My Secret Recipe
by Dan Kennedy | June 12, 2011
I've been pretty fortunate as an InfoMarketer. I tried to figure out how many information products I've created, and I always tell people I'm more prolific than good. So the quantity is actually quite high. I gave up the project after about 20 minutes of roaming around in my files because it was going to take too much time to get the answer to that question. But it is well over 500 that have been created over the span of my career, all the way back to the earliest really, really awful stuff, to the most okay stuff, to a few things that have been really, really good.
Some you're familiar with, some perhaps you're not, but I have been fortunate to create some products that have had multimillion dollar value, have created a lot of good customers, and have done a good job of developing those customers.
A lot of people don't know, by the way, this business actually started with records. And I actually own business and self-help records. And both singles and album size records.
I would offer a free tape for a dollar and then a sales letter was sent out. And the product was extremely successful in pretty much all of the ways that you would measure product. The one that you're going to be more familiar with, actually, is the newsletter, the No B.S. Marketing Letter, which I consider an information product. And it goes back to 1992.
On that note, today I want to talk to you about the creation of information products that have value and will bear million dollar and multimillion dollar assets. There is more to it than simply slapping together a product in a box or online and exchanging it for money.
I want to discuss what goes into an information marketing product in terms of embedded psychology. What makes a product really sell, work, create results for people, and keeps customers coming back for more? What makes a product a really valuable asset?
I want to start off by talking about the criteria.
What makes a great information product? We could measure it, as many people do, purely in terms of sales and revenue. So the product that sells the most and brings in the most money, is the most successful. It may be the best information product, however I would suggest to you that that's somewhat of a narrow and perhaps short term thinking approach. Probably the opposite would be to consider longevity, how long will the product last once you've invested all the effort to create it.
The Magnetic Marketing product is now 14 years old, and has sold, that we know of, directly over $65 million dollars worth of product. And has been licensed and translated. It's the only marketing product ever to be sold in Sky Mall catalogs on airplanes. Three different times now Conant has rolled it out, Hume Publishing, Daytimers Catalog, on and on and on. And the most important point about that product, first of all, is that it's been evergreen. So that product was originally built against the Jimmy Carter recession, and it was called the Small Business Emergency Survival System. Then it became Magnetic Marketing when the economy improved a little bit.
Magnetic Marketing has literally been an evergreen product. Alot of people don't really think about the concept of evergreen when they develop product, but if you really think about them as assets, having something that doesn't go away in six months, three months, or after a weeklong launch, these producrs can be an interesting part of this business. And then when and evergreen product, like Maganetic Marketing, brings in and trains customers in a particular way of thinking and develops them into good customers, it gets even more interesting. So that's been a good product.
Napoleon Hill's stuff goes back to 1928. That's 73 years. Is anything you or I are doing right now still going to be popular and still going to be purchased in large quantity every year, 73 years from now? Earl Nightingale's work is about 60 years old. Maltz's work is about 50 years old. My oldest, The Ultimate Sales Letter book, will be 20 years old next year. Is anything you're doing going to have that kind of staying power? Whether you aspire to that kind of staying power or not it's still a good question, because it speaks to the influential power of the product. And so products that come and go rather fluidly may not be very well designed to start with.
Another, a favorite of mine, is how good of a job that product does at bringing in, attracting, creating, growing, and training, really good customers. Does the product do a good customer development job and last it's overall impact and influence?
Let's now talk about what the purposes of product really are. So when you sit down to create a product, and you sit down to put together a resource that you're going to bring to the marketplace, really what are the purposes of doing so? Well, dummies think it's a necessary evil that must be accommodated so you have something to exchange for money, which is actually most people's approach to info product creation and publishing. Most people say, "I want a hundred thousand bucks this month and they're not going to give it to me for nothing. So we're going to have to put something together that we're going to deliver." That's truthfully about 90% of the thinking process that goes into it. It's literally a necessary evil to exchange for money.
Now I would say to you that the more sophisticated information marketer, first of all, views it as a starting point or a furtherance of having customers for life. So they really view it as not only a thing we exchange for money, I'm all for that, but as a relationship development tool as well. Because when you talk about building million dollar assets the truth of the matter is the intellectual property has no value without the consumers who wish to purchase it and stay with you after they have purchased 'A' in order to purchase 'B' and in order to purchase 'C'. The asset value actually transfers from product to herd, and if you're just taking the money out of the product and not developing the herd, you're not creating any equity. You're only creating income.
Therefore, persuasion is the chief purpose of product creation. So one of the things a great information product does is it sells the product again in order to restart the interest and enthusiasm. The second thing it does is it sells important concepts. It sells ideas. The third thing it does is it sells a particular philosophy. As you can see, the great information products are really selling multiple things.
So here's a base a lot of people miss. Most people think in terms of; sell product, deliver product, product gets used. But they forget that in almost every case there's a lapsed time between sell product, deliver product, and use product . You must keep in mind that very few people are going to immediately start using the product he or she purchased. There's going to be elapsed time between the purchase of the product and the first use of the product.
What happens during the elapsed time?
All of the reasons why they bought the product and all the excitement and enthusiasm over having bought the product evaporate. And now they are opening a box, opening a notebook, clicking on an online course, whatever it is you have them doing cold. Don't underestimate this factor. That elapsed time has removed the reasons why they bought it and all the enthusiasm for having bought it.
If you look at Think and Grow Rich, if you look at Maltz's work, if you pick up Bob Allen's Nothing Down, if you look at these books you will find that they are really sales letters as much as they are how-to books. They are selling from the very first page to the very last page. And in almost every case you could swap out the last chapter and you could put a hardcore offer in there that the rest of the book sold and you wouldn't have to rewrite much of the book. They really are persuasion documents as much as they are anything else.
And I would suggest to you that every great information product has this as an element of what it is and what it does. It sets out to engage in a conversion process of bringing the person from point 'A' to some pre-determined point 'Z' of acceptance of an idea, a concept, a philosophy, and ultimately get them to buy into something.
Dan S. Kennedy is the provocative, truth-telling author of thirteen business books; a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; trusted marketing advisor, consultant and coach to hundreds of private clients running businesses from $1-million to $1-billion in size; and he influences well over 1-million independent business owners annually through his newsletters, tele-coaching programs, local Chapters and Kennedy Study Groups meeting in over 100 cities.
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