I’ve been creating information training products for over a decade now – and this episode sums up 8 important tips I’ve learned over the years on how to make great products.
Hello there! Welcome back to Coffee Break Blogging where we are going to be talking today about creating an awesome information training product. And if you’re in the business of creating training products (or plan to be), this is an important episode.
I’ve been creating information training products for over a decade now – and this episode sums up 8 important tips I’ve learned over the years on how to make great products.
- Why the “thud factor” is a mistake and why your product should be smaller
- Why you need to outline your product before you make it
- Why you need to CONTROL your student
- The importance of a clear start and end
- The danger found in the WORDS you use inside your product
- How to design your product so that your student wins and they KNOW they did.
We have been talking about product creation here in this stage of Coffee Break Blogging and how to create the products that you can ultimately sell to your audience and make money because ultimately, it beats the crap out of any other way to make money with your blog; it beats the crap out of banner advertising, beats the crap even out of affiliate marketing. It is always best to sell your own stuff. And by that we are talking about creating information products here, typically.
Now in the last episode, we did talk about various types of products that you can sell on your blog, but I am a huge fan of generally information or digital products and that is what we are going to be focusing on.
Now before we get started on those 8 Tips that we are going to give you about creating awesome information training products, I want to remind you about the Blog Monetization Webinar. On that webinar I basically walk you through the entire business model that I am in the business of helping people build. This is what the Blog Marketing Academy is now oriented around and I am doing this all the time.
And so, on this webinar I am going to show you the business model and I am actually going to bring out my little digital whiteboard and I am going to draw you through. I am going to basically walk you through every little step and show you exactly how it works and we are not going to hold anything back. So if you want to know the exact business model that you should be building behind your blog, then head on over to blogmonetizationwebinar.com, pick a date and time that works best for you and I look forward to seeing you there.
Let’s jump into these 8 Tips for Creating Awesome Information Training Products. The last thing that I want you to do is just say “Well, I want an eBook” and you just bust out a word processor and start typing. It will be very unstrategic, it will probably be a big hot mess and it is just not going to be that useful to people. And so we need to think a little bit more deeply about how we design these products.
Now, again, in the last episode, Episode 115, we talked about the various product types: Live workshop, Membership sites, eBooks; things like that. So if you want that type of information then definitely go back to Episode 115 and listen to that one again and then let’s come up to these 8 Tips starting right now
8 Tips For Creating Info Training Product
1. Keep in mind that this is not about the “thud” factor.
And what do I mean by that? Well, the “thud” factor is basically a way of saying “We want to impress people with the size of our product.” And it used to be, and actually is still a main case is that, that is what product creators are trying to do. They are trying to put everything “plus” the kitchen sink into this product in order to just “wow” people with the sheer size of it and we think that because of that, “Well, I am getting so much for my money, I must buy this” and so what happens though, by creating this huge, huge pool of crap that you are trying to sell to people; what instead is happening is you are actually making the product a lot less useful because, here is the thing… With the internet as it sits today, do we really need more information? Is lack of information really the problem? No, it isn’t, it isn’t at all.
What really is the problem is the lack of structure; a lack of true understanding behind the information that is out there so that we can use it to get a result. And so for that reason, by just throwing everything into a big bucket, this big pile of more and more information saying “Here, pay me and you can have this” that is just not effective. A: It will actually harm your sales and B: Even the people who do buy that thing are not going to be able to get the result that they want because the product is just so big that they do not know where to start, they don’t know how to get things done and therefore, they are much more likely to request a refund from you. If you have got a recurring membership site they are lot more likely to cancel and that is simply because they are so confused by the sheer amount of stuff.
So the big thing here is it is not about the “thud” factor. It is only about getting them to the end point. In and of the last episode, by saying it isn’t about the type of product that you are creating. It is about what it takes to get them to the solution that they want. That is what they want that is why they buy your product. They buy it so they can get some kind of an outcome. And your product only needs to be as big as it needs to be to get them to that outcome. It does not need to be bigger than that. You are actually going to do a disservice to your customer by trying to make it bigger than what they need just because you are trying to impress them with its size.
2. You want to know the exact outcome that you plan to take them to before you begin creating that product.
So, as I just said, it really comes down to getting them to an end game, delivering the exact solution that you are promising them when they bought that product. And you need to know what that outcome is, in very clear terms and then you need to design the product in such a way that it gets them there in a clear way. Now again, realize that that is a completely different way of thinking about your product than just throwing a bunch of stuff into the pail. That is the “everything plus the kitchen sink” mentality; it just does not work.
What we are doing is we are actually taking the concept to the transformation. The transformation that we talked about here on this podcast many times and how your blog should be oriented around delivering that transformation. Well, your product is the delivery mechanism for the transformation and so, the exact structure in layout of your product should be very clear to give them that transformation without a bunch of head winds or confusion. And the only way to get them there is to really know what that outcome is that you are looking to take them to, before you start creating the product. Because the value of your product is not in how many videos or how many pages are in your product; it is in how effective you deliver the outcome, how effectively are you doing that.
3. Most definitely, outline your product in advance. Do not go and just start writing some eBook.
Do not go and just start creating a bunch of videos or something for a membership site. You want to actually outline everything in advance. You want to make sure that your planning and the structure of things is actually worked out as a separate thing than actually creating the videos. By the time you actually get to creating the content itself, you should have the full outline in place, know exactly what you are going to be talking about and then it is just the matter of executing for you… “I got that video done… Check!” But you should have the entire thing laid out already before you ever hit the record button.
Now by doing that, you are going to enforce to yourself as the creator… that you actually are creating the exact progression that gets them from point A to point B. You are delivering that outcome, you are delivering that transformation; you want to make sure that your product is designed (And I mean that word very literally) … designed to get that done. Completely different to this idea of just throwing everything into the mix and saying “Oh, hopefully people just buy it”.
Remember here: People are not buying your information. They are just not. They are buying the outcome and they are buying your offer because you promised that they can get that outcome using what you have got.
They don’t usually need just more information. They could probably go and YouTube it.
4. (This is a biggie) You need to exercise clear control over your students.
Now, what do I mean by that? A lot of times people get really just stressed out or nervous about the idea of being controlled or controlling others. So what exactly do I mean by that? Well, if you are going to get somebody through a transformation, get them to a particular outcome, then you are the authority in that space. They are looking to you to get it done. And the only way that they are going to get there is by you guiding them to that point. And you need to be the confident adviser to get them there. You need to be the person who knows and you need to be very clearly pointing in saying “Go that direction” and which means you are telling them what to do.
It is very important that you are very clear by telling them what to do but the other really important thing here is that you need to give them a very clear start point and a very clear end point because here is the thing… There is a difference between a good control and bad control. Bad control is often very disorderly; you might say “Go do this” and then somewhere else you say “Go do something opposite”. That is bad control. They might want to do what you say but you are just confusing the crap out of them. And that is not effective.
So, good control is that they know what the outcome is; they agree with that outcome and therefore, it is not as if you are enforcing them anything or telling them what to do… You guys, the two of you; you as a product creator and your customer are actually acting in unison. You are guiding them, you are pointing in that direction but they are going there with you because they are in agreement with what you are doing. And they also see that there is a very clear start point and a very clear end point and they see the clear progression between the two. And that is very, very important when you are creating a product; that they see that start point and they see that end point.
Now the end points are usually going to be contained in the promises that your offer gave them. But when they get into your product, you need to make it very clear “This is where we start. This is where we are going to be going. This is how we are going to do it. Let’s get going.” Okay?
Now that is a big control difference over you just created everything plus the kitchen sink in your offer and you just throw them into the pool and say “Have fun with that; let me know if you have any problems.” And trust me, I have made this mistake. There are still things I am doing with the Blog Monetization Lab in order to make this better for existing Lab members because I know, especially in the world that I operate in; which is basically business and online marketing training, I know how confusing this topic can be for people.
And so the more clear that I can be on “this is where you start, this is what you do next, this is what you do after that” and I exercise that control on the way, they are going to love the Lab, they are going to love me; not that that is my goal but that is going to be a side effect, but most importantly the net, they are going to get the result that they came in to the Blog Monetization Lab for. That is the importance of that. So that is a really important tip. You have to exercise clear control, and you need to give them a clear start point and a clear end point.
5. We need to make sure that we consider different learning types when we create our products.
Now I am to be going into more details on this in the future episodes here but you probably heard before that there are people who learn visually, there are people who learn by listening and there are people who learn best by writing; by written word. And in order to deliver the transformation to people via your product, your product needs to accommodate those 3 types of people. So this is very often why you will see videos coupled with a written transcript coupled with an audio download of the same thing; you are kind of hitting all different mediums there so you want to build that into your product.
6. Do not use any words that your students are likely to not understand at least at the point that they are at.
So, consider if a brand new person entered the Blog Monetization Lab and I was using big marketing jargon words that somebody who has been in the business for a few years would understand but somebody who is just starting out would not. I would be throwing words at them that they are not ready to hear yet. And you can’t do that either because if you are using words that your students does not understand what is going to happen is that they are probably going to log out, back off, request a refund and just simply leave. That is the way human beings tend to react to subjects that seem confusing. It is often confusing because there are words being used that we do not understand. We as human beings tend to react to that by simply wanting to walk away from it.
Now, we do not want people to walk away from our products. We want them to actually go through the entire thing so that, you know, maybe they will become a future customer down the road on something else, blah-blah-blah… But also, we want to make sure that they get to that outcome because that is what is going to make them a true fan of your business and motivate them to spread the word about you to others and that type of thing. So do not use words that they are just not going to understand. And that goes for jargon, obviously, but it also goes for just regular English words. I am not saying that you are going to dumb it down to the first grade level or anything but you need to be careful about the words that you are using. And if you are using a word that you think some people might not understand, link it out to a definition or something like that. Give them a glossary; that will help tremendously.
7. You want to make sure that you build some kind of a mechanism into your product for two-way communication.
It is natural that they are going to need to ask questions and you absolutely need to give them that. Now, if you are delivering a course or something via a membership site, then this is really easy to build in. You could put up a forum; you can link them off to a private Facebook group… There is a lot of things that you can do but the big thing is you need to make it very clear that they have that channel for assistance.
Even if it is a simple contact form where they can email you; use it. And I would say actually, for customers of yours, you should have a more direct way of contacting you. I mean if your business is such where you are using a support desk and all that kind of stuff; that is great. But one of the things when somebody pays you money, they expect. And I think they deserve to have a fairly direct line of access to you. So even if it is just a simple eBook that they purchased from you, you should give them a line or maybe a private email address inside that book so that they can ask you questions.
8. I want you to think about how you can gather and celebrate success stories along the way.
And I also related to that, is the idea of acknowledging their completion of the product.
Now, what do I mean by that? Well, let us go back to Tip no. 4 where I talked about exercising clear control. You got to provide a very clear place to start, you need to provide very clear guidance on the progression and the order of events and then there is a very clear end point. Now, the thing is about the end point is that there needs to be point there where they acknowledge the fact that they have accomplished what they are set out to accomplish. It is not so much to you, you say “You got there.” Whatever. They need to see that they got there. And the way that you can do that, and provide like a period on the end of the sentence that we are building here, is by actually having them acknowledge their successes they received with the product. And by doing that, you can also acknowledge their completion.
So there are a couple of things that I recommend that you do, and I do build this into the Lab… First of all you can ask them for what they got out of what they just went through. You can ask them what results they got with it. And you can also, by the way use this as a great way to get testimonials for that product. Secondly, what you can do is have them do that only when they are completely done with that particular product or course or whatever the unit is that we are talking about here. They are basically attesting to the fact that they completed it. And by going through and saying “Yes, I did complete this. This is what at got out of it” then for them, it is actually putting a period on the end of that sentence, they say, “Yes, I got what I want out of this product; this is fantastic!”
It also provides an opportunity for quality control because if they get to the end of that product and they say “Well, no, I didn’t really get what I wanted” you need to go back and fix it. And you can perfect the product so that does not continually re-occur. So that is – to gather and celebrate people’s successes and also acknowledge their completion. Get them to acknowledge their completion.
So those are 8 really important tips; things I have learned along the years when it comes to creating information training products. Hopefully you found that useful to you. This is kind of some big picture stuff but some stuff that is from a strategy standpoint; I think it is very important to creating an effective training material and it just goes a lot deeper than just simply yanking out your word processor and typing or hitting the record button on a video and just blabbing on the camera. That’s better than nothing but we really want people to get results. And that is what it is all about.
And by the way, I mentioned at the beginning of this episode the Blog Monetization Lab… If you want to see how I put together my training, well, I would love to see you inside the Blog Monetization Lab.
Thank you so much for being here and I will see you next time where we are going to continue on our journey here talking about creating awesome products that we can sell. See you on Episode 117 coming up! 😉
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