You have probably heard that the success of truly innovative, different products is often defined by just a handful of customers – the so-called early adopters, or trendsetters.
Because we are cautious of new things by nature, most successful new products go through a phase where only a few people pick it up – and love it so much, they tell everyone who will listen all about it.
With big companies, the traditional way of getting the trendsetters to pick up their new product is to advertise it to the masses and wait for the select few to notice. But of course many smaller companies simply don’t have the resources needed for this approach.
Does that mean you should give up before you even start? Of course not!
You simply have to be a little more creative, adaptable and dedicated than the big guys.
After all, that is what us small guys are best at.
This recipe is an unconventional approach at making sure your trendsetters are lined up and ready to go – before you even launch.
As all recipes, it can be adjusted according to personal tastes and tweaked depending on the ingredients you have at your disposal. I am sure you can make it work for you, and would love to hear all about your results.
Ready to give it a try? Click on the preview to download the interactive PDF worksheet, or simply follow the steps below.
Think of people that are potential trendsetters for your product.
Is there someone in your Twitter stream that is an authority on a related topic? Do any of your contacts write for a magazine that features articles on your niche? Is there a site that reviews new products that you would love to be featured on?
There are plenty of possibilities. The best ones for you depend on what your specific product is. Don’t dismiss any potential sources as impossible just yet. Just write them down and move on to the next step.
I recommend targeting 4-5 people. Anything more can get overwhelming.
Tip: While I don’t want you to dismiss anything as impossible, the first stage of this experiment is a lot easier if you focus on people that are approachable and within reach. For example, look for someone that is friendly and responsive on Twitter as opposed to those who hire others to tweet for them; or focus on a local magazine as opposed to a national one.
Get to know
You might already know some of these people, but even if you don’t,
information gathering is simple enough.
Read their blog, chat with them on Twitter, look for opportunities to interact.
Take notes of things that might be relevant to your product. Did they recently mention a problem that your product might solve? Did they praise a similar one? Were they looking for advice on something that relates to your niche? This is all excellent material for your future pitch. Take notes so you don’t forget any of it.
Take an honest look at your product.
Now that you have learned more about the people you want to become your trendsetters, you can see if it’s a good fit.
Is it something they will love? Is it a solution they have been looking for? Can you tweak or customize it to make it a better fit? Or should you substitute some of these potential trendsetters?
Look over your list of people on the previous page and write down why your product is perfect for each one. Or how you can make it even more perfect. If some of them aren’t quite the right fit, focus on the ones who are, or go back to step 1 and look for more.
Get in touch
Start a conversation. This is the time to look back at what you have learned and tell them why your product is perfect for them. Don’t worry, this is not an elevator pitch, but a casual mention of whatever it is that makes you think that your product is a perfect fit for them. Something along the lines of “I loved your review on so-and-so, and I am about to launch a similar product” will do just fine as an ice-breaker.
Write down how you plan to contact each of your trendsetters, what you will say, and keep track of when and how to follow up.
This is the time to be generous: send a copy of your product to each of your trendsetters.
If you can, add a personal touch. Specific tips on how they can best use it, a little add-on that shows you have been paying attention to what they like, or even exquisite gift wrap.
Yes, I realize that it can be quite an investment, of both time and money — but the rewards of this experiment can be the equivalent of an advertising campaign. (You know how much time and money one of those takes, right?) If you do this well, it will be more than worth it. But you have to treat each one as if they were a paying customer. A very, very valued one.
Include a note explaining what you would like in return. Be very clear and specific.
If you would like them to review it, say it. Ask when you can expect to see it. Tell them you will be in touch in a week or two to follow up.
If you would like them to post a link, tweet or blog about it, if you would like a testimonial, make it as easy for them as possible. Write out the testimonial questions or a paragraph they can use as a quote. Write down what you want each one to do, and how you can make it easier. Take notes on when you should follow up.
Keep your promises and follow up with each one.
Hopefully, you will have plenty of paying customers coming in from this experiment, but even if it doesn’t go as well as you planned, you can always learn from it.
Take notes on what you accomplished and keep them around for your next launch.
I would love to hear about your experiment! How did you make it work for you? Is there something you need help with? Leave me a comment below.