If you have started your own business and know you have a great & best-in-class product, you still might find that your products are not flying off the shelves or your phone is not continuously ringing with requests for your services. The best product in the world can still not succeed if it’s not supported with appropriate marketing behind it. Think of the Sony Betamax in 1975, which lost out to the inferior, but more importantly not proprietary, VHS standard. Or take the HD-DVD which was deemed the natural successor to the standard DVD. But with key manufacturers pushing the Blu-Ray standard, the days of the HD-DVD were quickly numbered. The key to turning a good product or service into a successful business is marketing. But what if research and design and prototyping have sapped all the available funds? And you are stuck now with a warehouse full of products? Here are some marketing ideas you can work on with a shoestring budget.
With the attention span on an individual now down into seconds, work on your elevator pitch. Not only does it help in selling that product to a person next time you have a chance encounter, but it also helps refine your consumer-facing message. People might not be interested in the full history of how you managed to create the product, but they are interested in 1) what does it do, 2) how will it make their lives better, 3) how is it different from other similar products and 4) what does it cost?
Once you have your sales pitch down, spread the word around in your network. You will be surprised how you are only a few connections away from that person that needs your product. Think ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.’ If you have a short story (see previous elevator pitch) and something people can share or pass on, you will leverage your network properly. If you throw in a ‘Friends & Family’ discount as well, there will be even more incentive.
Collaborate and build relationships within your own vertical. The competition doesn’t want you to succeed, but that is different for companies that are supplementary. If you are selling ice cream cones for example, why not team up with an ice cream maker? Or the company making the napkins to hold the cones in? Or the people making sprinkles and chocolate to go onto the ice cream? Think out-of-the-box, reach out to this companies and build a relationship. Referrals can be a cornerstone of client acquisition.
Use social media for all that its worth, if you have a nose for it. Not everyone is suited to push their brand on social media, and it is a bit of an art form. If you are, fantastic, you can create quite the buzz if you can provide funny, creative, and original content. If you are not, hire a professional. Most PR and marketing agencies can help, and some offer community management. Consumers nowadays expect companies to be active and respond online. Professionals will come at a cost. However, it might be chosen to go for unsecured loans, refer to a comparison website for the best option for you.
Remember that a lot of marketing is about letting go of what you think of what your brand and product is and listening to what others think of your brand. Don’t allow a great product not succeed because you haven’t told enough people about it, in the right way.