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Ways to profit selling information on the internet (Part II)

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The business of selling information online boils down to the need for convenient access to reliable and usable information. However, you will only make a profit if your business is set up correctly.
Four things need to happen:
  1. Identify a potential market that will purchase your information products.
  2. Select your niche market very carefully. You need to serve a specific group of individuals with a defined need or problem, otherwise if the need is diluted sales and profits will be diluted.
  3. Position yourself as an expert. If a person has a problem, they’ll want a solution that’s going to help them. Not so? So depending on what the problem is they’re not going to ask any Tom Dick or Jane for advice. They will seek out a reliable source of information. That’s where you come in. I can hear you saying, “But I’m no expert”. Consider this definition of what it means to be an expert, “If you know just a little bit more than the next person, you’re an expert”. The point is, you don’t have to be a know-it-all to be an expert. A passion or hobby or pet interest will suffice. What you have to do is ‘position’ yourself as an expert.
  4. Build relationships. This is probably the most important factor for achieving success online. When selling information products online, most of the time customers will not interact directly with a real person. Therefore, building trust is an essential part of the sales process. Will you buy a product from somebody you don’t trust? I wouldn’t, which is why you need to win them over first before pitching the sale. You need to communicate with people on a regular basis to get them to warm up to you.      
So how does one package information into products that can be sold? In its raw state, the information or expert knowledge you hold has relatively low value, like wood waiting to be used in the furniture manufacturing process.
Information must first be converted into a form that can be used. If you are looking for furniture to spice up your new penthouse, naturally you’ll look at buying furniture and not wood.
Similarly, if you are looking for information on how to beef up your muscle mass for example, you’ll probably settle for a book, expert consultation, audio program or other complete training solution, and not some fortune cookie with a ‘Did you know’ tip on body building.   
Here are four general ways you can package information into usable products and services:
A. Electronic books (ebooks): An ebook is an effective way of selling information. It’s also the most common and oldest way of making money over the internet.
Writing an ebook is the easiest way to publish a book. For those of you who have tried publishing the traditional way will know that it’s an extremely difficult process, almost impossible to say the least.
The process is pretty straight forward: Take the information in your head, organise it into chapters and subsections and then fill them up with the relevant details. You can use a program like Microsoft Office Word to do the writing, editing and spell check.
The challenge comes in with the writing part. Many feel they do not have what it takes to string a few paragraphs together. That’s okay, but I believe writing is about putting everyday conversations onto paper. It takes practice though.
And if you are completely against writing or do not have the time for it, visit Elance to hire a ghost writer. You can hire a good writer for a nominal fee. Once the book is complete, set up a simple website dedicated to promoting your book, and your book only. For an example, check out Jenny Hamby’s site on how to market seminars.  
As good as an ebook may be it’s not suited for everybody. Some people just don’t likes reading. For them, audio and video formats are the way to go.  
B. Audios and Videos: The internet is making it so much easier to access information in all sorts of ways, especially for auditory and visual learners.
One way to accomplish this is through podcasting, which is a powerful way to communicate your message online. A podcast is basically a digital file (audio or video) which one can download onto a computer, iPod or other MP3 player for you to listen or to watch.
Lots of individuals and companies are using You Tube, like WayToWealthTV, to create their podcasts to reach out to potential customers. People can easily subscribe to a feed, listen to what one has to say and provide feedback. You can build credibility, a community of viewers or listeners and become a recognised expert in your field. 
C. Membership sites: Internet users spend a significant amount of money on online content. The facts tell us this.
A good way to take advantage of this behaviour is with a membership site. This is a site that provides information to paying members. Subscribers pay a monthly fee to gain access to material in various formats – text, audio or video.
So a site that manages to attract 1000 members at $7 a head per month, will have a residual income stream of $7000. Not a bad way to earn a living. The trick though is to keep your customers loyal and paying by providing quality information on an ongoing basis.
Jimmy D. Brown’s ‘Traffic Fuel’ is an example of a membership site that has made it big. Check it out!
D. Consultations and seminars: If you enjoy teaching, there are opportunities for you as well. Once you establish credibility by giving away quality information (yes, give it away!), start offering personal consultation, coaching, mentoring or other training services.
You can do this offline as paid seminars, as paid online seminars through platforms such as, telephone consults via Skype or in one-on-one (face to face) meetings. 
Selling information online requires a big enough market and an information product, but these things are not enough to make sales and generate a profit. You still need to validate the market, which we will look at next week.
All the best. 

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