I’ve been thinking – how should I choose my first market to ensure that I am able to make money?  

I am mired in a bog of confusion when it comes to choosing how to launch a new product. Seasoned entrepreneurs tell me to start with a small, niche, local market. But marketing companies work to sell me on the power of social media marketing to launch my products and capture bigger markets. Who’s right? Doesn’t it make sense to go after the biggest market I can?  

So, let’s say that my product is a subscription-based productivity platform for small companies. I have been working hard to sell the product but have only made two sales in past twelve months. Each sale has been for $100 per month – $2400 for the year. I’m desperate to find a way to reach more customers faster, so I hire someone to create a social media campaign. This costs me $15,000 and I get thousands of clicks on my product, but not a single sale after three months of advertising. This is very disappointing. Next, I start a blog to build awareness and talk to my community. Unfortunately, they don’t talk back.

What should I do now? Why aren’t I getting any sales? There are a few possibilities.

  • Customers are happy with their current solution (I’m not addressing a hair-on-fire problem)
  • Industry standard is Excel or QuickBooks (brand name suppliers)
  • Advertising content and messaging doesn’t resonate with the intended customer
  • The price is too high
  • The price is too low
  • The platform has too many or too few features. Or maybe has the wrong ones.
  • My intended customer never saw the ads or the blog

How do I determine which of these are impeding sales?

I think that the only way to know is to focus on a small, local market that I can easily talk to regularly – at least until I begin to understand their needs and wants. I think that I need to ask them a lot of questions before I am confident that I have a product that addresses a real problem, with an agreed- upon set of features, for an agreed-upon price. And I think that I need to know that my messaging resonates with my target customer. I think that if I have an established brand, social media marketing might work brilliantly. But if I am just launching my product, I think that I need to stop trying to talk to a far-flung, generic market and talk to my customers instead.

What do you think?

Until tomorrow, GUNG Ho friends!