If you’re selling anything, sell it to people who are starving
Gary C. Halbert once wrote, “…constantly be on the lookout for groups of people (markets) who have demonstrated that they are starving (or at least hungry!) for some particular product or service.” Effective marketing has to start with the inception of the product or service you intend to sell.
To grow a successful business, this product or service has to be something that people want to spend money on. And the easiest way to know if someone will buy what you’re selling is if they have bought something like it in the past.
Unless you’re inventing a new category of product or service, your brand has to distinguish itself by other means. Let us consider the difficulties of starting a new direct-to-consumer sock store. There are basic requirements that you’ll need to meet before you start to get paying customers.
How do we begin with selling socks online?
The foundation of our new sock brand starts with having a clear and distinguishable quality that provides an immediate benefit to our customers. There are a variety of socks that you can start selling, but it’s vital that you start with one specific type. Running socks, wool socks, compression socks, socks for men, women or, kids—you need to start with a clear focus. You can expand your niche after your brand grows but, the customer needs to have a word associated with your brand when they think about you.
If our selling point is comfort, this will be a hard sell because comfort is extremely subjective and needs to be tested in person. The styles that the socks come in are easier to sell but, the benefit of these styles is also subjective and we’ll end up playing catch up with all of the other established clothing brands that sell socks with “unique and quirky styles.”
Even with great messaging on an e-commerce website, social media profiles, and email newsletter it will be difficult to convince someone to try the socks. Promising a logistical advantage in terms of speed of delivery, reliability, and durability can help however, customers expect this from any brand they spend money on.
There is also an opportunity cost of the time it will take to have the customer try on the sock—if they don’t like it—they then have to go through the return-and-refund process. Even if the process is easy, no one wants to add a new task to their day, they would rather spend money on a brand they already trust.
There is always an opportunity
So after thinking about all of these things, why would anyone try to launch a new direct-to-consumer sock store? The reason why someone can and should start a DTC sock store is that even if selling to the market is difficult now, the market always changes. New customers enter the market every year and this gives us the opportunity to enter their minds first.
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