Today, I’m going to tell you how I screwed up.
In the process, I’m going to divulge some very fundamental marketing concepts that, if you apply, will save you a lot of hassle in the future.
The “screw up” has to do with my Inner Circle program. It is a tale of not listening, of ASSumption (caps intended 😉 ), and going down the wrong road. Let’s jump right in…
I set up the Inner Circle a few months ago, right here on this very blog, and powered by Wishlist Member. The plan was to add a premium level of content to this blog (mistake #1) and increased access to me. So, I set it up.
I wrote a very simple sales page for it, and spent the better part of a day creating a fancy video for it. I set it up with 1ShoppingCart, and made it all live on my blog.
Now, if you look at what I was offering, it was essentially:
- Premium articles on this blog.
- Premium videos on this blog.
- Regular member webinars.
- A rolodex.
- Blog evaluations.
- Oh, I’m probably forgetting something, too. 🙂
The point is, it was alot.
Despite all of that, very few people signed up for it.
Yes, my friends, even those of use who “know what we’re doing” mess up. Thing is, I’ll actually tell you about it. 🙂
Where I Went Wrong
In short, I got clumsy. The marketing that SHOULD have been done for this isn’t anything I didn’t know. I just didn’t do it. I assumed people would just go for it.
The problem with my offer is outlined by one of those most common questions I got privately about it. Namely, “How is this different than what you do on your blog, or inside Blog Masters Club?”
The other problem is that I DIDN’T LISTEN. With bloggers, one of the biggest stumbling blocks is overwhelm and information overload. Bloggers are being pulled in multiple directions at once by many different blogs talking about blogging.
…. And I then came into this scene, with yet another offer, with yet MORE articles, with yet MORE videos. I was simply adding to the overwhelm. And to top it off, I made it hard to find and differentiate because it was all mixed in with my regular blog posts on this blog.
See, my intention (which, again, was an ASSumption) was that, by seeing these premium articles on this blog, being interested but not able to view them, that it would act as marketing for the program and invite signups.
I was wrong on so many levels.
Very Important Marketing Lessons Below 🙂
Once I got my head out of my ASSumption, I started to really look at what I had done.
In marketing, there is what’s called a “hook”. The hook is the concept or phrase which defines your offer in the marketplace. It should be memorable, but define your product. As an example, when Apple first released the Ipod, their hook was “1,000 songs in your pocket”. That is an AWESOME hook. It is short, memorable, and clearly defines the benefit of the Ipod.
With the Inner Circle, I had no hook whatsoever. I had packed too much into the offer so it wasn’t clearly defined.
I mean, let me really ask you…. do you really WANT more articles from me that you need to pay for? Do you feel as if you’re not getting enough blog posts across the Internet to help you with your blogging? Not only that, but my marketing tactic of having private blog posts on this blog had completely backfired. It just made it MORE clear that I was offering plenty of stuff for free on this blog and there wasn’t any reason to join the Inner Circle.
With the way I had set this up, it is like trying to charge money for salt water when you’re in the middle of the frickin ocean.
I had completely failed to have a clear unique selling proposition.
I would have known this if I didn’t ASSume. Basically, instead of creating what my market wants, I created what I thought you needed and tried to shove it at you.
Before I tell you how I’m fixing this, let me summarize the lessons here:
- Don’t necessarily just create the product you think is cool. Create the product your market asks for.
- Make the offer concrete, with clearly spelled out benefits.
- Define your “hook”. What makes your offer unique? And how can you express that offer in a memorable way?
- Keep the offer simple so that it CAN be clearly defined. Don’t throw the kitchen sink in there, because it makes it too difficult to spell out. You actually make the marketing worse, and the product less useful, when you try to pack EVERYTHING into it.
- Run surveys, with open-ended questions designed to pull an emotional response. A lot more could be said about this (and I’ll do so in an Inner Circle workshop), but the feedback and emotional language used by your audience can help you define the offer later.
Meet the NEW Inner Circle
I am currently in the middle of a complete re-model of the Inner Circle. For example, when you go sign up for it, you’ll see that the templates are VERY basic right now. This has to do with my recent abandonment of Wishlist Member. My designer and I will be tackling the design of everything soon. 🙂
More importantly, I’m re-defining the offer. I’m making it simpler. I’m making it more about being true to the words “Inner Circle”.
My job isn’t to make you MORE overwhelmed. It is to help you DEMOLISH that overwhelm and actually get things done. My job is to help you filter through the noise. My job is to help you alleviate the fear of going it alone and of failing at what you’re doing because you have no help.
The Inner Circle, from here on out, is going to be focused on workshops. Live webinars, with full recordings going into the members area. It is a true group coaching experience. Actually, more of a MASTERMIND experience with me.
Which means, of course, no more premium articles or videos. Well, I won’t say never… the truth is I’ll probably do some of that, too. But, it won’t be part of my official offer. Why? It isn’t unique! On the flip side, there is only ONE me. And the general blog audience isn’t able to interact with me beyond the blog itself. My Inner Circle can and will be interacting with me.
Just last night, in an Inner Circle Q&A workshop, I opened up the mic to one of my members (Alex) and we talked about some interesting things to get more reaction out of his email list. All the other members on the call were able to listen to our conversation. You just don’t get that level of interaction on this blog. And, see, that’s a unique offer. 🙂
Also, the Inner Circle is now getting a completely different section of this site for the private content. It will no longer be all mixed in with this blog. That only makes it hard to find, but introduces further technical issues that give me headaches. 🙂
How Can YOU Apply My Lesson To Your Marketing?
Before you launch something to your audience (even if just a free ebook), do the following:
- Survey them. Find out what they need/want, and extract emotional language from them using strategically phrased questions. (I’ll go more into this in my next Inner Circle workshop.)
- Analyze the survey feedback, look for common “buttons”.
- Structure or modify your offer to make it fit those “buttons” and what your market has asked for.
- Devise, then, a unique selling proposition and a “hook”. How are you going to define your offer in a simple way, that communicates to your audience in the way they would communicate it to themselves?
- Launch it.
It is all about listening.
Remember, making money as a blogger isn’t about simply broadcasting. It is about listening, too. Only by listening to your audience can you then turn around and produce exactly what they need/want, provide them awesome value, and have them reward you with their attention and, maybe, money.
It is really SO simple, when you get right down to it.