Whether you are starting an online business or an offline, your first consideration is finding the best type of product to sell. I hope that's obvious – especially the “sell” word. Because however much people (especially in the “make money online” niche) talk about building a business based on “free products”, it's not as easy as they make out.
If you're not selling something, you're not making a profit. Please forget the notion that profit is a dirty word.
- Profit pays suppliers' bills
- Profit pays people's wages – YOUR “wages”
- Profit fuels business expansion, and that feeds right back to number 1
So, while you will be wise to tempt prospects onto your contact list with a free offer, you'll pretty soon need to generate some profit to pay for that auto-responder subscription.
In which case you need to ask yourself….
What is the Best Type of Product to Sell?
For the moment, let's set aside the question of whether to sell a physical or a digital product – in the sense that I'm talking about today, the type of product is the same for physical or digital products.
Every product falls into one of 4 categories, and here they are ranked by order of how easy they are to sell:
Relief of Pain
This is always going to be the easiest thing to sell because people are willing to pay to relieve pain.
Think of the last time you had a toothache. I’m guessing you didn’t put off going to the dentist, and in fact you insisted on seeing your doctor the same day you called.
If someone wakes up to a flooded basement, they are on the phone searching for the plumber that can get there immediately.
And yes, this can also work with information products. Just think of the heart broken person who was just left by their spouse. How much would they pay to learn how to get their loved one back in their arms?
Any time you can convince your customer that your solution will relieve their pain, they will be eager to buy your product.
Solving a Problem
This isn’t as urgent as pain relief, but it’s still highly effective for getting the sale.
If someone needs to make money and you can teach them how… or they have trouble getting dates, or need to lose weight, or they have no energy or can’t get a good job or… there are thousands of problems that need solving.
Of course often you’ll find there is also a pain element to problems.
For example, the man who wants to lose weight might be in pain because he fears his spouse will leave him for another, or because women don’t find him attractive and he’s lonely.
An example from my own business is that I often find it difficult to generate ideas for blog posts – when I've left it too late (like tonight!).
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This is a huge category, and includes hobbies, sports, food, travel and a whole lot more. Just look at the vast array of products above.
You may find it strange, but people won’t do as much for pleasure as they will to relieve pain or solve a problem but take heart: The golf industry alone is a multi-billion dollar business, and that’s just one hobby.
Online, consider the “playing games online” marketplace. That's a total mystery to me because it's something I've never done, however one very savvy marketer I know has made that his marketplace, and he's already started earning.
Preventing problems is hardest of all the product types to promote, because hardly anyone wants to pay today to prevent a problem tomorrow.
Logically it doesn’t make sense, but we’re dealing with human nature.
You’re not going to change people, so it’s best to understand what they are willing to pay for (pain relief, problem solving and pleasure) rather than trying to convince them to paying for preventing problems.
As an example, I have recently started writing my own books and I had an idea of producing a book in which I would record “everything” my family would need to know after my death. This was after I experienced trying to unravel the horrendous mess left by my partner who was totally unprepared for his death.
When I suggested this idea to my writing coach, he pointed out that very few people would anticipate this as a problem they needed to solve now and I would have to rethink my idea to be presented as a problem needing to be solved. As it happens, my preliminary research quickly uncovered the fact that someone had already produced a similar book, so I'm probably more likely to buy that book than to produce my own.
Sometimes people are compelled to buy “prevention” products by law – for instance motor insurance, and a growing number of travel companies refuse to take travellers without travel insurance. I heard the story just yesterday of a young lad who went back-packing around the world, broke his leg, and his family had to remortgage their home to pay for his treatment overseas and to bring him safely home. So insurance is a good example of a prevention type of product – but of course it draws very much on the idea of the pain of a huge expense you can't cover.
Decide On The Niche For Your Product
Having chosen the product type, you will need think about selecting a niche. I shall consider this in a future article.
Content Marketing Problems Solved
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