My first online product was a trainwreck.
A total chaos of mistakes, misguided expectations and a crippling fear of making a fool of myself.
It was also the first time I made money online.
Since that first product, I’ve sold more than a thousand copies of my reports—and as a result, I have learned a couple of lessons I wish I had known before I created my first product.
Here are six lessons about launching your first product.
1) Narrow your product down to a very specific topic
- The more specific your product topic is, the better.
My best products have been about very specific ideas:
- How to get a lot of followers on your Facebook page.
- Simple traffic methods that will help you get more traffic.
- How to create a Warrior Special Offer.
I learned this lesson the hard way.
After I created my first product, I wanted to go bigger with my second one.
This turned out to be a big mistake.
I didn’t narrow down the product idea enough and therefore tried to include too many things in one package.
The product sold one or two copies before I trashed it.
Although this was a blow to my confidence, I learned something—the more specific you are about your product topic, the easier the product is to create, and the better it will be.
For most people this means:
You need to narrow your product down. A LOT. Usually more than you think.
People don’t want to hear 10 different ways you can solve a problem. If they wanted that, they would have searched the internet. No, they want to hear your best way of solving it.
Narrow your product down until it solves just one important problem.
2) You need reviews and feedback if you want your product to sell
- You need reviews, testimonials, and feedback if you want your product to be successful.
Social media is important to boost SEO and social proof is key on any sales page.
Even more so if you are a relatively unknown figure in your marketplace.
People don’t want to hear what you think of your own product. They want to hear what other people think of it.
And that’s why you need reviews of your product.
Reviews and testimonials have carried my sales pages. I’m not the best copywriter, so my own praise about my product isn’t even that good.
But when other people are chiming in, copies start moving over the counter.
Getting reviews shouldn’t be too hard if you have a good product. In the beginning, you can give away free review copies to get some initial feedback.
If getting good reviews is too hard, consider for a moment whether this may have something to do with your product. It’s better to make changes early on in the process.
Again, this was a lesson learned the hard way.
When I launched my first product, I didn’t have a single review on my sales page.
The result? My product barely sold at all. In fact, I was losing money in the beginning.
However, as soon as reviews starting coming in, things turned around and the product became profitable.
I’m no expert at copywriting, but I do know this truth: reviews and testimonials are 100% required if you want your sales page to convert well.
3) No product is going to sell itself
- Nobody is going to sell your product for you. As a product vendor, selling is part of your job description.
You can’t just put up a sales page and expect your product sell itself.
People aren’t going to come looking for it, and affiliates aren’t going to just pick it up for their promotions either.
You need to market your product.
And you need to keep on doing it.
As a product vendor, your primary job is to sell your product.
There are many ways of doing this, but what really matters is that you are doing it.
Michael Masterson calls this the supremacy of selling in his book Ready, Fire, Aim.
His rule is simple—spend most of your time selling. The ratio should be something like 80/20 with the 80 percent going towards selling and 20 towards everything else.
That’s how important sales are for any small business owner. Almost nothing trumps it.
4) Personal experience is what makes your product stand out
- Use personal experience and your product is unique.
Whatever product you want to create, someone has already created something similar.
(And if that isn’t the case, it should be a huge red flag that you are creating a product which nobody has any interest in.)
You should just accept this fact—your product idea isn’t unique.
And it doesn’t have to be.
What makes your product unique is you.
Nobody can create a product from the same point of view as you as they haven’t experienced the same things as you have.
Personal experience makes your product stand out from the crowd.
It’s what makes it different. So use your personal experiences when creating your product.
For me, my best products have relied heavily on personal experiences and lessons learned from them.
5) Don’t make anything more complicated than it has to be
- Keep your product and delivery as simple as possible.
This lesson applies to a lot in life.
My experience with it comes from trying to make a fancy and complicated membership system for some of my products.
Honestly, I don’t really remember why I did it in the first place. I guess I just thought it would be cool to have a membership system.
Turns out, a complicated system can quickly become a big, time-consuming annoyance.
Your customers don’t care if you have a fancy membership page. They just want to be able to get what they have paid for, quickly and effortlessly. And a membership site may even come in the way of that.
A simple download page will do for most products.
Give your customers the information they need—a welcome message, support information, instructions, etc.—and a download link.
Your customers will thank you, and you’ll thank yourself for making things simple when you have to move, upgrade or otherwise change anything.
6) Selling your own products can be scary, but also quite exciting
- Selling your own product is scary and exciting at the same time.
Putting yourself out there for other people to judge can be a scary thing.
And you should expect that some people will disagree with your ideas.
That’s just how things are.
Some people are going to refund. Some are even going as far as to insult you and your product.
It’s part of the game. You can’t please everybody.
And you shouldn’t try.
But there’s also the other side of the coin. The good side. The people that are uplifted by your creation.
As a creator you can make things better. You can improve lives. Even if just in a tiny way, you are still making a positive difference.
And that’s exciting.
It’s worth all the struggles and the downturns.
If you have something to share with the world, go ahead and do it. You’ll make the world a better place for all of us.
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This post was written by Mathias R from thejourneyof.me, an online adventure in traffic, conversion and personal growth.