Million Dollar Tip #3: Address a Need

This is Tip #3 of the Million Dollar Tip Series. If you have financial goals in life, you’ll find this series a perfect resource to achieve them.

Address a Need

One of the most direct ways to make money is to create a product or service and sell it. Products include ebooks, books, novels, podcasts, physical goods. Services include courses, workshops, coaching, consulting, and more.

Your product/service can’t be just about anything though. It should address a relevant need in the users’ lives. Here are 3 questions to ask yourself as you create your product/service:

  1. Who is your target audience? Who do you want to cater to? They are the people you are developing your product/service for, and the same people who are going to buy your product/service if you develop a proposition that appeals to them.
  2. What are their top needs? Understanding their needs will help you decide what product/service you should create. Every product/service is created to solve a problem, so proper understanding of their needs will help you design the most meaningful product/service for them.
  3. How can I create a product/service that will address their needs? What problem is your product/service going to solve for them? What difference will using your product/service make in their lives? What benefits will they gain? There are tons of products and services out there, so the more your product/service is able to address their needs, the more valuable it is, the more likely they’ll purchase it.

Say you run a healthy living blog. Your target audience are people who have an interest in healthy living. Upon research, you discover their top health need is weight loss. Based on this, you develop a high value product or service that teaches them how to lose weight. You can launch an ebook that shares how to lose X lbs in X days. You can create a 1-1 coaching package where you work with your client to achieve his/her weight loss goals over a X number of sessions. You can develop a group coaching program, where you work with a group of individuals to achieve their weight loss targets in a 1-month time frame.

The possibilities are endless. It’s about meeting the needs of your audience, so pick the format that best address their needs.

Another example – Say you want to start a vegan bakery. Your target audience are vegans, who are also health conscious, working professionals. Further research shows that they have a need for healthier alternatives to sugar-laden pastries out there. Hence, not only do you want to create pastries that are vegan, you also want to ensure they are low in sugar, so as to address their needs. Else, even if you’re the only vegan bakery out there, your audience will still not be interested in purchasing your pastries since they’re looking for healthy vegan food.

As long as your product/service addresses an unmet need, there will be a demand for it. It’s up to you to uncover what your audience’s needs are and how your product/service is going to meet that need.

Example: Blogging Success Course

Here’s an example of how I applied the three questions to the recent Blogging Success Course to create the best value course for the participants:

Q1. Who is my target audience?

My target group for my blogging course was (a) beginner bloggers who are just starting out in blogging (b) intermediate bloggers who want to review their blogging fundamentals. I deliberately omitted advanced bloggers as they’d be in a different blog development track, and it’d take a different course to tackle their needs altogether. By focusing on the beginner bloggers, I was able to design the course specially for them.

When you’re defining your target audience, you want to be as specific as possible, while still reaching a sizable portion of people out there. Too small, and you end up having a product/service that only a few people will buy/benefit from, which will defeat the purpose of creating it in the first place. On the other hand, if you try to cater to a large group, you’ll end up diluting the proposition of your product/service – it’ll only offer average value and not fully benefit any one group. In trying to target everyone, you reach out to no one.

Q2. What are their top needs?

Before I developed the course, I approached my target audience to understand what are their top blogging needs. I created a discussion thread in the forums to solicit feedback. Among the questions asked include: What are your biggest blogging needs? What are the things you need the most help in when it comes to blog development? What will make this course most helpful for you?

Readers (those who are interested in blogging or existing bloggers) then openly shared their feedback, posting questions they have about blogging, and obstacles they faced in blog development which they need the most help in. Some built upon others’ answers, making it the feedback even more holistic. After reading their responses, I had a thorough understanding of their key blogging needs. This made it easy for me to develop the course.

Before you design your product/service, you should have a thorough understanding of what your users’ top needs are. After all, you are creating your product/service for them. If you don’t have a clear idea of what they need, you’ll find yourself grasping at the straws in the creation process.

Q3. How can I create a product/service that will address their needs?

For my blogging course, my audience’ top needs were to get an insider’s take on how to set up their blog for success, with emphasis on (a) how to get their blogs started – i.e. learning the blogging fundamentals (b) how to create great content (c) how to get traffic. Hence, I designed the course to tackle those 3 main needs. I decided to use the format of an online group coaching course rather than an ebook, since blogging is a hands-on activity, and it is through experiential learning that one learns the most. I also made it a 4-week bootcamp, with a daily task to be done each day, which would make the course very actionable and results-driven.

Since the target audience was beginner bloggers, I did not include anything on monetization, ebook creation or community building. These were considered advanced blogging topics, and irrelevant in the beginning stages of blogging. This would be part of a separate course, if any, in the future.

Since the whole course was developed with the target group in mind (from start to finish), it was not surprising that majority of the members involved in the initial feedback promptly signed up for the course when it was launched. They did so because the course was relevant to their blogging needs, and taking it would help them in their blogging journey. On the other hand, if my blogging course was irrelevant to their needs, they wouldn’t have signed up for it, no matter what the price was.

Your customers should be able to address their needs completely, or almost completely, after using your product/service. As mentioned above, the more your product/service is able to address their needs, the more valuable it is to them, the more likely they want to purchase it.

Your Task: Address a Need

Your task today is to think about the needs of others, and think about how you can address those needs.

  1. Who is your target audience? Define your target audience in 1-2 lines. For example, the target audience for Personal Excellence is: “People who are passionate about growing and achieving excellence in life”. If you run a healthy living blog, your target audience would be “People who want to live a healthier life through diet, fitness and lifestyle”. And so on.
  2. What are their top needs?
    • Approach them to understand what their needs are. If you want to get a broad-based understanding of your target group, quantitative data gathering tools like Survey Monkey or Google Docs will be helpful. To get an in-depth understanding of their needs, face-to-face interviews, comment forms and forum discussion threads will be useful. If you’re starting from scratch and you don’t know where you can find your target audience, start off with friends who fit your target profile, and work your way from there.
    • Tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Tool can be helpful too. Trends shows you the top searches at the moment, as well as the trend of the search terms over the past 6-7 years. On the other hand, Keyword Tool lets you see the number of times a particular key phrase is searched a month. Both gives you an indication of what the general market interest is.
  3. How can you create a product/service that will address those needs? How can you best help them? Via a product? A service? Or both? What can you create that will give them the most value? This might involve some brainstorming.
  4. Start creating it. Now that you’ve done the preparation work, it’s now time to create the product/service. You might want to test your product/service proposition (i.e. pricing, your offering, features) before you proceed; else you might end up creating something that no one wants to use. I always make it a point to get user feedback before I create a product/service. This was the case when I developed 30DLBL last year, as well as my Blogging Success Course this year. Get their feedback in the same manner you did  in Q2. Keep your audience in the loop during the creation process – Share with them previews, screenshots and updates so they know what’s going.

When you’re done, sit back and observe the market reception to your product/service. Review the sales performance, gather feedback, and tweak your product/service accordingly.

There are always going to be unmet needs everywhere, and it’s up to you to identify them and create products/services that address those needs. As long as you keep creating resources to fill those needs, and provide value to others, you will receive money for your hard work.

This is Tip #3 of the Million Dollar Tip Series. If you have financial goals in life, you’ll find this series a perfect resource to achieve them.

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