Here’s more from Suzy Batiz, our latest source of inspiration in the StartupNation community. She’s made over $1 million in first year revenue for her Poo-Pourri product line. Want your own success story featured here someday? Then read what Suzy shares below in Part 3 of her advice to fellow entrepreneurs.
In Suzy’s words:
How do you market your product?
Study companies that have successfully launched a product that is somewhat similar to yours and follow their lead.
And, the product does not have to be exactly the same product line as yours. For example, is it consumer goods or a service? If it’s a consumer good then find other consumer goods product that has been successful in your opinion. Do some research on them to determine how they marketed their products and services. The web hosts tons of articles about successful companies and their success stories.
Personally, I was launching a taboo product with an edgy name. I found Spanx undergarments, not because it closely resembles my product but because it also has an edgy name and is something people don’t talk about much. It also has been wildly successful in a short amount of time! After my research, I learned that Susan, the owner of Spanx, used PR to launch the product and not with the normal advertising route. This was a relief because we did not have a budget for pricey ads or any ads at all. Susan says that she hired a PR assistant to help her; I did not have that luxury so I started reading everything I could on PR to see what I could do myself. .
Find a name that is memorable and catchy.
After researching how to market a taboo product, I found that many time experts said that humor was the best way to go. Armed with that information, I reached out to my friends and family for help. Simply saying, “I need help finding a name for my product that catchy with humor, can you put this in the back of your mind and call me with any ideas.” My sister-in-law called a few days later with a name that was close to perfect and together we decided on Poo~Pourri. It was an edgy name and definitely memorable. Then I tested the name out with friends and family to see what they thought. (They will be more honest than you may imagine). It has unanimous approval so I went with it.
Having a great name will help create momentum by people talking about your product to others, it worked for Spanx. Word of mouth is the best kind of free advertising you can get because it comes with credibility. You cannot ask for more than that.
Create packaging that is compelling.
Competition is stiff, the economy is tight and the thing that makes people pick up a product is different in many industries. For example I was making a bathroom product and I could have gone utilitarian and serious but with my humorous catchy name I went with an over the top French perfume look. Who would think that a bathroom freshener would look so pompous? The packaging makes people pick it up. Research says if a consumer picks up your product then you have a greater chance of it actually going into the basket. So create a packaging that makes someone pick up your item is a good bet.
Go to stores and see what catches your eye; certain colors, styles, shapes, phrases? Then take notes and ask your friends to do the same. What do they find compelling what do they buy and why? Listen and then take that as your base to create your package, image, logo, etc.
Figure out who your target market is.
Our core products are marketed to women in their mid 20’s to early 50’s. They shop in upscale stores and are looking for something different. Since the product is more expensive than my competitors’ products, it had to look more expensive to appeal to our target market. The first thing we hear is “what great packaging.” I am sure it would not have been as successful in a more utilitarian package with these same prices.
Market your final product within your own community first.
Talk with friends about who they know at radio stations, TV stations, etc. It’s very important to get your product into the radio or TV show hosts hands and to not let it go through sales because they do not like products being talked about on air for free; which is understandable. Create a compelling story about your product or a way to get the hosts to look at it. I sent a radio station morning host team (Lex and Terry) a roll of toilet paper with my product stuffed inside and a note that said, “Terry, Lex said you needed this.” This created a good topic for their morning show. They talked about it on air for about 3 weeks and even talked about it with Paulie shore on air. They never interviewed me but we received tons of orders online from it. And, our catchy name leads to people telling others and so on so all mentions good. Since this worked so well I did that at a number of radio stations and have had many interviews on nationally syndicated shows. If its working-keep doing it.
TV stations tip: Always send TV stations press releases and story ideas the Friday before a major holiday. They are usually slow because 75% of their stories are from government agencies (police, fire, etc). Create a story around the holiday. We have launched a campaign to TV stations, “A fathers day present that will create marital bliss” (thanks for the tip, Rich!)