Building a product that people want to buy is easy. It’s the easiest business you can do. Look at what Steve Jobs did with Apple or what Richard Branson did with Virgin.
Almost every entrepreneur and business specialist will tell you – build a product that people want to buy and you can sit back and relax because the money will come in easily.
Well my friend, this is not a world where you can just go outside and shout out loud that your product is the best and then people will just stop and throw their money at you.
The truth is this – nobody is going to want your product. Why? Because for your kind of business/product there are other thousands of other ones out there that people already use.
So why should they choose your idea?
Even if this is a blog about banner ads, we believe that every marketer, designer and entrepreneur works for a product, a brand, a company, a startup or even an idea. This is why today I want to talk to you about how you can build a product before it’s even ready.
Why? Because today’s marketing isn’t the last year marketing or the 4 years ago marketing. Time changes. Strategies change. People change. Consumers change. So the product and idea also change.
If yesterday it was easy to build a product that everyone wants to buy it, today the market is more crowded and everybody has an idea.
The difference between a good idea and a bad idea is in the product, or better yet – in the execution.
If you have a good product and people buy it, then your idea was good. That means you already knew how to build it, how to market it and how to sell it.[Tweet “A business is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better. @richardbranson”]
On the other hand, if you have a good idea but your product is bad, people won’t buy it, you don’t know how to market it, that only means that your idea was bad.
Sometimes I laugh in the face of the public speaker, the “marketing specialists” or the “business coach” that comes up with business slangs like “you need to have a brilliant idea to have a great business” or “you need to come up with a new idea on the market to make money”. Well my friend, everybody has a new idea every 10 – 20 seconds, but it depends on how much you’re willing to work on it and how much you believe in it.
I started this article by telling you about Steve Jobs and Richard Branson because the difference between them and the other thousands of small to medium entrepreneurs who want to be like them, stands in the execution.
So if you want to build a product that people will want to buy but you don’t know where to get started, I have 3 ideas that might not guarantee your success but they might help you do something different.
Or at least motivate you to work on that idea.
1. Start with the right questions
Oh, you thought that the first step was going to be some tips and tricks on how to jump to your first $1,000,000?
I’m not sorry that I disappointed you because I believe that every big brand in this world starts by doing the same thing – asking questions.
I look at myself and thinking back to when I started blogging, the first thing that popped into my mind was this question: “What if I should blog?” So I started a blog and wrote on it. It’s been almost 8 years since I started doing this and I still love it.
Now let’s get back to your idea. Is it still there? Is it still the most common thing you think about every day, before you get out of your bed or before you fall asleep? If the answer is yes, then let’s continue with the article, but if not, that means you won’t build a product.[Tweet ” If you want an answer for an idea, you start with a question.”]
But if you want the right answer for your idea, you start with the right question. I believe in asking questions but I believe even more in asking the right questions, at the right time for the right person.
So, I divided the question into 3 main parts that will help you build your product: you, them, context:
- Why do you want to build a product?
- Why do you believe in this product?
- Will this product change your life?
- How much do you believe in this product?
- Where do you see yourself and this product in 3 years?
- How much will you work to build this product?
Them (customers, community)
- Why would people buy this product now?
- How will this product change the customer’s life?
- Why should the customer tell others about your product?
- How will they use the product in their daily/weekly routine?
- How does this product fit in today’s context?
- How will this product change the today’s context?
- How big can your product be in today’s context?
- Where can your product be in the future?
These are not final. You can still work on them. The idea is to help you ask the right question to find out the right answer by offering you a sketch.
But be careful, if you ask too many questions or ask the wrong ones, you might get scared and not work on your product.
Do not forget: ask the right question!
2. Market before you build
Now that you have the right answers for you product, let’s talk about marketing. I believe in the power of a product, but I also believe in the power of marketing and like I said before, marketing nowadays is different.
If we still have the same marketing principles we read about in high school that means we don’t truly understand the power of marketing.
How to build your product with a blog?
For example, let’s look at Unbounce – a software company that helps marketers create and test landing pages. How did they earn over 9,800 paying customers and make $ 7 million in annual revenue 5 years after the company was founded?
If you don’t know the answer, let me tell you – blogging.
Exactly. They launched the blog earlier than the product. They wrote great articles about landing pages, what is a landing page, why a business needs a landing page, how to create a landing page and topics others weren’t talking about at the time (this was back in 2009).
“It was very much a new market, [and] a lot of education had to be done around landing pages, around the need for landing pages, why would people use landing pages, and then how do we go about building them and optimizing them for conversions.” Source
Blogging is a great way to start talking with your early customers, to get them on your product journey and make them a part of it. Why?
Because people want authenticity today and they want to be a part of something big, something new, something challenging.
So, if you have a story to tell and you believe that your product can make a change in your industry, then start blogging. If you don’t know how to start, here is a guide from QuickSprout.
How important can content marketing be for a product you haven’t launched yet?
Another way to start building your product before you even have it is similar to blogging, but a little bigger and more complex – content marketing.
Everything a company publishes today, can be considered content. But the difference between a content marketing and content lays in the goals. If you don’t have a goal in mind when you publish something (blog post, video on youtube or content on social media) then you only have content, and that’s all.
But how important can content marketing be for your not launched product?
For example, let’s look at Gary Vaynerchuk. In the social media industry he is the kind of guy who invested early in Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Snapchat. If you don’t know him, you should check his website. This year Gary launched his fourth book – “The Ask Gary Vee Show”.
But before he launched his book, he started promoting it before even writing it. Wait a minute? How is it possible to promote a book that’s not even finished yet?
He started his new Youtube show where he asks his community to send him questions on social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat and he will respond to them. So he got a team that helped him curate the great question and he answered questions that were related to his daily job: marketing, social media, digital marketing trends, business, entrepreneurship, startups and personal branding. And there was a lot of content.
His community was pleased watch a new Youtube show where he was offering a lot of value and they shared it forward with their own community. Now, all of these answers where on a youtube show, re-posted in a podcast and some of them re-posted in a blog post on medium, LinkedIn or even his personal blog. There was a lot of valuable content.
So Gary started working on his new book by writing down the answers he gave on his youtube show and he collected them into one single big content project – his new book. More than that, he launched an audiobook as well.
And now he is on a tour selling his book and asking his community to buy his product.
So here it is, only 2 simple examples on how you can launch your product before you even have it in a final form.
Talk about the industry, about the struggles the industry has, the people working inside this industry. Make sure you’re not only a thought leader, or a blogger, but also start to find solutions for these struggles while you’re working on your product.
Make your community believe in a movement, then make your product an engine to this movement.
Maybe you will start a bigger movement than your idea. Are you ready for this?
But the big problem always lies within the next step: when should I launch my product?
3. Launch before it’s ready
Every day there are hundred of entrepreneurs coming up with new tactics about the right time to launch your product. Some say that you can launch it in beta. Others say that you should only launch it when it’s ready.
The real thing is, there is no right answer to this. There is a different context for every idea.
But I found in Seth Godin’s blog post an answer for this and I just want to leave it here so maybe it will help you on this situation:
Ship before you’re ready, because you will never be ready. Ready implies you know it’s going to work, and you can’t know that. You should ship when you’re prepared, when it’s time to show your work, but not a minute later. The purpose isn’t to please the critics. The purpose is to make your work better. Source
You will never be ready. The product won’t be good enough to be given to the market. You need to be ready to listen to the market and make it better every time you get the chance.
So, it only depends on your entrepreneurial talent whether you are ready or not.
So here we are, these 3 simple ideas about execution, how content marketing can help you and why launch a product before it’s ready.
Maybe you won’t launch a product, maybe you won’t create the best brand in the world, but your idea might create a movement.
Let me know in the comment section how you build and launch your product before you even work on it!