The Life Cycle of Online Products

Like many things, products go through a cycle during their effective lifespan. These cycles are regular and predictable. A formal life cycle can help build an understanding of the pattern of stages that a product goes through.

There are many different life cycles each based on the focus and pattern, which the author is observing. In this article, I’m going to share a very detailed nine-step life cycle of an online product.

1. Plan

A good online product begins with a plan. The plan details much of the background information required for the online product. However, only the requirements for the product are provided.

2. Design

In this stage, the requirements are given form. The online product that was described in the plan is defined in detail. A detailed outline of the product is produced.

3. Produce

This stage varies depending on the media of the online product. For example, an eBook is written at this stage. A teleseminar on the other hand may be written but it definitely is presented and recorded.

4. Package or Publish

The online product is still in a rough state at the start of this stage — although it is in fact complete. This stage polishes the product and adds elements that turn it into a professional, salable product. For example, a video will have opening and closing credits added and a cover designed.

5. Generating Traffic

At this stage, the product is available. However, sales are not actually occurring. Instead, traffic must be generated in order to ensure that sales are sufficient to justify the costs so far. This is often referred to as a pre-launch stage although it can occur after the launch.

6. Marketing and Selling

At this stage, the product is available and the traffic has reached a stable point. Sales are reasonably stable. In this stage, the marketing emphasis has switched to finding the right types of traffic, rather than the growth focus of the previous stage.

7. Declining Sales

After a period of time, almost all products begin to experience a decline in sales. This may be because of market saturation or real or perceived obsolescence.

8. Bonus

Finally, the sales have dropped to the point that marketing and sales efforts fail to produce sales. At this point, the product is retired from sales. However, it becomes available for use as a bonus to support the sales of other products.

9. Retirement

Eventually, a product will cease to be of value even as a bonus. At this point, the product will be removed from the products for sale list.

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.

Internet Marketing for Small Business – How to Develop Your Online Product

Developing a successful internet marketing strategy for small business needs a solid online product to market with. In fact, this is the most important step to establish a successful business online. If you fail to fulfill this step properly, your chances of success as an online business entrepreneur would be minimal.

Sometimes people think that developing a product for small business is quite difficult and only experts can do it. It’s not true always. In fact, you too can create the product by yourself, if you have the required skills and passions in you. However, make it sure you study this guide thoroughly before you even start thinking of product development.

Qualities of Successful Online Product

Before we move any further about how to develop product and do successful internet marketing for small business, let’s find out the qualities of a successful product.

A successful online business product must be able to –

  • Trigger an emotional reaction
  • Solve the problem of the target group of buyers
  • Offer an instant gratification
  • Provide easy solution of the problem
  • Promise to deliver better quality compared to competition

Types of Successful Online Product

There are tons of products available online, but not all of them are successful. On the other hand, there are a few types of products which are always on fire. So, our next step is to find out the types of products that have huge potential.

The top sellers in internet marketing for small business can be broadly categorized as follows –

  • Information
  • Application
  • Private / Membership Sites
  • Web based Services

Steps to Develop a Successful Online Product

Start researching on your targeted niche and then decide on the types of product you may like to develop. Once you have decided on the type, it’s now your turn your head to do more research. Find out what type of problem users are experiencing and what motivates them to make a purchase.

If you fail to perform any of these steps, you are at high risk for messing up with your product development venture. So, let’s check out the key points to develop a successful online product for your small business.

The entire process may take a little more time, but it is definitely worth your time. The key points here are –

  • Targeting niche
  • Choosing product types
  • Find out the problem
  • Analyze buyer’s motivation
  • Be a problem solver

So, these are the steps that you must follow to develop a successful online product and do profitable internet marketing for small business.

To your success

Domenico Greco