Moneyball And The Art Of Market Research

Long time no see, right? I haven’t talked to you guys for about two years, and you know what… I feel pretty good about it.

In fact, I’d say I’m dancing on that borderline of feeling excellent about it.

I’ve been super, super busy with my business. And I think that for a couple of years, my personal philosophy in business has been if you’re too busy to write blog posts, you’re doing a pretty good job! Which is why I’ve spent the last couple of years creating products, sales letters, funnels, and emails for some of the biggest guys in internet marketing, health and fitness, relationships, and a few other really interesting “hidden niches” that are super-weird, that the average person might have never heard of.

Does it pay well? Sure.

Was I booked rock, rock solid? Absolutely.

But this did kind of lead to a cobbler’s shoes situation. I was so busy making cool stuff for other people that I barely had the time to write my own emails, make my own sales letters, share my own knowledge.

Yeah, I know, I wasn’t burning to dish the good stuff for free. BAD ME. BAD.

But my plan for this year is to spend a little bit less time with my nose to the grind stone, show a little expertise, and share some war stories from my two years in deep cover.

One of my most interesting stories was a project I didn’t do.

They Kind Of Depend On You. A Lot.

That’s like, something you’re going to run into a LOT if you’re working with clients. The more “done for you” a service is, the more clients are going to leave to you, from sales material to the actual production, to traffic. So you get questions about how to make the products, how to present them…

And in some cases, whether to produce them at all. I had a client that was interested in making a course on… baseball cards. Not like, making them or anything, but in being a collector. He’d had a big collection in the 90’s and cashed out, and hey, why not go with what you know? Now, someone less interested in their customer’s success might have just hired some writers and knocked something together, but me, big old softie that I am… I decided that I’d look into it before giving him to go-ahead.

I mean, BASEBALL CARDS?

Not to mention that if someone pays you 3 or 4 grand to put something together and it flops…

Well, safe to say they won’t be eager to work with you in the future.

Making Those Decisions…

Now obviously, product creation and promotion is a great way to bring down some stable income, whether it’s a book or a mobile app or a membership website. Whatever method you use to actually publish…

You aren’t going to make a buck unless there’s some actual interest there.  The development of digital products requires several steps, not the least of which is determining the demand for that product or service. That’s market research, and while it’s rarely exciting and it’s often dangerous –

It’s important, especially if you’re in a “below the radar” niche.

Now, the BEST market research is having a list of your own customers and just ASKING them what they want. Basically, your goal is to work in concert with your target audience. Ask them questions about what they’ve got, and what’s missing from their “scene” and what they’d be willing to buy into.

And sometimes you can make a stripped down version of a course and get them to buy in for a reduced price.

This type of market research will help you to determine the demand for the product, as well as to capably target the most favorable geographic areas or venue for sales, and to learn more about the demographic so that your product can be appropriately packaged and marketed.

Without actual survey data from people who have a relationship with you, you’re going off what you THINK your customers might want, which is imperfect…

But here’s the thing, that can still be useful. And we can make educated guesses. Here’s one example: finding other products are out there that are close to what you are considering.

Sizing Up “The Competition”

And I’m not a huge fan of that phrase, because it makes you think about sports. There’s two teams of big guys with hard heads and pissed off faces, smashing into each other again and again for sixty minutes.

Like three hours plus commercials, but you know.

Just because you have competition in the business world doesn’t mean that your product won’t be well-received, that it won’t sell, that you can’t help each other.And it’s not an excuse for you to run away. Just pop into the Kindle store and see how many books are sold on a given topic every month – most information markets are growing, not shrinking. Part of your market research is to analyze their entire web presence – is it just a product? Is it promoted on Facebook, banner ads, YouTube? How are people coming into the door and what can YOU do to get to the same point? You’re looking at:

  • Magazines
  • Kindle Books
  • Instructional Books (like the Dummies series)
  • Products For Sale
  • Blogs
  • Squeeze Pages
  • Email Sequences

For signs of activity, life, and entertainment.

So, Baseball, Really?

Naaaah, after a very closely studied couple of hours, it didn’t work out. I gave him a referral to a friend and kept it moving. But whats important is that we did the research, we worked together, and we made the big choice together with data and a knowledge of the scene around us. I felt like Brad Pitt. Or that other lil dude that wasn’t Brad Pitt.

Kind of chubby? Yeah, yeah, you know.

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