My Beginner’s Guide to E-Product Development
The internet is an elephant, so to speak. So how do you eat an elephant? One would say one piece at a time. Every internet guru has his own views about how to succeed in the internet or online, but like any other thing in life, there is no one perfect way, or one size fits all. Some say content is king. Some say begin with a list. Some say begin with 100% automation. Content, list, and automation all matter, but what about the person that is just beginning and doesn’t know his left from his right? I believe a beginner should start with a product to prove his credibility and from there move on to building a list while at the same time gradually working towards automating his website to work on autopilot.
A Caveat about Starting With a Product
Having said that it’s better to start with a product, I believe it’s appropriate to throw in this qualification by saying that at the highest levels, you can actually sell a product you have not yet developed to your list or followers, but as a beginner, you may not be able to employ that strategy. At its most basic, it involves telling your followers that you have a product that is coming out in say 90 days or 180 days time and any one among them that buys in advance would get it at 30 or 20 percent discount. Some may decide to buy and you can then use the cash to develop the product. This strategy is for already well known “brands” like Peter Diamandis, Brendon Burchard, Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins to mention just four.
How to Develop Your First Product
This presentation focuses on how you can develop your first product. The truth is, in internet business, you don’t have to wait until you have a perfect product. Just begin and continue improving along the way. If you compare cars or any product for that matter made in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and 2000s, you notice that they keep getting better in terms of design, sleekness, and performance, to mention just three aspects. That should be your aim. Start, and keep improving day in and day out.
In this presentation, the focus is entirely on electronic products (eProducts), not the selling of physical products online, which is referred to as e-commerce. I’m assuming that you’re already an expert operating in six dimensions as an author, trainer, speaker, coach, consultant, seminar leader and now gunning for the seventh dimension, information marketing. If you don’t consider yourself an expert, don’t worry too much, we’ll come back to that and the scales will fall off from your eyes. Even if you’re not operating in any of the dimensions yet, say you’re just an employee, don’t worry, this presentation will open your eyes to the possibilities ahead. The author of the book Instant Income, Janet Switzer, listed over 52 eProducts one can develop in her Maverick Program but we’ll limit ourselves to just the simplest products as this is a beginner’s program.
Understanding or knowing which products to develop, the demand for those products and how to position your products are beyond the scope of this presentation. Also marketing, selling and launching your product are outside the scope of this presentation. Having covered those preliminaries, let’s dive in on your product development journey.
Products Suitable For E-Copies
The main products that you can easily convert to e-format are:
• Courses (seminars) – these are generally referred to as “How to Products.”
• Research findings
The Top 7 Most Lucrative “How to Products” Areas In the Expert Industry
According to Brendon Burchard, in his book The Expert Messenger, the seven most lucrative how to product areas are:
1. Motivation Advice
2. Leadership Advice
3. Financial Advice
4. Business Advice
5. Marketing Advice
6. Relationship Advice
7. Spiritual Advice
The main formats are:
• Audio (MP3)
• Videos (MP4)
Sites For Uploading Your E-Products
Having made or created your product, the next thing to do is to launch. You can launch your products through a combination of channels, including:
• Your website
• Third-party websites
• CD Baby
• To your List through an e-marketing platform, example, Mailchimp.
The Various Product Formats In Detail
Let us now take the product formats one at a time in slightly more detail.
PDF (Portable Document Format)
One of the easiest ways to join the online business as an expert is to start with training course, workshop, seminar or a book. Your book in particular can and will open doors especially if you can write a New York Times best seller. For a beginner, that might be far-fetched so let’s just begin with a good book or a well thought out course. Having done your book or course (this applies too to seminars and workshops), you save in word or PowerPoint and convert it to PDF. PDF (portable document format) is a special format developed by Adobe and can be bought online or better still buy the CD and install in your laptop. Once converted to PDF, no one can amend or tinker with your product and you can upload it to your website and start selling. Sounds so simple? Yes! Technology simplifies things. Anybody with a laptop or smart-phone can buy your product and start enjoying it right away. Most new generation laptops and smart-phones have PDF reader pre-installed or you can simply download an app that enables you read the PDF document.
E-Pub (ePub) is short for electronic publication and is an eBook file format that the majority of devices, including iPad, android smartphones, tablets, computers, or e-readers can read. To convert your book to e-Pub requires a special software, which an average business centre can help you achieve. If you cannot get a business centre near you to convert your book to epub, you can do it online through a company by the name Allzone.
Mobi is especially peculiar to Amazon Kindle as that is the only format that Kindle uses. Starting in 2011, some analysts projected that within five years there would be over 53million Kindles worldwide so if you want one of the Kindle users to buy your book, you have no choice but to have it in Mobi format. But there is good news. Amazon does not even require you to convert your book into Mobi before uploading to Amazon. You can upload to Amazon in Word format and Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) will automatically convert it to Mobi for you.
MP4 and MP3
Just a few years ago we were using what was then known as CD (compact disc) before the mp3 format, which is an audio coding format for digital audio, was introduced. The mp3 (or MP3) format can store enormous amounts of sound so you don’t need hundreds of CDs as before. Your finished work can be converted to mp3 very easily to be listened to using digital devices including smartphones, iPads and laptops. Don’t worry about how to do this as an average sound or video editor would handle the technical aspects and help you uploaded your product to Stitcher, SoundCloud or CD Baby. Editing is not very expensive and goes for as low as $5 for a one hour episode depending on the editor and the fee keeps coming down as more and more people master the art of video editing.
Videos are what make the internet tick. Video engages more than any other medium so it’s a must you learn how to do video. And the good news is that it’s not as complex as you may imagine. You don’t even need any technical skills. Direct-to-camera video is the one you make with an ordinary camera or camcorder. Camera comes highly recommended compared to camcorder not only because cameras are generally smaller in size and cheaper, but because they develop less heat compared to camcorders. Initially, you may have to rent the camera but with time, you may decide to acquire your own. The most popular camera type is Canon, but you can also make videos with your smart phone however there is a slight drawback as you may not be able to edit or get audio or MP3 out of a smart phone so having a camera has advantages.
The other type of video is the one you make with a software. For Windows computer, you use a software called Camtasia and for Apple computers, you use what is called screenflow. You have to pre-install camtasia (or screenflow if you’re using Mac) in your computer to begin with. Let’s focus on Windows computers since that is the one I use. Having installed camtasia in your computer, the other processes are pretty straight forward. You first prepare your presentation in PowerPoint. When your slides are ready, you put on the earphone and plug in the voice converter or adapter and switch on camtasia. Once camtasia is on, you start speaking and as you finish with one slide, you move to the next one until your presentation is over. Once your presentation is done, you save what you have done for editing and viola your video is ready and you can upload it to your website, YouTube or Vimeo. Editing is not very expensive and it’s not something to worry about as an average business centre can handle it for you.
There is yet a third way of producing videos. This is different from camtasia video we just described above. In this case, there are actually companies that specialize in helping you make videos by providing you with prepared templates. One of them, which I use, is a company called Animoto. What you do is you sign on to Animoto and they give you the architecture to do a video complete with background music. You simply register with the company and once you log-in you just follow the straightforward instructions for preparing a video.
Animoto has free and paid versions of the service. The paid version starts at about $96 per annum. You don’t need any skills to do a video. The website provides all the needed headings, such as description of video, which you fill in and upload the pictures and provide a description of your video and viola, your video is ready. In the free and lower end paid versions, the company’s logo, Animoto, will appear on your video, but in the premium versions, nothing appears so no one would know you used Animoto. For the very high end versions, you can even customize by putting your name or company’s name and logo on the video. For the free version, you’ll be provided with a maximum of 6 place holders for just 1 minute video and no more. If you want longer videos then you have to go for the paid versions.
A journey of a thousand miles as the saying goes begins with one step. Internet or online expert business sounds and appears hard when you have no one to guide and show you the way. The fastest way to cut your learning curve is to get a coach and you’ll be up and running in no time. In our Expert Empire Program we guide you through how to develop e-Products.