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The Continuity Product | Internet Marketing’s Holy Grail

Continuity Product

The latest and most popular format for delivery of “product” on the internet is what online marketers call the “continuity product”. 

Because of it’s viral ability to grow internet marketing profits and income, the continuity product has become somewhat of a holy grail in the arena.

 

What Is a Continuity Product?

Essentially, a continuity product is one where the vendor receives a continuous stream of money in exchange for updating his or her product on a regular basis.

So, for instance, a vendor might have an information product that she updates with new trainings and strategies on a regular basis. Or he might supplement an information product by doing regular trainings in the form of a skype community chat session, teleseminar or maybe a webinar. These supplemental and regularly scheduled sessions might be organized as Q&A or additional training sessions.

The Vendor’s Consideration for Developing a Continuity Product

Continuity products are essentially digital products. Therefore, they’re quite popular with vendors on the internet.

There is no physical product that needs to be created or shipped. Vendors need only develop a process for putting information on a website and disseminating it to paying customers.

There is no such thing as a return of merchandise, because there is no physical merchandise. Most vendors simply stop charging a customer if and when they become dissatisfied with being a consumer of that particular continuity product.

Vendors also like continuity products for the most obvious reason.

They get paid on an ongoing and regular basis.

Unlike a single-use product where a vendor would get paid one time only, a continuity product requires a customer to pay on a regular (usually monthly) basis in order to continue consuming the ever-evolving and dynamic “product”.

There are several downsides to continuity products for vendors though.

One is that prospective buyers are more reluctant to purchase a continuity product because they know that they will be obligated to continue making payments on a regular basis.

Not only that, but the vendor must “maintain” his/her product.  She must continually update and increase the value of the product, and cannot simply bank profits and walk away once the “continuity product” is sold.

The Buyer’s Consideration When Purchasing A Continuity Product

Customers are generally wary of continuity products because they are well aware of their obligation to make monthly payments.

In fact, I have actually heard quite a bit of buzz on the internet lately about continuity products from the buyer perspective.  Many people equate the continuity product with some kind of scam.

The fact that a product has a continual evolution (in terms of content as well as “tuition” payments) however, is not in my opinion any kind of scam in and of itself.

Actually, the evolutionary features of the continuity product, and its dynamic nature, are precisely what make it more valuable to a consumer.

I suppose it is considered a scam by some people because they feel that consumers were somehow duped into making monthly payments.

I think customers are generally more sophisticated than that. I think people are fully aware of the requirement to make monthly payments. That’s exactly why continuity products are tougher to sell then single-use products in the first place.

I believe, further, that in order to become successful online people need to find some kind of community that is dynamic, evolving, continually growing. Very few people will get a single-use product, study it and immediately have the understanding and knowledge to implement it.

For the most part, people that think a continuity product and its spin-off community involves too much of a commitment.  These same people probably do not really take the business of internet marketing very seriously. In fact, it’s probably not really a business for them at all, as much as it is a curiosity or a hobby.

The argument that continuity products are too expensive and too demanding of a person’s  time, is the same one that could be made of getting a university education.

It goes something like this:

You want to have a great job as an accountant, but you have no intention of spending a lot of money for some scam-University that just wants you to spend a lot of money on “education”.

You don’t need to spend a bunch of money going to Harvard University just so that you can learn how to be an accountant.

You could do that for free just by the browsing the internet and picking up some hot tips and bullet-point strategies.

Besides, once you start taking classes at Harvard, they’ll probably just tell you to take more classes, then they will want you to buy overpriced textbooks, and probably recommend you pay dues to be a member of a professional society.

It’s all just an excuse so people running Harvard can make a bunch of money on you, and you’ll probably never get an accounting job anyway.

Sound familiar?

Not with brick and mortar education, maybe, but many people use exactly these arguments when discussing internet education.

The argument is, essentially, that if someone’s making money (be it a university or an online continuity product), then you’re getting scammed.  If someone is convincing you to invest money, then whatever they’re selling must be a little value to you.

Now, some continuity products may not be very valuable, for sure. Some may even be scams in the sense that they try to get a lot of money from you for very little return value.

But if you want to succeed with internet marketing, I don’t think you can do it very easily without being involved in a professional community.  And those are typically attached to one continuity product or another.

I suggest that if you’re serious about internet marketing, or making money online in any way…

make it your business to find a top quality continuity product. Then make it your business to get deeply involved in its professional and educational community.

I am involved in ongoing memberships and continuity products.  I pay a pretty good amount of money for them.

But they’ve been, without any doubt, the single greatest asset to my growth in this industry.

This blog post is not about promoting a product or a community to you. So I’ll not divulge what exactly my involvement are.

But this post is about encouraging you to do your own due diligence to find the right continuity product and community for yourself.

Don’t get swayed by the do-nothings and get-nowheres who will always tell you that anything involving hard work, continual involvement and sometimes challenging monetary investment is a waste of your time and resources.

I’ve seen very few people succeed online without making an investment in, and commitment to professional communities and at least one continuity product that they maintain continual and enthusiastic involvement in.

I’d love to hear your comments and perspective.  I’d especially like to know what your experience has been with continuity products.

David Merrill 101
I'm an Internet Marketer and Online Marketing Coach. My students learn no-nonsense, power strategies and techniques to build solid blogging and internet businesses. David Merrill+

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28 Responses to The Continuity Product | Internet Marketing’s Holy Grail

  1. John Gaydon May 28, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Hi David,

    You have covered this subject pretty thoroughly.

    I have some products I pay monthly for, and have purchased many one offs too.

    The good thing about a continuity product is that it helps keep you motivated to do something. When you see that credit card charge every month it reminds you of the investment you made. With a one off, I have seen people with a room full of courses in their original wrappers, and countless on line purchases sitting on the hard drive.

    While in the money making arena, it is difficult at times to see what you can actually use to make more money, a monthly mastermind group or tapping into someone who keeps up to date with the fast changing internet is a wise investment.
    John Gaydon´s last blog post ..On Sunday I went Back To My Youth

  2. Sadie-Michaela Harris May 29, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Hello David,

    Really detailed post and an insightful share. I have not myself stepped too much into continuity plan websites. Though I am a member of a few online mastermind groups, most of which are centered around Skype or private Facebook groups, most with real world meet ups from time to time. Some of them I pay to belong to and I reap the benefit of the contacts I have within them. OtherS I was invited to join as knowledge sharer and have an honorary membership.

    I have heard some horror stories though of people not being able to stop continuity plans because they have to go through a customer support line to cancel and can never reach anyone.

    It is my thought that anyone who wants to run a business and truly serve their community would not behave in such a manner. Clinging desperately on to an unhappy customer by his purse strings is very disreputable and short sighted way of doing business!

    Enjoyed the post will be back so see what other people think too, good topic! 🙂
    Sadie-Michaela Harris´s last blog post ..Inside Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg May 2012

  3. Julieanne van Zyl June 5, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Hi David, I think continuity products are a great idea, and like you, I’m a member of a few (and have been a member of many others).

    I got caught a few years ago, and it was probably my fault for not reading the fine print. I got all excited about this Data traveller I was going to be sent for free, and it was going to have all this training on it! After a few weeks, the data traveller arrived at my house, along with the training material on it.

    Then, after a couple of months, I noticed these substantial amounts being debited from my credit card account. It was only then, I realised what I’d done. I had signed up for a continuity program, but I didn’t read the fine print, where it said I was going to be billed monthly. Oops! Something to be careful about – read everything on the order page.

    I think that’s why some of them have been accused of being a scam – it’s because the purchasers have NOT read the fine print (like me). Although, more recently, people are making the terms and conditions MUCH clearer!

    Thanks for your educational post David, it’s a relevant and important topic!

    Regards from Julieanne
    Julieanne van Zyl´s last blog post ..Choosing a Domain Name

    • David Merrill 101 June 18, 2012 at 12:25 am #

      Good to hear your story, Julianne.

      It’s a common one, unfortunately.

      I think you point out one of the big reasons that people think of continuity programs as scams. It’s often not clear to them how much the product costs and the fact that they’re be automatically billed for it. Vendors should make this more clear, I agree totally.

      To use the analogy of formal education, though, few students are clearly aware of how much they’ll have to pay for their university degree until after they graduate. Then, when they get the bill, they are often quite surprised. Quite often, they haven’t even got a job yet, so they can’t begin to afford to pay it.

      So, does this make the university degree a scam? And does it prove that university educations “don’t work”?

  4. Sylviane Nuccio June 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Hi David,

    I agree with you, continuity product doesn’t mean scam. I like the Harvard example that you take here. A lot of people “see” scams only when they are kind of brain washed to do so and they don’t for the same reason.

    As I was reading your post I was thinking of my blog theme as a continuity product since every year I’ve got to pay for it again. However, I do not see this as a scam since the product is constantly updated and such updates are very important for the theme to function well.

    Thanks for this info David 🙂
    Sylviane Nuccio´s last blog post ..Why Writing For Peanuts When You Could Write For Big Buck?

    • David Merrill 101 June 18, 2012 at 12:20 am #

      Absolutely, Sylviane.

      Anytime you’re delivering content on a regular basis, whether you charge a fee or not, you are developing a continuity product that your visitors, subscribers or customers can benefit from.

  5. Shamelle June 6, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    It’s a good approach to opt-in for a continuity product.

    At the same time, we should consider other factors such as the price of the product, click through rate and importantly whether people are already buying the product.
    If we just base our decision to promote a product on the concept of “continuity” it might not be too successful.
    Shamelle´s last blog post ..How To Turn Blog Readers Into Raving Fans Who Happily Spread The Word About Your Blog Content

    • David Merrill 101 June 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      Thanks for your input, Shamelle.

      It’s true, you have to weigh all the factors that will help you determine which community is the right one for you to join.

      But I strongly suggest you find at least ONE, and stick with it.

  6. marquita herald June 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    I really like the way you’ve outlined this topic David. I think we’ve all known or at least come across people who feel they are just being clever never trusting, always hold out for the free or DIY approach to life. As I read your article I couldn’t help but think about a membership program that I joined when I first started. There was a monthly fee that I couldn’t really afford at the time, but it was an investment that I never regreted for a second because I learned SO much from that experience and I no doubt saved a lot of lost time and heartache attempting to figure things out on my own. As to developing continuity products – I suffer commitment issues so I’d probably have a tough time with that on a long term basis 🙂
    marquita herald´s last blog post ..Learn to Appreciate Life More Through Everyday Mindfulness

    • David Merrill 101 June 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience, Marquita.

      It’s good for us to see the path that others, like you, have walked before us.

      If you ever do decide to make the commitment to create your own continuity product, I know you’d be a great leader of a professional community, Marquita.

      Just sayin’ “If” 🙂

  7. Tatjana June 8, 2012 at 1:57 am #

    I’ve been always sceptic with continuity products, but I couldn’t give a rational explanation for that. Actually, I don’t think that there’s any rational explanation for purchases. I think that we all make emotional decisions while purchase something, and we only generate some rational reasons to explain our decision.
    Tatjana´s last blog post ..How are teeth implants made?

    • David Merrill 101 June 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

      It doesn’t matter so much, Tatjana, whether or not we choose the right community at the outset.

      Most of them have free or very low cost trial periods. So just jump in, if it’s not what you’re looking for, jump out.

      But if you jump out, make it your business to keep at it until you find the RIGHT community for you. One way or another, you Do need to get involved in one or another.

  8. nick June 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Hey David, I read many blog post lately, but must congratulate you because yours is one of teh most clear, detailed and very informative… hope one day I can do the same and help otehrs more…
    Thank You very much for taking time to be as you are… love the Continuity Product part.. wow, that is a revelation..

    Look forward to more reading.. thanks again
    nick
    nick´s last blog post ..What is Getting in The Way to Success?

    • David Merrill 101 June 15, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

      Thanks Nick.

      Glad this gave you some insight into the heart of the business. You can’t be serious about running an online business if you’re not willing to invest your time and money into it. A continuity community is the cornerstone of success online. It’s not a matter of IF you need to join one, it’s a matter of WHEN will you, and WHICH ONE best suits your needs.

  9. Micahel June 12, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    This is a great explanation of the ins and outs of continuity programs, David, thank you for sharing it.

    I have been in a number of continuity programs and some of them have been wonderful and worth every penny, and some, well, not quite. For me the ones that worked the best were those in which new and valuable items appeared each month, and the ones that did not work out so great were those where the service or product never changed, but you had to keep paying for it.

    Kind of like a lot of things, though, some were great products and some were never great to start with. It sure makes sens what you are saying about doing your due diligence though, I have been saved a number of times by just a bit of waiting and searching. 🙂
    Micahel´s last blog post ..Start Right Now To Feel Better

    • David Merrill 101 June 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

      Thanks for your insights, Michael.

      It’s important to point out, as you have done here, that some community involvement turns out to be less than valuable. But there are others that will make the whole difference in whether or not you ever reach your goals.

      As a professional, it’s your responsibility to find the right community to guide your development, and it’s your responsibility to depart from those who are not living up to your requirements.

  10. Raena Lynn June 12, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Hi David,

    You did it again. You’ve created a high value, info packed post. I completely agree with you about your take on continuity products. I am a member of more than one, and they are well worth the monthly fees. A well developed, professional continuity product provides training, fellowship, community, and value. In some cases it is similar to being a part of a mastermind group. I too would encourage the serious entrepreneur to do their due diligence and find a great continuity program.

    There are are a lot of excellent ones out there and if you are serious about your business, it is a must do. Education costs money no matter what, so surfing the internet to find tidbits of knowledge will only lead to frustration. If you join one and are not satisfied, it is only a matter of cancelling. If the product provider does not deliver updated, valuable content, it doesn’t take long to figure it out. Thanks for this thorough review of continuity products.

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn´s last blog post ..youtube first page Rank Is Possible

    • David Merrill 101 June 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

      I’m glad to hear from a true professional in the field on this topic, Raena.

      It’s not very likely that you’ll succeed online without involving yourself in a professional community. To try going it alone is like trying to study medicine without going to medical school, but by browsing through the public library for random chemistry and biology books.

      Thanks for your perspective, Raena, especially since you (like me) are a member in several professional groups.

  11. Brian Lagoni June 13, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Very comprehensive explanation you got here, well-done. This for me is my favorite part that when you talk about continuity product it something that all vendors like but most clients are wary about.

    Regards,

    Brian
    Brian Lagoni´s last blog post ..Confidence Myth Debunked

    • David Merrill 101 June 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

      People are “wary” as they should be. You must do your due diligence before becoming a member in a professional community, of course.

      But, I’m sure you’ll agree, Brian, that until people step up and actually “invest”, both their money and their time, they’re really only dreaming of having an online business, or any other business for that matter.

      I don’t really know of anyone who has been successful without making that investment.

  12. William Earl Amis Jr III June 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    David, the method you have presented is used even with brick and mortar in Boston. We have dentist office per say that update method and equipment to make it more a pleasure seeing them, which most hate.

    Also, our churches use this method on a weekly basis. We have book and media stores inside churches and each time different speakers update books and tapes. Massive people jump at a chance to get the latest.

    I believe we as humans desire quality and like to have the update version of anything tangible.

    Remarkable article David, and your vast wisdom is one that we readers should take action so it can be power we all have. It is a pleasure visiting hear and gaining more insight on this method most would overlook. Thanks David you make a difference in our industry.
    William Earl Amis Jr III´s last blog post ..Can you hear you now?

    • David Merrill 101 July 2, 2012 at 12:25 am #

      You make a good point, William.

      We see continuity development offline in many places. This is not a concept unique to internet marketing, but it is one that is in its infancy stages right now. So, watch for more growth with this.

  13. Laura Morris June 20, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    This was an excellent explanation David, of how continuity products serve us professionally. Like you said, anyone who takes their career seriously must belong to the right community that meets their particular needs.

    I don’t believe that anyone should attempt to hunker down into a business without being properly educated. Your Harvard example was PERFECT! We go nuts sometimes at the people who think that they can skip steps 1-9 and go straight to #10! It does NOT work that way as you well know! As Jim Rohn says “Everyone has to pay their dues! It’s just the way it is!” and investing good bucks in education is a big part of those dues!
    Laura Morris´s last blog post ..6 Ways to Go from Mediocrity to Magic

    • David Merrill 101 July 2, 2012 at 12:33 am #

      Exactly the point, Laura.

      Don’t be in business without educating yourself very, very WELL.

      That means good education and learning on a Continuing basis, by becoming a member of a professional group, via Continuity Product (aka Professional Membership Site).

  14. Linda June 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Hi David, I am a newbie on your site and honestly I am also a newbie to the blogger scene. I’ve just started my blog but I also have made some big resolutions to reach some goals as soon as possible. Your article is really inspirational for me, I’ve never heard about the importance of continuity products before, but from now on, I want to do something like that. Now I only have to figure out how my products could be advertised and managed, your advices and tips are very useful for me, thanks for sharing them.

    • David Merrill 101 July 2, 2012 at 12:39 am #

      Well, Linda, this is EXACTLY why it’s so important to get membership in a professional society, what I’ve called here a Continuity Product.

      You see, a continuity product is really just another way of saying continuous education.

      This is where you’ll learn how to advertise your products and manage your campaigns… and everything else too.

      No serious business person fails to join a professional group for their continuing education and professional guidance.

  15. farouk July 8, 2012 at 4:26 am #

    thanks for the insightful post David
    i love the concept of the continuity product

    • David Merrill 101 July 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

      Yea, a continuity membership in a professional group is really the way to go if you are “serious” about making a real income with internet marketing, Farouk.

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