If you’ve been following my blog for any period of time, you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate of getting a really great product behind you to sell or give away to your customers.
A product helps you in all sorts of ways – it brings traffic to your site, gives your customers a great insight in to the kind of services you can provide, and also helps earn revenue if you decide to charge for your product rather than giving it away for free.
Having said all this, a product will only do these great things if it is right on target and what your customers are looking for.
If I suddenly decided to give away an e-book on dog training, this would have little or no impact on my business at all, other than confusing my customers who are looking to pop in to the site for advice on building and running a blog successfully.
Similarly, someone who promoted business coaching for a living wouldn’t get very far if their product was a guide to flower arranging, or a great collection of recipes for Italian food.
So, because our product needs to be right on the money when it comes to bringing increased traffic, satisfying SEO criteria, and really answering the needs of our customers, how do we go about producing something worthwhile?
Here are some tips for avoiding product failure and coming up with a great product…
Think It Through
The biggest mistake people can make when they are developing their product is to decide on an idea for it, without conducting any research in to the niche they are thinking of entering.
Your product needs to answer a direct need in the market, regardless of what industry you are operating in. There are all sorts of ways of working out what people are looking for in your field of business – conducting a good piece of keyword research to find out what people are searching for most, listening to the feedback and comments from your customers when they come to you for support, or looking online to establish what issues people are potentially having, and then designing a product to answer those issues.
Unless you put in a little time prior to deciding what product to provide for your customers, working out what they are looking for, it’s likely that your product won’t hit the mark and will be left sitting on the shelf while your competitors achieve what you can’t.
Think of this stage as your initial investment in to finding a great idea – the foundation upon which the future success of your product will be built.
Make It Good Quality
Have you ever downloaded something free from the web, only to find it is either useless, poorly written, or doesn’t achieve what it says it will?
There is very little more frustrating than going through the rigmarole of buying something online, or downloading a free product, only to end up looking at it with a feeling of disappointment. This is the worst thing someone who runs their own business can do, as it will make their customers immediately lose faith in them, their online brand and their capabilities.
Basics for your product such as good formatting, useful content and strong proofreading are all fundamental skills which need to be applied, regardless of whether your product is free or needs to be paid for.
Your product is a representation of what you achieve as a service provider – make it something you can be proud of.
Even though the temptation to rush something just to get it out on the market can be quite strong, resist this and remember that you are creating something which needs to bring real value to your customers, to encourage them to use your services in a long and happy ongoing relationship.
So, you have a great product now, and you’ve polished and refined it until it is the best possible representation of you, your company, and your capabilities. What do you do now – let it sit there in a dark corner of your site waiting for people to fall over it (this won’t happen!), or get out there and promote it?
The best product in the world won’t achieve much unless your customers know it is there, so spend a real concerted effort in promoting, publicising and pushing your product to people.
Use your existing client database, social networking, blogging, articles and any other vehicle you can think of to get your product known and noticed. The more people hear about it, the more likely you are to make sales, so don’t neglect this third and final important step in avoiding product failure.
What’s your view on product creation?
Please share your views in the comments below.