No one wants to waste time on an online course that doesn’t sell or build a product that just collects dust in a warehouse. So how can you figure out which ideas are worthy of being put out to market and which ones you should forget you ever thought up?
Kirsty Fanton, a six-figure launch copywriter who specializes in working with creatives, incorporates her nearly ten years of experience as a psychotherapist into the art of her copywriting in order to create copy that converts.
Fanton gave me the three step process she used to come up with her idea for Brain Camp, an online course that has made me more than six figures in just 15 months.
Step 1: Analysis
The ideas with the best chance of success are those that are a direct response to what people ask you for, time and time again. “Think about those emails from your subscribers that say, Any chance you’ll be offering X anytime soon..? the additional service your clients keep requesting, or that thing your mastermind buddies keep asking for your help with,” says Fanton. “If you’re in the game long enough, there will be patterns to these requests, and somewhere in there is your six-figure idea.
“Keep in mind that this request may well be something you dismiss as too easy or too niche. In my case, it was a repeated request to share how my understanding of human behavior shaped my copy – something I hadn’t realized was so valuable, given I’d spent the first part of my career in the world of psychotherapy and academia, where everyone knew what I did,” notes Fanton.
So keep your eyes and ears open for these repeated requests – they might just spark your six-figure idea.
Step 2: Inquiry
Once you’ve nailed down the big-picture nature of the idea, share it with your prospects to get specific feedback and requests. The more deliberate you can be with what you ask, the better, which means structured surveys are an excellent tool to use.
“If you’ve followed step 1, you’ll be presenting your prospects with something they’ve been asking for, so the chance to help shape it should be icing on the cake,” suggests Fanton. “However, we humans are inherently lazy creatures, so it pays to remove as much friction as possible from the process.
“To that end, use whatever format makes it easiest for your prospects to respond. For example, if you’ve got an active following on Instagram, post questions in your Instagram stories. If you’ve got an engaged email list, send out a link to a survey. Make sure you frame the survey in a way that makes it clear what your prospects have to gain from responding.
“For example, try ‘The insights you share will help me create something that’s chock-full of value for YOU’ or ‘the more detailed your intel, the more tailored this thing can be.’ A frame like this is much more motivating than a simple request for help,” notes Fanton.
When it comes to what to ask in a survey, it’s almost always a good idea to get more information on:
- The problem that needs solving: the more specific you can be with your solution, the more likely it is people will buy it.
- The desired outcome: hypothetical questions can be hugely valuable here (e.g. ‘what do you wish…’ or ‘if you could…’) because they help your prospect think outside the box they’re currently in, and pull together a wish list you can leverage as you shape your idea into an offer
- The experience or usability: people need to be excited about the process AND the outcome in order to buy
- How your offer can be different and better from others they’ve tried before: this is a particularly valuable line of enquiry if your idea sits in a crowded market, because while clever positioning can help your offer stand out, creating it to support the ‘different and better’ positioning in the first place is a much more powerful move
Step 3: Assessment
Once your prospects have provided feedback on your big-picture idea, look for patterns in those responses. You’ll never be able to please everyone, but there WILL be trends in the data that you can leverage.
“As you comb through the responses, keep an open mind,” suggests Fanton. “It’s far less important for you to create something that’s 100% aligned with your initial vision than it is for you to create something people will actually buy, use, and get results from.
“For example, when I created Brain Camp — my small group program on the psychology behind high-performing copy, I went into the process thinking people would want to get their head around the science that goes into the copy itself. After one quick look at the responses to my survey, it was clear that was only part of the puzzle. They also wanted help with the research phase of a project.
“As a result, I built the first module around survey design, interview skills, and making sense of the data, and it’s one of the parts of the program that helps people the most. If I hadn’t taken the time to get feedback on my idea, this module wouldn’t have existed, which would have made the program less appealing for my prospects, less transformational for the people inside, and less successful for my business,” explains Fanton.
“This 3-step process doesn’t have to take long, by the way. My first six-figure idea was Brain Camp. I went from idea to launch in three weeks, and — within 15 months — that idea had brought $111,634 into my business, even though I launched the (far from perfect) beta round to a teeny tiny list of 250 people.”
In other words, if you think you’re not ready, you’re ready enough. Build what people want, solve a problem for them and you are well on your way to a six-figure business.