The process of launching a new product or service has evolved greatly with the emergence of social media and easy access to the Internet. The process is not at all what it used to be. With the fast pace of today's media landscape, taking some time to ensure a successful launch is more important than ever.
TAKE THESE 3 STEPS BEFORE LAUNCH DAY
When the exciting day of your new launch has finally arrived, you'll want things to go smoothly, so plan to be prepared for the inevitable by taking these preventative steps: so plan to be prepared for the inevitable by taking these preventative steps.
Walking through a transaction in the customers' shoes will help you to establish better understanding of your customers' needs and ensure a smoother transaction right from the start. Ask yourself these questions:
- How will your customers find your product or service?
- What forms of payment will be offered and when is payment made?
- How will it be delivered?
- What guarantees, if any, are being offered?
- What other questions might I have about your products and services as a potential customer?
Be sure you understand what the core drivers are for your potential customer to move to action and purchase your product by asking the following questions:
- What problem does your product propose to solve?
- Does your product offer clear solutions to an existing problem(s)?
If you haven't already, figure out who your ideal customer is and what drives the purchasing decisions they make. How will your product or service differ from the competition? What makes you the best? So many small businesses think if they create a good product, the money will come pouring in. The truth of the matter is that it takes a lot of research to identify your ideal market and decide how you are going to appeal to their needs.
If you put in the initial effort to better understand your potential customer, your business is much more likely to succeed. Don't wait until after you've launched to understand these critical aspects of your company's outcome!
2. GET YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE OUT TO INFLUENCERS EARLY
Important influencers can include loyal customers, friends and even bloggers who have a healthy following. Give generously to those whom you are asking to test your product or service, then use their feedback to make necessary changes to your offering. Unbiased opinions are gold, especially when you're in the pre-launch stages of your new product or service offering.
A note on reaching out to for-profit bloggers:
Some for-profit bloggers receive hundreds of requests and product samples every year. If you really want to get noticed, make sure you take extra time to craft a beautiful presentation and include all the information the blogger needs to know about your product. Are you an organic skin care line that is exclusively vegan? Maybe you offer a unique consulting service that hasn't been done before. Let the blogger know what makes you different and why you're worth blogging about.
I've spoken with entrepreneurs who've been discouraged when they didn't hear back from bloggers after sending samples of their product. When I asked what they had sent, I found that many entrepreneurs will send just a few sample-sized items and maybe a brochure. Yikes! Now is not the time to skimp on quantity or quality. If your presentation is lacking in professional appearance, your product is less likely to be considered for the blog. Remember, the blogger's reputation is on the line too. I don't know of any for-profit blogger who features products they aren't impressed with. So sit down and write out a handwritten note and include your very best, full-sized products. Go above and beyond to make a great impression!
Don't forget the follow up- the final important step of getting your product out to important influencers. Maybe you feel uncomfortable sending an email or calling the blogger Maybe you are worrying that you're pestering him or her. Don't let yourself make this mistake! Get in touch with the blogger if you don't hear back from them, and re-engage their interest. Ask if they've received your products- and what they liked or didn't like. Even if the blogger decides not to feature your product, you can gain valuable feedback on what changes may improve the value of your new product or service.
3. CREATE A BUZZZZZ
Before you launch, get people excited about your product! This used to be done with expensive PR campaigns and 'news leaks'. With access to the Internet and social media, create your own buzz for little or no cost at all.
- Carefully create “leaks” on social media platforms. This can be done by posting sneak peeks of products with photography or “coming soon” descriptions. This phase should typically be 2-6 weeks before you actually launch your new product or service.
- Use Klout to find the most influential people in your space and reach out to them. Pitch your story directly to those journalists so you can receive maximum exposure.
- Enter competitions offered by important influencers. Competitions can further increase exposure and establish credibility as a smart business owner. Look for these online and invest the time to submit your very best work for favorable (and profitable) results.
Building intrigue with your audience gives potential customers a taste of what you're offering so they can't wait for you to launch!