New year, new products and services? If expanding your offerings is top of your to-do list in 2019, you’re not alone. New revenue sources mean more stability and more ways to serve your audience.
As important as it is to continue to innovate, don’t get sucked into the mentality of constant launches. Being strategic will help you make sure that you make the most of your new offerings without causing fatigue within your audience by launching something new every other month.
Here’s how to nail your next launch:
Your existing audience is a luxury. Where others must invest in extensive (and expensive) market research while developing a new offering, you have a built-in focus group at your fingertips.
If you’re listening consistently and intentionally, your audience will tell you when it’s time to launch a new product. Notice if clients and customers are asking a certain question consistently. Can you help them solve that problem? What other products or services do they use with yours? Can you expand and offer those in-house?
Listening to your existing customers, social media followers, and broader audience gives you insight into what products and services will be most attractive to them. Crowdsource ideas for future launches based on what your audience would most benefit from.
Once you’ve developed your new offering, resist the urge to plan a big launch immediately. Choose a subset of your customers – those that are the most loyal and most engaged – and offer your new product or service to them as a “sneak peek” in exchange for their feedback.
This is advantageous for a couple of reasons. First, it allows you to validate the market fit for your new offering. Lessening the risk by testing your product or service with a small group means that you’ll get a clear validation and gain valuable feedback regarding how to improve for your full launch.
After you test your new product or service, it’s time to check in with your audience again. What did they love or hate about it? How can it be improved? Is there something else that they’d prefer?
This listening can be achieved through social media engagement, formal focus groups, or even one on one conversations with customers.
Now that you’ve gone through a round of testing and revising, it’s time for a beta launch. Executed correctly, a beta launch will allow you to work out any kinks and prepare for the launch to your broader audience.
In planning your beta launch, start by identifying the portion of your audience that you want to open your new offering up to. The same group that you used for your test? A limited group that’s chosen at random? Do you want to have people sign up for the beta test and cut it off at a certain number? Consider this as part trial and part pre- marketing campaign. The people that you choose to participate need to be engaged and willing to share their experience.
So, consider offering a discount or incentive to encourage them to participate. In promoting your beta launch, you’re building awareness within your audience as well as a bit of suspense by limiting the number.
This also gives you the opportunity to collect testimonials or reviews that you’ll be able to use during your full launch.
I like to break up new promotions into three phases: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. Original and creative names, I know.
Before you launch, analyze your beta launch and organize the information gleaned from those “testers”. Start teasing the new offering with testimonials, contests, and behind the scenes information. You want to pique your customer’s interest and give them a date to tune in for more details.
On launch day, plan for something big. I love the idea of a live event – online or offline – to introduce the new offering to your audience. The goal of launch day is twofold. First, you want to generate as many sales as possible. Run a limited time promotion to encourage people to take the first step. Your secondary goal should be to build awareness and a pipeline to continue to market to people after you’ve launched.
After you’ve announced, keep up the momentum with a clear post-launch strategy. You’ve generated some excitement, continue to capitalize on it with great follow up. Plan for additional releases, success stories, and highlighting features to share via social and email. The goal here is to move people along your sales funnel.