The first step is to learn more about the customers you plan to sell to.

For example:

  • What country are they in? This affects copy, imagery, delivery methods, and other issues such as tax and VAT.
  • What currency do they prefer to pay in? Will your shopping cart support different currencies? If not, how do you address this?
  • What’s their average age?  This may affect, for example, the font size in your PDFs, ie to improve readability, and also the type of wording you use on your sales pages.
  • How much are they willing to pay? What’s the average price they pay for digital products? How frequently do they make purchases?
  • Where do they prefer to shop online?  Some customers prefer to buy on the site where they find the item, i.e. on your site, and you may lose them if they leave to another site, such as Amazon if you’re selling your product there.
  • So, before you start developing your digital product, you need to examine the buying patterns of your target customers.

Here are several low costs ways to do this:

  • Quora – a goldmine of very valuable information in particular is you want specific answers to industry topics. The contributors to Quora tend to be professionals and share excellent research findings. If you’re not using Quora, sign up now. It’s free. You can find information by topic, keyword, and tag. You can also track topics by adding it to sites, such as Feedly, which allows you to aggregate information. In other words, the website comes to you instead of you going to them.
  • LinkedIn groups – similar to Quora though it offers one advantage Quora doesn’t: size.  Some of the groups of LinkedIn are very active, has very lengthy discussions (Quora’s tend to be more concise, distilled information). The best way to use your time is to zero in on specific groups, ask questions, and then follow-up with those who give the most interesting answers. This works very well is you’re prepared to contribute and share back.
  • Publishers – monitor the blog posts and press releases of publishers connected to your subject matter. See if there is a specific trend emerging or gaps that you can possibly fulfil. Use Google Alerts to track press releases. Setup a dedicated folder in your email and filter them there. That way you can control the flow of information a little better.
  • Best-sellers lists – look outside the fiction lists and examine the bestsellers lists for niche topics. One way to do this is to select a category in Amazon and see what books, products and items sell the best and are the most expensive. You can sort by High to Low instead of the default Low to High.
  • Google Adwords – this is an interesting way to see the price of keywords. What difference does this make? In general, the more expensive the keyword, the more valuable the product. You can use this to judge the relative value of different topics (i.e. is this an underserved area and if so can you create products for it?) and also see if there is sufficient interest. And, of course, you can use it if you ever want to use Google Ad for your site.
  • Forums – choose a forum that is active with lots of recent threads. Forums are a great place to get specific niche questions answered. They also appeal to users who are less likely to use Quora or LinkedIn for different reasons. Forums tend to be for real users as opposed to people who are indirectly trying to sell you their product or services, which happens a lot on LinkedIn. Warrior Forums is one of the best.
  • Research publications – search for industry reports on buying patterns, spending habits, and any research findings on digital downloads, digital products, and information products. All of this will help determine the price, not only of this product, but your future releases.

Another suggestion is to write down any catchy book titles and headlines you come across when reviewing bestseller lists. I have a text file on my Desktop where I paste in great headings, blog titles and phrases that I come across during the day. If you have a smart phone, you can also use Evernote.

  • Current Customers – ask specific questions, especially in Twitter, and follow up by email if possible. One tactic is to say ‘do you feel x amount is a rip-off (or great value)’ and see if others agree.

In other words, ask questions that are likely to prompt a response. When people get angry, they get to the point and say what they mean. Political correctness go out the window. I’m not suggesting you start flame wars on twitter deliberately, but look for ways to get people off the fence so you get a deeper understanding of what irritates them, what they really want to read/buy, and who’s doing it best.

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Ivan Walsh, Internet Business ExpertAbout Ivan Walsh Got a question about running an online business? Contact me on Google Plus, @IvanWalsh, and Facebook

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How to Break Negative Mental Habits

by Ivan on September 25, 2014

Plato reminds us that ‘character is habit long continued.’

The Jesuits caution, ‘give me the boy until he’s 7, I’ll give you the man.’

and Dr. Stephen Covey gave us 7 habits of successful people.

It seems… It’s the habits we acquire that determine the patterns we engage in.


Just Disconnect

Habits are held together by patterns.

  • Emotional patterns
  • Spiritual patterns
  • Intellectual patterns
  • Instinctive patterns

Most are established very early. The Jesuits were confident that before the age of 7, the future man was crystallized within the young child.

Yet, most book focus on creating good patterns.

  • Better time-keeping
  • Multi-tasking skills
  • Faster typing skills

New Business Patterns

One way to examine how your business works, and your role within the business, is to define new patterns. New human patterns. New business patterns.

Not revise, change, or remove existing ones.

But, create new patterns that connect the synapses together in ways you hadn’t thought of before.

It’s like thinking of a new color.

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Ivan Walsh, Internet Business ExpertAbout Ivan Walsh Got a question about running an online business? Contact me on Google Plus, @IvanWalsh, and Facebook

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How to make Google fall in love with your blog

September 24, 2014

Put yourself in Matt Cutts’ shoes. When people click Search, you give them the best results. How do you decide what really is the best? Understanding this is the key to creating content – not just text – for Google. It’s after quality. Yes, I know, there are exceptions to the rule but after blogging [...]

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Tax on digital products?

September 21, 2014

The digital products bills (ESHB 2075 & SHB 2620) clarify – – how taxes apply to products that exist only as computer bits and bytes.  Specifically, they: Define digital products as goods and services transferred electronically. Make the taxation of digital products technology-neutral. Include certain exclusions and exemptions for businesses and end consumers. Require sellers of [...]

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VAT on Digital Products in Europe?

September 14, 2014

The EU operates Value Added Tax (VAT) and electronic goods and services are subject to VAT at the applicable rate. Each member state may set its own rate of VAT if they want. VAT regulations are very complicated and the intent of this article is not to provide definitive guidance but rather to list some [...]

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How to sell expensive ‘special reports’

September 9, 2014

If you have relatively good writing skills, knowledge of an industry or specialized area, and a little determination, you should consider selling special reports, white papers, or research materials. What are special reports? These are reports that cover a very special topic, industry or firm. For example: Biocides Online Payments Apple Why are special reports [...]

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How to create, price, and sell digital products

September 7, 2014

In this tutorial we look at how to price a digital product, for example, an ebook, courseware, infographic, or other product that you plan to sell using amazon Kindle, Shopify, Clickbank, eJunkie, or 1ShoppingCart among others. What’s the definition of digital goods? One definition for the Wisconsin Finance Dept states it as: “A “digital good” [...]

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Do Sub-Domains Increase or Decrease Google PageRank?

August 22, 2014

Matt Cutts’ SEO blog discusses different ways Google interprets Sub-Domains and Folders. What’s important is how your Google PageRank may be affected by setting up a new blog on a sub-domain versus a folder.

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9 (Unusual) Ways to Make Money on Your Blog

August 17, 2014

Thanks for all the emails about the making money post last week. You asked for a few more examples. Well, here they are. 9 (More) Ways to Make Money on Your Blog Just one word of warning. Before you choose a product to sell online do as much research as possible. It’s very frustrating when [...]

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Sir Alex Ferguson’s Unique Interpretation of Success

August 1, 2014

Most of us congratulate our team when they win, right? What’s interesting is that many successful leaders adopt an an alternative approach. One example of this was Sir Alex Ferguson’s response when his Aberdeen team won the Scottish Cup. Did he congratulate them?

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How to Batch Schedule Tweets with Hootsuite

July 28, 2014

Tired of writing each tweet by hand? Instead of individually scheduling every tweet, you can write them in a group (batch) and then upload them all in one go. I use Hootsuite to do this, though there are other tools that let you do the same thing. Socialoomp is another I use, though the UI [...]

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Why you should stop saying ‘No Problem’?

July 26, 2014

…because it implies that the other person created some type of problem. Scroll down for more… Was it really a problem? Probably not. Instead, look for ways to substitute this negative response. How about, it’s a pleasure, delighted to help, or you’re welcome. See the difference? Saying no problem is a reflex. It’s a habit [...]

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How to Write a Marketing Plan for Twitter

July 15, 2014

Should you use Twitter as part of your Marketing Plan? If you’re looking to increase sales, generate leads, or connect with prospects, it seems a no-brainer, right? The problem is if you’re starting out with Twitter it can be hard to see where it compliments your Marketing Plan. The most practical approach is to create a dedicated Twitter Plan in the same way you’d create any marketing plan.

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How to Increase Customer Signup Rates by Email

July 1, 2014

If you had a choice between email and Facebook for web marketing, which would you choose? I hope you chose email as it’s more effective for long-term customer engagement. Try to segment your customer list on Facebook and see how hard it is. But there is a problem with email. Email Marketing – Increase Signups [...]

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Winston Churchill’s Alternative Clean Desk Policy

June 22, 2014

When’s the last time you read something about productivity that made you stop and rethink how you manage your time? I just finished reading Winston Churchill’s biography and one of the many treasure buried inside the book was his own version of the notorious clean desk policy.

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29 Ways to Increase Traffic to a Niche Blog

June 21, 2014

Making money from blogs in an inexact science. What works one blogs fails on another. I’ve launched over 200 websites since 1998 (mostly ecommerce) and about 30 blogs (mostly technical). If your blog has a technical slant, for example, it’s target audience is technical writers, analysts, architects, or others micro niche areas, then use some of these techniques to increase your traffic.

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Why Everyone’s Forgotten Charlie Sheen?

June 17, 2014

Remember Charlie Sheen? Why does no-one talk about him anymore? If you want your blog to succeed, write something that people will want to read today, tomorrow and the next day…

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The Only Metric That Matters in Corporate Blogging

June 15, 2014

For Corporate Blogs, is something important because you measure it or does the act of measuring something make it important? Take email marketing. One of the favorite metrics client want to use is signups. I’m more interested in conversions. Or at least the percentage of new conversions from the baseline. But, the client wants to [...]

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How To Write 1,217 Words A Day Every Day

June 4, 2014

Karen from Sacramento emailed me and asked how to write more blog posts. I write between 1,000 and 3,000 words per day. The way I do this is to have a writing framework that lets me define the topic, write the post and publish it very quickly. Here’s how I do it.

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5 Alternatives to Clickbank For Selling Goods Online

June 1, 2014

Clickbank reputation as a site for selling digital products, such as eBooks, has improved over the last five years. It certainly had teething problems at the start but most have been sorted out now. When John Chow and ShoeMoney use it to sell their online courses, you know it’s got to be good.

But, what if you’re still not convinced? What are the other options for selling goods online?

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