3 Things That Will Make Me Hate Your Info Product

ebooksIt seems like every day without fail someone emails me asking me to review their product. I don’t mind it, really. In fact, a lot of the time I enjoy reviewing or at least looking over people’s products. Of course, that’s only when the person seems to genuinely want my opinion and isn’t just spamming everyone they can find with the request.

Just a tip, if you need someone to review your new article spinner, you’re wasting your time emailing someone who is consistently voicing their disdain for article spinners. If you’re trying to find someone to try out your new black hat Adsense method, maybe emailing someone who prides herself in using ethical marketing methods isn’t the right person to ask.

Okay, enough of that, moving on to the topic at hand. A lot of the products I read have wonderful information, but I end up hating them anyways. (For example, when I was reviewing this guide to freelance writing, I stopped the review part way through because even if the information was fantastic, I couldn’t stand the way it was written.) While the information itself is obviously important, there are mistakes you can make that will make me close the PDF, video, or audio file and move on. I’d like to share some of these with you so hopefully you can avoid making them yourself.

1. No table of contents.

This is one of those things that should just be a minor annoyance but it’s frustrating to me because I know they’re so easy to put together! Ideally I’d like a clickable table of contents but recently I’ve been getting a lot of reports that don’t have one at all.

Here’s the thing… it’s super easy to put one together, here is a tutorial if you don’t know how. It increases reader usability. They get an at-a-glance of the entire report and when they’re done they can go to the ToC, click on a chapter they want to reread, and they’re there.

In fact, if you don’t add a table of contents, it makes you look like you were either too lazy to do it or too lazy to figure out how to do it. That’s not really an image you want to be giving your readers, now is it?

2. The introduction is too long.

Every report has an introduction. It’s where you share a bit about yourself so your reader can get to know you, maybe relate to your story, and it allows you to build your credibility by telling them why they should listen to you. Nothing wrong with that. I don’t mind getting to know people and hearing how they got where they are. It’s easy to make mistakes here though, so be careful.

If I’m buying a product, I’m buying it to learn something. If I wanted to read an autobiography, there are plenty of those I could have purchased. Don’t tell me your life story, stick to what is important and relevant. I don’t need to know where you went to high school unless it’s actually relevant to what I’m going to be learning. If you went to college to study English that could be good to know if I’m learning about writing better blog posts, grammar, or anything related to that.

If you want to share some special personal stuff here, go ahead, but don’t go overboard with things that don’t apply.

The best thing you can do here is tell us a bit about yourself, explain why you’re an authority on this subject and why we should listen to you, and be ready to get into the part we’re all waiting to dig in to.

Oh, and another thing. I just paid money for this report. You don’t need to spend 10 pages telling me how awesome this system is. I don’t need you to sell me a product I just bought.

3. Having no cohesive plan of action by the time I get to the end.

planAnother thing that really bugs me is when I read a report and it’s a bunch of fragmented steps and thoughts. There is nothing that pulls it all together so I can start taking action. If your product is a tip sheet that’s sole purpose is to be a list of helpful tips, that’s fine, but if it’s a guide or tutorial you want to make sure at the end your audience knows what to do to get started.

In my experience there are two great ways to do this. One is to write the entire report as step by step instructions so they can just follow along as they go. If you do this, before you sell the report try reading it and doing the steps as you go along to make sure you don’t miss anything or explain anything out of order.

The other way is to include a bonus set of action steps. This could even be included as a bonus for your product and could be a selling point. Either as the last chapter or a second PDF, make a list of action steps that your reader can take to do whatever it is you’re teaching them to do. You could even include the page numbers of where in your guide they can find more information for each step.
Depending on your topic you may choose to do a combination of both.

These are some of the biggest annoyances I’ve had with infoproducts lately. There are others I’m sure. I’d be interested to hear what drives you up the wall when reading or buying a new ebook or guide. Leave a comment and let me know!

Don’t forget to share this post with other aspiring product creators using any of the social media buttons right below this post. You never know, one of those people you share it with may end up selling you a product in the future and you could end up saving yourself some frustration just by inviting them to come read this!

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  1. Visiting you via the #blogboost. I so agree with your points above, especially the call to action one. I feel so disappointed when I read through something only to discover there’s no clear action steps or cohesive wrap-up on how to implement the ideas presented.
    Theresa recently posted..Sleepy Hollow: Epi 1:3 Triumph of EvilMy Profile

    • Without clear steps it’s so easy to feel lost. Okay, I’ve got all of the information, but what order do I use it in? Where do I start? It can turn a good product into something full of frustrating trial and error.

  2. Since I just finished my ebook, and will soon be trying my hand at reports and tip sheets to help sell it this is great information to have. I especially appreciate the TOC tutorial link. Thanks for taking time to list these.
    Nita recently posted..Dance The Pain AwayMy Profile

    • Glad to help. This post really does two things. On one hand it helps my readers so they don’t make these mistakes, on the other hand I’ve got the selfish desire to get to review better info products. lol

  3. Ann Covey says:

    Love the tip about giving people an action plan.

    It’s not just the information, it’s what they do with it!

    Thanks for this!


    • I love action plans. They really turn an average or good product into a great product. I like being able to see a general outline of what I need to do to make a plan work.

  4. Hi Amanda! I’ve been watching your blog for awhile but just saw you are doing the UBC. So cool! This was a great article and really important. I’ve started doing information products and several have told me “hold back” don’t give away too much or you’re not going to sell what you really want to sell after your freebie. But honestly, doing things half-ass is just stupid. Give a complete product or they are just going to be ticked off and skip your paid product anyway.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Looking forward to more.
    Misty Spears recently posted..Where Can You Find an Editor?My Profile

    • When it comes to a freebie, I try to pick a related topic rather than the topic my product is about because I hate holding back. It makes me feel like I’m purposely making things hard on my reader if I hold back.

      For example, for my upcoming product about writing Amazon reviews my freebie is a short guide to how people make money writing reviews.

      Your readers can tell when you’re holding back or just not giving all of the info and as a reader it’s infuriating to see! I don’t like giving away my hard earned money for only half of the story, you know?

  5. Hi Amanda –

    No table of contents???? Pish-Tosh – Don’t bother!

    In all honesty, I don’t mind a short biography. It helps me to get to know the person that I am dealing with. I always include a hobby or two and musical tastes in mine. Maybe that will help to make a connection. Maybe not relevant – but it can give someone insight as to who I am.

    I hate it when chunks are missing – I hate it when someone leaves out missing info in a tutorial or something. For instance, I purchased software that was suppose to help me create dynamic fan pages on facebook – looked good on paper, but when I started watching the video and he was discussing tabs etc I had no clue what he was talking about, nor did he explain, nor did he get back to me with the support! Don’t assume that I know what you know.

    An overview is one thing – step-by-step should be just that!

    I did not know that you did reviews – what do you charge? email me if you can with the particulars. Thanks

    Donald Thomas recently posted..Mind Mapping (For Productivity)My Profile

    • A short bio is good. I recently picked up a product that had a 10 page bio though, and the entire product was 30 pages! I want to know a bit about the writer, I don’t want to know EVERYTHING about them. Some background and flavor before getting to the info is great though.

      What kind of reviews are you looking for? You can use my contact form to get in touch with me any time!

  6. I totally agree with everything you said here. I also think I’m guilty of not giving the “final steps” lately, but it was an oversight and not because I was trying to hold something back! 🙂

    When is your Amazon review book coming out?
    Bonnie Gean recently posted..30 Snippets You May Not Know About MeMy Profile

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