One of the primary ways of building a successful business is to start with a successful launch. A well-executed launch is your chance to grab potential customers’ attention and make a strong first impression with your product or service. In order to get a launch just right, you’re going to need to conduct some careful research and planning.
Understand Your Target Market
It’s essential that you understand your target market and what they expect from the type of product or service you are offering.
“Any company launching a product must ensure that its vision is shared by the intended market and customer audience” said Chris Ayala, CEO of smartphone breathalyser tool Alcohoot.
It’s also essential to seek out your competition before you launch your own business. Is what your offering too similar to that of other companies in your area? How is your competition changing and expanding in the industry? Will this affect your customer base either in a positive or negative way?
However, it’s also advisable to keep an open mind when it comes to competition as many companies can also act as potential partners.
Identify Your Business Goals
It’s impossible to define whether your business has been successful without first having some goals. When you first start your business or maybe branch into a different area of your industry your goals may be smaller than the overall goals you hope to achieve further down the road. Some common start-up goals include growing your customer base, creating product awareness and increasing your portfolio.
However, make sure that these smaller goals are in line with what you want your business to achieve in the future. It’s pointless to have a goal of expanding your customer base to target schools and young families if your overall aim is to become world renowned in the commercial industry.
Define Your Audience And Message
After you’ve determined that there is space for your business and the goals you hope to achieve, you must develop a true understanding of your target audience. You need to know their demographic information, why they would want or need your product, who is their biggest influencer, what types of media they consume and any other relevant information.
Once you have considered this data it will be easier to find your key message. You want your target audience to identify with your business and therefore having a strong vision and purpose is key. “More often than not, the product is the brand. Your brand should stand for something” added Nicole Prefer, a senior consultant at brand consulting firm Vivaldi Partners Group.
Conduct Follow-Up Questions
It’s really important to ask customers some follow up questions to gain some insight into their experience with your product as well as your business in general. Did they receive all the information that they required? Was the product what they expected? How did they find your customer service? Do they have any constructive criticism or suggestions so that you can improve?
Devaraj Southworth, CEO and founder of on-demand wine and spirits delivery service Thirstie said; “Conducting surveys and focus groups is always helpful and something I strongly encourage to gain insight into consumer behaviour. However a word of caution: The feedback should be used as guidance instead of validation”.
Create a Marketing Plan
You shouldn’t wait for your product to be ready to start thinking about where you’ll market and promote. You should try to plan how you will maximise your reach and success. This can include which social media channels you will use, planning a launch event or developing pre-launch press releases for media sites and blogs.
However, promoting a product doesn’t stop at the launch. It’s important that you continue to update media with new information on your business so that you stay relevant and customers remain engaged.
Measure Your Results
Once you have launched, it’s essential to measure your success. Go back to your goals and re-focus on what you want to achieve, both in the short and long term. You’ll want to track daily, weekly and monthly analytics in order to determine what is contributing to your business and what is a waste of time. For example if you are advertising your business in the local newspaper but all your enquiries have come via social networking channels, it would be beneficial to focus your efforts on that rather than the local paper.
Once you have successfully launched your new product or service it’s easy to rest on your laurels and expect sales to come rolling in. However, it’s essential that after your launch you continue to work towards your long-term goals and continue to improve your marketing plan. Keep your social media pages and blogs active, engage with potential clients and contacts you meet along the way, attend appropriate events, hand out business cards, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice from others.
[question]If you have any advice about launching a new business or how to successfully branch into a different area of the industry please share it with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you![/question]