Remember Photoshop Version 3.0?
I sure do. I started drawing cartoons way back in the year 1995. And then along came Version 4, Version 5, Version 6, Version—well, you get the picture, don't you? Soon enough I was buying every single version that came along and today, decades later, I'm still a Photoshop user.
But what's Photoshop got to do with your information-products anyway?
Think about it for a second…
When you're buying software, would you prefer Version 1 or the current, shiniest version? Well, the same applies to information-products. When you have versions of your info-products, you effectively cannibalise the earlier version of the same product. In effect, you destroy the earlier version, so that the new version can live.
So why bother with a new version?
Because if you're anything like me, and you liked Version 1, you'll soon want Version 2, Version 3 etc. Every Version can be sold with additional or better-presented information. And invariably the customer is keen to buy into that new version.
By burying your old version, you've improved your product (something we all should do) and created a whole new source of income with the new version.
So let's say you have a dance course on DVD
And let's say you just put it together in a hurry, forgetting to give it a Version name. But now, hey, you've realised, hmm, this cannibalisation thing is a good idea. So you get better video lighting, better video cameras, more precise information and you've got a Version 2 of the course. Suddenly, your jaded course has got a new lease of life.
The moment your audience hears of something new, they want it right away. And this includes your existing clients (those who bought the original version) as well as those who haven't bought anything at all.
Of course you have to treat the existing folk with a ton of respect
And Photoshop (and other software companies) give us direction here as well. They give their existing clients an upgrade price, maybe even a few extra goodies. And you know what follows next, right?
Yes, yes it does. In fact, if you've noticed, we do this a fair bit at Psychotactics as well. If you notice, for instance, The Brain Audit is Version 3.2. That means Version 1 existed. And so did Version 2. And a Version 3 (for a very short while). At every stage, clients bought into the versions. And every new version was good enough reason to blow our trumpets and re-launch the new and improved product.
Being new is nice, but improved is better
You probably know this already, but you can't just slap a new version on your product and bring out. You've got to put in new elements. But while new is very important, improved is even better. For instance, we've been holding the Article Writing Course since 2006. In all these years, we've learned a lot.
However the Article Writing Course stayed in its original version all these years (Hint: Not a lot changes in the methodology of article writing). But what's changed is what we've learned about customers and how they learn. And those concepts, newer examples etc. make for a much better, tighter product.
However, there's one little caveat
Over the years, I've found it's much, much, much, much, much easier to create a new product than improving an existing one. An existing one is like remodelling a house. There's a lot that needs to be left standing. It's often easier to just trash the entire house and start again. And that should give you a bit of a clue.
If you're going to recreate the product, start as if you've never created it before. Start with a fresh plan, fresh mind and only dip into the existing product every now and then. And you'll have a product that's instantly attractive to yourself (as the creator), but also interesting to your audience.
And here's instant proof…
If I were to tell you that the Article Writing Course, Version 2.0 is soon to be available, what's your reaction?
I thought so. If you're an existing client you want to see what's in 2.0. If you're not, hey, there's reason to peek into what's available anyway. And so, you prove it to yourself, at this very minute, that you're interested.
And notice something: You haven't seen a sales letter. You don't know the price. You don't even know what's going to be covered or left out. And the interest still goes up quite a bit.
That is what cannibalisation of products is all about
You take your next version of your information product and let it gobble up the older product. Chomp, chomp, chomp.
It's worth the trip for you—and your client.
And it's profitable too.
P.S. You can do the same with services as well. But hey, since the title was about information products, I stuck to that topic.
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