A few weeks ago I surveyed the VicDorfman.com community and got back some rather startling results that I’m going to share with you now…
I was actually inspired to create the survey by Ryan Levesque’s excellent book “Ask“.
In his book, Ryan emphasized that you can never assume you know what your audience wants and needs.
Even if you have years of experience working in the trenches in your niche, the responses you get to a well-crafted survey might turn what you thought you knew about your audience right on its head!
Well as it turns out, my survey revealed a disturbing trend that I was blissfully unaware of…
One group of respondents told me that they have a fantastic membership site idea and want help with building the site.
I then asked these folks: “have you done any validation/surveying of your audience to find out if your site is something they will actually pay for? Or better yet, have you pre-sold any memberships?”
The replies I received to this question varied from “Well, I don’t have an audience yet,” to “no, Vic, I haven’t validated my idea but I *KNOW* that this is something that my market needs…”
Another group of folks had already built their membership sites – a few people had spent thousands of dollars doing it! – and now wanted to know how to get paying members in the door.
I asked these individuals the same question that I asked the first group:
“have you interacted with your community and gotten feedback from them to develop your site in sync with what they actually need (versus what you assume they need)? Better yet, have you collected any payment yet…?“
Almost every person I asked told me that they’d done little to no validation and *everybody* told me that they hadn’t secured any payments prior to building out their offer. I was shocked.
While it is possible to build a product based on an intuitive understanding of your market and successfully sell it, the *majority* of folks who create and sell this way see limited success.
It’s a crapshoot. You might get lucky and strike gold but you probably won’t.
Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself; I certainly have!
I’ve created many different products over the years:
eBooks, video courses, Kindle books, membership sites, forums, etc, and while some of them have performed admirably, the majority of them flopped.
I never thought it was strange that some products did well while others totally bombed. I thought that product creation was inherently random.
And I thought that that the key to a successful product was a loud launch, a cadre of big-name JV partners, and most importantly — LUCK.
But now I’m flip-flopping on my position.
The secret to a successful offer in any niche – according to Ryan Levesque, who has entered over a dozen markets with consistent success(!) – is to interact heavily with your market, ask them lots of questions about their deepest frustrations, and offer the best solutions to the problems they have.
(There’s a bit more to it than that – read the book – but that’s the gist of it).
I would even take it a step further and suggest that you pre-sell a product before you ever even build a single course module or write a single word of your eBook.
The way it works is that you offer your early buyers a heavy discount in exchange for feedback about your product *as* you’re developing it!
This way you can be sure that you address REAL questions from your PAYING customers, not imagined questions from your non-existent customers.
Not only that but you can figure out HOW these folks want to be taught.
Do they prefer an eBook, video, audio, a webinar?
I hope you’re seeing the power of this approach.
And it kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?
After all, why spend countless hours slaving over a product that people may or may not even buy, and the contents of which address issues that people may or may not even have!?
If you’re interested in seeing how this “build a product you haven’t created yet” thing works, then you’re in luck because I’m personally going to be going through this process over the next several weeks and documenting it!
Here’s how you can participate and get the following:
A) a heavy discount off my upcoming product and
B) a case study that you can apply to your own business over and over again.
So what’s this mystery product that I’m going to launch, hmm…?
It’s going to be a guide on Best Practices for Selling Your Digital Products, and it’s going to cost $297 when I launch it to the public.
However, if you join now as one of my early adopters, you get it for just $47. That’s almost 85% off…
The only thing I ask in exchange for this discount is that you help me by providing your honest feedback while I’m developing this product.
I’ll also be following up with you via email to make sure I really understand your pain points.
I want to be certain that I address your issues in my guide in a way that is ACTIONABLE for you and results in you actually making more money, because purchasing guidance without taking purposeful action based on what you learn is pretty useless.
Considering the fact that I charge $115/hr for coaching on marketing and membership site implementation, you have to admit that this is a pretty darn good deal. 🙂
But I’m only keeping this offer open long enough to get my first handful of early adopters. After that, you’ll have to plunk down the full $297.
So if you want to sell digital products or you’re *already* selling digital products and want to know how to take it to the next level in terms of income and success, please act now and sign up.
Finally, I have to mention that I’ve been selling digital products and working with 7 figure marketers for going on 5 years now…
So on top of addressing the topics that you need me to address, I’m also going to open the vault and share all of the best secrets and tips I’ve learned from doing huge launches and being involved in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of digital product sales.
After all, I wouldn’t be the expert if I didn’t anticipate and address the things that you couldn’t possibly know about yet if you haven’t been doing this as long as my clients and I have.
If you have any question at all about what I’ve shared with you today, then contact me now.
p.s. On counting your blessings…
I just came back from a business trip to Cambodia.
When I arrived, my hotel room was about 10 square meters smaller than advertised and completely dark because there were no windows.
I then went downstairs and had a fresh coconut and grumbled when I paid an outrageous $3.35 for it.
That evening I asked a taxi driver if he knew where the gym that I was looking for was and he said he did. I even showed him a map just to be sure.
So I hopped in, and he proceeded to take me to the opposite side of town.
He then admitted that he didn’t know where the gym was. I reluctantly paid him $3 and loudly told him “thank you” in a tone of voice that really said “screw you.”
He looked a bit nonplussed but shrugged, pocketed the money, and drove away. My trip to Cambodia had just started and I was already completely out of patience.
The very next day I took a motorcycle/coach taxi to one of the coworking spaces in town.
We stopped at a busy intersection to wait for the light to turn green, and a shirtless child, about 8 years old ran up to me and begged me for a dollar.
I ignored him at first but then I looked into his big, beautiful brown eyes and suddenly remembered that I had a bunch of Real that I wasn’t going to use (Cambodians simultaneously use both US dollars *and* their local currency, Reals, which are worth fractions of a dollar and aren’t very convenient to use).
So I pulled the Reals out of my bag and gave this cute little rapscallion about half of the stack (maybe $5 US).
His face lit up, he gratefully accepted the money with a namaste gesture, and ran away smiling.
Seeing his friend’s good fortune, another little kid ran up to me and I gave him the remainder of my of Reals.
A 3rd rugrat ran up after him, this time a little girl, and begged me for her share of Reals, but I was all out.
As the light turned green, we passed the corner where the kids had retreated with the stack of Reals I had given them.
I saw that there were about 7 kids in tattered clothing swarming around what must have been their mother, who was meticulously counting the money they had brought her.
At that moment my bad mood spontaneously lifted.
I thought: “Here I am running an online business, traveling around Asia like a boss, dating gorgeous girls, eating 3 square meals a day, and spending my free time in the gym and at the beach with my friends.”
What the HELL did *I* have to complain about?
My $57 hotel room with a hot shower, panaromic view of the city, and a fridge full of fresh drinking water?
Or how about my $3 dollar coconut? A little Cambodian kid could eat for days on my stupid $3.
And what about the incompetent taxi driver?
So he screwed me…what wouldn’t *I* do in his place to feed my family in a country that just finished living through one of the worst genocides in modern history?
At that moment gratitude washed over me and I nearly cried.
When I arrived at the coworking space and paid the fee for the day, I found out that the WiFi was down.
I couldn’t help but crack a smile and spent the next writing in peace.
Have a nice Saturday!