why info products might not be as valuable as we’re told

Years ago, I came to a realization.

And the other day, my colleague Dan Blank wrote a piece that just nails it. You can read it below.

The Information Age was dead.

I was sitting there staring at my bookshelf full of books and binders, my laptop full of read and unread ebooks and my life was pretty much in the same place. The information hadn’t changed much in my life.

If ‘more information’ was the answer most of us would be utterly healthy, happy and fulfilled. Every seminar junkie would be rich.

Religion is often based in this, ‘if you read this book then you will be saved’. And the whole seminar industry promotes the idea that ‘knowledge is power’. I think that’s bullshit. Knowledge is, at best, context (which can be a massive relief and incredibly clarifying). Seminars tout the promise of ‘come to my workshop and your life will be transformed by this new information.’

And sometimes the marketing is so good that we buy it that, ‘this one will be different.’

But this model of ‘information transmission’ isn’t what changes people. Relationships are. When people feel lost they need four things (in my mind anyway) – only one of which is more information.

Plus, there are a few challenges here:

  • the information is rarely new. it’s usually old stuff renamed and trotted out as revolutionary and different.
  • information isn’t enough. People need empathy and hand holding too.
  • the kind of information that’s valuable to one person might be useless to another
  • the style the information is given in might work for one person and not another.

And now the next level is the ‘automated’ coaching programs. You know – you become a member, get videos and exercises every week. That kind of thing. Dan writes more about that below.

But here’s the nub of it for all us information product marketers – are we focused on the value we’re (ostensibly) giving or on the value they’re (actually) getting.

I’d read that again.

When I go to buy a book and I’m offered 600 pages of bonuses . . . is that really value?

Is a 300 page workbook that we don’t really go through during the workshop actually valuable to me if it’s just going to sit on my shelf forever?

The issue isn’t about GIVING value (via raw tonnage of more information) – it’s about finding unique and innovative ways to help them GET more value. And how to do this in a way that’s sustainable for you.

Some quick examples of what I’ve been experimenting with:

  • take time at your workshop to go through the materials you are giving them and give them sticky tab/post it notes to tag the things that are relevant to them. Slow things down. Don’t just give them a huge binder and expect them to appreciate the value or to know how to use which parts.
  • do exercises during the workshop where they actually apply what they learn and work on something practical for their own situation
  • create quizzes and assessments where they can get a snapshot of where they’re strong and weak and at least some rough guidance on what they need to do
  • create spaces where your clients can come together and support each other.
  • offer weekly coaching calls to your best clients to help them integrate things.
  • make sure your blog is well categorized and searchable so people can find what they want fast (or so that you can send them the exact link they’re needing easily).
  • cover less content in your workshops, but go deeper with it. Less is more. And, ironically, having a narrower focus will likely make your workshop more appealing too.
  • make sure it’s crystal clear who your workshops and products are for. Make sure that everyone who comes is really ready for it and that it’s not coming too soon (overwhelm!) or too late (boredom!) for them.

 

Okay. So, enough ranting from me. Here’s Dan’s brilliant article.

 

I Love Teaching. Why? Because I Love Learning.

I spend a lot of time considering how we learn, and how training and education programs for adults are created. So today, I want to talk about why I think teaching is so important, why I think it should be at the core of my business, and why I feel the web has reshaped the ability for us to learn in new ways.

The Problem With Many Education Programs: Teaching and Automation
Dan Blank Too often training and education are automated. For instance, in a training program in which a curriculum is created, trainers “deliver” the modules to group after group, and then the check-box is marked that it has been “rolled out.” There may even be a 300 page PDF file shared as a “leave behind” in case students have a question.

In an online education system, scheduling software, “online classrooms,” and pre-recorded components allow a simple “delivery of material” over the course of a period of time, thereby calling it a course or training program. But chunking up a book into 12 parts, and sharing it over 12 weeks is not teaching, is not education, is not training. The same way that throwing a newspaper on your drivew

Sometimes, courseware is simply a way to scale a particular effort. That they set it up, and then just try to pump as many “students” through it as possible. Again, this is delivering educational material, but not necessarily the process of education itself.

ay each morning is not the key part of informing you of world events.

In the same regard, online courseware has been evolving for a long time now, but I am always amazed at how it focuses on providing many options around process, and what seems lost is an environment that truly connects people. (more on that below)

 

To read the rest of Dan’s article (it’s really, really good):

click here

 

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