Optimizing Your Product Idea By Building a Sales Funnel First
When your prospects first hear of your product, your message will make or break your whole business. That moment is crucial. You will repeat it many times. You will continue repeating it as long as you have prospects. The more successful you are at nailing that first impression, the easier it will be to ramp up afterwards. Exponentially easier. You will literally see it in the numbers at each stage of the funnel, as people drop off and lose interest.
In fact, invention guru Doug Hall did rigorous market research across his client base, where he looked at thousands of new product launches. His results confirm the importance of the product idea, “the quality of the idea or the offer is 2.2x more often the source of product failure than the marketing plan, and 1.5x more often the source than product [technical] performance.” Ouch.
Once your prospect has a clear picture of what you are selling and whether they care, which will typically take a few seconds, then they’ll know whether they want to continue engaging with you or not.
If you nail this core message, and your market drools as it hears about your product. Everything else will be much easier:
- Prospects will clamor for your product.
- Your product launch has a much greater chance of going viral via referrals.
- With good revenues, it’s much easier to build a solid business that supports your early adopters.
- The cost of acquiring new customers will be proportionately lower, if you have a good offer.
A clear, sexy, and differentiated offer that solves a real problem affects all downstream metrics in your business. And you go from startup to successful business owner fast. Very fast.
In mature businesses, the simple way to benchmark business success is profits. If you are just starting out, you don’t have profits yet. Instead, you can observe the flow of your prospects towards a sale.
As you build out the funnel, you can test and optimize your product idea
“Begin with the end in mind.” –Steven Covey
Therein lies enormous power.
In a for-profit business, your ultimate goal is to make money. If you start with that end in mind, you immediately identify all of the reasons why you aren’t selling yet. In fact, this helps you rapidly identify all of the key things you need to do.
By learning how to reach your ideal prospects, learning enough about them to convince them to sign up for more information, and ideally even pre-selling the product in a simplified form, you will be certain you’re building the right product when you actually start building anything.
In the image, the top funnels symbolize each traffic source you use. The big funnel then grabs the output of those funnels, and sells them on the product.
The trap many tech startup founders fall into is creating the product, only to discover that they don’t have a sales funnel. They don’t know how to reach prospects systematically. They don’t know what prospects actually need. Building the right product means hit-or-miss.
If you know you want to build a business, by trying to sell (or at least get email addresses from interested prospects) from the start, you learn about the business you are entering. You are finding out where all of the warts are immediately, before building anything.
You are immediately forced to see the world how it is, based on the patterns in the data you gather, not how you think it should be.