In the “guru” industry, we often describe what we do as “information marketing,” or ourselves as “infomarketers,” a term that, to the best of my knowledge, was developed by the Godfather of information marketing, Dan Kennedy.
While many (including Dan Kennedy) don’t particularly like the term, it’s accurate and descriptive: information marketers are people selling information products – specifically books (and back in the day, cassette tapes and DVDs), online courses, in-person workshops, etc. Essentially they are producing information for sale. It’s a very lucrative business, but the real money is in what we call the “back end” of that sale, which are products, services, consulting, memberships and software tools.
What I contend is that ALL businesses should be “information first” marketers.
Meaning they use the sale (or production) of “information products” to sell their ideas, concepts and “framework” for solving a problem or generating a result, to then later sell the services that are needed to implement them.
The wildly popular Atkins Diet is one such example. Developed by cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1960s, it was popularized by his book Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution in 1972, which fueled his medical practice, leading him to open the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine and to launch Atkins Nutritionals, a company that sold low-carb foods. The book (or information) was essentially a sales letter to convince the reader that weight loss shouldn’t require self-deprivation, and all one had to do was not eat carbs. Simple.
Another example is my friend Mike Michalowicz, and specifically his book Profit First. The book maps out a simple plan for small business owners to increase their profitability by skimming the profits of every sale that comes in FIRST, then operating the business on whatever is leftover. It’s a sales letter that leads you to needing an accountant who understands and can implement the Profit First methodology, which then leads you to his Profit First Certified Professionals – a group of CPAs who pay Mike to be trained and certified in his methods, a model that is similar to Dave Ramsey’s ELPs (endorsed local providers).
So, how do you use this to get more qualified leads in your IT business?
For starters, you need to develop a framework or methodology for accomplishing a result that your target audience wants. For example, if I were selling phone systems, I would not *just* sell phone systems. I would sell a methodology for increasing sales and new clients by better managing how customers and prospects are handled when they call into your office.
That would require phone features like recording calls, on-hold sales pitches, ensuring callers aren’t put into voice mail or long hold times, text reminders for appointments, allowing clients/patients to book their own appointments and get text reminders, etc. These are all features available in most phone systems that can easily be set up – but your average business owner doesn’t have them truly dialed in because 1) they aren’t smart enough to connect sales and customer service to how the phones are handled, so there’s a swath of mishandling and lost opportunities happening that they aren’t even aware of, and 2) even if they were aware of it, they don’t know what to do about it.
That’s what the book would be about: The Overlooked Marketing “Secret” To Doubling Or Tripling Sales, New Client Acquisition And Client Satisfaction In ___________. The blank could be whatever niche you’re playing in: small businesses, medical practices, retail stores, etc.
Another idea may be The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Protecting Your Identity Online, with more than just IT, but also discussing social media credentials being stolen that can damage a reputation, and dealing with negative reviews, rogue employees or those posting one-star reviews on Glassdoor, etc.
The key is you have to make the information about a result they really want or a big problem they grapple with daily.
Making computers work is not inherently interesting to most small business owners but would be for IT professionals. Your average small business owner doesn’t want to read a book on how to maintain a computer network any more than you want to read a book about bookkeeping – you simply want to hire someone to figure that out. However, you WILL read a book about profits (Profit First), which is interesting and leads into the same end result: hiring a Profit First Professional to take care of your books. A small business owner WILL read a book about protecting their assets and avoiding loss, reputational damage, rogue employees, etc. Also about generating more sales, profits and customers, or about being more competitive – the key is you need a methodology, a framework, for how to get there AND be able to lay it out in a convincing way to your prospect.
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