This post is the 2nd part of a series of posts about my experience in launching an info course from scratch. Read part 1: Overcoming Doubt.
One of the things that has been gaining steam on the web lately has been the rise of “drip products.” Drip products are information products but instead of being sent to the customer all at once (ie. a book, or a DVD package) the information is dripped out over time in smaller chunks. This benefits both sides.
On the one hand, the customer receives the product over time. It helps them to not feel overwhelmed that there is so much to do. It also helps for learning and retention. If you’ve ever learned anything new (which everybody has) you’ve no doubt noticed that learning takes place in stages. You try something. It probably doesn’t work since it’s the first time so you leave it and come back to it later. Then you try again. Take another break. Try again. Another break, etc. etc. In fact, the breaks are just as important as the concentrated learning attempts. The breaks allow your mind to process what you have learned so that you can improve for the next time. This is why I think you’ll start to see a lot more drip products in the future as the web allows for a product to easily be delivered to the customer 4th dimensionally.
On the producer side, this also provides the benefit that the product does not need to be produced completely up front. For example, with my info course, Programming Spiritually, it is broken down into 8 separate lessons delivered over 8 weeks. As someone doing this for the first time, I have no clue if anyone will even buy it. So it would be a waste of time to produce all the lessons up front. Instead, I put my effort into creating the landing page, marketing and the outline of all the lessons. If somebody does buy it, I can easily create the next lesson before the week so they receive it in time, but if no one purchases it, then I don’t need to worry that I wasted so much time. Selling your info product in a drip system allows you to launch it as an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) which is very common with how new web applications are developed these days.
Of course, doing this method can be risky. You have to make sure you can deliver what you promised so don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Also, I should point out that this method works for me because I don’t have a pre-existing audience. For people with thousands of email subscribers who can be pretty confident that at least someone will purchase your product, it’s probably just worth it to create the whole product up front.
Update on my progress
On my part 1 blog post, I had put a email subscribe box to be notified when the course was available. I submitted the post to Hacker News and received 1 person signing up to the email list. The post did not receive any comments on HN. After that, one person I have emailed with also signed up to my list and then 3 people signed up but I have no clue where they came from.
Today I launched Programming Spiritually by sending out an email to my list and enabling the credit card processing form. So far, no purchases.
Coming up next time: Marketing to No One