Creating and distributing your own product is both exciting and challenging. While coming up with your product is the first step in opening your own business, there’s far more to the process, including hours of business planning and marketing efforts that need to be in place in order to find people willing to buy your offering. The road to selling your own creations isn’t easy, but the pride you feel when people buy -- and love -- what you sell may make all the hard work worthwhile.
Develop the Product
Developing your product idea is the first step in creating something worth selling. This step includes designing the look and purpose of the product and building a prototype. Your prototype might consist of an item you make yourself in the comfort of your own home, or you may need to hire a manufacturer to build a sample for you. If your product is unique, you will want to file for a patent to keep other companies from developing a similar item.
Test the El Bandito Review
Once you have a prototype or have created samples of your product, it’s time to test the market. Hand the product to family, friends and acquaintances and get their reaction. Explain the product’s use, and ask your testers to be honest about whether or not they’d buy the product, how they would use it and concerns they have with it. Use this feedback to refine your product idea. If feedback is good, you’re ready to create or manufacture more of the product in preparation for selling it.
Finding buyers is the next step in selling your product. Learn everything you can about the people who might potentially use your product, such as where they live, their income, family life and what types of media they use. If your buyers are businesses, figure out the type of company that needs the product, the title of the decision makers and how they learn of new products, whether through cold calls, sales letters or referrals.
Choose Local Lead Grabber Review
To get your product to market, you must choose how you want to distribute the item. Some companies rely on both the Internet and a storefront to sell their products, but you can also sell your products solely on the Internet, especially if your item appeals to a widespread audience. If you sell a very localized item, rent a booth at the local flea market or farmer’s market to find buyers. Finding a sales distribution company willing to sell your products to retailers is another option if you prefer an indirect method of selling your product.
Write a Marketing Plan
Create a marketing plan to determine how to create messages about the benefits and features of your product. A marketing plan also helps you decide on the best promotional tactics to use, such as placing ads in parenting magazines if your product appeals to parents or reaching out to Instagram influencers in your area to build an audience for your product. Take a look at Green Screen Club Review. For instance, if you sell fresh baked bread and are the only baker in your area, you still compete with grocery stores, so you need to figure out how your product, pricing and message differ from that of your competitors.
What took lots of time that wasn’t necessary? There is a finite amount of time to spend making your endeavor successful. Are there any tasks you’re currently doing that don’t directly improve the bottom line? Can you eliminate anything that won’t compromise the quality of the product, the time you spend interacting with customers and/or your overall brand image? If so, redirect that energy to something that has more impact.
By answering these questions, you can assess where you are so you can stop doing what doesn’t work and double down on what does.
There is only a short time remaining to capture your buyers. Continuing the process of trial and error on tasks that are still not working may be costly. Instead, it may be more beneficial to put all of your limited time behind the one or two key things that are really working for you.Goal 12: Placing Stock Orders In Accordance With Results
You don’t want to miss out on sales by running out of product. So do you stock up or continue ordering on demand?
If it seems you will have a strong and/or consistent order volume, consider stocking up to make sure you have inventory to fulfill projected demand.
But if you have a brand new product and soft demand, a safer strategy is to order from Ponoko on demand so you don’t risk paying for stock that does not sell. However, this option isn’t without risk.
Products take time to make, so depending on when you order, there may be rush charges to get product in-hand before any of your specific deadlines.
Additionally, shipping times must be considered. When promising to fulfill orders when you don’t have inventory on hand, you must keep delivery times—and any fees for faster shipping—in mind.
So while ordering on demand offers some protection from risk, you may experience higher making and shipping costs the closer you get to any holidays or specific deadlines. Depending on your pricing model, you’ll need to account for these fees in your sale price (or lost profit).
You’ll have to weigh this risk with stocking up and potentially having leftover inventory. On the plus side: Ordering early saves last minute stress later, allowing you to focus on promoting your product like crazy.Goal 13: Reaching Out To Customers (Big Time)
Hopefully you’ve been tracking your marketing activities from Part 3 and have a feel for what’s working (and what’s not). This information gives you direction to focus on the marketing techniques that are working best.
If you are selling around any holiday (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and especially Christmas), your customers are being bombarded with lots of marketing messages. So when making your marketing plan, remember that it’s not about all the different ways you could reach customers. It’s about reaching them in a way that is most meaningful to them while standing out from your competitors.
Sure you could try 10 different channels, but you’d be spread so thin that no one would hear you. #fail. Rather, spend that same effort on ONE channel and you’ll have 10x more impact. #sale!
Whether you’re doing emails, postcards, digital ads or social media, or you’re encouraging engagement with discounts, gifts with purchase, competitions or prizes, there is one rule: Make. It. Fun.
Ask yourself: If I were receiving this ____ (fill in the marketing idea you’re using here), would I like it? Would it capture my attention? Would I be happy to see it? Would it entice me to act (read: make a purchase)?
If the answer is “no” to any of the above questions, time to go back to the drawing board and make improvements. You can have a great idea, but if the execution is poor, it won’t resonate with customers.
Whatever marketing tactic you use, it should be clear. Attractive. Targeted to your specific audience. Easily shareable on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. Word of mouth is priceless!
Find ways to automate repetitive tasks. For social media, use a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite or Edgar. For an email series, check out Sendbloom or Infusionsoft. Manage contests with a service such as Rafflecopter.
And don’t go it alone. If you are unsure how to do something, find an expert and learn. For training on just about any marketing subject, LinkedIn’s Lynda has a class for you. Need to boost your SEO game? Want to market with Snapchat? Understand Google Analytics? Check! The site has these and a gazillion more to make you smarty smart.
If you’re stuck keeping your marketing efforts fresh, check out this post with 64 creative marketing ideas that will boost your business. It not only has marketing ideas for social media and contests, but it also has tips for content marketing and urban marketing as well.
WOW. We’ve covered A LOT of information. Hopefully you’re filled with excitement and can’t wait to get started. But make sure you bookmark this guide so you can read (and re-read it) again as you make your way through each goal.
Remember, not every product idea will be wildly successful. And that’s ok. There are many lessons to be learned from failure. (Just check out this post from Think Growth.)
If sales aren’t meeting expectations, do an honest evaluation of each step in the process. Identify any areas that didn’t work and determine why. Then make adjustments and try again. And again.
Henry Ford said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” The only real failure is if you stop trying. So what are you waiting for? Get started with Goal 1 today and you’ll be only your way to selling your first product in no time.
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