Launching a product business comes with a host of challenges – finding a reliable supplier can be tricky enough. If you were lucky to not face problems here, you are still bound to experience a number of other challenges with respect to distribution, pricing, warehousing overheads and cash flow.
In addition to all this, the biggest challenge comes from marketing your product. No matter what industry you are in, product businesses face tough competition from manufacturers both within and outside your country. Growing your business amid all these challenges can be quite intimidating.
That does not mean that these challenges are insurmountable. Here, in this article, let’s take a look at how you can bypass competition and traditional distribution challenges to grow your business from literally nothing to over one million in sales.
One million may seem like a lot of money, but is an extremely realistic goal to reach. But to get there, it is important to break down your goals into smaller components. For the sake of this article, let us assume that your product is priced at $49. This essentially means that you will need to sell 20,408 products in a year (or just around 1700 products in a month).
This is still a huge number for a startup with no sales yet. But once you have this goal ready, you may break it down further into individual channels. Since you are just starting out, organic traffic is likely to be minimal. You may hence have to rely on advertising and outbound marketing strategies to acquire customers.
Over time, once you have built a solid reputation, you may improve your margins by focusing more on inbound marketing strategies. Check out this article on growth strategy to understand how to effectively break your overall goal into OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) that are easier to implement.
Identifying channels that work
If you are a startup with investors, then advertising is likely to be the most effective channel to bring in new customers. Unfortunately, that is not really an option for a lot of startup businesses. There are however a number of outbound marketing strategies that can work quite effectively for you.
The key to success in all these various strategies is the use of influencers. Influencers are typically people, websites and businesses that hold significant sway among your target buyers. Here are a few ways you could make use of influencers.
The first way to do this is affiliate marketing. These partnerships are fantastic for newly launched products since it helps your brand reach a large population of target buyers within a short turnaround. It is also excellent for the influencer since it allows them to review a product that is not mainstream yet. This enables them to offer unique value to their followers in exchange for commissions every time someone among them makes a purchase.
The second way to do it is by sending across review samples. This is similar to affiliate marketing in that the influencer reviews your product in exchange for a fixed fee or for free. There are tons of high value influencers who review products for free since that maintain neutrality and thus keep subscribers loyal. Many product businesses tend to shy away from such reviewers fearing negative reviews. However, it is worth pointing out that the conversion rate from such reviewers is always much higher since they are offering an honest review.
You may also bypass the influencer and reach customers directly through promotional giveaways. This is however not applicable for high value items since that could incur a lot of marketing expense from your side.
The great thing about using influencers for your promotion is that these users come with thousands of loyal followers and you can hit jackpot with a couple of good reviews. It is not uncommon for businesses to sell several hundreds of pieces from just one good influencer review.
Using influencers to spread the word about your business can bring you tons of traffic and a few sales too. While any sales is good, what you should be concerned about is the traffic that gets away. These are visitors who are referred by the influencer to your store or website and then bounce away. This is targeted traffic that needs nurturing. There are a couple of ways to convert them over time.
The first is through the use of retargeting – this is the use of ads to specifically target people who have visited your website. This however requires advertising money and is thus not always preferred. The other strategy is to use drip marketing techniques. This is the use of lead magnets (like ebooks, videos, etc.) to capture the visitor’s email address and market to them through their email address. Drip marketing is extremely effective and is also incredibly affordable.
While these are good strategies to implement in the initial run, it may be advisable to revisit your OKRs every quarter to tweak your campaigns. This way, you may let go of strategies that don’t work and reinvest your time in those that do. Also, as your website and business grows in credibility, you may invest more of your resources in organic and inbound marketing strategies like SEO and social media.