Definitely the most common mistake of anyone beginning their business selling information products – and the reason that only ten per cent of the internet businesses which are started go on to succeed and that ninety per cent of internet companies fold within the first year– is that people make one single big mistake:

They mistake marketing a product for meeting a need in their potential clients.

Think about it – if you don’t need something and you don’t want it – you won’t buy it, no matter how wonderful the person selling it thinks it is. That’s the same for your potential customers.

Like Goldilocks in the three bears’ cottage, most customers are looking for the information product that is "just right" for them. If you are going to make a success of selling information products, your challenge is to get to know your niche market well and find out just what it is that makes information product ‘just right’ for them.

Determine your market

When you are planning to start selling information products, you need to ask yourself these few very important questions:

1. Who – if anyone – really needs the information product that you are proposing to sell?

2. How many of those potential customers are there?

3. How much, if anything, are they spending at the moment to address that need?

4. Does your own information product meet that need of your niche market in a way which is better or cheaper than what is already available?

Asking yourself these questions should tell you from the outset of planning your potential information product business whether you have the right product to market – or whether you need to fine-tune it or even to ditch it. Believe me - being brutally honest with yourself at this stage will save you an awful lot of time, energy and heart-ache later – perhaps it will save you money too.

Know your customers from cold

Those people who are most successful at selling information products go out to the potential niche market they’ve identified and finds out – from cold – what the needs of these potential niche market clients are. You can join online forums to do this quite easily. Many – in fact most – of these online forums are not general entry and discussion; they are much more specific than that and so they are much more useful for your market research – because they are aimed at specific niche markets so your potential customers are pretty easy to find.

Don’t go to these potential customers straight off trying to sell them a particular information product which you have in mind; unless you are already a part of that niche market yourself, you may have completely the wrong idea about what their niche markets needs are. You really need to listen to these people first, so that you can really learn from them and benefit your information producr business by securing your market – giving them a product or service which they either need or which they really want and are prepared to pay for – at a price which you can afford to provide it to them.

Good market research doesn't have to be expensive

Many people (think of the ninety per cent who see their internet businesses fail within a year here) are put off from doing their own market research because they think it is going to be difficult and expensive. It really does not have to be either of those things. It just takes a little time – which you should really consider a useful investment in the long term future and success of your online business.

All you need in order to carry out your own market research is a little determination and the willingness to accept sometimes harsh criticism and to learn from it.

Don’t be tempted to rely on secondary research

The short cut to doing market research is to read up on other people’s research and base your online business on THEIR findings. Don’t. It’s a short cut to nowhere. To find out if there is a market for your information products, do your own market research.