-prohibitive, because a good mini-site design and eCover can cost at least $50 and up to $200 (sometimes even more), and good sales copy can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars from an experienced, quality copywriter. However, if you don’t have great sales copy and a nice design, most affiliates won’t even consider you. You could try doing it yourself to save money, but good sales copy is very tough to write unless you have a lot of experience and understand the intricacies of doing so.
- You must provide promotional material for potential affiliates if you want the best chance at being chosen by affiliates for promotion.
As long as you keep those things in mind, ClickBank can be insanely profitable.
JVZoo is a digital marketplace where product vendors sell and internet marketers can become affiliates to promote these products. JVZoo creates opportunities for making money with your digital products. You can setup WSOs (warrior special offers) on the Warrior Forum, you can find affiliates to promote and sell your products, and if you don’t have a platform to sell your product already, you can set one up through JVZoo and start selling instantly. v
There are tons of reasons why it makes sense to sell on JVZoo. Here are just a few:
- It’s 100% free to start selling. There are no upfront costs and only take a small percentage of each sale.
- If you don’t have a website, you can setup a free sales page using JVZoo’s instant generator. It’s really simple and easy to use and you can have a sales page up in only a few minutes. This is great for someone who is just starting out but wants to sell eBooks or any other digital product they have created.
- JVZoo makes it easy to secure your downloads so that only buyers are able to access your files.
If you don’t have a secure download page or don’t have a site to set up a sales page, then JVZoo is a incredibly valuable way to get started with only the need to have a product to sell.
Amazon Kindle (KDP)
The most popular program for selling books is the Kindle Digital Publishing platform made available through Amazon, also called KDP. Don’t make the mistake of thinking these books are only available on Kindle devices! These days, most devices have a version of the Kindle app available, including the iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, and more!
The KDP program gives authors 70% royalties for products between $2.99 and $9.99, with a few exceptions (such as sales in certain countries). For everything else, they offer 35% royalties.
If you’re selling a product for $2.99, you’ll get approximately $1.79 in royalties, minus any download fees or other fees. And of course, if you sell in other countries you’ll be paid in that country’s currency and subject to exchange rates.
Don’t forget to join Author Central. Once you join, you can add your author names (up to three on one Author Central account) and then add all of their books so you can track their rank, reviews, etc.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble’s NookPress program makes it possible to publish on the Barnes & Noble website for purchase with the Nook tablets and Nook app on other devices. They pay similarly to Amazon, except their percentages are 40% and 65%.
For a long time, Barnes & Noble has made their program available only to U.S. authors. Only recently have they started to consider opening it up to international authors.
Thus, for years, the only way for non-U.S. authors to get on Barnes & Noble was to go through a secondary retailer.
Secondary retailers not only help you get onto websites you might not otherwise be able to get onto, but they can also benefit you in other ways. Right now, there are two major players in this market.
Smashwords was the only player in the market for a long time, and was the only way for international authors to get onto Barnes & Noble for ages, too. Smashwords makes it easy to get onto Apple, Sony, Kobo and some other markets from one place.
They’ve also recently added the ability to get your books onto the new Oyster reading platform, which is like Netflix for books. For less than $10 per month, Oyster users are able to read an unlimited number of books. Oyster pays authors 60% of the retail cost of their book.
In addition to selling books through partner sites, you may also make occasional sales on the Smashwords.com website.
Draft2Digital is a new player on the market, having only been around for a few months. They make it possible to submit to Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Barnes & Noble from one location.
Smashwords has a few more retail channels than Draft2Digital, however Draft2Digital has a few key benefits over Smashwords.
For example, reporting is instantaneous on D2D, while on Smashwords, you have to wait weeks or even months to see how much you’ve sold. Only those sales on the Smashwords.com website show up immediately.
Another major benefit of Draft2Digital over Smashwords is that they pay monthly, whereas Smashwords pays quarterly. A lot of people don’t like waiting three months for payment, making Draft2Digital more attractive.
You might want to use Smashwords to submit to sites like Oyster and Sony, which Draft2Digital currently can’t do, and use Draft2Digital for other sites. But unlike Smashwords, D2D does not offer books for sale directly from their own website.
Kobo Writing Life
Kobo Writing Life makes books available for the Kobo eReader device. Sales of the Kobo device are relatively small, making eBook sales relatively small, but many authors report enough sales to more than justify setting their books up on Kobo.
You could use Smashwords or Draft2Digital to submit to Kobo, but if you put your books up directly you’ll have a bit more control and better statistics.
Apple is a major player in the eBook industry. Its iBooks app is available on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, as well as its line of Mac computers. Apple has sold countless millions of these devices, so the market is massive.
The one major drawback to submitting to Apple is the need to purchase your own ISBN numbers. You’ll need to buy in bulk for them to be cost effective. You can get onto Apple without buying your own ISBNs through Smashwords and Draft2Digital.
Promoting Your Products
Of course, the best way to promote your products is through the use of affiliates on a platform like ClickBank, because affiliates can multiply your efforts in ways you, as one person, never could.
However, that won’t be so simple on Amazon and other platforms, because while there are affiliates for Amazon and many other publishing platforms, they don’t tend to promote books because the commission is so low.
Here are a few ideas for promoting just about any type of product:
- Create a Twitter account. Follow people who are interested in your niche and interact with them. Re-tweet some of their tweets, so hopefully they will re-tweet yours.
- Create an account on Pinterest. Set up pin boards in your niche and pin relevant images, linking to your book in your descriptions.
- Create a Facebook fan page that correlates with your niche.
- Create a Facebook fan page for your author name. You do not have to create a new Facebook account for this! Fans will not know who owns the fan page.
- Create educational YouTube videos in your niche and link to your website or your book in the description and in the video.
These are just a few ideas to get you started.
Product creation is a relatively simple, straightforward process. You may need to invest a little time and/or money into the process, but the potential payoffs make it worth the effort.
It is far more profitable to expand your product into various formats than to try to make money with a single format. Diversification is extremely profitable. The more formats you make your products available in, the more profits you stand to make.
Most of all, never forget that quality is key. Remember that most of the websites you’re likely to be selling on allow users to review products, thus if your product starts to get a lot of bad reviews, it could be dead in the water before it even gets started.
Produce quality writing. Edit it thoroughly. Create eye-catching, professional book covers and graphics. Create engaging sales copy and descriptions. Make quality promotional material available to affiliates.
Do these things, and success is virtually assured.
Looking forward to your new products!
For a more in depth video tutorial on how to outline your product, be it ebook, video or audio, check out this post, A Quick Method for Outlining Infoproducts. Also be sure to sign up for the free report called Top 20 Product Creations Tools.