Whether you’re just starting out or looking to refine your existing offerings, understanding what makes a product truly effective is key. It’s important to learn how to understand insights about crafting products that not only resonate with your audience but that can also sustain and grow your business. Join me as I explore the intersection of market demand, personal passion, and practical strategies to create products that sell themselves.
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- How to create products that are not only meaningful to you but also in high demand in the market.
- The importance of creating products that can be effectively implemented and produce real, tangible results for your audience.
- Strategies for using customer feedback and experiences in your marketing, focusing on ethical and effective approaches.
- Understanding the significance of targeting your marketing efforts towards individuals who genuinely need and can benefit from your product.
- Creating products that not only sell themselves but also contribute to the sustainability and growth of your business.
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Understanding Market Needs and Personal Passion
Creating a product that’s both in demand and meaningful to you is a delicate balance. It’s not just about what you love; it’s about what the market needs. By aligning your personal passion with market demand, you ensure that your product isn’t just a personal project, but a viable, valuable offering for your audience.
Enhancing Client Lifetime Value
By nurturing our existing relationships, we not only provide value but also enhance the lifetime value of each client. This approach is not just beneficial for clients but also for the long-term health of our business. Customer loyalty can turn one-time purchases into long-term supporters.
The Power of Effective Implementation
It’s one thing to create a product that people like, but it’s another to make one that they can effectively implement and see real results from. This is where the magic happens. When your product not only meets a need but also delivers tangible outcomes, it stands apart in the marketplace.
Ethical Marketing and Customer Feedback
In today’s world, how you market is just as important as what you market. Using customer feedback and experiences in your marketing strategy is not only ethical but also incredibly effective. Remember, your product may be passive, but your marketing shouldn’t be. It’s about active engagement, maintenance, and always keeping an ear to the ground.
Targeted Marketing: Selling to the Right People
You don’t need to sell to everyone. Focus your marketing on those who genuinely need and will benefit from your product. Understanding your target audience is crucial. It’s about making connections with the right people, not just casting a wide net.
Building a product that sells itself is about more than just a great idea. It’s about aligning with market demands, creating practical and impactful solutions, engaging in ethical marketing, and targeting the right audience. With these strategies, you’re not just creating a product; you’re creating a legacy.
Sam Vander Wielen:
Hey there, and welcome back to On Your Terms. I’m your host, Sam Van Der Wielen. And this is Part 3 of my Kickstart Your Business Series in 2024. I hope you’ve already listened to Parts 1 and 2. If not, you’re not necessarily going to be lost, but this is a series, we are building here, people, so I definitely encourage you to go back and listen to Parts 1 and 2.
I’m so excited today to talk about one of my favorite topics, building a great product or building a great service. So, whatever it is that you do, whether it’s a group program, a downloadable thing, a course, whatever you want to create, I want to help you to create a great one that lasts a long time and sells to a lot of people, if that’s your goal.
So, on a personal front, before we hop into today’s episode, I just got back from California. We had such a nice trip. I went out there for, like, a-week-and-a-half, and it was warm enough, you know, it was high 60s, but at least it’s like double what it is here in New York, so that was good for me. And, then, also it was really, really sunny, so I just felt like being out in the sun where you could go outside and take hikes and eat outside for pretty much every single meal. That was pretty awesome. So, I’m glad to be back. I’m always glad to come back to my house here in New York. It’s just so calm and cozy and it’s beautiful here in its own way.
And I also am always excited to just get back to my routine. So, the very first thing I do is I go grocery shopping. I have to stock up on food again and then get back in the habit of cooking at home. I don’t know about you, but by the end of a vacation, I’m always so sick of going out to eat, so I was just very excited to come home and cook everything. And then, I also had tons of laundry to do and was just getting really organized. And then, I’m getting back to writing the book, so it’s really hard, like sometimes I have to take breaks from writing the book either for business reasons or personal reasons, like traveling or something’s going on grief-wise or whatever, but it’s hard to then just jump back in and I kind of have to put my head down and go all back in.
So, I’m actually recording this episode over the weekend, which I was just sharing about on Instagram, I don’t normally work on weekends anymore. Maybe just little things here and there to get some stuff done or to check in on something, but really I don’t work on weekends. So, it’s been an interesting learning process in writing the book. And the book, it’s like its own thing. It’s not just like writing a very long piece of content that you would write for the business. It’s almost like its own little business in and of itself. It’s a totally separate thing that takes so much time and attention and focus. And you really need to be very focused in order to do it well. And it is hard, you know, in the beginning I would try to write for half of the day and then be like, "Okay. Now, I got to record podcast episodes in the afternoon," but I was so tired and so burnt out, like that doesn’t really work. I kind of need a day to write. I need to do podcasts on other days. I still write all of my own emails, so I have to write my emails to my list. I review everything. I’m checking SEO stuff.
So, yeah, it’s interesting, I feel like right at the very end of writing this book, I will be like, "Aha. I figured it out. I know how to run a business and write a book now." And if I’m so lucky as to get a second book deal one day, then maybe I’ll be a little bit better at it. But right now, I’m just doing the best I can and admittedly feel like I’m just trying to catch up most of the time. So, it’s been really interesting. And I guess I would just share that, too, for anybody who wants to write a book as part of their business, it’s something to think about and talk to somebody who’s written a book already because running the business on top of it, I’m very fortunate that my business is very automated, and so I don’t know what I would do if my business required a lot of me. I would be in big trouble. So, it’s just something interesting to consider. Obviously, I’m happy to talk to you about it anytime you want.
Okay. So with that, I want to get into Part 3 on building a great product and service. Because in Part 2, we talked about doing a lot of market research for your business to make sure that your business is viable, that your kind of topic area is viable, and all of what we talked about in Part 2 applies to everything we’re going to talk about today. That’s why listening to Part 2 is so essential because you essentially need to go through the same logic in building out a great product. And I’m going to define in a couple of minutes what to me means a great product when I say that.
So, in order for you to build a great product, you have to know who you’re speaking to, you have to speak their language, you have to be unique, all the things that we talked about in Part 2. So, it’s really important that you listen to that and you apply that throughout. How does that apply to? Is there a demand for this product? Are there already people doing this? Is there a lot of competition, but how am I unique from that competition? How am I going to stand out? What am I going to do? How am I going to lean into my unique differentiators, both in my product and in myself when promoting this thing? So, we want to go back and we want to apply all of that.
Now, I see one of the biggest differences between a product that’s really great or a product that’s not so great, or at least I can say that something I see pretty consistently in products that aren’t that great is that you don’t make sure that the product is actually in demand. Usually, when I see products that really flop on their face, it’s because the product was not only maybe not in demand, but the reason it’s not in demand is because it’s something that you really wanted but not necessarily that your customer really wanted. Maybe it’s not even that the customer doesn’t want that product, but maybe it’s the way you’re positioning it or what you’re calling it.
I see this a lot when you’re in an industry or a niche of an industry that you’re really expert in and you’re really comfortable and familiar with, but the customer that you’re talking to is not. So, the example I always give is that I would say that the average person probably does not know what intuitive eating is, what that means. I mean, they could probably take a stab at it based on the name, but they might not know exactly what it is. That’s a phrase that people in the industry use and they’ll use other other kind of, like, hot phrases around that term, but that might not be the phrase that your customer would use. Maybe your customer would use some kind of language like "I don’t want to diet anymore. I’m sick of dieting. I fail at diets all the time, it’s not working," or something like this. I’m not an expert in this so I’m just spitballing here. So, the point of that is just saying maybe you did come up with a good product idea or service or program or something, but it might not be packaged correctly because you might not be looking at it through the lens of your customer. You’re more looking at it through the lens of you as an expert.
And right now, we’re not going to use the name of your program or the description of your program as what’s going to legitimize you as an expert to teach what you teach. We’re going to talk about that elsewhere in your marketing, in your branding, on a sales page. But the name and everything and the tagline, the description, that all has to speak to your customer.
We, of course, want to make sure that this product is in demand, but we also want to make sure that it’s not something that’s really just important to you. And I want whatever you create to be important to you. It can’t just be important to you though and not to others.
So, I think one of the fastest ways that you can tell whether some idea you’ve come up with or a program you’ve created actually does speak to other people is to beta test it. And by beta testing, I mean that you sell your product, you kind of create it in it’s imperfect form. It doesn’t have to be completely, completely finalized. It doesn’t have to be what it actually ends up looking like. But it, generally speaking, has to be put together. Like if it was an online course, you should have the videos and the handouts that go along with it or the copy written inside of the course or something like that. And you would sell it to a couple of people at probably a reduced rate, significantly reduced rate. And then, you would observe what happens after that.
So, you would invite a few people to come and purchase this at a discounted rate. Obviously the discounted rate is a big part of why that person should want to get in because it’s going to be much more expensive down the line. And then, we’re going to observe what happens. Like, does this product actually work for them? And we’re going to track it, test it, collect the data.
I think that the biggest thing that people do wrong in beta testing is that they think about beta testing only on the sales side and not on the results side. So, beta testing, yes, one of the parts of beta testing is proof of concept. So, if you put this product out there, do people bite? Do people seem interested? Do people understand what you’re selling? I found when I was first selling the Ultimate Bundle, people were like, "Well, what is it? I don’t understand." But it was different than it is now. So, it was like people would ask me a lot of questions, and in their questions, it helped me to form, like, "Oh. I need to explain this better. I need to have a better elevator pitch. I need to have a good tagline. I need to have a good little description." Even in people’s questions, we want to beta test the proof of concept in terms of do people buy it, do people understand. But then, we also want to beta test does this product work.
So, I was watching a video the other day on CBS Sunday Morning. I like to watch the clips on YouTube, and I was watching a video the other day where it was a toy maker. And I think he just turned, like, 105, and he has been a toy maker for a kabillion years. And he was talking about how they would create these toys and then put them in a room and then they would see what toys that the kids actually went to. But then, they would see when the kids played with it, did they have fun playing with it? Did the game actually work?
One of the ones he created was – oh, man. What is it called? I used to play with it when I was little, where you’d pull out the sticks and the balls would drop through. I’ll remember later. This is the problem with live podcasting, I’m not going to look it up. So anyway, he created this game and he wanted to see whether it actually even worked, would kids actually complete the game or they get frustrated because they didn’t understand what they were supposed to do. And then, they would also track to see whether people came back to it, whether the children came back to play with a toy.
I thought that that was really interesting and very similar to what we do, because it’s like, first, we want to see if people bite. Are they interested? Are people reaching out saying I would love to take this product for a test run? When they go to use it, does it actually work? Does it complete the offered promise? And then, do people complete it? I mean, it kind of depends on what you’re creating here. Like if you’re creating an ebook or something, do they complete it? Do they implement it? If you’re offering to teach people how to – I don’t know – draw their first watercolor painting in your course, do the people actually find that the course helps them to complete that? Or is everybody saying there’s something missing?
I know that this stuff sounds really boring and you’re probably like, "Yeah. Yeah. I just want to know how do I sell more of my product? Just tell me how to sell more of it." I am telling you, this is what sells more of your product in the long run. I didn’t know it at the time, so I will admit, I did not listen to a podcast telling me to do this. I didn’t learn this in law school. We learned a lot about business in law school, but I did not learn this. And it’s not something I knew I was doing intentionally at the time.
But looking back at it, this is exactly what I did with the Ultimate Bundle, which has now made millions and millions and millions of dollars in sales. But more importantly, people like it, they implement it and actually get some results. They’re able to implement legal contracts. They’re able to register their businesses. They have used it to successfully defend themselves. So, it has done what it is supposed to do and that is why it has continued to sell. It’s not that I just created a product that I’m just really good at selling. It’s that the product is really good and it almost sells itself.
So, when I created the Ultimate Bundle – which is just for context – it’s a pack of legal templates, ten legal contract templates and website policy templates, plus over 35 video trainings from me, plus support from me. So, it’s kind of like an all-in-one online course about legally protecting your business and getting yourself registered and protected, but it’s also giving you these practical implementable legal contracts and policies. And so, when I had the idea and I created this, my first thing was let me just put this out there and see if even the way it was packaged the way that people wanted. And the way that I originally created it was that I thought everybody was going to want the legal trainings only. I was like, "Oh. If they want a contract here and there, they can buy it." So, I go out and I try to beta test the Ultimate Bundle which was at that time just videos, and maybe I included one legal template. It really was not what it was today. And I went out there and started trying to beta test it to everyone.
And everybody said the same thing, "I would buy it if there were legal templates in it. I really need the contract. I do need you to teach me how to get an LLC or how to trademark something, but I also need this other thing." And so, I put it all together and then started beta testing that. And immediately, it was like alligators, immediate chomp, chomp, chomp, bite, bite, bite. So, I knew that I had hit on something, but that was only because of listening to people’s feedback about why they weren’t biting. I would ask, I would follow up and I would ask, or people would offer it, and I would listen to that and I integrated it.
Now remember, I started out with a product that I thought was a good idea. I could have just stood in that and let my ego get in the way and be like, "I think this is a good idea. This is really what people need." That’s what I thought at the time, I was like, "This is really what people need.
They need to understand how to legally talk about what they do and how to talk about scope of practice." And then, it was like, "Okay. That’s not all that people want." So, I put that aside and I repackaged it to what they wanted, then I sold the Ultimate Bundle in the current form. Obviously, it’s been updated and improved many, many times over the years, but in the form that it started out in. And I sold it to about 15 people for several hundreds of dollars each, which is incredibly low for the cost and the value.
And as part of that, I asked them for feedback. I watched their progress within the course. I would ask them, "Once you watched this video, let me know" or "Once you use this contract, let me know how was it, blah, blah, blah." So, I got a lot of feedback, I integrated all of that, and then I went for it. I would say I did that over, like, a month or two. I was pushing pretty fast for it because I wanted to get it out. And I had already done all the creation. I had filmed all the videos. I had done all the things. And at that point and only that point did I decide to put more into kind of the style of what it all looked like on the back end.
I think a lot of people spend that time upfront before they know that something’s going to be good and something’s really going to sell and people are going to want it. But I think it doesn’t need to look perfect and beautiful when you’re testing it because what if it’s not going to be that way. So, do some of the more rough sketch work on the frontend and then we can beautify it once we know it’s going to become a thing.
I would encourage you whether you beta test it or you just like to sell it – I mean, of course, you can just sell it. You can do whatever you want to do. If you want to sell it for a small discount or sell it just like normal – I mean, whatever you want to do, however you sell it, I really encourage you to do customer interviews. So, customer interviews are a great way to get to know your customer and really learn their language. You need to learn what was going on for them when they found you, when they were looking for you. Maybe they didn’t even know they were looking for you, but they were in more of the struggle phase. What were they struggling with? Pay attention to the language that they’re using because that’s the language you need to use to identify with the people who you’re going to try to attract in the future.
So, you need to know what was going on for them, what was causing them pain, what did they wish it was like instead, and then we can talk then about what was it like now that you’ve implemented, now that you’ve gotten the results, what is the outcome. And you really get the language because then that’s going to paint a picture for telling other people look at what this product or service is going to do for you. This is what your life will be like instead.
One of the very many reasons I think it’s really funny when people copy off of me or really copy off of anybody, but I guess I just think it’s particularly funny given that I’m a lawyer and other lawyers copy off of me all the time, is that the language that I’m using is very specific to my customer. All the language that I use in terms of my copy, and my marketing, on sales pages, all comes from voice of customer research. And my customers are unique to me. Your customers are unique to you. And they’re going to use different language. So, it’s kind of funny when people steal my language, because then I’m like, "Well, that might not speak to your people, so you’re really missing out. You think you’re just copying my words, but it’s not that. It’s psychology. It’s marketing psychology."
So, you’re going to use everything that you get from these customer interviews, and you’re going to use that voice of customer research to create copy for yourself, to write your sales pages, to plan out what you say in your Instagram stories or in your captions. You’re going to use that for marketing your products moving forward, because you’re going to be able now to speak directly to the person who’s out there, who’s maybe a couple of steps behind your current client who’s looking for somebody like you but might not know that it exists.
Now remember earlier, I said we’re trying to build a great product. And if you’ve listened to my podcast before, you know that I don’t subscribe to a great product isn’t one that makes millions of dollars. It’s not one that brings in 10K months. It’s not ones that only gets mentioned on Forbes or whatever. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Your product can be great because it helps two people. Your product can be great because you love it. I don’t really care. So, you can make up your own definition of what makes a great product.
For me, I would say that a great product is something that solves somebody’s problems. It actually gets results, which I’ll talk about in a second. It’s the biggest, biggest part, and, honestly, I think it’s the part that everybody overlooks. But it’s really something that solves somebody’s problem. That’s essentially what it does. It saves them time, money, or some energy that gives them a shortcut in some way. And sometimes it does multiple of those combinations. Other times it’s one of those in particular or you’re teaching them how to save money or something like that or save time.
I would say for what I do, for example, even with legal stuff, yes, it’s going to take you time, a little bit of time to fill out your contracts or your website policies, or even to form your LLC. But I’m going to save you a lot of time by stopping you from running around with your head cut off and not knowing how to do all this, you’re actually wasting way more time. And instead, I’m just saying to you, "Hey, it’s easy. Here are the three steps. Just go take care of it." So, I’m saving you time in that way. I’m also saving you money in that way, because time is money when you have your own business. And then, obviously, helping to save energy and just shortcutting a process that’s otherwise really frustrating and intimidating.
I think a great product is also unique in its own way or it’s different than others, maybe stands out from the crowd, a lot of what we’ve talked about in Part 2. And I think more than anything, your product speaks to them, directly to your ideal customer by making them feel good about themselves or at least not feeling badly or ashamed. I think about this a lot with what I do, because with legal stuff, it’s really easy to use fear in being like, "If you didn’t do this, then all of these terrible things are going to happen to you and everything’s going to explode, and your business is over," and all of this. And I see that in other people in my space. It’s not my style, but I also think it’s what’s unique and it differentiates us from other people in my space.
And so, for me, it’s kind of like a double dip, because it’s just naturally not me, so I’m just being myself by not yelling at you and shaming you. And, really, at my core, I’m just somebody who likes to focus on getting stuff done. I just want to be like, what does it matter? I don’t need to stand here and yell at you about all the things you did and didn’t do. Let’s just move forward. And I know I can tell you that my customers feel really good being in that space because it does not feel good. If you’ve ever gone to a doctor, you go to them about some concern, then they’re just yelling at you or using shaming language, you’re like, "Okay. Well, I’m here. I’m trying to resolve this problem, but now this is not very helpful."
So, it’s really like making people feel at ease so that they actually want to be there. And you know what happens when people want to be there? They implement the product. And do you know what happens when people implement the product? They get results. And when they get results, that is going to not only give them a positive experience, it’s going to make them tell other people about it. And even if they don’t tell anybody about it but you, it’s going to give you a lot of customer data. It’s going to give you proof that you need. It’s going to give you feedback that you can use in your marketing to market to other people to attract them to your product.
One of the keys to building a really great product, a product that is scalable and lasts and sells over time is learning how, over time, to use customer experience, feedback, wins, DMs, emails, messages, to start using that stuff to market to others in a very ethical way. So, your customer’s words and wins or whatever they’re sharing with you will speak to other people who are in the same place as they were. Especially when the customers that you’re sharing about are the ideal clients that you’ve worked really hard to attract, because now their words are going to identify with other people who are like them, and it’s going to create this circuitous never ending cycle of new customers.
Again, this is another thing that I think I did by accident that ended up working really, really well, that I shared people’s feedback in real time about what was going on being able to knock out an LLC. So, here’s an example, years and years ago, people would DM me and be like, "Thank you so much for creating the Ultimate Bundle. I was so lost and spinning my wheels. And because of the Bundle, I was able to go in, and I already got my LLC done, and now I got my first client, and blah, blah, blah." So, it would tell me all of these great things that have happened and how they’d probably been spinning their wheels and felt really anxious. A lot of times I hear from people that it makes them feel really at ease. So, I would use that, not just re-share it on social media, not just re-share it on an Instagram Story and then say here’s the link to buy the Bundle. That doesn’t help anybody. But I understood from what that customer was sharing with me what you, as a potential customer, on the other side of the screen might be feeling in that moment, which is the same thing that that customer felt when they started.
So, when I would share it, maybe I would just talk about it as like a story and then share a snippet. But I would share a story about like, "Hey, I had this customer, she just had spent so much time trying to figure out what the legal steps were to starting up a business and it was really holding her back. And she felt like she had clients waiting in the wings, but she couldn’t get to them because she was so afraid that she was exposed legally. And she hadn’t gotten any of the stuff done, but it was just really holding her in this holding pattern and not being able to move forward and start her business. And when she got the Ultimate Bundle, she went from having spent hours online doing legal research that didn’t make any sense to five minutes later being like, ‘Oh, here’s where I go to get my LLC. Here are the simple steps.’ And with the guides that are provided in the Ultimate Bundle, she was able to get her LLC the next day."
So, just showing, like speaking to where they’re at and then showing I know that you just want to get – I mean, especially for what I do, it’s like people just want to get through it. They don’t want some incredible feeling like outcome. They’re just like, "I just need to legitimize my business so that I feel more confident to share about my business so that I feel more confident to grow it, so I feel like I can speak about what I want to speak about, or put my product out there." So, just speaking to I know where you’re at. I know you just want to get this over with. You feel like you’re spinning your wheels. You’re freaked out that someone’s going to come after you. Here’s a simple solution. And then, I use that customer’s feedback as the example. So, it’s not just me talking about my product. I’m showing you that your peers are having the same experience. So, really using that customer experience and feedback to start marketing your product to other people.
Now, whenever we talk about products, we have to talk about scalability, which is not necessarily a requirement. It’s just that I think that when you create a product that requires a lot of you, like if you create a group program or something, at some point, pretty much everybody I know gets burnt out on that experience because it’s just a lot. It’s a lot of energy. It requires a lot of you and you’re going to hit a ceiling income-wise. So, again, it’s not that the product that you create has to be scalable, but if you want to create a scalable product, I would look at creating something that doesn’t require an obscene amount of time from you at least in the implementation of the product.
So, for example, my Ultimate Bundle, the legal templates are written, the videos are done so you can watch all that. It takes a lot of time for me for marketing it and continuing to market it. Or if I run a promotion for it, then I have to do a webinar and I’m on social media talking about it. So, it’s going to require time. Period. And that’s why I hate when people say a passive product, what I do is like way more passive than other stuff, but it’s not completely passive. The product itself is more passive, but the marketing of it, the selling of it, the maintenance of it, there are a lot of people working on it, that part is not completely passive.
I mean, if you create an ebook or something, I guess that would be something that’s very scalable, that doesn’t require a lot of time, but you also can’t charge $2,000 for it. So, unless it was an incredible ebook, maybe you could. So, it’s just a little bit different. But in general, I would look at how can you craft this product that doesn’t need a lot of your time in kind of the implementation of the product or make you keep doing the same thing over and over. Could you record it instead? Does it need so much live component?
That’s another part, too, where that’s really important to listen to the customer and see where do they really need you and where do you just feel like you’re needed. I hear a lot of times people will be like, "I can’t do this on recording because they need to hear it from me." They really don’t. And I bet you, if people just had it, like if we just kind of set the boundary of you get these videos and that’s that, I bet you they would be okay. And there are other ways that you can do support. You can do community support, email support, chat support. Depending on the size of your stuff, you can do Voxer or Slack or something like that. There are different ways to do this. You could do quarterly live calls. But the whole course itself or product itself doesn’t need to be live.
I would also think about whether your product can last, can it be something that you sell for a long time, or is it more time sensitive or time specific. I was just thinking last night when I was looking at Instagram, I was looking at reels about food stuff, and I saw that this woman had come out with a recipe guide for this – I don’t know, it’s at least new to me.
Maybe this thing has been out for a while, but it’s this thing called the Ninja CREAMi. Have you seen it? It makes ice cream and frozen drinks and frozen yogurt kind of things really quickly. And it’s kind of smaller and slimmer than a ice cream maker, I guess. But anyway, I hadn’t heard of it, which I was surprised about, but I hadn’t heard of it and she had created a recipe guide just for this Ninja CREAMi. Such a great idea, right?
But at the same time, I was like, "Hmm, that’s interesting. I wonder if the Ninja CREAMi will be around for a while. Have enough people purchased the Ninja CREAMi?" It’s a specific one product. Versus, I know a lot of people do ebooks for, like, Instapot or a pressure cooker or something like this. There are many different brands that make it even though it’s kind of a brand that makes Instapot, but you know what I’m saying? There’s different ones. Or like a slow cooker guide, there are many different kinds of slow cookers. So, it was interesting to me, but that was just something I think about when I see these where I’m like, "Hmm. I bet she’s selling a lot of these right now." And maybe for the amount of time and energy and effort she put into it, that’s worth it for her, but it’s also a low cost products.
If we’re creating a high cost product that took a lot of production value, like the Ultimate Bundle took me forever to make all the videos, do all of the copy, create all the handouts, obviously write all the legal templates, it’s not a low cost product and I wanted it to last for a long time. So, I wanted to make sure it’s not time sensitive. It’s not based on the Ninja CREAMi. No offense to Ninja CREAMi. Maybe it will be a big hit and it will be around for 50 years, I don’t know, but just saying. So, that’s just something I would think about if you want to create something that’s scalable.
I think it’s really important to keep in mind as well within creating a great product that continual improvement will be required if you want this product to last. So, this idea that you’ve been sold by a few people online, that you can create something that just sells itself and super passive and it lasts forever, not exactly true not only because it’s not passive, but also because a good product is going to take continual improvement.
My product, the Ultimate Bundle, doesn’t look today like what it looked like two years ago, three years ago, four years ago. So, I’ve continued to improve it over time. And I would say, every few years, I have to go in and like completely redo the videos because they at least will look outdated or sound outdated, maybe my examples are outdated or something like that because online business changes a lot, and so I do that. The information, honestly, doesn’t change that much. I add things here and there and I optimize, I would say, more than anything. So, part of improving your product is speaking to where your customers are at, at the moment.
So, when I created the Ultimate Bundle five, six years ago, it wasn’t quite so much a culture of social media was really popular, obviously, and all that kind of stuff. It wasn’t like TikTok land, where everything had to be seven seconds and super fast. And so, people didn’t mind back then watching longer videos. The last time I changed the Ultimate Bundle, I did a big, big overhaul of the videos. People had moved more in the direction of wanting smaller, more digestible videos, so I tried to keep the videos to a minute, three minutes, five minutes, seven minutes, ten minutes. I really tried to keep them as short as I could depending on what the topic was so that people could feel like they could move through it. And I really tried to just focus on more just like giving them exactly what they wanted versus I wanted to include everything just to be as helpful as possible but that wasn’t actually helpful to them. So, again, another example of putting my own ego aside and saying this is where my customer is at, they need this stuff and they need it fast. I need to be straight into the point. And I reiterated with that in mind.
All right. The last thing we have to talk about when building a great product and service is how to actually sell it within your own business.
Now next week, in the last part of our series – which I can’t believe next week will be the last part of this Kickstart series – we’re going to talk about the content that you create to get new customers into your product. But in terms of the launch and promotion calendar or schedule how you actually go about doing that, I wanted to address that really quickly in this episode.
So, you can sell things on evergreen, meaning that your program is available all the time, people can buy it anytime. That would mean it’s parked on your website, for sale on your website, people will just click purchase it, that’s it. You could have an evergreen webinar or some other kind of evergreen freebie of some sort that people watch or consume in some way that then leads them down a sales path that provides some sort of urgency, meaning a discount that expires within a certain amount of time that they have to jump on and get into your program.
So, that’s the way that I sold the Ultimate Bundle for many, many years. I didn’t want to do live launches. I didn’t want to do live webinars. I didn’t want to do any of that stuff. And I sold the Ultimate Bundle very, very well. I really built up a great foundation of my product that way, hundreds and hundreds of customers purchased through that method. It was pretty low stress for me. And it was very, very focused for me, too, because I knew every day when I woke up that my job was just to get people to my top of funnel. So, I had built out a webinar that taught you the legal steps to starting your own business. And then, at the end of it, pitch the Ultimate Bundle, gave some sort of discount, and people went on their merry way and they purchased it or they didn’t. And if they didn’t, they stayed on my email list and then maybe later they purchased the Ultimate Bundle.
I think this gave me a lot of great experience in learning how to talk about my product. It also was an incredible experience in learning how to be a marathon runner in marketing of I just have to get up every day and be teaching something on social media, creating good content that leads to this thing. And I had to get out of my own head and stop being like, "Oh, everybody’s already heard about this." People have not heard about it. They did not know what it was. I was still finding new people all the time. And I just committed, committed hard. So, I knew that there had to be a way to just get people consistently into my webinar, which then put people pretty consistently into my Ultimate Bundle program.
And a lot of what we’re going to talk about next week in Part 4 is about how that process really caused me to only create content that consistently leads there. And just like investments, it was like the more content I created, that was what I call evergreen content of content that always had a call to action to my top of funnel, and so that if you found it today or you found it in April or you found it in September, it was always going to encourage you to go watch my free webinar, which was always going to encourage you to go buy my product. And over time, just like interest, it built up and built up and built up to the point where I didn’t have to talk about it every day anymore because I had stuff out there working for me.
So, you can take an approach like that. You can take some sort of kind of modified approach, which is probably what I’m more in now. I added one to two live launches per year. So, my Ultimate Bundle is still open all of the time. You can still watch my webinar all the time. But one or two times a year, I run a special promotion where I promote the Ultimate Bundle and I typically offer something a little more enticing or a little spicy to give some urgency, or some why now, why should I buy this now, can I buy this any time kind of thing. So, you really can play with this. You can think of different things that will make your product more enticing, give people a reason to need to purchase it now versus later.
And I want to speak to this whole issue about urgency because I feel like urgency can get a bad rap because people use it in a kind of manipulative way sometimes. But I want you to remember who your product is really for. You don’t need to sell to everybody. You’re not trying to sell for everybody. And I feel like that’s when urgency gets a bad rap, when you’re making everybody feel like you have to buy this right now or your whole world is going to collapse. First of all, I don’t use that kind of language, like your whole life’s over if you don’t do this, or I don’t use shame. At least I try not to if I’ve ever done something by accident, but that’s never the goal. And I feel like if you’re keeping Part 2 of this series’ advice in mind about learning who you’re speaking to and really understanding them and who this is for and who it’s meant to help and what it’s actually going to help them with, then you’re not trying to sell to everyone. You’re only trying to sell to the people who really need it. And the people who really need it will buy it when they want to.
I also have taken an approach in my business, and I did this when it made a lot less money. So, I know that I’ve said this to people more recently, and they’re like, "Well, that’s easy for you to say now." But, honestly, I had this view when I was not making a lot of money, which was that I really only want the people to buy my stuff who really needed it. So, I’m not interested in people buying my thing who don’t. I’m not interested in stealing from people or making people feel uncomfortable. And so, I’m okay if people don’t purchase. I’m also okay if you don’t purchase from me today. So, if you ever have sent me an email and I respond back there’s not a lot of pressure, it’s not like you have to do this now or it’s gone. So, if people don’t purchase from me today, I trust that if they need it six months from now, they will come back to me.
And in the beginning, that was a really scary mindset to have because I couldn’t really afford to have that mindset. But over time, just like what I was just talking about with the evergreen content kind of building interest, I think that this attitude, this mindset built interest because over time with me saying, "You know what? They’ll buy eventually. If they need it, they’ll buy eventually and I’ll be here." I always kind of have this like, "I’ll be here, I’ll be here." And I think that that relaxedness of the way I approach sales not only puts people at ease, but it makes me not treat things and people with such a death grip. And over time, those people built up. So, the next time I went to run a promotion, all those people who I had treated with kindness and patience in the past, who I was like, "Well, they’ll buy eventually if they need it. I’ll be here," they bought.
And every promotion gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And it’s not just because I have so many new people or it’s not just because a bunch of random people are seeing a Facebook Ad. It’s because every time a I make the pool a little bit bigger because I focus on so much lead generation in between every promotion, so every time I’m finished with the promotion, I turn immediately next day back to building the email list, new people, new people, new people. Let’s nurture them. Let’s nurture people who are already here. Let’s build up this relationship. Let’s make it better. So that maybe the next time I go to sell, the time is right. And every time that pool gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
And you have to remember, too, that the truth is always going to be that more people won’t buy than will buy. I have way more people on my email list or on Instagram or even listening to this podcast who won’t buy than who have. So, there’s always opportunity. And the more people I’m inviting in, who I’m nurturing, who are getting to know me, the time is right for them, the budget is right for them, whatever is right for people, it becomes the right time. And so, having that attitude of I’ll be here, come on over whenever you want, I do think ends up really helping you in the long run.
But in order for you to be here in the long run, you have to create a product like this that’s going to sustain you over the long term. Because constantly creating new stuff, having a million offerings is a surefire way not only to burn yourself out, but it’s also a way to never become known for anything, never really truly to give a product or service that you create the time and attention and love that it deserves to see if it’s really great.
I think a lot of people, first of all, they don’t do all the steps that we’ve talked about. But I also think people bail and people pivot a lot faster than what’s really required to truly see if something’s great. It’s like planting a seed and tending to it for a little bit, but then you stop watering it because you go plant something else and you’re doing something else. And it’s like that seed would have become an incredible plant, but you just stopped tending to it, so we never get to see what comes. Instead, you’re off doing something else and killing that plant and then moving on to the next one.
I think that’s a lot of what our industry kind of promotes, but I also think that’s such an emphasis. This is a good place to end today because a lot of what we’re going to talk about next week is I think that’s what the emphasis on, a lot of your marketing being spent on social media versus one of the big three, which is what we’re going to talk about in Part 4 next week, kind of encourages this fast fashion version of business, fast business. It’s like create a product, ditch it, go to the next one. It’s not a sustainable strategy that will at least make you feel very good.
So, next week will be the final part of our series, our Kickstart Your Business Series. I hope that you’ve been enjoying it. And next week we’re going to talk a lot about the kind of content that you can create that pushes people to this very product that we just talked about or that pushes people to your webinar or to your freebie. Even if you’re just right now focused on this is all seeming like a lot and I just want to build up my email list so that one day I have some people to talk to about a product, then next week is going to be a great wrap up episode all about creating content that lasts, that continues to build that business interest for you, and that will bring consistent leads to your email list and consistent customers to your products and services.
So, I would absolutely love it if you would respond back to my email today or if you would DM me on Instagram, @samvanderwielen, and let me know if you liked this episode, if you’ve liked the series. It’s my goal in 2024 to do a series every single quarter, but I only want to do a series if you’ve really been liking them. I would love to know what you’d want a series on, I have some ideas, but if there’s any kind of series that you know you want. For right now, just come and tell me if you’ve liked this series, if you’re looking forward to Part 4. I know I’ve really enjoyed doing it. So, I really appreciate you listening and I will see you next week with the fourth and final part of the Kickstart Your Business Series. See you then.
Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms Podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram, @samvanderwielen, and send me a DM to say hi.
Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services. But I think I offer some pretty good information.
- Episode 187. Kickstart Series Part 1: How to Start a Business Online (Setting the Foundation)
- Episode 189. Kickstart Series Part 2: Carve Out Your Spot & Claim Your Expertise
- Shop DIY templates and the Ultimate Bundle®
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