I wish I could tell you that online marketing success is all about driving traffic. Unfortunately, even if you were able to drive hundreds of thousands of visitors to your website every single day, you might not end up with much money at the end of the day. The bottom line should be very easy to see: It’s all about conversions. If you are able to get eyeballs, but you cannot put the right products in front of those eyeballs, you wouldn’t be making much money. It really is that simple. Unfortunately, there are lots of online marketing guides that try to get you all excited about building tons of traffic overnight. I’m telling you right now, simply getting a lot of traffic is not going to make your revenue problems go away. You need to find a way to make the right products.

Products put food on the table. Traffic may not put food on the table. I’m hope you can see that clearly. Consumer intelligence is curial. Here are the steps that you need to follow to find products your traffic will most likely buy.

Get customer intelligence out of the way first

There are two ways to do customer intelligence: Passive and active. You need to do customer intelligence because you need to figure out what kind of products to create for your site visitors or list members, or both. You have to create a tight fit between their needs and your product. If there is no tight fit, then they can easily conclude that they don’t have a need for whatever it is you’re offering. You don’t make a sale in that situation. Here are some questions to ask when doing passive customer intelligence.

Your first step should be to look at your blog or website’s traffic statistics. Ask yourself, where is your traffic coming from? Look at the referrers. Do you see a pattern? Is most of your traffic coming from Facebook? What does that tell you?

Next, pay attention to the type of content they consume. Do they always land at one particular article? What is that article talking about? If this is clear to you, then it’s probably a good idea to create a product that is in line with that article.

Conducting active customer intelligence

The techniques listed above involve passive customer intelligence. You look at what your website visitors and list members are already doing. You don’t really put yourself in the picture. With active customer intelligence, you have to take proactive steps in figuring out what their needs are. Whether you have a mailing list or a website, you need to take these actions. Maybe you need to do a survey. Maybe you need to put up a poll. Maybe you can ask people to send in reports. These can go a long way in telling you what their needs are and what kind of things they’re looking for. This should be enough to open your eyes to possible product design possibilities. There is a big drawback however.

People aren’t going to provide this very valuable information because they have nothing else better to do. People are very busy. People have other better uses of their time. This is why you need to incentivize your surveys or polls. You have to give them some sort of payment for participating in customer intelligence. Sounds pretty good so far, right? It should be fairly straightforward.

The problem here is statistical self-selection. You might not be getting a statistically representative sample. The only people that may participate in your survey are people who are looking for freebies or prizes, or other incentives. They might be giving you bogus information just so they can get the incentive. Do you see the danger here? Do you see where this is headed?

The big challenge to properly crafting customer intelligence is to set up the incentive in such a way that it doesn’t produce a warped or distorted picture. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. You have to conduct lots of experiments until you come up with the right mix. I wish I could tell you that there’s one specific way to do this, but every niche is different and every traffic demographic is different, so you have to do a tremendous amount of experimentation until you can figure out what works.

Create a product and sales funnel

Once you have put together a product, the next step is to create a sales funnel. If you’ve read a lot of online marketing blogs, you probably have heard of the phrase “sales funnel” repeated many times over. In fact, people repeat it so often that many people have lost sight of what it truly means. A sales funnel is simply a device that you use to convert raw traffic into buyers. You use content in different pages of your website to convert these visitors into buyers.

One effective way to do this is to get them to sign up for mailing list, and then you keep sending them information that filters them further based on their interests. You then send them a very low-cost offer, like a dollar offer. The reason you’re doing this is you want to separate the list squatters from the buyers. Once you get a buyers list, you’re sitting on a goldmine. Closely related to this process is a product funnel filter. The issue here is not whether the people on your list will buy. The issue is how you can safely and effectively segment your buyers list into different cost segments.

You have to understand that some people are cheap. They only want to buy low-cost items. Other people are looking to buy higher-cost items. A small but lucrative amount, on the other hand, will pay top dollar if they feel that they are getting good value. You have to send different offers at different price points to segregate your existing buyers list into different cost segments. Once you’ve done this, then you can make money on a predictable basis with your list members because you are going to be only advertising the right price point to the right eyeballs.

Actively experiment your way to killer products

So how do you come up with killer products that convert well? Well, these are actually two different problems. First, you need to come up with a killer product. Unfortunately, like I said above, the only way to do this is through constant experimentation in customer intelligence. You have to gather enough data so you can get enough information so as to piece together the right product. You then run several experiments with a particular product. Maybe playing around with the cover, the land page, and other elements until you get a clear indication of solid demand.

The next step is to scale up your conversion. You need to play around with the different elements of your landing page. Maybe you first start with the text, then with the layout, then with the pictures. Whatever the case is, you make small changes. You run traffic, look at your conversion results, make more changes, and see if you achieve an incremental increase. You keep repeating this process until you come up with a landing page that converts at a fairly high predictable level.

Nothing is set in stone!

Once you reach this point of this blog post, you might be thinking that you have the secret strategy to killer products. I wish that was the case. You have to understand that nothing is set in stone. Different target demographics might have different needs. Your niche might have different rules. Whatever the case is, be flexible, constantly experiment, and always be ready to make certain changes. The key here is not whether you come up with some sort of model product. Your main goal should be to get the process right, so you’re always paying attention to the needs of your actual potential buyers. These are the people on your mailing list.