Online isn’t a magic pill of marketing–it can’t make a bad product into a good one just because it’s available online.
Somewhere, somehow, we can be sucked into the whole ‘online is magic’ scenario which, of course if you stop to think about it for 2 minutes, is a little ridiculous!
What you want to know BEFORE you do sell anything online is know that it’s in demand ‘in real life’. If you have a product, service or offer that people want to buy when you have ‘real life’ conversations with them–either that’s a mention to friends or colleagues who then buy and tell their friends (who buy too), or ‘proper’ business networking, sales conversations and exhibitions or events–you’ll get an idea if there is demand. Even if you DO use ‘online’ to trial what you’re offering, do just that–TRIAL IT.
Note: a good way to ‘trial’ demand online is to run a webinar or FB ad campaign to see if there is interest in ‘solving the problem’ of what your product does. If what you do is not in demand, then putting it online is not the magic wand to creating that demand–you either have demand or you don’t (no matter where you are!).
A couple of caveats to this:
- If you have a product that is perfect for a market you can’t reach ‘in real life’–perhaps it’s seasonal and you’re in the wrong season right now where you live, then you can definitely test out your market online (the key word here is ‘test’)
- You have a version of what you do that’s SO much better online that there’s no way the ‘real life’ version can compete (although even then you should still be able to sell it, just you may experience MORE demand online).
The market is the market, and the market is always people, businesses or organisations buying your Thing (or not). And you can find these people, businesses, or organisations OFFLINE as well as online. Sure you might not be able to find as many of them in real life, as let’s be honest... if you live somewhere remote, your ‘real life networking’ opportunities are going to be limited, so of course going online and having the chance to reach 10× 100× 1000× more people is going to make your market bigger and help you sell more.
But the point remains: if you can’t sell to one person, you can’t sell to many... and that counts online too. If not one person pipes up with interest (and remember to test you can simply ‘test the idea’ without even a mention of package or price) then you don’t want to go mad on a big online launch.
If there is no need, no demand, no requirement for your product, service or offer in ‘real life’ then taking it online is unlikely to change that.
What does this mean for your business? It doesn’t mean abandon online (heck no–I love the fact I can connect with people all over the world from my little office at the English seaside thanks to the wonders of the web), BUT what it does mean is remember it’s merely a bigger market and a different platform for delivery and NOT A MAGIC PILL!
If you don’t have a great process or service that works, that is in demand when you test it or sell it already, turning it into an online programme, or only using online to promote it, is not going to make it work. It has to have worked already...
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