Some ideas don’t work.
Some ideas are never going to work, no matter how hard you try.
Some ideas don’t work just yet, but might work out if you tried a little later or if you persist.
Sometimes you get an idea that starts out to look like it’s going to work, but then something happens and you realize it wasn’t solid.
So how can you tell if your idea is solid? You’ve had some success, but will it last?
Marketing is a fuzzy practice, isn’t it? It’s fuzzy because it relies on tactics, trial and error, timing wizardry and, frankly, it often depends on luck.
But underneath the fuzziness, there’s something solid you can use to understand your product’s viability.
If you can answer these four questions, you’ll know if you got something solid or not.
Four Questions, Four Forces
What Was so Bad About What Your Customers Were Doing Before Your Product Came Along?
This piece of information gives you an idea about the buyer’s momentum, their sense of urgency, their annoyance-level, their readiness for change.
The harder their struggle before they knocked on your door, the more likely you are to have something solid to sell to.
What you can do once you have your answer: Change your product’s page to vividly relate to your visitor that you understand their struggle. Make them know they’ve come to the right place. Make them feel understood.
So that’s about the buyer’s momentum. Let’s talk about what they’ll do if the momentum fizzles out.
What Are Your Customers Defaulting Back To, When Choosing Not To Go Ahead With a Purchase?
If the urgency and the excitement fizzles out, what will your potential customer do about their problem?
What will they revert back to? How will they solve their solution themselves? That’s right, people almost always have a way out and will default back to their current habits.
Those habits end up being really hard to compete against. They’re like a really strong gravity well, pulling back your customer towards non-consumption. It helps to make a list of “I’ll just” statements, of what your customers will be default back to.
What you can do once you have your answer: Help your customer do it themselves! You might lose the sale for your main product, but you will win the sale of being the person they will think of when the struggle gets harder.
What Were the Attractive Properties You Communicated that Excited the Buyer?
What made the customer think “yeah, that’s going to do the job!” and, more importantly, “it’ll do the job better than the mish-mash of things I currenlty do”?
If the severity of the struggle defines the strength of the customer’s momentum, what you say about your product will define how well you catch the customer’s momentum. Do you understand them? Prove it by communicating how having the product will make the problem go away.
What you can do once you have your answer: Feed the customer’s attraction to your product by focusing only on the properties that address the main struggle. Mention other benefits only if they serve the job, lest you want to make your benefits fall into the trap of the next question…
What Made Your Customers Hesitate About Going Forward with the Purchase?
You might be extolling the merits of your product, but despite your best efforts, your customers are likely left with some anxieties about moving forward.
Try to make a list of what likely made the customer pause to make the next sequential step. What put the breaks on the momentum, on their excitement? What made them consider defaulting back to their habits and saying “not this, not now”? It might be your other features that don’t support the struggle.
What you can do once you have your answer: Make sure to address all those objections in your copy, and more importantly, in the process of doing the actual first next step to “hire” your product. Make it smooth, make it reassuring. Be inventive if you need to, your customers will pass the word if you do.
The Four Forces of Progress
Done with your answers? You can now plug them directly into this diagram, and you’ll know if your idea is solid.
Are the Top Two Forces Greater than the Bottom Two Forces?
Did you communicate you understood the struggle? Did you show properties that were attractive, address your customer’s anxieties, and make it a no-brainer to part ways with with their current habits?
Did the top two beat the bottom two?
If so, your idea is solid.
Do I need to address a hard struggle? That’s a question we’ll answer in a future article. Stay tuned!