February 03, 2024
Start making noise, then listen for signal
As a digital business owner, I know the difficulties of uncovering and conceiving new ideas, products, and services. Markets are crowded, consumers are more educated than ever, and even if you find the courage to put your flag in the ground and go all-in on something new, there's no guarantee it will resonate with the intended audience.
Today, I'll share a technique I've used to help you figure out where to aim your creative energy and find traction for new digital products and services within your business. I'm calling it "making some noise, then listening for signal"—and it's a great way to engage with potential customers or collaborators while validating your ideas.
So, in order to find that valuable signal, you have to make some noise, right? Let's look at how to do that, starting with figuring out what makes you unique.
Establishing your value proposition
Your value proposition is like the secret sauce on your favorite burger. It's what makes it memorable, enjoyable, and delicious. Okay, the last part probably doesn't apply to your business, unfortunately—but you get the picture.
And just like that secret burger sauce, your digital business's value proposition is the unique blend of benefits and qualities that makes you stand out from the crowd and attract customers/clients in a sea of sameness.
To find your value prop, you'll want to scrutinize what sets you apart from others. I touched on that in the following tweet:
Question: What can you do better than anyone given enough time and energy?— Matt Downey (@mattdowney) January 19, 2024
That's your unique value proposition. Protect those skills and build a moat around them.
When you do, potential customers will find it hard to object, while competitors will find it hard to keep up.
During this part of the "make noise, then signal" phase, take the time to reflect on your strengths, individual experiences, what you offer that no one else does/can, and most importantly, how that benefits your target audience.
Once your value proposition is clear, wrapping your unique qualities into words and imagery that portray YOU will be much easier. Next, let's look at the importance of choosing a platform to share on and how consistency will be your secret weapon.
Choosing a platform and remaining consistent
The point of making all this "noise" is to find like-minded people who care about what you're building. To find them, you need to figure out where they hang out.
For most digital business owners, focusing on Twitter (I can't call it X), Instagram, or TikTok would likely serve you well. There are obviously other platforms—pick the one best suited for the product or service you're building. Looking at member demographics and psychographics can also help you choose where to engage.
It doesn't matter where you point your efforts—consistency makes growth look easy.— Matt Downey (@mattdowney) December 28, 2023
Once you pick a platform—we'll use Twitter as an example—it's important to remain consistent. There are two things you should do:
- Make it a point to post regularly about what you're working on, as well as any insights you're gaining along the way.
- Engage with people who comment on your content, as well as seek out people who seem interested in the things you post about.
Doing these two things will foster a community of people interested in the same things. And the more time you spend on the platform, the more you'll see patterns emerge—little quirks people have about X, frustrations people have about Y, and it should really be easier to do Z.
Pay attention to these conversations—they can be leading indicators of great products and services just waiting to be created. This is the signal we're looking for.
You found the signal—now act!
So, if you've been following along, we've successfully identified what we're uniquely qualified to create and found a community of people who helped us find signal in the noise. Now, all that's left is to go out and create offerings to serve the target audience.
I won't get into the weeds on how to do that here because I have a 1,200-word article already written about how to create digital products. But with our "make noise, listen to signal" approach, we have a much better chance of producing something for an audience that will actually benefit from it. And that's better than randomly picking something to build and hoping there's product-market fit.
As we wrap up, I hope this method resonated with you. Making noise and listening to signals helps you identify the right products and services and significantly reduces your chances of building the wrong ones.
Final thought: You never want to create products and services in a vacuum. If you're going to spend your valuable time on something, create with intention, direction, and purpose, guided by the signals from the people that matter most—your audience.