Whether you're launching a product for the first time or revealing a new collection, the process of getting the word out and driving conversion can be intimidating and overwhelming. Once you consider naming your product, financing, manufacturing and marketing, the prospect of launching a new product can create stress for even the most level-headed and accomplished entrepreneur.
Below, we outline a few tips from industry experts about the important factors to bring into focus before launching a new product.
1. Determine What Customers Want
This may seem basic, but before you go through the trouble of developing and launching a new product, you should do considerable research to ensure that there is a place for your product in the market. You might have a revolutionary and awe-inspiring product in mind, but if no one is willing to pony up the cash for it, you're out of luck (and you've wasted the time and money you spent investing in your idea).
"You've absolutely got to make something people actually want or they'll never stick around, let alone come back. So how do you make something people actually want? Start with a real problem. You've undoubtedly encountered products or services that have frustrated you.
Keep a notepad handy, and write down whatever is upsetting you. There's a good chance you'll find a business in those notes.
One way to ensure that your product is something people will actually purchase and use is to create a viable solution to a common problem that frustrates people. Mary Kate McGrath, editor-in-chief of PureWow, advises entrepreneurs and businesses to conduct thorough research before launching a new product.
"Do market research to make sure it’s actually a viable product for consumers, rather than just a cool idea that you think may work. Also, be very sure that you have the resources to sustain a new product launch before going to market. If you want your product to succeed, you have to give it legs — and being ready often takes more time than companies allow."
2. Be Discussion-Worthy
We often ask ourselves, 'Would people want to talk about this over the dinner table?' Creating that conversation could mean collaborating with an interesting and unexpected partner like Ghostly International, hosting a fun event with Leith Clark or creating really interesting and shareable content — for example, the Cat burglar, a film we used to launch our Auteur collection."
Whether you are providing thought-provoking or entertaining content, make sure it goes beyond the basics of why your product is new and deserves attention. Captivate your consumers with something discussion-worthy, and you'll not only secure press, but you'll also foster organic word-of-mouth conversation about your brand.
3. Be Transparent
As more products flood the marketplace, consumers face tougher decisions about where to spend their money. One way to attract consumers to your product is to be completely transparent and show them exactly where their money is going.
"The key to converting non-believers has always been transparency," says Malone. "We try to be as communicative as possible about why we offer particular frames and what materials we use, and emphasize that we’re listening to and incorporating our customers’ feedback.
Everlane founder and CEO Michael Preysman built his business on transparency. Encouraging customers to know where their products are coming from — and why they are priced a certain way — gives power to the consumer, and helps them feel confident about their purchases.
When Everlane launched its new leather collection earlier this year, it faced the challenge of breaking into a new market with a higher price point and communicating the quality of its products online.
"We always face the challenge of conveying high-quality fabrics and materials online," says Preysman. "With our ‘Petra’ leather bag launch, we needed to convince our consumers that the leather being used from this particular factory is of the highest quality and construction. In this case, we increased the styling budget for the Petra’s photo shoot, and heavily educated our consumer on the Italian factory in which it was being produced."
Everlane has an entire page on their site dedicated to the factories where it manufactures its products. In the interactive map, you can click on the factories around the world and you'll get a detailed description of that factory, including pictures of the products in production, as well as background on the owner and materials.
When customers know where their products are coming from, they often feel a greater sense of ease about their purchases — and this sense of security helps foster brand advocates who will likely tell their friends about their positive experiences.
Launching a new product is complicated, and the process varies considerably depending on what you're creating — but whether you're manufacturing physical goods or offering services online, these tips may help ensure the success of your product launch and can potentially make your brand more attractive to consumers.
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About the author: Elisha Hartwig is an Editorial Assistant at Mashable's New York City headquarters where she researches and writes branded content. She graduated with degrees in both English literature and Spanish literature from the University of Oregon. After graduation, she moved to Madrid for one year where she taught English and traveled extensively before moving to New York. Follow her at @ElishaHartwig.