What you should know before making the leap

You have you’re idea and now it’s time to put it to work.

Ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s the execution of the ideas that really matter.

It’s easy to publish yourself on the web. It’s easy to get a website or create a Facebook page. It’s easy to start writing blog posts and uploading your own content.

But where does it go?

How do you get people to visit your website or blog?

Consider this the primer to a series of posts I’m putting together on launching your idea onto the web and connecting the dots to make it all work.

The 30-Thousand Foot View

Get ready to use my favorite business tool, the notebook.

This beginner exercise to planning and defining your purpose can all be done without an iPhone, iPad or your MacBook.

Pretty amazing isn’t it?

That’s right, planning your idea out should be done with the hard work of writing, scratching out, drawing lines, and connecting the dots on paper.

Further, we don’t want to get to granular. We want real high level views of our new product or service. This allows us to paint with a broad stroke and not get wrapped up in minor features that kill time and delay launches.

Define

I want you to draft out your idea in some form or fashion. Draw out the concept, make a bullet list, or write out a few sentences. Writing out ideas and concepts on real paper has always proven beneficial to me.

To help get you started, let’s ask ourselves some of the following:

What are you selling or promoting?

Who are your customers or fans?

Where are they going to come from?

Why are you doing this?

How do you plan to deliver to them?

You’re building yourself a big target at this point. Defining the areas and market you want to go after. Fans you want to have follow you or touch with your knowledge. Understanding this market will help you later on in the web marketing and business building process.

If you don’t know your audience, how are you building an effective product or service for them?

The Power of Defining (an example):

You’re a blogger, like me, wanting to reach other professionals with web marketing interests.

I define my audience by the people they follow on Twitter and on Google+. I’ve been actively running an experiment of this example, which I plan to write more in depth about later on.

I have classified (or circled) groups of people that follow head thought leaders in my industry like Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuck, and David Meerman Scott. Each has a unique type of follower and interact with their audience in different ways.

With Google+ (no I really do like it) I can target these circles with pieces of content without the other group seeing. Effectively I can target people with follower interests, much like you can with Facebook ads.

I’ve defined the people I want to reach and it helps me form the type of content I want to present them.

Very effective.

Simplify

Once you have these questions and your ideas are sketched out, it’s time to keep it simple stupid.

Start removing features, options, or areas of your idea that could become too overwhelming. Remember, ideas are the easy part, we are looking to execute on these ideas to ship them or launch them before they expire.

It’s more than just simplifying your idea that we’re after. It’s simplifying the entire process you are about to embark on. With fewer features, descriptive words, or options you will become more agile.

We can promote this new idea much more effectively. Our goals will become more defined. Our ability to start connecting all the dots will be refined.

The Power of Simplifying (an example):

At Slocum Studio, we are constantly simplifying our products and services.

Even though we’re in 2011, the world of introducing web technology to people is still a slippery slope. Small business folks either think it’s an overly simple process, where costs should not be high or digital media cannot help them.

We have a lot of services ranging from web development to WordPress hosting and video production to marketing services. There’s so much that clients get overwhelmed. Because of this, I’ve reverse engineered the simplicity factor not in our products, but in our message:

We introduce ideas to people.

No longer are we pushing a particular product or service. We are delivering new ideas to our customers and then exposing them on how to execute based on our products and services. The lead in is simple and consumable.

Much easier to swallow than a custom WordPress website with lead capturing, keyword analytics, and social network monitoring – right?

Foundation

Before we move on, we need to get our feet on the ground.

There’s a lot more to web marketing (and building a business in general) than meets the eye. Our website is not the first and last of our internet initiative. Matter of fact, our Digital Landscape has become even more intertwined into our real lives with new found social media tools.

The two simple practices above should get us ready to connect all the dots in digital media marketing. Your foundation will come when you have flexed your muscle in these two areas (given you are actually producing a decent product or service to begin with of course.)

Believe it or not, you should make your foundation flexible. Constantly defining and simplifying should help us get there.

You have your idea, you define the audience, and you simplify it. You keep going back to see what’s working and what’s not. You keep refining and you keep innovating.

If you don’t, someone else will.

Conclusion

In the upcoming series of posts, I’ll be going step by step through many of the technologies and practices it takes to become effective in this space.

If you’re willing to share your current ideas or projects below, maybe we can work together to define and simplify? Any other further comments about this article are appreciated.

Remember to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ for more on this topic.

4 Comments

You make very good points, Matt (as usual). People should also consider the fact that when a person writes something down, the thought/subject/info goes into  long-term memory. Henriette Anne Klauser PhD wrote a book, Write It Down, Make It Happen, the really spells that out.

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