Have you reached that turning point yet? You know, that moment when you finally admit that you're tired of the client search and working day and night to serve them individually? Does your exhaustion ever speak to you, demanding that you find another way?
Believe me, I've been there, and so has best selling author and founder of Create 6 Figure Courses, Jeanine Blackwell. When Blackwell built her successful business creating training programs for Fortune 100 clients, she was quick to realize that it wasn't scalable. Today she has made it her mission to help entrepreneurs create annual revenues of six to seven-figures, simply by packaging their expertise.
"It's an exciting time when an entrepreneur realizes that there's an alternative to the constant struggle of bringing in a steady stream of prospects," says Blackwell.
This awareness often leads entrepreneurs to develop a product or online course, but many of them experience massive disappointment in the end. "They do all of this work and invest tons of money to create an idea, and when they put it out there the crickets chirp--nothing happens," Blackwell says.
Blackwell sees a lot of people who never make it to the finish line with their idea because they haven't done their research. Sadly, many would have realized that only a few adjustments would have made all of the difference. Blackwell offers these four ways to test the sellability of your product or course before you even begin to create it.
1. Google search
You can test the market by typing in keywords related to your idea into Google. If you see paid advertisements on the results page, it's a great sign that there is a strong market for your idea. Read through the search results and see what potential competitors are offering. Finding competitors means there is a market for what you are going to offer.
Blackwell cautions that you have to find a way to make your product different. Study your competition and consider how to make yourself stand out from the rest.
Another way to test demand is to look for books on the course subject you are considering. Go to Amazon and type in keywords related to your course focus. If you see books on the subject, that's a great sign.
Click on the book reviews and see what people like and don't like about the books on your potential course topic. This is like having a free focus group on what people like about this product and what is wrong with it. The negative reviews will give you great ideas on how you can position your course to your ideal client.
Make a list of what people like and what is missing for them. Take this understanding and bridge the gaps in your course. This will set you apart and offer your idea clients exactly what they are looking for and isn't already out there.
3. Online forums
Now it's time to narrow the question down: what is most important to my audience?
If you don't already belong to online forums associated with your course topic, then join in. Notice what people are talking about. Start a conversation by posting this discussion question:
"What is your biggest question/issue when it comes to...?"
Be very specific. Vague questions won't garner informative results.
There is great value in this step because you will identify questions you can address in your course. Plus, you determine the level of interest in your topic.
Tip: If you want to find the online forums associated with your topic, go to the Google search bar and type in "Forum: <insert your topic>".
4. Advanced move: Run a pay-per-click test
It's certainly not necessary to do this, but it is a great way of taking your testing to the next level. Create a simple opt-in page in which you provide a free offer, such as a white paper, in exchange for an email address. The key is that the white paper (or eBook, tool, or any giveaway) is focused on the same problem you will be solving in your course. You can invest about $50 in Facebook ads and get a really good idea of the level of interest in your topic. Plus, you get the added benefit of collecting emails of people who are interested in your topic and who could potentially be surveyed as you design your product.
The insights from your research will serve a number of purposes, not the least of which is to help you meet your clients where they really are, not where you think they are. Remember, they have a problem, your product must offer the solution. Don't try to offer everything in one product; use this opportunity to create the perfect pathway to do future work with your audience.
Blackwell's final advice? "You must remain unattached during this process. If the idea becomes you--you are the idea--it becomes difficult to listen to valuable input. When you are unattached you can create something amazing."