The same strategies that you use to identify what kind of content to create on your website can be used to identify what kind of digital products to create. You can create products based on what your competitors are doing, build products around the issues that people in your niche are talking about on Quora and public discussion forums or offer products that simply cover the basics. However, the best way to determine what digital product you create is to ask your audience what they are struggling with and build a product that specifically addresses that issue.
For example, at USGolfTV we regularly hear from golfers who slice the ball when they swing (meaning the ball does not fly straight and hooks off to one side or another). To address this issue, we launched a product called Tour Draw that teaches golfers exercises and strategies that they can implement to get rid of their slice, have their drives fly straight down the fairway and hit the ball further than they would otherwise. Because we built a product that specifically met the needs that our audience told us they had, it sold extremely well relative to some of the other digital products the company launched.
If you don’t know what problems your audience is facing, send them an email survey and ask them what they need help with. Keep your survey short so that you actually get a good number of responses. You can either use Survey Monkey (www.surveymonkey.com) to collect responses or simply have your audience email you directly. Make sure to leave open-ended questions so that your readers have the opportunity to really share their mind. Finally, make sure to thank them for helping out by responding to your survey and letting them know how much you appreciate them:
Here is an example of a survey email I sent to my list a while back:
Since you’re a subscriber to our daily newsletter, I wanted to give you a heads up about something new that we’re going to offer later in the month.
We’re putting together a 40-50 page guide that will tentatively be called The Trader’s Guide to Equities Research, which will help you get a better understanding of how to make trading decisions with information in our daily reports. You’ll also get a much a better understanding of which brokerages you should listen to and which you should ignore, with some new rankings data that we’ve never made available before.
We want to make sure that we put as much value in this guide as possible and want to make sure that it’s something that will be helpful to you and other newsletter subscribers.
So, if you have a moment, I have a couple of questions I’m hoping you could help answer:
– How do you decide which analyst ratings you should pay attention to?
– What questions do you have about investing, stock ratings or equities research?
– What information could we offer to you to that would help you trade more effectively?
Simply respond to this email with your responses. I’ll incorporate as much of the feedback as I can into the guide we’re putting together.
When you begin to get feedback from your audience about what problems they face, focus on the issues that you hear about over and over again. You should probably disregard potential topics that you only hear about from one person, because you don’t know if other people in your niche face that same problem. When you hear independently from multiple people about the same issue, you know that it’s a problem that’s common to many members of your audience. For every one person that tells you about an issue they’re having, there’s probably ten more that didn’t take the time to email you back and tell you that they’re having that same issue.
After you have gathered some ideas from your audience about what kind of digital product to create, make sure that your product idea is big enough to constitute a standalone digital product. If you could cover the topic in its entirety in a 1,500-word blog post, the idea may not be broad enough to constitute a digital product. You want your audience to feel like they’ve really learned a lot after buying and consuming your digital product. Try to choose topics that you can really dive into in detail and write 10,000 to 20,000 words about. Having a larger topic will enable you to create an information-rich digital product that provides your audience a lot of value.