This post was originally published on August 7th, 2017. It was updated on October 4th, 2018.
Once you decide that you want to start an online business, it can be tempting to dive in head first when it comes to monetizing. I mean, we all want to make money, right?
Unfortunately, this is where so many people set themselves up for disaster. They create products and services and launch them without any kind of planning or preparation first. And what usually happens is that their launch flops. No one buys what they’re selling and they’re left feeling totally discouraged.
If you’ve ever been there yourself, know that you aren’t alone. So, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it! There’s some good news for you though! There are actually a few things you can do before you create products and services to ensure they’re a hit with your audience.
What to Do Before You Create Products and Services
The next time you have an idea for a brand new offering, refer to this advice. The tips I’m about to share will help you choose an idea that’s the right fit for you and your audience. Plus, there are a few that will make sure your launch is a success.
1. Know Your Area of Expertise
First, you need to think about what you can actually help your audience with. Is that idea you have something you truly know a lot about? Is it a topic that people often come to you for advice on? If so, you’re on the right track!
In order to create products and services that are successful, they need to jive with your own expertise. The reality is, if you aren’t an expert in whatever you’re offering, you’ll wind up with disappointed clients and customers. You simply won’t be able to deliver what they need, which will be disastrous for your business.
2. Know Why You’re Creating This Offering
I’m a firm believer in following your passion, especially when it comes to business. That’s why it’s important to make sure your offerings are aligned with what you’re truly passionate about. If they aren’t, your work will quickly start to feel like a chore. And nobody wants that!
It also helps to know why you’re creating your offering besides just being passionate about the topic. Why do you want to offer that e-course? Why are you drawn to helping the people in your target market through coaching? Let the why behind your product or service be the driving force that keeps you going.
3. Get to Know Your Target Market
You have expertise. You’ve got passion. But, that’s not all you need to create a successful offering! You also need to get to know your target market. Without knowing and understanding what your audience needs, you can’t create what they desire.
The biggest mistake I see people making is that they create an amazing product, but it isn’t what their target audience is searching for. Then, they wind up not making any sales. You see, expertise and passion are only part of the puzzle. If your audience doesn’t want what you’re selling, they’ll never buy.
So, once you’ve figured out what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about, you need to figure out if it’s something your audience needs. Get to know them and discover their pain points so you can solve their biggest problems. What are they struggling with? What will they benefit from the most? When your offering addresses their problems, they won’t be able to resist handing over their hard-earned cash.
To figure out if they really want to purchase that big idea of yours, here are two options:
- The easy way is to simply ask them if they’d be interested in your offering. Post about it on social media or send something to your email list, seeking their feedback. There’s no harm in asking because you want to make sure you fill their needs.
- Another option is to create a simple sales page for your offering before it’s ready. At this point, you then have two options. You can make this a pre-order page and begin taking sales straight away. Or you can have people sign-up to be notified when it’s ready for purchase. This will help you determine if your audience is interested.
If your audience isn’t interested in your idea, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
4. Position Yourself as an Authority
Before you unleash your amazing offering onto the world, you need to focus on building the KLT Factor. People aren’t going to purchase from someone they don’t know, like, and trust. So, before you prepare this elaborate launch plan, focus on building your authority first.
The best way to do this is by providing valuable content for free. You can share high-quality posts on your blog and social media. You may even want to consider guest posting to get your brand and content in front of a whole new audience. It’s important to show people that you know what you’re talking about through the free content you make available to them. Forbes has some more great advice for building your authority and growing your personal brand.
5. Start Building Your Email List
Another huge mistake I see people making all the time is that they wait too long to build their email list. When you’re just starting out, it can be hard to see the value in having a thriving email list. However, it’s won’t serve you well to create products and services and then build your list.
If you wait until you have an offering ready, you’ll have a list of zero people to promote to. So, if you haven’t already, start building your list today. Create an opt-in that’s going to attract your target market to sign-up. This way, when your offerings are ready, you’ll have a list of people to share it with. And if you’re new to list-building or searching for a new tool to help you out, I highly recommend ConvertKit.