CREATE YOUR OWN HOW TO GUIDE

This could also be entitled create an informational product. The reason we push informational, is because it is digital and thus the automation of such a website becomes very easy.

People always look to the internet to find out how to do things. Truth be told, you can find pretty much how to do anything for free if you look hard enough. Here is the kicker; most people don’t want to take the time to look all over to find information, and they are willing to pay someone that has put the information together for them in a nice how-to guide. Their time is worth more than the price of your guide and thus you make the money.

I have capitalized on this principle for the last 5 years. One of the first websites I ever started (Lawn Care Directory – will be referred to as LCD) sells a digital product. It is a how to guide on starting a lawn care business. If people look hard enough a lot of the information is out there for free on the internet. But I sell a complete guide to starting this type of business, and since people can find it all in one place they pay me for the information.

How did you create a how-to guide? There are a few ways you can create a how-to guide that people will pay for.

1. Write it yourself. – If you have experience doing anything that you would consider your knowledge to be advanced then you can write a how-to guide. For example, if you are a dog lover and owner and have a lot of experience house training puppies, you could write a guide on how to house train your dog. You know how to do this so just write a step by step very detailed guide on how you do it. It’s that simple.

2. Buy the rights to one someone else has written. – After my brother in law saw the success I was having selling a how to start a lawn care business guide he decided that he would sell a similar guide in the pool cleaning industry. He had worked in this industry and knew the process well, however he didn’t have time to create the guide as he was in the military. He found a guide similar to the one he wanted to create and emailed the owner and offered to buy it from her. She sold it to him for $500.

He knew that based on the success I had achieved with my website that $500 was a no brainer. He was able to hit the ground running because someone else did the work for him. After 6 months he was making 2 times that a month.

3. Get the experts to write it for you. – There are two ways you can do this. The most common is to go to a place like Elance.com or Guru.com and create a project for professional writers to bid on. Just tell them you need a guide written on how to “insert your idea here” and then pay them to write it. You can also go to a local expert in your area and ask them to write it for you for a certain amount of money.

I actually got my guide written for me for free. That’s right, that wasn’t a typo. I got experts to write my guide for me for free. How did I do it? Well to be honest I didn’t have any experience in this industry. I emailed several business owners that I knew were successful in this type of business and I asked them several questions.

Most experts will gladly impart with the knowledge they have obtained, and my case was no different. Many of these business owners gave me step by step instructions on how to start this type of business and be successful. This is the guide I sell today. The information is legitimate, but it didn’t cost me anything.

Selling a guide like this is a good strategy because you can automate the process 100%. Search engines send someone to your site, they like the guide, they order it and then they can immediately download it. You personally are not involved in that process at all.

The Downside
The downside to this internet business model are as follows: There are emails that have to be answered and returns to process so this business model is not completely hands off. I’m not a huge fan of doing customer service but if you make enough money you can hire someone to do it for you. I still do it myself on LCD unfortunately. But I have set it up to where I probably spend an hour a month total working on customer service.

Pricing your guide
One of the most difficult decisions you will have to make is deciding at what price to sell your guide. The first thing you can do is look around and find some of your competitors and see how much they are selling something similar. If everyone is selling similar guides for $29 then you probably know that is a good place to start.

IMPORTANT: Don’t assume that other website owners know what they are doing. Just because all of your competitors might be selling the guide at $29, that doesn’t mean that is the best price. You could be leaving a lot of money on the table. For example, when I started selling the “lawn care business guide” on LCD I first offered it at $39 because that is what my top competitor did. After watching sales come in a making some good money I decided to go out on a limb and move the price up to $49. My total income went up and sales remained steady. A few months later I got tired of only being able to make $49.95 a sale and so I decided to make two versions of my guide, the basic and a premium. I packaged the premium with some extra stuff like some forms and advertising propaganda etc.

I put the premium at a price point of $99.95. Guess what happened? I doubled my income. Today, the premium sells twice as much as the basic kit does. The point of this story is to test your pricing until you find the price that will bring you the most total revenue.

Where to market your guide
A great place to market the new guide you have created is in forums that talk about the topic of your guide. For example, if you have created a real estate flipping guide, you should do a search on Google for a real estate flipping forum and then advertise your guide there. Don’t just start posting on the forum advertisements for your product. People see right through that and you will quickly be sent packing. Make good posts, solidify yourself as an expert in the industry and include a link to your new website in the footer of your posts.

If you want to spend a little money you can also try a paid advertisement at the forum. You can usually get pretty good rates for ads on niche forums.

A longer term marketing strategy is to do proper SEO on your website and build up your rankings organically. Then all the traffic you get is free. That is my only advertising strategy for LCD.

Your website
Now that your guide is ready to go you can create a website and start selling the guide. I have seen many people that sell guides online just use a one page website with very long sales copy. This tactic converts well, but you have to rely on traffic from affiliates and pay-per-click traffic because a one page website will not rank in search engines. One way to overcome this is to have articles written that are sub pages of the site but you still have the long sales copy home page.

The other main strategy is to create a website that is about the topic of your guide and then push the guide on the site. Your website can have articles and tips etc on the site to make the site bigger and appear more important to visitors and search engines.