When you set out to start a product business…you pick a fight with entropy. And entropy usually wins. The default result is failure.
If you’re sane, you know it. You’re scared by it. You act anyway, but that fear is always there.
Unfortunately the most natural response to fear is to try to decrease your risk…which isn’t itself a bad thing, but the ways you will try don’t come from cool, calm experience, they come from fear.
This happens every day.
Here’s an anonymized email I got this week from one of our readers, in response to our 7-part guide to kicking ass at the product biz:
First of all, your guide is amazing! Thanks!
I’m actually building a product myself and I’m not sure how to drop ebombs because it’s not targeted at a special niche… [details redacted]
It can be used by hairstylists, massage therapists, personal trainers…
But I don’t have an idea where and how I should produce ebombs.
I know I should target places they hangout (forums, niche blogs…) and write guest posts but I’m not sure if that’s enough.
What do you think?
I get this exact email from readers, students and friends. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the “but everybody needs it!” failure pattern play out.
Your default reaction is to get greedy
…when you’re scared that entropy is gonna ring your bell. (Ask not for whom the fail-bell tolls!)
Greed leads you to think, to yourself, This is a universal product. Everybody wants it!
You tell yourself, The more people I can target, the better my results will be (and the less likely you are to feel the sting of rejection & failure).
All this leads you to design a product, and marketing, that is as vague as possible. Why? Well, if it’s for everybody, you have to serve everybody. You can’t prioritize for one type of customer or another. You can’t make choices.
Unfortunately this is a fast track to failure. Entropy is grinning at you.
Nobody wants to be everybody
One of the keys to powerful marketing is resonance. You want your market to see it, hear it, and exclaim, “Oh my god. That’s SO RIGHT. I NEED THAT.”
This isn’t just theory; it’s been learned, & proven, by everybody from old school marketers right on down to your friendly local SaaS apps.
Resonance comes from being as specific as you can…from showing an individual that you understand their pains & needs.
Resonance can never come from vague, mushy, “it’s for everybody!” marketing or product design.
So what to do if your tool is universal?
First, admit that your tool isn’t universal. No tool is. Not even the simplest tool humans have invented — the hammer — is one-size-fits-all-purposes.
Focus on ONE audience that needs it. Focus on the one that is the most lucrative, the one that shares the most, and is otherwise the best.
Target them specifically, with your marketing, and also with the product’s design and features.
If you’ve made a good specific product, and you chose your one good audience wisely, and you keep up the useful marketing, it’ll trickle out, trust me.