Building an information products business is easy. Building a profitable, successful, steadily growing information products business is hard. That’s just how things are. If they were any different, we’d all own cash-cow infoproduct empires.
To be perfectly fair, there are dozens of different ways to build an information products business. There are hundreds of ‘gurus’ willing to teach you their favorite approach. The best one is the one that works for you.
In this report, I’ll share with you what works for me. I’ve built an information products business, created over 85 infoproducts, and sold more than $500,000 worth of ebooks, home study programs, audio-video tutorials and print books since 1996.
I teach new infopreneurs the craft of how to create and sell ebooks (and other infoproducts) online. One of my most popular articles deals with an overview strategy to build an information products business – using what I call the “Tour Bus Method”.
While many of my students find this blueprint useful, you may not – and that’s ok. Look at it, see if it might work for you, and ignore the parts that don’t. And if you think it’s silly junk, well, it’s no skin off my nose!
Every infopreneur is unique. If following this method helps you, I’ll be happy. And you will too. So let me present this “Tour Bus Method” information products business strategy, and you be the judge of how well it will work for you. Have fun building your information products business.
The Importance of Strategy
A great information products business doesn’t just happen. It needs a strategy. You can plan your strategy before doing anything else – or after. Having started out on my own infopreneur career with little if any business knowledge, I did it after. But having a strategy first should be quicker, and lead to better results.
Formulating a strategy is hard work, so it’s important to have a guiding outline early on. This article can be your outline. It will give you a powerful metaphor to plan your information products business and grow it quickly and easily.
Let’s start by asking a basic question: How do you build a successful information products business?
The Tour Bus Metaphor
I travel a lot. Whenever I visit a new city, I take a Tour Bus to show me around. It helps me get a broad idea of what’s special about the place. It shows me the highlights and takes me to the hot spots. Then, I decide which ones I want to explore in greater depth – and spend the rest of my trip doing it.
And I plan my information products business strategy the same way I travel, using the “Tour Bus metaphor“.
So, what’s the Tour Bus metaphor? Let me explain.
A Tour Bus is a quick introduction to a new place, an overview of what’s there, a sample of rich tid-bits to explore and examine in more detail. It’s also how you may want to explore and evolve your information products business strategy – as you’ll see in this article.
The 16 Parts of Your Strategy
1. You, Passion and Purpose
It all begins with YOU. Imagine yourself as the driver of a Tour Bus. Some drivers are cautious, safe, and obey rules. Others are rash, reckless, even dangerous. As the driver, you’ll drive your bus your way – uniquely.
But the way you drive will impact and influence others who are riding with you – or in your path.
By building your information products business around YOU, you will be giving it personality, uniqueness and a competitive edge no one else can beat. By firing it with your passion, you’re fuelling your “Tour Bus” with gas (petrol) so that it’ll run for as long as you need it to.
And when you begin your information products business and create information products with a purpose, it’s like getting behind the wheel of your Tour Bus with a clear destination in mind. You know where your bus is going – and so you can invite others to join you on the ride with clear knowledge and intent.
2. Where Are You Going?
If you’re starting a new Tour Bus route, you’ll want to decide upon where to take your passengers – and what kind of tour you’ll give them. And that will depend upon where they most want to go!
Imagine setting up as a tour operator in Egypt… but NOT going to the pyramids! You might still be successful (or lucky!). Taking tourists to see the Pharoah’s resting place, however, will improve your chances – many times over.
Your information products business also needs a niche to focus on – and a product (or a series of them) to begin offering your prospective customers. Finding a hot niche, assessing it for viability and profit potential, and hitting upon the best infoproduct(s) to serve up first is your initial task in setting up as an infopreneur.
3. Getting To Work
Your Tour Bus needs you to do one thing if it’s to get anywhere… You must drive it!
No matter what else you do (or don’t), unless you fire up the ignition, get the engine running, press your foot on the pedal and take off, you won’t begin your tour.
And your information products business gets going only when you create information products (or resources). There are 52 unique forms of infoproducts and you can choose to begin with any one (or more) of them.
Chart. Create. Complete. That’s the simple 3 word mantra every infopreneur needs to chant each day as you get your information products business off the ground.
4. Make It Pretty
You could run a Tour Bus that’s peeling paint, unwashed, wearing worn out tires and seats that lost their stuffing. You could argue that a rough, bumpy ride in a stuffy, smelly interior is small price to pay for the awesome tour you’ll take riders on.
But your audience may not agree. And an empty bus never made anyone good money!
Your infoproducts need some glitz and glamor too. Maybe not a lot, but a little. Like nice web design. And clean formatting. Attractive covers.
Not just on the outside, but inside too. Like a Tour Bus trailing a cloud of thick, black smoke from the exhaust, your infoproduct choked with junk, fluff and filler (not to mention bad, or wrong, information) will win you few fans – and get you a lot of bad publicity. Take the time – and trouble – to make it pretty.
5. Find Your Hungry Crowd
If you get in your Tour Bus, pull out from the kerb into traffic, then hit the freeway and speed along at 50 mph, you’re not likely to find many passengers!
Nope. You need to go to the places where they’ll hang out. Like famous attractions or monuments where tourists flock. Like airports or train stations where out-of-towners arrive. Like popular hotels or resorts where tourists stay.
And in your information products business also, you must go to the places where your “hungry crowd” is. It’s easy. All it takes is some nimble mental ju-jitsu… by putting yourself in their place, imagining what they may be thinking or feeling, and going through a check list of places they visit frequently. That’s how you get web site traffic.
6. Start Selling
So your Tour Bus rolls up to the bus station – but no one hops aboard! Why? They probably don’t know where you’re going! So tell them.
You’ll put up a sign board saying where your tour will take them. You’ll hand out brochures (with compelling descriptions and eye-grabbing pictures) inviting them to join you. You’ll run ads, hire sales people, distribute bumper stickers – do whatever it takes to get word out about your Tour Bus.
And that’s the next step in building your information products business, too. You’ll have to get out there, and start selling interested prospects your infoproducts or resources.
Show them the value. Explain the benefits they’ll enjoy. Give them a convincing reason to buy. Make them an irresistible offer. And close the sale – get them on board your Tour Bus!
7. Are They Having Fun?
Ever been on a Tour Bus ride that was BORING? No? Me neither. Sure, there may be few, but most tours are fun. And that’s no accident.
Tour Bus drivers know their success depends on showing their passengers a great time. So they go all out to do it. Many keep up a running patter, sharing interesting tid-bits, intriguing factoids, and juicy gossip about the places you’re being driven around. Most have music playing. Some have videos running during long rides. Few even hire entertainers to keep passengers amused.
Your information products business also must entertain, amuse and engage your customers. The way you do it will vary depending upon your specific niche and interests. Whenever your clients enjoy doing business with you, they’ll keep coming back for more – and bring their friends along!
Figure out how you will entertain your customers, and you’ve crossed one of the biggest hurdles in building a successful information products business.
8. Will They Talk?
Every time I’ve enjoyed a nice tour, I tell friends and family about it. Experiences like Mary Cavanagh’s Tour Bus ride in Ireland (where you see amazing scenery while learning exciting things about Irish culture) are worth sharing with people for years!
And that matters – in generating referred business! Just think about it. Your Tour Bus has crowds queueing up for your next trip… because those who went on it yesterday were raving about the experience over dinner at the hotel.
That’s how you want things to be in your information products business. Where one excited, delighted and satisfied buyer brings in another one. Or two. Or twenty.
What will make them talk about you? The quality of their experience. That’s why thinking about it, making plans and executing them masterfully will set you apart from the crowd – and turn you into a mega-successful infopreneur. This should be part of your marketing plan.
9. Make Friends
Tour Bus drivers are friendly. Always. It’s a job requirement.
They often get to know you by name – and call you by it. They’ll chat about your life, your family, your home town, your passions, your favorite sports team. And the good ones will tie those interests to the things they share with you on the ride. By the end of the tour, you’ll think of Bob, or Tim, or John as your friend!
And your information products business should be constructed with a similar goal in mind. Not just to generate more sales or attract more buyers – but to create more friends.
You may have heard that the power is in the “list”. Well, not quite. Real power is in the “relationship” with your list. So, make friends.
10. Find Out What Else They Want…
A good Tour Bus driver listens. And observes.
When he sees many kids in his seats, the smart driver chooses a route that happens to pass by a candy store or a toy shop. If it’s getting around lunch time, he slows down by a McDonald’s. And when folks are chattering about history and literature, he quite naturally makes the museum or art gallery his next stop.
Of course, he’s going to choose merchant establishments where he has an “understanding” – so he’s compensated for any new business he brings them. No, he doesn’t do it for that primarily. He’s adding value to his audience – by pandering to their tastes, interests, desire. (Incidentally, he also makes money!)
In your information products business, you should try and do the same.
By noticing the kind of things your customer buys, you’ll have a fair idea of what interests or excites them. And by intelligently asking them a few probing (but polite) questions, you can figure out what else they want.
And then, give it to them!
11. Then, Give Them More
Contrary to what you may have thought, Tour Bus operators don’t always rely on new passengers to fill their seats every day. Many get the same tourists to travel with them again… but to a new place!
And when you, as Tour Bus driver, know where they want to go, it’s easy for you to offer to take them there. Profitable too!
Your information products business can do the same. Once you have happy buyers who have indicated what else they are looking for, you can give them more of it. Satisfied customers spend more with you, spend more easily, and spend more often.
(That bit’s easy. It’s winning their trust and loyalty in the first place that’s tough!)
12. Create Your Back-End
Tour Bus drivers are smart. (Did I say that before? If I did, let me say it again. They are. Really!)
You see, an observant driver can create new packages and tours out of thin air – depending upon the audience. Say you notice a few newly married couples on the tour… and announce a special trip tomorrow morning for honeymooners – exclusive, only 2 couples, in the comfort and privacy of a special coach. Think that’ll interest some of those travellers? Of course.
And that’s how you should go about creating your information products business back end product and service catalog. Tailor them to your customers. Pander to their taste, needs, wants, interests, passion. Make it exclusive – and therefore expensive. No, not everyone will want it – but some will.
Don’t try to please all. Instead, work on delighting a few – and doing it profitably.
13. Keep Your Eyes Open
Tour Bus operators know the value of their passengers. For at least a while, they are a “captive audience”. For the periods between tour stops, they are in their seats, waiting to be entertained. And there lies an opportunity.
Tour Bus seats have pockets – with literature (brochures, magazines and flyers) about other stuff attractive to tourists. The local casino, the luxury spa, the gourmet restaurant, the theme park for kids, the chocolatier – all want to reach this audience with their advertising message. And they can – by paying the Tour Bus owner for the privilege!
Tour Buses stop at popular sightseeing spots – where there are crowds. And by selling advertising space on the outside of their vehicle, another income stream is created.
information products business owners have much to learn from Tour Bus drivers. More often than not, dozens of similar opportunities go untapped – because it wasn’t a part of your strategy. Think about it. Keep your eyes (and your mind) open to possibilities.
14. Leverage Assets
You may think of the chat you had with your Tour Bus driver as idle gossip. But to him, it’s an asset – with potential for leverage.
You see, when you told him about your job as investment consultant back in New York, his mind was quickly connecting your talent and skill to that of a client who may need your services – Tony, the bank manager. And if the timing is right, he’ll make a connection… generating goodwill, even maybe a referral commission.
Everything you own in your information products business has leverage potential. It just requires creative thinking and careful analysis of all your assets. Your clients and suppliers, partners and associates, advertisers and service providers – all have networks of their own you could tap.
And don’t overlook the many tools, resources, or content that you own, buy or have created in your information products business – all can be leveraged many different ways, with explosive impact on your business.
15. Put It On Auto-Pilot
A Tour Bus is not a Jumbo Jet which can run on automatic pilot. But a smart driver can automate and systematize his operation – and many do.
My friend Mike started out 7 years ago, driving a rented car to take small groups around a hill station. Today, he operates a thriving tourist agency – and has a fleet of 27 vehicles, employs a stable of chauffeurs, and caters to over 100 people every day!
Your information products business has even greater upside potential… because you can scale everything infinitely! With a process to research niches and create infoproducts, you could churn out new additions to your inventory literally every day. And with a worldwide audience of buyers accessible over the Web, your marketplace has no geographic boundaries.
Think about how you will scale your information products business over time. Do it now – so you’ll work your plan, not struggle to grow when you hit it big!
16. Cash Out – Or Expand
One of my favorite Tour Bus operations was a family-run affair. Sadly, on my last trip to Bruges I learned that it no longer existed. They had been bought out by a big travel company – for a small fortune.
There’s a lesson for information products business owners in that. Positioning a business to become a take-over target for a bigger, more established competitor may be a great exit strategy to work on.
Or you could expand into a bigger operation yourself.
That’s all! That’s the Tour Bus Method.
It works for me and for many of my infopreneur friends who have tried it. I’ve lost count of how many people emailed me to say that the Tour Bus Method helped them get their information products business going – and growing. So it works for a lot of infoproduct sellers and information marketers. I hope it works for you.
Ways To Use The Tour Bus Method
Are you struggling right now with your first infoproduct – and getting nowhere fast? Or are you simply drowning in information overload, not sure what to do next?
Take an hour to think out your infoproduct business strategy. Outline your goals and plans, your niche and product line, your ideal customers and how to reach them.
Did that help? You’ve just gone through the first (and most important) part of the Tour Bus Method… and the hour you invested will streamline and speed up the rest of your business building effort.
Now try the remaining steps – and see if it helps make a difference. What do you have to lose – except the unpleasant feeling of being stuck?
Is your infoproduct ready and done – but you’re staring at the impossible task of selling it, getting rich, famous and successful?
Your first product is done, isn’t it?
You’ve done something very few infopreneurs only dream about. Now think about how you can create an entertaining, enriching and enjoyable experience for your ideal buyers… one that’ll make them stand up, take notice of you, and then tell their friends.
Take your time.
Think of it as a game (it is, really!). If you came up with an action plan, you’ve just completed Step 1 of the Tour Bus Method.
Do you think the other steps might help you grow your information products business? Give it a shot.
Take it one step at a time. That way you won’t be overwhelmed. What have you go to lose?
Have you got a complete, even successful information products business – but everything seems hopelessly confused, mixed up, tangled?
Are you scrambling to keep up with grunt work, instead of creating new infoproducts? Are you wondering how you can streamline things so your business runs smoothly – and grows?
It’s never too late to try the Tour Bus Method.
How about taking the next week to carefully drill down the steps?
Analyze each component of your business, in light of their strategic objectives. You’ll spotlight areas needing change, and have a plan to execute. I’ll bet you end up with a slick, efficient system in record time.
And you’ll scale up your information products business while working less – and enjoy it more than you imagined.
If the Tour Bus Method works for you, I’d like to hear from you. You can reach me through the contact page.
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