Q&A: How to market a product
Congratulations! You’ve invented an amazing product, and now it’s time to bring it into the market. While this can be an overwhelming stage in your entrepreneurial career, it’s well worth the butterflies. Today I’m going to walk you through how to market a product.
Step 1: Know your customer
Until you can identify your target market, you don’t know where your customer shops, what she buys or her preferred marketing methods. Be as specific as possible, for example, instead of saying your product is for men, a very big group, say dads 35 to 50.
Step 2: Craft your sales plan
Mapping out your sales plan will help you decide what your sales goals are and how you will achieve them. Here are some things to address:
Choose your markets: The easiest place to start selling your product is online through an e-commerce stores, Etsy, or eBay. After you’ve built a track record of sales, you can approach local stores.
Sales goals: Defining your sales goals will help you move forward with your business. Choose goals like selling X number of products from your website in 6 months, or getting X stores to carry your product within the year. Your sales goals may shift as your business grow, but it will help you monitor your progress.
Landmarks: As well as including number of products sold and revenue earned, your sales goal should include a timeline that maps out landmarks in your companies growth, like your first wholesale account or your 100th customer sale. Review your timeline periodically to ensure you’re on schedule.
Step 3: Spread the word
Before customers can buy your product, they need to find it. There are plenty of free ways to market your product, one of the easiest being through bloggers.
Connect with bloggers who write for your target market, and offer them a free product in return for a product review or two free products, one to review and one for a reader giveaway. Choose blogs with lots of activity (regular posts and comments from readers), preferably one with active Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Step 3: Sell and learn
The next step in how to market a product is to learn more about it – ideally from your customers. Unlike friends and family, customers have no motivation to tell you what you want to hear.
Collect feedback via email, or by setting up a survey on a free site like Survey Monkey. Ask about the product, how it functions, if that shipping packing protected it sufficiently, etc. You can use the information to make your product even better.
You can also use this time to look for new markets where you can stretch your wings like craft sales and events. The selling you do in these early days can also help you shape your final price in preparation for the next step, selling to stores.
Step 4: Selling to stores
Just like selling your first unit to your first customer, selling to wholesale customers requires prep work, from finding the correct contact to organizing your marketing materials. When you’re ready, read last week’s Q & A What was your strategy for selling to stores?
Now that you know the basics on how to market a product, I hope you’re excited to take the next big step in your career. As you do, please share your experience in the comments below.