I posted a question to my LinkedIn network and boy what a mistake that was, altough I got some feedback from my friends, the vast majority of feedback was from people I did not know trying to give me adivice on writing a fiction book.
While the advice was useful to some degree I did not ask for it. I think some people are really trying hard to be advice givers, or something, I really don't know…
I was able to clean the garage and shed this week and get rid of some stuff all thanks to craigslist.org. All was sold in less than a day, and we made $116.00.
I was also able to interview and hire two part-time students for Preston Research using this service, again all for free.
I have been thinking about another book for a few months now, the question is: What do I write about?
I would like to write a fiction book, explore my creativity and just have fun writing without the need to unit test code or engineer something, but I am unsure…
I posted a question to LinkedIn about literay agents and was given some responses telling me some links found via Google searches, which I have already found, but appriciate.
There's also a self-publishing option, but then I am right back to marketing and promoting the book, which is something I really don't want to do.
So what to do? Well I am doing a little more research, outlining what I would like the book to be about, of course weighing the pro's and cons of doing a book when I am trying to start a business, and the pros and cons of not taking some time off…
Of all the web apps out there the one I have found most useful and free is craigslist. craigslist is a classifieds site where you can post jobs, sell things, advertise your business, etc.
I don't have much else to say, it is what it is, but before you think of placing a paid advertisement in a news paper, consider this site.
From my last post you can see the simple formula for market testing, "if they click it, then you build it." Now I am going to talk about the next step, what to do when people click on your ad. Maybe you should have done this before you spent any money, i.e. try searching on the same keywords you are advertising and see what's out there, but that takes the fun out of it doesn't it?
So, you have some people clicking on your advertisement. Now go to Google and look at your highest pay per click keyword, then search on that. Click refresh a few times to see the ads that come up 1st, 2nd, and so on, this is your competition. Look at the 1st 10 results; this is also your competition.
Write down the top 10 ads, and the top 10 sites. Go to each of these sites then ask the following questions:
- What problem does this site solve?
- What pain does it eliminate?
- Can you solve the problem better or eliminate this pain in less time or at less cost?
If you can answer yes, to #3, then proceed; otherwise, think of a new idea or a new set of keywords. These keywords could solve the same problem but for a different target market, so choose carefully or just create a few different campaigns testing those markes.
Now the goal is to get an email or name from this user that clicked on your ad. Our target is 5-10%, so by going back to the questions above, come right out and with a cool picture or testimonial or something that shows your idea solving this problem or eliminated that pain.
Finally, let’s add a few trigger keywords to your ad that differentiates you from your competition and talks about the problem/pain, and how you solve it.
I have been reading a lot of marketing books the past week and I came across something very useful. It's a curve that talks about how ideas spread between various groups of people, called Diffusion of Innovation. The breakdown is the standard bell curve:
- Innovators – 2.5%
- Early Adopters – 13.5%
- Early Majority – 34%
- Late Majority – 34%
- Laggards – 16%
The curve provides more statistical insight into what a target market and market niche truely means. I think that one thing I have found facinating is the number of ways that can be used to classify and group people.
After doing some detailed analysis of some of my products it's not so much that the ideas were bad, or the ideas have/had no market, it's that they just had an uncertain market and no cheap way to identify the size of the market or the best way to reach it.
But aside from this hole in the marketing plan there's something else all my products and solutions shared, a profound lack of a concrete problem. You see in science, you have to identify a problem in all its detail before you can hypothesize a solution.
While you can have an inkling of a problem you must research it because in order to create a sustainable business out of solving this problem you must, and I repeat you MUST know what problem/pain the customer has.
I got some advice from a marketing friend of mine. He suggested rather than the field of dreams approach "if you build it they will come" try a "if they click it, then you build it" approach. The results were… Enlightening.
So I started with some of my "great ideas" and started creating adwords campaigns for those ideas and then send the clickers to a "name squeeze" page that describes my idea in a little more detail, then ask them to submit their name and email if they want to hear more about it.
My calculations are that if I can get from 1-2% of people clicking on my ad then it's something worth exploring, then I need to add more content to the "name squeeze" page. Then if I can get some emails/names/comments, again another 1-2% at a minimum, then I might be on to something.
The beauty of this approach is that I don't have to build anything; it's simply an idea testing platform. The concept is this:
- Pick a problem.
- Hypothesize a solution – 85 words or less with triggers and message.
- Create an adwords campaign for $1 per click at a maximum of $10/day then test.
- Create a name squeeze page with more detail and spot for email, name and comments.
- Launch campaign for 2 days or 1000 impressions whatever comes first.
- Make conclusions or refine your ads until you get something that you feel comfortably represents your product/idea.