As bloggers we are always looking for new ways to create ‘side hustles’ or separate businesses that can become an extension of our blogging portfolio, with many bloggers creating products like ‘toys’, ‘books’, clothing lines and innovative gadgets to promote to both a ‘localized’ and international audience, depending on the scope of the product. With more and more bloggers curating carefully constructed recipe books, self-help guides, autobiographical musings and clothing lines catered towards young children and babies, when it comes to creating products, the sky really is the limit. But the question of how to get your new product on the shelves, is an entirely different story altogether, as you look at finding ways to finance your new product, market it to a target audience and figure out how your product-whether it be a book, clothing, toys or something else- has a unique selling point that can identify a gap in the market. Which is where the power of a five step course to getting your product on the shelves- whether that be a ‘digital’ or ‘physical product’ comes into play; from using the power of social media to ‘test a soft launch’ in order to gauge the reaction towards a product you are marketing, to ensuring that you create easy to use illustrated product manuals for products like ‘toys’ here are 5 ways to help get your new product on the shelves.
Use The Power Of Social Media To Test A ‘Soft Launch’
As we live in the ‘digital age’ where our world revolves around the natural augmentation of technological advance, it might not come as a surprise that the best way to get your new ‘product’ on the shelves, is to effectively harness the power of social media. While it is important to not underestimate traditional advertising techniques like print, and face-to-face marketing tactics, social media allows you to tap into a generational audience that will allow you to access relevant consumer trends that can prove to be effective for your product launch, as well as allowing you to alter your product marketing strategy to ensure that your product gets on the shelves. That being said small business owners can find using social media as a tool for self-promotion incredibly difficult at first, as the online community tends to have little patience for self-promoters who view social media as a means to free advertising, especially in relation to ‘MLM’ companies who harness ‘pyramid schemes’. Nevertheless, while small business owners might find it a challenge to strike a balance in using social media to engage and promote their new product, entrepreneurs who familiarize themselves with how ‘social media works’ knows that it is all about engaging the right audiences with valuable content.
For example, lets say that you follow the ‘one in seven rule’, where you focus on six posts centered around relevant content around your product and the 7th product ‘promoting your new product’ , by creating content that has value for the community, your audience are more likely to share and like your content, than they are if all your ‘business feed’ was centered around your product, creating a more organic environment for your audience to follow. For example let’s say that the product that you decided to promote was a ‘toy’ for young children, you might create a ‘product post’ with beautiful natural photography featuring your product, whereas the other six images might be of parents with their children, to cement the ‘child orientated’ product feed, while acknowledging your target launch. Whereas if your product is a new ‘vegan fast food meal’ brand, you might choose to have one image of the product itself, while using the other six images to show how other people are following the vegan lifestyle.
Another useful way of harnessing the power of social media to market your products is through using influential content creators/celebrities/ relevant industry insiders to be seen talking about your new product, especially if it is in the soft launch phase, as this is the most integral way of getting your product seen by your target audience and raise your ‘products’ presence in relation to other competitors who might market your product. For example, lets say that you are a blogger who has decided to write a book on ‘blogging tips’ you might decide to ask bloggers to ‘review your book’ before it is officially launched to create an honest review portfolio, using sites like Amazon and Instagram, to help give your book gravitas, although hopefully the reviews will mostly be positive!
Create A High Quality Illustrated Product Manual With Easy To Follow Instructions
While creating a product like a book or clothing line will most likely not need visual manuals or instructions, for entrepreneurs who are creating products like gadgets, toys or anything else that would need illustrated manuals to ‘put together the product’, ensuring that your product manual is not only bilingual, easy to use but also an accurate reflection of the product in question, is highly imperative. Which is where websites like Manualize come in handy for small business owners looking to elevate the profile of their products, with easy to use illustrated product manuals. Whether you need Visualizing manuals on the basis of existing 3D models to create clear cut vector illustrations for your manual or need icons that are right on target to promote your product i.e an iron symbol for an iron that you have created, an illustrated manual creates a visual and informative source of information that helps your audience use their product purchase effectively. What’s more ensuring that the product manual is bilingual will mean that your product is more likely to sell because you are catering to an ‘international’ as opposed to national audience.
Research Your Competition: Find Out How You Can Stand Out From The Rest
As any savvy entrepreneur knows, it goes without saying that researching your competition can help you make your ‘new product a reality’, especially if you are able to identify a gap in the market that helps solve consumers problems i.e. a watch that is waterproof, tracks your fitness and plays music while you run for example might be a unique idea in comparison to its competitors, even though the three attributes are very common in other products. But learning how to successfully monitor the techniques used by similar rival companies as well as any weaknesses they have that you can improve in creating your product, can be difficult to harness, especially when a simple Google search on how to research your competition comes up with vague articles that allude to ‘being different’ but don’t actually give you the tools and resources needed to actually successfully compete with your competitors. Which is why it is important to move beyond the Google search and instead learn to understand your competitors using a deeper analysis that will equip you with the knowledge to ‘beat the competition’.
First and foremost the more that you ‘monitor’ your competition, the quicker you will be able to get to know their behavior and thus start to anticipate what they will be likely to do next ,which helps businesses like yours gain competitive intelligence, resulting in winning new customers. For example lets look at Tesco’s who has recently opened a new ‘Jacks’ franchise as a direct competitor to discount stores like ‘ Aldi’, as by monitoring their rivals, they have realized that their customers are ‘seeking more bargain’ for their buck, while still having quality laden purchases, a necessity in the modern world. By recognizing your customers needs, you might be able to create a ‘completely different’ or similar product to your competitors with your own personal spin. In the blogging world that could be releasing your own range of ‘presets’ or ‘story templates’ whereas a self-help book on dealing with the blogging world might be a direct reaction to your audiences regularly asked questions and the need to ‘solve the issues’ that they may be having. Another great way of gauging what your target market might want is by keeping abreast of ‘Google Trends’ whether that be local or international to see keywords that people are searching for and how it might help you market your new product. For example lets say that you are seeing that are people are searching for ‘free quirky dating apps’ you might decide to create a dating app that is not only free but also suits your target consumers interests.
Create Giveaways And/Or Contests To Help Generate Excitement Around Your Product From The Offset
Many entrepreneurs and small businesses will often run giveaways, loop giveaways with bloggers, or create contests to generate buzz around a particular product that they are promoting. Brands like Pretty Little Thing are a great example where they will create competitions to win a ‘clothing range’ and money to promote their collaboration with a celebrity or ‘person of influence’ , with thousands of entrants, whereas small businesses might choose to create ‘loop giveaways’ with a select number of bloggers to not only increase their and the chosen bloggers following, but they will also create contests to generate interest i.e. a holiday company might ask bloggers to enter a competition to win the chosen product, by creating a blog post or social media activity centered around the products theme. For example if your product is a recipe book, you might ask people to write a post centered around how they would adapt the recipes for a vegan audience. Or if your product is a holiday rental company who wants to promote their tours, you might offer the chosen entrant the chance to have a free inclusive holiday with that tour in question, as a way of marketing your tour company, in exchange for a blog post detailing why they should be chosen. Once your product is on the shelves you might choose to create more giveaways and contests to reward your audience for following your brands progress which is often a great way to continue social and digital activity centered around the brand.
Create Discounts And Promotional Codes To Make Your Product Attractive To Target Consumers
When your new product is on the shelves you want to continue to generate interest, so that you can develop a customer base over time. Which is why creating discounts and promotional codes is a great way of promoting your product because it shows your audience that you are willing to help them ‘save money’ while offering them a product that they might need and want in their lives. But make sure that your codes are ‘limited time only’ as this creates a sense of urgency which can help your products fly off the shelves, thus maintaining interest in your brand. Not only does a code-whether that be a coupon code found in a paper or an online code on sites like ‘Dealspottr’ or ‘Voucher Cloud’- help to create a sense of urgency but it also enables share-ability, whereby you can share the code through social media channels like Instagram and Twitter, and create a compelling call to action, prompting your audience to use the voucher code to buy your new product. Like bloggers might be given a unique tracking code to promote a brand’s range of products, the same can be done for a brand’s audience too.