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Avoiding Common Info-Marketing Mistakes That Can Cause You To Lose Money

by Marty Foley

Many a literal gold miner has been disappointed when they discovered that what they toiled so hard to acquire wasn't real gold, but only iron pyrite, better known as fool's gold. Similarly, while extracting 'gold' from information can be quite profitable, there are hazards involved in planning, creating, producing and marketing information products that result in wasted time and money, leading to disappointment. If you want to avoid such mistakes, pay close attention.

Mistake #1: Expecting To Make Real Money With One Product

Many novice information entrepreneurs expect to make sufficient profit with one product, or only a few, but unfortunately, in the real world, there are relatively few products that will make significant profit by themselves. Unless you stumble across one of those rare products, you will need to offer a line of related products and/or services to really extract gold from information.

Building a line of related products/services may seem harder than it really is. Of course, you don't have to be the creator of everything you sell. You can complement and expand your line by also selling products created by others. (If you have orders for other people's products filled by the drop ship method, you don't even have to invest in inventory.)

Mistake #2: Failing To Sell Related Products/Services

Some information entrepreneurs smart enough to recognize the value of offering several products/services make the mistake of selling a disconnected mixture of unrelated offers, appealing to different types of prospects, in various scattered markets. This spreads their limited resources too thin, and they fail to reap the full benefits of offering more than one product/service, namely, turning more prospects into buyers, increasing the average size of each order, and converting more customers into repeat buyers.

Mistake #3: Failing To Give Marketing Top Priority

Frequently entrepreneurs put marketing on the back burner, but it's importance cannot be over-stressed. Marketing (or the lack of it) can make or break a business. Or as the saying goes: "Marketing is everything." Therefore give it a high priority and work on it accordingly.

Mistake #4: Ineffective Marketing

A large percentage of marketing communications don't stress the benefits that the products or services bring to their audiences, but stress product/service features instead. The unfortunate outcome is that sales are adversely affected.

Mistake #5: Failing To Use Persistence In Marketing Efforts

Many fail to realize that marketing is most effective when the marketing message is repeatedly brought to the attention of the target audience. A sizable number of prospects won't respond to marketing communications the first time, for various reasons. But presenting the message repeatedly - perhaps a second, third, fourth, fifth time, or more - will eventually convince a percentage of them (as long as they are legitimate prospects) to act on the offer. The key is using marketing methods you can afford to use repeatedly without breaking the bank.

Mistake #6: Trying To Create And/Or Sell Information Products With No Substantial, Growing Market(s)

Inexperienced info-marketers are often too optimistic about making money from information products. In their haste, they rashly jump headlong into investing too much time, effort and expense to produce and/or market them without first considering whether any sizable (and hopefully expanding) markets exist. They often discover to their disappointment that they've wasted their time and money, which may have been avoided had they determined if any viable markets existed for the products in advance.

Mistake #7: Not Revising/Updating Products

Updating can inject new life into a product, and it's newness can be used as a 'hook' to gain valuable free publicity. Unfortunately, many products are pulled from the market after just a few years. As long as worthwhile markets exist, it's smarter (and very possible) to keep profiting from an information product for years (or for as long as money is the accepted medium of exchange, and you are in a position to collect it)!

Mistake #8: Failing To Reuse Material From Products You've Created To Develop Other Ones

Developing a line of related products, as I've explained, is more or less essential to real info-marketing success. The best products to add to your line are those you create or otherwise control. This doesn't mean you always have to create entirely new material starting from scratch. Fortunately, some information from one product you've created can be reused to create related, but distinct, new products.

Mistake #9: Pricing Information Products Too Low

The value of an information product is often underestimated by it's creator/seller, as reflected in a selling price that is too low. Underpriced products don't profit their sellers much, if at all! In addition, some marketing avenues are more expensive, and so require a higher profit margin in order to make money. By pricing your products sufficiently high so you can afford to market them through both expensive and inexpensive marketing channels, your potential for profit is greater.

Mistake #10: Not Developing Information Products That Offer Solid Value

A notable percentage of information product creators fail to develop products that offer true, solid value for the money. Instead of creating products with detailed, step-by-step guidelines which help their audiences achieve what they want, all too many products deliver vague, unspecific information that leaves their audiences disappointed. This may result in returns for refunds, and discourages future sales to the same customers.

For your own good, and the good of your audience, your objective should not just be to profit from writing, publishing and selling information - although that is a good incentive! It should also be to deliver solid, useful information that brings real value to your audience, even when you create a simple product like a report or booklet. Giving your customers more than their money's worth isn't just the right thing to do, but it builds good will andencourages customers to come back for more of the solid value you've built a reputation for delivering.

Mistake #11: Investing Too Much Time And Money In A Product Before It's A Tested And Proven Seller

Even if you're fairly certain a sizable market exists for a product before you create it, I recommend you develop your initial version in as simple a form as possible, or as simple a form as you are willing to risk losing your entire investment in. This is especially important when you have less experience and capital during the start-up phase of your business.

As you test market a product and gather feedback on it from others, you will find mistakes and areas for improvement. Improvements and corrections can be made more easily and inexpensively while the product is in a simple form. Additionally, it's not wise to tie up substantial amounts of money in a product until it's a proven seller. A major product like a book, for example, can cost up to thousands of dollars to print, and printers generally want to be paid in full upon completion of the job. You could have big money invested in an untested, unproven product before a single copy has been sold. This can wipe you out financially so that you have nothing left for marketing/promotion. People have learned the hard way from such situations, so beware.

Mistake #12: Spending Too Much Time, Money And Effort On Expensive Marketing Methods, Overlooking Low-Cost Ones

Especially if you're new to information marketing, you need to be extra cautious with the way you use your limited capital. You can lose a lot of money quickly, if not careful. A full page print ad in a large circulation magazine, for example, can run several thousand dollars for just one issue, but may not pay for itself in sales. On the other hand, free publicity and other forms of low-cost promotion cost next to nothing, yet can be valuable marketing tools.

While there are no foolproof formulas that absolutely guarantee you will strike information gold, now that you're equipped with knowledge of common mistakes made in planning, creating, producing and marketing information products, you have a much better chance of striking the mother lode, not fool's gold.

copyright 2000 by Marty Foley. All rights reserved.

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