Monday, June 9, 2008

Package and Repackage Your Products and Services

When you're in the information business like I am, our inventory is limited to our knowledge. Knowledge, expertise and experience are the raw materials that make up our products and services.

While I consider myself a broker of information, no one actually buys information from me. They purchased seminars, audio CDs, and e-books. They hire me as a consultant and a coach. And finally, and they read my articles in magazines, print newsletters, e-mail newsletters, websites and blogs. This is my packaging.

Any one of these can be a daunting task. But the reality is the most difficult part about it is coming up with a body of proprietary knowledge. Once you develop a solid body of knowledge, creation of the products is relatively easy. Additionally you can package the same body of knowledge into a huge variety of products and services.

Let me give you an example. When developing my Web-Centric Marketing and Recruiting TM techniques for the home health care industry, one of the elements was an assessment tool that evaluated a healthcare website based on 20 questions in seven categories. This tool was highly specialized and unique.

Well I intended to use the tool as an introduction to my consulting services, it ended up being a highly profitable device. Ironically, I gave it away for free!

Here's how it worked. The tool graded a website on a 100 point scale. I found after using it with a small group of clients the average score was between 35 and 50. At that point I decided to give it away because I knew that this device would have dramatic impact by demonstrating how are these clients needed to go when developing their web presence.

Step #1: I wrote an article in my electronic newsletter about the website assessment tool (Product #1). The tool was offered for free. I asked them to e-mail me to request it, then each e-mail was sent a link to our website where they could download it. By the way, the tool itself was a three page PDF file. Slightly under 200 people contacted me and requested the tool. I was overwhelmed and excited.

Step #2: The bottom of the tool offered a free 30 minute telephone consultation (Product #2). Everyone who took the assessment and faxed back the scorecard results received a telephone call from me. I made 75 phone calls. At the tail end of each call I literally said "okay, here's my sales pitch..." and they were gracious to give me a captive audience for a couple minutes in exchange for half an hour of my time. I got my first 10 consulting clients (Product #3) for Web-Centric Marketing and Recruiting. At between $4500 and $7,500 each, this became very worthwhile.

Step #3: Many of the potential clients had expressed interest but weren't ready to spend 5000 bucks. I scheduled a telephone seminar series (Product #4). The telephone seminars were 60 minutes each, and a 30 minute question-and-answer period. The series had approximately 50 attendees at $499 each.

Step #4: We recorded the telephone seminars on to three audio CDs (Product #5). We sent copies to each of the participants for free. Later we sold the CDs for $399 for the set.

Step #5: I then wrote an e-book based on the content of the three seminars, as well as case studies and examples from the 10 consulting clients. We went through each of the 20 questions and seven categories and told them exactly how to create a website using these techniques. The e-book (Product #6) sold individually for $149, and it also became part of a repackaged audio CD set (Product #7) that combined the set from Step #4 with the e-book. The new set sold for $399.

Step #6: The final step is to take the individual products and combined them into a larger package with other products. I'm currently in the process of developing a "website-in-a-box" for home health care companies (Product #8). It has the assessment, other tools, the e-book, a series of checks lists and another 30 minute telephone consultation. The whole thing will sell for about $1700. Additionally, anyone who purchases this becomes a high value prospect for consulting services.

This one bit of proprietary knowledge which took me about three weeks to develop turned into six months of solid revenue so far. Here's the breakdown so far and projections:

  • Product #1 (assessment tool PDF) -- 200 units -- $0.00 each -- $0.00
  • Product #2 (30 min. phone consultation) -- 75 units -- $0.00 each -- $0.00
  • Product #3 (consulting clients) -- 10 units -- $5,000 each -- $50,000
  • Product #4 (telephone seminar) -- 50 units -- $500 each -- $25,000
  • Product #5 (audio CDs) -- 30 units -- $400 each -- $12,000
  • Product #6 (e-book) -- 40 units -- $150 each -- $6,000
  • Product #7 (e-book/CD combo) -- 40 units -- $400 each -- $16,000
  • Product #8 (website in a box) -- 25 units -- $1700 each -- $42,500

Total revenue anticipated $151,500.

Secrets to My Success:

Secret #1: Proprietary Knowledge -- The information I had was unique and highly specialized. At that time there were no other firms offering this type of product that this industry. Many people try to take information from others and repackage it or resell it. Inevitably they find they spend just as much time, and earn far less money. Focus on developing a unique body of knowledge that's cutting edge.

Secret #2: Industry Credibility -- Part of the reason why these products sold at such high prices is that I have credibility in this industry. I could not have purchased a mailing list and had nearly the success. I've been marketing my products and services to this industry for approximately 3 years prior to this product. Most of the people who purchased for regular readers of my biweekly industry newsletter.

Secret #3: The List -- Your distribution list, in this case e-mails addresses, is absolutely critical. My e-mail list consisted of only 6500 names but I had personally developed this list and stay in touch with them every two weeks via electronic newsletter.

Secret #4: Be a Giver -- I could have charged money for the assessment tool or the 30 minute phone consultation, but I felt it was better to identify highly qualified potential buyers. Someone who receives your content is a customer, even if they don't write you a check. It's always easier to sell to a customer than a prospect. By giving away my time and information for free, I created the perception of "there must be so much more that he is holding back". In reality I give away tons of information, and people come back to me to purchase the same information again and again.

Secret #5: Honesty and Integrity -- In my marketing and in my products I tell the truth. Truth is always more valuable than hype.

If you'd like some help in developing your proprietary information into a packaged product, or better yet, several packaged products, please give me a call at 215-541-5382 or drop me an e-mail at the address at the bottom of the screen.
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