I am a freak for new, clean and comfy socks. I am known to change them on chilly days four or five times. I love how clean socks feel on my feet and I own a metric elephant ton of them.
But let’s face it, socks are kinda boring. We don’t think much about them. Chances are we have been buying the same kind for years. If it was our job to sell socks and gain actual market share, how would we accomplish this?
As you have seen in previous posts, I operated a booth at Comic Con last month and learned a lot of lessons. Rather than share the lessons about what sells and how to price things (most of which won’t help you) I am sharing some of the soft lessons I learned from talking to thousands of people, lessons that can carry over into different aspects of your career and art.
No beating around the bush this time.
We all need to be out among people more.
When we are trying to sell something, even something free, we often have no idea how people feel about it. We don’t know if this item will tickle their fancy or solve a need.
The only way to find out is to get among people. In person.
You heard me, not just on the internet, but in person!
This can be a really tall order to fill, not because we are busy (we are!) but because we are really, really afraid of people.
I will touch upon the fear a bit more next week but for now, let’s imagine you have a new brand of sweat-wicking sock that you want to market to professional athletes.
You have two ways to market these socks, the passive way and the active way.
– Start a website and load it with keywords. Follow analytics rules. Wait.
– List them for sale on eBay, Etsy, Amazon. Get a few sales. Wait.
– Post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr. Wait.
– Call up ten sports friends and ask them to try the socks. Let them know they are really important to your market testing. After they have tried the socks, give them a gift of appreciation.
– Go to ten schools and offer free socks to coaches to give out to athletes.
– Offer free socks to anyone who posts a picture of their feet on Instagram (while wearing them).
– Mail one pair of sock per day to someone with influence along with a personal, hand-written note asking nothing in return. “Please enjoy the socks!”
– Go to trade shows and ask people to try on the socks and give their opinion. Make it clear they are not for sale and this isn’t a sales pitch. Talk to those people about how they feel about socks. Invite their kids to make sock puppets and videos about sock puppets (with your logo).
– Go to the farmer’s market and have a booth with a contest called “What can you fit in the sock?”
– Do all of the above, many, many times, as many times as you can.
Socks aren’t exciting and chances are, neither is what you have to offer. It’s likely someone else already thought of it long ago. The competition may be too high. The demand may be low. In other words, your offering is very unlikely to wow anyone. Been there, done that.
But you can make it special if you involve others!
You need to be out among the hoi polloi, hearing their feelings and gathering data. In person!
Next week I’ll dive into how to make your product special by using feedback from others. It is something I am personally working on and getting excited about.
If you are enjoying these posts, please take the time to share them and subscribe. I can’t promise you a new pair of socks but I will think fondly of you when I don a new pair for the fifth time tomorrow.
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