AskPat 336 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What is up everybody? Thank you so much for joining me today. My name's Pat Flynn, and I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
Awesome. Now let's get to today's question from Nickeya.
Nickeya: Hey Pat. My name is Nickeya from Toronto, and I recently created a squeeze page with the goal of collecting emails for the potential of a certain product. My question is, how many emails do you need to validate a product, and what do you do once you get the emails? Do you send the people that are interested every few months, every week, or do you only send them emails once you finally launch the product, if you have enough interest or emails?
Pat Flynn: Hey Nickeya. What's up? Thank you so much for the question today. Product validation is something that's very interesting to me actually, and it is something that a lot of people don't realize how important it is. I'm so glad that you're asking this question and that you're thinking ahead here because the last thing you want to do is spend all this time and money and hustle on something that isn't going to help, that you don't know if it's going to work out, or you actually don't even try to figure out if it's something that your audience is going to want. That's a big, big mistake. You will never know 100% for sure until you get paid for a product, so that's actually something you might think of doing.
I know it's scary and weird to think that you might want to sell something that you don't even have yet, but this is something that is proven, something that has been done several times in the past, and it makes complete sense because you never really know, and it makes people put their money where their mouth is. Sometimes people will say they want something from you and then you go and create it, and then when it comes time for them to pay, they maybe don't want it anymore, or they're just trying to please you by saying, “Yes, I want it.” The only way to truly know and validate if a product's going to work beforehand is to essentially pre-sell it.
As you are collecting emails, you might want to also think about pre-selling the product as well. That will help you along the way. Of course, you could probably do some research before you pre-sell, although a lot of people go straight into it and use different sites out there, like Facebook Advertising or Google AdWords, to actually test their products, place them in front of the target audience that they're building this product for, and see how they go. They will actually sell the product before it's even made. Whether you do it that way or you build some validation into it beforehand, which I'll go into in a second, the idea of selling it and pre-selling it is great.
The reason people want to buy it is for a number of reasons. One, they want to get early access to it. There's always going to be early adopters who are excited and want to be the first to get something. You might be able to give them special discounts or bonuses for being what you might call either a beta user, although a lot of people don't like that term because it makes it seem like there could be mistakes in your product, especially if it's a software. You might want to call them champion users, or charter members if it's a membership site, for example, like they're first in and they get special treatment for that. They will also want to get it because it's a product that they would want as well. This, again, helps you validate that. You want to be honest and up front with them, of course. You don't want to pretend like that product already exists, but you can talk about this product and either after they pay you say, “Hey, we're going to get that to you in so many weeks.”
That's what happens in the infomercial business. That's why it sometimes takes six to eight to twelve weeks to ship something because they might be doing a dry run before that product is even created in your area. You're watching this infomercial for this thing, and essentially, they're just testing it. They're testing to see what it's like. That's why there's such a big lead time because they haven't even created that product yet. That was something I think Chris Ducker taught me because he was in the infomercial business as well. He was telling me how it all worked, and it's insane and so fascinating. I wish there was a documentary on infomercials. Maybe there is. I haven't even looked it up yet, but that would be really fun and interesting to watch and probably very educational.
Nickeya, so going back to the original question, your emails. Even before you pre-sell, and, again, the pre-selling is important . . . One last thing on that is you want to be honest and authentic, something that John Lee Dumas has done very well in the past. And a number of other people have said, “Hey, this product hasn't been made yet, but this is what I want to do. I want to see how much interest there is. You have to pay for it, but after I get 50 paying users, that means I'm going to start the production of it, and those first 50 users will get x, y, and z.” That's cool because people feel like they're a part of that initial launch, especially if you've built an audience beforehand, built a relationship, which that email list is great for. They're going to want to get early access to it and you get paid. You get paid upfront. You get paid upfront for a product you haven't made yet and that's going to A, motivate you because you have paying customers if you get to that point, and if you don't, you just give them a refund, and B, you're going to be completely motivated because there's going to be all these people waiting for this product to come out.
What's cool is you can work with those people and give them special access to help frame what that product is or maybe enhance it even more and have them truly become sort of a beta group where they can honestly go through it and try to break it or make it even better for you so that when you do launch it live, it's already proven, it's already done the way it should be for that target audience because you've worked with those initial people, and you have testimonials as a result too. That's cool.
Going back to this email list. You created a squeeze page, or a landing page, using something like Leadpages.com, which is great, or Leadpages.net. Excuse me. You're collecting emails, which is great. Again, that helps validate a little bit because you're collecting a target audience, but what I would do to validate even more after you get those emails, start to have conservations with those people, either through those emails . . . Maybe the first or second email in that autoresponder, for example, is a, “Hey, how can I help you with this problem that you have? What would be something that you would like to see in a potential product or solution for this issue that you have?” Going into that will help you get into these conversations where you can understand the language and the true root of these problems that your audience has, so that you can get to the solutions, and you will know how they talk about the problems, which is really important because you want that to reflect on the sales page, in the webinars that you do, and any of that stuff.
Learning the language of your audience is really important. A lot of you heard me say this before. “If you can define the problem better than your target customer, they will automatically assume that you have the solution.” That's a quote by Jay Abraham, which is a fantastic quote, which is why I say it so many times, but it's true. You've got to get to know your audience. That's something that an email list is great for. They're sort of saying yes already to your email list and the copy that you had on that squeeze page, but you want to have them keep saying yes. You want to get into the conversations, and then you can create more emails in that autoresponder to help get them ready for whatever it is that you're thinking about coming out with. You can even pre-sell through that email list as well before you created your product, which is again, another way to validate it at a higher level. You could even have Skype conversations, which I would do, and pull those people out and record those conversations so you can come back to them later. I would also do that as soon as you can. You don't need a specific number of people who have signed up on your squeeze page to be able to do that, and actually, I would do that as soon as possible.
That's the advantage that you have. That's the advantage you have when you're starting out small and you're just beginning, that you have that opportunity to talk directly with those people who sign up to your email list so that they can feel special, so that they know there's somebody, a real human being, on the other end. That goes a very, very, very long way in helping you decide what to do, how to do it, how to present it, and who exactly your audience is. Weed through your email list. I think that the primary goal is not only to build an email list that you can be happy with, that you can keep in constant contact with as you are building your product.
And I would take a very Kickstarter-like approach to that. What I mean is when you buy something on Kickstarter, you know it's not made yet, and again, that's a great validation for the whole pre-selling idea. What do most successful Kickstarter campaigns do after you've bought something and their campaign ends, it was successful, and they're going into the manufacturing process? They keep you updated on it. They start sharing these cool features that they're adding every single week. That just makes you excited and that helps people stay even more patient. Instead of saying, “Oh man, where's my product already?”, they say, “Woah! They're adding a lot of cool stuff,” or, “They kept me updated and this is what they're doing this week and this is what they have planned for this week.” I've bought some stuff on Kickstarter that like in 2014, early 2014, over a year ago, that I haven't gotten yet, but I'm excited about them because they keep giving me updates and they're keeping me in the know, which is what the purpose is of your email list besides understanding who your audience is. And then again, like I said, being able to pre-sell either directly through the email or getting people onto a webinar and doing it that way, which John Lee Dumas does very well and a number of other people.
I hope that answers your question and gives you some ideas. Thank you. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be heading your way, Nickeya, for having your question featured on the show. We're going to send it over the border into Canada, and you should hear from my assistant in a couple weeks to collect that information for you. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page thanks to the widget from Speakpipe.com.
Thanks again for listening in today. I really appreciate it. As always, I love to end it with a quote, and today's quote is from Tony Robbins. He says, “If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.”
So true. Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.