How to Market Your Products & Make More Money
When I started CigarScore in December of 2018, I only had a rough idea of how I'd monetize the platform. I knew I wanted to sell upgraded listings and advertising, but I didn't yet have a marketing plan or a strategy I could put in place.
Want to listen? There's an audio version (with BONUS content!) below
But on January 11th, just 27 days after launch, I released the product and started contacting business owners around the country. Four days later, on January 15th, I made my first sale. Seventeen hours later, I made my second sale.
Fast forward to today and this business gets over 5,000 highly targeted visitors a month, has a 4-digit email list, multiple advertisers and affiliates, and generates thousands of dollars in revenue each year.
I've already written about how I launched a new business here, so today I wanted to focus on how to market your products better so you can make more money. Cool?
How to Market Your Products & Make More Money
1: Research, Research, Research
You must know your product as well as or better than your customers. I've been enjoying cigars since I was in college. I know the products, I know how they're made, I know the lingo, and I know how to talk in a way my customers understand and relate to.
NOTE: If you believe cigars are terrible, watch this first. Also, today's post isn't about cigars, it's about principles to build your business, so let's get back to it.
If you're going to do business with people who live day-in-and-day-out with a particular problem, you've got to know about their problem as much as they do.
Research helps you understand.
If you're going to talk about bugs and pest control, you've got to know more about bugs than the guy who's calling you for help. If you're going to sell email automations, your customers shouldn't know more about the topic than you. If you want to get into real estate, you've got to know the markets and what's available better than any buyer with a Zillow account.
Research allows you to get (and stay) informed.
In his book Ogilvy on Advertising, Dan Ogilvy shared a great tip about researching and how knowledge relates to making sales. Ogilvy says,
“What distinguishes a great surgeon is that he knows more than other surgeons. It is the same with advertising agents. The good ones know more.”
Research enables you to sell more than the other guy.
2: Define Your Avatar
If you want to market your products more effectively and make more money in your business, you first must know A:) what your product does, and B:) for whom.
NOTE: Your “avatar” is a caricature or representation of who your customer is, including their gender, age, problems, goals, financial situation, background, etc. The more info you have the better.
I know how to talk to people who enjoy cigars because I'm someone who enjoys cigars. I know how to talk to business owners because I'm a business owner. Regarding my new business, CigarScore.com, we have to cater both to the people in the cigar community and the business owners who run the shops around the country.
CigarScore's users are searching for a lounge (a listing) where they'll want to enjoy a cigar. Those listings represent brick and mortar businesses owned by entrepreneurs and companies. The business owners who have their lounges listed on the site want their businesses to show up when people search in their area.
After you've done your research and defined your avatar(s), you can communicate in a natural way that makes it easy for your customers to relate to you. The more you know the better you can simplify complex topics. The better you know your avatar, in my case I am my avatar, the more comfortable you will be when speaking their language. Both lead to more sales.
If you need help creating your ideal client avatar, or if you'd like to use the tool I use to better understand my customers and clients, click here for the tool I created.
3: Know Where Your Product Fits in the Marketplace
Is your product high end? Is it cheap and quick?
Do you make a luxury product that lasts? Or do you sell perishables that will need to be replaced?
It may seem like a small thing, but if you don't know where your product fits you won't know how to market it.
And, regarding your product's “fit,” there is no right answer. You can make money and be profitable in both categories.
However, it's much easier to start off with a higher-end or premium product and then create a budget or lower-end product later, than vice versa.
Remember when budget car maker Hyundai decided to start manufacturing the $60,000+ “Genesis”? Ya, that didn't go over so well. However, when Tesla decided to drop the price of their high-end, all-electric cars, they were praised for it. Starting at a higher price and then, later, releasing a lower-cost solution is often better (and easier) than making the leap from budget to premium down the road.
Putting in the work to define your customer avatar early will help you prevent your products from having an identity crisis later.
4: Create Your Big Idea
Whenever I think about starting a new business or adding a new product, I think about four things.
- First, I look at the need the product will meet.
- Second, I think about how much work will be involved to make the product successful.
- Third, I look at the profit margin.
- Finally, I look at if the product can scale and if it's sustainable.
As you build your business and come up with your next product, think about your idea as a big idea. Think about it in terms of changing the world.
Does your idea shock you? Is your idea awesome? Is your product unique? Will it last?
When I created CigarScore, I knew the need my product would meet – I wanted to build the best place to find and rate where to smoke cigars. I wanted to build something better than Google for my fellow aficionados. However, I wasn't totally prepared for the amount of work it would take to be successful. In fact, it still sometimes shocks me (that’s why I tried to pay someone to do it). Profit margins are great (if I don't pay myself). And, while I think it's awesome, my idea isn't entirely unique. But I do think it will last (and scale), and it's very sustainable.
5: Make the Product the Hero in Your Marketing
In your customer's eyes, you are not the hero; they are. And, heros need great tools.
So, in your marketing, your product has to be worthy of the hero, your customer. Your customers have to see themselves achieving all of their goals as a result of using your product.
Your product is the hero that saves the day. It is the hero that meets the need. The product solves the problem, and it is the tool your customer can use to do amazing things. And, pro-tip, the larger the goal your customer can accomplish with your product, the more you can charge for it.
Market your “hero” product by showing it in use. Market your “hero” product by illustrating the results it will help your avatar achieve.
Fitness products don't show overweight people in their marketing; they show fit, cut, and ripped people who could've only gotten that way by using the hero product.
6: Make Your Product “Good”
Customers want to feel good about what they're buying and who they're buying it from. If they're confident you and your product are good, but they question your competitors, they'll buy from you.
According to Ogilvy's research,
“people who know a company well are five times more likely to have a favorable opinion of it.”
And, to paraphrase Cole Hatter, creator of the THRIVE conference,
All things being equal, consumers will choose to buy from the company that is doing good in the world.
You don't have to be a saint. Your company doesn't have to do a pledge drive or be a non-profit.
However, knowing your products are safe, secure, non-toxic, unharmful, or otherwise “good” in the eyes of the consumer is never a bad thing.
7: Tell A Story
Stories sell. Whether your story is how you saved a marriage with your product or helped someone get out of debt or a dramatic transformation, tell a story.
NOTE: Apple is the world's most valuable company. I bet you know the story of Steve Jobs, don't you?
One of the best stories is a before and after situation.
Before, you had to call a cab and wait. After, you could get a car on demand, right from your phone.
Before, our pizza sucked. [Insert another story about transformation and growth, etc.] After, we transformed our company into the largest pizza company in the world.
Home Improvement Company
Before, the house was run down, nothing worked, and everything was falling apart. After your team went in, everything worked, the home felt alive, and the house was transformed into something anyone would be proud of.
If you want to market your products and make more money, describe the problem your customers face and tell the story of how your product is the solution.
When you can masterfully weave each of these elements into a compelling story, you will sell more, and you'll have an easier time doing it. I promise.
Research everything. Study the market, do everything you can to understand your customers, and invest the time in learning the ins and outs of your products and what they do, and who they do it for.
Price your products according to the joy they provide, the need they meet, or the solution they offer. Develop a plan to make your product the hero so other heroes can wield it to get what they want.
And, finally, put in the work to discover the story you, your business, and your products have to tell. When you do each of these things, you'll grow your business, sell more products, and make more money.