Build it and They Won’t Come
Every new entrepreneur’s greatest fear is the fear that no one will be there on opening day.
That’s a harsh reality we have to all face, but we do not need to face it unprepared.
If the last few posts were about diversifying and committing, then this one is about being prepared.
The best way to be prepared in business is to have marketing in mind from the outset. I’m not talking about advertising. That’s just a form of marketing.
Remember going through Blockbuster and deciding on whether or not you’d rent a movie because of the packaging? Your product will endure the same experience.
First, spend the right amount of time on the product itself and the experience the customer will have.
Once done, make sure the product and the packing look as good as you can make them.
Remember from the previous articles, you can outsource this. Hire someone who concentrates on this.
You want to build your business around a simple series of ideas: getting new customers to discover you, getting them to like you, and getting them to stick around.
How are people discovering your brand?
Who are you trying to attract?
Who will buy your product?
Once you understand the customer you can appeal to them. Appealing to them is best done through some form of incentive, or just having a product that really speaks to them.
Then, make sure their experience with your company leads them towards opportunities to return.
And if you made a product for the right person, and that person bought your product, they’re sure to like it.
This may be confusing.
I knew my Army Flashcards deck of West Point trivia was going to sell to graduates of West Point. If not a lot, at least a few.
I also thought that it would be something that high schoolers, wanting to know a little bit more about the academy before attending, might be interested in.
But that’s a relatively small audience. With roughly a thousand graduates a year, there’s not a massive body of alumni like some other universities.
Belief in the product drove me, though.
Once completed, I started to do the research.
Who else would be interested in this product?
And that’s when I discovered it. As a graduate of West Point, myself, I’m very familiar with the West Point Parents Clubs.
These are groups around the country that gather and meet. They’re the parents of West Point cadets. They organize military balls and banquets, send cadets boxes of goods during the summers, and they are a massive support group for those going through the West Point experience.
Not only that, they have websites and presidents of each group. That information was publicly available. So I reached out.
And they all have Facebook groups, too. Facebook groups twice the size of each West Point class.
My audience immediately shifted from a few thousand graduates to the families of the graduates.
Parents who want to buy a cool West Point-oriented gift for Christmas for their cadet, or spouses looking to buy the deck full of some nostalgia for their significant others.
Best yet, discovering this new audience gave me a launch date. A weekend where all the parents of the freshmen class visit the academy called Plebe Parent Weekend.
I made sure my infrastructure was set up to take the load of new customers, and I initiated contact.
When I say infrastructure, I don’t just mean that I had enough product. I also had a sign up for my email list, and made sure to be active about sharing my social media.
There are also several free aspects to my website. That way there is value beyond the products.
All those are the ways that I’ll be able to facilitate return customers.
Then it’s all about crossing the fingers and hoping failure happens forward.
More on that next time.
Share my journey and share this article if it’s helped you out in any way. Tag a friend who’s thinking about making the leap!
My latest product is a West Point trivia card deck. Buy it from my site or Amazon to help support Army Flashcards.