We know the world isn’t black and white. There’s a lot of grey in-between and same goes for selling a product or launching a brand online. Multiple factors go into its eventual success or failure, but after launching thousands of campaigns for a countless number of brands, here are my 3 factors to selling a product successfully online from bootstrap and not if you have a few hundred thousand dollars to launch a business.
Is it unique?
One of the most important factors I have seen in selling a product is the market fit for the business. Is there an obvious open market for it which makes it unique. Is it a “category-creator” because this category never existed previously before? Can you compare it to anything else that is out there? If your product or business idea isn’t any of these things, than it will need to do the other factors I list here very, very well to stand a chance.
Test this idea with friends and family. If they can poke holes in it, then rework it. No one will steal your idea. It’s too much work and investment for them, no matter how great your idea is.
Imagine if you saw an ad in the paper for a brand new Mercedes Benz at a great deal. You find the address and you go the next day. You get there and you realize it’s in a shady part of town, it’s actually in an alley between a pawn shop and a liquor store. Now you start receiving red flags. There are rats and an overflowing dumpster. Now your shopping experience is becoming really uncomfortable. Same goes with your brand and site online. The visuals and branding isn’t everything, but strong design does accomplish the right communication you need for your business:
- Trustworthiness – A competent brand gives intangible cues to customers that they’re making the right decision in purchasing the product.
- Reputation – A strong brand creates a sense of reputation.
- Communicates Values – What values does your product or business represent? Is it being communicated through your brand? If your product is selling something related to home security, you don’t want them to have a “fun” or “light-hearted” design for example. You want to communicate a sense of security.
The design doesn’t need to be award-winning, it just needs to communicate clearly and correctly. Don’t make this process any more complicated than it needs to be! Start with a logo, colors and a font!
This one is unique to online selling only because there are only a few ways a potential customer can interact with your brand online: video, pictures, sound, text. Physical brick & mortars have the advantage of physical experience and touch. (Think lying on a mattress in the store or test driving a vehicle) Online brands don’t have this luxury. A few online brands have done their best to bridge that gap like the try-at-home glasses feature from Warby Parker or brands which communicate their return policies strongly. Since an online brand is restricted in its way of presenting it’s effectiveness, you need to creatively present it’s main value proposition in a visual way. A video presenting the problem, the product, and how effective the fix is from the product. This process is simplistic and can vary depending on the brand you are trying to push. Purple Mattress does a great job in showing the value prop of their product in a fun and eye catching way.
This is just three factors of a long list of variables, but three of the most important to understand about your product or brand before your launch ads or pushing it in any sort of campaign. Don’t be afraid though for these to change and develop over time as you learn more about market or your product. You may never know how successful something is until you launch it!