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How To Decide What To Sell Online (without wasting lots of time!)

what to sell online

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what to sellWhen you’re starting or growing a business, you always have to carefully choose what to sell.  Your ability to choose relevant product and service offers for your clients will be a huge factor determining the success of your business.  This article will show you tried and true methods for deciding what to sell.  Whether you’ll be selling on your blog or on other sites like Amazon, Udemy, or Ebay, this bulletproof method will help you.

Let me illustrate it this way…

Kyle and Jake

One day there were two little boys; both about 4 years old.  They were playing at the park.  Their mom called them saying “Lunch time boys!”, so they ran over to her picnic-style setup to eat their lunch.

They opened their lunchboxes.  The one little boy (Kyle) picked thru his food.  He said, “Mom, you know I don’t like this in my sandwich! We don’t like any of these things in the lunchbox and we’re hungry!”.  The mom shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly, and insisted he eat it anyway.

The other little boy (Jake) said, “Mom, why do you make us eat food we don’t like?”  The mother responded, “I was following my passion.  I enjoy preparing the meals I’ve given you.  I make what I like to make whether you like it or not because it’s fun.  It’s not about whether you like it or not.  It’s about whether I enjoy preparing it.  Now eat your food!”

The boys both sadly picked thru their food hungry, but not able to find any items to eat and be satisfied.  The disconnected mom continued pressuring them to eat.
To view this content in video format, check it out here:

Was Kyle and Jake’s Mom Crazy?

If you’re sensitive to children, the story of Kyle and Jake could make you upset.  You may be thinking “What an inconsiderate mom!  Is she crazy?!!!”.  Why would she make food for her own personal enjoyment rather than paying attention to what her kids may have wanted?  You may not have thought it was so bad if she said, “It’s what I thought was best for you”, right?  Instead, she admitted to making the food specifically because of her own selfish enjoyment.

I agree.  Kyle and Jake’s mom was quite inconsiderate.  She admittedly knew her boys preferences, but she ignored the knowledge available to her, so she could satisfy her own personal agenda.  It’s frustrating hearing stories like that, isn’t it?

What Do Kyle and Jake Have To Do With Anything?

what to sellYou’re probably wondering what the story has to do with anything, so let me explain…

Many people are teaching “Follow your passion”, “Pick your interests”, and “Stay true to yourself”.  The mother in the story did those three things: she followed her passion, picked her interests, and stayed true to herself, and it resulted in two young boys who didn’t enjoy their meals, and could even feel insulted by her selfishness.  Do you want to have the same impression in the marketplace?

The Great Entrepreneur’s Responsibility

In my previous articles on achieving greatness and achieving customer loyalty, we’ve been discussing the strategy of preeminence.  We’ve talked about how important it is to subordinate our personal desires to our client’s desires.

If we don’t want results like the mother of Kyle and Jake had, we can’t do what she did.  As Entrepreneurs, we are responsible for creating solutions to other people’s problems.  When we take the mainstream advice and solely base our product and service offers based on our passions, interests, and “staying true to ourselves”, we miss the mark of keeping our fiduciary responsibility to be the number one advisor to our clients first.

I don’t know about you, but I think most of us would have wanted to say to Kyle and Jake’s mom, “Lady, it’s not about you!  You have two sons.  You’re supposed to make what they like or they won’t enjoy their food, so they may not eat, they may waste it, or even starve.”

In the same sense, as entrepreneurs, we have to say to ourselves, “It’s not about me first.  What products and services would add value to the people I feel responsible to serve?”.  When we choose to follow our passions first, we leave people starving from the absence of the solutions we’re capable of creating.  It’s our responsibility as entrepreneurs to orchestrate viable solutions to other people’s problems.

1. Identify a Problem with a Hole in the Market

what to sellThe best entrepreneurs are solution makers for others.  Before deciding what to sell, you want to observe, interact with others, and network to identify problems.  Take note of problems around you, and ask yourself:

“How can I use the talents, skills, money, connections, and effort I have to create a solution for those around me?”

Tabulate your ideas.  Write down the problems you see and potential solutions.  The problems and solutions don’t have to be very complicated.  There are very simple ideas that impact lots of people and make tons of profit!

2. Do a Competitor Analysis

Your clients are not being invented.  They already exist and someone is already entertaining them.

Very often when I’m working with entrepreneurs, they believe they’re bringing to market something that has no comparisons, so they have to invent entire process, but this is wrong.  Regardless of whether you’re inventing something, innovating a new way of doing something, or offering a new service, there is always a competitor who has the current market share.

For example, prior to the invention of the first car, people were still using some form of transportation.  They were walking, riding horses, and possibly creating innovative ways to perform tasks so they wouldn’t have to travel.  In order to sell the first car, the marketers and salespeople of the first car would have to show the competitive advantages of the car over the other opportunities competing for the market share.  They would have to show how the car is a more relevant solution for those walking, riding horses, or staying clammed in the house than their current options.

In the same way, when you’ve spotted a hole in the market, you want to think outside of the box to find how people are currently operating in a market without your solution, then you want to quantify the market so you can have an idea about the profit potential of your business concept.

You also want to gain insight about ways you can create competitive advantages (that are valuable to your market) when you create your product or service.

3. Quantify Your Market

what to sellYou can use online retailers, blogs, podcasts, Youtube channels, news and current events, search engine research tools, and scour other places online to gauge the market’s interest in the opportunity you’re considering.  You always want to KNOW there is a demand and prove the demand beyond any questions or shadows of doubt.  Before choosing what to sell, you want to quantify your market to the best of your ability (or hire help if you need it).

Look at sales ranking and reviews

You can look at sales ranking on Amazon or other sites to see what’s selling well.  Most people don’t write comments on products or services, so you can use comments as an indicator of interest.  If there are lots of comments, likes, shares, videos, and reviews on an alternative solution, you can take that as a hint that there is a demand for a solution.  Even if your goal is not to sell a product on Amazon, a procedure like this would reveal holes in the market:

You can use the criteria Stephan used in the video to see trends and what’s in demand.

Blogs, Youtube, or Social Sharing

In his article on how he increased in website traffic 114% in 14 days, Brian Dean reveals the “Skyscraper Method.  Basically, with the skyscraper method you would:

  • Look for top-notch contents, products, or services in your niche
  •  Make Something better
  • Reach out to influencers to get them to share

For the sake of this step, we’re focusing on the first two steps of the skyscraper method: 1.) Look for top-notch content, products, and services in your niche, and 2.) Make something better.  Now, you’ve done research to identify popular products and services, you see holes in your market, and you’ve evaluated ways you can use your talents to fill the holes, so it’s time to take the insight and create something better than what’s out there.

For example, in the area of entrepreneurship, I saw a high demand for people to learn about how to be an entrepreneur, I saw many products selling that taught about entrepreneurship, and I said, “I can create a better experience, more relatable content, and close relationships with people who are aspiring to have successful businesses.  I can give the best information, so people who want to start or grow a business can come to howtoentrepreneur.com as a resource center on entrepreneurship”.  Do you kinda understand?

If I were to sell something, I would use sites like Amazon to see what entrepreneurs are buying.  I’d look at blogs and social media to see what people are buying, what types of content they’re sharing.  I’d look at other businesses in my niche to see how they’re satisfying the demands of my target audience, take notes, and consider how I can satisfy the demand better.

Using Search Engine Marketing Tools

At this point, I’d have a sense of what’s selling on Amazon, what other people in my niche are doing, and I’d take the research I have to the next level by doing search engine research using Jaaxy.   With Jaaxy, I can enter a word or phrase, and it will tell me how many times people are using search engines to find the information, how many other people are competing for that keyword, and other closely related keywords/phrases that the same audience may be searching for.

For example, let’s say you decide you want to encourage marriage relationships, so you have searched Amazon, and found a hole in the market.  You see there are no mugs that say, “I love my husband” or “I love my wife”, but there is a huge demand for comparable products.  You’ve went onto blogs, and you see lots of shares, comments, repins, and other social credibility on similar trinkets like what you’re thinking about.

You could do this step in an alternative order, but just ride along on this example with me…

Next, you go to Jaaxy, and the first thing that comes to mind is “marriage trinkets”, so you look it up:

what to sell

You see in the column that says “AVG”?  That column tells you the average number of times someone searches for the term “marriage trinkets” in the search engines every month: <10.  In the “Traffic” column, we know <10 people would be the amount of traffic we’d get if we used “marriage trinkets” as our keyword in our sales page copy.

Less than 10 site visitors means not alot of people are looking for marriage trinkets, right?  Even worse, the “KQI” column tells us that 55 people are competing for the keyword “marriage trinkets” that has less than 10 people searching for it!

But, look at this!

what to sell

352 people are searching for “gifts for husbands” every month!  The average traffic our site could get is 60 visitors/month, and only 110 people are competing for the keyword!

With this information, we know, we don’t want to use “marriage trinkets” as the primary term on our sales page, but we could potentially use “gifts for husbands” as the keyword phrase to use in order to rank one of our items in the search engines.

Do you see how that goes?

To complete this phase of the research, you could use the Jaaxy tool here FREE for keyword searches.  Give it a try, or check out my full Jaaxy Review HERE!

4. Decide on a Feasible Marketing Strategy

We’ve looked at so many metrics to get to this point, so KUDOS if you’ve completed each phase.  Now, before we officially decide what to sell, we should also consider whether we’re willing to participate in that niche market.

Going back to the example of the marriage mugs, we can analyze our competitor’s marketing strategy, and decide if we want to surpass their efforts to take the market share.  You can simply watch and observe your competitors doing a SWOT (Strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) analysis.  Regarding their marketing, they could be driving paid traffic to the offer, doing content marketing (posting daily or more), podcasting, doing Youtube videos, hosting seminars, and on and on.  As a result of their aggressive efforts, they are getting major marriage trinket sales.

After analyzing the competition’s marketing strategy, you’d have to ask yourself:

  •  Do I have the resources to outperform, outwork, and outthink my competition?
  • Am I willing to use my resources to outperform, outwork, and outthink my competition?

Be honest with yourself.

5.  Substitute an Affiliate Product or Create the Minimum Viable Funnel and Begin Selling

Now, it’s time for the “rubber to meet the road” as my mom would say.  In other words, it’s time to put all the research to action.  You can find an affiliate product in the niche and begin selling it, or you can set up your minimum viable funnel by creating a landing page on your WordPress Website with a promised delivery date for your product or service, then you can create the product when you have sales

The concept of using an affiliate product in place of your own or creating the minimum viable funnel enables you to save your time, and minimize risk while testing.  This step is your “proof of concept”.  Here’s a video explaining the minimum viable funnel:

In this step, you will test your individual selling process and improve your skills.  You’ll need to get traffic to your offer and convert the traffic into buyers of your product or service.

Final Words on What To Sell To Make Money Online

The goal of this article was to show you strategies for deciding what to sell to make money online.  I’m sure using these strategies can make you miles ahead of the majority of entrepreneurs who are using the method of Kyle and Jake’s mom.

If you’d like more help as you take your business or idea online, check out my free e-course where I’ll walk alongside you to start your business online.  You can check out my free e-course here.

Now, it’s Your Turn…

For questions or concerns about what to sell, please leave your comments and questions below.  If you’ve went thru the process of deciding what to sell, and you have feedback to help others, please leave your comments below as well.

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