Marketing a product in the US can be a challenging and costly endeavor. However, there are steps that you can take to follow specific rules and regulations of the US Federal Government as it pertains to advertising and labeling procedures. The marketing process for any type of product is generally the same. However, certain products need specific handling with regard to labeling. You need to know your product inside and out and the same goes for your target market. This article will discuss resources for the US business owner to market a product as well as steps on how to facilitate this marketing process.
Educational Resources on Where to Begin Marketing a Product in the US
The US Small Business Administration is the first resource for business owners seeking to market a product in the United States. They have a listing of comprehensive online resources for the business owner for marketing a product in the US. The nine online tools deal with the following topics which are an important starting off point for business owners:
1. Marketing 101 – Learning effective marketing techniques for the beginner.
2. Marketing 201 – Learning tips for researching the market for your product.
3. Advertising Basics – Exploring the basics to increase product sales and revenue.
4. Email Marketing – Cost effective tips to build brand awareness and customer loyalty.
5. Online Advertising – How to comply with US laws and business regulations.
6. Product Labeling – Is a form of advertising and there are rules to learn and follow.
7. Best Practices – Learn the most comprehensive ways to advertise your product in the US.
8. Specific Advertising – The US Federal Government regulates labeling of specific products.
9. Telemarketing Laws – Learn how to comply with telemarketing rules and regulations.
After you have reviewed the nine online resources from the US Small Business Administration (SBA), you can then check out the SCORE Association. It is a non-profit organization supported by the SBA and has thousands of volunteer business counselors throughout the US and its territories. They offer four ways to connect with their offices in order to receive product marketing assistance as it pertains to marketing basics and ideas, as well as tools for improving online business presence and increasing search engine ranking.
1. Work with an email mentor
2. Visit a local SCORE office
3. Attend online workshops
4. Receive e-newsletters
Utilize Online Technology & Social Media to Market in the US
In order to promote a product in today’s market, it is important to get educated in and utilize the various online technology and social media resources available to you. Five of the major social media outlets which you can utilize in product marketing are as follows: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. Marketo.com offers a free download of an 80 page definitive resource guide for marketing with social media and it has been reviewed and acclaimed by the Social Media Examiner online magazine and Adam Metz, VP of Business Development at The Social Concept.
Steps on How to Market a Product in the US
1. Decide on Solo vs Agency Marketing
Decide whether you want to do the marketing work yourself or utilize a marketing consulting company. It may be easier to work with a marketing firm. However, that option can mean spending more money. Marketing the product yourself is less expensive, but will be a more involved process to complete. Ascertaining your marketing budget is the next step. If you have the funding to hire a marketing firm, it makes sense to work with one. If you are going to complete the marketing steps yourself, it is important to figure out your capabilities. There may be some aspects to this process that you don’t have the knowledge to complete. That’s where free online marketing resources come into play.
2. Complete Market Research & Review
Completing market research is important so that you can ascertain your target market. If you don’t know the specific audience that you are trying to reach, your marketing goals will not be met. Assembling a local US focus group to share your product with is an integral part of completing your market research. After you present your product to this group and they have “tested” it, ask them to complete surveys. The research process also includes scoping out your competition. Investigate similar products already on the market. Gather pertinent information such as price, target market, where the product is sold and how well it’s doing. Once you have compiled your research, record the data into a spreadsheet and review it with your marketing department, business partner or SCORE counselor. This data will enable you to have an accurate idea on where your price point should be, who your exact target market is and where you are planning to pitch your product in the US as well as online through social media and a website.
3. Develop a Comprehensive Marketing Plan
Now that you have pertinent market research data, you need to develop a comprehensive marketing plan. Knowing the factors involved is important. However, you will not meet all of your sales goals if you do not have a specific plan of action. Staying goal oriented during this process is the best way of finding your target market. Create a specific marketing presentation. Your plan needs to have detailed information on which US retail stores, online markets and social media outlets you plan to pitch. Include sketches of advertising copy and what media outlets you will promote on. Think outside the box and create giveaways. Complete your budget in this section and include it in your comprehensive marketing plan. This plan can be reviewed with your SCORE counselor.
4. Market to Your Target Audience
The final step is where the marketing plan is set into motion and you will see whether or not the planning pays off. Connect with the people whom you are selling your product to and make your presentation or pitch. It is important that you have sample products ready during this process. Remember that not everyone is going to think your product is the next best thing since sliced bread. Learn how to take criticism well and accept the good with the bad and move on. The professional opinions that you will receive from your SCORE counselors should be taken under consideration.
The entire process of marketing a product in the US does not have to be a difficult one, if you take the time to stay focused and think clearly. Getting educated with the online resources mentioned and following the steps detailed in this article will help you to remain on target and enable you to reach your marketing goals. Marketing has two sides. There is the fact finding, business aspect as well as the creative design side. Learn how to mesh the two sides into a cohesive blend and you will find that this journey will be a smooth ride.