How to Reverse Engineer Your Website, Products and Services - SubscribeMe.fm

How to Reverse Engineer Your Website, Products and Services

By Ravi Jayagopal | Digital Creators

05/06/2022
SubscribeMe.fm by Ravi Jayagopal How to Reverse Engineer Your Website, Products and Services - 114 05/06/2022
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(listen to the article below via the player above)

On previous podcast episodes, as well as in my book, I've written and talked about what I call "Start With The Last Thing First".


So for eg., when it comes to creating your offer, start with the last thing first - your sales page. And within that, start with the last thing first - the pricing table. And so on.

I've always been a big proponent of starting with the last thing first, and then working your way backward.

If you're thinking of going for a vacation in a couple of months, you don't just start packing as soon as the idea of a vacation pops into your head. You don't right away start booking pet daycare. You can't book the flight tickets or the hotel without even knowing where you're going.

So maybe the first thing you start with is the dates, or maybe you start with the location. You may or may not be able to decide on the place first without knowing when you're going and for how long. For e.g., if you want to go for a 3-day weekend, that vacation is going to be much different from a 2-week vacation. So you need to start with the last thing first: when and where you're going, then work backward from there.

Similarly, if you're going on a road trip, you can't just get into the car and start driving. You need to know the destination first. And this applies to many aspects of life and business. But I'll primarily focus on business in this post.

I'm going to share with you how you can use this concept to Reverse Engineer pretty much anything in your business. But let's start with using this strategy to figure out what to sell.

Reverse Engineering Your Product/Service

Now, this is assuming you have already picked your niche. So you already have expertise in a specific niche, but you want to know what to sell within that niche in order to get maximum results.
So you start with a number: How much money do you want to make, and in how much time do you want to make it?

For eg., when I was still working in a job back in the early 2000s and was building my business on the side, I was happy with making 30K-50K per year from my side business, because I was making between 100K-250K at my job over a span of about 9 years. 

Which is when I got my Greencard and was able to quit my job, because I had grown my side business to the point where my wife and I combined could work to replace one of our salaries within the first year, and then I knew we could replace both of our salaries within the first 2 years.

So let's say you wish to make 100K in the next 12 months. Let's keep it simple as 100K in revenue, and not necessarily add taxes and expenses, which could vary a lot depending on where you live, how much Federal and State taxes you pay, how much sales tax, salaries, and other overhead and so on.

So to make 100K, you could look at it a few different ways:
* If you sell a $100,000 product, obviously, you need just 1 sale. Think luxury real estate, for eg. Listen to the episode for a story about a friend who used to sell luxury real-estate back when I lived in Westchester County, NY (near Peekskill).

* If you sell a $10,000 product, you need to make 10 sales. This could be a high-end coaching program. Now, will someone pay you 10K to coach them? Hold that thought. I'll get to it in a minute.

* If you sell a $1000 product, you need to make 100 sales.

* If you sell a $100 product, you need to make 1000 sales.

* And if you're selling a $1 mobile app, then you need 100,000 sales. For the sake of illustration, let's going to ignore the fact that mobile platforms take up to 30% of the app sale.

Yes, I know you can do math all by yourself :-). But putting them on this page it will hopefully help you pay closer attention to the numbers.

Next, make an inventory of all your products and services.

If you're brand new to selling online, then you probably have written an eBook, or maybe created a small video course. Or maybe you have an audio series.

Maybe you sell a WordPress plugin, or maybe you offer a service - like audio or video editing, social media marketing, etc.

Also, it's not just about what products and services you can sell, but also, which ones you have the most Proof for.

I talked about Proof in my book DOGPOO & DOSAA: 67 Proven & Implementable Truths, Tactics & Hacks To Create Better Content, Promote Your Products, Grow Your Audience and Make More Sales.

Yes, you can sell a lot online without exactly providing much proof that your stuff works, however, it's going to be a lot harder.

Anyway, you don't have to sell just one type of product at one price point. You can sell both a $100 product and a $1000 one and a $10,000 one.

But the kind of audience you will be selling it to, and the kind of proof that will be required, will be very different, depending on the price point.

And if you are not a seasoned marketer already, start with lower ticket items, because in the beginning, you'll find it very hard to get everything right for selling a 10K product. But selling a $10 digital product will be a lot easier. And over time, you can ascend into bigger ticket items.

And here's another really cool thing that this exercise will trigger in your brain:

If you wish to make $100,000 over the next 12 months, then you can't start writing a book today that you're going to charge, say $15 for, and then take 6 months to write and publish it. Because you'll then have just 6 months left to sell 6666 copies. Give a listen to my earlier podcast episodes about why I launched my latest book on my own website at DogpooBook.com.

Unless you have an existing audience on different platforms, it's going to be an incredibly difficult task to convince 6500 different people to buy your book, even if it's just an eBook, for $15, starting from an audience of zero.

Here's another thing to consider: Let's say you somehow moved heaven and earth and managed to meet your goal of 6666 copies of your book for $15 each. And you reached your revenue goal of 100K.

How are you going to do that again next year? Because unless you plan on going back to a job, or keeping your existing one, making a one-time $100K is not good enough.

But that's where something magical happens: You now have an existing list of customers who've already bought from you. So now you can start asking them for feedback on what you should create next. And then create that for them.

Sometimes, your next product could be built right off of the previous product. Like if you were writing a series of books in one niche. Then a majority of your previous buyers will probably want your next book in the series as well.

It's always the first 100K that's the hardest.

And you're going to be way ahead of the game if you start with the end goal in mind, and work backward.

Like I like to say, Start With The Last Thing First.

And reverse engineering your business model from there is a great way to get clarity on your end goal.

Reverse Engineering Sales (or Lack Thereof)

I work with clients who will sometimes say that they're not making any sales and they want to know how to make more sales. So when I start digging into it, the problem usually turns out to not be a "sales" problem, at least not to begin with.

When I ask them how much traffic they're currently getting, they have no idea about the numbers.

What are their conversions? They won't know the numbers.

Where is this traffic coming from? Meaning, is this qualified traffic? They usually won't know that either.

So you see how a "sales" problem is almost never purely a "no one is buying my stuff" problem.

I'll ask them what their offer is, and they'll point to a very simple landing page that's missing most of the elements of a great offer.

If you listen to Episode 111, titled "Part 2: Takeaways From My Book Launch: The Offer", I talked about why slapping a basic landing page with a buy button is not your offer.

They would've sent out an email to a few hundred people on the list, and they will only get a few sales. So they think it's a problem with the product. When it could be one of many things I talked about before:

Did people actually receive your email? Did they open it? Did they read it? Did they click on your call-to-action? Are the people on your list qualified prospects? How deep is your relationship with them? Have you primed them for reading your emails and been adding value to them over time and building goodwill?

See, right there - those are 4 questions that you need to answer before you even wonder if there's anything wrong with your offer.

If you send an email to 200 people, only 40 of them open it (is a 20% open rate, which is pretty decent), and then out of those 40, even if 20 of them read your email and click on the link and get to your sales page, - so that's essentially a 10% Click-Thru Rate, which is still 4 times higher than the industry average of about 2-3%, and out of those 20, say 4 of them buy your product, it's still just 4 sales.

Now what if a lot of them didn't get the email, or your subject line was weak or looked spammy or not interesting, so the others who got your email didn't even open the email, and among the few that did, only a few clicked the link.

So you couldn't even get most people on your list to check out your offer. So in this case, it's not an "Offer" problem, it's an email marketing problem.

So if you confuse an email marketing problem with a product creation problem, a conversion problem, or a traffic problem, you'll be wasting a lot of time and effort on fixing the wrong issues, or fixing issues that were probably not even an issue, to begin with.

Reverse Engineering Marketing

I've consulted with a few clients who wanted help Starting a podcast. And I'm going to blow my own trumpet here - I have always put my clients' needs, over my own ability to make a sale.

There have been many times in the past, in my plugin business, where someone would ask a whole bunch of questions about a specific feature, and even though my plugin would have those features, there would be other competitors' plugins that did those things better. And I've frankly told them outright that my plugin is not a good fit for them, and pointed them towards competitors' products.

Same thing with my coaching and consulting business as well as my custom plugin development service as well: I have convinced some clients in the past that what they were looking to do, was not a good idea, and they don't need to do it, and probably shouldn't do it, and here are the X, Y and Z reasons why they shouldn't do it.

So instead of taking their money and giving them what they want, I've told them that what they want might not even be necessary, and how there were other ways to get that thing done. So I've lost a lot of money over the years because of that, and I'm proud of that, and I'm totally fine with that.

And that brings me to clients who've wanted me to help them start a podcast. Basically, consulting with me about the topics, best practices on hosting, editing, marketing, etc.

And I always start by asking them this: Why do you wish to start a podcast? And they'll be like, I want to get new customers for my business. So I ask is this short-term or long-term? If they say long-term, then there's no problem with that.

Reverse Engineering a Book or Course

A lot of people will come up with an interesting topic that they like, and straight away start writing a book. They just want to take everything that they know about this particular topic, and put it on in the book.

A better way to do this is to first ask yourself what is the purpose of this book. 

  • Is it to establish yourself as an expert in your niche and showcase your knowledge and use it as a way to impress future business partners, bosses, or clients?
  • Is it to get more leads, by (say) giving away the Kindle/PDF version)?
  • Is it to share a little about a lot of things, or a lot about a single thing?
  • Is it to share your message about something that you're passionate about, and don't care if it sells a lot?
  • What do you want a reader to learn from your book?
  • How do you want them to feel after they've read it?
  • What thoughts or actions or emotions do you want your book to trigger?

Now start by imagining the end result - like it has already happened. Imagine you're the reader who has just finished reading your book. How are they feeling right now? Are they happy? Or angry (activism related)? Are they motivated? Are they more peaceful than before? Have they learned something that's important and do they now feel more educated about a specific topic?

So start with the end result of someone who has already achieved the goal. Now reverse engineer your book's topic and chapters from there.

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