Whether you’re adding a new item to your menu or store, or creating the next best iPhone app, you still need two things for your product to succeed: word-of-mouth, and a plan.
According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers find recommendations from family and friends more trust-worthy than any other source. And research featured on The Harvard Business Review states that new products fail to gain traction due to a lack of preparation!
So how do you generate buzz and plan ahead? Follow these 4 simple tips to spread the word and avoid your own product flop.
1. Clue in your most loyal customers first
The old business adage states that just 20% of your most loyal customers produce 80% of your profits. Customers who already love your business are more likely to advocate your new product (for free). Better yet, according to McKinsey research, “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than 2x the sales of paid advertising in categories as diverse as skincare and mobile phones.”
To achieve maximum word of mouth, identify your regular customers. This can be done through a digital loyalty program, some point of sale systems, email marketing segmentation, social monitoring, or even your staff. Segment these customers into a VIP group and inform them of their new status via email, text message, or in person.
To drive awareness, give your newly appointed VIP group offers to check out or sample your new product before it’s released to the public. Give VIPs deals, coupons, or discounts for the product once it’s available, and survey them for feedback. Encourage VIP members to spread the word on various social channels to receive additional discounts, or a higher level of status.
2. Host an event or party
Everyone loves a party. What better way to spark some word of mouth than to throw an event. The event can be as simple as an all-day celebration with discounts and samples of your new product, or take things up a notch and host friends, VIPs, and a guest of their choice at the store after hours.
Pick a date, plan ahead, send invites via email, text message, or on social, and be sure to have plenty of product on hand. Regardless of the size of your event, you’ll drive product trial. If it’s a hit, people will hopefully talk about it.
3. Contact local media
Narrow in on local publications or blogs that cover topics related to your business or product (ie., food, retail, fashion). Most publications assign reporters to a focus or “beat,” like travel or food. Browse articles and pinpoint beat authors who write about your industry.
Next, reach out these writers. Their email addresses can usually be found on a publication’s website, and their social channels, like Twitter, can be found within an individual post.
Do your research, mention why your product is something readers may find interesting, or tie it into something the author’s written about in the past. Word to the wise: Don’t copy and paste the same message and blast it to every writer, as it’s usually obvious (and screams desperation). Take the time to research and address each writer personally.
4. Make a killer visual and take it to social
With the decline of organic reach on Facebook, and the rise of photo-centric social sites like Instagram and Pinterest, images are key to gaining social engagement. According to KissMetrics, photos get 53% more Facebook likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs.
When unveiling a new product on social, make your announcement eye-catching. Spruce up a product picture, create a demonstration video, make an fun event invite, or a give everyone a behind the scenes look at the work that goes into making your product.
Can your new product do something incredible? Take pointers from Blendtec’s quirky and viral “Will it Blend?” video series. They film various attempts to blend unusual products, like the Apple Watch, to demonstrate the power of their Total Blender.
It doesn’t take a massive camera and production crew to make a great video, or Photoshop to create an image that pops. Today, you can use iPhone and basic editing tools to make a compelling video. Use a free image creation tool like Canva – it includes templates sized for social, free layouts, backgrounds, fonts and fun images.
By providing a great product, planning ahead, and spreading the word using the methods above, you’ll be sure to have a hit on your hands. Want more info about announcing a new product? Check out this post. Have any tips of your own to add? Feel free to share.