Congratulations! You have a brand new product to launch and now it’s time to make some serious cash, isn’t it? Or is it?
We’ve all been there. You’ve spent months planning a new project or product. You have diverted hours of your time and a whole ton of cash into the development and packaging. You’ve paid designers and creators, or maybe you’ve just committed your time and your resources into the project. You hit “go,” push the button, and then see nothing but tumbleweeds…. it can be soul destroying.
It can also be avoided.
There are a few different aspects to market research, so we’ll cover the big picture here. To start: don’t assume your customers want what you have to offer.
We all think our ideas are great. Oftentimes they are; but here’s the thing we often fail to consider: does the rest of the market love what we have to offer, and do they love it at the selling price?
Let’s cover each of those individually.
A) Does the market want what we have to offer?
We are not talking about what your Aunt Mavis thinks is a great idea; we are talking about what the paying market thinks. To clarify: if you are selling aids for the elderly, then by all means go and survey Aunt Mavis; however, if you are selling replacement parts for go karts, then she probably isn’t the best way to test your market. Instead, try these two great ways to test your idea. The first is trial ads, and this is probably the quickest way to test. All it takes is either putting up a landing page (essentially a brochure page) or a squeeze page (a web page designed to capture details). Then run a small amount of paid traffic to that page. If people put in their details or try to order, then you know you are onto a winner. If they don’t, perhaps not. But don’t give up hope if they don’t; there is one more variable to consider.
B) Does your market love your product at the price you are offering?
Have you ever been out for a meal that was not awesome, but good enough? The food is OK, and maybe the wine isn’t bad. Overall you’re happy until they bring the bill, and ouch, it’s way more than you expected and more than you would choose to pay. The next day someone asks what you thought, after a second’s thought you say: ‘it was OK, but not worth the price so I probably wouldn’t go back’.
You want to avoid this with your product launch at all costs. If the response to your trial ads has been underwhelming, does dropping your price affect the response? Or, if the ads went crazy and you were overwhelmed, rerun the ads with a higher price point. How high could you go before the demand drops off a cliff?
Sorry to break it to you, but launching your new product on your website and then throwing together a Facebook page is not part of an effective marketing plan.
Any plan should ideally start six months out (which is fine because you’ve planned your next 12 months marketing activities right?).
Here are a few things to consider:
A. What is your total marketing budget for making noise about your new widget, and how are you going to get the biggest bang for your buck?
B. Which media outlets might be interested? More importantly, what angle can you apply to the widget to get some free media coverage in your community?
C. Who can you partner with for your launch? If you are opening a gym, is there a local bike shop that might want to give away a free week’s trial as a bonus to all of their customers? If you are a copywriter, can you reach out to web designers to partner with them on client projects? Whoever your target market is, they already shop somewhere. Try to figure out what you can offer those companies to form a lucrative partnership.
Perhaps the only thing worse than hitting ‘go live’ and no one is buying, is hitting ‘go live’ and people are trying to buy it but can’t. This could be a result of a technology failure, for example. This must be avoided at the product launch, which is why some companies do a soft launch first.
A soft launch can be as simple as inviting a small selection of your longest-standing clients to a ‘VIP’ or ‘preview’ event. This accomplishes two things: 1) they feel special and actually are more likely to put their hands in their pockets, and 2) if something goes wrong they will be patient and give you a break because you’ve served them so well for so long. You might also learn a few things to tweak before the full launch.
You’ve slaved over this product for months. Now the fun can begin as you start to spread the word. Shouting from the rooftops about your project also has a few important purposes: a) you never know who is listening and will become a potential buyer or who knows a potential buyer, and b) you have gone product blind. When you tell people about your product, they will come up with questions you hadn’t even thought of. They might even have feedback on your pitch. Take all of this new information and build it into your marketing material. You can overcome objections before they arise.
No matter what your project is, make the product launch a song and dance. Host a webinar, a Google Hangout, a cheese and wine party, a workshop, a three-legged race- anything that attracts people to come together at your event. It really doesn’t matter what it is, just find a way to create a buzz and invite people to something.
Let them become a part of your story and enjoy the journey after your successful launch.
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