Yesterday I was sitting on a train going into London when I thought I’d take a look around the carriage just to see what everyone was doing. I wanted to make a mental note because my five year old son always asks me ‘what happened at your work today Daddy?’ So I put my newspaper down and took a look around me.
The chap beside me was reading a book about selling, the woman on the other side of the aisle was using her computer and the two men opposite me were discussing a presentation they had seen. Then it struck me - everyone around me was an ‘information consumer’. Everything they were doing involved the consumption of information that somebody else had provided.
Now that shouldn’t have surprised me too much. After all, that’s what I do - I sell information to people. But it was the train journey that reminded me how much information people are buying. They are getting it from books, online, in meetings, via reports - all sorts of ways. We live in an information society nowadays.
That means there is an opportunity for you. Whatever business you are in, you deal with information - and people will pay you for what you know and what you have experienced.
Just six months ago my main business was speaking at seminars, conferences and running workshops. Now I’ve changed the way I earn my money by selling the information I used to give at talks and meetings directly to people who would otherwise be in my audience. And I am doing that online. People can download my talks, or they can buy ‘ebooks’ I have written about the subjects I specialise in (business psychology, if you must know). And it’s working.
In the past year, the Internet has gone from being just a source of referrals to my business, to being the prime source of my business. Last year about 2% of my income came from the Internet; now it's 95%. And the switch has been because I deliver information online.
Many businesses, however, do not take advantage of the huge consumer thirst for information. Instead, they just provide brochures and catalogues online. But what Internet users want is the information and the knowledge that exists within businesses.
So, to enhance your business and to ensure that your company succeeds online, make sure you provide information and knowledge-based products, such as ebooks and audio files. That way you'll be tapping into the consumer demand for information. You will be able to make money out of selling the information you normally keep only for your customers. With the Internet you can now sell that information to anyone.
Graham Jones is the lead speaker at Information Marketing 2005 - http://www.informationmarketing2005.co.uk