Are you interested in developing your own online product, but don’t know where to start?
Maybe you have a killer idea that you want to inject into an ebook, an online course, an audio course, and so on. But when you look into how to get started, you run into a crowd of “gurus” and “lifestyle entrepreneurs”, telling you that they have the “secret sauce” and are willing to share it with you — for a price.
The prospect of branching out online is already daunting enough without half truths and false promises.
The truth is, there isn’t a “secret sauce”, but there are things “to do” and certainly things “not to do”–the latter of which is the subject of this article. Typically, there are three common internet marketing mistakes that people tend to make.
Mistake #1: Building the product before building an audience that cares.
Before you start diving into developing your online product, you need to build an audience of people who care about your online brand.
You wouldn’t write up a client’s program before assessing them, would you? Launching an online product is no different: establish who your audience is, what they already know, and what they want to learn more about. You can’t just assume that you know these things. Building an audience on social media takes time, but the key is to speak to them about what they already strongly believe in.
When you develop a product your audience really wants, then you have a customer base ready to purchase what you have to offer. Get feedback from them about your online product idea–maybe share a small sample of it–on whichever platform you’ve built your audience.
If you’ve built an audience of email subscribers, for instance, then you can share with them via email what you plan to develop and solicit their feedback. Or if your audience is more concentrated on a social media platform, get social with them! Share, Tweet, Snapchat, or Instagram your upcoming product ideas, see the reactions, and take it from there. You may just find that what you planned to develop isn’t what your people actually want.
Soliciting feedback on “samples” is a far better strategy than developing a product first, then trying to sell it right away. Even though this is an online space, you still need to build rapport, and people need to care about what you say. As the saying goes, people buy people, not products. So become a “person” to these people first!
Mistake #2: Not focusing on the right social media platform.
You need to figure out which social media platform to focus on, but the choices are endless: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn…the list goes on, and those are just the big ones!
The key to choosing the right platform for you is to know your desired audience very well. Otherwise, it can lead to wasted time and effort, yet people do this all the time. Here are two considerations for choosing your platform:
1. Where do most of your ideal clients hang out?
If your ideal client is a 35- to 45-year-old working mom, there’s no point in going onto Snapchat (the demographic there is mostly teens). Facebook would be a very good option; Pinterest would also be great.
If you’re aiming at senior-level male professionals, aged 45-55, then LinkedIn would be a good option.
Do your research. Google is your best friend here, and sites like Business Insider constantly share updated information on social media demographics. Of course, do research in “real life” too, by speaking to your target audience and asking them where they hang out online.
2. If there are a few different platforms where you can you find your audience, choose the one that you’re most comfortable with.
While it’s possible that your ideal clients use a few different social media platforms, you should stick to the one that you’re going to use regularly and know how to use. That way you have fun and seem genuine, too.
I just don’t love Pinterest like I do Facebook. Maybe one day my feelings will change, but for now it’s just not my priority. Since I know my audience hangs out on Pinterest and Facebook, I go with Facebook because that’s just where I’m more comfortable.
Don’t spread yourself thin by trying to cast a wide net across all of the numerous social platforms. That brings me to my next point…
Mistake #3: Spreading yourself too thin in social media.
When growing your audience, you want to ensure that you stick to (and master) one social media platform at a time.
Immerse yourself in one, get really good at being social there, and have some fun.
When you actually have fun interacting with your followers rather than feel like it’s an obligation, it’ll show. Plus, it’s far better to go for depth over breadth when trying to stand out online. You should communicate with your audience in the way you would usually (whether you’re selling or not), so you won’t appear all slimy and sales-y, which often happens if you go straight for the product and sale before growing the audience.
That’s not to say you can’t be on more than one platform, but choose one and master it. Every social media platform has different uses, algorithms for how people see your content, and ways to interact with your followers.
This way you can grow your audience, develop a product they want, and launch your product to people who already follow you. Additionally, you should communicate with your audience in the way you would usually (whether you’re selling or not), so you won’t appear all slimy and sales-y, which often happens if you go straight for the product and sale before growing the audience.
Essentially, all of this boils down to building your audience first by focusing on the right social media platform. This approach has a proven track record, so give it a go. The best part is, the next time you develop an online product it won’t feel so daunting. You’ve got this!
More articles about building your online presence:
- The PTDC Mailbag: Grow Your Social Media Followers Organically by Jonathan Goodman
- How to Develop Your First Online Fitness Product for Under $20 (With or Without a Website) by Jonathan Goodman
- 14 Steps to Become a Great Online Coach by Mike Vacanti
Photo Credit: Linkedin Chocolates by Nan Palmero