Ah, product creation.
Taking all your knowledge, your passion, your desire to help, wrapping it up in a nice little package with a bow on top and releasing it into the wild – just to imagine how many people you are going to impact is intoxicating. Cue starry eyes and world domination plans.
Except one little thing.
“What the hell is this chick talking about?”, you may ask – well, I’m talking about that awfully inconvenient scenario when you’ve spent all that time and effort on creating something that nobody wants.
Look, I don’t want this to happen to you – so in this blog post I am going to walk you through a super simple framework that you can use as many times as you want to come up with a killer product idea.
Let’s jump right in!
Step 1: Firing up the idea machine
First and foremost, you will need an idea – or, rather, a couple of them.
If you’re a creative entrepreneur, chances are that you have a gazillion ideas, you just can’t seem to commit to one, so you need focus and a clear direction – for now, just write all of them down and put a little star next to your favourites. We’ll go ahead and select one in the next step.
Maybe you’re on the exact opposite side of the spectrum, being convinced that your expertise is only relevant in a 1:1 setting and you can’t imagine how the hell would you even be able to package up your knowledge. Okay, I get it, what you do is super custom – but I want you to take a long hard look at your day-to-day tasks and identify the common elements, techniques, methods and templates that you keep using over and over again with all (or most) of your clients.
Step 2: Validate
The #1 mistake (aspiring) infopreneurs make is that they don’t validate their ideas. They never ask their audience whether they would love to have that product – they just go ahead, create it anyway and hope for the best.
Look, just because you think that something is a good idea, it doesn’t mean that others (aka paying customers, or anyone else apart from your mom) think so too.
Ouch, I know, I’m sorry.
What happens if you don’t validate your idea?
Well, you might get lucky and create a product that actually sells well – but you also risk the possibility of launching to crickets. If you want to avoid that, remember The Crimson Rule (yes, I totally made this up, but c’mon, crimson is badass).Never create anything before validating it first.Click To Tweet
Trust me, The Crimson Rule will save you a lot of time and heartache. With that said, let’s see some methods you can use.
Soft validation is “soft” because all you need to do is to pay attention, and there is no commitment involved. So think about things like:
- Social media stalking
Not in a crazy-stalker-ex way, but in a way that you can see what your ideal audience members are talking about. Can you find relevant discussions in Facebook groups? How about tweets related to your topic? Popular pins? In demand courses on Udemy or Skillshare?
You can create your own polls on your Facebook page or a Facebook group that you’re part of and use the result as an indication.
- The opt-in test
If you are thinking in terms of funnels, your opt-in should be a gateway drug to your product – what I’m saying is that it should be related to your paid content, so that if someone is interested in your freebie, he or she would be interested in your paid product as well and vice versa. Monitor how effective your opt-in is – if you only gained a couple subscribers through it, it might be a sign that it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Why? Well, if people are not even willing to give you their e-mail addresses (the same one that the Nigerian prince has, mind you), then there is a pretty high chance that they won’t open their wallets for you either once you present a related offer.
- Call me maybe
This is the part when you’re actually booking some nice coffee chats with your ideal audience members, asking highly targeted questions about their pain points, problems, hopes and dreams and digging really, really deep to gain super valuable insights. Don’t forget to throw in some sort of incentive for their help and the time they spend with you – like your upcoming product for free (beta testing, yo!), a gift card or a coaching / Q&A session with you.
Well, this is where it gets exciting – this is where you put skin in the game.
Because this is where they open their wallets for you.
I am, of course, talking about pre-selling.
This might make you a bit uncomfortable, but hear me out: don’t create your product before pre-selling it first. By all means, have an outline and have a gameplan, but don’t put too much effort into it until there are actual paying customers throwing money at you.
The logic behind this is just that I don’t want you to waste your time on something that might sit on your proverbial shelves, collecting dust for eternity. You need to avoid this at all costs – and there is no stronger method of making sure that people want your stuff than taking the plunge, putting up a sales page and actually selling it.
Reward the early birds with a lower price or some extra bonuses and start working on your product as soon as the first order rolls in.
Pick and try a couple validation methods – and if all you can hear is crickets from the distance, then drop that idea and move on to the next. It was super useful to write down a bunch in Step 1, huh? 🙂
Step 3: The infinite loop
Okay, we are making fantastic progress so far – you have a validated idea and maybe you’re working hard on your product as we speak.
How do you ensure that it’s exceptional quality?
Time to get some feedback, yo. You might want to beta-test your product, which means that you offer it at a highly discounted price in exchange for a testimonial and honest feedback. This is cool for two reasons – first, you’ll have some awesome testimonials to feature on your sales page, and secondly, because feedback is the best thing that has happened to your business since fast internet.
First of all, I will go ahead and assume that you’re actually passionate about your product and didn’t just create it “because you can” – and if I’m right (I hope I am!), then you are very, very interested in perfecting it. In this noble quest, customer feedback is one of your best assets. You will see what are the weak or confusing points of your product, and while it might suck some serious balls to read critique at first, it also gives you the opportunity to improve.
Apart from all this, customers generally appreciate if you value their opinion, and a happy customer is your best advocate (think raving reviews and glowing recommendations – aww).
In fact, this doesn’t only apply to beta test rounds. Every time you create a product, I want you to think about the ways your customers or students can easily give you feedback, mmkay?
This is why I call this step The infinite loop – it should never end. You should always listen to what your customers have to say and refine your product step by step.
Okay, what have we accomplished?
We gathered a bunch of product ideas.
We validated a couple of them – and committed to the one that yielded the most overwhelmingly positive responses.
We pre-sold it.
We started to refine it, and committed to constant improvement.
It wasn’t too bad, huh? 🙂
Let me know in the comments below – have you ever launched a product to crickets, and if so, what do you think your biggest mistake was?