I recently answered a Facebook post that asked:
For the past 4 years I’ve been able to sell 10-20 products per month, how do I increase sales?
In the past I might have told this person to do more content marketing, buy Facebook ads, or redesign their website. In fact, that’s what the other answers to this post said. These will all help, but they miss the core issue.
After years of doing products I’m convinced that there are only 2 things that really matter (when you don’t have a lot of sales):
- Are you solving the right problem?
- How well are you solving it?
If you haven’t found the right problem, or your product is not that great, then nothing else matters until that is fixed. The fact that sales are low and not increasing tells you that these problems have not been solved.
My response on Facebook to this person was:
[Increasing sales] is a problem everyone faces at one time or another, and I don’t think there’s a silver bullet answer.
It could be that you haven’t found a painful enough problem to solve, that your market is too small, or that you aren’t communicating your solution effectively. It could be that your product isn’t actually that great, or that it needs to pivot.
Marketing is great, but if you don’t solve the core problems of your business/product, it doesn’t really matter how great your content is or how much you spent on ads. This is a hard problem to solve and can only be done through the sweat and tears of the founder.
This is not a very satisfying answer, but I believe it is true.
There is no point in putting a bunch of time into content marketing if your core product is not solving the right problem, or not communicating the solution effectively.
The only way to sort out the core issues of your product and business model is by doing the hard work. Get real customer feedback, do market research, make changes, and see if things get better. You have to dig in and do all the stuff that isn’t fun, and don’t be afraid to make big changes.
How Do You Know When You’re Done?
How do you know when you’ve found the right problem, or when your product is good enough? It will probably be obvious to you when you make a change and it works, but here are some examples.
- If you don’t have a lot of people interested in your product, then you may not be solving the right problem (or you aren’t communicating effectively in your marketing).
- If customers are flooding in to try your product, but you are not making sales, this is also poorly communicating your solution.
- If they are trying your product but then leaving, your product needs work.
Increasing sales is more about making your core product and business model better, and less about the other stuff. Don’t get me wrong, content marketing, ads, website copy and all that other stuff is super important. It’s just not going to solve the bigger problem you might be facing: you haven’t hit product/market fit yet.