How to Promote Products

by Christopher

Armed with an business idea, the basic questions must be asked. "Is there a market for my product or (service), and can it support me?

Finding the answers means that you will have to do some Market Research to define the size of this market, it's area and develop whether a need or wants exists. You can then assess if you are able to generate enough profit to make a living. You will also have to find the answers to these 2 questions:

Who the competition is

> What is different about your product

Wanabee entrepreneurs often say "I'm not trying to make a lot of money, just to cover my costs of living"

What they don't realise is that they will discover that it's very hard to make the sales - far tougher than they probably anticipated. And that's just the offline world.

What about the online world then? That's just as tough. Cheaper, but tougher because of the millions of websites all competing for that piece of the pie.

But to succeed, you need a great product. This means that market research needs to be done.

Your Market Research needs to find out:

Is the market actually interested in this product Is the price about right And thirdly, how many will you sell

Before officially launching a new product or making improvements to an existing one, you need to know it's potential sales volume before any resources devoted to it, are not wasted in a unplanned attempt to find a substantial enough market for it.

The activity used to establish whether customers might buy, is called market research.

There are 2 types:

(A)Desk Research

This is about researching any past records on matters relating to the proposed venture. This kind of information can be gathered from publications, the internet and the trade publications of competitors, to give you indication of popular trends.

(B)Field Research

This involves active fieldwork - interviewing potential customers, preparing questionnaires and getting them filled out by the public at arranged events, and always by selected target groups known as 'segments'.

These segments of the population may carry out tests oranswer questions on a certain topic.

A good questionnaire will:

Ask questions which relate direct to information needs Be brief Not ask personal questions Questions are asked in a logical order

To help interviewers operate a questionnaire, sometimes a prompt card is used. This means that if several or all the questions have the same range of set answers, they can be numbered and the respondents answers can be recorded as numbers.

Marketing

Okay, I wish to discuss the subject of Marketing first, as it's tricky to get right, and most people DO get it wrong.

In my opinion, there are way too many internet 'experts'.

Most are self appointed, as the ease of the web allows anyone to set themselves up as one.

You never truly know who you're dealing with, so please be careful.

Let's get through what marketing actually is. "Marketing is the anticipation and fulfilment of a consumer need - profit."

Fulfilment could mean anything, and as far as the web is concerned - it does. It could be to write and post an article, but whether that satisfies a need, only the customer can decide that one.

The implication of Marketing is that for any company to pursue it's objectives and generate a profit, it needs to find out what it's customers want to buy and then simply meet those needs.

In order for you to be successful - You MUST build up a profile of customers:

What they want to buy

When they want to buy it

What they do

When and why they do it

In a nutshell, what will encourage them to buy or use your product. You have to study their habits and motivations. That will give you the Gold, so to speak!

This is what all that Market Research is for - to give you that information.

Understanding Customer Behaviour

This is so important! The customer IS king, so we need to understand the thinking behind a purchase decision, then and ONLY then can we sell effectively thus (hopefully) satisfy that need and want.

Which is your main Goal.

Buying Decisions

Buying goods or a service is not as simple as you may think. Customers do not make purchases without thinking about their requirements, well some don't think when buying off the net - that's for sure.

An organisation that understands why customers make these decisions, who buys, what they buy and how they pay, can design products to attract the attention of consumers, (but not all necessarily do cater for customer needs) - but do become profitable from it.

Social factors as a trigger to buy

Developers, manufacturers, and distributors of products must be interested in what makes people buy. And that is Motivation.

Abraham Maslow, a psychologist educated at Brandeis University, created a hierarchical picture of human needs. Motivation, is related to purchasing intent, and has a major effect on why and what people are buying for.

Hunger - we need food

Warmth - buy clothing

Protection - could mean that person wants a pension

Social - anything from buying because of 'acceptance' to meet peer pressure etc

Self-realisation - full personal development, the want to own a business etc

Maslow's system is easy to perceive as different products relate to the single needs easily.

The Marketing Environment

Responsibilities and Customers

Any product or service that is provided to the market must meet certain standards of quality. Some of these standards are set up by law, some are industry standards and others by businesses.

Before the 1960's, customers had little protection under law, and this seems to have transferred to the internet, where there are few laws nor the manpower to police this vast matrix of computers.

Most buyers are forced to use their own common sense when deciding if something is a scam or not. The Latin expression caveat emptor - "let the buyer beware" - applies much these days.

The UK legal system exists and is supposed to provide a means of settling disputes - but I feel they have their work cut out for them regarding the internet.

What kind of disputes do we look out for?

Goods not matching descriptions. Goods not matching the descriptions in advertisements or on the packaging, and is illegal and comes under The Trades Descriptions Act

The product description forms part of the contract that a buyer has with the seller. So any description HAS to be accurate by UK law. Terms like shrinkproof, IF USED, must be Genuine, and MUST do what it claims to do…….

And that's Law.

So if a info product makes the claim in writing on a web page (which is a publication), that if you follow the directions stated, you will get 1 million visitors to your website without paying a dime in advertisement - if you follow this advice, and it doesn't give you your visitors, then you should be able to sue for a refund.

Which brings us on to another type of dispute - Misleading Offers

Consumers can easily be misled by offers, bargains and rights concerning sales products. This interestingly, also concerns Breach of Contract, if the supplier fails to deliver in some way.

This is common of the internet info products area, and is an issue that isn't going to be resolved for a long time - I feel.

Onwards and Upwards……….

Market Segmentation

Instead of trying to serve everyone (too big a market to take on) most marketers focus their efforts on different needs or wants of consumers.

Within this market-place it is possible to split people into groups (market segments) so different marketing strategies, forms of advertising etc - can be used. If you try to market a single product to the entire population - you just aren't going to satisfy everybody. The product will be wrong for most people being targeted. And can be a massive waste of ad costs as well.

Marketing to all, is known as 'Marketing by blunderbuss'. Firing shots that will spread out towards the whole market place, will just hit everyone - and you don't want that, when you need to be selective! Being selective with your advertising, will produce the best savings and get the attention of the correct customer.

A rifle with an accurate (targeted) sight will hit the target (consumer) more efficiently, without wasting ammunition (ad budget).

Now, we'll take a look at the Marketing Mix.

*Marketing Mix *

You should be using this method - if you want to plan what you are doing, and if you want to be successful.

The 'mix' is just your marketing strategy - that's all. It should be made up of these parts though:

oProduct

oPrice

oPlace

oPROMOTION

But let us deal with promotion, as that's probably what you want to know about.

Today the exchange of information takes place through media, people search for this information, so advertisers place theirs on carefully selected websites etc. The web is such a network., and network of communication is essential for promotions. And that is what you should be focussing on.

Highly popular websites.

Advertisements

You have a product, you now need to advertise it - and get it in front of an audience. This is done through proper advertising methods.

Advertisements are simply messages designed to inform, and influence certain groups (remember segments?) and this will give you the best chance of selling it to them.

A space is paid for in a publication, for a limited period of time (3 months etc), and the message is made up of words, colour, use of images and sound - to attract potential buyers.

* please note that it's the 'ad space' you are paying for - not the results! But it's in the interests of the publisher to make their medium popular, so that you get some kind of result. And the type of Medium you choose will determine the QUALITY and quantity of your result.

But you need to have advertising or people will not necessarily find you…..

At the heart of advertising lies the clues of where the interests of consumers lie, and how they will respond to different messages. Good copywriting is important, and believe it or not, customers actually like being sold to.