Effective Market Discovery is probably the most underestimated, but most important aspect, when starting out a new business/website. You can have access to the best traffic in the world, have super web design skills and have an unlimited advertising budget but it won’t mean a thing if you have no clue about “what to sell to who”.
Market Discovery also happens to be one the aspects of marketing that most people struggle with. Reason for this is that most people start with a “product” – they don’t know who to sell it to yet, but they have a product in mind.
Thing is, you don’t sell a product – you sell a “solution”. You don’t sell a drill, you sell a “hole in the wall”. I wouldn’t just stop there – you can also sell “experiences” or “emotions”. All of the above sell better than “products”.
Once you fully understand the above statement, you will never struggle for money anymore. I always harp on about the “people aspect” of my business (my business, your business, ANY business…) – I do that for a reason. Without people, there is no business. Simple as that.
Behind every transaction online, behind every click there is a real person. A human being with real feelings, needs, emotions and most of them are dying for some kind of “experience” or “sensation”. All of these can take on many forms, from getting rid of a migraine, to getting a date, to booking your dream vacation. It can also be something simple like finding a CD or album you’ve been looking for for the longest time. Or maybe you’ve stumbled onto a killer recipe for Chilli con carne – which happens to be your most favorite dish.
All of the above “can” be products – but in reality, they are much more than that. These are experiences, intermingled with emotions. All of the above make you feel good to a certain extent and you would pay money for them if only someone would take the time to present them to you in a way that you experience that need in your own head.
I understand the above can sound a little intimidating but I’ll explain more in depth by offering you an example.
One of my very close “online” friend (NOTE: We never met face-to-face) shared a very interesting experience he had from his past business.
Here’s what he told me:
For a very long time, almost 20 years, I was a stylist and a bio researcher.
People came to me and paid me $800 for a haircut.
You heard that right – $800 for a haircut!
How was I able to charge $800 when other top salons were struggling charging $100? It was all about the experience.
I’m not going to bore with you with the details, just know I ran my shop very different than “the others”. Thing is tho – I didn’t make most of my money from my (expensive) services, I did it by up-selling each of my clients a “regimen” that they could take home and re-live the salon experience in the privacy of their own bathroom.
The kit was personalized and cost $1200 – the contents of the kit, if used three times/week, would last them 6 weeks.
Can you say “ka-ching!”
Now – understand that my salon was housed in one of the most affluent cities in the US. There was no way I could sell a service and a maintenance kit this expensive to people without a fat bank account.
I had very targeted traffic – so to speak
My audience were very bored, rich ladies who, I knew, would pay handsomely for an experience that would take them out of their daily rut and would sweep them off their feet. Once I understood that, the money followed… in droves.
Just a quick note on this. Lesson for you to remember here is – sell the experience, not the product.
The above example might not be something you can easily replicate online but there are many other examples that take this same, experience driven approach and are transferable to the online environment we operate in. Think, Zappos.com!
This is one of the reasons I find a missing gap in the scummy world of CPA, simply because there is zero value in offering that to your prospects/clients. You’re only doing them a disservice by presenting them with crap like that and, on top of that – it’s impossible to build a long-term (and profitable) relationship with a client base you’ve build on CPA.
People spread the word if you do good, but they spread the word 100 times faster if you do bad. Never forget that.
Remember my $1200 kit I talked about? One of the products in there was a scalp conditioner on a soft menthol base. I found the product at a little lab in the south of Belgium. I sold 1000′s of bottles for them. These people had no clue how good of a product they had, and totally underestimated the value of it.
What I did was, after my spam network died on me, I went back to that lab and asked if I could buy wholesale from them. That product was one of he first products I started selling online with a boatload of value built in on the front end. I focused on giving out an experience with genuine information/communication upfront and a quality product to back it up.
That was 2006 – today it’s 2010 and I’m still selling that same product.
I have 2 ads running on Google Search for 2 keywords – that’s it. That product alone pays for the mortgage on my house and then some.
Google Search has come down on affiliates, right? That same source said you can’t make money from Google no more. Google slaps sites left and right and is cleaning house. Correct?
See now how these butt heads are so full of crap?
Google hasn’t sent me any “termination of account” notifications. They haven’t slapped me. My bid price is still reasonable (little more expensive but still
Point I’m trying to make is – there is always room for you if what you offer is an experience that makes your client/prospect happy.
Corny? No, reality! – even with Google.
Google has said many times that, what they want to achieve is excellence in user experience. If your site got slapped, I’m willing to bet my bottom dollar that you somehow missed to comply with that statement.
Try to think like Google when you set up your business online. Try to aim for that excellence in user experience. In simple terms – try to NOT piss off your visitors/clients/prospects.
Today – I wanted to drive home some vital elements that will help you take the correct start when you’re launching your online business. Creating an experience, a solution or some emotion. Beats selling products, hands down.
In my next post, I will focus on how to go about finding which experience/solution/emotion to sell and to whom. I said it before – if you get that mindset down, you’ll never be without money anymore.
I hope this lesson was helpful to you. In my next post I’ll clear up some of the confusion you might have encountered & found debatable