Creating a product isn’t the end of the road. In order to bring this product to market and benefit financially, you have to find a way to sell the product. But if you don’t have any formal education in sales or marketing, this can be a challenge.
How to Make Your First Sale(s)
Securing your first organic sale can seem like an insurmountable. The longer time goes on, the more you begin to doubt your products and brand. Maybe people don’t like it, you think to yourself. And while this is a possibility, it’s much more likely that you’re failing at sales. So long as the product is unique and/or adds value, there will always be people who are willing to buy it. But can you find them and convert them into customers? Here are some tips for securing those first few sales:
1. Prepare a Systematic Approach
What are you really doing? Selling isn’t something you can do without a plan. For starters, consider the role of marketing. As entrepreneur Mikey Moran explains, “The purpose of marketing is to capture the attention of your target market, facilitate your prospect’s purchasing decision, and offer a specific product for them to buy.” If you don’t have some sort of formalized strategy for executing digital marketing, you don’t have a strong foundation upon which to build future sales. Get this squared away first.
2. Connect With Influencers
If you don’t have a ton of clout in the niche you’re entering, then you need to align your brand with people who do. One of the more cost-effective options is to connect with social influencers. These are bloggers, entrepreneurs, and mini-celebrities who are considered unofficial leaders in this space.
One good strategy is to identify influencers, send them free products or samples, and then encourage them to share their thoughts with their audience. If they continue to spout off good things about your brand, you may want to consider further compensation.
3. Try Guest Blogging
One of the bigger issues entrepreneurs have when first starting out is a lack of an audience. Sure, they know who their “target” audience is, but reaching this audience takes time. Until you get your own, the best way to sell is by tapping into someone else’s. Guest blogging is generally a good solution.
Find an individual or company who isn’t a direct competitor, but has an audience that’s very similar to your target audience. For example, if you’re selling vitamins, a blogger who focuses on fitness and weight loss is probably a good intersection. Offer to write a post on their blog with permission to mention your own product and/or link to it. If the readership is sizeable, you should be able to quickly increase exposure and drive sales.
4. Run a Contest
The key is to drum up a lot of attention around your product. One-on-one outreach is going to be ineffective until you have a brand that’s well established. Your time and energy is much better spent going after the masses. One strategy that’s really effective right now – particularly on Instagram – is to run a contest with a giveaway.
A good Instagram contest encourages people to follow your account, post a picture, and tag a friend. This does a number of things. First off, it grows your account for future success. Second, it directly increases your exposure. Third, it gets people excited about your brand. (Who doesn’t love free?) The hope is that all of these things will eventually lead to sales.
5. Run a PPC Ad Campaign
While not the most organic of methods, it’s effective when you really need to secure some sales. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are designed just the way they sound. You pay a small amount every time someone clicks on one of your ads. Most platforms – like Google AdWords – will even give you a free advertising credit when you sign up. Be sure to create an optimized landing page to funnel your PPC ad traffic to. You’ll get much better results using this method, as opposed to just sending them straight to a product page.
Stick With Your Plan
You’ll hear people tell you to be aggressive when it comes to your first few sales. Others will warn you that you need have patience and let the sales come to you. Neither approach is entirely right. It would be more accurate to say that you should be patiently aggressive. You need a plan for how you’re going to sell your product to your audience, but there’s something to be said for not forcing your message.
The right amount of patience will ensure that you stay on message and don’t compromise when you experience a sales drought or don’t meet specific goals. It’ll keep you grounded and prevent you from taking irrational actions that compromise the integrity of your brand and its values.
There’s also a need for aggression. Too much patience can be associated with weakness or idleness. The goal isn’t to be passive, but to avoid prematurely overstepping boundaries. The correct amount of aggressive ambition will prevent a weeklong sales drought from becoming a quarter-long sales drought.