The online market can be brutal and unforgiving for first-time ventures. Even if you have a cracking idea, crowned in a halo of pure ambition, your success can boil down to the means of assault you enact to get a product noticed.
With this in mind, and drawing on our experience, we advise any plucky entrepreneurs on launching your labours of love to online acclaim to follow these strategies, and your chances of ‘making it’ rise considerably:
1. Your product is the star
Every business needs its own website; it’s just common sense. However, a brand new product deserves to have online real estate that focuses entirely on what it does, how it looks, and who will use it.
One of our most successful clients, Larson & Jennings, still carries the principle elements of this approach today. Their website is marked by a clean, uncluttered voyeurism for their premium wrist watches.
2. Invest in imagery
New products have to announce themselves with gusto and a real sense of progression, and you can enforce this by creating an arsenal of images that spotlight your product online and in print.
Frozen cocktails – a new frozen cocktail brand – knows this all too well. Our summery product and lifestyle photography has laid the foundation for online success, by putting contextual spins on high definition photos for their website and launch campaign. Picnic and deckchairs anyone?
3. Reach out for friends
Influencer marketing has risen to the fore in recent years; it’s a smart strategy for getting your product to the masses. You’ll be surprised by how many influencers respond to an elegant pitch from an unknown – if you’re passionate and open to independent reviews, you could receive some brilliant exposure.
Always include links on Facebook, Instagram or other social media tools to anything that’s published, and encourage further response. Additionally, contact group buying sites to discern whether they’ll stock what you’ve made. Platforms like this rely on an exclusive, members-only buzz to foster anticipation in consumers across the world.
4. Social engagement
Merely getting a couple of choice social media accounts up and running doesn’t constitute engagement. People want to feel listened to, appreciated, as if they’re on the centre stage of your brand’s performance.
Throw some questions out to the masses, and be prepared to keep the conversation going. If someone leaves a brilliant comment on your latest post, thank them, and tempt them with an update on further developments.
Criticism warrants a reply too, so tactfully decide how to console the naysayers – at the end of the day, at least you’re responding to your customer base on some level. You’d be amazed at how the offer of a replacement, upgrade or full refund can quash negative feedback, especially in the crucial beta stages.
5. Build those email lists
A contact gained is a lesson learned: here is a person who was happy to share their personal details with you, which is a big gesture. It means your product has captured their attention, and passing up valuable email marketing opportunities is akin to leaving hooked fish blubbering uselessly on a pier.
Don’t make the emails themselves too verbose; even 100 words can be incredibly evocative in getting the message across. Exclusive bonuses, like pre-launch discounts and behind-the-scenes snippets, can stoke the flame of interest before things take off. Just be sure the topic justifies direct correspondence, and has a clear message throughout.
6. SEO savviness
From your general homepage to off-the-cuff sentences in your blogging schedule, SEO awareness is incredibly important for being found easily amongst millions of competitors.
You’ll have to write intelligently, concisely, and stay relevant to the topic at hand i.e. your product’s imminent arrival, for Google’s bots to deem you worthy of a premier ranking. Backlink to previous posts, so readers can see the through line of your expertise (Google likes this too, by the way).
7. Advertising know-how
Technically speaking, all of these tips are a form of advertisement, but we have to approach the basic, bare bones structure of a promotional strategy too. The web is brimming with PPC ads and cannily-placed banners to draw the eye of a casual browser, and they can be incredibly effective when larger companies eat up most of the organic search results.
Google AdWords is great at giving a leg up to new ventures, at least until your SEO ranking gets more vertiginous. You only pay when someone clicks through to your site, so you’re guaranteed at least some return on investment.
Why not throw your hat in the ring with social media adverts as well? These platforms make it easy to select your target audience, based on their profile and preferences, so that you can grow your reach with minimal effort.
8. Embrace ecommerce
Online retail thoroughly trumps the high street, and for good reason: it’s faster, more reliable, and removes the strain of getting dressed and being in public to stock up on items we cherish.
You’ll be left behind in the dust somewhat if you don’t have eCommerce capabilities. A new product has to be forward-thinking and, ideally, have a sense of ambition surrounding it. But your website isn’t the only place where online retail can thrive.
Popular retail sites like ebay, Amazon and Etsy have lucrative opportunities for ideas fresh out of the box; by selling your stock through a third-party retailer, you’ll be privy to a swarm of dedicated users from all over the world with spending on the brain.
Preparing for lift-off
So there we have it: a few exceptional pointers to get your baby out there, flourishing in the arms of happy customers. We like to get brands of any size to the level they deserve, and we’re particularly hungry for new products taking their first steps to ubiquity.