Welcome to another edition of my Inner Circle Weekly!
Here’s what I have for you this week:
- Why you should sell to power users who already pay for a solution 🧐
- How to know where to prioritize your SEO efforts 🎯
- 4 kinds of side businesses you can start ✍
- A guide to “productize” your consulting services 💼
1. Why you should sell to power users who already pay for a solution
Last week, I featured an article by Justin Jackson on why you should never aim to sell your product or service to beginners. He made some great points, and if you haven’t read it, I recommend going back now before jumping into this next idea by Jason Cohen, founder of WP Engine and A Smart Bear.
In this article, Jason discusses how you should go about developing and selling your product or service based on a few factors.
Ideal target customer
Number one, of course, is knowing who your ideal target customer is. He approaches it by asking, “Who already buys products/services like these?”. In particular, he talks about the “power users”.
Notice that he didn’t say, “focus on beginners who could use your product or service”. No – he said focus on power users and people who already pay to have your particular problem solved or benefit received.
Understanding what they already pay for
Number two is understanding what your target customer currently uses to solve the problem you’re trying to solve with your product.
So, you know you’re focused on the power users of whatever target market group you’re focusing on. Now, what are they currently using? How much are they paying for it? How are they using it? How can your product or service do one better for them?
Concluding quote from the article
I’ll leave you with a quote that he finishes the article with, and then I encourage you to go back and read the whole article to fully digest the message using his examples:
It’s tempting to launch your startup with the widest marketing messages addressing the largest segment of the market. After all, you don’t know exactly what message, product, and customer profile will end up being best, so you can’t close any doors. Better to try lots of things and test, test, test!
But a wide net catches few fish. Wide nets contain generic statements which thrill no one.
I say if you can’t identify and sell someone who is already experiencing the pain you address and already paying money to do something about it — your perfect customer — how in the world do you expect to sell anyone else?
If you can’t convince them your product is better, maybe your product isn’t better.
2. How to know where to prioritize your SEO efforts
A big part of what clients hire me to do is to help decipher the important from the unimportant; the essential from the non-essential.
And to do that, it means prioritization and trade-offs, along with enough knowledge to help you make those value judgments.
This resource by Cyrus Shepard at Zyppy.com is a great tool to keep at your fingertips if you don’t have the luxury of hiring a digital strategy consultant like me to help you decipher what’s important and what isn’t.
It ranks 100 SEO factors in order of priority and impact of each factor. He breaks each down into:
You can use this for yourself or use it to help gauge whether your SEO specialist is indeed working on the highest priority items for your business. Or, you can use it to ensure that they’re not doing anything that could harm your website, and ask them the right questions that will help you better judge whether they’re doing the right things.
It’s not a scientific resource. Everything is contextual, and nobody has the answers – especially when it comes to Google’s proprietary algorithm. In most cases, your SEO will have good reasons for what they do.
But it is a start in the process of educating yourself and having available information to reference in the future. Save this one to your bookmarks.
> Resource: 100+ Google SEO Success Factors, Ranked | Zyppy
3. 4 kinds of side businesses you can start
Most of you reading this are busy entrepreneurs who aren’t looking to start side businesses. But then again, you’re an entrepreneur after all, and chances are your own business started off as a side project, or you started one at some point in your career.
This article is deceptively insightful. Justin Mares, author of Traction and serial entrepreneur, breaks down the 4 ways to start a side business. And who knows, it could one day turn into your full business — you just never know!
i. Buy an existing asset
This one is obvious. Buy something that generates cash and turn it into ongoing revenue and profits.
A risk to this one is you may not know how to manage it properly, especially if it’s in an industry you’re unfamiliar with, or a technology you’re not savvy in. But that can be solved with due diligence and availability to as questions from the previous owner. Also, you need the most cash up front compared to the other options. The benefit is there is already a proven product/market fit, and if you have insight and expertise, you could even improve things to produce better results than the previous owner.
His examples include real estate and software purchases, but it could also include other brick and mortar businesses too.
ii. Launch a product on a marketplace with existing demand
I actually really liked this one. He uses examples of publishing a course on Udemy (passive income anyone?) and Airbnb.
The Airbnb insight alone is worth reading if you have a listing. I’ll bet his strategy for top ranking still works well. Every platform has a utilization algorithm: i.e. use every feature fully and aim to get the best interactions possible from the consumers. You can game that.
What I like about this concept is you’re selling something to a built-in audience. And as I mentioned, the success can often be in part due to your ability to play the system. Yes, you need a good product, but that’s a given in any business.
Normally I don’t recommend building a business on another’s platform, so I’d generally suggest having an equivalent offering on your own website. But just like brick and mortar real estate, it’s all about location, location, location (go where your customers are).
iii. Launch a unique product in an area where you can buy customers via paid acquisition (adwords, facebook, etc.)
A few key points for this one, quoted directly:
1. you want to focus strictly on small niches. not because you don’t want to make money, but because you don’t want to face a ton of competition. the smaller the space, the less likely it is that a larger company launches a similar product, or a VC-backed startup raises $5mm to come after you. not fun.
2. you must be able to acquire customers via paid acquisition: ads on facebook, instagram and google.
3. your product must be unique, or uniquely solve a niche problem that several thousand people have.
This is not for the newbies, and you’ll want to have a good ad specialist on hand to save you from wasting a lot of money.
His wording summarizes this the best: “it involves finding an arbitrage between two assets and exploiting that for profit.”
This is good if you have some spare time on your hands and want to pick up a product (or service) from a market where it’s cheap and bring it to a place where that product will sell for much more.
You can do this at garage sales, flip motorcycles, or be a garbage digger for example. The downside is it tends to be a crowded market and you need to know what you’re doing.
> Article: the 4 kinds of side businesses you can start
4. A guide to “productize” your consulting services
I’m a big fan of productized consulting. That’s why I’ve used it in my business.
Productized consulting essentially means creating a fixed-scope service that you can sell at a defined price, much like a physical product. Doing this not only shortens your sales cycle considerably, it eliminates proposals and has the added benefit of being a better buying experience for your potential customers.
Speaking first hand, productized consulting is a great way to package your services, and saves a lot of headaches for all parties. Watch the video by Jane Portman and Brennan Dunn below.