How To Create Multimedia CD’s (Tutorial)

March 31, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Product Reviews 

Following my last newsletter (eBay Digital Item Restrictions) I got a lot of emails from readers asking me how they could go about creating their own CD’s to sell on eBay. I replied to those emails telling them that it was my plan to create a step by step guide showing just how it’s done.

Well….Someone beat me too it!

Dave Nicholson from Planet Divinity (The design company) has created a product that shows you exactly how the whole process can be done from your own home PC, this includes:

– How to place all of your contents onto CD/DVD

– How to structure your CD/DVD to optimize the simplicity and quality of your product.

– How to make a simple menu system that will link to your CD/DVD products

– How to integrate an auto-responder newsletter subscription form

– How to make your CD/DVD automatically run once inserted

– How to earn even more by adding an upsell to your product

All of the above points are great, but they were all going to be included in my own guide, so what makes Dave’s guide a lot better than mine?

THIS….

1. 5 CD/DVD menu templates for your auto-run disc navigation, complete with PSD source file

2. 5 DVD/CD box templates for your DVD/CD boxes, complete with PSD source file

3. 5 CD case templates for your CD cases, complete with PSD source file

4. 5 CD/DVD label templates for your actual discs, complete with PSD source file

You’ll remember earlier that I mentioned Dave runs the Planet Divinity design firm, so he’s using that to his advantage by providing us with a total of 20 different CD, Menu, Box and label images that we can use to create our CD’s, he also supplies them in PSD format so we can edit them to fit our needs.

So without any further chatter, clear your cookies and then head on over to Dave’s page using the location below:

http://elpassoblog.com/recs/CD_Tutorial.php

Let me know if you have any questions!

Cheers,
Dan

My Take On The eBay Digital Item Restrictions

March 27, 2008 by · 33 Comments
Filed under: eBay Information 

My Take On The eBay Digital Item Restrictions

So, the end of the world is nigh, from March 31st eBay are to ban you from listing any digital item that is sent to the buyer in the form of a download link.

As you can imagine there has been an immense amount of backlash towards eBay from hundreds, if not thousands of eBay sellers and I’ve been lurking around taking in all sides of the coin. I also came across this on my travels which I couldn’t resist posting – full credit to “krazzykats” on the eBay forum who originally posted the image below:

eBay Dress Code

I’m not going to be giving you a rant on the rights and wrongs of the decision, but what I am going to do with you today is to show you how you can continue to sell your eBooks on eBay, and how it could open the door to an endless amount of new income streams and opportunities.

For my first piece of advice, I’m going to do something that I haven’t done before:

I’M DISAGREEING WITH JOHN THORNHILL!
(now imagine some spooky music has just been played)

I’d imagine that 99% of you will know who John is, but for those who don’t – John is the ultimate eBay eBook seller and to work within the new rules, John is advising you to ship the eBooks on a CD – which I agree with. What I don’t agree with is this comment on Johns blog he posted today: (Click here to see what i’m disagreeing with)

“First of all I know the automation side of things disappear, I know you can use fulfillment services but for me personally I wouldn’t do it. I need to be in full control of my eBay business.”

The first thing John mentions is that the automation side of things disappears, but I don’t agree, and here’s why.

It’s now (or will be on March 31st) illegal to send buyers any download link for the product they purchased via email, but it’s not illegal to use your digital delivery scripts to send notification to the buyer once they have paid – all it takes is a quick edit of the email template that gets sent out and you are in business.

How does something like this sound:

“Dear Bob Smith,

Many thanks for purchasing Dan’s Guide On Taming Shrews With Attitude Problems, your CD is currently making it’s way towards the comfy cardboard delivery sleeve and will be waiting for you on your door mat within the next 5 days.

We appreciate that these 5 days will be a tough wait for you. So in the meantime, how would you like to get your hands on 5 free eBooks as a thankyou for your custom:

www.elpassoblog.com/newsletter

We would love to deal with you again, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer customer!

Many Thanks,
Dan The Friendly eBay Seller”

With your CD’s taking around 5 days to arrive, there is a window of opportunity there waiting for you to use to your advantage. The email above is slightly tongue in cheek, but think about it, how many other sellers of physical goods can offer the buyer added bonuses that they can check out BEFORE they get there hands on the item they purchased.

You can use those 5 days to build up a relationship with the buyer, and that’s BEFORE they even receive the eBook they purchased from you, by the time it comes through their door in some cool looking cardboard sleeve they will already be loving your service as you’ve gone the extra mile and delivered something of added value to them that they weren’t expecting – can you imagine the sort of feedback you could receive if you put this into place?

Now more on the lovely cardboard sleeve…

John recommends that you do the burning, packaging and shipping of the CD yourself. Let’s look at the costs involved with that:

1.  Jiffy bags/CD wallets to post in
2.  Blank CD’s to burn the items on to
3.  Machine to print labels on the blank CD’s
4.  Ink for the CD labels
5.  A label printer for the addresses
6.  The price to ship the CD
7.  The endless queues at the post office!

This aint good for my back!

The above would give you total control over the shipping process, but how much time would all of that take if you were to do it day to day, and if you had a full time job as well, would you be able to find time for the daily trip to the post office?

Now let’s compare that with my solution –

Use an on-demand CD printing and shipping service!

I’ve used www.swiftcd.com in the past for a number of different projects, you simply upload the “Master” CD to them via their website, and then each time someone purchases your item, you just log onto the website, fill out the delivery form with the buyers name and address, and hey-presto, SwiftCD burn, print and ship your CD to the end user.

Not only will it take a lot less time than doing all of this yourself, I think that the end product would also look a lot more professional. Take a look at an example CD I had shipped by Swift:

A CD of mine for a project that has never seen the light of day

I also think that when you look at the cost of shipping and burning the CD’s yourself, SwiftCD could actually work out cheaper – especially if you are in the UK!

For the basic mailing package (which is all you’ll need), the cost of burning the CD and printing your artwork (or just a text label) on the CD is just $3.69, you then have the shipping costs which are currently $0.41 to a US address and $0.90 to a non-US address.

So in total you are looking at less than $5, or £2.50 per CD. When you work out how much it would cost you to do this manually, and the amount of time you would waste queueing at the post office is it really going to be cheaper to do it yourself?

I should also point out that the pricing mentioned above was correct at the time of writing, for an upto date pricing guide check out the links below:

CD Creation: http://www.swiftcd.com/FAQ/Pricing.htm
Shipping Prices: http://www.swiftcd.com/faq/shipping.html

I will also point out that any links in this post are NOT affiliate links, I have no affiliation with SwiftCD other than being a happy customer for a number of years. There are of course other companies out there and you may be able to find better deals if you dig around!

I’d love to hear your comments on what seems to be a very poignant subject to a lot of you.

As always thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it,
Regards,
Dan

A Simple Way To Create Another Income Stream

March 17, 2008 by · 12 Comments
Filed under: General Chat 

A Simple Way To Create Another Income Stream

If you are anything like me you will always be on the look out for a new way to make a bit of extra cash. The hard thing is finding something that is easy to set up and then runs on auto-pilot…so let me present to you:

The Super Income Power Blaster 3000 Pro!

Just kidding…this method doesn’t really need an over-hyped title or even a sales page with shiny graphics. It won’t make you Heather Mills rich, but at least you won’t have to marry an ageing Beatle to make a living! (Apologies if you came to this post via my email notification – I just did the same joke twice)

The method that I am talking about today is the good old fashioned “ezine”

Now you may think that the ezine died out with the dinosaurs but I think you would be wrong. I personally still subscribe to a lot of free ezines for subjects that I find interesting, you won’t be surprised to hear that my interests are the usual dull subjects of web design and coding standards but each to their own!

These ezines are sent out on autopilot every few days. The owner of the ezine makes their money by displaying adverts that are relevant to the content of the ezine. Take one of my ezines for an example; one day I received an informative article on new SEO (Search Engine Optimization) standards, and half way through the article there was an ad for a free trial of some new SEO software. I downloaded the trial and then purchased the software, which then made the owner of the ezine a commission.

The great thing about these ezines (or at least the ezines I receive) is that the content isn’t actually written by the owner of the ezine. The owner simply sifts through the article directories looking for good, informative articles and then add’s the article to the email/ezine template.

So, what do you need to get started?

1. A subject!

2. You need to decide how you will deliver your ezine – via email or will you send them a web page that contains the article?

3. You’ll need an auto responder like Aweber to send out the automated emails

That’s it!

If you are able to find a good subject that a lot of people are looking for information on you could quickly generate a big base of readers/subscribers. The internet may have changed over the past few years but people still love free, top quality information and in my opinion, there is no better way to distribute this information than through an ezine.

I’d love to hear your own opinions on this, do you subscribe to any ezines? Or maybe you already run an ezine, if so do you have any tips for us ezine newbies?

Until next time,
Regards,
Dan