By Jonathan Long, founder of Market Domination Media.
The internet, combined with a well-thought-out online marketing strategy, has completely removed the barriers of entry when it comes to creating a product and launching it to an audience worldwide. In fact, you can do it in less than a week. I'd been brainstorming product ideas for a while, and on a recent trip to Hawaii with my fiancée, I remember deciding it was time to get started. Here's how I created and launched a teeth whitening kit -- in just a few days.
Find a Brand Name That's Available Everywhere
I already had the domain and social profiles registered. Make sure your brand name is easy to remember and available on all the social media platforms you plan to use. I would suggest always opting for a dot-com domain, and keeping your brand name memorable, yet short enough to create simple social media handles. My business's name, "Sexy Smile Kit," immediately entered my mind and I quickly found out the dot-com domain was available, as was @sexysmilekit on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I secured them all within a few minutes.
Partner With a Manufacturer Who's Easy to Communicate With
Throughout my time consulting, I've heard several manufacturing horror stories. The majority of all these problems were a result of poor communication. I contacted several dozen manufacturers, created a list, and immediately crossed off everyone who didn't get back to me within 24 hours. While this might be harsh to some, I needed to make sure I would be dealing with someone who was ultra responsive. This tactic left me with six manufacturers to explore further. I fired off very specific questions to each one. If their responses indicated that they didn't quite understand my questions, I crossed them off. In the end, I found a manufacturer that I have 100 percent confidence in. Don't make your decision based solely on cost of goods: Poor communication can result in production delays, which can ruin your brand.
Finalize Logo Design, Website Design and Packaging
I sketched out the website layout and logo concept on our flight home from Hawaii, and immediately sent it over to a freelance designer I work with on a regular basis. Within 48 hours, we had it finalized. We then turned the design into a responsive WordPress theme.
Get Your Website Up ASAP
If you wait for your website to be perfect before you launch, you will be waiting forever. Our website launched the day before our inventory was set to arrive. I wanted to get traffic on the site right away to see how it performed on both desktop and mobile devices. Over the next few days, we made several changes, most of which were a result of optimizing based on real user data. To this day, we are constantly making changes and will continue to do so. Getting the website live a couple days early allowed us to watch traffic behave on the site in real time and generate sales before even having product in hand to ship.
Create a Marketing Plan
We've used Facebook ads, which have been helpful in generating immediate traction, but also have Google AdWords and Merchant Center campaigns built out, as well as a complete influencer marketing campaign set to launch. Take advantage of conversion tracking so you know where every sale is coming from. Break your Facebook ads into multiple small targeting groups to really understand who your ideal customer is.
Establish Revenue Goals
The more detailed your plan, the more successful your growth will be. I have extremely specific revenue goals, down to daily numbers. When dealing with a physical consumer product, be sure to also consider inventory costs. Our product has an expiration date attached to it, making it important that we hit our sales goals. The last thing you want to do is be stuck with inventory you can't sell. If you thought you needed months to even formulate a product concept before bringing it to market, think again. With a little advanced planning, the majority of the legwork can be done in under a week -- even on an airplane.
Jonathan Long is the Founder of Market Domination Media, a digital marketing consulting agency and consumer product Sexy Smile Kit.