At the moment I am putting together some information products to sell online. I’m working with some friends to record audio content and I’m writing and recording my own content that I hope in two to three years from now will amount to quite a collection of valuable resources and a steady passive income for me and some of my friends. Consequently any topic related to selling information products on the Internet is very interesting to me and I am spending a lot of time watching what other people are doing online to make money.
One of the most interesting topics to me at the moment is the methodology of making money online. Of course because I already run a successful Internet business it’s easy to understand why I enjoy this topic and feel this is an area I can teach in, however it happens to be a crowded market – it appears that most people that are making money online are doing it by teaching others how to make money online! That doesn’t mean it’s not possible to enter this area and make a living. It’s a huge industry filled with thousands of niches and I fully intend to try and find my place and I am eager to make use of all the new skills in I have learnt about online marketing in the recent months.
During my day to day forum visiting and website surfing I come across many links to yet another course/product/seminar/event/teleconference teaching people how to make money online. There is a fairly standard formula for selling these things. First you click through an AdWord campaign or link that takes you to a (sometimes extremely lengthy) sales letter landing page. It’s filled with big headings, lots of dot points, testimonials with photos of happy newly wealthy people, perhaps sound bites, video capture, guarantees, etc etc. You will likely find a free e-course or a whitepaper that’s been written to give you free value but really only provides a sample of what the paid-for product offers. This is fair enough, you want the real goods you have to pay for them and the free sample gives you a taste of what the full priced product offers.
Most of this is sound online marketing practice. You have to create a relationship with your potential customer before they purchase. You might have to educate them a little first before they understand the value you offer. You must “date” and go through the awkward getting-to-know-you stages first to carefully break down those lack-of-trust and insecurity issues that let your new partner (customer) feel comfortable to be with you (buy from you).
As I prepare to make use of all these online marketing tools I’ve been thinking about what I can do to be different. I feel this marketing format is overused and stale but that’s only because I’m exposed to it so often. There is a reason why this method is so prolific – it works. Online marketers use these “ugly” sales pages because they communicate and entice better than anything else we have developed for marketing online so far. Jane-average doesn’t see these sales pages as sales pages – she reads compelling writing that seems to “speak to her” as if it understands her needs and wants. The decision to join the free e-course is that much easier when it appears that the course will be the scratch to her itch.
I want to be different. I want to innovate and offer the world something unusual and original. I want it to work and break with conventional wisdom offering something the online marketing world has never seen before. I can’t say I know exactly what I will use or how I will do this but as I move along the online business world lifecycle I’ll have more and more opportunities to brainstorm and innovate. I’ll have landing pages to play with and test and hopefully somewhere along the line a new innovative idea will pop out. Afterall, someone out there must have been first to figure out that giving away a free e-course is good marketing.
For the time being I’ll be building websites with compelling sales copy, giving away free samples, tweaking and testing and building and creating and being as unique as I can be without being amazingly innovative. My ideas and content will be me-branded and no doubt I’ll build a following, but I hope some day to make a mark online that will be significant and powerful.
Do you have any innovative ideas?