Generating demand for your product requires much more than simply releasing it onto the market. You need to conduct research, determine what consumers' needs are, establish yourself as a leader in your industry and repeatedly prove your products' worth.
Industry professionals recognize that before, during and after you introduce a new product, there is a lot of legwork to be done to pique consumers' curiosity and get them interested. Here are five things you should be doing:
Pay attention to market research. Your company should aim to figure out what customers need and want through surveys, test groups and feedback on social media and reviews left on your website. If you notice certain issues that keep popping up, there might be a need for a new product to solve the problem.
Produce stellar content. If you're just starting out, your business should promote its new product and prove that it's solving a problem currently plaguing consumers through informative and educational content. Determine your target demographic and do some research to find out where they are active on social media and elsewhere online. Your content should aim to entertain and inform your customers of the value of your products.
Release an explainer video that relates to your business or a humorous video they'll want to share with friends (think Old Spice or Dollar Shave Club's spots), an infographic that educates consumers about a pertinent issue, or a blog post written by your CEO that contains industry insights. By producing quality content on a regular basis, you'll begin to build trust with your audience and ideally increase sales from this newly established relationship.
Feature customers' reviews. On your website, product pages and elsewhere, you should be featuring customer reviews. Customers are going to trust testimonials from their fellow shoppers. In a survey conducted by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange, it was found that 78 percent of American customers aged 18 to 64 who shop online consult reviews before purchasing a product.
They won't hesitate to purchase from your competitors if there's a plethora of bad reviews about your products, which is why your employees should be apologetic to any customers who had negative experiences and respond quickly to any feedback that comes up. You also need to track their reviews and analyze them in order to improve products. Rating and review software such as Bazaarvoice, Re-Vu or Gigya will allow you to do just that depending on the size of your business and your budget.
Give new customers a deal. Another method to get consumers to try your products for the first time is to offer them a discounted or special rate. Initially, customers may not be willing to try out a product at full price. If it's offered at a rate lower than your competitors' -- they just might.
Once customers have received your product and find it useful, they'll likely be inclined to purchase from you again at the regular price. Make sure you're clear that the deal is a one-time offer, because you don't want customers to be discouraged when they decide to shop with you again and find your products priced differently.
Create an exclusive club. Once a person becomes a repeat customer, you'll want to reward them and make them feel appreciated. Create an exclusive club for these loyal customers that gives them access to certain promotions, lets them in on company news and secrets before they're released to the general public, and communicates to them that they're part of the process of perfecting your products. Ask for their opinions and encourage them to take surveys.
Virgin Airlines offers its loyal customers a tier system where they are given more perks including discounts, expedited check in on flights and priority boarding depending upon their status. Boloco, a restaurant chain in New England, encourages customer spending where after every $50 purchase, they get a free menu item.
When attempting to generate customer demand, you have to realize that no one is going to listen until you substantiate your usefulness. Always keep the customers' needs in mind and aim to please.
How did your company generate demand for your products or services? We'd love to hear your effective strategies for demand generation in the comments section below.
Firas Kittaneh is the CEO & Co-founder of One Mall Group and Amerisleep. His award-winning team is focused on bringing housewares online to a larger consumer base using cutting-edge technology. Learn more about his passion for entrepreneurism and fitness by following him on Twitter.