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Getting my first launch right for my first "specialized unit" business

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Marketing, social media, advertising

mattn

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Jun 9, 2021
8
23
Hello All!
I'm starting a beverage product, and am likely a few months out from launch. The product is formulated, packaging ready, legal work almost complete, and our copacker is doing a small sample run (about a few dozen of each SKU) to ensure everything is smooth. We will be selling D2C from our website and through some retailers.

With that said, my tasks on the horizon include building the website, creating marketing content, and reaching out to influencers and retailers to promote or sell the product. This is my first rodeo of selling a specialized unit, and I've got a few questions about marketing for the launch. I think this could be a valuable forum for those in a similar position who have built a product but have not yet launched.

1.) The landing page. We currently have 2-3 flavors of one product that we'll be selling. I'm not trying to make the perfect landing page from day one, as I'm assuming that will require a lot of A/B testing and such. However, I'd like to leverage the knowledge of others so I can start off in a decent spot.
* Is it generally better to have all SKUs (again, only 2 or 3) visible in the header and ready to add to the cart, or is it better to highlight one SKU in the header and then put all SKUs directly below? Or some other option I'm missing.
* I would like to implement A/B tests for different layouts, discount incentives, checkout flows, etc at some point. I'm inclined to not put too much effort into this on the first launch because I just want to make sure I have a valued product and can deliver on my promise to the customer. That being said, is there any sort of data to be collected that is immediately valuable and is worth the effort in implementing right away? Are there any sorts of A/B tests that need to be done from day 1? Are these systems easy to set up if they are worth doing right away before the product has strong validation in the market?
* Are there any other tips about making a landing page/website that you wish you would've known when you started your product that might've increased sales by a nontrivial amount?

2.) Marketing.
*
Should I be setting up any sort of system to catch which channel my customers come through on the first launch, or should I delay this until after I have strongly validated that there's a demand for my product? I professionally work as a Machine Learning Engineer/Software engineer and I fear that I'm the type to try to "over-engineer" systems way too early.
* We have some planned days for photo/video shoots coming up. There are a dozen people or so who would promote the product today because they're close connections, and a list of a few hundred people to reach out to in the coming weeks that we believe would be the right "micro-influencers" for our niche. I would like to have these influencers as close to "on board" as possible before we have product ready to ship to them. What are some things we can do as a brand to build trust with these people so they can confidently endorse us as soon as possible? If you were an influencer (heck maybe you are an influencer), and you saw a message from someone who wanted you to promote their beverage, what would be a few green/red flags that would make you more/less likely to promote it (given that you had no actual product to taste).

Thank you, INSIDERS!
 
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Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Sep 13, 2014
3,197
12,745
World citizen
1.) The landing page.

2.) Marketing.
You seem preoccupied with advertising, which is not surprising considering that most people entering the world of selling physical products mistakenly believe that advertising=marketing.

I have posted on this subject here:

The Process of Creating A Real Product

where I mentioned that my hobby horse relates to labeling and packaging, but since then I have expanded my views on marketing and would now urge someone in your situation to expand their views too.

What use will a landing page be if it doesn't target people whose likes, lifestyle, needs, wants, ambitions, interests, position in society, age, gender, and even who they hang out with, fit your product?

Beware of concentrating only on the product’s attributes, features, and other information. Bullet points listing great features can’t produce an emotional connection with the consumer. Remember: “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.”

Walter
 

mattn

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Jun 9, 2021
8
23
You seem preoccupied with advertising, which is not surprising considering that most people entering the world of selling physical products mistakenly believe that advertising=marketing.
I might be preoccupied, but I also think I'm just asking a question about the landing page because I'm about to build the landing page (and I do need a landing page as I'm going to sell D2C in part). I'm on board with what you said here and in the post you linked to — an emphasis on packaging, market research, and logistics (because novices like myself often overlook these things). If I'm asking the wrong questions or focusing on the wrong thing, I'm wondering where my focus should go, given that there's been a lot of time spent on those things? The packaging and labeling are finalized for this first launch. We've done a lot of market research. Logistics will definitely need a bit more work, but each day we learn more as we start to get more pieces of the business finalized.

Thanks for taking the time to respond!
 

focusedlife

Bronze Contributor
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Speedway Pass
Mar 16, 2013
115
181
Brooklyn, NY
@mattn, congratulations on the launch.

Can I ask, who is the product geared towards and who are the influencers that have those folks in their audience?
 
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mattn

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Jun 9, 2021
8
23
@mattn, congratulations on the launch.

Can I ask, who is the product geared towards and who are the influencers that have those folks in their audience?
Largely young women 18-35. Influencers would be people who are representative avatars with a small to medium number of followers or pages who post “health focused” as our product is the kind of thing you might see at a natural grocer or in the organic section.
 

focusedlife

Bronze Contributor
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Speedway Pass
Mar 16, 2013
115
181
Brooklyn, NY
Largely young women 18-35. Influencers would be people who are representative avatars with a small to medium number of followers or pages who post “health focused” as our product is the kind of thing you might see at a natural grocer or in the organic section.
Thanks!

Ok to ask if you have plans on allowing samples at a live event / venue?

I remember the first time I had a red bull was at some kind of event.

A teen duo walking around with backpacks and roller coolers (they were all swagged out).

They even had a red bull smart car.

They were just giving these things out... FREE.

The coolest part?

They would ask folks if they were willing to give it a try right there and then ask "so, what did you think?"

If they liked it → then they would ask if they could record a video testimonial.

If they DID NOT like it → Ask them what they didn't like about it and what they might do to improve it.

Everyone was given a discount coupon to go buy the thing from another concession stand.

I remember thinking that was really clever.

  • Free samples to lower barriers to trying
  • Immediate feedback
  • Ask for real testimonial
  • Or, ask for improvement suggestions
  • Ask for the sale
  • Give an enticement to make that INITIAL money exchange easier.
Seemed smart to me.

Hope that was useful.
 

mattn

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Jun 9, 2021
8
23
Thanks!

Ok to ask if you have plans on allowing samples at a live event / venue?

I remember the first time I had a red bull was at some kind of event.

A teen duo walking around with backpacks and roller coolers (they were all swagged out).

They even had a red bull smart car.

They were just giving these things out... FREE.

The coolest part?

They would ask folks if they were willing to give it a try right there and then ask "so, what did you think?"

If they liked it → then they would ask if they could record a video testimonial.

If they DID NOT like it → Ask them what they didn't like about it and what they might do to improve it.

Everyone was given a discount coupon to go buy the thing from another concession stand.

I remember thinking that was really clever.

  • Free samples to lower barriers to trying
  • Immediate feedback
  • Ask for real testimonial
  • Or, ask for improvement suggestions
  • Ask for the sale
  • Give an enticement to make that INITIAL money exchange easier.
Seemed smart to me.

Hope that was useful.

Really great idea. We've definitely thought about doing an event before with samples, but have definitely not yet given this enough thought. It could be a cost-effective way to gain an initial customer base, provided that we can get creative to save on some of the costs of the venue and things like that!

Thanks for your feedback!
 
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