After weeks, months, maybe even years of research and development, you’ve finally done it: you’ve created an amazing new product.
At least to you and your supporters, your product is amazing. But how do you convey that to the general public? And how are you supposed to get that product to sell?
Launching a new product is equal parts exciting as it is stressful, especially for anyone new to the business world. In this article, we will go over the basic steps you should include in your product launch plan.
With a 20% success rate for new online ecommerce websites, and a 22% of new products launched into supermarkets, knowing exactly what you to include in your new product launch could be the difference between achieving your goals or joining the long list of “didn’t quite make it”.
In this article, we will go over the basic steps you should include in your product launch plan.
Conducting proper preliminary market research when launching a new product is an essential step on the path to achieving your business goals. Look into your biggest competitors, and learn what it is that has brought them success as well as any weak spots in their approach. Remember, a smart person learns from his/her own mistakes. A wise one learns from the mistakes of others.
Here’s your guide on competitor research.
In addition to researching your competition, you will also want to research your target audience. Having knowledge of the values, habits, and needs of the demographic you want to sell to will help you create a better business model and potentially even a better product. Don’t be afraid to switch things up a bit based on what you discover during your research stage.
As with any new project, making a plan is absolutely vital to any business venture. When you have a well thought out plan for your product’s success, you are more likely to succeed.
Start your plan by defining your end goal.
Are you looking to keep your company a local, family-owned business? Or are you setting out to disrupt the market, grow rapidly, and smoke your competition?
Decide early on what the life course of your business should be so you can then draw out the steps you’ll need to take to get there.
If you plan to sell in retail locations (as opposed to conducting e-commerce, which we will touch upon later), it is best to start small and work your way up to the big-box stores. Build rapport with smaller retailers first to get a hang of the business, then begin looking into more prominent vendors.
Big stores such as Whole Foods and Walmart will have you fill out lengthy applications to get on their shelves, something that can be intimidating to brands just starting out. If somewhere like Whole Foods is on your list of vendors to eventually reach out to, check out this list of other retailers that may be a good jumping off point for a brand that is just starting out.
Another important question to ask yourself is: what kind of roadblocks will you experience along your journey? Will funding ever be an issue? Know the budget you are currently working with, as well as how much money you will have to make or receive from investors at certain points in the future in order to accommodate growth.
Figure out which partners (if any) you may have to work with down the road. Calculate the costs of manufacturing, distribution, and other essential processes not just for your current business, but for the business you envision it growing into. Be ready to meet strong demand for your product while also preparing for potential setbacks.
Once you’ve answered the what, where, and who, it is time to begin strategizing the how. How will you garner success? How will you get your product out there? How will you prove to the world how amazing and innovative it is? The answer to these questions begins with marketing.
Now that you understand your target market, it is necessary to establish an understanding of your business’s competitive position within that market. If you are launching your product into a highly competitive space such as consumer packaged goods (CPGs), you will want to focus your marketing strategy on demonstrating your product’s value not just to the consumer, but to the supply chain partners (such as distributors, wholesalers, and retailers) who decide whether or not to stock your product.
Formulating a marketing budget is another critical part of your strategy. This budget should include the costs of any promotions, advertisements, or campaigns you plan to do, as well as a budget for your marketing team, whatever that looks like. If you can’t afford to hire a full marketing team or even an in-house marketing specialist, you may consider outsourcing your marketing to an agency. Explore your options and account for any potential shake-ups in your strategy.
Devising a sales strategy is yet another critical element to launching a new product. You will need to take into consideration factors such as budget and bandwidth. You should reach a decision on where you plan to conduct the majority of your sales, and whether or not this will change given your product’s success.
Will you start with only e-commerce sales, or sell in brick-and-mortar environments as well? How are you going to get your product from production into the hands of your consumers?
Here is a list of the options available to you for e-commerce and selling online, including through your own website or through a third party like Amazon.
Capture your low hanging fruit, first!
When developing your sales strategy, it is also necessary to keep in mind the market research you conducted. Revisit your target customer base, and determine if there are variations of your ideal buyer persona that may be too costly or too difficult to go after.
Identify and target first your “low hanging fruit”. These are the users that will need very little education or convincing about your product. Then, grow out from there.
For example, if you have a new range of ready meals which are built on plant-based diets developed from an organic and sustainable farm, it may be easier to convince vegans and vegetarians to try your product first.
Streamlining your customer base, especially during the initial product launch stage, will help you avoid situations where you’d otherwise be pursuing unprofitable consumers.
At the end of the day, perhaps the decisive factor in whether your product succeeds or fails is how well you track your progress. Tracking progress in both marketing and sales will help inform you on what works and what doesn’t and will empower you to make the proper adjustments accordingly.
Always be sure to record data on the effectiveness of marketing tactics. Do in-person demos seem to be more impactful with your customer base than Facebook ads? Did the wording in your last cold blast email generate a higher click-through rate?
Keeping track of this data is of the utmost importance when it comes to optimising your outreach and allows you to decide where to spend your time and resources to get the best return.
Once you’ve collected enough data, It is time to review, revise, and repeat the process.
Your sales and marketing strategies will have to change based on what you learn through trial and error, and your original product plan should not be set in stone either. Business is exciting because the market is constantly changing; successful businesses have mastered the art of adapting to these changes.
In order to promote your business and reach consumers that spend an entire 24 hours a week online, you need to make sure that you have a viable social media strategy in place.
By posting unique and interesting content on your social media platforms, and by actively engaging with followers, you can start to turn this into a funnel for generating leads.
In order to stay on top of your social media strategy, it’s important to have some form of social media management software to do some of the heavy lifting. Software such as this is imperative for scheduling, tracking and monitoring social media content.
At its best, social media management software can help you not only plan your content months in advance, but also remain reactive by letting you tune into ongoing news stories or trending topics.
There are a whole bunch of social media management companies out there and all of them offer roughly the same sort of package but Hootsuite is the only one that offers an actually free service (as opposed to just a free trial period).
They do try to hide it on their website though so make sure you follow this link in order to get to the right page.
The free version of this software lets you:
Of course, there’s also a number of paid-for packages that you can buy from Hootsuite that give you access to a great number of services including higher ad spend budgets, automated post scheduling and custom analytics.
But if you’re a small business looking to get started, the free version of the software should be comprehensive enough to allow you to get your social media strategy in motion.
We’ve said before that the secret to a successful lead generation strategy is to keep analysing and refining your methods. Well, website tracking software is the best way to conduct this analysis.
By digging into the analytics of your visitors’ actions, you can start to gain a better picture of why people come to your site, what they want from it, what they dislike about it and how you can improve upon their experience next time.
There are a wide variety of services that can fall into the category of website tracking software, including heatmaps, funnels, user polls, surveys, visitor recordings and more.
Basically, any kind of software that collects data about the ways in which your visitors interact with your site can be considered website tracking software.
Whereas there are a multitude of smaller software companies that focus in on just one website tracking service, Hotjar offers an array of useful tools.
Hotjar tools include:
Hotjar’s free service is able to collect data from 2000 page views a day and will give you access to up to 300 visitor recordings and 3 heatmaps, forms, funnels, polls and surveys. Unlimited users can be added to your account and Hotjar will also store your data for a full year.
While we’d normally recommend free services when possible, it’s probably worth paying for Hotjar’s Plus plan to begin with.
For just under £25 a month you can collect data from 10,000 page views a day and have unlimited services and reports. Plus there’s even a 15-day free trial for you to test out whether you like their software or not.
Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour.
What’s important is that you put real effort into all of your interactions with potential leads - whether that’s through educational and informative blog posts, social media interactions or even just a chat on the phone.
If you believe in your business’ ability to help its customers then all you have to do is let that shine through.
Ultimately, these tools are just there to help you meet potential leads on their level. The rest is up to you.
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