So you want to create an online product. Great idea!
Whether you’re a speaker who wants something to sell when you speak, a writer with a message to get out, or an entrepreneur who wants to build an income — or all 3 — an online product makes selling an automated, 24/7 process.
Your product could be:
- An online course
- An e-book
- A series of webinars
Whatever the structure or content, 3 steps will vastly increase your chances of reaching more buyers and making this new venture profitable. They are:
This post covers #1, how to plan your product.
You shouldn’t start creating your product until you do some planning. Planning includes:
A. Getting clear on your goal
C: Mapping out your product and its infrastructure
D: Mapping out your plans for promotion
I’ll cover these more in detail below.
A: Get clear on your goal
It’s not enough to say that your goal is to make money on the product. Where does this product fit in with your other products and your business as a whole? You need to think about your broader goal for your business and how this product helps you get there.
Here are some examples:
- This is a freebie and my goal is to use it to grow my list and then introduce people to my “X” product and from there, get them into my “Y” coaching.
- This is an e-book and my goal is to increase my perceived authority and expertise so I can get new clients into my “Y” coaching.
- This is a video training course and my goal is to deliver what I promised and from there, get new clients into my “Y” coaching.
You shouldn’t move on to creating your product until you’ve stated your goal.
B: Research–Where and how?
Is there a market for this product? What name will attract the most buyers? What prices are competitors charging?
You need to do research in a few ways. Do your eyes glaze over at the thought of research? Well, you need to know that:
- It isn’t hard
- It doesn’t take a long time
- It can help save you from failing
Your research helps you find the right words to use and create a product that people want to buy. It will tell you how to name and describe your product in a way that attracts the most people.
That’s important, right?
So don’t skimp on your research!
Here are 4 places and ways to do research:
- Groups and forums
- Your email list
Keywords that people are searching for
Keyword research tells you what people are searching for in their browser — using Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. You can find out how many people search for a keyword or keyword phrase in a month and also how many people are advertising to attract those keywords. This is extremely valuable information.
I use the free Google Keyword Planner. It’s part of Google’s Adwords program, which you would use if you want to place ads, but you don’t have to place any ads. You can use the Keyword Planner to find what people are searching for. You need a free Adwords account. You can sign in with an existing Google account, like the one you have for a Gmail email address or Youtube. There are lots of other keyword tools available that focus on Search Engine Optimization/Keywords.
Here are the steps for the Google Keyword Planner to discover how many searches there are for your keywords in a month and how many other marketers are advertising for those keywords (the competition):
- Go to https://adwords.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/ and sign in. You can use your Gmail, YouTube, or other Google account. Create an account if requested.
- Click Tools on the top menu OR the 3-dot menu icon at the upper right, and choose Keyword Planner.
- Under “Find new keywords and get search volume data,” enter a keyword or phrase and click Get Ideas
- In the top row, you’ll see results for your keyword. Just below that, you’ll see related suggestions.
- Click the Avg. Monthly Searches column header to show the highest number of searches first so you can find the terms that people search for most often.
- Look for the highest average monthly searches and Medium or Low in the Competition column, as long as the keywords seem relevant to you.
- Continue to try variations until you find the best keywords. Remember that you can use multiple keywords in a blog post or product description.
You can click the Download button to download the data. Keep track of your results so you can combine it with your other research and make your final decisions. You can put it in a document or spreadsheet.
For more information, see “Why you need to do your SEO research–my big surprise!” It has a 4-minute video tutorial, although you might find that Google’s interface has changed since then. Nevertheless, the principles are the same.
Groups and forums
You should do more than keyword research. You need to ask real people what they think. One place to do that is in groups and forums. Facebook and LinkedIn groups whose members are in your target market are a great place to go. In Facebook groups, you can create a poll and ask people to choose from a number of product names, for example.
Your email list
Don’t forget about your email list. It’s OK to ask them which products they want you to create or which product names would sound most interesting and valuable to them.
I recommend linking to a survey and for surveys, I recommend using a Google form because it’s free for unlimited responses and has lots of options.To start a Google form, follow these steps:
- Go to https://drive.google.com/drive. Sign in or create an account.
- Click the New button, then click More, then click Google Forms.
- Name the form and enter your first question. Choose the type from the drop-down at the right (where it says Multiple Choice). Complete the options.
- Click the plus (+) sign to add another question.
- Use the icons at the upper right to change the colors, preview the form, and change settings.
- When you’re done, click the Send button to get a link you can put in your email or in posts.
Combine these results with your keyword and group research.
What words to your competitors use? You usually have an idea of who is successful in your field, so check out what they offer. Maybe they did some research and you can piggyback off of it!
This doesn’t mean that you should copy your competitors. On one hand, if they’re successful, hopefully they are using names that attract lots of people.
On the other hand, you need to distinguish yourself from your competitors.
So just use the information you collect from your competitors as one of the pieces of your research.
Put it all together
Look over all of the results you collected and look for trends. You should be able to get a really good idea of what product to create, what to name it, and what words to use to describe it. Your results will vastly improve your chances of success.
C. Map out your product and its infrastructure
What will the content be? Will you offer a freebie to get people interested? Will you offer bonuses, upsells, or an add-on? What autoresponders will you send after someone purchases?
This is a biggie. You need to map out the contents of your product and what goes before and after it.
For your product, create a table of contents or an outline. A lot of this will go on your sales page — and perhaps in a webinar. People will need to know what they’re getting.
And once you have that table of contents, creating your product will be MUCH faster and easier.
Next, map out the infrastructure around your product. The infrastructure can include:
- A freebie (lead generator)
- Lower-priced products that recommend your product
- An add-on or upsell, such as personal time with you, templates or checklists, additional resources, etc.
- Bonuses, which can be like an add-on or upsell, but can also be other products you sell.
- Autoresponders, which are emails customers get automatically after they purchase and which allow you to make other offers. (Of course, you can also use autoresponders to help people get more out of your product, recommend other related resources, etc.)
Here’s an example:
Freebie (lead generator) > e-book > my product > upsell of “X”> bonus of “Y” > autoresponders that offer “Z”
Keep this map with your other research.
Map out your plans for promotion
How will you sell your product? Here are some things to think about:
- Will you sell through affiliates?
- To your email list?
- On your website?
- From a platform like JVZoo or Warrior Plus?
- Will you use ads?
- Will you sell it with a webinar?
- How will you accept credit cards?
- Will you do a big product launch?
- Is this an evergreen product or a one-time event?
Obviously, you need to know all of this before you start to promote your product. But here’s the thing–you should know it way before that. You don’t want a long delay between the time you finish your product and the time you promote it. So you need to be ready with the promotional infrastructure.
Some of this is technical. You need the proper accounts and they need to be connected with your sales page and your email service. Everything needs to be integrated and functioning properly.
Other parts are strategic, such as whether you’ll use affiliates, do a product launch, or make it evergreen.
Here are some common promotional setups:
- Set up a series of webinars and ask affiliates to promote them. It can be one webinar per affiliate or you can invite multiple affiliates to promote one webinar.
- Put the product on JVZoo or Warrior Plus (or another platform) and invite affiliates to promote their link on the platform. (You will probably still sell the product on your website, but use an approved Buy button.)
- Create a series of emails to promote the product and sell it from your website.
- Use Facebook ads to get people to a pre-recorded webinar and sell on that webinar.
Put your plans with your other research.
Review and decide
Whew! You’ve done the necessary planning. Review everything and come up with your final conclusions.
You’re now ready for Step 2: Building your product.
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