May 26, 2023

To drive growth, focus on increasing desire

By Wes Kao
Co-founder of Maven
Most people focus on reducing friction, but this logic is flawed. Here's the underlying reason behind why people buy and how to sharpen your positioning.

Most marketers, salespeople, product leaders, and UX designers focus on reducing friction.
Make the button bigger. Write shorter copy. Give discounts. 
The underlying assumption is, “If I make this easier (or cheaper) for you, you’ll eventually want it.”
But this logic is flawed.
  • There are lots of products that are free but you don’t want them. For example, thousands of free apps cost nothing but you’re not itching to download.
  • People jump through hoops all the time for things they want. And they’re willing to go the extra mile—to pay more, do more work, or try harder to get them.
  • When 90% of your marketing strategy is about reducing friction, it’s a race to the bottom. You can only discount so much before you give your product away for free or your business becomes unprofitable.
Instead of only decreasing friction, you should increase desire too.
By the way, if you want to learn how to increase desire for your course, check out the Maven Course Accelerator, our free 3-week program. Secure your seat (it’s free).
People jump through hoops for things they want.
Did you pick your spouse because they were the most convenient option? 
No, you probably picked them despite needing to overcome obstacles: location, your in-laws, scheduling around their calendar because you knew it was worth it.
Check out this photo:
This is a line outside Momofuku Milk Bar in Washington D.C. These are all the same people who say, “I’m too busy. I don’t have enough time.” But they have time to wait in line for ice cream. You probably know someone who has waited in even longer lines for the new iPhone. 
Harvard makes you jump through a lot of hoops. You need to get two letters of recommendation, write a couple essays, pay hundreds of dollars to take the SAT, get good grades, etc.
The dean doesn’t say, “Hey, let’s remove all requirements because it’s friction for you.” They don’t care. They know their value  and they’re betting you will do. If you get in, you’ll say, “Take my money!”
How to apply this concept to building an online course
Craft the story your prospective students get to tell themselves (and their friends) when they take your course. How does your course help your student be the person they want to be?
You could increase desire by:
  • Removing 90% of the backstory and jumping straight into the juicy parts
  • Raising the stakes: What bad things could happen if you don't learn this?
  • Painting the picture of the problem and aggrandizing the problem
  • Showing the results you drove at your job or with clients
  • Showing testimonials with recognizable brands/names
  • Showing before/after of applying your techniques
  • Sharing success stories that show transformation
  • Showing your best templates and frameworks
  • Freely sharing your best insights on social

PS When you’re building something new, it’s helpful to have a place to bounce ideas and get unstuck. That’s why we built the Maven Course Accelerator. It’s a free, 3-week program where you get guidance from Maven experts and fellow builders. 
Here’s what our instructors have to say about Maven: 
"The Maven Course Accelerator has inspired me to pursue a new career. It is life-changing. Maven provides the direction, resources, and example of how a world-class cohort-based course should look." - Arko Hoondert
“Maven is exactly the type of platform to support live course formats. I actually ran a beta-test of my course about a month before. But the frustrating part was not having a streamlined software. We were trying to use Google Meet, Discord, IG, etc. When I found out about Maven, it was like a divine universe gift!” - Sunshine Dominguez
“The feedback I got and the progress I've made in a few weeks is unbelievable. I felt supported right up to launch.” - Maryann Kongovi
“The 2-hour sessions helped keep me accountable, and I learned a ton. I really loved the templates for creating a spiky point of view and the I do/We do/You do lesson. I can turn back to it whenever I get stuck.” - Jesse J. Anderson
When you start earning on Maven, you keep 90% of your course revenue minus Stripe fees. On average, instructors earn $20,000 in their first cohort. Plus, you own your IP and content. Our goal is to help you launch and grow a course you’re proud of.
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