products to sell online - Profitable Knowledge - Adding Info Products to Your Offerings

by Chris Malta

Surprisingly, one of the most profitable products you can add to your E-Biz line-up is information. Information goods range from hard-copy CDs and printed materials to database products and web site memberships.

According to well-known author and serial entrepreneur Tim Knox, the highest-margin information products are those that are both digital and downloadable, such as e-books and audio or video files. Explains Knox, "With no manufacturing process, minimal overhead, and no shipping costs, they're inexpensive both to create and market - their margins are often upwards of seventy-five percent."

The Information Advantage
Beyond low costs, selling information products offers E-Biz owners numerous other advantages:

  • No ongoing customer service or labor-intensive updating, as with database products

  • No storage considerations, as with hard goods

  • No product or package design process

  • Ease of delivery

  • Simple to market
Sourcing Information Products
So how do you locate these Amazing Products? Actually, you have two options: first, you can resell someone else's products as an affiliate. Google and ClickBank are good sources to find information goods on your chosen topic. The original seller processes and delivers the order, and you receive a commission for the sale.

Your second option is to create the merchandise yourself. If you don't feel qualified to put something together on your own, you can contract someone from a site like Elance, RentACoder, or CraigsList to ghost-write something, or to turn your idea into an audio or video file.

Selling Information Products
If you sell hard goods, information merchandise provides a great counterpart to your current offerings — you want to choose a topic that will be of interest to your target audience. Besides your own web site, you can also use eBay as a sales channel (and drive eBayers back to your site) — they now have an entire category devoted to information goods.

You're not limited to selling information products in the traditional sense.

You can also use them as loss leaders to gain back end sales — that is, you can give them away to bring people to your web site to see the hard goods you sell there. Or you might offer to send a free info product to everyone who opts-in to your newsletter, and let those backlinks drive sales to your store.

Delivering the Goods
The key to creating successful information products is to over-deliver in terms of what your customers expect. These simple guidelines can get you moving in the right direction:

  • Don't short people on content—lots of rich content justifies the price.

  • The more specific the subject matter, the better — people are searching for long-tail information.

  • Your product should look and feel professional. If it looks sloppy or amateurish, you'll have a high refund rate and quickly earn a bad rap.

  • Avoid filling your product with advertisements, even if you're giving it away. It's acceptable, even advisable, to include backlinks to your web site; but your product shouldn't be merely a sales pitch.
Whether it's barbequing the best ribs, marketing to baby boomers, traveling with children, or repairing golf clubs, there's a market for almost any subject you decide to cover. You don't need a revolutionary new topic — just a new spin on a topic that makes it your own. Once you choose the subject, crafting the product is easy. Says Knox, "No matter what you sell, you should be able to create an information product to complement that item. Anybody, regardless of technical ability, can create a sellable information product — you're only limited by your imagination."