You have to be asking yourself the question by now: Is my product going to work?
You’ve sent your link around, demoed your product to a few people, and maybe you’ve even been accepted into an accelerator program.
You now have to do the work to find buyers. Find who your target market is. Find who your typical buyer is. Stuff like that.
The hard truth is that you might not have a shot at making your product work out.
- Despite the market size.
- Despite the problem definition work you did.
- Despite the funding you got.
- Despite having a site that shows up in search results.
- Despite the organic reach and content marketing and cold calls.
There’s a super huge chance none of that will work.
If your product doesn’t address a hard struggle, there won’t be enough momentum to carry a buyer from “I have to move away from my situation” to “this beats my current mish-mash of solutions by a mile”. There won’t be enough momentum to clear the gravitational well of non-consumption, your biggest competitor.
So that was the bad news.
If you’re still here, you’re thinking your product might address some kind of hard struggle, but:
- You don’t know what that struggle looks like just yet, and
- You don’t know how to get the word to spread, or to be found, or how to attract and help out those who are experiencing that struggle.
We’ll address those two problems one-by-one.
In short: you’ll need to get to Level 3 sharpening, and you’ll need a constellation of mini struggle-solvers.
Level 3 Sharpening of Your Understanding of the Buyer
To find the struggling moment, the hard struggle, the job-to-be-done, the situation that triggers the switch, you’ll have to change your understanding of the buyer.
You’ll need to go from a Level 1 understanding to a Level 3 understanding.
- Not Sharp Enough: Understanding the Role, the Market and The Benefits
- Sharp: Understanding the Problem and the Aspiration
- Sharpest: Understanding the Situations That Are Ripe for the “Switch”
From Level 1 to Level 2: You may know the role, the market and the benefits, but you don’t know the real problem to be solved nor what the buyer aspires to be pulled toward by making the purchase.
That gets you closer to understanding the Job-To-Be-Done, the vector of the momentum, the starting point and the destination. But it’s not enough.
From Level 2 to Level 3: It’s not enough to know the Problem and the Aspiration because this won’t get you enough information to make a page that tells your visitor “I understand what you’re going through and how to help you make progress.”
That’s because there might be a multitude of situations that caused a person to visit your site, but if they’re not in those specific situations that are ripe for them to switch away from the past and toward the new, you won’t get a sale. Not enough momentum. Not enough of a hard struggle. Not enough urgency.
Finding Level 3 Situations: Try “When”
If you’ve got some recent buyers, the best tool at your disposal is to conduct purchase interviews.
But if you’re in a pinch, you can try to see if you can come up with some when statements, like this one:
“When I’ve tried learning how to do it myself and suddenly have an urgency to make it happen, I want a tool that’ll help me save time so I can look good in front of my boss.”
This situation might look generic, but imagine a struggle-first landing page that starts with:
You’ve tried getting an [output of your product] by learning to do it. But now you’re crunched for time.
That’s an enticing “I feel seen” page-starter! If you can deliver on that promise with your product (no need to learn much, get something high quality, one time price, done for you), you might have something that will get the word out.
Getting the Word Out: A Constellation of Mini Struggle-Solvers
You’re lucky. You have enough abilities to make a product, and you’ve gained the lens of the struggling situation as the causal link between a struggle and a purchase.
To get some attention for your product, you want to:
- Move away from trying to get attention to your product, and instead;
- Move toward making mini struggle-solvers around your product.
A mini struggle-solver is anything that’s small, solves a problem for those who “hire” it, and ideally, gets people to tell others about it:
- An article is a mini struggle-solver. People hire articles to get a quick answer on a specific question. Just like this article is hired for a different struggle than very similarly-written articles written on this blog.
- A newsletter is a mini struggle-solver. People hire newsletters to stay on top of industry news, for aspiration, to be reminded of evergreen truths when they’re on a journey.
- An ebook is a mini struggle-solver. People hire ebooks for accountability on learning. It’s a concrete way to make a promise to themselves.
- An email sequence is a mini struggle-solver. People hire email sequences to apply new knowledge at a steady pace.
- A guide on adopting the new process your product is advocating is a mini struggle-solver. People hire a new process before they hire software to streamline that process.
- A consulting engagement is a mini struggle-solver. People hire an external specialist when they don’t want to become an expert in solving that hard problem they’re experiencing.
- A sharper, pared down version of your product is a mini struggle-solver. Your full-featured version of your app should be a last resort pitch, because your product’s many features might be causing your buyer anxiety.
Each one of those mini struggle-solvers gets a launch. While you’re making them, publicly show what you’re working on and teach them your methods, themselves mini struggle-solvers.
The internet rewards the prolific. So build a constellation of mini struggle-solvers, each of them catching a switching situation and helping your “buyer” make progress. Before long, you might be finding a really hairy problem that your audience is experiencing. At that time, you’ll already have the audience (and the word-of-mouth) you were looking for.