I may earn a commission from the companies mentioned in this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Worried that the market is too crowded for your digital product to sell correctly?
You’re not alone. One of the biggest concerns that product creators have when thinking about what product to create is that the market is simply too saturated for their idea – they don't know how to differentiate their product!
Today, Kim Wensel from Pattern of Purpose is here to teach you about how to make your product stand out even in a really crowded market!
Pattern of Purpose is a brand strategy and messaging boutique for business owners, and it’s where Kim helps entrepreneurs find the right words to easily explain what they do and why it matters to their audience.
You can have the most amazing product in the world, but if you’re not describing it in the best way, with the right words and phrasing, no one is going to understand why it's great and why they needed in their life.
Today’s episode is going to teach you all about why the story you’re telling about your business and your product matters more than you know, and how to stand out in the crowd with your word choice and copy strategy,.
Kim works with business owners who are trying to put products out into a crowded market and helps them stand out.
But taking a step back, how does Kim define a “crowded” market?
She says that quite simply, if there are a lot of people doing what you do at a basic level, that makes your market crowded. She gives the example of a customer that she’s working with who’s developing a candle line – there are a lot of people and businesses selling candles out there, which means the market is pretty saturated.
“It’s the type of thing where there are others who do what you do and your customers could potentially price shop to make their purchase decision,” she says, and “your customers or people in general generally acknowledge, accept and understand what you do and what you offer.”
Kim says that trying to sell a product in a crowded market definitely doesn’t have to be scary, because basically “pretty much everything has already been done.”
What truly matters is not that you’re creating a 100% unique product, what matters is how you’re making a product slightly different than all the other products out there.
Another point she wants to make is even if you’re offering something similar to what’s already out there, not everyone is using that type of product in the same way.
There are a lot of different types of learners out there, and someone may learn better through listening, or visuals, or by doing. So even if you’re teaching something that already exists in other people’s products, the way you teach could appeal to different audiences.
“You shouldn't stop from doing something or introducing a new product just because somebody else is doing it. Because the way that you're talking about it, the way that you're positioning it, the way that you're offering an entry point to your audience can be different and needs to be different because we're not all the same as consumers.”
Kim says that whether or not a market is “too” crowded probably depends on your industry. But even if it feels like there is a hugely over saturated market for your product idea, there are still ways that you can get around it.
For example, there are a lot of general Pinterest courses out there. Putting another general Pinterest “how to” course on the market may not lead to a lot of success, because there is so much competition.
But if you narrow down the focus of your course, and make a course on Pinterest for interior designers that want to drive more traffic to their sites, you may be able to attract more customers because you’ve narrowed down your niche. By narrowing down your niche, you’re showing that you understand your consumer and your audience much more specifically. You’re demonstrating that you can talk directly to your audience and tailor information to their needs.
Kim recommends, “if you can narrowly define how you're helping a specific segment of that market, I still do you think you can enter it and have success.”
Remember, even if this feels counterintuitive, and like you’re shutting out part of your potential audience, that isn’t really what your doing. Instead of turning potential customers away, you’re actually just better attracting the people who are more likely to buy from you in the first place. By narrowing your niche, you are giving a better sense of who you’re for.
Kim says that the easiest way to determine whether or not your product will thrive in a crowded marketplace is to look at what’s out there and try to identify a gap. If you can be the person to fill that gap, then your product could do really well. If you’re just looking at creating a similar thing that’s already out there, your product might not do so well.
“If you're just kind of looking at who you consider to be your competitors and you're just looking for guidance on how to structure or what to offer or how to price, I don't think that's as smart as offering something new because then you're just going to be one more option versus a different option,” says Kim.
Look for what you don’t see out there in the marketplace, or what you’re not hearing, or what seems to be missing. That should be an indicator as to how you can position your product in that space.
Storytelling is the center of Kim’s work. She describes herself as a storyteller on her website, and she says that storytelling is essential to selling your product.
One thing that Kim sees a lot is people talking about what they offer, whether it’s a service or a product, and sharing the features of the product instead of the benefits or the outcome. Sharing the features is important, but what’s more important is talking about the transformation that your customers will experience if they invest in what you have to offer.
“I'll give you a really specific example of this. Say you're offering a workbook, and you're focused on the title of the chapters, how many pages it is, what the content is and stuff inside. That's focusing on the features versus focusing on what somebody is going to be able to do after they learn that information, after they engage with the full workbook in that way, how they're going to be transformed from where they are to where they want to be.”
Your story is the beginning of where your business story is told. Your product should relate to your story, because people want to know about your brand and about you before they invest in your product.
Kim’s story is unconventional, but she says that’s why it matters that she puts it out there. She says that the route you took to get to where you are today is what makes you and what you offer unique. That’s exactly why you should share it with your customers and what makes you stand out as an entrepreneur.
She recommends, “I would urge people to think about what's your perspective on what you're offering, really, what is it that's motivating you in bringing this product to market? What do you care about?”
Take that a step further, and tie that into what you’ve done in your career and education so far, and use that to tell the story of who you are. Because even though you’re offering a product, people still want to know about the person behind the brand and feel connected with you.
Think through some of the strongest brand names, for example, the outdoor company Patagonia. If you found out the creator of that brand was someone who lived in a penthouse in New York City and had never camped before, you’d probably feel at least a little betrayed. But because we know the ethos behind the brand, we’re much more willing to be a part of it.
Kim says, “telling that story, integrating that with how your customer wants to feel, that's the beginning of that connection. And as we all know, humans buy from humans.”
Kim wants to emphasize that showing your personality in your business may not attract everyone, but it will attract the right kinds of people who you want to be your customers because they match who you are as a business owner.
“Whoever you are as a person, whoever you are as a businessperson, let that come through in your marketing, in your brand, in your messaging.”
Kim says that being genuinely yourself can help you find your target customer. “I just think that typically what I'm looking to invest in, I'm looking for people who think about the world similarly to me and whether that's their outlook on life or business or family or hustle… Depending on how you're messaging your brand and your product, it's going to attract more of those people that are looking for that.”
You’ll also feel much better about yourself and who you are in your business. By leaning in to who you are, you’ll feel much more comfortable with the online person that you’re showing to the world.
This means that you'll probably end up turning away some people who aren’t a great match for you because they don’t align with how you think and feel. It may feel risky, but don’t think about it like you’re turning people away. Instead, think about how you’re better aligning your brand to who you are to attract the “right” customers.
Kim’s tagline relates to this: “step in to who you are.” She recommends that every business owner stop and think about how people feel about them, what people have said, and embracing those things that make them who they are and stand out in the online crowd.
Kim says that the easiest way that you can take the brand you create and the persona that you’re putting out there and infuse it into your marketing is to just talk to your clients about why they hired you. “The first place to start is really paying attention to what people love about working with you, buying from you, the results that they get,” she says.
Kim recommends a few ways to do this, but one of the simplest ways is just reaching out when somebody wants to purchase something from you and asking basic questions, like where they are, what they’re facing and why they decided to reach out to you.
Client surveys can also be really helpful, because they let you get a broad picture of how different people that interact with your product or service are experiencing what you have to offer. As long as you’re asking the right questions, these surveys don’t need to be long, maybe only 3-5 questions.
Kim recommends asking “those things that you would actually really want to know about their purchase. So what surprised you most about this? What were you able to do now that you couldn't do before?”
You can also contact colleagues, clients, and maybe friends and family, “what do you think of when you think of what I offer? What are some words that come to mind? Why? What do you come to me for?”
These may seem like pretty basic questions, but they can actually be incredibly informative. You may not always know how you’re being perceived by other people, and this can help you in your branding and marketing because you’ll better understand why people are coming to you instead of going to someone else. You can lean on that when you’re trying to market your product in any market, crowded or otherwise.
Kim also says that entrepreneurs make a lot of assumptions about how people see them, and this can really limit them when they’re trying to sell their products. If you can’t highlight your best features, and the reasons that people come to you, then you’re already starting at a disadvantage. Knowing and understanding how your brand is perceived can help you infuse that messaging into your marketing.
If you want to be able to fully represent who you are in your marketing and messaging, Kim recommends getting organized first. Compile all of the responses, testimonials, thoughts and comments about your brand from your clients in one place, you can look through the trends and ideas that end up showing up.
Kim has a spreadsheet, and every time she wants to write a sales page or a work with me page, she uses it to help her think through what she wants to say.
Of course she includes the basics and features of the product, like the cost, what’s included, and more. Where Kim really likes to shine, though, is while describing the transformation process.
“In marketing copy, in sales copy, even in conversations that you're having maybe on Instagram, it's focusing on not just what you're doing, but why that matters.” This is where Kim draws from what past clients and customers have said about her and her brand, because this is what they’ve experienced before.
Stories of transformation and past experiences can be the most powerful thing to show people why they need your product. Creating content that goes beyond testimonials can really showcase why what you’re doing is important, so stories, videos, interviews, mini case studies and more can help make an impact for your brand.
“You would be amazed just how comforting it is to see somebody else was thinking the same thing before they bought something as you are, because then that validates, oh, this is normal. And I can trust this person because they helped this other person who was like me.”
Even if you think that your own journey and story doesn’t need to be shared, Kim disagrees. She says that the About Page is the second most visited page on any website, and that’s why who you are and what your story is matters.
People want to know who you are, what you think and what you believe. This doesn’t mean you should cram your about page with surface-level information. Kim says going a bit deeper can really help you create a deep connection with your audience.
She says the things that are important are “what you think, what you feel, what you aren't sure about, all of those things that have shaped you into who you are today.”
Kim used to think that her history of coming from academia and transitioning to entrepreneurship wasn’t important, and it made her seem less qualified to be an entrepreneur. But after sharing it with people online, she realized that those are the pieces of her story that actually pull people in.
“I would just say find those pieces of your story that got you to where you are today and share them, because I think those are the elements that people can really grab on to you and feel a connection and feel resonance that are going to make that purchase decision easier for them.”
//LINKS IN THE SHOW//
Find Kim’s website, Pattern of Purpose – https://www.patternofpurpose.com/
Listen to the Pattern of Purpose Podcast – https://www.patternofpurpose.com/podcast