This is a time of year when many business owners are thinking about what’s next in their businesses. And for you, that might be your “Next Big Thing.” It’s a product, program, or service that you’re incredibly excited about. Something you think might represent your business for years to come. Something that might finally put you over the top of your revenue goal or revolutionize your business model.
A Next Big Thing could be exactly what your business needs to do all those things. Unfortunately, if you’re an idea person like me—and I reckon you probably are, it’s likely that you’ll get carried away with the idea itself and forget to engage some of the strategies that can help you realize the true potential of your idea.
After all, you’d like people to be hungry to buy your new idea, right?
Here are 4 mistakes you’re likely to make in the process of marketing, launching, and selling your new product—and how to avoid them:
1) You take it to market too slowly.
Yes, too slowly. The faster you can bring a product to market the better. My highest grossing, most respected and well-known products have gone from idea to sales in the shortest periods of time. And that’s no fluke.
When you take a product to market as quickly as possible, you get “proof of concept.” The proof, of course, is whether people are willing to buy it or not.
To get that proof, you need to ask yourself, “What’s the least amount of work I can do on this for people to be willing to buy it?” Perfectionists, please stay with me. I’m a Virgo, I get it.
Challenge yourself to think small.
The answer to that question is the design of your Minimum Viable Product. Often for service or information businesses, the answer is nothing more than an offer, a sales page, or even just a conversation. For product businesses, it might be a photoshop mockup or a sketch.
If you don’t have at least some people willing to buy this kind of product, your Next Big Thing isn’t going to be that big the way you’ve conceived it. The great part of going to market fast is that you can make changes, adjust your idea—possibly several times—so that when it comes time to really investing your time, money, or energy into your idea, you know it’s going to work.
2) You don’t take into account who’s ready to buy.
Now, not everyone buys a Minimum Viable Product. Who does? Early Adopters. They’re often your business’s biggest fans and most loyal customers. They love trying out new stuff and are just tickled when they get to try out something before everyone else.
But what about when you move past of the MVP stage? Every stage of product iteration and marketing development should take into consideration the segment of the market you’re ready to reach—and who’s ready to be sold to.
For example, you might develop an internal launch of your new product that is designed specifically for customers who wouldn’t have been comfortable buying a prototype but are nonetheless excited about a new idea. They’re focused on what they’re trying to achieve, how they want to feel, and how they could be doing things better.
Later in the game, you might turn an active product into a more passive product or evergreen offering and put it on autopilot. The kind of customer who is going to buy that product wants to have everything figured out for them. They’re likely more focused on fixing a problem or alleviating some pain.
Each of these stages deserves a fresh marketing message that appeals to that customer segment’s specific needs.
3) You focus on feel-good ideas instead of urgent needs.
Speaking of needs, let’s talk about that. I know you, you hate to be “salesy.” And you just love this idea that business “starts with why” because it feels good, feels safe, feels altruistic.
Here’s the thing, business starts with why but transactions don’t end with it.
Instead, the real reason people Buy Now is because they’re actually looking for something to buy. People love to buy! And when you tap into the natural reasons they’re already in the market with their wallets out, you’re much more likely to get the sale.
And the really beautiful part of that is that you still don’t have to be salesy. You just have to match your sales copy to the reasons people are looking to buy, whether that’s because they’re looking for a great necklace for date night, they’re frustrated by their website, or they’re finally ready to stop visiting the refrigerator every night at 8pm.
Don’t just get people excited, give them a reason to buy.
4) You don’t start marketing and selling soon enough.
Finally, the number one mistake I see with marketing, launching, and selling a new product is that business owners don’t start the marketing and sales process soon enough. Clients ask me all the time, “How early is too early to start marketing my new product?” The answer is never.
It is never too early.
It doesn’t have to be polished, it doesn’t have to be strategic. It does’t need to use the latest trend in online marketing.
First, marketing starts the minute you start product development. Because marketing is so much more than promotion, as soon as you start thinking about who your product is for, why they need it now, and how you’re going to best fill those needs with your product, you’ve started marketing.
Second, promotion can begin with a whisper. A small wave of a mention that you’re working on something for your people that does x, y, or z can lead to a tsunami at launch time.
Finally, I don’t let any of my clients start building a product if they haven’t figured out their sales message. If you don’t have confidence your product is going to sell, you’re not ready to realize your idea yet. Start there.
If you can avoid these 4 mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to creating and selling your next blockbuster product.
Want more on marketing, launching, and selling your next big thing? Check out my bestselling class on CreativeLive: Create a Marketing Plan & Grow Your Standout Business.