If you are skeptical about long copy, hype-filled promotions for “get rich quick” info-products…well, you should be.
Subscriber JE, recently complained to me, “One thing that bugs me is when people have one or two successes and then go out and sell their ‘system’.”
He says the reason these systems often don’t work for others who follow them is that “you can’t package up luck.”
What JE is talking about is perhaps the biggest flaw in the entire business of information marketing in general…and business success/self-help/personal improvement info-publishing in particular, namely, that just because certain steps worked for the author, that does not mean others following those steps will get the same results, and in fact, more often than not, they don’t.
One of the problems, as JE has accurately identified, is that the only test of the system is often the author’s personal success.
If you are a consumer of info-products on business and success topics, does the author have students who, following his system, achieved some levels of results, even if not equal to his?
If he has no successful followers, then I would pass on buying the course or program.
Why do so many info-product promoters teach systems based on their own personal success, only to have so many buyers fail to achieve anything close to their results?
Again, one reason, as JE notes, is luck. Luck plays a huge role in success and as JE says it cannot be packaged and sold, unfortunately. The info-product seller may have had luck, and he has no way to confer that luck on you.
Another reason why some info-publishers cannot transfer their success to others is that making their systems work depends on talents and aptitudes their buyers may not have, and the systems ignore this and do not show how to develop the talent.
For instance, my wife is a home decorator, and in her field there are info-product promoters selling all kinds of courses on how to succeed in the home decorating business.
But if you have no taste, no eye for design (and I don’t), your chances of succeeding in the home decorating business are slim to none.
And it may sound elitist to say this, but intelligence is also a prerequisite for success in many fields and it too cannot be packaged.
My youngest son is a computer science major at Carnegie Mellon, and despite my own degree in chemical engineering, I could not complete his course of study; I simply don’t have the aptitude or the mathematical ability required (and I was pretty good at differential equations, but I sucked at Fortran).
So as a consumer of info-products, how do you make wise purchases, and by that I mean buy courses that actually succeed in teaching you the skill or business covered?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Go to the websites of the big players in your niche of interest and mine the free content there. You can often get quite an education without shelling out a dime. For example, see the library of free marketing and copywriting articles on my site.
2. Start with their traditionally published books sold on Amazon. Often these books are a much better value and are more clearly written than their package systems courses and they contain 5X more info often at 1/5 the price or lower—as little as $10 a copy used.
3. Look for testimonials and reviews in which buyers don’t just say they liked the product, but say they actually achieved the results the product promotions promised.
4. Don’t overpay. If a course costs $1,000, there may be a $10 book on Amazon or a $29 e-book that covers the same ground as well or better. KT recently asked me to offer you his course on
entrepreneurship for $800. I did not, because I have products that essentially teach the same things for around $40.
5. Make sure the seller offers an unconditional 90-day money-back guarantee of satisfaction that does not require you to prove you followed the system correctly before they will give you a refund.
My experience is that sellers who require you to prove compliance with their system will always say you did something wrong as an excuse to avoid ever giving a refund.
6. Is the author/publisher accessible via e-mail or phone to answer short and simple questions without charge? If not, this is a negative, at least to me.
7. Does the author continually refer to himself as a guru or genius, or brag about knowing celebrities, or use terms like “crush it”, or say he is the best or #1?
My comment: If you call yourself a guru or a genius, you probably are not. If a lot of others say you are, then maybe.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.