One thing that stops people from getting into the lucrative information marketing business is a fear and loathing of writing.
Example: you want to sell e-books, but the thought of having to write a 50-page e-book gives you nightmares.
Fortunately, there are 6 ways you can be outrageously successful as an info marketer without writing a word of the e-books and other products you sell:
The U.S. Government Printing Office is the largest publisher in the country, and most of what they publish is not copyrighted, which means anyone can use it.
Here's a good place online to take a look at some of their content: www.pueblo.gsa.gov.
Any book whose copyright has expired is in the public domain, which means anyone can use its content however they wish.
Most books published 1923 and earlier are in the public domain.
Don't have time or like to write?
Hire a ghostwriter to write your e-book for you.
Bid the job out on sites like www.elance.com.
Your agreement should specify that the project is "work for hire" and you own all rights to the book.
Ask friends and experts to contribute one of their published articles for you to use in an e-book.
I have several e-books that are nothing but compiled collections of articles already written (mine and guest contributors).
I encourage guest contributors to sell the e-book as my affiliate for a 50% commission on each sale in lieu of me paying them for article usage.
You don't need your own products to make six figures selling information online.
Just sell other people's e-books to your online subscriber list for a fat affiliate commission.
You can buy pre-written "private label rights" (PLR) articles and e-books dirt cheap.
When you purchase PLR content, you can use it as your own, even putting your byline on it.
You can find a wide selection of great PLR articles here: www.theplrstore.com.
For more information on making money selling government publications, out of print books, and other public domain content, click here now: www.publicdomainrichesonline.com.
Here are 7 handy phrases I use to make my copy stronger and smoother:
Use this one after asking a question in your copy.
Example: "Which works better online — long or short copy? The answer may surprise you."
Heightens the reader's curiosity in response to a bullet or teaser.
Example: "The one Internet stock you must own now. Hint: It's not the one you think."
Challenges the reader's knowledge.
Example: "The 5 most common mainframe network problems. Can you name them all?"
Dramatizes the finality of a deadline.
Example: "This offer expires December 15. After that, it's too late."
Makes information presented in copy seem important.
Example: "The 7 essential rules of web site design. Ignore them at your peril."
A transitional phrase used to end one section of body copy before beginning with the next.
Used to acknowledge the reader's skepticism and by doing so defuse it.
Example: "This $2 stock could climb to $100 a share — as incredible as that sounds."
For more of my copywriting secrets, visit: www.bestkeptcopywritingsecrets.com.
One of my subscribers SP writes: "How do I stop people who buy my e-books from making illegal copies and giving it to their friends?"
Here are a few techniques that offer a degree of protection:
"© Copyright 2010 by The Center for Technical Communication. All rights reserved."
"This is NOT a free e-book!
"Purchase of this e-book entitles the buyer to keep one copy on his or her computer and to print out one copy only.
"Printing out more than one copy or distributing it electronically is prohibited by international and U.S. copyright laws and treaties, and would subject the purchaser to penalties of up to $100,000 per copy distributed."
That way, if the book is stolen and passed around illegally, you'll at least get lots more orders from it.
That way, someone who has an illegal copy and wants the free bonus will go pay for a legal copy to get the free bonus.
Most people are honest. A few aren't. In the long run, you won't really be hurt by the few cheaters here and there. Dedicate your time and energy to other, more important issues.
Here are a few convenient rules of thumb to keep in mind as you start up and operate your own Internet marketing business:
This rule says always give your online customers a discount off the list price, but the discount doesn't have to be huge; either 10% or $10 off will do.
99% of your affiliate sales will come from 1% of your affiliates.
90% of the people who opt into your e-list who are going to buy something from you do so within 90 days.
Therefore you want to get as many new subscribers as possible to make a purchase within that time frame — otherwise, they may never buy.
This rule applies to buying traffic and new names for your e-list.
It says that ideally the revenue generated by new names added to your list should pay back the advertising cost to acquire those new names within 3 months. If not, you may be paying too much per name.
If you can increase your click through rates and conversion rates each tenfold, you will increase your revenues one hundredfold.
The minimum selling price of a product should be at least 8 times the cost of the goods. So a DVD set that costs $10 to make must sell for at least $80.
Each time you broadcast an e-mail to your list, no more than 0.1% of your subscribers should unsubscribe.
For a list of 100,000 subscribers, that would be a maximum of 100 opting out of the list.
If your opt-out rate exceeds 0.1%, consider throttling back on frequency or improving the content.
Here are 7 copywriting formulas that can help you write stronger copy:
Stands for Attention ... Interest ... Desire ... and Action.
First you get the prospect's attention. Then you generate interest in the product and a desire to own the product. Then you ask for action, typically an order.
Good copy is clear ... compelling ... concise ... and credible.
A strong headline is ultra-specific ... useful (promises a benefit) ... unique ... and urgent.
A strong promotion has 4 "legs" to stand on. These are credibility ... promise of a benefit ... a big idea (a unique feature or method that delivers the benefit) ... and the product's track record (how well it has performed for customers).
Picture ... promise ... prove ... push.
First create a desirable picture of the copy in the prospect's mind. Then promise and prove the product will do what the message says. Finally push the reader to take action.
Stands for features ... advantages ... benefits.
Copy should have a mix of all of the above. A feature is what the product is or has. An advantage is a feature the product has that others do not. A benefit is what the feature will do for the prospect.
Start every letter with a benefit.
You'll find these and dozens of other copywriting formulas in my new e-book "Bob Bly's Lost Copywriting Formulas." www.copyformulas.com.
How do you ensure that the information products you sell give fair value to your customers?
One way is to follow Internet marketing guru Fred Gleeck's "ten times" rule.
Fred says that the information products you sell should be worth at least 10 times the price you charge for them.
Alex Mandossian and I once discussed this in an ETR tele-seminar. We were looking for a way to determine whether your product and pricing meet Gleeck's criterion.
The solution we came up with is something I call the "loose-leaf test."
Here's how it works....
Traditional nonfiction paperback books (around 200 pages) typically sell for around $10 to $20 or so.
To determine whether your book is worth ten times that amount — Gleeck's "ten times" rule — imagine printing out the book manuscript on 8 1/2 by 11-inch sheets of paper.
Now, three-hole-punch those pages ... and put them in a three-ring binder ... and maybe even add tabbed dividers to separate the sections or chapters.
Information products in three-ring binders are typically dense in content ... and consequently command much higher prices than bookstore books.
It's not unusual for these "loose-leaf services" to cost $100 to $200 or more per copy.
One loose-leaf service for executives on how to write and give speeches, American Speaker, sold for $297.
Does your $20 paperback book contain enough valuable, in-depth content that you could reprint the thing in a three-ring binder — and sell it for $200 — to customers who would feel they got fair value for their investment ... and not ask for a refund?
If it does, then you can rest assured that the content you deliver in your book is indeed worth at least ten times more than the $20 you charged on it.
However, if you think customers who paid $200 for a loose-leaf version of your book (remember: same content, just different packaging) would feel gypped and ask for their money back, then your book doesn't pass Gleeck's "ten times" test.
I increasingly see today nonfiction business books that are thin and light. They present just one or two new ideas, often in a thin book of 150 pages or less.
If a reader buys such a book in a bookstore, they probably won't complain: expectations for trade books are modest. If it's a good read, and they get one new idea from it, they'll be satisfied enough.
But your customers perceive information products published and sold online as containing more specific and highly specialized how-to content than a "bookstore book."
So if you are an Internet information marketer, you have to deliver far more value to your customers for their money than a bookstore.
Gleeck's "ten times" rule — and the Bly/Mandossian "loose leaf test" — help you ensure that you do just that.
Here are 8 copywriting tips — all from copywriters other than myself:
"I also call 15 to 40 by phone to get a multitude of testimonials and facts, and go to meetings or exhibitions where I can find them to get a first impression of their typical characteristics. Ideally, I accompany some of them in their private lives for years. By this, I understand better their true underlying key motivations."
Before the Internet, there was a niche in mail order marketing that involved selling books on how to get rich in mail order, the audience primarily composed of business opportunity seekers.
Now the Internet has created an equivalent market of people who want to get rich on the Internet, and an equivalent niche: selling e-books on how to make money writing and selling e-books.
Many of these e-books are specifically on how to make money on the Internet, and deal with various aspects of selling information online. A few are on more general marketing and selling topics. Some deal with subjects outside of business and business opportunities, such as how to buy a home with no money down.
The e-book business model works as follows: You write an e-book on a topic of interest to your potential buyers (Internet millionaire wanna-be's) and format it as a downloadable PDF file. A typical e-book is 15,000 words or 50 pages.
Next, you write a long, powerful sales letter to sell the e-book and post it on the Web as a microsite. Unlike conventional Web sites, which have a lot of buttons and clicking options, the only thing you can do on a microsite for a single e-book is read the sales copy and, if interested, order the product.
E-books are typically covered by a 30-day money back guarantee. Even though the product can't be "returned," anyone who says they are dissatisfied gets a refund.
Finally, you drive traffic to the e-book site through a variety of promotional methods, including ads and articles in other people's e-zines, announcements in your own e-zine, banner advertising, co-registrations, cost per acquisition (CPA) deals, affiliate deals with other online marketers, and sending e-mails to your house file (renting a traditional opt-in list does not typically work for e-book offers because of the high cost).
An "affiliate deal" involves arranging with another online marketer to sell your e-book to his audience in exchange for a cut of the revenue ranging from 30% to 50%. "Affiliates are my most successful method of selling e-books," says Joe Vitale, author of numerous e-books including the best-selling Hypnotic Writing (www.hypnoticwriting.com). Vitale recommends searching the Internet for online marketers who sell other people's products on their site.
"Recruiting people who buy your e-book and love it is the best way to get affiliates," says Fred Gleek, an online information marketer (www.seminarexpert.com). Include a section in every e-book explaining how the buyer can become an affiliate and sell your e-book to his audience.
"With a new e-book, your own list represents the absolute best way to sell a whole lot of e-books really, really fast," says e-book author Jim Edwards, "People who have bought from you before are highly likely to buy again."
What topics works best? "Topics that address an urgent need that the prospect is aware of, and that you can market to pre-formed Internet groups of prospects," says David Garfinkle. "These groups are usually composed of e-tine subscribers are an affinity groups that spends a lot of time on a single Web site or discussion groups that allows production promotion. " He says that e-books on marketing and big-ticket consumer item topics (e.g., how to negotiate the best price for a car, or how to buy or sell your house) work well.
What won't sell in the e-book marketplace? "Informative, even valuable topics around which there is no pressing need most of the time," says Garrfinkle.
He recently advised another online marketer not to go forward with a planned e-book for junior executives on how to sell their ideas to others. The reason? He couldn't find an interested community on the Web of junior managers that have spent money on career-improving topics. "Also, except in rare situations, most junior managers don't feel urgency about selling their ideas to others," David notes.
A word of caution to the buyer: Some e-books are quickly compiled, shoddily researched, recycled trash, and a rip-off of their $19 or $29 selling price. Reason: The barriers to entry in e-book marketing are so low, anyone can do it. And so the market is flooded with thin PDF documents written by amateurs hoping to make a quick book.
Your best bet if you want to buy and read marketing e-books: Buy from the proven authors mentioned in this article: Jim Edwards, David Garfinkel, Fred Gleek, Joe Vitale — as well as other known experts in entrepreneurial online marketing including Terry Dean, Corey Rudel, Jeffrey Lant, and Jim Straw.
If you want more information on writing and selling e-books, visit www.myveryfirstebook.com.