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Product Development by Neil Stafford

Neil has kindly let me reprint this from the 'Internet Marketing Review' forum which he hosts - details at the bottom of this page ...

I recently received an email from an IMR Member (Anthony Woodridge) and although it wasn’t an unpleasant email it was quite frank and forthright telling me I was wrong to say that product development and selling on the Internet was easy!

Well, first of all, what I actually said was product development was simple, not easy! And simple it is, however, if it was easy everyone would be doing it.

I’ve always said product development does take a bit of work and effort but the rewards are tremendous.

Anyway to cut a long story short he ‘challenged me to produce a product, that could be sold via the internet, on his hobby……… keeping!!!

Fish keeping was his hobby and he was convinced that I couldn’t develop a product for that market…..never mind one that sells!

Did I manage it… on!

The first step I took was to go out and buy several ‘Fish’ magazines to supplement the Internet research I would be undertaking.

I knew I didn’t want a ‘generic’ product on fish keeping so I looked for a niche that was crying out for information/services/products.

I searched under many different keywords in the search engines looking at web sites, newsgroups, discussion lists and ezines.

After a while I noticed (from the research) that the breeding of fish was a topic that always produced a lot questions. This was backed up by articles and letters in the magazines I had bought.

Had I found my niche?

Research showed that different fish have different breeding patterns so a general ‘Fish Breeding’ product wouldn’t do. Back to a bit more research.

Several of the newsgroups and email discussion lists had questions about breeding Black Ghost Fish. Did you know that Black Ghost Fish are from the Amazon and are best kept singularly or in groups of up to 4 fish as they are very territorial? Anyway I digress!

Had I found my niche? I had to see if there was a market for a product about breeding Black Ghost Fish.

Using tools on and Wordsearch I found that over the last couple of months 6000+ searches had been done on the keywords ‘fish breeding’ (including related words & phrases) and 1600+ searches on ‘Black Ghost Fish’.That’s not including all networks. I had a market!

I spent the next couple of days compiling all the information I could find on breeding and keeping Black Ghost Fish.

I then arranged this information into a logical order using my handy formula and found that I had enough information to produce an information product with over 200 pages!

Product Development ... I’ve always said product development does take a bit of work and effort but the rewards are tremendous.

What’s my formula? A simple one!

  • Pick a topic
  • Write down 25 Chapter Titles / Headlines
  • Write 4 Sub Chapter titles / Headlines under each of the 25 main topics
  • For each of the 4 sub chapters write 2 pages of information for each one.

The result is a 200 page information product. 25x4x2 = 200 As it worked out, due to the amount of information I had compiled, I had over 250 pages of information including pictures, diagrams etc


If you’ve ever bought an information product via the Internet you will have been offered a variety of bonuses to encourage you to invest in the main product.

Often the bonuses are worth far more combined than the main product on offer! What could I use for bonuses to encourage people to buy my product at the price I set?

An important consideration is that any and all bonuses must be of the same high quality and perceived benefit to potential customers as the main product.

The first bonus I will offer is a report listing 100 top fish keeping sites as I already have these from the research I undertook.

The second bonus is similar to the top 100 concept and will be the top 10, 20, or 30 etc. Fish Breeding Tips.

I will also arrange to ‘interview’ an ‘expert’ on fish breeding over the phone and have the call recorded. I have already identified over a dozen people as candidates from my research, and it only takes one! Why should they agree to take part?

Simple……I will explain what I am doing and that the interview will give them exposure to the market, build up their credibility and at the end of the interview I will ask them to tell the listeners how they can contact them or their business for more information. I will also send them a copy of the interview, on CD, that they will be free to sell or give away as a product of their own. To ensure the interview runs smoothly I will email/fax the questions before hand so they can make any additions or amends if needed.

I now have my bonuses!

Pricing the Product

I have set 2 price points for the product and bonuses depending on what the customer wants. Option One Standard Package

  • This will be an electronic download only version and will sell for £47.00 Option 2 Gold Package
  • This will include an electronic download version (For immediate gratification) Plus a printed manual in a 4 ring binder, the interview on CD, a separate CD with the 100 top sites and Fish Breeding Tips. I will also include free email updates as new methods of breeding arise. Price £97.00

How did I determine the price?

I asked the market! I emailed a few of the sites from my research to see what their reaction was to the pricing and also gained permission to post a question on some of the Newsgroups asking for feedback.


With my topic picked, product produced, bonuses and pricing in place I moved onto my marketing plan. How would I market this product?

Free Methods

1) Press releases/articles – Using the information I had already gathered I will compile a short article about Black Ghost Fish that is compelling, interesting and very beneficial to the people who read it. I’ll then submit it to offline magazines and online ezines with full permission for them to reprint it as long as my contact details are given at the end of the article.

2) I have identified high profile websites and offline publications that reach my target market and I will send them a FREE copy of the product, with my compliments, for a review. Using this method I will not only receive a review in the magazine I will also receive feedback that I can use as testimonials in my sales letter.

Paid Marketing

  1. Using the Pay Per Click Search Engines such as, and I will bid on keywords to drive targeted traffic to my site.
  2. Ezine adverts. I’ve Identified 4 ezines with a high circulation of readers with an interest in Fish keeping and Breeding where I will place adverts for my product.
  3. Affiliate Program & Joint Ventures – Using the sites I found in my research I will email the owner of each site showing them how they can earn 50% commission on each referred sale by simply telling their customers, prospects, visitors about my product. This way I will have 100’s of web sites and ezines promoting my product and I will only pay out when a sale is made.

What else can I do?

Free search Engine submission, Newsgroup and Discussion list postings, contact Associations and Groups the list goes on! Repeat or Back End Sales As a good Marketer or Product Developer you should always be on the look out for repeat sales to increase your profit. I asked myself what could I offer as a back end to customers who bought my product. The list is literally endless.

I now know how to put together an ebook package about Black Ghost Fish breeding, do you think I could do the same for other types of fish?

You bet!

And do you think that a percentage of my existing customers would buy that product as well? I guarantee it!

A ready made market!!!!!

I could sign up as an affiliate of other products myself and offer them via email to my customers.

Plus, if I really wanted to, I could run a teleseminar about breeding Black Ghost Fish. I would email my customers and prospects for questions before hand and ask my interview expert to take part as well!

The opportunities are endless!!!


Going back to why I did this product and the Challenge set by IMR Member Anthony Woodridge. Do you think Anthony is now satisfied that there is a huge potential market within his hobby…Yes he is! Did I give him all my research..NO WAY!

For Anthony to hire me to do all the product development for him would have cost him a fortune on my daily consulting rate, but what I did do was set HIM a challenge. I gave him a list of all the sites I visited, magazines I’d bought and addresses of website owners to contact.

I also gave him the marketing plan, pricing points and bonus ideas and then challenged him to have his product finished within 2 months. It took me less than 4 days on and off to complete everything except the telephone interview, I even gave Anthony the names of the people to contact for the telephone interview.

I challenged him to produce the product, put up a web sales letter and start taking orders within 2 months and I’ll even help him with the web sales letter and order taking process!

If he doesn’t do it……..I’ll then go to market with my product and, as a conservative estimate, make between £4000 and £7000 within 60 days of launch.

See……product creation is simple…’s not easy as it does require thought, effort and most importantly a desire to do it.

What would you do?

Take my FULL plan and produce a product or sit back and make excuses why it won’t work? Think how you can apply the above techniques to your own hobby or interests…..

Remember that people will buy what they are interested in and it doesn’t have to be about ‘how to make money’. The ‘Hobby’ Market is huge! Find a niche, find what that niche desires and create a product to fill that desire.

Best wishes

Neil Stafford

Author Neil Stafford - Editor Internet Marketing Review


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