Worksheet 4: Steps for Validating an Idea
At this point, you’ve gone through various brainstorming and research steps to generate ideas. Some of the ideas on your list no doubt look very promising. But before you move forward with them, you need to validate them. That means checking to see if there is demand for your product.
Use this worksheet to help you determine which of your ideas are likely to be popular and profitable.
1. Look for market demand.
If you haven’t already done so, your first step is to look for signs of market demand for your idea. Basically, you’re looking to see if similar products are already selling in your niche. You do this in two ways:
1. Look for direct evidence of sales. This is where you go back to your market research that you did previously on sites such as Amazon, ClickBank and JVZoo.
2. Check what marketers are spending money to advertise. Here’s where you look at paid advertising on sites such as Google, banner ads on niche sites, ads in newsletters, ads on blogs, display ads in niche magazines and similar.
NOTE: Surveying your audience is a good way to get more insight into what your market wants and needs. However, it’s not always a good way to find out what they’ll actually buy. So, while you can certainly survey your audience to gain insight, don’t use this method in isolation. Finding out what people are ALREADY buying is a much better indicator of what they’ll buy in the future.
Take note that you don’t need to only look at other courses. You can look at most any type of information product, from ebooks to videos to physical home study courses.
Complete this worksheet:
Which topics tend to have a lot of competition in the market? (Note: when there are a lot of competing products on the same topic, that’s a sign that the topic is popular.)
Which topics are bestsellers in your niche, as evidenced by bestseller status on big platforms such as ClickBank or Amazon?
For what type of products do you see marketers spending their ad dollars to advertise?
What other evidence do you see that particular topics are in-demand in the niche? List all other evidence here along with the topics.
2. Check Google Trends.
When you’re deciding what type of course to create, ideally you want something with staying power. That means finding an evergreen topic, so that you can keep selling the course for years to come.
In other words, don’t latch onto a fad, as you’ll spend an incredible amount of time creating a short-lived course.
One way to check whether your topic has staying power is by searching for related keywords on Google Trends: https://trends.google.com/trends/. Look for topics that have retained strong interest, or interest has grown over time.
Write down your topics along with the data supporting whether the topic is evergreen or a short-lived fad.
3. Do a “test run” with your idea.
One of the only ways to know for sure if your course is going to sell well is to test it directly.
Obviously, you don’t want to create an entire course only to find out there is no interest. So, what you do is create the sales letter ONLY. And then you drive traffic to this sales letter to get a quick and dirty gauge how many people are interested in buying what you’re selling.
TIP: If you’re not good with sales letters, then you may want to hire a copywriter to produce one for you. That way, you’re not mistaking a poor-response sales letter for low interest in the product. It’s worth the investment to do this step right—not only will you get a good feel for the demand for your product, but you’ll also have a sales letter ready to go when the product is ready.
Now the only difference between this sales letter and a real one is what happens when the prospect clicks the order button…
With a real sales letter, the visitor would be taken to an order form where they can enter their credit card to complete the purchase.
With this sales letter, the visitor is taken to a page that simply says that the product is not ready yet. You can also put an opt-in form on the page and encourage people to join your list to be notified when the product is ready. That means you’ll have a waiting audience if and when you do launch the product.
The way you gauge interest using this method is by checking how many people click the order button. Obviously, not everyone who clicks an order button is going to necessarily buy the product – but keeping track of clicks does give you a rough gauge of interest in the product.
Once you’ve completed these steps, then move onto the last worksheet in this step…
Worksheet 5: Determining the Best Idea by Asking Yourself These Key Questions
As you go through the brainstorming and validation process, you’re likely to end up with a rather large list of potential course ideas. How do you narrow this list down and choose just one? By using this worksheet. Ask yourself the following questions…
1. Which of your ideas looks the most profitable?
To answer this question, you need to refer back to your market research. The key here is to look for a market that’s already buying similar products and services in your market. Specifically:
· Which of your ideas has similar products already on the market that are bestsellers?
· Which of your ideas has multiple competitors, which is evidence of a strong market?
· Which of your ideas shows evidence that marketers are spending money to advertise the product?
2. Which of your ideas is something that you personally know a lot about?
It helps if you’re already an expert on the topic (or darn close), because your customers are going to view you as an expert. And that means they’ll be asking questions, and you might even provide high-end services such as coaching.
3. Which of your ideas appeals to you the most?
Truth is, you’re going to be involved with this topic for some time to come. Even after the product is created, you’ll be blogging on topics related to this idea, answering questions from prospects and customers, and creating related products. So, it helps if it’s something that interests you.
4. For which of these ideas can you easily create a course?
Sometimes the potential topic for a course really jumps out at you. But when you think through what all would be included in the course, it feels pretty slim. Even after doing some research, you’re not sure how to create a course that is really beneficial to your customers.
Point is, if you can’t create enough “meat” for your course to justify the price (and really help your students), then you need to come up with Plan B. This may be expanding the scope of your course, or it could mean scrapping that particular idea and choosing something else entirely.
5. Which of these ideas has a lot of backend potential?
You’re not going to just create this course and be done with the topic. Instead, you need to create a sales funnel: a suite of related products around this course. This includes lead magnets, tripwire products, upsell offers, backend offers and more. So, make sure you can create plenty of products around this idea.
So which idea should you choose?
Once you answer all of these questions honestly, then you’ll likely find that a small number of your ideas are very clear winners. With profitably being equal, at that point you can pick the idea that most appeals to you.