Getting Ready to be Ready to be Ready
Before you can build a funnel page, or dive into advertising or Facebook marketing and the like, you must first lay some ground work. If you don't get your offerings clearly defined first, you won't make any headway because it's like putting the engine on the wrong side of the train car.
Below are the essential steps for establishing your products and services, which must be completed before you can even entertain marketing your stuff.
At first glance, this outline may seem overwhelming. Breathe. This is just an exercise to build an a framework of your path to success. Trust me, you will not know all of the answers to the questions below, and that's great! There are a ton of free resources online, and stories shared by entrepreneurs, which can help you at least get some ideas of how the outline will be filled in.
Be Open to Change
This outline, now matter how complete, is not going to survive any actual action you take. You're going to be inspired, you're going to hit unimagined obstacles, you're going to have perspective shifts. That's totally great and normal. The outline will evolve, and you'll have a place to note and record that evolution.
Listen and Read
There are a number of solid, reputable resources for building businesses, doing online marketing, and raising your vibration for success. Take all of that in, with the understanding that not all of that information will work for you, and that also is totally great and normal. Your path to success is unique. Your path may share similarities with others, you may use other people's tips, but more than likely you will simply be inspired by others and imagine a whole new approach that's right for you. This is the type of journey, where you must be willing to go with the flow of inspiration and listening to your instincts.
Step 0: What's your Purpose?
Why are you doing your business at all? Who is your audience? You will be most effective and successful when you can say, in one sentence, your mission. You need a rock-solid, crystal clear focus on "Why" you're doing all of this work.
Step 1. What is Your Product?
You should make a list of 1-3 products are services that you are genuinely excited to build and offer.
Please do not confuse this with a list of things you "think will sell". That approach will fail you unless you've invested A LOT of time and money in research.
You have a unique offering that lights you up when you think about it, and which your ideal audience is craving. That is what you need to focus on.
Write a letter to an imaginary customer, describing in the most genuine terms, what this product is and why it lights you up. Those paragraphs will be the basis for your authentic voice coming through on the product page.
Step 2. How is the Product Created?
Time to consider, what exactly is going into this product? Do you have to write something? Record something? Spend hours in service of something? Do you need outside help with design, editing, printing, or packaging? Start making a checklist of all the steps involved. You won't successfully climb Everest without a plan. While you don't need to get into the tiniest of details, it's helpful to have a top-level list of all the required steps.
Step 3. What is the Product Image?
Every product you sell needs a compelling image, it's how you instantly, easily, draw the eye of your audience. Even if you don't have the budget for a designer, you can craft an effective image that speaks to you.
This may be a photograph of you interacting with the product, an artistic interpretation of the product, or an abstract representation of the product. But the most important thing is that it's eye-catching, it draws the viewer in, curious to learn more.
Play with this idea! Look at examples of other products that caused you to pause and look closer. Scan images through a web search to spark ideas. Don't be focused on "perfection", but instead on the image sparking a light.
Step 4. How is the Product Delivered?
Is it a book that will be mailed? A file to be downloaded? An service you need to perform? Make a checklist of EVERY step that will have to happen to deliver that product to a customer.
This is not meant to be overwhelming, but to help spark ideas of how you can better nurture your customer relationship as part of these steps.
Perhaps you can throw in a bookmark, or "Top Tips" PDF, or tutorial video in as a "Thank you for your purchase." Or perhaps you'll realize you don't have the infrastructure to execute your plans as you imagined, so now's the time for creative reframing.
This checklist will help you be ready to be ready to receive new customers.
Step 5. What Type of Follow-up is There?
A paying customer is a valuable asset, most especially if they're a repeat customer. Consider how you will nurture this relationship. For example:
- Will you add them to a Mailing List?
- Have you actively prepared something (a blog? a sales plan?) to be fed regularly to this Mailing List?
- Do you have a regularly scheduled mailing going out?
- What steps are you taking to easily maintain this momentum?
- Have you scheduled long-term marketing to the Mailing List?
These checklists are not meant to overwhelm!
If you're feeling stressed out about all this information, then stop and go do something fun for awhile, something that allows you to NOT think about these things. Let your subconscious work on this idea for while.
It make take more than a few days to create these lists. But this is laying the track for your bullet train of success.
These questions will have to be answered at some point. You might as well start PLAYING with the information as soon as possible.
Step 6. How Much, if Anything, Will you Spend on Promotion?
Paying for advertising and marketing is like gambling. You should only "bet" an amount of money you're willing to lose. There is absolutely zero guarantee that any money spent on Google or Facebook Ads will translate into sales. Some would argue that it's best to focus on creating great content, and sharing value, and they wouldn't be wrong.
Putting money into Ads is not necessarily the "wrong" step, but it's costly. So you should be absolutely clear on your target audience and your goals with your products, and then decide on the amount of money you're 100% comfortable giving away.
Step 7. What price are you charging?
Now that you've at least sketched out the details of the previous steps, you should begin to see the real business costs in preparing, building, and delivering your product. The retail price of your product needs to reflect ALL of those costs. Your revenue is not just being basically reimbursed for the most obvious costs of creating the product, but accounts for ALL of the costs incurred in all the aspects of creating and nurturing your relationships. The price you charge for your products and services should represent the VALUE that your customers are receiving.
Are You Ready to Rock Your World?
Once you have this information worked out, you can start building products inside of Squarespace.
Instructions for Squarespace Products
- Adding Products to Your Squarespace Store: https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/205811338-Adding-products-to-your-store
- The difference between Product Pages and Product Blocks: https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/208022907-Products-Pages-vs-Product-Blocks
- Displaying products on any Squarespace Page using a Product Block: https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/205814508
- Connecting Stripe or PayPal to Squarespace so you can accept payments: https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/235161188
Once you have a few products built, you can start sharing those product pages on social media, in blog posts, or in email. To help customers find similar or related products, you can also organize your products using Categories & Tags (scroll down to that section on this page): https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/206541007-Organizing-products
Using a Blog to Create Targeted Stories
Within Squarespace, you can create multiple Blogs, each with a distinct name. Blogs are just collections of pages that have something in common. You can connect a Blog to a MailChimp RSS Campaign. That means, when you create a new Blog Post, it can automatically send out a "newsletter" to your mailing list with that latest Blog Post. If part of your outline was a plan to nurture your clients with on-going stories and updates about your business, this is how you'd do that. Instructions: https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/206545617-Adding-email-subscriptions-to-your-blog
These two steps will get you started with getting your products "out there", which is the first step before spending on marketing and advertising. Along the way, keep an eye out for inspiration and new ideas!
Resources for Building Your Business:
- Amy Porterfield has an excellent, and free, podcast with a great deal of helpful and relevant business and marketing information. Huge back catalog of episodes and frequently includes handouts and downloads: http://amyporterfield.com
- Seanwes: Tangible insights on creativity and business every Wednesday. Huge back catalog of episodes: http://seanwes.com/podcast
Resources Boosting the Success Vibration:
- You are a Bad Ass a Making Money by Jen Sincero
- The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
- The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein