It’s a very odd phenomenon, the fundamentals of business are so simple and yet the failure rates of business continue to disappoint at well over 50% – looking even more dismal the longer you track a business from affiliate marketing best practices.
On a more specific level, I have had a great deal of experience in the information product marketing business segment both offline and online and see marked differences between those who struggle with this business and those who take off and never look back.
One of the biggest factors differentiating the hobbyists from the real big money earners in the information marketing business is the degree to which the entrepreneurs look at their ventures as end-to-end businesses versus businesses that are based on a single event (website developed, ebook written, affiliate marketing site created, etc…)
Once you begin to look at the various facets of your information product marketing business, it becomes obvious that there are many skills required to carry out all functions of your plan.
It’s likely that you are better at 1 or 2 of these, perhaps being able to perform all functions, but not to quite the same level. Considering the information marketing business and your role within that business is a critical factor toward your results.
So, let’s look at the skills required for your business.
- PLANNING & STRATEGY: Over and over again I’ve tried to drive home the importance of coming up with a business plan for your information marketing business. Starting with a 3-5 year goal and working backward is a great way to chart a course making your journey more certain. For someone who loves to take action, this stage can be a little daunting.
Realize however that it must be done, if you struggle with business planning, then hook up with someone who has been through the process before – you may even find such a person at your local entrepreneur or mentoring program offered by Entrepreneur centers in many towns and cities.
- RESEARCH AND TESTING: A critical, often underestimated set of skills important to the success of your information product is the ability to research a market for opportunities and test your market, ideas and topics for signs of existing demand and spending activity. People who have great skill at tapping into opportunities in a market often are curious by nature, good listeners, have a good ability to relate concepts to one another and generally are good investigators.
- JOURNALIST SKILLS: Closely linked to research and testing, a journalist combines the skills of uncovering the the few “in depth” questions that your market really wants to know, networking skills, a very powerful knack for asking questions, a true passion for their topic and a good ability to write or edit their work to bring out the most important points.
- PRODUCT CREATION SKILLS: Product creation is really about understanding the format(s) that best suite the material you will be marketing to your customers and being able to quickly and efficiently package that material in written, audio, video or in real-time seminar formats. Remember, we are trying to find your idea skills.
We can all master each of these tasks if we are given enough time and teaching, but what you want to do here is give an honest opinion of your current strengths. For example, if you were an expert at packaging audio and video products, then it would make more sense having someone else plan your business and generate the content, while you can focus on your strength of packaging products behind the scenes.
- MARKETING SKILLS: I’ve split marketing skills into two large sub-groups, skills that require behind the scenes work and skills that involve outbound and relationship management activities. For example, you could be quite good at creating press releases, marketing plans, written articles and interviews, blogging, etc… these are all examples of behind-the-scenes marketing typically enjoyed by people who like to work alone, have more control over their environment and perhaps are more on the introverted side.
Alternatively, marketing skills such as networking, public speaking, team building and leadership lead to more successful outbound and relationship marketing. Both are required to raise your business to the high-achiever ranks, few people are experts in both of these areas.
Bet you didn’t realize there were so many skills required to operate your own super-profitable information product marketing business did you?
No wonder you get overwhelmed by the sheer effort all of this requires. A couple of these skills may allow you to perform that part of your business in your sleep, while other factors mean you take four-times longer than an expert to accomplish the same task.
Its no wonder that most people hit roadblocks along the way. Even if you master each of these areas enough to get your first product out the door, can you really scale your business success to where you want while doing all of this yourself?
By now, you should have a good idea of what strengths you bring to the table and more important, which ones you do NOT. By understanding where you need help, you can make decisions about how you want to structure your business, what type of business you would like to run and who to look to for help.
Take Away Your Customer’s Pain
Smuckers makes a really inventive product called Uncrustables. It?s essentially a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the crust. There are 4 sandwiches in each box, and I paid almost $5.00 for just one box. That means I?m paying more than $1.00 per sandwich! So what is it that we can learn from SmuckersUncrustables? Here are a few things I came up with:
- Find something that makes your potential customers mad! There are obviously a lot of people who don?t like the crust on their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Smuckers used that to their advantage. Their customers would rather pay $1.00 per sandwich, than cut the crust off themselves.
- It?s all about convenience. It would be a lot less expensive for someone to buy a loaf of bread, peanut butter, and a jar of jelly and make their own sandwiches. However, customers are willing to pay more for convenience. Smuckers identified their customer?s pain and came up with an idea to resolve it. So now they have a fun product that they make a huge profit on and they have happy customers.
Now how can we apply this idea to your company? You just need to find out what causes your customers grief. If you can find a way to solve these problems, they will be willing to pay you more money. From issues about setting up websites to getting loans, and everything in between, this concept can apply to all of your products and services.