You have a solid digital product but now you are looking for ways to increase revenue and expand your platform. How can you build your platform beyond just a piece of software? Instead of creating another digital product, look for ways to build the brand you already have through new, innovative ideas.
One big example of a digital product expanding its platform to reach more customers is the app Angry Birds. Created in 2009, the Angry Birds mobile app has been downloaded over 2.5 billion times! The early success of the game and the enjoyable characters led the creators to look for ways to expand their platform, outside of the digital world. Over 10 years later Angry Birds has entered into the toy, clothing, cartoon, and movie market. They listened to the wants of their customers and built their platform at a rate that would retain their current customers and gain new ones.
How can your product be the next Angry Birds and see success in a new market? Your product has the opportunity to have the same success, but you have to figure out what products would best fit your brand and your customer’s wants and needs. While success won’t happen overnight, it can be easier than you think to build your business and expand your platform.
4 Tips to Build a Brand Platform and Grow Revenue
There are several steps you can take to find new products to sell. Here a few to start your journey!
Step 1: Research to identify the wants and needs of your customers
The biggest thing to remember before you begin to grow your platform is to stay true to your brand and your existing customers. Research what they actually want before going to market and your chance of success will be much greater! Validate that the problems they have that are not already being solved by your existing product so that your new merchandise has the opportunity to shine and be seen as a needed item.
If your digital product is an app for parents to help with meal planning, a t-shirt with your logo might not necessarily apply to the wants and needs of your customers. How would that improve their life or solve a problem? An apron or set of measuring cups with your logo or slogan could fit better and be more of an actual need for your customers.
Take time to talk with your customers who have been following your journey since the beginning. Ask them what they would want to buy from you and how it would make their life better. Don’t rely on what you think your customers would want, without actually asking them. Your intuition is are great, but nothing is more valuable than real user feedback.
Step 2: Find an inexpensive way to deliver products to your customers
One thing to keep in mind is that your digital product is your main priority. At this point, it is your number one money maker so you want to make sure that you aren’t investing the money you have budgeted for digital updates and enhancements into the physical product side. How can you find a cheaper way to offer products to your customers while still making sure the quality is high.
One way to sell products is through a print-on-demand company. For example, you can upload your design to companies like Shopify and Printful and they will handle the ordering, printing, and shipping. You can choose from several options to print your design on, including t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, and many more options. While they will take a percentage of your sales for the work that they put in, you will not have to make a large investment in products.
Another way to sell products is through dropshipping. Instead of printing the products on demand, you will order a bulk amount of each specific product and a dropshipping company will handle storage and shipping. You will save money by not investing in a warehouse to store the products or staff to package and ship. While buying bulk products is a big investment, if you can predict large sale numbers it can be a cheaper alternative in the long run.
Step 3: Schedule your product releases to increase revenue
One step to avoid when building your platform is releasing all of your new products at the same time. Even though you have new and exciting ideas to implement into your business, don’t run the risk of growing to fast that you lose your existing customers. If you plan to sell merchandise that correlates with your digital product go slow and don’t open up a mall on day one or you might fatigue your customers.
Successful companies thrive on anticipated product launches. For example, Apple spends months generating buzz for its new phones, computers, and tablets before they even reach the market. Customers know exactly what day each product will be released and continue to buy product after product because of the innovative marketing strategies and longer release times. If Apple released a new phone each month, sales would drop considerably due to market overload.
Leverage the success of your digital product to help market your new products. Social media is a great way to generate buzz through posts and advertisements. You can plan out an entire launch plan to reach customers and increase revenue.
Step 4: Consider adding new employees to your company
As your business grows and you decide to add new products, it may be time to consider adding staff members. If you have decided to handle orders and shipping of products on your own, while still running the digital business, you could find your time and energy being stretched thin. Adding new employees could help make the process easier for you, but you want to make sure that it is something you can afford in the long run.
If you don’t see being able to afford new employees for more than a few months, consider freelancing or hiring temporary employees. A freelancer could help you design products and increase your marketing to increase sales. You can find freelancers on sites such as Fiverr and Upwork with credible portfolios and reviews.
If you need help with shipping a product release on launch day, hiring a temporary employee for a few weeks could be a great option for your business. Set clear guidelines upfront about the time length that you will need the worker so there is no confusion. Posting the job description on sites like Indeed or to your personal social media accounts would be an easy way to find a local worker quickly.
If neither of these options fits your business right now, that’s okay! You can still sell products through drop shipping or print-on-demand companies in an easy and efficient way. Or if you don’t expect huge sales at the beginning you can take on the task by yourself!
What to avoid when building a platform.
When building your platform there are a few things to avoid. Even though you have new and exciting ideas to implement for your business, don’t run the risk of growing too fast and losing your existing customers. If you are releasing products just to say that you offer X, Y, and Z, it might not be the right time for you to be expanding your platform. Find a need that your products could fill, and if there isn’t a need, go back to the drawing board!
Be creative and think outside the box!
If you have a solid digital product with a dedicated fan base, you have a great opportunity to expand your platform. Not only do you already have customers who will want to buy your products, but you don’t have to find your brand identity because it is already in place through your digital product! Take advantage of the community you already have and find creative ways to serve them through the development of new products. Your digital product will benefit and you will have the opportunity to increase revenue.