The top question I always get asked by my students when they have successfully navigated the design process is “I know how to MAKE a planner, so now how do I SELL my planner?”
I’ve been lucky enough to be behind the scenes of several successful planner launches over the last months and now I want to share some of my top strategies for selling a planner.
First of all, before you even have your planner printed, start building your audience. Even if you don’t have your designs finished, as soon as you have a CLEAR brand identity (colour scheme, vibe, language) you can start building your Instagram following. Lots of brands have successfully pulled together an audience BEFORE they start selling.
If you are a Facebook fan and know your way around groups, you could even create a Facebook group for your ideal audience and start establishing yourself as an expert in your field in order to warm people up for when you launch. This is particularly suitable if your planner serves a very specific audience, such as homeschooling Moms (which is all of us right now!) or corgi owners, or people training to become life coaches.
Remember: your planner has the best chance of success if it does something that no other planner does. This means that a planner that just “helps busy women” won’t cut it. It needs to reach a SPECIFIC audience or be unusually beautifully designed and made to stand out.
When your planner has arrived, you need to go into serious selling mode.
EMAIL marketing is the most effective way to drive sales for nearly all businesses. This means inducing people to give you their email address in return for something BEFORE they have purchased your product.
For a life coach or other service provider, this is usually easy enough. But it is pretty easy for a planner too because you can ask your graphic designer to create a set of PRINTABLE planner pages that can stand alone.
For instance, if your dream customer is a corgi owner, your free printable could be a checklist of things to ask your veterinarian on your first visit. The important thing is that they GIVE YOU THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS to receive the freebie. That way you have a person on your mailing list who is definitely interested in corgis and checklists – a prime candidate for your planner! Use your new Facebook and Instagram audiences to hustle for those email addresses.
When your planners have arrived, don’t be afraid to actually EMAIL your mailing list.
Look at the emails your most successful competitors send out and use them as your inspiration. I always save the emails of my favourite online businesses in their own folders, so that I can go back and look at how their whole campaigns worked. The one thing they all have in common is CONSISTENCY. They email their audience regularly, so that when somebody is ready to buy, they instantly know what name to turn to.
Most people I talk to are shy about seeing pushy or too salesy. Listen – you are here to SELL. If you send your list an email asking people to buy your planner, and some people unsubscribe, so what? They weren’t going to ever buy your planner, so why on earth would you have them on your mailing list? So don’t take unsubscribes to heart.
Finally, you might know already what a huge advocate of WHOLESALE I am.
I am a huge fan of going straight to wholesale.
The minute you have a bit of traction on Instagram or some positive press, you should move straight to pitching your product to your dream retailers.
From the very day you start planning your new business, you should start making a list of retailers that you would love to work with, and keep adding to it.
By the time you have your product in hand, you should have at least 50 – 100 people on your list, and then all you have to do is get in touch with them (several times – you have to be persistent) and tell them all about how amazing your planner is.
A great place to get your planner listed straight away is Faire. Faire is a hub for creative businesses like yours to get in front of retailers. Retailers can order from you through the website, and it’s amazing for visibility. Their standards are high though, and their screening process is rigorous, so make sure that your product really shines!
So those are the three stages of selling that you need to look at – audience-building, email marketing and wholesale.
Which one do you think will be the biggest challenge? Let me know in the comments below!