The driving force behind a little biz is usually the product that you sell. Making your product is the thing that brings you joy, the part of your biz you love doing and the thing that inspired you to start your biz in the first place. But often we put so much effort into making our products and not enough into the things we are doing to promote our products. And then we wonder why people aren’t knocking down our doors to buy!
Your brand message
Your brand message needs to match your product, and the way you show that product to the world. for instance if your brand message is high quality, then don’t show poor quality snapshots of your product. if your brand message is luxury, don’t just pop your images on a facebook page, create a gorgeous catalogue. if your brand message is custom-made, one of a kind, make sure your images are as well.
Your product images are one of the most important parts of promoting your biz, so it is well worth and investment of time or money to be sure they are superb. take time to think about the kinds of images that will match your brand and find photographers or resources that will allow you to get those images. look to see what other, unrelated businesses are doing with their images to find new inspiration. be sure your images match your brand message!
Product descriptions can be a tricky thing to write, people either have not enough information or they have way too many descriptors. just because your item is hand-made, one-of-a-kind, custom ordered and exquisitely detailed does not mean you need to say all of those things at once! be clear, be simple and just say exactly what you need people to know. be sure your descriptions fit with your brand message!
Depending on your product you may have a number of choices on offer: colours, patterns, styles, sizes, postage… and more! it can easily get very complicated for a customer to figure out how to choose what they would like. find a way to make it simple for people to choose options and before you publish your product prices & descriptions get a number of people to test it out, see if you are being clear and simple.
Pricing & packages
Like many biz builders you probably struggle with your pricing. we are often tempted to price things low as a way to get customers. but it is very important that you do not sell on price. affordable or cheap should not be your brand message. if that is the only reason people are buying your thing, no one will stick around when someone else comes along and undercuts your prices.
Take time to be sure your price matches your brand message and is competitive in your niche. if you have product packages that you offer demonstrate the value people receive rather than how affordable it is. if you have names for your different packages or pricing levels make sure those match your brand too.
there are a lot of choices when it comes to how we market our products; with a number of print options (flyers, catalogues, brochures, posters, post cards, print ads etc.) as well as online options (websites, blogs, e-newsletters, facebook pages, flickr albums, online ads, etc.) we can sometimes spread ourselves too thin, or take a free option that can be ineffective.
Determine where your ideal clients will be most likely to look for information on your products and focus on a few marketing strategies that will match your brand message. Invest your time and money into doing a few things really well, rather than trying to do all of them poorly.
If all of your competitors post flyers at the local coffee shop hand out tri-fold brochures and have a facebook page, do something different to promote your biz. Create a gorgeous online magazine, hand out mini-cards with different product images on each (moo.com has fantastic mini-cards), or display a stunning canvas collage of your products at a trendy café. Look to what other businesses outside of your niche are doing for inspiration. Use your promotional materials to stand out from the competition.
Nothing dilutes a brand message or makes you look more unprofessional than inconsistency. whether you are promoting your products online or in print be consistent with how you show your product – image styles, image sizes, image borders, font styles, font sizes, background colours, additional design elements, watermarks… these are all places where consistency will make your promotional materials look professional.
In addition, be sure you are being consistent across the methods you use; your facebook album should clearly match your online catalogue which should clearly match your e-flyer which should clearly match your printed brochure.
Not only do your promotional materials and strategies need to match your brand message but you should also use this as an opportunity to display the look of your brand as well. use the colours, fonts & designs of your branding in both your online and print promotional materials. use your logo to watermark your product images, and your brand colour as a border for the images. the more consistent you are the more brand recognition you achieve.
Deal with objections
All customers have objections running through their mind no matter what the purchase. consider ahead of time what those objections could be and use your promotional methods to deal with them. use your images, descriptions & pricing to head off objections as well as being clear about warrantees, return policies, care & maintenance etc.
Tell a story
If you can tell a compelling story about your product your biz will be more memorable, will be more likely to be talked about to others, and will be more interesting to buy from. try to add at least a touch of storytelling to your promotional materials: get people to imagine themselves buying and loving your products, get them interested in the background being your products, or the reason why you do what you do.
However you choose to promote your products the keys are to be consistent with your brand, be professional, and stand out. use this as an opportunity to let your biz and the products you sell shine!
By Karen Gunton