Since Armand is doing his annual “State of the Internet Marketing” address in this issue, I thought I’d piggyback on that and talk about the state of information marketing. We’ve been providing physical product duplication and fulfillment services for nearly 20 years now and a lot has changed over that time.
The day of the “Big Box” information product is OUT. Remember when you ordered home study courses in the past you received via the postal service a big box of materials – binders, manuals, multiple CDs and or DVDs? Those days are departed. Info products have gone on a diet over the last few years and the number of physical components one will receive with the typical physical info product is considerably smaller. Much of the content is available digitally only via a member- ship site.
Free + Shipping book offers are still IN. We’ve all seen the $7.95 offers for books where the book is free – you just pay the shipping and handling. These still work and are popular as you have what amounts to a self-liquidating lead system or one that you can even make a slight profit on. That gets new people into the system that you can then sell your other higher priced products and/or services to. Be sure to in- clude good bounce-back offers within your book to drive them back to your website.
CDs and DVDs are largely OUT. We still do CDs and DVDs for some of our clients. For example, in the exercise niche people prefer the ease of popping a DVD into their player and following along on their big screen TV rather than watching on a computer monitor. But, in most niches, since computers usually don’t have disc drives built in anymore, it makes it hard for people to consume your content if that is the only format it is available in.
Swag Kits are IN. Resourceful marketers are recognizing the value of branding themselves to keep front and center in the mind of their community of people who are paying them monthly to be members of their groups and coaching programs. They’re putting together “swag kits” that include items like tee shirts, mugs, journals and other items to send to their most valued members.
The days of developing another “Me Too” information product are OUT. A few years ago, the frontier was wide open, and you could develop a new info product in almost any niche. But now there seems to be products already out there in almost any niche you can think of. That’s why you need to come up with a unique slant or selling propo- sition to set yourself apart from all your competitors.
USB drives as a delivery mechanism are IN (with a caveat). USB drives are popular because you can put a tremendous amount of con- tent on a small device. While you and I understand the value of the drive is in the content and not in the device itself, you need to deal with the reality that you have a value “disconnect” when you give someone a tiny flash drive containing your content. That’s why you need to dress up your flash drive in nicer packaging to increase its perceived value.
The combination of online and offline touches with members is IN. While the majority of content is being delivered digitally via a membership site these days, smart marketers like Armand recognize the value of also getting into the home in physical format. That’s why you receive this monthly Traces magazine, so Marketing University remains front and center in your mind.
Where will information marketing go in the next few years? Who knows for sure? But the changes in the marketplace over the last few years are any indication, it’ll be an interesting ride!