After You Find Your Niche

You’ve laid the groundwork. It’s time to segue from the research phase of building your business online and start the action phase. Now you get to see the results of your hard work. This is the fun part.

Don’t Skip Ahead

I can’t stress the importance of spending the time needed to find the niche that really suits you. What is the best match that’s in alignment with your personal DNA and your personal passions? What excites you?

The path you're going down is potentially a long path. You want to build a sustainable lifestyle business online. It takes years.

So it has to be something you're interested in and passion about. You’re going to be creating marketing content and other content every day for the next several years. If you haven't found your niche yet, go back and look through the niche videos.

Jay Abraham said, “Everything is a test from this point on.” Now that you understand your niche; you need to test that idea. Specifically, you need to test that idea as quickly and inexpensively as you possibly can.

Minimum Viable Test

Let's say you're thinking about building a new type of collar, like a shock collar that shocks dogs when they bark. One theory is to create a minimal viable version of that and try to sell it.

I personally think that's the wrong advice. You're spending a lot of time and money building something that you don't know if people will actually purchase.

I think you should create a sales letter and a minimum viable funnel around this. This way, you see if anyone will click on a buy button. If they do, you can actually sell a product that you haven't created yet!

Refund every single person who purchased from you by writing to them. “I'm back ordered on my product right now. I’ll update you when it becomes available and you can purchase at that point in time.”

Personally, I like to see all the data. I want to know that I'm able to get paying customers before I put any energy into selling a product.

My Real World Example

A few years ago, my wife and I decided to grow a membership program. These are so popular right now because you get the residual income from upfront efforts.

We sat down and thought about all the things we could offer with a monthly membership. Then, we essentially wrote a sales letter promising those items. We didn't go out and create all of those items. That would have taken weeks to put it all together.

It’s so easy to get stuck in a cycle of, “I’ve got to make it perfect. That wasn't good enough. Let me re-do this video and change that one again.” You can go weeks and months in the creating process before you have any proof that it's going to work.

Hat Over the Fence

Our sales letter was designed to sell a membership that was literally empty at the time we launched it. We launched a promise. This is the “Throwing your hat over the fence” idea. We threw a hat over the fence and we put it out to the public.

If people in our audience purchase this, we’ll create everything we've said we would create, on the schedule we said would create it. If no one purchases it, great, we now know that nobody wanted it and we're not going to waste any time creating it.

What happened?

People purchased. And not only did they purchase, we got a lot of sales on day one. It hit us – the audience is ready for this. This was indeed the right idea, the right product, and the right message for this market.

The Real Minimum Viable Product

We spent three or four days and hustled to create a core; a beginning. This was that first series of items that members get right when they join. From that point on, we kept to the schedule we promised in our sales letter.

Here we are, four years later. We're still running this membership program. We created the minimum viable funnel possible. Our sales letter and a purchase button. That purchase button tied directly into PayPal.

It's evolved several times. We’ve added new things and removed others in order to make it as good as our members wanted it. It's been a great residual income stream for us.

What to Test First and Fast

How does this fit in with what you’re doing? There are two main areas that you need to test as quickly as possible. First is your opt in idea.

Click here and check out this four-part video series. It shows you exactly how to build a funnel quickly and easily on WordPress.

If you don't have hosting, WordPress, or a funnel building theme, it costs about $300. With this, you have a year’s access to build as many funnels as you want. This is very inexpensive. It’s less than a month of Clickfunnel’s premium product.

You’ll Need to Test Your Opt-In Offer

Can you give something away that people like and are willing to exchange their email address for? It can be a product, training, or a free report. After that, you're trying to test whether you can sell them something.

The cool part is that you can promote an affiliate product. You don't have to create it yourself. Find someone who has a product that fits the needs of your audience and niche and sell their product.

If that works well for you, replace it with your own product in the future. Or, run an affiliate based business – it’s easy to do.

If you don't find any affiliate products in your niche, you can create a sales letter for the product you think is going to work and see if you can sell it. I recommend that you let people check out for this product that doesn’t exist.

Just let them know it's back ordered or that you’re delayed. Then create the first module or the whole product in 24 hours. When you deliver it to them, apologize again.

The first ten people who buy will experience the delay, but it will be right on time for the next customers who buy.

Use Your Data

Now, you’ve got the data about whether this idea is going to work or not. This is the aim of testing the funnel. You need to put a lot out there in this game. And you need to see what actually works.

What drives sales? By testing, you see what will actually get you opt-ins. When you find the system or product that's generating opt-ins and sales – Boom. You're in.

Tweak the Funnel

Now it's all about optimization, or tweaking the funnel. You want to test different products, headlines – the fun stuff. In addition to the WordPress funnel training series I also recommend that you watch my minimum viable funnel video.

This will show you the bare minimum of what you need for testing.

Don’t Create a Product That’s Too Much Effort

Create the minimum viable funnel. See if you can get ads running with opt-ins that lead to sales. This reinforces your choice that you found the right niche. Continue to go down this path.

If you're not able to get anybody to opt in for your free offer or to purchase your product, you might still be in the right niche. At that point, try to find someone in your niche who's selling a similar product and reverse engineer what they're doing.

Look at their sales page and try to understand their unique selling proposition. What is working for people in your niche who are successful? Incorporate those ideas and concepts into your funnel and stick with it.

Give it Time

You know, my first phone calls were terrible. My first attempt at an internet businesses failed. Actually, my first attempts at dozens of businesses nearly failed.

It took me a while to get this to work. The big trick that I learned is to test as quickly and inexpensively as you can and then let the data tell you what you do next.

Do you try another headline? Another another test? Do you try a whole new product? Do you test a whole new niche? Just keep testing these different areas. You're feeling out the audience.

At some point, something is going to happen. You're going to get consistent opt-ins. From there, the data will show you the way. Follow the data, create more, and refine what you've created.

 

About the Author Miles

Miles is a full time internet marketer who sells information products and a niche membership program with his wife, Melanie. Together they have created a lifestyle business that allows them true location independence and this blog where you get to see behind the scenes and see how they have built their online business from scratch.

Leave a Comment:

8 comments
Ian says June 25, 2017

Hi Miles,
Great and massive amount of content you have generated in little amounts of time. Very impressive!
I have followed a little and realized down the road that I have had a question lingering for a while, which felt a little ridiculous to ask, but at the same time I feel these are concepts that may overlap at times specially when the business is growing. Here I go:
What are the nuances, if any, between what you refer to as a funnel vs a e-com store? I see how the funnel is the typical go to for someone selling one or two solutions (such as a course or e-book), but what if you get into more material and content which turns an email marketing sales funnel into an e-store. I hope this makes sense… I’m really asking because I’m wondering if I’m heading more toward the pure e-commerce model should I still stick to the WordPress approach or look to packaged solutions (which as you said are much more expensive, agreed on that 100% – and not necessarily better, just faster overall)
Thanks!

Reply
    Miles says June 30, 2017

    To me, ecommerce is to sell physical products in an electronic version of a catalog. A funnel is to sell mostly digital products, but can work for physical product too when there aren’t many choices.

    Funnels work for physical products if you have one product to offer on the front end and one or two to offer on the back end.

    For ecommerce on WordPress, look at Woo Commerce… Definitely the leaders in that space.

    We have over 100 digital products available and still don’t do the whole e-commerce thing… Just lots of sales pages on our site that act as mini funnels.

    If I was going to start selling a line or multiple lines of gemstone jewelry, then I’d build an ecommerce to show off all the different products and have them sortable by type, gem, size, etc.

    Reply
Jayme Edwards says June 30, 2017

Hey Miles,

Nice to read your article. We’ve exchanged a few thoughts on YouTube.

A couple quick questions on this one. When you two launched your membership site back in the day, I’m assuming this was prior to Facebook ads. Did you use some other traffic source to get people to the sales letter?

I did exactly what you suggest not to do and made my membership site first, then built a funnel with an optin to watch a vsl on the front. I got a decent click through rate after trying several ads but no one would opt in to watch the sales video.

So I did some more reading and was suggested to create a lead magnet, so I made a free quiz people could optionally opt into to get into an auto responder series that would link to the sales video in the 5th email.

No luck with getting folks to even take the quiz. So I came across your video last night where you suggested giving information away to establish yourself as an authority before you even try selling anything. Is this what you two did before launching your membership back in the day?

Basically I’m trying to figure out how much free content to create before I should bother running ads to optin pages again. My membership is for personal coaching from me on advanced software development processes that consultants usually charge thousands per week for. I want to offer social coaching one on one for cheap so I can help more people instead of working for a single client.

Sorry that was so long! Thanks for any insight,

Jayme

Reply
    Miles says June 30, 2017

    To launch my membership, I leveraged my email list and my web traffic from my organic SEO efforts…

    A quiz is not really a value add to anyone’s life. You only need one great free item to grow a list. For our list it is an MP3 that gives our customer avatar something they deeply desire that fulfills an emotional need for them.

    Once they have that experience with our MP3, they seem to like it and want more… So we offer them more MP3s and the membership that allows them to get all our MP3s for one monthly price.

    What part of the software development process can you give them to help them have a great experience with your content… Or catch them up on your ‘philosophy’ and prequalify them as the kind of advanced developer you want to work with?

    Sounds like you are trying to hold back all your best content and expect people to pay first… You gotta give first for a funnel to truly work for you! Check this video out for more on that philosophy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOo-_wvKuFM

    Reply
      Jayme Edwards says July 1, 2017

      Thanks Miles that’s the exact video I was referring to. I’m considering splintering some of the content in the membership like Ryan Deiss suggests.

      Reply
        Miles says July 2, 2017

        Definitely a balance in there, somewhere… Can feel tough to ‘find’ but sometimes we error on giving too little, swing to giving too much, and find a balance through continued testing. I often defer to erroring on the side of giving more…

        I share a framework here in this vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AEG7wJLh6U and sometimes you can give away a few parts that get people ready for the paid section… Give them the what to do for free… Sell them the how to do it in the membership with ongoing support. That is a great model for many!

        Reply
Melissa says August 12, 2017

Hi Miles – if I want to follow your videos from the beginning – can you send me a list in order?

Reply
    Miles says August 13, 2017

    There is no specific order… My YouTube channel is http://www.youtube.com/milesb and then use the search feature to find the answers to the questions you have.

    Reply
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