As creatives, we have a MILLION project ideas that we want to complete. I’m not the only one that owns nearly 100 domains for that “just in case” project, right? Because I’m always contemplating how to execute new projects, having a smooth process for creating the most irresistible product or service is always at the top of my mind before I launch anything new.
I’ve done my fair share of planning and selling anything from logos to websites to eCourses and workshops over the years. So I’ve been able to narrow down my creation process into five repeatable steps. Today, I’m sharing that process with YOU.
Let me introduce you to The 5-Step Plan For Creating An Online Product or Service
Step 1: Identify Your Person
Your “person” is your ideal client. It is that one person who is looking for exactly what you have to offer.
When you’re specific in targeting your ideal customer, they will feel like your product is specifically for them. Your “person” wants to believe that you created something with them in mind.
Not EVERYONE can be your ideal client or customer. It’s difficult to come up with and sell a good product that way. The more specific you are, the easier it is to sell. It’s unlikely for a 7-year-old girl to be interested in the same thing as a 57-year-old male pastor or a 29-year-old single mom.
This is what your “person” looks like when you consider everyone to be your target market:
Would you really know what to sell to everyone? (boy, girl, young, old, jock, dancer, etc.)
When you have a definite “person” in mind, your job of selling will be more straightforward. You’ll know exactly who to address, and it will come through in your marketing efforts. When you send emails, write blog posts, and produce sales copy, it’ll seem like you’re speaking DIRECTLY to them.
To pinpoint your “person” ask yourself, “what would my dream client do, act and look like?”
Write down what you envision and create a description list. Here is an example:
- Young stay at home mom
- Associate’s degree
- Has two kids under the age of 7
- Husband is in the military
- She loves Pinterest and doing DIY projects to save money
- She goes to the gym 3x/week
- She enjoys cooking and drinking red wine
- Her favorite show is Flip or Flop on HGTV
- She dreams of being an interior decorator one day
The goal is to fully describe the type of person you want to attract.
Step 2: Understand Their Pain and Struggle
The goal of Step 2 is to gain a deeper understanding of your “person” so you can create the perfect product for them!
The most formal way to directly get to know your target client is to formulate a reader survey. When you do this, you can ask them anything you want directly. I use SurveyMonkey.com for free (up to 10 questions) to send out a reader survey to my email list two-four times a year.
You can also learn more about your “person” by engaging with him or her casually on social media. Getting to know your person through social media is most effective because their thoughts and ideas come out organically.
You can also blend both methods together by using social media to survey your audience. Social media surveying works beautifully if you haven’t yet built up your email list. You can survey your readers through a large Facebook group or via Twitter. Here’s an example of how I used a Twitter survey:
So, you need help with creating content and products, huh? Well, good thing I have the Content Creation Toolkit and Smart Content Toolbox. Now, if only I had a blog post or product on “how to create irresistible products” for them…
To create the right product, you need to understand what your ideal reader or client finds valuable. Value is relative to the person your product or service is for. Value is based on understanding their problem and source of pain and having a solution for them. Every time you create content (free or paid), you want to have your “person” in mind.
To find out what your reader is grappling with simply ask, “What are you struggling with when it comes to [your specific expertise]?” You can leave the survey questions open-ended or guide them with multiple choice questions based on your specialty. It’s important to mention what your expertise is because if you’re a makeup artist, and someone is struggling to budget their money properly, that doesn’t help you. You need to know how you can assist them when it comes to cosmetics.
Let’s say you’re a finance coach, and your audience says they need help with:
- Lowering debt
What is the problem? Why are they struggling in this area? It could be:
- Poor financial literacy
- Lack of accountability
- No affordable or accessible resources available
What struggles result from having this problem? They may:
- Live paycheck to paycheck
- Not be able to go on vacations with their family
- Feel embarrassed when they can’t go out with friends
- Feel like they’ll never pay off their car, house or student loans
- Never be approved for credit because of their debt to income ratio
- Feel out of control when it comes to managing money
I focus on sources of pain because pain is a strong emotion. When you can connect with someone on an emotional level, you’ve got them. Emotional connections can help build immediate trust. Your “person” wants to know that you truly understand them and genuinely want to help them.
If you knew how much your person was struggling without you, you wouldn’t be so afraid to sell!
Step 3: Create The Promise
The promise is the value they can expect after buying your product or service. The promise should be the solution to their pain. If your product or service doesn’t alleviate or eliminate that pain after all, it’s worthless. The more painful their problem, the more valuable your product has the potential to be.
Because my audience struggles with creating content and products, I know that their pain points are:
- Feeling stuck on what to write next
- Lacking consistency because of lack of ideas
- Not keeping up with other “experts” that do the same things as them
- Not engaging with their audience
- Not attracting new clients
- Feeling clueless, overwhelmed, and broke
So what promise should my products make to be truly valuable? I’d have to answer the question: What will happen after they hire me or buy my product or service? Let’s look at some examples:
Sample Promise 1: Learn how to look good online!
Projected Value: Worthless. They want help with content, not presentation.
Sample Promise 2: Learn how to write an amazing headline.
Projected Value: Eh, valuable, but the free kind of valuable.
Sample Promise 3: Learn how to outline all your content for the next 90 days so you can post more consistently!
Projected Value: Cha-ching! Boom!! Super valuable.
Sample Promise 4: Attract more customers in 60 days by creating magnetic content!
Projected Value: YASSSS!!
To be more precise ask yourself, “what would their life look like if they achieve these results?” and “How would things be different if they didn’t experience this pain?” (More family vacations, perhaps?)
The steps above are EXACTLY what you need to generate effective sales copy.
Step 4: Outline Your Process
This step is my personal favorite because I love creating content. To come up with the process, you have to delineate the steps it would take to get your “person” from pain to promise. Every fabulous informational product has a clear cut method for their audience to follow. People pay YOU because they want to learn how to do something in the most efficient way. The process you create should guide them to see their desired results in an estimated timeframe.
- Process for a blog post? Tips, tricks, steps, how-to
- Process for a book? Chapters, sections, structure (anything you’d see under “Table of Contents”)
- Process for a course? Modules, lessons, exercises, activities
Do you get what I’m saying? If I turned this blog post into a course, guess what my modules would consist of? Exactly. All 5 of these steps.
What are the steps your “person” needs to take to get from pain to process? To flesh out your content identify the following for each step:
- What they should do
- Why they should do it
- How they should do it (“the how” is the most valuable part.)
Pro Tip: The free content that leads to my paid products tells “what and why” while my paid products share “how.”
Step 5: Finalize Your Pricing
Because we’re creating digital products, it costs us more time than money for creation and delivery. There’s no shipping or materials to consider. I like to price based on value. We talked about how to measure the value in steps 2 and 3. The deeper the pain, the more valuable your product has the potential to be. The potential is in the promise. If your promise alleviates the pain, the value can range. If your promise eliminates the pain, then $$$$$$$$$$.
Example: If my hair is falling out, I’ll pay $ for a wig. If my hair is falling out, I’ll pay $$$ for all my hair to grow back.
Not every product has to be premium. It’s a personal decision. Some people run successful businesses selling only high-value premium products while equally successful people sell affordable decently valuable products. And then there are super magical people (*cough, cough*) that do both.
Your product will fall in one of these ranges:
- What to do ($0 – $50) These can be anything from a free blog post to affordable eBooks, workbooks, worksheets, checklists, toolkits, toolboxes, etc. with a simple digital delivery.
- How to do ($50 – $400) These can be workshops, masterclasses, online courses, training videos, etc. with a more involved digital delivery.
- Done with you ($400 – $2,000) These are services like coaching, consulting, teaching, training, etc. It can be one-on-one or in small groups. I like to combine courses and group coaching for a “how to do” and “done with you” approach.
- Done for you ($2,000) These involve providing a service that creates something unique for the client like building a website, designing a logo, creating a hair or makeup look, etc. Creative agencies usually provide a combination of “how to do,” “done with you,” and “done for you” products and services.
So, what comes after taking these five essential steps to planning your next product?
You need a promotional and profit plan. Your promotional plan is how you’ll tell everyone you identify as your ideal client about your product. Your promotional plan must be strategic and thought out. Your profit plan depends on your income goals. How many will you sell? How will you find the specific number of people to sell it to?
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