Got A Brilliant Product Idea! Now What?

You came up with a great product idea and you want to go for it! So what should you do next?

When you think you’ve created the next big thing, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and go full force with the idea. Passion is indeed a component for success, but it’s also important to remain focused and realistic about your expectations. Launching products can be extremely exciting and fulfilling, but it can also become pretty overwhelming.

Taking baby steps especially if it’s your first product launch may be just what you need to get you prepared and well-positioned to grow your business successfully. It’s not always good to go full force even if you have the capital to fund your idea.

Here are three things that may help in the process.

1. RESEARCH & PLANNING. Gathering as much information in the beginning is so important. It is always best to understand the marketplace – what the market demands, your ideal clients and what they’re willing to pay for your products.

At this stage, shop online and at retailers that you think would carry your products, visit showrooms, gift marts and tradeshows as part of your market research. If your product happens to be in the gift category, for instance, there are several gift shows across the United States that are mostly held twice a year. Check out your potential competitors, find out what’s doing well, talk to retailers and get their feedback – they’re a great resource.

Shows are also a great way to get ideas for your products and connect with possible sales reps to represent your line…although I often suggest to my clients to start on their own first and then entertain reps at a later date. The reason for this is you have to pay a commission to a rep which will decrease your profit margin. Besides, YOU are your best sales person. Although this may take up a lot of your time, there is no one more effective who can sell your products than YOU.

Of course, there are advantages to hiring reps. If you choose to do this, just be sure that you have their commission built into your pricing model and that you remain profitable (more on this to follow).

2. PRICING. Pricing is a major factor when doing a product launch. You could have a great product but if the market cannot accommodate the price that you have in mind, it will be a challenge to sell your product. Look at your competition and check out how much they’re selling their products. Do a price comparison on your product line. Make sure before you even go into production that you’re going to be able to sell your products at a price that is PROFITABLE for you! I know this may seem obvious but I’ve seen so many people launch without having a pricing model.

Keep in mind that you may start online because it’s the easiest and more profitable way to sell your products, but you may have plans to grow and sell to independent boutiques and possibly to department stores and major retailer, which means you’ll eventually have to hire reps. So you need to make sure your pricing works for all scenarios. Having a pricing model can ensure that you’ll still be profitable even when adding reps, working with smaller margins or adding additional expenses such as warehousing, etc.

I always tell my clients to make sure you look at pricing across all market channels even if you don’t have any intentions to sell to larger chain accounts. It will be challenging to change pricing once your products are already in the market. AND, you can’t have a product selling online at one price and a different price at a retail store. The last thing you want to do is to create competition between you and your customers (retailers). If you must, just make sure that your customers are aware of this from the get go.

3. TESTING. Testing is key when launching a product to the marketplace. The internet, faires, bazaars, shows and expos are all great ways to sell your products initially. A lot of successful business owners started by selling their products at these smaller venues. It’s also particularly a great way to get feedback on your products before doing any large volume production. Most retailers, especially mass chains usually do a test run before committing to a larger P.O (purchase orders) on any product lines especially a brand new line and a brand new company, so you should do the same. You can start by selling your products on your website, sell them on other sites such as etsy.com and amazon.com.

Also, when you approach a buyer, one of the things they may ask is how much sales you’ve made on your product line, so having sell through number to present to them demonstrates that there is demand for your brand new product line in the marketplace.

Promotion Through Online Public Relations

For promoting website content, article submission should go hand in hand with online public relations. The importance of public relations need not explained, as it is of overriding value to the promoter. Online PR is an excellent way of promoting since it targets the mainstream news media more precisely. A good press release that features on the website of a major news network can close the gap between a rank 30 and a rank 10 of one of your key search phrases.

A good press release is always modeled on key questions of why, when, who, where. A press release can bring free publicity from well-trafficked sites, but the release must cater to a particular audience with something specific or important. Most companies or sites use a press release to communicate something new or innovative about themselves. Unless you have something of that kind to tell, wait for a better timing for a press release.

For a press release to be acceptable to PR repositories and major websites, it should be well structured, with the most important part of the message mentioned at the top and later discussed in greater detail. The headline should ideally be less than 20 words and the date and location should be mentioned below it. The body of the release should answer the questions of the five Ws – who, what, when, where and why and should obviously discuss the product or service being highlighted. Generally all press releases carry an anchor-rich HTML link to the service or the product and one to your own website. To conclude mention about yourself and the work you do, the company name, address, phone number and web address in the release.

The next step is to submit the press release to some main online PR repositories. Most importantly, do not fail to remember to carry the original of your press release on your own site, preferably in a ‘news’ or ‘press release’ category under an ‘about us’ section. Some PR sites even offer the opportunity to feed the release into Google News and Yahoo! News. It can make a world of difference to an article or a website.

How To Buy Products Online

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