This post is a guest post by Nan Gibbons
Coming up with an idea for a product that is sure to take the market by storm is only half your battle as an entrepreneur. You also need to know how to market your product so that it flies off the shelves and into your customers’ hands. A failure to effectively market your product can result in few or no sales, which is certainly not the path to take when aiming for success. Know your product and your audience and you should find your way to success with little difficulty.
Begin by figuring out who your target market is going to be, whether that’s working mothers over the age of 30 or teenagers with disposable income from after-school jobs. Having a focused idea of who you’re hoping to sell to will help you figure out marketing strategies, such as the best places and ways to advertise. Don’t underestimate the value of marketing your product on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. What may seem like short blurbs of information or a website solely for playing games is much more. Advertising your product on Twitter enables your followers to retweet information to their followers and the world at large, all in a matter of seconds. Similarly, launching a product and then promoting it on Facebook can result in multiple ‘likes’ and people sharing information with their friends, all of which can mean sales for you.
Advertising on social networking sites is just one step in the marketing process. You will also need to establish and maintain your online presence, beginning with a website where consumers can view information about your products and purchase them. Advertise among friends and family to begin with, letting word spread organically. Draw visitors to your website with coupon offers, perhaps those which are distributed to your ideal customer base via a direct mail campaign. Don’t forget to offer deals online for those who find their way to your site using a search engine.
As you craft your marketing strategy, consider working with a company who specializes in order fulfillment. They will stock your product and process all of your orders from start to finish, freeing you up to focus on everything from customer outreach to future product development. Being able to store your product in a warehouse will free up valuable space you may have been using in your home, space that you will be able to open up to additional staff or client visits. Working with an order fulfillment company will also prepare you for the day when your product proves successful and orders begin to pour in.
No matter how successful you believe your product will eventually be, remember that it can take time to meet your sales goals, no matter how you define them. Start small and sell to friends and family. Move up to locally owned businesses whose personnel can green light the decision to carry your product. If you choose to take on the world by approaching a big box retailer, be prepared to show them how and why your product will be successful. Make sure, above all, that the product you are trying to sell doesn’t directly compete with their store brand. You want to keep the channels of communication open, even if your first attempt at selling to a well-known store doesn’t go as you planned or hoped.
Marketing your product effectively will take some time, but the effort will be well worth it, especially as sales begin rolling in. Be patient, knowing that you have a chance at success even if it takes some time to establish a solid customer base.