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How To Avoid Product Failure

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avoid-product-failureIf 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.

Market It…Brilliantly

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.

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31 Responses to How To Avoid Product Failure

  1. Evan June 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    It’s the research phase that has got me most tricked.

    If you’d like to give more details about what you mean by keyword research I’d be grateful.

    • Andrew June 23, 2011 at 11:59 am #


      If you see what keyword phrases people are using to search for information, it helps determine whether the product idea you are thinking about is one worth taking to the next step of research.


  2. Debbie June 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    When it comes to key words you Are right on. One thing that I do also is look at my site stats and see the key words people have used to lead them to my site. That would be the plug in you have created for this. Love that plug-in, because now I don’t have to go searching for my stats. Is this ok when it comes to looking for those key words?
    Love your valuable inforamtion you keep feeding us, Andrew.
    Thank you and Blessing to you,

    • Andrew June 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm #


      Yes…our plugin does show what keyword phrases people have used to find your site. It a good approach.


  3. Petra June 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    I was just on another blog, reading an article about something unrelated, but something I read there struck a chord with me that I think is relevant to what you wrote here. The author wrote, “..the more I slowed down, the more I progressed.” One of the points you make here, to think through your product idea (and make sure it’s a really good one) is an important point. Success requires patience and pacing yourself, not trying to get something done as quickly as possible.

    • Andrew June 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm #


      Totally agree. The end result should be something you are both happy with but also proud of.


  4. Dennis Edell June 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Ironically “actually checking if there is even a market for it” is where most fail, when it should be #1.

    • Andrew June 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm #


      Yep…they just THINK it will sell.


  5. Ana June 22, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    I have to agree with Dennis. Researching to find out whether there is a market for it should be a big part of the research process. Thank you for the excellent tips!

    • Andrew June 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      Yep…it’s the step that can take the longest and can also be frustrating…especially when you find there isn’t a market for it!


  6. John Mak June 23, 2011 at 4:12 am #

    Hi Andrew,
    I agree that promoting any product with a specific way can bring results especially when it’s something reliable and most people know about it. If for example you promote something from Amazon.com, the conversion will be guaranteed! Thanks for sharing,

    • Andrew June 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm #


      I’m not sure Amazon can be guaranteed for you. So many people are jumping on the bandwagon of promoting Amazon products…it’s saturated.

      Plus the commission percentages are very low.


  7. Felicia June 23, 2011 at 4:34 am #

    Hi Andrew,
    You are right in mentioning how many people make the mistake in not taking enough research on the niche they are entering and ending up with the wrong product. They try to start up their niche on a whim and end up with nothing due to lack of research.

    • Andrew June 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm #


      …and unfortunately so many fall into that category. They are too keen and have little patience.


      • Felicia July 7, 2011 at 6:13 am #

        So true! Patience is also one of the keys to success when it comes to marketing a certain product.
        Thanks for replying!

  8. Extreme John June 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Very effective tips! Without proper product research, without creating a good quality product, without proper product promotion, your product is a fail.

    • Andrew June 25, 2011 at 7:36 am #


      And any one of them in isolation can make the product fail.


  9. Mouh June 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Not conducting market research is the number of culprit. Most people tend to create a product based on what they think customers want. It actually happened to me with my first eBook. I thought it was a great idea and I was so excited about it. Then I faced the problem of market commerciality. The niche I chose wasn’t that commercial. People only want free information in that niche. They weren’t ready to pay. This means I failed. I spend a lot of time to write that 216 page eBook. So one needs to check the market and know its needs before even deciding on a topic.

    Another problem I faced with another eBook was uploading the wrong version of the eBook to my website. It was the freewriting version! As the name suggests, it was full of mistakes. One customer was really angry. I was about to fail but I managed to solve the problem. I stopped selling the eBook first. Then I apologized and offered the eBook for free to the customer. That did wonders. I avoided that product failure that way. 🙂

    So yes, do your research and make it good quality!

    See you around.


    • Andrew June 25, 2011 at 7:38 am #


      Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      Uploading the wrong version is easily done…at least you compensated the customer. Great approach.


  10. Gary Ashton June 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Excellent article Andrew, I found this post very informative which comes with a very relevant formula which can be applied by people from other professions as well. As bloggers and as businessmen we all sell some sort of products and we cannot confuse the readers or clients by showing them something completely different.

  11. Diane June 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Great tips, Andrew. I think it’s easy to get an idea and running with it before really planning out the details. Would you suggest running the ideas with friends and family that are in your social network, to get an idea of how it would do?

    • Andrew June 25, 2011 at 7:40 am #


      Social network yes…not friends and family.

      Social network will be honest…friends and family – possibly not so honest as they don’t want to upset you.


  12. Delena Silverfox June 26, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Hi Andrew!

    Yep, I’ve had that lovely experience of being disappointed or underwhelmed about some product I downloaded. I have a teenie laptop with extremely limited space, so when I choose to give that premium space to a product, I want it to be worth it! But if it’s not, I always ask for a refund and leave plenty of comments in the customer feedback portion (if there *is* one!) so they know what went wrong.

    I think it’s just as important as a customer to give great feedback so the marketer can build on it, just as much as it is to listen to my own feedback.


    • Andrew June 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm #


      Agreed…feedback is great. But it really depends upon whether the product owner takes it on board and makes any changes.


  13. William Tha Great June 27, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for the awesome article!

    It feels like its been forever since I have been around your wonderful community. Product launches are very important and the best thing you can do is take your time and think them through carefully.

    I have some project i’m working on researching and planing things out right so my product lanch can be as successful as possible. ( :

    Thanks again!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • Andrew June 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm #


      Glad you are back!

      Are you able to share what subject your project is on?


  14. fred June 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    >>Your product needs to answer a direct need in the market, regardless of what industry you are operating in.

    This is sound advice of course but I would argue that it isn’t an absolute — because of the way technology changes the way we live and communicate, with new technologies or through software, hardware, etc, we can actually “create” consumer “needs” in a sense, as odd as that sounds. Because of the internet, the idea of whats possible in the marketplace has shifted tremendously over the last two decades, creating market needs in places that were unimaginable.

    • Andrew June 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm #


      I can understand what you mean.

      Years ago, I remember the twin cassette deck coming out. I didn’t want one or even think of one before it became available!


  15. tomy June 27, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    The niche I chose wasn’t that commercial. People only want free information in that niche. They weren’t ready to pay. This means I failed. I spend a lot of time to write that 216 page eBook. So one needs to check the market and know its needs before even deciding on a topic.

    • Andrew June 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm #


      You do need to check the market…very true.


  16. Gray January 31, 2012 at 2:21 am #

    You should use a keyword that you think people will actually use. Keywords that could lead to your site. Just make sure that the contents that is in your site is very good. Because if you only have the best keywords that they usually use but you don’t have the bast content, everything is useless. People are looking after the contents and not with the keywords they are using.

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