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It’s not enough to create a great business or product. If you want to be successful, you need to take steps to plan and execute a well-timed, memorable launch that will bring your product to the attention of more people in more locations.
In today’s competitive marketplace, businesses need to begin their promotional efforts before they actually start selling their wares. Additionally, companies need to find ways to stand out from the noise while making the right first impression on early adopters.
Here are 5 steps for launching a new product in a way that’s smart, strategic, and most of all effective:
1. Conduct Testing
Just because you’ve created an ingenious product that (you believe) fills an existing dearth in the marketplace doesn’t mean you’re ready to start selling. Savvy business owners take time to test their new items and perform necessary adjustments. Before listing a product for sale on your website, or stocking it in your retail store, send out complimentary versions for trusted clients to test and evaluate. The goal is to collect feedback from surveys and focus groups so you can make any needed improvements before releasing the product wide.
One of the reasons that testing is so crucial is that it ensures a product’s first impression with buyers will be a positive one. After all, if you release a flawed or buggy item, customers will remember that fact and be loath to try future versions. The internet means shoppers have virtually endless options, and they are unlikely to give a second chance to a disappointing company or product.
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2. Contact Influencers
Blogs and social media sites are great for marketing new businesses and products online. However, if you only post about your brilliant invention on your own website, you’re unlikely to generate the sales results you desire. Instead, startups should target key influencers, or trusted brand advocates, in their chosen industries.
Start by creating a list of popular bloggers, social media mavens, and even high-profile customers who have shopped with you before. You can then email or message these individuals and ask them to review a free sample of your product. If they like the item, the chances are good that they will blog about it or share details with their social followers. The goal is to generate buzz and excitement about a product before you launch and identify any outstanding issues that could affect your item’s ability to generate a profit.
3. Get Your Team Excited
It doesn’t matter how strong your product is if your marketing and customers service teams aren’t behind you. Before launching your new item, it’s important to educate your employees and get them excited about the item. (Ideally, you will also involve product managers and sales staff throughout the item’s development, so they can weigh in on aspects.)
To prepare your team members for launch, sit down with them to discuss the product ahead of time and ensure they have the resources needed to support customers and answer their questions. If your staff is going to be selling products over the phone, consider creating new talk tracks to aid in the process. For best results, create a number of small but attainable goals so employee morale stays high throughout the launch.
4. Create a Schedule—and Stick to It
It’s easy to lose sight of your goals while trying to launch a new product. Smart business owners create detailed production schedules to ensure tasks are completed on time and team members are held accountable for their roles. Additionally, you should review your timetable to ensure it covers all the necessary tasks, from performing market research on your target audience to contacting your favorite blogger or YouTube star, and set clear objectives. If you want to sell 1,000 products in the first month, put that goal in writing and commit to achieving it.
While it’s important to ensure your schedule is realistic, entrepreneurs also need to consider the best times of year to release their new products. For example, depending on the item you’re selling, you might want to consider seasonal factors or the timing of trade shows or pop culture events. And of course, you will want to ensure you are properly staffed for the launch. The last thing you want is to find yourself struggling to release a new product because several of your employees are out for summer vacation.
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5. Identify Your Marketing Channels
Gone are the days when businesses could market their wares on one or two sales channels only. Today, savvy startups maximize potential sales by targeting as many potential channels as possible. Along with traditional outlets like TV, radio, and mailers, modern businesses promote their goods on websites, social media pages, and online retail sites. They create email marketing campaigns, utilize PPC advertising, and even contact customers via text. The more channels you target with your marketing materials, the more opportunities you will have to find new and profitable audiences.
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Following these tips can help your business go the distance.
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