How to Find Success In a Crowded Market: Fix What’s Broken for the People You Care About

How to launch a product in a crowded market

I always chuckle when people tell me their market is “really crowded” and for that reason, they’re a special case when it comes to marketing or business development.

What market is not really crowded in the 21st century?

I mean, we now have competing toilet sprays to keep people from knowing you’re going #2 while you’re at your significant other’s house.

A crowded market often means more opportunity, not less opportunity.

First, if a market is crowded it means that there is plenty of demand. There are loads of people who want to buy.

Second, if a market is crowded there are lots of straightforward, non-ninja ways to figure out what needs still aren’t being met.

And it’s this second piece of the puzzle that I want to focus on today.

You can develop a product in a crowded market and become a key player…

…if you focus on what’s “broken” about the other solutions on the market for the people you care about most.

Take Emily McDowell’s blockbuster success.

Emily noticed that, despite Valentine’s Day being a multi-billion dollar industry, none of the greeting cards she could find matched the relationships that she and her friends were really in.

Those greeting cards were “broken” for people like Emily (and probably for people like you, too).

The solution?

Make a greeting card that was laser-focused on that kind of relationship.

1500 orders in 1 week with zero marketing on her part…

…and the idea was proven.

I did the same thing earlier this year when I decided that I’d have enough of “online courses” but not enough of virtual training and created our Virtual Planning Retreats.

Online courses weren’t getting the results customers wanted (or that I wanted) because of the very way they were structured–so I “fixed it.”

I thought about the specific people I care the most about (you) and I created the Virtual Planning Retreat to “fix” the online course experience for you.

(By the way, the next one is February 22-23 and if you’d like to see if it’s for you, I’ve got a 4-video training series that walks you through the big reasons you’re not making the money you’d like to be right now.)

Last week, I talked with both Joanna Wiebe and Nathalie Lussier who have both launched software products in crowded spaces and they echoed the same strategy:

Find out what’s broken for the specific people you care about and fix it.

Don’t worry that your product is one of many in a crowded market, if it’s designed with for a customer who isn’t satisfied with the existing options–no matter how many there might be–you’ll have a winner on your hands.

Think about your own market:

What do you hear about being “broken?”

What do your customers have to “make work” for them?

What disappoints them about existing options?

The answers to those questions could be the key to your next blockbuster offer.

 

Why You Should Hire for Happiness

Why you should hire for happiness

Business owners get too hung up on titles when it comes to hiring.

“Who should I hire first, a VA or a social media person?” people often ask me.

The answer is neither.

Whether you’re on your first hire, your 10th hire, or your 100th hire, you should only look to hire people who would be insanely happy tackling the responsibilities you need help with.

That probably sounds like a pipe dream.

It’s not. 

I talked to Vanessa Van Edwards, a behavioral scientist whose recent work has focused on happiness, about engineering happy teams. She said that through “job crafting” you can help people experience happiness every single day.

Now, in our interview, she described this process as part of reorganizing and optimizing her existing team. 

But you can–and should–hire this way too.

The first step is to determine what responsibilities you need help with. Sometimes this means delegating work you’re already doing, sometimes this means assigning work that’s been going undone but could really move the needle on your business.

Next, take those responsibilities and organize them into a job description. Forget trying to assign a title to it at first. Definitely don’t assign responsibilities based on what you think a certain title or role should be doing.

Then, you can use the process Vanessa describes as job crafting to make clear who you’re looking for. Instead of just listing responsibilities, include qualifiers:

The ideal candidate would:

  • Feel happy making customers feel understood and taken care of–even when we make mistakes.
  • Feel masterful when it comes to spotting places we could improve our customer service procedures and creating solutions to those challenges.
  • Love to craft customer-focused communication and reach out to existing customers to offer them additional opportunities
  • Feel capable analyzing customer communication and surveys and provide recommendations to the leadership team.

Once you have your job description fleshed out, you can pass it around to friends. Ask them if they know people who are happy doing the things you’ve outlined–not just moderately capable. 

You might be surprised at the quality of people who would respond to such a job description who would never think of themselves as a VA, marketing assistant, customers service rep, or project manager.

Of course, if you don’t find people through your friends or network, you can post about the job publicly, email your list, or advertise the job locally.

How would your life–and your team–be different if you were surrounded by people doing things they loved?

Want more on job crafting and engineering a happy team? Definitely listen to this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit. with Vanessa.

Click here to listen to the episode or read the transcript.

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Your Periodic Reminder That Perfectionism Doesn’t Pay

Your periodic reminder that perfectionism doesn't pay

One of my favorite books about business is a book on writing:

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”

— Anne Lamott

When I think about the difference between people who love running their businesses–overtime, cash-flow crunches, warts and all–and people who worry, slog through, and ultimately start to give up…

…it’s this ability to give up on perfectionism and create a shitty first draft.

You see, great products or services rarely start off as polished, complete, or even especially spectacular.

It can be hard to remember that when you probably see other business owners launching polished, complete, spectacular, and seemingly perfect offers all around you.

What we all forget from time to time is the unpolished, incomplete, and sometimes lackluster work that goes into making something a blockbuster.

It’s that crappy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants first attempt that puts the ball in motion.

The barrier to entry for a great product is much lower than it probably seems. You don’t need all the bells and whistles, the overwhelming launch plan, or the glamorous website to be well on your way to new product success.

Most importantly, you don’t actually know whether you have the makings of a great product or service until you’ve sold it.

So the faster you can take a new offer to market the better. The sooner you make your first sale, the greater your chances are of success.

The more you learn to enjoy and embrace this part of the process, the more you’ll love your business.

Take this week’s featured business owner on Profit. Power. Pursuit., David Nihill. David wrote a book called Do You Talk Funny? all about using humor to become a more effective communicator for your business.

But before the book was born, David created a–as he describes it–“cringeworthy” beta version as a Udemy course.

Now, that cringeworthy course still sold 7,000 units and allowed him to land a deal with a publisher.

I think that’s the kind of cringeworthy we can all get behind.

I asked David about the process of developing the video course, using student feedback to make improvements, and then turning the course into a book.

If you’ve got a big idea on the brain but are wondering about where to start, this is a must-listen episode.

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Urgency Isn’t a Tactic, It’s Natural… Here’s How to Use It

Here in Central Pennsylvania, it’s cicada season… and allergy season. I don’t normally have it too bad, but this year I’ve gone through some serious stretches of discomfort.

What do you do when you’re suffering from allergies?

You go to the pharmacy.

Natural urgency is the key to helping people understand why they need your product now.

Fun fact: I worked as a pharmacy technician in high school at a CVS. I loved that job.

At the pharmacy, you’ll find a whole aisle full of allergy medication. Some of it makes you sleepy, some keep you awake. Some of it lasts 4 hours, some lasts 24. Some are fancy brand names, some are generic.

There is absolutely no scarcity involved.

Pick from whatever you’d like.

And still… if you’re suffering from allergies, you won’t walk away from the hundreds of boxes in front of you without picking up one and putting it in your basket.

Why?

Urgency.

You see, there’s manufactured urgency and then there’s natural urgency.

I have a feeling that you think the only way to use urgency to sell more is to manufacture urgency–limit the number of spots in your program, add early bird discounts, utilize disappearing bonuses…

(Maybe you’re even envious of the people who run businesses in which they’re essentially selling something as essential as allergy medication.)

And sure, that can work.

But it’s also a bit over-played.

Tapping into natural urgency, though, is never over-played.

Creating urgency for your product or service isn’t about telling people there’s a limited time to buy. It’s not about how many seats are left in your workshop. It’s not about an early bird discount or an arbitrary deadline.

Urgency is about need.

If you want people to feel a sense of urgency for buying your product or service, you need to know why they need it now.

  • People don’t need things now because they’d might like to learn more about what you teach.
  • They don’t need things now because they’re pretty or you’re so excited about them.
  • They don’t need things because they’d like to speak their truth and connect with their inner spark.

Those aren’t the kind of things that would send them running to the store–so they’re not the kinds of things that get them clicking to your sales page.

People need what you’ve created now because they’re ending a 10-year relationship and want to be intentional about what they’re creating next.

They need it now because they’re sick and tired of opening their closets and not having a clue what to put on their bodies.

They need it now because they wake up every morning still feeling exhausted and they’re beyond ready to make a change.

They need it now because they’re completely over holding back their ideas in meetings and watching others take credit for their work.

Urgency is absolutely the key to selling more of what you’re putting out into the world.

But it’s not based on numbers or time. Sure, those things help people make a decision.

Ultimately, however, people buy now because they’ve reached a point of no return. They can’t help but search for a solution to their need and start using the one they find.

What’s going on in your customers’ lives that might make them need or want what you have to offer right now?

Then tell them you understand. Tell them the stories you know are playing out in their lives right now. Show them the vision you have for them and how your product will take them from the urgency their already feeling into a brand new day.

Create a sense of urgency by respecting your customers’ needs and they’ll respond by buying—now.

On Wednesday at 7pm EDT/4pm PDT, I’m hosting a special encore of my popular workshop on 3 Ways to Help People Buy More From You.

—> If you’d like more ways to tap into the reasons people naturally want to buy so you can earn more money and close more deals, click here to register.

Consistency Builds Brands, Complacency Destroys Them: Inside a Recent Experiment

Consistency propels brands. Complacency destroys them.

Photo by Jessica Hill Photography

 

I’ve now been offering the same business coaching program & methodology for over 3.5 years. We’ve iterated & improved the program every time we launch it. We even changed the name once.

But the program and message have remained consistent.

This spring, we had our best program launch ever. It also fell far below my expectations based on our preliminary data.

When we surveyed potential clients who had not signed up, we got the usual answers–but more than anything else, people told us they were tired of taking courses they didn’t use.

When I originally created the Quiet Power Strategy program, I had this objection in mind. I wanted to create something that wasn’t a course and was more akin to 1:1 coaching but helped you create a wider entrepreneurial network at the same time.

But that selling point had gotten lost as the program scaled, the market was flooded with courses, and our audience grew.

I wanted to remain consistent because I believe in the power of the QPS work to solve your business challenges–but I also knew it was time to change things up, to get creative.

I needed to change things up to keep our work relevant, forward-focused, and supremely useful.

So I got really specific with that core objection:

  • Why aren’t people using the courses they buy? (They’re not making time.)
  • Why aren’t people getting results? (They’re not completing the courses.)
  • Why aren’t they executing? (The course teaches but it doesn’t help them plan. It’s focused on lessons, not implementation.)
  • Why are people feeling so burnt out on learning and even their own businesses? (Courses try to solve surface level problems, not core challenges.)

Then I rebuilt our offer to combat each of these objections:

  • What if you had to make time for the program you purchased?
  • What if the format of the program made it easy to complete?
  • What if the program ended with a customized plan in your hand?
  • What if the program was designed to dig deep into the core problems of a business?

What would it look like to fulfill all of those constraints on the program?

I took my initial concept to my mastermind groups: a 2-day virtual planning retreat that took a group of clients through the process from start-to-finish, with support and coaching from me along the way.

They loved it.

We talked about how to make it even better and then I set the first experiment in motion.

Last week, we ran that experiment.

20 clients worked with me for a total of 16 hours over 2 days. We went through the entire process from start to finish. The energy, peer support, and depth of work were astonishing.

We finished Day 2 with 100% completion by our participants.

Inside the Quiet Power Strategy Virtual Planning Retreat

Inside our 2-day Quiet Power Strategy Virtual Planning Retreat — that’s my buddy Tanya Geisler laying down wisdom about the Impostor Complex!

 

The feedback has been effusive:

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 12.21.20 PM

While it’s too early to know for sure, I have a feeling we’ll see more results for more members of this cohort than we’ve ever seen before.

I’m not telling you about this so that you want to join us for the next Virtual Planning Retreat–though I’ve got more on that soon.

I’m telling you this because, when things are “working,” we wait to change course until we’re forced to change course. 

We grow complacent about our strategy because it’s what always worked.

Consistency does propel brands.

But complacency can ruin brands–even if you’ve grown complacent around something great.

If you’re feeling any part of your business or life constrict around you, there’s a good chance that making a fundamental change could pump new life into the whole endeavor.

This doesn’t mean you change something on a whim, it doesn’t mean you adjust course because you’re bored, it doesn’t mean you do something different because the shiny object over there is calling to you.

Change it, intentionally, when it’s no longer serving you or your customers.

Use creative constraints to discover a new opportunity.

Engineer a new path forward.

In this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., Jennifer Lee gave us an example of necessary change, too. She’s no longer running her popular video summits and she talked about why and how she made that change. Click here to listen or read the interview.

And, if this whole 2-day virtual planning retreat idea sounds pretty cool, click here to learn more about it and sign up to get information on the next enrollment. When you do, we’ll also send you some exclusive free training opportunities.

How to Court New Customers Using Facebook Ads: Behind-the-Scenes of Our Marketing Campaign

How to Court New Customers with Facebook Ads: Inside My Marketing Campaign

I bet you’ve been wondering whether Facebook ads could jump start your outreach, list-building, and revenue.

It seems like everybody is doing it.

Advertising is great. It can fast-track your ability to connect with the right people and grow your influence in the market but…

Most advertisers are going about it all wrong.

Their strategy? It’s the equivalent of going on a first date and then asking the person to marry you on the spot–or at least move in together.That's a dealbreaker! -- How to Court New Customers Using Facebook Ads

**Even if advertising isn’t for you, keep reading. This applies to a lot of the pieces of your marketing campaign.**

Here’s what it looks like:

An ad pops into your Facebook feed with a big promise: “I used to work 12 hour days just to book 2 clients per month. Now I make $150k per year working 2 hours per day. Here’s my exact blueprint.”

Of course, on the next page isn’t the exact blueprint. It’s a landing page asking for your email address.

Who is this person? What do they really do? If I downloaded this blueprint, would I even like what I find inside? What proof do they have that this really works? What proof do I have that any of this is true?

As that scrolls through your mind, you scroll through the ad.

If you want to reach people who haven’t heard of you before, asking them for the equivalent of moving in together isn’t going to work (most of the time).

You need to prove yourself and introduce them to your business first.

Here’s an ad I’m currently running…

How to Court New Customers Using Facebook Ads

This ad is being shown to people who have never been on my website and don’t know me. But they do know and like Danielle LaPorte.

It’s just a podcast interview.

Advertising just this interview has lead directly to new leads and new customers. It’s growing awareness of my brand and warming up a new audience. And…

It’s been super cheap to run.

Now, I could stop there. But why?! Since this ad has been so successful, I want to show people who click on it another ad.

Anyone who’s been on my website (including folks who clicked the above ad), might see this ad pop up in their feed:

How to Court New Customers Using Facebook Ads

This ad takes people to the full text of my latest mini-book. There’s a larger call to action for an email address, but anyone can read the full text there. And when they do, they get delighted with GIFs!

The interesting thing here is that this “landing page” has a conversion rate of between 40-70% depending on the day. Even on a page that exclusively asks for an email address, I’d still consider those numbers a victory.

This ad is performing incredibly well–and I know I can make it better!

Finally, anyone who clicks on this ad and visits the landing page for the book is moved into a third ad set. They get shown this:

How to Court New Customers Using Facebook Ads

This is an ad for our membership community. I’m not asking for a sale here, just an email address to get a personal invitation to the community.

See how each of these ads takes a new prospect further and further into my world?

Now, like I said, you don’t have to use advertising to take advantage of this approach. Think about it every time you write a blog post.

Some blog posts are for people who know, like, and trust you already. Some are for people who have never heard of your business before.

Same thing with webinars, podcast episodes, videos, etc…

If you’re trying to reach new people, make sure that the content you’re creating and promoting is geared to someone who doesn’t already know, like, and trust you–but has an interest that overlaps with what you do (like my interview with Danielle).

Ready to apply this to your own business?

Start with a piece of content that has already received a bunch of “shares.” (Bunch, of course, is relative.)

Shares are a great indicator that people think the content is valuable to others outside your sphere of influence.

Then you can:

  • Place an ad for that piece of content.
  • Ask your friends to share it with their networks.
  • Put it on a regular schedule in your social media feed.

Give it a try! I think you’ll like the results.

For more on this topic, listen or read my interview with Lori Allen, Director of Great Escape Publishing. She’s a master direct response marketer. I asked her about how her company approaches this task–and about so much more! Click here to read or listen.

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