This post was previously on the Pathfinder Software site. Pathfinder Software changed its name to Orthogonal in 2016. Read more.
So, you’ve developed a great product and now you want to take it to market. Let’s just say it’s a widget. You’re so excited about it that you want to announce it over loud speakers, “Hey everyone, try my new widget, it will change your life!”. This may be what you want to do, but it’s not the right move. Where do you go from here?
Five tips to market your product are:
- Know your product
- Know your customers
- Know your competitors
- Build your following
- Keep your customers coming back
Tip 1 – Know your product
What is unique about it? What sets your product apart from your competition. To be successful, your widget needs to do something that no one else’s does or at least, does it better. Why did you develop it in the first place and what pain does it relieve? Take those “special” things and make them a BIG deal. While your widget is in production, talk it up and getting people excited about it.
Build your website with dynamic content about your product and build your SEO to get found. Here are a few blogs to check out to get started on this: Kissmetrics, Full Quota and Word Stream.
Tip 2 – Know your customer
Build persona’s to hone in on who your ideal customer is, visit HubSpot’s blog by clicking here for more information on building persona’s. When you know who your best customers are, it makes it easier to target that market and build your niche. You want to know how your product fits into their life.
Some questions to ask:
Where does this customer live? (city, suburbs)
What problems do they have that my product can solve?
What are their interests and hobbies?
What are their behavior patterns?
What is their socioeconomic situation?
Once you have a clear idea of your ideal customer and have tested the market, make it easy for your widget to fit into their life. Build your social networks and get the “buzz” going. You can use a tool such as HootSuite to help blast out messages to several social networks at the same time.
Tip 3 – Know your competition
What’s so special about their widget? If yours fills a need that isn’t already being filled or not being filled well, take advantage of that. Don’t call out your competitor but if your widget lasts longer, costs less is brighter or better for the environment, talk about it. Expand on those competitive advantages to build your niche.
Do some research and find out what trade shows, conferences, groups, meet -up’s, etc. they belong to and attend and sign up. Doing these types of things, not only helps to know your competition better but it also aligns you with your ideal customers and builds your following. At the conference try some Guerilla Marketing tactics such as handing out a special offer on a postcard or a tchotchke (trinket or doodad) with your information on it. Or, you could be really crazy and organize a flash mob where the participants hold up signs with your website or stick post-it notes on passersby.
Tip 4 – Build your following
Building a buzz can be achieved by becoming a thought leader in your industry and expanding on step 3.
Some ideas that don’t cost anything but time and could end up being your best strategies:
- Start a LinkedIn Group or comment in groups you already belong to. If you don’t belong to any groups, join some.
- Comment on blogs you follow with links back to your site. If you comment enough, and with relevant information, they may ask you to be a guest blogger.
- Join and speak at associations, clubs, chamber of commerce and conferences
- Submit a free press release, here is a website you can use to get started
- Networking, networking, networking – When people can put a name to a face or product, they remember.
- Build your social online networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.
- Host a webinar, workshop or launch and have an enticing offer for your followers to invite others such as a discount or free item.
If you have a larger budget, consider advertising using online banners, pay per click (PPC), affiliate marketing, remarketing, radio, tv, billboards, etc.
Find something special you can reference when sending an email or when following up with a potential customer. Wear a shirt with a picture of your widget and maybe in a bright color like yellow. Mention the widget and the shirt when meeting new people and maybe even go so far as to put it on your business card. When you follow up, mention that you are “The widget guy in the yellow shirt”. If you do this consistently, you WILL be the widget guy in the yellow shirt and may even become “remarkable” when that person is speaking with someone else. It’s the same principle as what Afflac has done with the duck.
Tip 5 – Keep your customers coming back
If you take step #4 and build upon it and provide customers with outstanding customer service and a great product, they will come back. Word of mouth, customer testimonials and referrals are the best kind of marketing you can possibly ask for. It’s more than okay to ask a customer for a quote for your website or for a brochure. If posting on your website or marketing materials, make sure you get their permission as no one wants to stumble upon a quote that came from them that they didn’t know about or approve.
Loyalty programs work amazingly well for getting and retaining customers. The airlines got it right when they started offering points for travel a long time ago. By offering customers discounts, upgrades, club memberships, etc., they built a loyal customer base. I know of people who will book trips at the end of the year and fly to several destinations in one day just to secure their statuses.
Partner up with another company and join forces to gain access to each other’s customer lists. To work best, the company you choose to co-market with should be non-competitive but your customers could cross paths. If you send out a newsletters or promotions point your customers to them and have them do the same. You can also consider co-hosting an event and share the attendee list. Use a registration such as Eventbrite which will give options to sell tickets to your event if a fee is required. You can also customize the registration form to ask leading questions about why they are attending.
These are a few tips that may help get you going on marketing your product. Things to remember are; know your product, know your customer, know your competition, build your following and your customers will come back, with friends.
I hope you have found some of these tips from Orthogonal helpful. If you have, share this blog and if you have more suggestions, I would love to hear them.