Whether you’re a brand new start-up or you’ve already got a few sales under your belt, developing a new product is still a big project to undertake. And none of the work you do is worth your time or energy if it doesn’t culminate in a product that sells. Reaching that point requires a few tasks first though. Let’s start at the very beginning:
Where Does The Big Idea Come From?
Your customers, focus groups, complaints, and good reviews. Always keep your ear to the ground if you have customers or a good presence on social media. Chances are they’re chatting about what they like and don’t like about your products so far. Use this information rather than biting back. It could be just the thing that helps you find that next big idea. If you don’t yet have any customers, then hold a focus group of people you think might be able to chat about the sort of things you think you can bring to market.
Inspiration and other innovations. All of us have been inspired by something or someone in the past. Use the things that have turned on the lightbulb for you in the past. Chances are they’ll help you get the creative juices flowing again. Of course, sometimes you see a product that is brilliant, and you love it. But what’s missing? Can you fill in the gaps?
Competitor movements. It can also be a good idea to gauge what your competitors are up to and get ahead of the game. Analyse their product offering so far. What is their likely next move?
Something you’re missing . What about you? What frustrates you in life? What do you wish someone would invent to overcome your problems?
How Does An Idea Become A Product?
Research and development, or R&D can be a very long-winded process. If you’re on your own with very little technical support, it might take even longer. You’ll find that you’ll need a lot of time to test the work you produce. Even if it all works, it might not be a product that is suitable or safe for the public. A large part of your research might include checking that other patents don’t resemble your own products. You’ll need to check there is a need or want for your type of product too. Yep, more focus groups!
Part of your testing might reveal shortcomings in your design. Don’t dismiss the idea of using existing components to build a new product. These shortcuts help you get to where you want to be. They might not be quite the quality you wanted for your product. Or they might incur a cost higher than you were hoping for. But if you need a prototype quickly for investors or concept artists to see, then you need to actually build something that does something now!
Of course, there are many manufacturers in the country that will happily produce a prototype. You might have to promise the mass production contract later on. Prototypes do cost a lot more money than your per-item cost should be later on. As with all manufacturing, the more you produce at once, the cheaper each item will be. That’s why a custom, first-try prototype will be so much more costly.
What Does It Take To Sell A New Product?
You might hire someone to take care of sales and marketing, and that is perfectly fine. But you should still be well versed in the process yourself as an entrepreneur. Start by defining the problem your product solves. This can take longer to clarify than you might think. Use just one sentence if you can. This single line of text will probably form the basis for every piece of copy and promotion that you write for this product.
Of course, the next thing to clarify is who actually has that problem. Chances are, there are a lot more people than you think. It’s likely a competitor or two already offers one type of solution for this very same problem. But there might be an entire demographic of customers out there that aren’t being well served or aren’t satisfied. This might be your customer base. You need to define who they are. Why not set up a typical customer persona? This will need revision as your sales data comes in. But it helps to give you a good idea who you are actually speaking to when you start advertising your product.
Now you know who they are, you can figure out the best ways to reach them. Where does this type of person hang out? What do they do when they’re trying to solve this problem themselves? Perhaps there are a few particular search terms they’re using online? These are the ones to tap into for your SEO website copy! There are more tips on how to do this at websites like https://www.bruceclay.com/seo/add-keywords-to-content.htm. Use online platforms and offline media that your customers are most often using.
Knowing who they are can also give you a better clue about what kind of promotion will attract them. In fact, you might design the look of the whole product around the type of styles this group of people find most appealing. Obviously, kids enjoy certain colours and shapes that are markedly different to those a senior citizen would find attractive. If your target customer thinks Ferraris are beautiful, then it makes sense to borrow a little from their colour palette! Association, whether subtle and subconscious or glaringly obvious, should be part of your marketing toolkit.
The Big Launch
Every good product deserves a big launch event. But your marketing for the launch event should be just as comprehensive as any other campaign. Don’t rely on the event itself to bring in consistent sales afterwards either. Marketing is an ongoing strategy. Use it to continually develop new relationships with existing and new customers. Every product has a lifecycle, and this one is just about to begin.
Consider the type of event that would most suit the customers you would like to reach. It should also have some relevance to the product itself. After all, you wouldn’t want your big unveiling and demonstration to look out of place. Setting up events can be a lot like setting up a shop or store. Many of the considerations are the same.
You should also be open to press interest. How can you encourage them to attend and to look favourably on your product offering? You need a really great press release and PR kit!
By now, you should have a number of landing pages set up for your new product. Each will be fed by the online marketing campaigns you have planned. Use social media to tease your audience for as long as possible. You might put a countdown clock on the site, and update your posts often. Sneak peeks and news about setting up for your event can all be interesting reading to keep and hold the interest of your visitors. The event itself should be entertaining and informative. Make it engaging, so there are plenty of things for attendees to do. Include lots of photo opportunities so that it is easy for your guests to find things to post on social media.
Make sure there are plenty of refreshments and places to sit and chat at the venue for your product launch. You want to encourage networking, and you want to encourage conversation about your products. If you look at websites like www.dynamicgift.com.au/event-marquees-tents you’ll see how easy it is to create attractive looking pods or rooms where different activities can take place. A marquee or tent can be ideal if you’re holding an outdoor event. Look to place plenty of branding and product sales literature wherever you can. Segregating different groups and activities also gives you a better chance to see what the reaction to your product is!
At the end of the night, hand out favours bags full of merchandise so that visitors have mementos of the event. Best of all, they’ll have your logo on their desk, in their purse, or on their fridge for weeks to come! You might also slip in a special offer of a discount or a free gift with a first order. These goody bags are always popular.
The Continued Sales
Chances are the event took a lot of money in sales or pre-orders. For those who were not yet ready to order, you’ve probably gathered data for your next marketing campaign to channel them through your sales funnel. If nothing else, you’ve increased brand awareness and made it well known that your product now exists. Now you need to keep up the momentum.
Make sure you have an after sales plan in place. These first customers might be influencers. They’re certainly early adopters and might be first in line for your next product launch. Most importantly, they’ll be the first to leave product reviews. Anyone who has been holding back on buying will want to find out what others think of your product before investing their hard-earned cash. Make sure you’re ready to solve product problems, provide after-sales care, and collate all those much-deserved testimonials. Good luck with your next product launch!