9 tips for launching a new product or service

Product development and marketing experts offer advice for rolling out a new product or service and successfully getting the word out to customers.

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5. Cultivate influencers in your industry or niche. “Reach out to people who influence your target audience,” says Chandra. “Well before you launch, get to know how your audience hears about new products and services. Is it through high profile bloggers or analysts or maybe an influential person in their community? Reach out to those people in advance, get their feedback on what you are doing and invite them to get early or exclusive access to your product,” she says. Then, “when you launch, enlist these people (either for free or as a paid service) to spread the word about your product.”

To find key influencers, “you can use Pitchbox, which defines influencers according to your keywords,” says Dmitry Davydov, CMO, Bitrix24, a social collaboration and communications platform. Or you can search Twitter and LinkedIn, “[which] is great for getting in touch with the influencers.” And remember, even if you don’t have a large influencer list, “one successful contact can introduce your product or service to thousands of people,” he says.

6. Ask people to spread the word – and give them free product or pay them to talk about it, if necessary. “Just because you have the next big idea, this doesn't mean people will find it and use it,” says Tuchscherer. “One free Facebook post is not going to bring in new clients. You need to spend money and time on the product for it to grow,” he says. And one proven way to generate buzz is to “reach out to blogs and websites in your industry, letting them know about your new app or website. Not everyone will pick it up, but some will.”

Brandon Olson, content marketing manager at AWeber, which provides email marketing software, agrees. “User-generated content is powerful,” he says. And “one way to get people generating buzz about your new product or service is to simply get it in their hands. Send samples or trials to a handful of influential people, and ask them to share their feedback with you and their social networks,” he says. Then “encourage them to post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with their honest feedback of your product or service. If it's a product, invite them to even snap a photo of themselves using it.”

And don’t be afraid to ask family members, friends and colleagues to spread the word. The more people who know and care about your new product or service, the better.

7. Notify top customers and followers in advance of your release. “Build a list of individuals who you know absolutely adore your company [or products],” says Dan Fuoco, interactive marketing manager, Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. Then, when “the product or service is ready [to] launch, send an email to this group first, letting them know and asking them to share the new product or service or their social networks.” And allow them to pre-order the product.

8. Use social media to get the word out. Use your “social media accounts [Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram] to get the word out about your new product or service,” Olson says. “Post content that shows your product or service in a fresh, unique way. Share photos or videos of people using or talking about your product or service. [And] use relevant hashtags to draw attention to your post.”

9. Advertise on Facebook. “My biggest tip to generate lots of traffic [for a] new product [or service] is to create a Facebook advertising campaign,” says Termeh Mazhari, a PR and marketing consultant. “It's the single most cost-effective online advertising platform available to marketers,” she says.

“Even if you have a low budget, say of $10 a day, you can target fans of your competitors (or any other demographic you're trying to reach) and drive traffic to your new website or product page for only 15 to 30 cents per click,” she says. “So with just $10 a day, you can expect over 1,000 visits (from targeted consumers) to your website in just one month.”

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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