Knowing your customer inside and out is VITAL for any business, whether your product is physical or digital. So far, we’ve spoken mostly about physical products, but If your product’s digital or you’re trying to build a digital platform, how do you make sure you’re reaching your audience?
As the Director of a company offering a digital product, Perri offered her pearls of wisdom.
“When we launch a new program, we first identify our target customer. We then try to simplify the program and distill the concept into one sentence so that anyone can understand what our product is and what it can do for you. The best way for us to recruit is with social media, using both organic growth and paid advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’ll find now that when things happen organically, through press releases or a review in a magazine, a brand will often post that on their social media pages and put some money behind it so that people actually see their positive press.”
“If you’re building something and you don’t have a marketing budget, it’s kind of pointless,” Sharmadean adds. “How can you expect anyone to know about your product if you aren’t pushing it out there?”
So, you’ve had a super successful marketing campaign and your product is HOT HOT HOT! You’re getting requests to go international, but what’s the best strategy?
Working for an international distributor, Sarah has seen countless brands on their route to global domination.
“The first step once you’re established in the UK is to go to Europe and you tend to then go to America when your brand is big enough,” Sarah explains. “China seems to be a growing market. Asian customers are very interested in getting British products that they can’t get elsewhere, so it’s definitely worth looking into if you have an unusual product. Territories do vary from product to product though, we deal with a luxury perfume brand that do 75% of their sales to the UAE, but our nail brands don’t deal with that part of the world much at all.”
If you’re selling your product online, there’s no reason not to be an international brand from the start.
“If you have a dry product you can ship it anywhere in the world. If the extra cost is no problem for the customer, which it often isn’t if you’re a cool brand, you should be global online from day one,” says Sharmadean.
Sophie and Hannah offer worldwide shipping of their product and are finding their international orders make up a sizeable amount of their sales.
“What we’re finding at the moment is that we have a large customer base in America, but we have to charge them so much money for postage and we still make a loss on that. We’re now looking for more distribution options with companies that have more experience with international shipping.”
It goes without saying that in business, it’s always best if you can avoid making a loss! But it can be difficult when you’re trying to keep your customers happy.
“One good piece of advice I was given when I wanted to charge more for a leopard print manicure was ‘if you charge £2 more no one will care’, so, if you charge full postage, people will still buy your product. When a product is so hot, it’s almost part of the kudos and the hype that you got it from London and had to pay extra for postage. Customers would rather have the option to pay more for it than not be able to get it at all.”