There’s no doubt about it: Apple has gotten the sales formula down. Its customers (repeat and future) clamor for Apple’s latest product months before it’s even announced, much less available. Even if you’re not selling the latest greatest iPhone, there’s a lot to be learned from Apple’s strategy.
1. Create Demand
Rather than stocking every Apple store with enough products to satisfy customers, the technology company chooses to drip out iPhones like morphine. If you didn’t stand in line for 24 hours to get it Day 1, you’ll have to wait a few days more. The mere fact that the newest smartphone is so hard to get only makes customers want it more. We all know Apple has plenty of iPhone 5s in its warehouse, but by eking them out, they control the market and the frenzy.
2. Make Your Product the Best
Easier said than done, right? Steve Jobs focused all his attention on creating a device that would do it all–and still fit in your pocket. Rather than diversifying your product line, spend more time developing one product that does what it does better than anything else on the market…or make it the first on the market, the way the iPhone was.
3. Zero in On Your Market
One of the (many) reasons Apple is good at what it does is it doesn’t try to appeal to everyone. My mother will never buy an iPhone, and that’s ok. The brand knows its customers are tech-savvy, though they prefer a simple-to-use format. They know customers want to be cutting edge when it comes to their phones (the price they’ll pay for a just-released phone is a testament to that). Rather than trying to be all things to all people, boil down your demographic until you find out who your best customers are, then make them your only customers (just get more of them).
4. Create a Buzz
Apple times its announcements perfectly. It also doesn’t seem to mind the leaks that inevitably happen when it’s about to release a new product. Both the announcement and the leaks help generate buzz, and Apple’s customers do the heavy marketing simply by talking about the upcoming products and features. No amount of advertising could be as successful as a few well-placed product reviews on popular blogs, nor the number of Twitter mentions Apple fans generate (the day of the iPhone 5 announcement, there were more than 500,000 Tweets about it).
Bottom line is: your company will never be Apple. But it can take cues from the sales and marketing strategy the brand uses.