How to Clearly Define Your Product or Service

Before you can effectively market your product or service you need to have a complete understanding of what exactly it is you’re offering. Don’t make the mistake of creating something and then trying to find an audience. You need to lay the foundations carefully as the success or failure of any product launch begins with the decisions you make at this stage. If you’re fuzzy or making assumptions about your offer, at best you’re doing things the hard way, at worst your product will likely fail.

Answer these questions before creating your product

Many experts try to monetize their knowledge without having crystal-clear answers to the following:

  1. Is there demand for your product? Have you tested your idea with a landing page?
  2. What exactly are you selling?
  3. Who is your product designed to help?
  4. What will it help them do?
  5. Why will your intended audience buy from you?
  6. What are they willing to pay?
  7. How will you get your product in front of your target audience?

The first and last questions are dealt with in their respective links. In this post, we concentrate on questions #2 to #6.

Be clear about what you’re creating and for whom

  1. What is the physical thing you’re selling? Are you selling a book? An online course? Coaching? A live event? Membership to a website? We have bought products in the past thinking it was one thing only for it to turn out to be another. It was confusing, and confused customers want refunds or never buy from you again. If you can’t explain what you’re selling to your mother, go back to the drawing board. Your offer may comprise various components, e.g. video, downloadable worksheets, membership to an online community. That’s fine but the final offer must be clearly understood. Don’t just bundle unrelated materials together to try to inflate value. Remember, one problem, one product.
  2.  Who is your product designed to help? If you say “everyone” or “it can help anyone, really” then it needs more thought. Everyone and anyone are not markets. You can’t target them efficiently or cost-effectively. You need to create a customer avatar. At the very least, define:
    – Their occupation;
    – The challenges they face on a daily basis;
    – The biggest problem you can help them solve;
    – Why they haven’t solved their problem yet;
  3. What will your product help your target customer do? What results are you promising? Can you deliver truly deliver them? After using your product, what will your prospect be able to do? What problem will they be able to solve? How will their life look different? You’re job is to deliver a transformation of some kind. Maybe they’ll be more confident; make more money; have more friends; raise happy chickens – whereas they struggled before.
  4. Why will your prospects buy from you? Your prospects can either buy from you, your competitors or decide not to buy from anyone (this last decision is your largest “competitor” in most cases.) How can you persuade your target to buy from you? You need:
    Social proof. Have you achieved the result yourself? Can you prove it? Do you have testimonials? If you have none of these, all is not lost. You can still position yourself as an expert by collating useful information for your target market; interviewing experts and influencers and compiling the information in a useful, usable format. (And by doing this research, you are automatically an authority – it becomes your social proof). How to Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one of the best-selling non-fiction book of all time with over 70 million copies sold. Hill created it by interviewing experts. As you promote your product, you can ask for clients to provide testimonials and ask friends/family to give you feedback.
    – A full understanding of your prospect. This comes back to having a full, detailed, well-defined customer avatar. When you know your customers as well as you know yourself – when you can anticipate their questions and put yourself in their shoes – you win their trust. In their minds, you represent the perfect solution.
    A genuine desire to help. A builder we know wins more-or-less every contract he bids for (at higher prices than his competitors) because what he cares about most is giving the prospect the best solution even if it means he talks himself out of the job. He asks questions until he has a full understanding of what they’re trying to achieve or what problem they want solved; he tells them if they’re paying for things they don’t need; he warns them of possible pitfalls they may not have thought about; he helps them understand what’s important and what isn’t and so on. His prospects appreciate his honesty and professionalism and he has a waiting list of customers.
    – They trust you. This is what it comes down to. They trust you have the solution they’re looking for; they trust that it will work; they trust that you can deliver on your premises. What breaks trust? Outrageous, unsubstantiated claims; poor customer service; unprofessional branding and website; talking about yourself and not focusing on your customers’ needs and problems; curt, impersonal email communications.
  5. What is your prospect willing to pay? This obviously varies depending on your offer and your target audience. Determining factors include:
    Who are your prospects? Surgeons and property developers would pay a lot more than single mothers and students.
    – Where do you want to position your product? Are you budget, average or high-end? Where do you want to see your business five years from now? If you want to build a six-figure business, selling $7 reports is probably not the way to go (although there are experts who make good money doing this). Decide how you want to be perceived in your industry.
    – Does your product have “secret sauce”. If your product contains difficult-to-obtain/little-known information or includes collaboration with highly-respected experts, you can charge a lot more.
    – What is the problem you’re solving for them? People will pay a lot more to solve certain problems over others. If your product is a “painkiller” (i.e. a “cure”) rather than a “vitamin” (i.e. a “prevention”), you can charge more. Target prospects will pay more for painkillers that: help them make more money or succeed in business; solve a health problem or improve their fitness; have better dating success and relationships. Outside of these areas, you will probably need to charge less. A ballpark figure of $300 for your  product is a good starting point.

Takeaway points

  1. Before creating your product, have a clear understanding of what you’re creating, for whom and the results you promise.
  2. Start by identifying the market, not the product idea.
  3. You’re in the business of satisfying needs, not creating them.

Action steps

  1. Answer the above questions to know exactly what you’re creating.
  2. If you have not done so already, create your customer avatar. It’s hard to promote your offer if you don’t know who to target.
  3. Build a landing page for your product and start promoting that page.

Photo credit: cygnus921 via Foter.com / CC BY

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