Two Products Ideas for Sharpen.page

Since deciding to drop my previous product idea, I’ve been thinking of two new ones.

  1. Reports on Landing Pages of Popular Products ($$ price range)
  2. Landing Page Starter Kits ($$-$$$ price range)

I’m going to evaluate those two product ideas right in this article (my first shot) to show you my process.

More Details on the Two Ideas

The motivation: I’m looking to see if there’s a product I can sell at a $$ price-range, that would fit at the bottom of my value-ladder. I’ve got $$$ and $$$$-priced services, but nothing at a $$ price.

So these two ideas came up:

  1. Reports on Landing Pages of Popular Products ($$ price range). Detailed analysis of why the landing page works, parts of it that probably don’t. The buyer would trust that in buying the report, they’ll be learning about the lens of the visitor’s mental back-and-forth to sharpen their own landing pages. Maybe announce it, only write the report if I have some pre-orders.
  2. Landing Page Starter Kits ($$-$$$ price range). Build a unique starter kit every week or two, put it up for sale. Each kit is exclusive to 5-10 buyers only, which promises uniqueness. Each starter kit gives the buyer a head start on styling and copywriting. The kit will be a static-built page ready to be published on a free Netlify account. Will probably use Tailwind CSS. Most kits will probably be built as a struggle-first landing pages.

Will the Ideas Clear the Forces of Progress?

How should I judge whether these will work?

  • Should I talk to people and see their reaction?
  • Should I put up a pre-order page as quickly as possible and validate using traffic data?
  • Should I try pre-selling via one-on-one chats?

Many people start there.

As for me, my first step is to model the back-and-forth that will go on in the mind of the buyer.

The Forces of Progress push and pull the buyer into moving toward a purchase (yes, this, now), or back toward non-consumption (not this, not now).

To know whether a product will work, the top two forces must outweigh the bottom two forces.

Forces Diagram

The Forces for Idea #1

Idea: Reports on Landing Pages of Popular Products ($$ price range)

Finding Struggling Moments
The Struggle Force

First, let’s hone in on some real struggling moments (as opposed to vague problem statements):

  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’m comparing my landing page draft to other landing pages in the wild, and I’m thinking my page isn’t very good but I don’t know why…
  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’m building a landing page and I’m stuck debating a couple options

The Competition: “I’ll just” Statements
The Habits Force

At this point, let’s see what a potential buyer would revert back to, their “I’ll just” statements, the real competition for the product idea

  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’m comparing my landing page draft to other landing pages in the wild, and I’m thinking my page isn’t very good but I don’t know why…
  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just ask around on IndieHackers to see if my page is any good.
  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just try asking for copywriting advice from people I know.

Perfectly fine “I’ll just” alternatives.

Let’s try the other struggle:

  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’m building a landing page and I’m stuck debating a couple options
  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just ask for feedback on forums and on IndieHackers.

Again, that’s a totally fine alternative. So now both of my struggle hypotheses have adequate “I’ll just” alternatives.

How about this new struggle statement:

  • ⚬→ Struggle When I see a competitor use a different approach on their landing page, I think it’s kind of brilliant but I’m at a loss to explain why it works
  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just formulate my own opinion on why it works, even if I’m probably deluding myself.

Yeah, this probably doesn’t happen too much. There isn’t that much variety on landing pages these days, and people don’t really seek to disprove their own opinions.

But that’s an example of a struggle which might happen before they even have a landing page draft.

Maybe this struggle is more probable:

  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’m debating whether I should go forward with a product idea and I’m imagining the landing page, not sure how I’ll communicate the idea…
  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just look at similar products in the industry, see what they do on their landing page.

Here, there’s something. The struggle happens earlier, and it’s about getting equipped for when we’ll start building something for real. It’s about starting right.

Their Response To The Idea
The Attraction and Anxieties Forces

So they’ll fall on the landing page of one of my reports, they’ll see a summary of the analysis.

Will they pre-order the full report?

  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’m debating whether I should go forward with a product idea and I’m imagining the landing page, not sure how I’ll communicate the idea…
  • →⚬ Attraction I’ll be able to find out what makes this page work so well. I’m a fan of this precise page and I’ll understand what that precise one works.
  • →⚬ Attraction I’ll be able to learn about landing page design theory through an example.
  • →⚬ Attraction I’ll be able to get better at communicating products in a way that makes them appealing, exciting for the buyer.

Here we’re seeing that the attraction is moving into future possibilities, the buyer’s longing, what they aspire for, what they want to get progress on. We’re on a good track here.

  • →⚬ Attraction It’s not too expensive.
  • ←⚬ Anxieties It’s not ready yet, I gotta pre-order it.

Here, I get a sense that the pre-order might add a little bit of anxiety, which might pull-back on the purchase. It’s not the case for all products that a pre-order adds anxiety, but in this case, that might just be enough of an anxiety to spur the buyer to revert to an “I’ll just”:

  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just look at similar products in the industry, see what they do on their landing page.

Overall Assessment
Do the Forces Check Out?

There’s something here, but since the reports might take a while to build, a pre-order approach might not even be a good strategy to see which landing pages I should work on.

But maybe I publish one of these pre-order pages a week (retire them if no sales after 30 days), and see which ones sell. I’ll see.

Possible Alternative Product: Eventually, maybe if I bundle up a bunch of reports into one, it’ll add to the attraction (so many example landing pages!) and lower the anxiety about the pre-order (no use looking elsewhere, this is it). Interesting.

The Forces for Idea #2

Idea: Landing Page Starter Kits ($$-$$$ price range)

Finding Struggling Moments
The Struggle Force

  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’m getting ready to start a landing page for a product and I keep seeing templates that look way too generic…
  • ⚬→ Struggle When I built a first draft and I find it looks too much like all the other ones in the industry…

The Competition: “I’ll just” Statements
The Habits Force

Both share the same “I’ll just” alternatives:

  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just find a template I like somewhere else…
  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just hire a designer when sales pick up and launch with what I have for now…

Those “I’ll just” alternatives aren’t that strong. You can feel the dissatisfaction and that there’s a hole in the market.

So let’s say I publish short-run landing page starter kits. No more than 5-10 purchases for a specific style/kit.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to create a new style each week or two (or whatever the frequency looks like).

And yet, if we simulate the attraction/anxiety forces, we see there’s something there.

Their Response To The Idea
The Attraction and Anxieties Forces

  • →⚬ Attraction If I subscribe to his newsletter of feed, there’s bound to be a style that will be interesting to me…
  • →⚬ Attraction This style looks pretty close…
  • ←⚬ Anxieties I’m not sure I want to use such a text-heavy landing page style…
  • ←⚬ Anxieties Will I have to do a lot of work to adapt this kit to my needs?
  • ←⚬ Anxieties Will I have a lot of flexibility?
  • →⚬ Attraction I’ll be able to look fairly unique if only 5-10 other people bought the same template.
  • ←⚬ Anxieties The landing page example I’m buying is a for a product like mine. If 5-10 other people buy it, that means I’ll get 5-10 other competitors with a similar idea…
  • →⚬ Attraction I’ve thought about hosting my own static site on Netlify before, this will be fun.
  • →⚬ Attraction The price is somewhat fair. I’d be paying a real person I might want to work with in the future.
  • ←⚬ Anxieties The price is a little more than I wanted to pay.

Overall Assessment
Do the Forces Check Out?

It’s not a home run, but there’s something there. The “I’ll just” alternatives aren’t that strong, the struggle is real, the attraction might outweigh the anxieties.

But after seeing the starter kit with that unique style…

  • ⚬← Habits “I’ll just” copy elements of the design on my own design.

I can’t really stop that from happening. But then after trying to copy it on their own, they might come back:

  • ⚬→ Struggle I can’t design something like this on my own. I can’t make it look as nice without investing a ton more time.
  • →⚬ Attraction This starter kit will save me time.

Maybe. It’s another gamble.

I Might Be Telling Myself a Story

How can I tell whether I’m seeing clearly? Maybe my ego is making me blind, making me think there’s a shot where there’s not…

  

Mental models: Surely these product ideas are going to be a gamble - Maybe. Maybe I’m onto something It’ll take a long time to get enough traffic to make either of these ideas work out - Maybe - Is there anything else I can do with the same time-budget that will be as useful to the software starter community? - Not at the moment Either of these products will be a lot of work - Not if I put a pre-order page before I build the full thing I’m a little scared of working on these ideas I feel “the resistance” - Interesting - That’s a good sign Either I create these products, or I drop them entirely - Actually, working on either idea gives me possible offshoots like article ideas, things that can generate other ideas - Yes, if I keep my time-budget in check, I can benefit from random upside

In that case, either idea might work. I still don’t know which to work on first.

Let me visualize how this fits in the next few months:

  

Before the next few months are over, I’ll have: Met my commitments Worked for my clients Published an article each week Prospered Invested a half-day a week working on something else with potential upside Published my progress (built in public) Started with the idea that will fit best with the rest of what I offer Worked on selling landing page reports

Then it’s settled. Idea #1 it is: Reports on landing pages of popular products for $$.

If you’d like to follow along, you can follow my progress on Twitter or on IndieHackers.

Stay sharp!



@pascallaliberte

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