We hung up a second bird feeder for songbirds yesterday. The main bird feeder is busy with its regular customers of sparrows, chickadees, the occasional finch, and the morning doves who are too large for the feeder so they eat the seeds that fall to the ground. The second bird feeder hasn’t had a customer yet. The regular birds are familiar with the regular feeder and don’t need to go anywhere else – we have loyal customers. The songbirds don’t have any awareness of the new feeder – we have no customers. Perhaps I should tweet about the new bird feeder?
We even tried what all restaurants do. We posted a sign that says “Under New Management.” It didn’t work.
It’s the same in our businesses. When we launch a new product or service, we can’t expect new customers to fly right in and buy it. We have to crank up the marketing engine and educate our existing customers (and staff) about our new products, services, value, convenience and everything else that is important to them. Then, we can focus on finding new prospects by leveraging existing customer relationships, referrals and personal selling.
Here are some tips to build awareness, one of the tenets of marketing, for your new offering:
- Tell everyone you know about your new product and service. Waiters will tell you about the restaurant’s new desserts. Bank tellers will chat about their new financial products.
- Get testimonials to help your customers promote your business.
- Send your regular customers a free sample.
- Invite your best clients to a private, exclusive launch.
- Issue a press release for the new product and service and include a customer’s testimonial on the product’s value.
- Write an article or position paper on trends in the industry and provide valuable advice and content for your customers to build your credibility and send this to your clients along with a free sample.
- Offer a trial service for one month so your clients can test the service in real time, in their businesses. If they like it, offer them a one year contract at a preferred rate.
The easiest ways to generate sales for new products or services are to educate and provide more value to your existing customers, who already know you, like you, trust you and buy from you. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to find a new customer for a new product in a crowded market place.
Now, I have to go tell the sparrows to tell their song bird buddies about our new feeder.
Copyright Phil Symchych 2011. All Rights Reserved.