This is a guest contribution from Danny Iny.
You’ve heard it all before.
Yet another internet marketer has “taken the stage”, extolling the virtues of the newest “revolutionary” product or tactic that is guaranteed to blow the wheels off your competition and have you rolling around in hundred-dollar bills before your next electric bill comes due.
But you can only hear the proclamations so many times before you start to get skeptical.
Like, really skeptical.
So you tune out the noise and do your best to keep your head down, grinding away at the same old thing you’ve been working on for months.
Six months later, after spending countless hours and a lot of money that you really hope you make back in sales…
You end up with the same old outcome.
But what if there was a way to create the kind of success all those “Get Rich Quick” gurus are spouting on about?
What if it turned out to be a process that’s not only profitable, but also scalable and repeatable?
And… what if someone was finally able to crack the code?
Turns out, all it takes is a little bit of telepathy.
Step One: Tune In (Listen to What Your Audience is Broadcasting)
Now, before we get started and you get all excited (or disappointed) that this is (just) another get-rich-quick scheme… ;-)
…let’s get one thing straight: this process takes hard work – a lot of it.
If you don’t put in the work, that fat pile of cash isn’t going to just materialize all by itself.
The first step is to listen to your audience.
I can hear you already: “but, Danny! I do listen to my audience. I give them what they say they want, and they *still* aren’t buying anything that I offer!”
But, chances are that the way that you’re listening isn’t quite what it could be.
First, the good news – chances are that you are an expert in your field, and because you do listen to your audience, you have a good sense of your industry.
But, there’s also bad news – the likelihood is high that you have preconceived notions about both the industry and your customers, and these preconceptions are keeping you from breaking through.
Gather Data About Your Audience
There are a few different ways to collect information from your audience:
- Eavesdropping on Conversations
Even if you don’t have an audience, you can start listening to conversations around the web.
Eavesdropping is the same online as it is in person, and by finding out where your target audience hangs out, you can start to listen to and track the things that they say.
Are they active on Facebook groups or Twitter? Do they leave lots of comments on the big blogs in your industry? Are they involved in forums around your topic?
Pay attention to the exact words that they use to describe the problems.
- Taking note of email conversations
If you already have an established audience, you can use this to your advantage. It’s not a requirement, just an added bonus. FYI, this is the only step that requires an audience!
Take note of the things that your audience emails you about. Do they have specific issues or topics that they bring up regularly? Do many of your readers talk or complain about the same things?
And, if you’re feeling a little bit shaky about your connection to your audience, here’s a great ProBlogger post about building up your blog.
- Simple surveys
Whether you have an audience or not, you can create a simple survey to gather even more data.
And when I say simple, I mean simple: just two questions long!
The first question will be, “if you had 15 minutes to ask me anything, what would it be” – this question can be broadened (and clarified) by including a topic area, if you don’t have an established audience or are bringing people to your survey via advertising.
The second question will then be, “if I promise not to sell you anything, can I follow up with a phone call?”
(Hat tip to Ryan Levesque and his Deep Dive Survey process for the survey information in this section!)
- Informational interviews
Anyone who agreed to the phone call in the survey will then go on to do an informational interview with you.
The most important things to cover in these informational interviews are what challenges they are dealing with at the moment, and what they’re currently doing to solve the problem.
This is where you can really dive deep into the issue that your audience is having and ask clarifying questions, to get to the heart of what’s going on.
These interviews will last somewhere around thirty minutes or so, just long enough for you to gather the data you need, without being overwhelming to your interviewee.
Analyze the Data You Gathered
The next step after you finish gathering your data is to analyze it!
You’ll want to search through the information that you’ve been collecting, and look for patterns:
- Is there a topic area that comes up often?
- Are lots of people having the same (or a similar) problem?
Then, figure out how you can solve the problem. Is there a product or service that you can provide for them that would make a huge impact on their lives? What can you easily and dependably provide for them?
Step Two: Talk Back (How to Ask What Your Audience Wants)
Once you have figured out how to solve your audience’s problem, you might think that it’s time to retreat to your office and create the solution.
There’s still more to do, to make sure that your audience wants (and will pay for) the solution that you are ready to offer them.
Even if you started out the process without an audience, by now you have a list of people who have answered your survey and participated in your informational interviews.
You will present the offer framed as a response to their demand: “here’s this thing that you asked me for – guess what – I’m going to do it for you!”
You’re not actually selling anything at this point, but rather just gathering more feedback and validation about whether you will proceed with your offer or not.
If the responses that you get range anywhere in the “vaguely interested” to “crickets” range, it’s probably time to go back to the drawing board, to look through your data and see if there is a different direction that you can go.
But, if your audience responds enthusiastically, reaching out with grabby hands and shouting, “yes, yes, yes!! Gimme!” then you know that you are on the right track!
Only after hearing this enthusiastic response should you move on to the next step.
Step Three: Set off the Fireworks (Invite Your Audience to the Show)
If you’re not feeling completely comfortable with releasing something for sale on your blog just yet, check out this article about what to do before you launch a product.
The key to planning a pilot is to offer minimum viable richness: only as much as needed, and no more. There won’t be extra bells and whistles, no fancy software is necessary, and the first students will be early adopters – kind of like beta testers for a new software product.
Your early adopters will have access to the material for a fraction of what the eventual course will cost; this discount is in exchange for the feedback that they will give you throughout the course.
You will open up a brief registration window to sell your pilot course, in this order:
- Open the cart – Send out an email to your audience letting them know that you are offering the pilot.
- Send follow up emails – If you have trouble with the actual selling, head over here to grab a set of sales templates that you can swipe and use word for word in your sales process, on the house. But move quickly – they are only going to be free for the next couple of days!
- Close the cart – Once the registration window is done, close the cart!
- Decide whether to move forward – If your pilot only sold a few spots, it’s time to decide whether to move forward – did enough people sign up to make the experience worth it for both you and them?
(If only your mom and your Aunt Betty signed up, it may be time to refund their money and head back to the drawing board! Sorry, Aunt Betty.)
But, if you sold most of the spots, or even sold out, congratulations! You have validated that your offer is a good one, and that people will pay for the solution to their problem.
Now it’s finally time to make good on your promise, and solve their problem!
Step Four: Blow Their Minds! (Launch to Massive Success)
Even though this is only a pilot of your eventual product or course, you still want to provide an amazing experience for your students.
You want to create an educational experience that is efficient, effective and appealing.
You want to make sure that you teach only what your students need to know, and to be crystal clear and thorough in teaching the content.
One way to do this is to ask, “based on my students’ desired outcome, what do they need to know?”
You will want to build in small wins for your students, structuring the course content in such a way that your students are able to create a habit of succeeding!
You will plan your course material so that one idea builds on the ones taught previously, and you will run the program from a basic outline of the course.
The pilot course won’t be perfect, but it will teach you a lot about what can be improved for the eventual full course.
And, as long as you are delivering what you promised to your pilot students, the likelihood is that both you and they will learn a lot from the process!
Tying the Process Together
So now you have the full step-by-step process of how to launch a product from scratch, with almost guaranteed results.
You’ve learned how to:
- Tune in telepathically to your audience;
- Figure out how to solve their biggest problems;
- Use their feedback to validate that they will actually pull out their wallets;
- And, work with them to pilot the solution to success!
If you’re still feeling like you’re not quite ready, I’ll be hosting a webinar on Saturday, February 7 that will walk through the process in more depth.
By now you can see that it’s definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. But, when used properly, this process can absolutely bring some cash in the door.
You now wield the power that those “Get Rich Quick” gurus only dream about.
That means it’s time to get out there and start collaborating with your audience.
They have a problem, and they need YOU to solve it!
Danny Iny is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing, and creator of the Course Builder’s Laboratory. If you want to learn more about this, you’re invited to attend a one-time only free training webinar that he’s hosting, teaching “How to Build and Launch a Blockbuster Product… Every Time!”
I have experienced on my own what it means to not listen to the audience, before launching a new product. Not so far ago, the company I am working for, was creating a new product line. They had many years of experience in this section and everyone thought that all products are made qualitatively and will be very successful.
Luckily, we decided to hire some experts that will be using our products to test them and write recommendations for this line. And it turned out that all products had so many downsides that we could easily experience total failure by publishing them.
But because of all the recommendations we managed to improve our products significantly.
Hey Mindaugas, it’s great that your company did the testing before rolling it out – thank goodness disaster was averted! :)
Lol I have to admit that I was so tired that when I first read the title I thought it said 123 lunch.Thanks for a step by step guide to avoid scams and get successful just by paying attention to others.Asking the audience what they want to hear is key. It helps not waste time on things they already know and don’t want to hear again
You bet – I’m glad you found it helpful! :)
Solid advice Danny!
I launched a few products last year and I learned quite quickly that it’s far more effective to listen to what your audience wants and give that to them, rather than spend the time and money trying to convince your readers to want something new.
It takes a lot of time to create a good product and it’s a real disappointment if you end up launching only to find there isn’t a huge demand for it. This was the case for one of the books I wrote and while the market is still big enough to make the spent worth it, it did not have the launch I was hoping for.
Still, it was a great learning experience and the next one will be better!
Agreed 100%, James. So how did you do things differently after that experience?
Thanks so much for the detailed explanation of how to successfully go about finding out what your audience/market wants & needs and then how to deliver that to them, without wasting time & energy giving extraneous stuff in the process.
Very sound advice! Very helpful.
Thanks for your time & expertise.
You bet – I’m glad it was helpful! :)
Great post. Just a little suggestion Perhaps you would like to highlight the point of “market review”.
I have not created any product till now but it seems common sense to me. Always have a good idea about the existing products in the market. That would tell you what you need to do. If there are no products, tread i carefully. Make calculations before you commit your self to something. Is it really possible to make money in that market.
I listened to a Podcast by Brian Clark (Copyblogger) where he discusses about one of his failures. There he mentions how a lack of knowledge led him to invest in someting that was an utter failure. So, it is very essential to judge the marketing potential of a niche. Great interest does not always equal great revenue.
That’s a fair point, but it’s one you don’t need to worry about quite as much with a pilot. Yes, of course, you should validate that your idea is based on real market demand, but the fact is that if a pilot doesn’t sell, it doesn’t cost you much, and you know better than you otherwise would what people do and don’t want. :)
Hey Danny great points. I strongly believe that putting the audience in the middle of your business plans is one of the best decisions every businesses can make. Placing a product in front of people who don’t want it and don’t know what to do with it is a waste of time and resources on both sides.
It’s not unusual for us to focus only on what we want to say. When we start listening, that’s when the conversations begin, and that’s when we actually help the audience. It’s a tough act when we have to convince the users with what we have to offer instead of giving them what they want.
Definitely agree that it’s important to have a free beta testing group. You learn so much about how your users actually interact with your product and what they had hoped to get from it. Essentially, you not only learn how to make it better, but how to sell it to other people. And you can get your first recommendations. Win-Win-Win!
Yup, exactly. Except… why make it free?
Great Article! I love your tip about asking the audience what they really want and I personally have been following the same for last 2 months and outcomes are reasonably amazing! Keep up the good work!
Yes that’s absolutely right i also experienced that
You are absolutely right and I had the similar experience to this one.
Thanks for motivating me to have a closer look at my launch. I’m planning on launching an eBook towards the end of this month for parents who have babies in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, quite a niched area. I had spent a lot of time researching a few months ago, prior to writing, however you’ve prompted me to go back and make sure that what I have written has actually answered what my audience was looking for, instead of just what I wanted to tell them. You’ve also motivated me to make a bit more of an ‘event’ of the launch than I was originally thinking. Thanks for the virtual kick up the butt to put my best foot forward. :-)
I’m planning on launching an eBook towards the end of this month for parents who have babies in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, quite a niched area. I had spent a lot of time researching a few months ago, prior to writing, however you’ve prompted me to go back and make sure that what I have written has actually answered what my audience was looking for
loved the article. It’s sad how most bloggers will not collect enough info from there audience to what they want and what they require.
The no#1 rule of marketing is : It’s never about you, it’s always about them.
All products must be created with that in mind.
Great insights to create a perfect product! I’ve already used your guest posting kit. Fortunately, I’ve gained a lot from your blogging experience.
When it comes to product creation, it’s essential to know your target audience pulse. And, learn to turn visitors to sales by building trust and authenticity.
It’s always good for any online business to join the conversation on social networks. Many bloggers and Internet marketers will full-time affiliates understand social relationship marketing is the key to not only increasing sales, but building those deep relationships which are necessary to keep those people coming back to encourage keep sales and increased affiliate commissions. It’s important to build the relationship first before trying to sell something so this way, you have an established rapport with your target audience or individual you’re seeking to build and sustain a relationship with online.