Every new entrepreneur with an idea to market a product or service will have to answer several questions in order for his or her new company to have a chance at success.
- What do I sell?
- Who do I sell it to and how will I service it?
- Do I have competition and can I compete?
- How do I get the word out?
- How much money do I need?
Knowing what you are going to sell, who you are going to sell it to and how you get the word out can in a large part be determined by knowing who your competition is and if you can compete. If your product is so unique that you have, little to no, competition and you’re sure people will beat your door down to get at it, then designing the material you need is only limited by how money you are will to spend.
What Do You Sell?
Before you start with any designs, website, flyer or presentation, you need to analyze what you are going to sell or offer. Some products are local and may require brick and mortar in order for clients to purchase them. Good examples are a restaurant, bakery or convenience store. Some items just don’t lend themselves well to being ordered online and then shipped. If you fall into this category you will probably want to start with a flyer to send via direct mail or email that target your local audience.
Who is My Customer?
Some companies sell products or services that can be used by almost every demographic. Most, however, cater to a particular niche. Teen vs. adult clothing, or cosmetics or sporting goods are all examples of niche categories you fall into and what audience you need to target your material to reach. Once you know what category your product falls into you will design material that caters to the widest possible audience that purchases these kinds of items.
Can I Service My Product?
You‘d better! You no doubt are a good salesperson or you wouldn’t be entertaining the idea to start your own company. Selling your product or service to a buyer should be easy if the price is right and you have it in stock. Perform enough sales and you might be on the right track to success. But what happens if the item you sold, broke, got lost in shipping, was the wrong item or the buyer just decided to return it, what do you do? Establishing a plan on how to handle these potential snags in your business, to the satisfaction of the buyer, will ensure that clients will continue to buy new products from you. Customer service is the key to success. Make your customers happy and they will keep coming back and better yet, tell their friends.
Do I Have Competition?
If you have competition, don’t fret. Having competition is good thing. Using the marketing methods used by successful competitors gives you a benchmark to use in determining your own design needs, what to sell your product for and who to sell it to. The look and feel of a design can go a long way to enticing the reader that the site they are on is the right place to be. A Teen age girls clothing website will have dramatically different look than a sporting news website. Depending on your product or service your competition may not be online but next door. So choosing what you need to design, know how your competitor does it and follow their lead.
How to Get the Word Out
Simply put, if your product can be sold online a website is the answer. If it’s sold door to door a brochure is the answer. If your door to door product can also be sold online, then both are affective ways to market your products. A brochure will probably be the less expensive of the two mediums, but a brochure has to be delivered directly by hand, by mail or by email which limits your recognition to only those you know about. A website can reach a much larger client potential because it reaches those clients you don’t know about. In many instances having both a web site and print material will work together allowing you to reach a vast new audience and increase profit potential.
Determining the viability of your product is based on knowing who your competition is and who your clients are. Competition is the key to deciding if targeting new clients is best achieved though SEO, Search Engine Optimization, or if you will have to drive traffic to your site using a method other than clients searching for it online.
You won’t find a more effective and affordable advertising medium than a website. A well designed site will give your company the exposure you need and will be your most valuable tool in getting new clients, generating sales and servicing existing clients. A properly optimized a web site will give you the chance you need to compete online, but in some cases optimization may not be the answer. To determine this, you need to find out if your new clients will find you online using a search engine or will you have to drive them to your site using another method.
There is a simple test you can use to determine if marketing your product online is best achieved thru SEO, or, some other method, or both. Think about your product or service and write down the words you feel describe it. Just like you would search for an item by categories in the phone book, clients will seek products online. Using your browser type in the words and search. Your results will reveal one of two things: competitors selling the same thing; or, sites that may have used one or more of the words used in the search but have nothing to do with what you are offering. If you fall into the second category don’t give up on your website dreams just yet. Try different words to use in your search. After several attempts, if you can’t find one competitor, it may be time to consider if you have a viable product that can be sold on the internet, or at least to clients searching for it using the internet.
If you fall into the second category, it’s possible your offering is so nebulous that it will be difficult to find a way to market it online. In this case you might explore a local approach using a well-designed brochure to hand out directly or via email to potential clients to see if there is any interest for your offering. Finding clients that are looking for hand-held tablets will reveal many more viable web hits than clients searching for fresh air in a can.
If however you fall into in the first category then the internet is right for you. Use the web designs of your most successful competition as a benchmark and mimic what they do. Your website should be designed to target the customers you can service. If you are a house cleaning service in Austin Texas it won’t do your clients any good calling you from Los Angeles, California. So your web content will need to target clients that will seek your services in and around Austin. If your products or services are available to be shipped or serviced nationwide then the internet is wide open and your website should be designed to target a national audience.
How Much Money Do I Need?
Again, the axiom “more is better” applies to budgeting for your new company. It’s simple really, the more you spend the more likely you are to reach the audience you want. The less you spend, the more you can expect slow growth. If you have limited resources to allocate to your new venture then you need to make sure that whatever you do spend stands the best chance of reaching potential buyers. Having a good web designer can be valuable asset at this stage especially. If you have unlimited resources then have at it. The sky is the limit, just make sure you have researched and have answers covered by the other topics in this article.
In short, no matter which budget category you fall into, limited or unlimited, whatever profit you start to show always allocate a portion to improving or designing new methods of reaching even greater targeted audiences to grow your business.
Date : 7/26/2011