Not everyone who decides to open a small business; or sell from Facebook, Etsy, or elsewhere, has formal business training. Many people do it for supplemental income. Many do it because they were laid off, or have trouble finding an outside job in this economy. Many of these entrepreneurial people learn as they go, or look for informal training methods. With that in mind, I am writing a post on the 4 P's of Marketing. It is a traditional concept that carries through the ages, through the advent of social media and anything that is still to come. Here is a brief description of each:1. Product. What are you selling? Do you focus on one product line, or have multiple? Do you put all your time, energy and skills into one product to make it perfectly, with no quality issues...or do you spread yourself too thin, making many average items, but nothing spectacular? You can add to your product mix, but are you doing this at the expense of your original items? You must define your product line so your customers can too. Otherwise, they are left confused about who you are, and don't want to bother taking the time to figure it out.
2. Price. Do you have a pricing strategy? You must research your competition. What is their price point? How do you differentiate from them, or don't you? If you don't, that's okay, as long as your item is either higher quality or same quality but lower priced. How do you justify a higher price to your customers? If you price too low...
, does this indicate to your customers that your product is of a lower quality? Think about the value your product provides, and price accordingly. Are you covering your costs and making a profit? Are you keeping accounting records? Are you factoring your labor cost into your price?
3. Place. Where do you sell your product? Do you sell at a brick and mortar store...a boutique perhaps? Do you sell at craft fairs? Do you solely sell online? Who is your target market? What is the age range / gender / education level / ethnicity / etc, or is your product one size fits all for all consumers? Make sure you are selling via a channel, online or offline, that has the clientele who comprise your target market. If your target customer doesn't frequent a particular shop, craft show, or website, then do not sell there...and do not advertise there either.
4. Promotion. How do you sell? How do you promote your products? Think about why someone would purchase your product, and play into those sensitivites, needs, and desires. If you sell online, do you have quality photos of your items? Are the photos consistent...same background and lighting in each? This gives your images a nice flow and is pleasing to the eye. Do you offer incentives for people to visit your Facebook page...contests, giveaways, sales? Do you advertise...offline or online? Do you use Google Adwords? Do you advertise on blogs? These are both relatively inexpensive means of advertising online. If you advertise online, are you tracking your ROI (return on investment) to determine if that advertising method is worthwhile? Give it a couple months, then move on if it's not generating sales.
Over the next few weeks I will devote a post to each particular P in the 4 P's model. It will be a Marketing 101 for anyone who wants to learn more, brush up on what they've previously learned, or be reminded to pay attention to their marketing strategy.