How to Make Money Writing and Selling E-books (and Similar Products)

Information marketing is one of the multiple ways I make money online. Although it’s not my major income earner, it passively fetches me a decent figure every month.

In my last post, I revealed how I ventured into the information marketing business, the successes I’ve achieved so far, and the lessons I’ve learned.

In this post, I’ll be walking you through the whole process of creating and publishing your own e-book or other form of information product.

This post is a fairly long one. So, do away with all distractions, make yourself comfortable, relax and learn.

Information Marketing in Nigeria

What is information marketing?

Information marketing simply means packaging and selling information — especially helpful information that is hard to find.

So, if you package information on how to create a WordPress blog into an e-book, and you sell that e-book to beginner bloggers who need the information it contains, that’s information marketing.

What makes information marketing awesome?

As with every other model of online business, information marketing has its upsides. And here are some of them:

  • Low startup capital: You don’t need huge capital to start information marketing. Although how much you need depends on how well you can handle things on your own, the overall capital is usually very affordable.
  • Passive income: Once you’ve successfully launched your information product and have implemented a solid marketing strategy, you will continue to make profits from the product for years with little or no additional effort from your end.
  • Additional opportunities: Information marketing can bring many more opportunities your way. For example, if you publish and sell a really good e-book on fish farming, buyers of your e-book will take you as an expert on the topic. And they’ll readily pay you extra for one-on-one consulting, seminar engagements, and so on. That’s more money for you.

The unethical approach to information marketing

If you visit Nigerian blogs regularly, I’m sure you’d have come across sales pages promising to make you a millionaire within one month of implementing a particular online business formula. Or sales pages promoting e-books on how to achieve certain things like getting a visa, getting a job abroad, and so on.

While there’s nothing wrong in packaging and selling information on those topics, there’s everything wrong with promising unrealistic results and even giving crazy guarantees just to make people part with their hard-earned money.

Worse, some con artists who call themselves information marketers go to the extent of displaying “photoshopped” bank account statements detailing big-money credit transactions. After seeing such jaw-dropping amounts, only few people will hesitate to take the required action — pay a certain amount to get access to some secret information.

Aside the dubious marketing strategy, how these con artists get the information they sell is quite silly. They figure out information that is in demand in Nigeria, and they go over to foreign sites where PLR e-books or videos are sold. For starters, PLR simply means “Private Label Rights”, and buying a PLR e-book means you can alter some of the information in it and change the author’s name to yours.

So, most of the e-books sold by these crooks weren’t written by them. In fact, they don’t understand most of the information the e-books contain. After all, they bought them solely with the aim of reselling them for money. That’s why you’ll buy an e-book on how to get a job in Nigeria, and all you’ll see in it is information catered to job seekers in the United States. What sense does that make?

Yet, these unethical information marketers create sales pages for as many information products as possible, parading themselves as experts on different topics. And if you try to seek some clarifications from them after reading their shitty e-books, they’ll either refer you to Google (at best) or ignore your calls. It’s expectable; how can they clarify what they don’t understand?

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I’ve unleashed the dirty secrets of unethical information marketers, so you can avoid that route clearly. If you do things ethically, you’ll still make your money and sleep well. And you won’t make your life complicated by attracting very muscular curses from disappointed and frustrated buyers.

Now, let’s discuss the ethical approach to information marketing — the approach I adopt and always recommend.

Ethical information marketing: step-by-step guide

If you’ve been following my blog, you’d have known that I don’t do shitty stuff. I like to do things ethically without cutting corners. And I have zero tolerance for morally questionable tactics. That’s why my own approach to online marketing is quite different from what obtains with most other Nigerian information marketers.

Now, I’ll teach the exact steps I followed for every information product I’ve launched. Follow them, and you’d end up launching successful information products repeatedly.

Step 1: Identify your market

Your first step towards creating a successful information product is to identify a lucrative market. Try to figure out strong needs that many Nigerians out are looking to fill, or common problems that they are battling with and are ready to spend money to solve.

Here, I’m not talking about needs that can easily be met or that alternatives can easily be found for. I’m talking about goals that thousands to millions of people strongly wish to achieve but are just unable to.

For example, getting a job, getting a visa approval to travel abroad, curing an embarrassing medical condition, starting a specific small business, and curing infertility are goals that many Nigerians are desperate to achieve but are unable to. So, an information product rightly targeted at people facing these challenges will most likely be a hit.

Another factor to consider when choosing your market is the amount of knowledge or experience you already have about the market and the associated problems or need. If you already have vast knowledge or experience that can help you craft a good information product for your chosen target market, that’s a huge plus. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t have that yet. What you need in that case is an interest in the topic plus a strong passion to learn and understand that market and need within a short period.

Step 2: Come up with a topic idea

After defining your target market, your next step is to figure out what topic you’ll be crafting your information product around. Of course, your chosen topic should center on the strongest need of the people within your target market. And for most niches, this need is obvious.

However, you might have to choose between a general topic and a specific one. For example, if you’re targeting people who are looking to start their own small business, you can craft your info product on a general topic like, “How to Start a Successful Small Business in Nigeria” or a specific one like, “How to Start and Run a Snail Farming Business”.

Similarly, if you’re targeting people who are desperate about traveling out of the country, you have the option of choosing between a general topic like, “How to Travel out of Nigeria Easily” or a specific one like, “How to Travel to Canada with Ease”.

From personal and relayed experience, being specific is always better because it allows you to treat one topic in full detail, making your info product more valuable and authoritative.

Step 3: Craft your outline

Your next step is to list the sections and topics to be covered in your information product. Your choice of topics will be based on the various pieces of information that those in your target market would need to achieve their goals. The easiest way to figure this out is to put yourself in the shoes of your target readers.

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So, for example, if you’re looking to write an e-book on how to travel to Canada, you’ll want to include pieces of information like the economic situation in Canada and the likelihood of getting a good job there, the parts of Canada where foreigners stand of making it big, business opportunities in Canada, requirements for Canadian visa, tips to getting a Canadian visa approval, rules and regulations for living and working in Canada, and so on.

After creating your outline, review and rearrange it to ensure that the list follows a logical sequence.

Step 4: Do your research

No matter how much you already know about the topic you’re crafting your info product on, you need to do some research to augment and update your knowledge, and to get your facts right. Only few things suck more than including wrong and misleading information in your info product.

It goes without saying, but how much research you’ll need to do hinges on how much knowledge and experience you already have on the topic you’re crafting your product about.

Research isn’t as difficult as you think. First, start with search engines like Google and reputable Q&A sites like Quora. In addition, approach an expert on the topic to get more information on areas you don’t know much about.

Step 5: Write

Putting all your facts together in words is one of the most tedious stages of crafting an information product. But it just has to be done. So, once you’ve gotten all the information you need through your research, start typing right away. While doing this, follow your outline strictly and be sure to include all the necessary information required to make each chapter or section complete.

While writing the content of your information product, it’s highly recommended that you adopt an interactive tone. That is, write as though you’re talking directly to the reader. This form of writing helps to write faster and maintain a smooth, logical flow. And it helps the reader to understand you better and more easily.

In addition, resist the temptation to edit as you type because this will only slow you down. Just keep on writing from start to finish. There’ll be more than enough time to edit later.

Step 6: Edit, review, and edit again

Once you’re done with writing, edit all you’ve written so far. Cut out all grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and consistency errors in your writing. If you’re not so good with grammar rules, you can hire someone to do the editing for you. Your aim here is not to be perfect, but to eliminate all obvious and unpardonable mistakes. Subtle and covert ones are allowed.

More importantly, ensure that all your sentences are clear enough to be understood by the reader. And be sure to remove all words that are difficult to understand or are likely to be misunderstood.

After the first round of editing, send your work to an expert for review. Even if you’re an expert on the topic yourself, it doesn’t hurt to engage other experts. They will not only make helpful additions and corrections, but they will also offer helpful suggestions on how to make your product even more valuable.

After the review process, go through another round of editing. Your aim this time is to implement all corrections and recommendations given during the expert review stage.

Step 7: Package your product

The quality of your content is important, no doubt. But the visual appeal is also very important, as this alone can inform the potential reader’s decision to buy the product or not. Clean and professional packaging will compel many people to buy your product, even if they’re not so sure of the quality.

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Your product pages or modules must be beautifully packaged. For an e-book, a good knowledge of Microsoft Word is all you need to make your pages and lettering look beautiful. More importantly, the cover design for your product must be attractive. If you’re not good with graphics, your best bet is to hire someone to craft a nice design for you. (Note: I design nice-looking e-book covers for just N5,000.)

Step 8: Upload your product and prepare your platform

Once you’ve scaled through the packaging stage, your information product is ready to be sold. But before you launch it, you need to do two things.

Firstly, you need to make your product easy to download by uploading it to a cloud storage system. Dropbox and Google Drive are good examples of free cloud storage services that you can use for this purpose. All you have to do is create an account with either of them, upload your product, and generate the download link, which you’ll share with anyone who purchases your product. Once this link is clicked, the product starts downloading automatically.

Secondly, you need to prepare whatever platform you want to use to promote your information product. This could be your blog, a Facebook page, a thread on a popular forum or any other option that you think will work for you. There are no hard and fast rules regarding how you should go about this step, but your aim should be to establish your expertise and build trust, so people can buy your product.

Preparing your platform also entails deciding on how you want to receive payment from interested buyers. You can adopt the simple method of asking them to pay or transfer the payment to your bank account, while you send the download link to their email after confirming payment. But if you’d prefer a payment processing service, I’d recommend 2Checkout.

Step 9: Create a compelling sales page

For any information product, a sales page is a must. This is the page on your website or blog that encourages the reader to buy your product by emphasizing the problem and offering your product as a proven solution.

Crafting sales pages is an art that takes time to master. And it’s not a topic that can be summarized in a few lines. So, if you have no experience with sales pages, search the web for tips on how to craft one before you start drafting yours.

In addition, look at as many sales pages as possible to understand how they’re crafted. You can check out sales pages I’ve written for my information products here, here, and here.

Step 10: Launch your product!

With your sales page perfected, it’s time to launch your info product. What does this entail?

If you already have a blog, create a dedicated post to tell your readers about it. If you’re active on social media and Whatsapp, use those platforms to inform your relatives and friends about the product. In addition, encourage them to spread the information to others.

Again, there are no hard and fast rules on launching your info product and creating buzz about it. Just do anything that you believe can work. But avoid stupid strategies like buying emails and sending spam messages.

And there you have it!

Now you know the exact steps involved in creating your own information product. Is there a topic idea you’ve been incubating for some time now? Why not take these steps and turn your dream to reality.

What do you think?

Do you have any objections, contributions, or corrections? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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