In How to Uncover Your Optimum Selling Strategy Part 1, I explained how I was looking for a way to get the Bright Ideas Agency generating positive cash flow in the shortest period of time possible by using what Michael Masterson calls an Optimum Selling Strategy (OSS) in his book, Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat.
Today, I’m going to continue where I left off by taking a deeper dive into the second of four questions that you (and I) must answer in order to discover our own OSS.
What Product Do You Sell Them?
Most people who start a business do so because they have an idea for a product or service. Sadly, this is not always the best way to get going – unless you’re just lucky enough to nail it right out of the gate.
Personally, I’m never that lucky! Which is why I recorded the video below a few years ago.
The reason that having only one product in mind when you launch isn’t a very good idea is because you are basically putting all your eggs in one basket, and unless you already know your market/industry extremely well, that is quite a large risk to take.
To avoid this, savvy entrepreneurs remain flexible about the details of their product. If version one doesn’t work, another version can be waiting in the wings.
How to Determine the Ideal Startup Product
Here are five simple steps to creating a product that is virtually guaranteed to succeed:
- Find out what products are currently hot in your market
- Determine if your product idea fits that trend
- If it does, you’re set, if not, go to next step
- Come up with me-too versions of several hot products
- Improve them in some way by adding features or benefits lacking in the originals
Let’s go into more detail on these steps.
How to Discover the Hot Products in Any Market
In Part 1 of this post, I suggested you go study the competition to see where they were advertising? Well, now you want to pay attention to what they are trying to sell with all those ads.
When you do this, you are going to see trends, and the trend you are looking for is the product type that is most commonly advertised. That is the hot product.
When studying the hot products in your market, it’s also very important to pay attention to the trend for these products because there is the chance that they are near the end of their trend. To do this, first, start off with Google Trends and take note of whether the search volume for related keywords is still on the rise. If it is, you’re probably in good shape.
Another method you can use is to talk to some people in the industry, as they are going to be far more in tune with what is going on within their industry that you are ever will…unless of course, you are already an industry insider.
Once you have identified the top three to five products in your space, you should spend some time studying them. Identify their features and benefits. Compare them. Attempt to figure out which features are most desirable. Make a list of any deficiencies that you see. Write all this down and then review it.
Once you’ve done all this, and you have an idea of what your product might look like, it is a good idea to start sharing it with friends and/or colleagues so that you can ask them for input on how you could improve it. If you don’t have a draft description of your product yet, just share the products you are researching and ask the same questions. If you and the people you are showing it to are excited, that is a good indication that you have something to take it to market.
How Much to Charge?
By now, you should know where your customers are and have a pretty good idea for a product that will sell. (Remember, you are NOT reinventing the wheel here…you are just improving on a kind of wheel that is already selling!)
All you need to do now is to figure out how much to sell it for.
Much like my previous advice on generating a product, with pricing, I’d suggest you stick pretty closely to what others are doing. If you can afford to be less expensive, that could be a good thing; however, keep in mind that building a business whose only differentiator is price can be a double edged sword. Good, because it generates business. Bad, because your price-conscious buyers may leave you in a heartbeat if they find a better deal somewhere else.
Optimal Selling Price
In Ready, Fire, Aim; Michael gives a pricing example from his newsletter business. He said that, through testing, he determined that $39/year is the optimal price for his newsletter. Selling for less eroded profits and selling for more killed conversions. Based on this, if I was launching a newsletter, I’d charge $39/year.
Earlier, I warned of trying too low a price. However, there is one exception to that, and that’s when you have a back end funnel filled with higher value, higher priced products.
For example, the last information product I launched was a course for marketing consultants on how to generate more leads. Because I wanted to sell a high volume of products, I priced it on a dime sale starting at $7 with the price rising to as high as about $10. Then, in my back end funnel, I offered two upsells. The first was at $49 and the second was at $97. Of those who purchased the initial product, 26% of buyers took the first upsell and 10% of buyers took second upsell.
As a result of taking this approach, we sold 1,450 front end units, 377 of upsell #1 and 148 of upsell #2. Overall, even though I never made a dime on the front end sale, the product’s overall profits were very good and since then, I’ve been able to generate even more revenue from the customers that bought the original product. Obviously, I’m not the first one to try a strategy like this – and, as I said before, sticking to what is already working for your product/market will likely lead to desirable results.
How Will You Convince Them to Buy?
If you’ve done a good job with defining your OSS up to this point, generating sales will not be overly challenging. With that said, they key is to generate as many sales as possible, and to do that, you are going to need to ensure that you do an extremely effective job of getting your sales message across to your buyer. This is done with sales copy.
Sales copy can have a huge impact on sales. Done correctly, sales copy can easily double your overall sales.
If you have never written sales copy before, study the sales pages and emails of other successful sellers in your space. Pay particular attention to the structure of their sales copy, as opposed to just their words.
As you might guess, an overview of how to write sales copy is well outside the scope of this post, so rather than attempt to do that, I’d suggest you grab a copy of Michael’s book and study the chapter devoted to sales copy. In addition, you may also want to spend some time on CopyBlogger.com as there are a plethora of tips and advice to be found.
For the basic nuts and bolts of writing effective sales copy, I’ll offer up four concepts (from Michael’s book) that you must know:
1. You must understand the difference between wants and needs
2. You must understand the difference between features and benefits
3. You must understand how to establish a unique selling proposition (USP) for you product
4. You must understand how to sell the USP