Web Copy, Marketing Niching, Product Creation and Domain Name Selection for Your Information Products
In this Issue:
*Watch Your Gurus
*Domain Name Selection for Products
The single most important element of selling online is your copy. I may be an expert at creating products for myself and my clients but I’m not (yet) an expert at writing copy. I sure hope to be some day.
Frankly, it pains me to not be as good as I could or should be.
Here’s what happens to me. I bring this up to show you what NOT to do in this case. It’s not about me, it’s about you and what you can learn from what I’m not doing correctly.
I create products like a maniac. Good products. I am really good at interviewing people and getting my ‘subjects’ to answer the questions that YOU want answers to. That’s all well and good.
When the interview is done, I immediately let you know I have a great product (which is true) and give you a great pre-publication offer. I just did this with my interview with Morgan Westerman. I’m ABOUT to do it with my two programs with Bob Bly.
As I sit here at my place across the river from NYC, I have just finished two days of interviewing Bob Bly, the noted copywriting expert. That’s why I was prompted to write this insight.
Sometime in the next few days I’ll be making you another prepublication offer to buy the amazing interviews I just did with Bob. One of them is about ‘How to Become an Instant Guru’. Trust me, it is a great interview and it went for close to 6 hours. Tons of great information.
Here’s my problem. I can make a few dollars selling you the mp3s in advance of publication at a reduced fee but I would make far more if I had my website ready to sell it. Not only could I sell more at the pre-publication price , but I would be ready to sell them at full price as soon as I ended my prepublication offer.
Why don’t I have the website ready immediately? I don’t think that I’m lazy. It’s because I don’t feel that confident with the copy I write.
We all tend to concentrate on that which we do best. For me that’s creating products. But recently I have started trying to write copy. In fact, I just wrote some copy for a bootcamp I’m doing early next year in the storage industry.
I found that I did a fairly decent job. I think. The numbers will tell the true story, but it certainly felt good and it flowed once I got started.
Here’s the ‘secret’ that I discovered for myself. I hope it will be as useful for you. When I made myself write copy it was difficult at first. The more I wrote the easier it got for me to write.
I THINK (and I repeat – think) that writing copy, like virtually everything else in life is easier if you just get started.
Take ‘regular’ writing for example. I write a lot of books, articles and the like. When people ask me, I always tell them I’m an adequate writer. I consider myself to be a pretty darn good speaker but merely an adequate writer. But, the more I do it, the easier it seems to get.
Does this mean it’s getting better? Only you, the reader can say. But from what I hear, I’m certainly adequate and seem to be improving over time.
So as I talk to myself (and that happens when you live in NYC for 20 years) I find that I can also write adequate copy. It’s been said by many a marketer that the worst a website will ever be is when you first launch it. Everything else you do will only help to make it better. But you can’t make it better if you don’t have the first version done.
I wrote the ad copy for the storage seminar by MAKING myself write. As I wrote I felt it getting easier and easier. I had to write two things. First, I had to write the copy for the ad that was to appear in the trade publication.
In that space ad I referenced the website that people could go to to get more information. By claiming in the ad that people would get more info I had to write some LONG copy for the site that would ‘sell’ people on attending the 3 day event.
The deadline for the ad copy was August 15th. I had to have it done or I would have been paying for an ad that didn’t even run. The ad would hit in early September but I felt that since I was on a roll with writing the ad in the magazine that I would keep writing the copy for the website.
Here’s what I think you can learn from my experience.
If you produce products and don’t have the copy ready to sell it, you have a problem. Sure, you may be able to sell a few copies in pre- publication without any copy, but you will sell a whole LOT more copies if you have an full blown site that sells your product ready and available right from the get go.
Write the copy. Even if you think it stinks. Remember, it will only get better. And, who knows, it might not suck as much as you think.
Another thing you can learn from this example is that the tough part is getting started. Once I get started writing, I can usually write for a good while. Reward yourself when you’ve written a certain number of pages or words. It is possible to reinforce yourself.
Finally, I suggest you follow the progression that I use. First, offer people a prepublication offer. When I do this I give people limited information in an email. Given that I’m giving very little information, I’m relying on my hardcore ‘fans’ and devotees to buy at that point.
If you keep the offer under $100 and give people a significant discount at this stage you will get people who TRUST you to buy.
When you provide people with a full blown website and raise the price you will get more orders from those people who need PROOF that the program is worth their time and money.
During the time I spent with Bob Bly this week we discussed the concept that I call MICRO niching and he referred to as a ‘slice of a slice.’
Whenever you are thinking about doing a product you are almost better off to ‘niche it down.’
Ask yourself if you are targeting a SPECIFIC group when you produce your product. If you’re not, you may want to niche it down further.
If you’re doing a program on weight loss, find a way to do weight loss for engineers.
Watch Your Gurus
I got yet another email yesterday from a woman asking me about a person who purports to help people put products together.
From my investigation it appears that this person has done very little of his own product creation and marketing. Not unusual.
Be careful. Ask people what they have done for themselves before you ask them to help you with your needs.
I make a large percentage of my revenue from selling to my own targeted niche markets. Make sure to ask a lot of questions before you give anyone money for anything. The more the money they ask for, the more questions you should ask.
When you create your products you have a number of choices. First, you have to chose what media you need to produce your products.
Your choices include: written, audio, video, experiential events, software, membership site, etc.
Whatever you choose, make sure it makes sense. Don’t use video if the product you are going to create doesn’t have a video component.
The reason why you want to produce products in each of these categories is because people learn using different modalities of learning. Even though your front end product is an ebook because it is cheap and relatively easy to produce, it doesn’t mean that this is the preferred method of learning for your customers.
Sure, they may have bought the ebook because it was easy and relatively cheap, but this individual may PREFER to learn by listening. Therefore it behooves you to have some of those for them to buy as well.
When you produce an audio program you have three choices. First you can sit in your living room or a studio and record the audio solo. Next, you could sit down with someone else and have them interview you. Lastly, you can record a live event.
If you are just starting out in the information marketing business you will probably have to PAY to get a good person to interview you. A good interviewer is crucial to producing a great audio program.
In recording two products this week with Bob Bly it turned out perfect. Bob is both superb as an interview subject as well as an interviewer when we turned the tables.
Why is he good? First, he gave me a very detailed outline for each of the audios. Not only does it make it easy to interview him, it also makes it easy to create the sales page to sell the product.
Bob gave me the outline in QUESTION form. This makes it easier for most interviewers, but I actually prefer to have an outline. Bob did this to try and help me out. Since this was our first time working together, I wanted to try it the way he had prepared it. In the future, we agreed to do an outline instead.
Bob is also very comfortable answering and following up on questions. I suspect the skill of being quick on your feet can be taught to SOME extent, but much of that talent is innate.
I always recommend that people take an imrpov class. This will help you with every aspect of your into products business. I’ve been taking them for 20 years.
Don’t worry if you don’t have that innate interviewing talent. You can hire a great interviewer and spend your time concentrating on your content.
When you produce products with a peer (like my interview with Bob Bly) there are a number of ways you can structure the financial relationship.
First, you can basically get paid to do the interview and get nothing on the ‘back end.’ Among peers, this is generally NOT done.
A second possible option is to set up one site and then split the revenue as you see fit. Among peers it almost always makes sense to do a 50-50 split. If you don’t one person will feel like a second class citizen.
I had a conversation with a VERY well know marketing guru one time. I told him that I always like to find a way to structure relationships with people so that they are 50-50. He thought I was nuts. I’m sticking to my position.
Even if you have to find a way to unevenly split the responsibilities, it is my opinion that it is always better to find a way to work the deal to make it an even split of the dollars.
Another option, which is the one I do most of the time, is for each party to jointly own the rights to the product created and then sell it to their list and ‘do what they want’ with the product and keep all the proceeds.
If both parties have decent list sizes, this scenario makes sense.
Domain Name Selection for Products
If you follow my advice you will have a separate url (domain name) for each of your products. If you have 10 products, then you should have 11 websites.
One for each of the products and one ‘brochure’ site.
Even before you record a product, you will want to be scouting a great domain name. What does the word GREAT mean?
It should be easy to remember, easy to spell and as short as possible.
Since virtually all of the one word domain names are gone you will have to look at two and three word domain names. Many of the two word domains are taken, but many are not. Three word domains, given the number of possible combinations are often your best bet.
I’ve somewhat changed my thinking on whether or not to reserve anything other than ‘dot com’ extensions. Getting type-in traffic with anything other than a dot com is unlikely, BUT it may still make sense to reserve the dot-net and dot-org for each of your domain names.
Here’s how my thinking goes.
I look at the dot-com as my primary site that sells the product that I produce. I then use the dot-net for any membership site that I set up having to do with that topic. The dot-org is used for the purpose of selling an ebook on the topic if one exists.
There is no one or best way to do this, but this is what I am now doing.
Again, use www.Ultracheapdomains.com to register your domain names. By way of full disclosure, I do make a small commission for each name you reserve. I do set the prices as low as they allow me to, however.
If you are going to reserve more than 50 domains a year, you should probably consider setting up your own version of Ultracheapdomains.com. You can do this by going to www.WildWestDomains.com.
This will only make sense to you if you plan to reserve a boatload of domains because of the fees associated with doing it.
In the last couple of years there have been a lot of people who have jumped into the business of what I do. Helping people to put together their info products.
Some of these people have little experience and even less talent. I’ll be happy to point out those who are good at doing this, but quite frankly, I haven’t found any. Not that they don’t exist, I just haven’t seen any.
There is a HUGE difference between knowing the technical aspects of recording an audio or video and being able to create a content-rich product in a way that will get people LOVING what you produce and resulting in virtually zero percent return rates.
Also, some of the people are getting into this business strictly because they think they can make a buck, not that they really enjoy it.
Not true here. I just went to a 2 day training course on producing documentary films in San Francisco because I LOVE this business. I am fascinated by all the aspects of audio and video production.
More on that seminar later.
Like many product categories, the existence of competitors is actually helpful to me and should be for you as well.
When people can compare products or services, the cream always rises to the top. As long as you are doing things ‘right’ you will end up getting more business as the result of competition. That’s what it’s done for me!
As I just mentioned, I went to a 2 day course on documentary film making with Aron Ranen. Aron is a very good teacher (except for his corny jokes) and extremely knowledgeable in his field. He is someone who does what they teach.
Why is this relevant or important to you?
Because if you are seriously interested in producing your own information products, you have to learn any and everything you can about the field.
The documentary is the closest thing you can get to what most of us produce and therefore this class makes a lot of sense for anyone in the info products business.
Another defining element of someone who really knows what they are doing in a field is there desire to learn as much as they can about the topic.
I HIGHLY recommend that any info product marketer go to any of the seminars that are offered by Aron. Go to www.DvWorkshops.com. He holds them at his office in San Francisco which is a great place to learn and have fun.
It’s been a while since I did my lat Seminar on Seminars. I have now had enough time go by to give you the one most important thing that I learned at this event.
Make very clear in your seminar description who should NOT attend your event. We spend a lot of time concentrating on who we think should come and listing those elements, but you should also make sure and screen OUT those who should not be there.
By doing this you will keep the wrong people from coming to your event AND you will actually increase enrollment.
Ask Fred (a new section in the ezine)
Q: How do I use bounceback offers most effectively?
A: If you already have their email address, then they are on your list and you need to try and get them to buy something at that point.
If they are not yet on your list your first goal is to get them on the list so you can sell them something at some future date.
Those two things being true, here is how I would proceed:
Scenario 1 (have their email): I would say: ‘For those of you who have been receiving my ezine for a while, click here (it’s a pdf and it will be something clickable). Then send them to a separate URL promoting a relatively low end product/service. Even those who are NOT on your list might click. In which case you’ll still want to have a pop up on entry or the like to capture their email whe they leave the site. I would put this verbiage in multiple places throughout the pdf so they won’t be able to miss it.
Scenario 2 (don’t have their email): In this case I would be sure that you offer people (and make it clear to them who you are targeting) who are not yet on your list a valuable download of something that would have tangible value to that individual. A transcript of an event is what I usually use. If those who are already on your list go to collect it, who cares? There will be EVEN MORE bouncebacks in there.
The key is to capture names of those who aren’t on your list at the highest rate possible. Then, the key is to get the highest percentage of people who are ON the list to buy something. Once they busy something, trade them up sequentially and automatically using a program like: www.WebMarketingMagic.com (note the bounceback!).
Also, remember to have a separate domain name and site to promote any product or service OR EVEN, to get people sign up for your list.
PS – Watch for the Bob Bly offer early next week!