Regardless if you’re a freelancer, online merchant, or brick and mortar business, introducing a new product or service is crucial for your business’s growth and profitability.
However, introducing a new product or service is an investment. One that requires careful planning and organizing if you want the launch to be successful.
There’s always the possibility that the new product or service will fail. You can minimize any potential risks if you follow these five steps.
Developing New Service & Product Ideas to Introduce
First and foremost, you need to develop new business ideas for your business. When you want to introduce new ideas you may have a million ideas swirling around in your head.
Take time to focus on ideas that:
1. Can enhance or improve your current business.
A dog bathing service might consider offering complementary services. This may include flea and tick treatments or nail clipping.
2. Improves the lives of your existing customers.
A food truck owner could allow customers to order and pay for their food in advance. An app would work well for this ordering so customers don’t have to stand in-line.
3. Are feasible. In other words, do you have the resources to properly implement and grow the new product or service?
4. Fits your current business plan and strengths. A freelance writer may want to start providing additional services. Photography compliments writing, but they may not have the equipment or skill for this. However, providing a complimentary services like editing, fits with the writing, also.
5. Benefits your long-term goals. A quick surplus of cash may sound like a good idea right now. Consider a new idea something that is sustainable and fits into your long-term plans.
You can develop new ideas by asking your team to brainstorm. Take time to survey your current customers. Remember to pay attention to industry trends, and scooping out your competition.
As a Business, Evaluate Your Idea, Product/Service, and Market
Do you have a new service or product idea? Awesome. Now it’s time to evaluate that idea. Remember, even some of the most experienced and innovative companies have had failed product launches.
So, it’s in your best interest to evaluate your idea prior to launch by evaluating the readiness of your company.
Take into consideration if you can handle fast growth, such as being able to meet increased demand. Do you have the resources to manage customer service? If not, you should delay the new product or service launch until you do.
Furthermore, you need to test the product or service so that it delivers consistent results. Is your project perfect just yet?
Your project doesn’t have to be finished nor polished. Remember you can go back and work out any kinks later. However your project must at least work well enough to where customers aren’t angry.
And, don’t forget to conduct market research so that you’re certain that there are enough customers to support the new product or service.
Preparing For Your Business Launch
After you’ve evaluated your idea, product or service, and market, it’s time to prepare for launch. This typically involves the three following steps:
1. Researching your main competitors.
What products or services do they offer and what sets you apart from them?
2. Identifying your target audience.
Know the specific demographics of your audience so that can create a launch strategy that is personalized just for them.
3. Developing your marketing strategy. How are you going to market your new product or service to generate buzz? Generally, this would involve engaging your audience through their preferred channel.
For example, if they’re primarily Instagram users, then you would launch an Instagram marketing campaign.
Promoting Your New Services & Products
With everything in place, it’s time to start promoting your new product or service. This will vary depending on your industry and audience, but you can use these tips to get started:
- Start early. Don’t wait to start generating attention. Start the conversation through a rolling launch. This is where you start promoting your new product or service 6 to 8 weeks in advance. You can keep adding extras to the project until the launch date.
- Target influencers. Allow early access to influencers. Bloggers, editors, and journalists within your industry are anxious to get the word out early. Allow them to start writing and reviewing your new product or service in advance. As an added perk, these influences may notice some bugs they you didn’t pick-up. If so, you can resolve any issues before the product or service is available to your customers.
- Offer loyal customers an exclusive preview. Besides influencers, you can also give your most loyal customers a sneak peak. Consider a pre-launch party, online preview, or a special invitation to test out your latest service or product.
- “Leak” information. Apple is a master of “leaking” new product information. Apple loves the “coming soon” social media posts complete with “leaked” photos.
- Contests and discounts. Like any other marketing campaign, contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, and discounts are all proven ways to market your product or service. Your existing social media followers and email newsletter subscribers are usually the best place to start.
As a Business Owner You Need To Be Creative
- Think outside of the box. When it comes to promoting your new product or service let your mind go wild. Have an exclusive event. Consider a witty YouTube ad. Publicity stunts, and infographics seem to work well, especially if it explains the need for your product.
- Add to an existing package. Offer the new product or service to your standard product. Allow your existing customers to try it out for free. For service-based businesses, this would include a complimentary upgrade to the new service. Some product-based businesses could allow customers to trade-in their old product for the new product.
- Get partners involved. Team-up with a complimentary business to help spread the word. For example, if you’re a dog groomer, partner with a local vet. Other businesses promote well together. Each business enhances other’s businesses.
- Share customer reviews. Do you have early reviews from influencers or loyal customers? Don’t hesitate to share those reviews. Remember, people are more likely to try out a new product or service after they’re read a review.
- Make it easy for your customers to learn more. Provide free trials, downloads, product videos, and demos.
After the Launch
You’re not done just yet. After you’ve promoted your new service or product pay attention to reviews. Find out how your customers are using the product or service.
They may actually be using your product differently than you envisioned. If a customer is satisfied, then embrace the change and update your marketing strategy accordingly.
Additionally, ditch any efforts that aren’t effective. For example, the market conditions may have changed so your new product or service is no longer relevant. In this case, you may have to pull the new product or service and start from scratch.