How to Validate & Create Your MVP Offer: a case study
Let's start this post with a show of virtual hands. Raise your hand (or just acknowledge the fact to yourself), if any of the following statements resonate with you:
“I have to be perfect before launching...”
“I’m not ready. I need to learn X before I can launch.”
“I feel like I have to research everything to death before taking action (read: compulsive research and learning is really my escape from taking action).”
“I’m worried no one will buy… What if I launch to crickets?”
This is the number one struggle affecting us, as online creative entrepreneurs, every.damn.day.
Perfectionism, uncertainty, self-doubt, and fear are holding you back from taking action in your business and increasing your revenue.
Take it from Ramit Sethi:
I want to change that. Instead of hanging out in the shadows (which as an introvert is sorta my thing), I’m stepping up. This is a call to action for all of us. NO more hiding!
You’ve got mad skills! And I desperately want to see you share them with the world in ways that allow you a life of more freedom and ease. But, instead, what I mostly see is people wasting time, wasting talent, and just not taking the right action to move forward.
So, love, in this post, I’m going to walk you through my step-by-step process for creating and launching a pop-up offer (including the sales page copy) in less than 48 hours.
This is the case study of my Course Coaching package. Let’s start with the results…
- From a list of approximately 300, 40 people clicked over to the sales page (13.33% click-through rate)
- From those 40 people that saw the sales page, 2 people purchased (5% conversion)
Here’s why I’m happy with those numbers:
The offer was completely off-topic for my audience in terms of what they expect from me.
I only advertised this to my email list with 3 segmented emails.
I didn’t A/B test subject lines or put much effort into email copy.
Obviously, a 5% conversion rate from a sales page is pretty great so if I had put more work into my email and marketing to get more people to the page, I expect I would have had more sales.
Now, let me walk you through my 8-step process (I promise it’s easier than you think).
Step 1: Identify a problem that you’ve experienced and feel like others are struggling with.
- What themes do you see cropping up again and again in your target market? And how are you particularly suited to provide support around those themes?
The problem that I had struggled with was feeling compelled to keep buying course after course and then leaving most of them half-finished, without seeing any real results for my business. In most cases I felt disappointed by the courses and, in a few, I felt swindled.
- At the end of this stage, you’ll have a somewhat vague mental outline for the offer you want to launch.
I knew I wanted to help people by providing honest reviews for them about courses I’d taken and offer specific course suggestions based on their business goals and experience.
Step 2: Validate that the problem exists for others.
This is the most important step, do NOT skip it!
Just listen to my friend Jason Zook:
Go into FB groups or other online communities where your target audience is likely hanging out (Slack, Quora, Reddit, StackExchange, etc) and save/bookmark any posts related to the problem that you want to help solve. Search for words specific to your topic.
So, for my case, I was looking for threads where people were discussing “courses” or “programs”.
If you’re in groups where everyone is generally discussing your overarching topic, then you can get right to the core issues by searching words like, “confused”, “question”, “stuck”, “help”, or “struggling”.
For example, I’m in Halley Gray’s Be Booked Out Facebook group where everyone is talking about creating and launching their service packages. So, if my topic were around creating and launching your minimum viable package, then I could just search this group for the above words.
Review your blog post analytics, comments on your website or Instagram account, and emails that people in your audience have replied to.
You could send out a survey or try to set up a few interviews with people at this stage, if you’re not finding much material elsewhere. However, I’ve found that formal surveys lend a sort of contrivance to the responses where they don’t feel 100% authentic and organic because people will inherently want to do a “good job”.
Face-to-face interviews are better because you’re able to ask them, “why is that a problem?” or “so how does that feeling show up for you in your day-to-day life?” and this is truly invaluable information.
But, for the purpose of launching your Minimum Viable Pop-up offer, you can almost always get by without these formal interview techniques by doing enough sleuthing.
Step 3: Go back through your research and fill out your Copy Stalking spreadsheet.
In step 2 (idea validation), you saved or bookmarked lots of posts and this is the time when you go back and read through those.
Then copy and paste key phrases or words into your Copy Stalking sheet. In particular, what I’m looking for is how they express: questions, frustrations, problems, and desires.
Step 4: Define your Minimum Viable Pop-up offer.
The whole point of an MVP (minimum viable package or product) is that it is the smallest offering that you could provide in order to (A) get your clients to experience a transformation or win and (B) validate that your offer is something that people want to pay for (and something you enjoy providing).
So for this step, jot down the following:
Promise: what you want to offer
Person: for whom
Price: for how much
Process: when and where it will be delivered
Step 5: Outline your sales page using exact words and phrases from your Copy Stalking sheet.
I have my own sales page template that has been tested and converts well. It’s essentially just a framework or skeleton (e.g. first you write about this and then write this, etc).
Plug-and-play the phrases that you’ve already identified in your copy stalking into the designated areas on your sales page.
Then add in the deets of your pop-up offer and write a rough draft of your “about me” section (which is really about why you’re qualified to offer this product or service).
Step 6: Flesh out the page with more detailed copy and imagery.
Now, go back through your outline and punch it up by creating more cohesive sentences and making sure that the page tells a story from where your ideal client is now to where she wants to be (and how your offer will help get her there).
Pay particular attention to the headline and section headers because people (like me) often skim through web pages without reading everything. For this reason, it’s good to make sure that if someone were to read just the headers on your page, it would still make sense (and still feel compelling).
Don't feel the need to add in graphic flourishes just for the sake of it. But do use colors and typography to break your page into easy-to-read sections. Also provide an image of what they're getting. If it's time with you, show yourself. If it's a course or ebook, mock that up and display it.
Step 7: Build the page in Squarespace
Because I write my page copy in a very modular framework (each section is its own little piece of the story), I like to design in a modular format as well. This makes Squarespace’s index pages the perfect tool for building out my pages in rows.
The added bonus to building pages this way is that I can easily hide any row/module that’s not ready or not applicable, without affecting the rest of the page (and without having to create a whole separate sales page).
Step 8: Connect the call-to-action buttons with the appropriate page or platform for payment.
What is the primary action you want people to take once they’ve read through your page? Don’t overthink this part. They either:
Submit payment and book a call with you.
Or they schedule a free consult call.
Or they submit a set deposit amount.
Or they buy your digital product.
Whatever that next action is, make sure you’ve linked your call-to-action buttons appropriately (and test that they work).
Some places where you may be tempted to get stuck:
Skipping the research or giving up after finding a couple quotes that validate your idea – once you’ve done the research and harvested the copy, everything else is smooth sailing.
Getting too into the graphic design visuals – if the page is simple, easy-to-read, and has a generally professional air, then you’re golden.
Ruminating over individual tools or tactics – stick to the big picture, follow the framework, and you’ll be fine
Seriously, don't be this girl:
Now, I'd like to invite you to my first-ever live workshop called:
Validate + Create
Where I'll walk you through the 8-step process to create your offer + sales page. I'll choose one of you to use as the example project and we'll work through the entire process together in roughly 2 hours.
By the end of the workshop you should have your Minimum Viable Pop-up Offer done (or 80% done).
I'll also be selecting a winner at random for any attendees that submit their completed sales page to me to receive a free "Finishing-Touch Tweaks" sales page copy + design review service.