Friday, November 2, 2012

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V305: {Small Biz Betties} What To Consider Before Launching a Pre-Order


Howdy! It's been quite awhile since I've done a Small Biz Betties post, but now is the perfect time to get started again.  Today's topic will be about important points to consider before launching your product for pre-order.  I will discuss how to run a pre-order for you product in a future post, but for now, here are some  vital points...



What is your REACH?

By reach, I mean how many people can you, and do you, reach via your blog and social media presences?  How many blog followers do you have?  How many Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc., fans do you have?  Your reach is important, because despite all your good intentions, if nobody knows about the great product you have, nobody will buy it.

How many followers do you have?
Figure out how many pre-orders you must collect to fully-fund the production of your product.  If that number is close to the number of fans you have, don't do the pre-order.  The people who will be pre-ordering your product are what we call "early adopters," and are a *small* percentage of your customer base (most of us are somewhere in the middle, and some of us are even late adopters).  You need many times the potential customers as the number of pre-orders you need to collect, because not everyone is ready or willing to purchase your product before it is in stock.

How do you acquire more followers? It takes time, but continue to write good content on your blog, and post interesting stuff on your social media pages.  You can also try hosting a giveaway, or other exciting "event" on your blog, that will bring new people to your site.

Do your fans TRUST you?

You need to have built up a level of trust with your following before you can ask them to give you their money in exchange for a product that is not yet made.  Trust is formed through long-term relationships, personal connections, and a professional presentation.  Make sure your blog looks tidy and inviting, that you respond to reader's comments positively, and that you provide good content and for quite some time before you ever try to sell anybody anything.

Ask your readers their opinions about your product.  I like to use PollDaddy.com to make polls and surveys that will help decide on everything from popular shoe styles, to heel heights, to colorways.  Aside from the question you are polling, you will also get an idea of how excited people are about your idea - if your readership is 100 people, and you get 10 answers, then the product might not be exciting enough; if you get 1000 answers, then you've hit on something.  Gauge the number of responses and the number and nature of comments left on posts containing your design ideas.

How will you accept orders?

You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to place their pre-order with you.  You don't have to have a glitzy, fancy, expensive website, but you do need a couple important things before you jump right in.

A storefront of some sort.  There are a number of storefront platforms (Etsy for handmade or vintage stuff; eBay; Storenvy) that will make listing your product and taking orders easy.  Some storefronts have restrictions on what kind of products can be sold, or rules about pre-ordering, so be sure to read the terms & conditions.

If you are creating your own webstore, you will need a secure way to collect personal information and payments - names, addresses, e-mails, etc. Luckily, Paypal provides the information you need to ship your product, and the security needed to safely and legally process payments, so something as simple as a Paypal "buy now" or "add to cart" button will work.  If you are of the web programming variety, you can check out more advanced webstore platforms like OpenCart, or shopfronts for Wordpress, but you will also need an SSL security certificate, and protections from hackers.
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In the next post, I will talk about how to run a pre-order, so stay tuned!

If you have questions you'd like answered, or are a small business owner and would like to guest post for SBB, drop me a line - lauren@american-duchess.com .
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