The Five Stages In the Life Cycle of Online Products

Life cycles are an extremely useful concept. Like most models, they help people to visualize the progress of an online product under certain conditions. They help people to predict the effects of decisions within the life cycle of that product.

There are a number of different life cycles. In fact, everyone who has an interest in an online product has some form of life cycle. Learning content creators have their version of a life cycle based on the effort. Accountants have their view of a life cycle based on income. Project Managers often have two. One based on the development cycle and one based on the types of projects needed. And marketers have their view.

In a previous article, I suggested a very complex life cycle. However, in this article I’m going to describe one life cycle of online products as seen by a marketer.

This marketing life cycle consists of five steps.

1. Pre-Launch

The period before the launch of a product is the focus of many other life cycles. But for a marketer, this time is used for two main purposes. The first is preparation of a marketing plan and marketing assets to be used later in the life cycle. However, this period is also used to create a buzz. Frequently this is a very heavy period of marketing as pre-orders are important to recovering the cost of development of the online product. A large pre-order also helps to focus partners on the product so that they continue to support the marketing effort in the next stage.

2. Growth

Once the product is released there will be an initial period where sales grow. While the pre-launch focused on the initial penetration of the market, this stage is more concerned with obtaining a commanding share of the market. This period is often characterized by high marketing spending with respect to profit.

3. Stabilization

In time, the market begins to reach equilibrium. While new competition enters the market, it tends not to disrupt the status quo. This stage is characterized by high profit with limited market spending and a stability in the market share.

4. Decreasing Sales

As time goes by sales begin to decrease. This can be caused by an obsolete product. Or it may be a market-wide phenomena caused by market saturation. Or it may be the result of an alternate innovative market arising. In any case, this stage is often characterized by wild swings in marketing spending. This is the result of increased spending on marketing with little result followed by a demand to reduce spending in order to increase profit. Determining the value of increased marketing spending during this time can be frustrating and frightening.

5. Alternate Use

This is sometimes referred to as retirement. However, I prefer the concept of alternate use with online products. Online products are most often used as bonuses to improve the sales value of other products. Actual retirement is frequently used to adjust the market demand. Online products are also frequently improved and renamed with a version which somewhat eliminates their retirement in this stage. However, regardless of the strategy chosen, this stage is characterized by the withdrawal from sale of the product and the associated suspension of marketing efforts.

Strategies On Online Product Marketing

Just as it is in real-world marketing, there are many strategies in online product marketing. This is where most of the new online marketers make their primary mistake – they believe that the Internet is a separate market that follows a different approach.

Marketing a product on the Internet needs parallel strategies just as they need these same sales strategies in marketing products in the real world.

There may be other methods and styles of advertising now (Google AdSense, affiliate marketing, etc.) in the online world. However, these new approaches in selling a product cannot guarantee sales based on these new marketing techniques.

The following are some of the aspects you have to consider in doing online product marketing.

Competition

Know your product’s competitive advantage. Better yet, create one. How different is your product from the others? (More effective? More durable? Stronger? etc.) If you can’t find a unique competitive advantage, inventing one is the best solution.

To break through the fierce competition, your product must have a competitive edge over the others.

Niche / Specialty Market

Today, there is no more market for products that sports a one-size-fits-all quality. Your product must find its own niche – the right market where the target group is interested in your product. Scissors for left-handers sell better than regular ones, if marketed in the right niche.

Niche marketing also has the advantage of getting your product away from competition because it is regarded as a specialized one.

Right medium

Finding and using the right communications medium for your product is another important factor in online product marketing. You must know the right media to use in the marketing.

The communications medium should deliver the marketing message (including its competitive advantage) to the right customers. Whether it be a blog, a website or an online ad, the medium must serve to fit your product.

Opening a website with the plan of pushing your product online without any clear marketing message and planning (positioning, USP, target strategies, etc.) will not prosper very much.

Repetition

Just as it is in the real world, constant repetition is another important factor in selling. A marketing message that is reinforced by constant repetition has more chances of being retained in the market’s mind than those that are seldom seen and heard. (The success of products advertised constantly on TV proves that.)

After finding the right online medium for your product, ensure that the message is repeated enough times (and in different online media) to get programmed in the people’s minds to buy your products.

Message delivery

The forms of delivery of your marketing message are also crucial. The communication medium can be in the form of a blog, a dedicated website, display ads or some social networking sites.

One caution: Do not use one medium and exclude all the others. Today’s online media is in a unique form of network by themselves. You need to support the medium you are using with the available others using the unified message of your product’s competitive advantage.

A logo, however great-looking and effective by itself, is not sufficient to start a campaign on your product’s competitive advantage. It is nothing more than a visual tool, a component of your strategies on your online product marketing.

How to Offline Market Online Products

Hello, in this article I will tell you about my first experience with offline marketing online products.

Maybe you already are an online marketer or perhaps you’re interested in becoming one? What you should know anyhow, if you don’t already know this, is that there are a variety of effective ways to promote online products other than sitting inside with your computer posting links on Twitter or Facebook.

I thought it would be interesting to go outside and meet people on the street, in shopping centers or any other random place, and just simply talk to them about being an online marketer. I wasn’t sure how to go about it at first but I finally dared to dive in and embrace the challenge. I’m not sorry! Some people seemed genuinely interested and others probably didn’t even take me seriously at all. One guy was even downright rude, like I was annoying him by breathing his air or something, so you really have to be able to handle all sorts of reactions.

Anyway, the hours literally flew and for the most I had lots of fun talking to people about online marketing and what it’s all about. Surprisingly few knew anything at all about what it is; only 1 out of 20 perhaps had a clue to what I was talking about. So I feel like I have at least spread the word around a bit.

It gave me a challenge to try to explain in a simple fashion to not scare off potential customers with too much information at once. There’s a huge amount of info on the topic so the key is to try to keep it as simple as possible. My goal was and is to spike the interest of them becoming online marketers themselves, since the product I’m promoting in fact is an online marketing training program. So plant the seed and if it grows that’s great, if it doesn’t… well you can’t force it! You’ll just have to improve your skills.

At first it was difficult because I wasn’t sure where to start or exactly what to say, but as I talked to more and more people I felt more relaxed and words started flowing easier after repeating myself 50 times. I had printed out some business cards and flyers on forehand and they came in very handy. I found it a lot easier if I had something to presents while giving my little speech. It also seemed to make people more interested in what I had to say.

By the end of the day I had hung up 5 flyers with tags you can rip off at the bottom, had talked to maybe 50-60 people and handed out lots of business cards. I call that success, and even though perhaps only one or two of those 50-60 people I talked to buy the products, that’s money in the bank and the word is out. People like to talk and may pass the information on to someone else who in fact is interested.

So this was kind of like my test drive just to see if the effort could amount to something. The next place I feel may be a big hit is the University. Lots of students who would love to make some extra cash. Think I’ll give them a hand!

This is only one way of marketing online products offline; In the future I’ll be trying out more ways to “offline market” online products, and perhaps I’ll even get creative and think of some more methods along the way!

Online Product Creation Strategy

This article will talk about one successful online strategy based on product creation. Online products usually refer to ebooks, audios and videos that can be delivered and downloaded via the internet. Other online products involve software programs such as a sales letter generator.

Most successful online businesses are structured like a funnel which requires a range of products. Just like a funnel you might use in the kitchen or garden to fill containers with narrow necks, it is wide at one end and narrow at the other. At the wide end you would have at least one low cost or free product which you use to entice people to sign up to your email list and/or a webinar. Then you need to have a range of entry level products, usually priced between $37 and $97, that you would promote via your email list or webinar. Next you want to invite your customers to buy mid-priced products, or services, such as a home study course. At the narrowest end you would offer high ticket products and services such as a mastermind group or even 1-1 support and training.

This might seem like a daunting prospect if you have yet to even create your first product. The secret is to take it one step at a time and break it down into chunks. However you will need to be consistent in creating new and improved products on a regular basis if you want to keep your business growing and up to date.

One way to approach the task is to set aside some time to brainstorm and capture all that you feel your ideal clients would need to be successful in your niche. So if, for example, your business is about helping people to lose weight then what would they need to know and do according to your philosophy in order to achieve their desired result. This is a process that you should do over a number of days as you will find additional ideas will emerge at the most unusual moments. This will form the basis of the top level products, courses and membership programmes.

Then it’s a case of splitting these ideas up into natural groups which would indicate the mid-priced products you would offer. Then break down these products still further to determine what your entry level products would be about. Finally you would take just one aspect of your entry level product to use for your low cost or giveaway product.