Chapter 2 – Acquisition
How to Get Customers for Your Information Product Business
The purpose of the Acquisition stage is to generate first-time buyers and to reactivate those buyers that have not purchased from you in a while.
If you put Content and Traffic tactics in place at this stage, you can acquire buyers at scale.
NOTE: The Acquisition stage is different from the Monetization stage in one very important way: it’s not about profit.
While the Monetization stage is all about making that cash register ring with higher-ticket sales and membership/subscription offers, the Acquisition stage is about acquiring and activating buyers at break even or better.
Seriously, I can’t overstate the importance of understanding that last paragraph — read it 10 times if you need to. It’s a critical mind shift you’ll need to make to build a scalable information business.
Ok, let’s look at the types of Content and Traffic you have available to you at the Acquisition stage.
>> Download an interactive version of the Business Growth Framework here <<
Let’s begin by exploring the Acquisition Products:
Types of Acquisition Information Products
You have 4 information products available to you, as an information business, at the Acquisition stage:
Digital courses – The online course at the Acquisition stage is a lower ticket (Less than $100 and often less than $20) product with a much smaller scope and more specific outcome for the student taking the course.
Online Events (Paid, low-ticket) – Whether you call it an online seminar, a Bootcamp or a webinar, an online event is a scalable way to convert a lot of new buyers and activate a lot of old buyers gone cold.
In-person events (Paid, low-ticket) – Events (both online and in-person) are special because they are both a product and a channel through which to sell more products. Low-ticket, in-person events are an incredibly powerful channel for selling high-ticket Monetization products.
Print book – Book buyers are valuable for a couple of reasons. One, they tend to be a more affluent group (read: they have more money) and, because they have purchased your book, they are showing trust in you or your brand and an interest in what you are selling.
Tripwire products – While they can be a bit of a pain in the butt to manage, selling low-ticket physical products (AKA Tripwires), is an incredibly effective way to acquire and activate buyers. Think t-shirts and cool gadgets or tech here.
Before we take
Characteristics of Acquisition Information Products
There are numerous products that can be built at the Acquisition stage but they have a few things in common:
Characteristic 1: Low-Commitment
When you’re trying to acquire and activate buyers — you want to keep it super simple. The right Acquisition offer is typically a drop dead simple, irresistible product (or service) with an incredibly low price
Characteristic 2: Break Even
This bears repeating simply because it is that gosh darn important! The goal at the Acquisition stage is not profit. In fact, many information business owners will lost money in this stage knowing they can make it up on the “back end” — AKA the Monetization stage. Acquisition and Monetization are two fundamentally different activities in your business, but they are equally important.
Characteristic 3: Splintered
At Modern Publisher, we use the term “Splintering” a lot because it just flat out works. Acquisition products like low-ticket courses and events are often just smaller pieces (children if you will) that have been plucked out of a larger Monetization product like a high-ticket course, event or membership site.
Now that we’ve got a bit of familiarity with these info products, let’s take a closer look at the product types:
Content that Acquires Customers: A Closer Look
Compared to their larger, higher-priced Monetization cousins, a digital course at the Acquisition stage should make a simpler promise. Look to solve a single, specific problem your audience has with these low-ticket courses and workshops.
Pros of Digital Courses
- Courses at the Acquisition stage typically scale very well. In other words, you can sell an infinite number of them because they are delivered (or should be delivered) online and on-demand.
- Courses have a high perceived and actual value in the minds of consumers. Because they are digital and extremely scalable, you can buy digital advertising and still break even (or better) when acquiring buyers for a low-dollar course.
Cons of Digital Courses:
- You have to be careful not to cannibalize your Monetization products. In other words, if your $10 digital course or book (Acquisition product) promises the same outcome as your $1,000 digital course (Monetization product), you’ll not be in business for long.
Live events are one of the best ways (if not, the best way) to sell high-ticket Monetization products and services and build a true relationship with your audience.
If you want (some of) the benefits you can get from a live event without all the fuss of gathering in-person, you can run your event online.
While online events are easier to pull off (logistically) and infinitely scalable, the live in-person event is in a class of its own. The level of intimacy that is created in-person is impossible to duplicate online.
Pros of Live Events
- As stated before, events (live or otherwise) are special because they can be both a product and a channel through which to sell other products and services.
- If you’re looking to elevate your brand, events are a great way to do it.
Cons of Live Events:
- In-person events are incredibly time-consuming to put together.
- Online events (even when they are paid for) can have very low show-up rates.
- All events (but in-person events) are hard to fill. You’ll need to work hard to put butts in seats.
If you have a print book and you have control over the price point (read: self-published) and the distribution — you have a powerful Acquisition product.
The truth is that selling books, especially non-fiction, are a tough way to make a living. That said, they are one of the best ways to acquire and activate buyers that will buy higher-ticket products and services like digital courses, consulting/coaching, and events.
Pros of Print Books
- A book buyer is typically a higher quality buyer than someone that bought a low-dollar course, event or tripwire product.
- The book immediately positions you as an authority in your space.
Cons of Print Books:
- If you went through a traditional publisher, you likely have no control over the price point or the distribution of the book. You’re out of luck.
- Books are among the most difficult products to produce. Which is precisely why they are so valuable.
It might seem crazy but one of the best ways to sell information on the “back end” (MONETIZATION) is to sell physical products on the “front end” (Acquisition).
Pros of Tripwire Products
- If you can find the right product and offer it at a sufficient discount, you can scale up very quickly with this customer acquisition method.
Cons of Tripwire Products:
- If you’re in the information business, sourcing and shipping physical products may be something completely foreign to you.
- As opposed to information products, physical products cut into your margins. You’ll often be acquiring customers at a loss with a physical product tripwire.
The Traffic Sources to Sell Acquisition Information Products
You have seven methods of distribution at your disposal at the Acquisition stage:
- Facebook Messenger
- Content Referral
- Digital Advertising
Let’s look at each of these in turn:
Still the king (or queen, if you will) of all traffic sources is email. Despite what you may have heard, the death of email has been greatly exaggerated.
Whilst email is king or queen, Facebook Messenger is quickly becoming a communication channel that cannot be ignored. With Facebook’s enormous user base, Messenger has hit the scene almost overnight.
Ad retargeting is the most significant development in digital marketing over the last 10 years. Retargeting allows advertisers to serve ads to people based on their prior behavior.
For example, want to show ads for your online workshop about preparing for a marathon to anyone that visited your blog article entitled, “10 Mistakes Newbie Marathon Runners Make”? No problem, set up some retargeting ads.
Want to show ads for your new book about making a living as a musician to those that bought your “Song Writing Workshop” course? Upload your customer list and start retargeting.
This is seriously powerful stuff for one simple reason: The best way to predict what you’ll do today is by observing what you did yesterday.
Read that last line again. It’s important.
If you’ve got traffic to your blog, podcast, videos, social channels, etc. — you have an audience. Anywhere you have an audience, you have the ability to advertise. If you have the ability to advertise, you have the ability to drive eyeballs to an offer. If you can drive eyeballs to an offer, you can generate sales.
Failure to provide a customer or prospect with the next step in Ascension Ladder is not just bad marketing… it’s also a bad user experience.
Some percentage of people reading your blog or listening to your podcast want to know how to take the next step with you. If you don’t provide that next step, they become frustrated. Make a clear call-to-action that allows those people to ascend to the next level.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
As paid traffic click costs continue to rise, there is a renewed interest in free, organic traffic like search. SEO traffic is earned and, as a result, it takes a fair amount of elbow grease and time just as it does with all things we earn in our lives.
The other downside to SEO is that, as opposed to digital advertising, you have little control over the pages that Google will bless with this traffic. My love affair with paid traffic is primarily based on my ability to direct traffic wherever I want, whenever I want. Search engine traffic is far less predictable.
All that said, earned traffic from search engines is something you’d be wise to give attention to. After all, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now. (Actually, the logic to that statement is flawed but you catch my drift, right?)
Just like it’s cousin, the search engine, organic traffic from social media megasites like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook is earned. Because of this, it takes consistent effort and attention to see significant traffic and results from these channels.
That said, if you make the investment in building an audience, social channels are a viable way to get eyeballs on your Acquisition offers.
If you want to build a predictable system for acquiring new customers, you’ll want to include paid advertising in your traffic mix.
As we’ve stated before, paid traffic is like a water hose, when we want some water (think: traffic), we can turn it on and direct it wherever we want.
That said, if we stop paying for the “water”, it shuts off immediately.
Because you can direct ad traffic wherever you want, whenever you want — paid advertising is the traffic tactic of choice for most information businesses that want to scale up.
And that’s it for the Acquisition stage. Remember… the big difference between Acquisition and Monetization is that the former is not about profitability. Acquisition is about acquiring buyers at scale.
Ready for Chapter 3? I hope so. In this next chapter, we will be learning how to acquire as many leads as you want.
What’s inside this Ultimate Guide?
The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Growing an Information Product Business
Learn what information products are and why now is the time to build your information product business.
Chapter 1 - Monetization
How to Make Money Selling Information Products
Learn how pro information marketers create a product and traffic mix that monetizes their business. This is where the money is made.
Chapter 2 - Acquisition
How to Get Customers for Your Information Product Business
Without customers, you don't have a business. Most information businesses fail because they don't understand what is taught in this chapter.
Chapter 3 - Subscription
How to Get Leads for Your Information Product Business
Leads (sometimes called subscribers) are the lifeblood of your business. You'll learn how to create a predictable lead generation machine.
Chapter 4 - Attention
How to Build an Audience for Your Information Product Business
They can't buy from you until they know you exist. This chapter is all about the tactics to use to grow a massive audience.
Chapter 5 - Getting Started
How to Start an Information Product Business
You've learned about a lot of different tactics. Which one should you do first? Simple. Don't skip this chapter or you risk wasting a ton of time and energy.