Getting a product or service market ready is a hectic and risky task on its own. Thousands of startups usually fail before getting their product set up to hit the market. To add to this ugly truth, only 20 to 30 percent of businesses survive their launch into the market and I was part of these unfortunate statistics.
As a young entrepreneur in renewable energy technology, I faced tons of obstacles ranging from marketing, finances, audience segmentation and management. Experiences are the key to learning and growing. The one thing that determines if your product or service launch is successful is preparation and the work breakdown structure. Sure, not all strategies play out according to your requirement but sometimes you have to fail in order to learn how to succeed. However, not a lot of us get second chances so try to focus on things you can control which is your preparation and here are the four things which determine the status of your launch;
Any successful business needs to think like a customer before they launch their products or service. They should know what their product does, why customers should buy it and who are their competitors. The value proposition of the product or service should demonstrate that it is something they need and not just something they want. Another way to look at it is the difference between selling and marketing. Selling involves getting rid of the stuff you have on your shelf. Marketing on the other hand is having a shelf full of stuff that customers want and the product would sell itself. A clear and defined value proposition can place your product or service according to the requirement of your customers.
Most businesses understand that customers are not randomly looking to buy things they see. They are looking for solutions to their problems. This is why you must understand that Initiating a product launch without understanding your customer is like jumping off a plane without a parachute which you can but only once. Market research helps you understand the product mix which included the product itself, price, promotion, and place. You should be able to answer questions like how the price of your product affects your customer and your business as well. You should also be able to analyze how you target your audience and which marketing channels are most effective. Try to start off with cost effective channels like emails and Bulk SMS so you manage your budget wisely. Another important thing to realize is the impact your product launch has on your competitors and be prepare to react according to how they react.
Now, you don’t necessarily have to assume that every customer is like Phoebe from Friends, who only buys stuff with a story behind it. Your product or service should tell the story about the value it brought to your customer. Think off all the big product launches at Apple or Microsoft and how they talk about so many things leading to the product with a drum roll. You can do this in your product demos/videos or at trade shows, sales presentations, proposals and even on your blog, website or social media. Customer experience is as important as the quality of your product. You can have the greatest product in the world but that won’t matter if no one is buying them.
Social media is highly effective is you handle it right. The beauty of it is that it is free and it is completely up to you to build your audience even if you do not advertise on Facebook or have sponsored tweets. You can engage with prospect before and after your launch to generate relevant feedback. Today, over 60 percent of all sales are online and this figure is rising every day. This means that your business needs to be on the first page of search engines so people know that you exist. Statistics say that over 70 percent of shoppers are likely to buy from the first five results on Google which means that is your website is among these five, there is a 20 percent chance that you might make the sale. This is where SEO and content marketing comes into play. If you can integrate these two into your marketing strategy than you can do wonders for your business. Potentially millions of people would know about your service to top the fact that your website would appear on the top of search engine results.