Whether you are trying to sell your first novel from your new website, or promote your latest product from an established speaking platform, there are lessons everyone can learn from mega marketers, Nike.
Create a brand that is memorable and easy to remember. Everyone knows the slogan “Just do it” and everyone knows the Nike swoosh. They are immediately recognisable. I even saw the swoosh painted on the paddle of a fishing outrigger canoe in the islands of Vanuatu a few years back. What is memorable about your brand, your books, your products or yourself? Can you create a brand or slogan that is easy to remember?
Focus on a niche. Nike are immediately recognisable as a sports-wear company. You don't go to Nike to buy designer evening wear or flat-pack furniture. It's very hard to dominate in multiple niches so the biggest companies don't even try. Who are your books and products for? If you think they are for everyone, you will find it hard to appeal to anyone. Decide on your target market, go where they are and market to them specifically.
Be everywhere. Nike are in physical stores around the world, but they also have internet sales. Plus they have free audio at iTunes, videos online, free blogs and podcasts and even software online for people to use. They provide ease of access to their products from anywhere in the world. How can you expand your platform to become an international, multi-media presence?
Create a community around your brand. Nike have a great community for runners where you can log your runs, learn more about training and even share music you run to. Seth Godin, marketing guru, talks about this in his book “Tribes”. People need leaders and groups to fit into. You can be one of them and create a loyal community around your brand or product.
Work with partners to create new opportunities. Joint ventures are a smart way to promote your product. You get an introduction to new people through someone they trust and access to a whole new market. You also get promotion to their list and new opportunities you would not have found on your own. But it is critical to only collaborate with a complimentary person/business. Nike and Apple iPod partnered to create running shoes integrated with the iPod so the music would match your running pace. This is an inspired joint venture where both parties benefitted. Who could you collaborate with to expand your marketing niche?
Have a product people want to buy that meets the expectations of your marketing. You can put a lot of effort into marketing and brand-building but there is little point unless you are going to make some money from it, or enhance your business somehow. Nike have lots of different products available that matches their marketing message. “Just do it” fits their active, sporty brand and they sell products to match. Do you have products that match your marketing? Does your marketing message attract your ideal customer?
Be in it for the long term and change with the times. Nike is a global company and a world leader in sports apparel. But did you know it was originally started in 1964 and began trading as Nike Inc in 1978? That business has been growing a long time and yet they have continually re-invented themselves for the new market. These days we all expect instant gratification, instant recognition, and instant sales but the best marketing builds on earlier efforts to create a brand over time. So think long term about your brand and your marketing and you will achieve more than you think.
Joanna Penn is an author, speaker and international consultant. Her blog http://www.TheCreativePenn.com provides articles, audio and video on Writing, Publishing, Internet Sales and Promotion...For Your Book. Visit the site for your free Author 2.0 Blueprint: Using Web 2.0 tools to write, publish, sell and promote your book. You can also find Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn