If you’re a frequent visitor to my site, you’ll know that aside from affiliate marketing, my other gig is that of product creator – developing information products – books, reports, videos, courses – which are delivered digital. The majority of the online world calls these “e-book” or “ebooks”.
Information can be found all over the internet and begs the question “Why would anyone pay for something that can be found free on the internet?”
The simple reason is that if you’re merely repackaging a blog post, a wikipedia entry, a google news story or a mp3 download, you’re not adding value and you might as well give it away for free.
On the other hand, if you’re adding value to the process, by organizing information, providing advanced applications to a basic technique or providing a comprehensive case study AND your customer gets value out of the process, you are more than justified in charging for your products.
There’s been a recently trend among bloggers and internet marketers to jump on the “I want to build a list” bandwagon. A common incentive to get people to join a list is to say “I’ve written a report on (topic), get access to this report by joining my mailing list now!”
I’ve experimented in the last week joining a number of lists. In some cases, the promised report hasn’t shown up.
In many cases, the report has been nothing short of disappointing. Just because you can hammer out, copy 5 pages of text, convert it into a PDF and offer it online, does not make it a “report” or a “book”. That’s like saying you can buy a smashed-up race car and say you’re a Ferrari owner. It is technically correct, but just so wrong.
Here’s my take on the issue:
If you’re going to do anything (free or paid), do it to the best of your ability.
If it’s a free report, your benchmark isn’t delivering $0.01 of value, since they paid $0 for it. Shoot for the stars. A common phrase I’ve heard and which has guided me these years is “the cream always rises to the top”.
If you’re constantly overdelivering, you’ll have no shortage of sales, customers or business.
I give a number of talks each year (including at the upcoming Affiliate Summit), many of them are unpaid, but I probably put at least 10-20 hours preparation time into each hour that I’ll be speaking.
The fact of the matter is that you’re putting your reputation and your personal brand on the table each time you speak, you sell something or your promote an affiliate product.
Choosing to promote an inferior product because it pays a great commission just means it will come back to haunt you later (possibly for a very long time).
Likewise, taking one disorganized idea, blowing it up into a 5 page PDF and calling it a “bonus” or a “report” does an injustice to your readers or customers. But the person who is going to suffer the most is likely yourself.
If you’re not sure whether a report is good, give it to someone who is brutally honest – your significant other or someone who doesn’t pull any punches. If they say it’s crap, it might be time to fix it, or just send it directly to the trash.