I just spent 6 months of my life creating a product that I can’t give away for free, let alone sell.
Don’t let this happen to you!
I took my years of experience and passion about owning & operating a storage auction business and put it all into an e-book that I am very proud of. When I was close to being finished, I started to drum up interest by giving away free copies. I posted in storage auction forums, Facebook groups, and in blog comments.
In the process, I realized something a bit saddening: Nobody is interested in this topic.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the demand for information is not what it was just a few years ago. People either tried storage auctions and moved on, or they are so busy with their own operation that they don’t have the time to go online and learn of a better way.
I have noticed:
- The forums are dead.
- The Facebook groups are dead.
- The Storage Wars hype is dead.
So, after months and months of work, I am now faced with the reality that this book isn’t going to make me very much money. In fact, I’ll be lucky if I make any money at all.
However, I can say that I learned a lot along the way, and I won’t make the same mistake in the future. Failure is just a stepping stone towards success.
Where things went wrong…
So where did I go wrong?
Well, I didn’t validate my idea – first!
Unfortunately, I skipped this important step and that is why I can tell you 100% from experience that you need to follow this advice, or you will be hard pressed to make any money online.
If you don’t want to make the same mistake, follow along.
How To Validate Your Idea
In order to validate your idea, you have to put it out there to determine interest BEFORE you create the product. Yes, that’s right, you are going to pretend you already have the product and try to sell it.
If nobody wants to buy it, then don’t waste your time creating it.
On the other hand, if people do want to buy it, then create it ASAP!
The first step in validating your idea is to do some research.
Lets use 3d Printing as an example.
First, go to Google Trends and type in “3d Printing”:
As you can see, interest in 3d printing is skyrocketing! From this data alone we can see that there is a demand for information on 3d printing and possibly a great topic to write an ebook on. However, we don’t want to jump the gun, so lets check a few more websites.
Validating Your Niche on Amazon
Let’s see if there’s already some ebooks on Amazon.com about 3d printing. If you search for “3d printing” in the Kindle category, you will discover that there are a lot of books on the topic.
Don’t let this discourage you!
Know that competition is a good sign that your idea has already been validated by others. It’s easier to make money from a large pool of buyers in a crowded niche than it is to be the only product in a niche with no buyers!
Validating Your Niche on Udemy
Udemy.com is a website where anyone can create a video course and offer it for sale online. With that in mind, once you create a successful e-book, I recommend turning that into a video course on Udemy!
For now, lets see what we can learn about 3d printing from this website:
Just like with Amazon, there are also a lot of 3d printing courses on Udemy. Like I said earlier, this is great news! It is also helpful to note that the first result only has a 1 star rating. Once you validate your idea, you can use these competitor reviews to make sure that your product is superior.
Last, but not least, I always run everything through Market Samurai
As you can see in this screenshot, the search term “3d printing” gets over 2,200 searches per day, and has an extremely high competition of 19,788, with an SEO value of $6,402.18 per day in income potential!
This is enough for me to know that this would be a great topic for an ebook or video course. However, the benefit of Market Samurai is that you can filter traffic using the Golden Rules, which I have done in this screenshot.
What this means is that aside from our search term, 3d printing, it will only show results with at least 30 searches per day and competition below 30. This lets us see these great long tail keywords that would be wise to incorporate in the title and description of our course, in some form or another.
At this point, you’ve done more than most people to validate your idea, but it would be wise to run a few tests to be 100% sure that you will make money.
Validate Using a Landing Page
A landing page is simply a web page that has one main objective: to collect an e-mail address or make a sale.
You want your landing page to be simple, with a headline, a short description, and a call to action. For example, this is my current landing page for my book Storage Auction Authority:
As you can see, there’s not much to it.
The main objective here is to see if people will provide their e-mail address in exchange for your offer. If people are willing to do that, then you are on your way to validating your product!
To start with, you are going to want to buy a domain name to host your landing page. I recommend using NameCheap as they will provide you with free private registration and an overall low cost compared to the competition. I personally have about 20 domains registered with them and have slowly been moving my other domains away from GoDaddy & 1&1.
If you don’t already have a hosting plan, I covered this topic in my previous post “How to Build an Affiliate Website”.
In order to create a landing page, there are tons of WordPress plugins, but my personal favorite, and the one I used for this landing page, as well as this blog, is OptimizePress. You can click the link to read more about this amazing product!
How to Make Your Landing Page Convert with Copywriting
In my example above, I didn’t put a lot of effort into copywriting because I hadn’t learned about it at the time. However, after reading the Kopywriting Checklist this past week, I now have a bit more insight into writing text that sells better.
Without giving away all of the great information in this course, I can say that your writing needs to follow basic copywriting principles:
The headline should convey the results, overcome objections, and give an indication of how much time it will take. With that in mind, I could rewrite my landing page headline to say:
- “Make over $6,000 per month with storage auctions, even if you’re a newbie, in just 30 days.”
In addition, your sales copy should follow the time tested AIDA format:
- Get their attention
- Something that will perk their ears up
- Keep them interested with interesting facts, uses, stories, case studies
- Make them REALLY want to buy it
- Show them what their life can be like with this, or the results
- Get them to take the exact action you want
- Lead them through the process
In my case, I came up with the following sales copy:
I’m going to teach you how to go from poor sales, to over $6,000 in sales per month, in just a few weeks, even if you’re a newbie and have no business experience.
Did you know that now is the perfect time to get into the storage auction business? Look at this chart below that shows interest in storage auctions over the past 10 years.
Most people in the storage auction game have zero experience in sales, marketing, and how to run a successful business – and they are making money! After you read my book, you will be lightyears ahead of them!
Imagine running your own business, setting your own hours, finding hidden treasures, and actually enjoying your job. If you follow my simple instructions, you’ll be well on your way to living this dream in a few short weeks.
If you want to be successful, and make $6,000 or more per month with storage auctions, then reserve your FREE copy of my new book Storage Auction Authority now!
You can read through it and see how I used AIDA to create compelling sales copy. Try it for yourself to make your landing page really convert!
This is just a fragment of what I learned in the Kopywriting Checklist by Neville Medhora. It’s probably the best $10 I ever spent!
Videos for the win!
I also recommend creating a video following the same AIDA formula.
Because, lets face it, people can be lazy! Instead of forcing them to read your text sales copy, you can offer them the opportunity to watch a video. If you do things right, it should excite them into taking you up on your offer. It doesn’t even have to be fancy, it just has to be less boring than reading.
As I’ve said in the past, the money is in the list! Once you acquire a customer, or potential customer’s, e-mail address, you can market to them forever. It’s important to link your landing page up with an e-mail autoresponder service like Aweber or MailChimp.
Using autoresponder e-mails, you can set up a campaign that will keep your leads in the loop on your future product.
As I said earlier, if you don’t get a lot of leads, you can always scrap the idea and move on to the next one. However, if you did get a lot of leads, having these e-mails set up in advance will make sure to keep you fresh in their minds so that when you are finished with your product, they will be ready to buy.
When you are fleshing out your idea, you can start with a simple first e-mail that informs the potential customer of your plans on finishing up the book or video course in the next few months. Offer them the opportunity to ask questions and provide input. This will also help you to develop your idea into something that people actually want.
It’s much easier to ask people what they want, than to guess!
If you continue to get leads, go back and add more e-mails to your autoresponder so that users stay engaged. Use the information you learned from previous feedback to really target your future customers’ desires.
Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page
Once you have a landing page built, you are going to need to drive traffic to it. There are many free methods of doing this, as well as many paid methods. For now, I recommend sticking with some of the free methods:
- Forum Posts
- Blog Posts
- Facebook Group Posts
- Pinterest Pins
- Tweets on Twitter (use hashtags)
- Reddit Posts
By spreading the word about your offer in a non-spammy way, you will get a great idea of what people think of it. Are they asking questions? Are the offering praise? Are they giving you constructive criticism?
Just be sure to engage with users and don’t just try to promote your offer. Talk about what problems your offer is solving, and make yourself relatable to your target audience.
For more information, you can read my blog post How I’m Driving Traffic to My Affiliate Site.
Ideally, you want to get at least 50 people to give you their e-mail address on your landing page so that you know there’s enough interest to move forward, or start over with a new idea.
Paid Methods for Getting Leads to Your Offer
It might sound counterintuitive to pay for advertisements on a product you haven’t even created, but this is one of the best ways to validate your idea. The reason being, you will immediately know how much it will cost for each conversion. A conversion can be an email opt-in, or a purchase.
You might be thinking, “How can anyone purchase a product I haven’t created yet?” and the answer is simple, they can and they can’t. If I’m not mistaken, I learned this process in The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris.
What you do is simply set up a landing page with an option to purchase your product. Drive traffic to it using CPA offers and when a user tries to make a payment, point it to a page that will say the product is still in development and ask them to leave an e-mail to be notified when it is ready.
You can also offer a special discount in exchange for their e-mail address to make up for the inconvenience of having to wait.
By tracking these leads, you will discover how many people clicked on your ad, how many people actually tried to make a purchase, and additionally, how many people were willing to give you their e-mail address to purchase in the future!
By doing some simple math, you can determine the cost per purchase and extrapolate the date to determine how much money you could make if you were to actually create the product and sell it.
Remember, this doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. With $20 to $40 you should have a good idea of whether or not this will be a money maker. That’s a small price to pay to save 6 months of hard work for a product that will flop!
Right now, all of this may seem like a lot of work, but in time and with practice, this will all become second nature. Not only will it save you the time & money of creating the wrong product, it will give you great experience in marketing and advertising.
Please, learn from my mistakes! If I could have read this article back in September of 2014, I could be making passive income from a great product right now, instead of writing an article of how 6 months of my time was wasted on a product I can barely give away for free.
If, by chance, you are interested in my book, it will be still be free for anyone who signs up during my pre-launch. I can’t guarantee this offer will last forever, so make sure you get in now!
Reserve your free copy of Storage Auction Authority: How to make over $6,000 per month with storage auctions