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Posts Tagged ‘research’

Succeeding with Physical Products: It’s in the Numbers!

As information product developers, we often spend a lot of time trying to get traffic to our websites so that we can increase sales. More traffic = more sales…or so the theory goes. But we often get SO focused on “digital products” and “traffic getting” that we miss some huge opportunities for capitalizing on massive traffic that already exists. The catch, however, is that to benefit from this traffic, we need to sell PHYSICAL products, not digital ones (with one exception which I’ll address later).

I love creating digital products as much as the next person. They’re fast and easy to manage. But with the abundance of “physical product” traffic that is available, it’s time to re-think your product creation process. The truth is, that in many cases, your digital products can easily make the jump to physical with minimal effort. You will understand what I mean when I reveal the traffic sources.

I’ve been conducting a LOT of research and testing on sites like the ones I’m about to share BECAUSE of the traffic volume they receive…that’s the ONLY reason. The numbers are simply too big to ignore! As a matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that if you are not selling on ALL (or at least most) of the sites I’m about to mention, you’re missing a huge opportunity to boost your income. And the BEST news (as far as I’m concerned) is that Public Domain-based products are PERFECT for these sites! What websites am I talking about? Here is the list along with their traffic numbers (from Compete.com):

  • Amazon.com (82.1 Million Visitors per Month)
  • eBay.com (67.2 Million Visitors per Month)
  • Etsy.com (6.5 Million Visitors per Month)
  • Zazzle.com (5.7 Million Visitors per Month)
  • CafePress.com (5.2 Million Visitors per Month)
  • iOffer.com (1.9 Million Visitors per Month)

When it comes to selling physical products, the above sites are the cream of the crop. There are addition sites out there with traffic numbers under a million per month, but these six sites should be a part of your product-selling strategy…period…simply because of the traffic. Think about it, is it easier to create a river or stand in the middle of one? Obviously the latter approach is easier. By offering your products on the sites above, that is essentially what you’re doing…standing in the flow of their existing traffic!

So…what should you be selling there? Be smart and do your research. Find out what people are already buying and them sell them more of the same! Most of the sites offer best-seller listings…use them! And with today’s on-demand technologies, turning Public Domain content into physical products to sell couldn’t be easier!

Here are a few places to begin your research on the top three sites:

Two New Research Sites for Keywords and Trends

In order to succeed in business online, you have to understand your target audience. Who are they? Where are they? What answers are they searching for, and where? There are great tools available online that can help us determine the answers to these questions and others. It’s likely that you use some of these tools now for keyword research, trend tracking, demographic research and more. The problem I encountered with these tools, however, is that they are all over the place…each has their own website, and quite honestly, I was having trouble remembering what all the website addresses were. When good research takes you to 3 or 5 or even 10 sites, getting to those sites quickly becomes a problem.

My solution to this issue was to create a couple free sites that pull together the potpourri of research sites into two convenient,  easy-to-remember websites. The first site, Online Keyword Tool, offers links to all the best and most commonly used (and a few off the beaten path) sites for conducting keyword research. The second site, Trends Research Tool, offers a compiled listing of all the best websites you can use for researching and tracking online trends in a wide variety of markets.

Whether you are an affiliate marketer, a product creator or even offline business owner, these tools should be an essential part of your research arsenal. The great news is that you can now access them from just two sites! Enjoy them and tell your friends about them!

Legally “Steal” Taxpayer Dollars?

TAXES…we ALL have to pay them…from income taxes and sales taxes to gas taxes and luxury taxes. We EVEN have to pay death taxes! We have no choice. Our tax money is “needed” so that our government can “pay for” all sorts of important stuff that is beneficial for us. You know the routine…you earn the money, give some of it to the government, and they spend it! And so “we the people” have developed a mindset that once that tax money leaves our paychecks, credit cards and checking accounts, it is GONE… FOREVER!

Once the money is spent by the government on important, necessary stuff it is no longer available to us because SPENT means, “it’s not ours anymore.” Right? NOT NECESSARILY! What if there was a way that you could get ALL your taxpayer dollars back and more…legally. Would you be interested? I knew you would be! Check this out:

http://publicdomainblog.com/taxes

Creating Physical Products from Public Domain Content

I’ve been teaching a webinar series for my Step-by-Step Members lately on creating different types of physical products from Public Domain content. And so, for today’s post, I thought it might be beneficial for you if I listed some of my personal favorite resources for getting physical products created.

First of all…WHY physical products? Aren’t digital products easier to manage and more profitable? Yes and no! The truth is that, in spite of the rise of the iPad and other mobile devices, many people still enjoy having a tangable, physical “something” to hold and stick on the bookshelf or share with a friend. And besides, try “wearing” a piece of digital art…grin. Physical products also carry a certain sense of “realness” that digital products don’t have. Then there is the perceived value piece of it. Try an experiment…tell someone you wrote an e-book, and then tell them you also wrote a print book. Somehow, having a book in “print” carries greater weight in the mind of the reader because you’ve been “published.”

So what types of physical products are able to be created using Public Domain content? With, with the advent of many different types of on-demand technologies, there are quite a few types of physical products you can create. As recent as just a few years ago, many of these technologies either didn’t exist or were crazy expensive. All that has changed now and will continue to evolve…for our benefit!

Some of the most popular physical product creation methods available to you include:

  • Books (paperback, hardback, photo books, etc.)
  • DVDs (movies, digital collections, software, etc.)
  • CDs (music, digital files, software, etc.)
  • Binders (workbooks, course modules and more)
  • Apparel (t-shirts, totes, jackets, hoodies, etc.)
  • Prints (posters, maps, artwork, photographs, calendars, etc.)
  • Other Printed Pieces (magazines, calendars, greeting cards, etc.)
  • Household Items (drinkware, window decor, tapestries, etc.)

As you can see, there are quite a few options for you to choose from for creating physical products. Please bear this important point in mind though…if you don’t actually CREATE the products, you can’t make money from them. Seems obvious enough, but you’d be surprised how many DON’T take action. So to make “taking action” as EASY as possible, here is a list of some of my favorite sites for creating products in a “physical” way. As Olivia Newton John once sang…”Let’s get physical…” lol.

Books

Photo Books

Apparel

Prints

Magazines/Calendars

DVDs/CDs

The New Public Domain Mark

Creative Commons announced the release of its Public Domain Mark, a tool that enables works free of known copyright restrictions to be labeled in a way that allows them to be easily discovered over the Internet. The Public Domain Mark, to be used for marking works already free of copyright, complements Creative Commons’ CC0 public domain dedication, which enables authors to relinquish their rights prior to the expiration of copyright.

This is great news for those of us who use Public Domain-based content for product creation. The new Public Domain Mark will give us the ability to target keyword searches to find Public Domain content easier and faster than ever before! To learn more about the Creative Commons’ Public Domain Tools, click HERE!

Europeana—Europe’s digital library, museum and archive—is the first major adopter of the Public Domain Mark. Europeana estimates that by mid-2011, the Public Domain Mark will be used in connection with millions of out-of-copyright works made available through its portal. With the adoption of this new standard at the highest levels of content preservation, it is likely that most other major content holders will adopt the standard as well. Which is GREAT news for us!

Today, Creative Commons announces the release of its Public Domain Mark, a tool that enables works free of known copyright restrictions to be labeled in a way that allows them to be easily discovered over the Internet. The Public Domain Mark, to be used for marking works already free of copyright, complements Creative Commons’ CC0 public domain dedication, which enables authors to relinquish their rights prior to the expiration of copyright.

“The Public Domain Mark is a further step on the path towards making the promise of a digital public domain a reality,” said Michael Carroll, a founding board member of Creative Commons and a law professor at American University.

Europeana—Europe’s digital library, museum and archive—is the first major adopter of the Public Domain Mark. Europeana estimates that by mid-2011, the Public Domain Mark will be used in connection with millions of out-of-copyright works made available through its portal.

“An important part of our mandate is to ensure that digitized works made available through Europeana are properly labeled with rights information, including when a work is free of known copyright restrictions so that teachers, students and others can freely use it in their work, changing it and remixing it as they wish,” noted Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana.

The Public Domain Mark in its current form is intended for use with works that are free of known copyright around the world, primarily old works that are beyond the reach of copyright in all jurisdictions. We have already started mapping the next phases of our public domain work, which will look at ways to identify and mark works that are in the public domain in a limited number of countries.

Search Engine Savvy

When it comes to search engines, we all tend to get a bit myopic, thinking Google is our ONLY real choice for finding the info we need. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth! The truth is that there are literally thousands of search engines available for us to use for our “data mining” duties, and some of them are rather cool. In this post, I thought I’d share some of the search engines I have been playing with recently.

BlinkX: Blinkx offers access to over 35 million hours of index videos from across the web. Using patented conceptual search, speech recognition and video analysis software, Blinkx is extremely efficient and accurate with finding and qualifying online video. They are the world’s largest single index of rich media content on the Web, and deliver more content from a broader range of sources than either Google or Yahoo! They also offer the ability to embed a “wall” of videos based on your search results on your own website.

Technorati: Technorati has been around for quite a while, but it’s likely that you aren’t using it, which is why I’ve included it in this list. They are the leading blog search engine and directory and indexes more than a million blogs. So if you are looking for relevant info on your topic and want to see what other bloggers are writing about, Technorati is your answer. You can also use the results to find articles related to your topic so that you can comment and benefit from the backlinks. I personally use it for leads on new content and info that isn’t being widely shared.

InkMesh: Inkmesh is an ebook search engine that makes it easier to find free ebooks and compare ebook prices for the Kindle, iPhone, Sony Reader, Nook and more. What I like about this search engine is that, not only can I use it to find free e-books, but I can also use the results to “spy” on what Public Domain books are being released by others. Being an iPad user, this is a super cool website for finding e-book gems!

NowRelevant: NowRelevant was a pleasant discovery! It is the interface portal for The Internet Time Machine’s backend search engine that gives you access to every written word about a subject for the past 14 days. It monitor millions of sources and feeds to give you the most up to date and pertinent information on your subject. What that means is that rather than have to filter through ALL the results you would find through Google or Yahoo…some of them years old…NowRelevant limits your results to just the past 14 days, and they offer a time slider that allows you to cut the results down to even fewer days. Why this cool is that your results enable you to track trends easily, which means you can target your PPC campaigns (among other things) with current, relevant data! Gotta love that!

Finding Treasure at the National Archives

One of the greatest treasure troves of works in the Public Domain is the National Archives (NARA). NARA’s “job” is to archive Federal records that are judged to have continuing value—about 2 to 5 percent of those generated in any given year. As you would imagine, this has resulted in a growing massive collection of materials, diverse in form as well as in content. There are approximately 9 billion pages of textual records; 7.2 million maps, charts, and architectural drawings; more than 20 million still photographs; billions of machine-readable data sets; and more than 365,000 reels of film and 110,000 videotapes. All of these materials are preserved because they are important to the workings of Government, have long-term research worth, or provide information of value to citizens (like making money from new products created with them).

While the materials currently available online are but a fraction of NARA’s total holdings, there is still tens of thousands of works available to you online right now. And…if you want to have even MORE fun, I would highly recommend making a trip to the National Archives in College Park, MD. With 6 floors of Public Domain goodness, you will be like a kid in a candy store. It is truly an amazing experience. What is great is that they even allow you to bring in your digital cameras, video cameras, laptops and scanners…all for the purpose of duplicating the “hard copy” editions of the content. One of my personal highlights so far was being able to scan original prints by Ansel Adams taken of our most popular National Parks.

The National Archives has a comprehensive Archival Research Catalog (ARC) available online. Search the ARC HERE. Click on “Search Options” and then click on the “Digital Copies” tab at the top. Now you’re ready to search through ARC’s online records. You can also explore the National Archives online exhibits HERE and HERE.

A Personal Public Domain Challenge

I have been somewhat underground for the past few months…especially when it comes to the topic of the Public Domain. Well, that’s all about to change. Beginning October 1st, I’ve committed to a personal challenge of blogging about the Public Domain or related topics every day through the end of 2010…a good 90 days. The seed for this was planted by my friend, Dave Lakhani, but also encouraged by others as well.

So get ready for some great content of ALL types. The posts may be written, audio, video or all the above…and no, I don’t have the full 90 days planned out yet…grin. So…in the excitement of getting things started until the official kickoff day on Friday, here is a sweet site I’ve been using to find some stunning Public Domain content:

GPO Access: This is the ultimate search tool for finding federal publications. The results include descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online. We’re talking 100’s of thousands of publications here on just about ANY topic know to man!

You can check it out for yourself HERE!

Business Success Reboot, Part Two

Lately, I’ve been exploring the question of…

“If I had to do it all over…to start over from scratch…WHAT would I do different?”

What I want to share with you today is the ONE skill I learned that made a HUGE difference in my income. And I want to share this because, when I first started out, I was told (just like I’m telling you) that I needed to understand this and I thought I had it all figured out…that I knew what I was doing.

Boy was I wrong!

My first product took me 11 months to create…and I wouldn’t recommend ANYONE take that long to create products. As a matter of fact, now I create several new products every single week…but that’s another story. Anyway, once I had my product created and the website designed I was ready to make some money. After all, I deserved some compensation for all the hard work I had put into creating it (the product was the Public Domain Code Book).

When I designed the site, I felt comfortable with the graphics because that’s what I did for a living at the time. But there was ONE element that I held some real concern about…writing the copy for the sales letter. I looked at what a couple other websites had used and thought I’d try to model them. I was
TOLD that I needed to understand the basics of good copywriting but I ignored those who told me that.

So I wrote what I thought was some pretty clever copy in the vane of Indiana Jones meets the Public Domain and I was SO proud. I absolutely LOVED how the copy and the sales letter turned out. Now for the REAL test…sending traffic to the site to make some serious cash! I bought some traffic through Adwords (another nightmare I’ll save for a future installment) and suddenly, I realized I was facing worst-case scenario…I spent a LOT of money on Adwords and made ZERO sales. I couldn’t tell my wife, she would have killed me if she knew how much money I spent with Google with nothing to show.

When I began to consider what could have been wrong, the message about the importance of copy came back to haunt me. I had to face the fact that my sales copy sucked. I went on a frenzied quest to learn the basics of copywriting to see if I could even salvage all the time and effort I had put into this first project. It paid off. I re-wrote the sales page based on what I had learned and sales began to happen…a few here and there, and then more and more. Since then, that first product has sold over $50,000 and is still selling today!

What made the difference?

It wasn’t the product and it wasn’t the traffic…it was the SALES COPY! That’s what made the difference. It was an expensive lesson to learn and one that I want to help you avoid. That’s why I created, “Copywriting Basics That Work!” You’ll discover how to avoid ALL the mistakes that kept my first product from selling, as well as the secrets to creating sales letters, video sales letters and e-mail promotions convert like crazy.

Do yourself a favor (and for the benefit of your current and future sales), take a few moments to watch the video I created and discover the KEY to finding true success online.

Committed to your ongoing success!

Copywriting Basics That Work

Finding Elusive Images in the Public Domain

How often have you tried to find an certain type of image in the Public Domain, and no matter what you try, you can’t seem to find what you’re looking for? It can be pretty frustrating for sure! Just the other day, I received an e-mail from one of my UK customers who was experiencing that exact dilemma. She e-mailed me to ask:

“I purchased your “Easy Money Picture Project”.  As you are US based it’s not surprising that your links to internet sites for public domain are going to mostly contain US public domain material.  I am in the UK, I know most of the US material can be used here OK but I am interested in old images of the UK & I didn’t know whether you had come across any sites that contained such images or any UK websites that contained content from the UK.”

To be honest, I had never researched images specific to the UK, so I thought it would be a good exercise for my research skills. After spending 2 or 3 minutes with Google, I sent her a few of the results I discovered:

“Here are a few starting points for you:

  • http://www.historyworld.co.uk/
  • http://www.oldukphotos.com/
  • http://grumpystumpy.com/
  • http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/

Hope this helps!”

She responded back the next day with:

“I’ve just quickly linked to the sites you sent me & had a quick look & they look as though they will be very helpful, why couldn’t I find them? Must be doing wrong searches!”

I responded to her that searches can be tricky and offered keyword phrases I used to find the websites I sent her. After writing my response to her, I wondered how many MORE of you have encountered similar frustrations? So I thought I’d write a post to share the methodology behind how I research.

I’ve found that there is no rhyme or reason to why websites use the text they use in describing the contents on their websites. The sooner you learn that fact, the sooner you can move into conducting and enjoying meaningful research online.

First of all, you need to be aware of variations on your keywords. You can use a thesaurus if you get stuck. For example, let’s consider the keyword “photograph.” Photograph could also be displayed as:

  • Photography
  • Photo
  • Picture
  • Pic
  • Image
  • Graphic
  • Illustration
  • Still
  • Poster

To this end, you will notice in the screenshot below how this website uses the word “advert” for advertising, so if you were searching for “vintage UK advertising,” you may not find this site because of the variation.

Now, in the case of our case study, I simply used two keyword phrases:

  • “vintage UK photographs”
  • “old UK photographs”

Again, there are a number of variations for “old” and “vintage.”  The same holds true for “UK”: United Kingdom, Britain or British Isles…and don’t forget specific locations, such as “Gloucestershire” or “London.” I think you get the idea.

Another trick I want to point out is this…when you find a site you like in Google, very often you will see a link for “similar sites” in your search results as seen in the screenshot below. CLICK that link! It will reveal even more related sites for you. Of course, you can also use SimilarSites as I mentioned in a previous post, if they offer suggestions for your sites. In the case of the UK sites, they didn’t offer any results.

Now there is ONE keyword phrase that, oddly enough, you probably DON’T want to use in your search phrase…”Public Domain.” Seems odd to say that being that this is the Public Domain Blog, but the truth is that it’s not a common word that many sites use. Yes, you can find Public Domain images using that phrase in your searches, but I can tell you from experience that you will not get the kinds of results you truly want if you include it. As a matter of fact, with this case study, my customer indeed wrote back and said she was searching using the keyword phrase, “public domain vintage UK photos” among others and wasn’t finding the sites I found. Notice that her search phrase is a variation of one of mine except for a noticeable difference…she included the phrase, “public domain.”

To learn even MORE methods for finding and using images from the Public Domain, check out, “Easy Money Picture Project,” my comprehensive book on how to profit from Public Domain images and photos.

Easy Money Picture Project

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