At Uncle Jack, we’re always designing, creating, brainstorming and launching new products. Two days ago we launched one of our new designs for pre-order and it sold out within 24 hours. We barely spent a single cent on advertising. The last 6 products we have launched have all been successful. But why?
The secret is validating your idea.
Like you do when you start a new business, you validate your idea by talking to people about the idea and how it would solve their problem. Gauge their feedback, understand if they would pay money for it, what do they like and what don’t they like? Then you go back to the drawing board based on that feedback and make some iterations.
The process for launching a new product in your business is almost exactly the same. You have an idea for a product and you ‘think’ it will work, but do your customers actually want or need this product? That’s the big question that will determine the success of your product launch. We’re quite lucky at Uncle Jack that we have quite a loyal customer base. We have a big following across our social media channels, email database and website traffic. That’s great, but if we launch a crappy product, it doesn’t mean that our loyal customers will still buy it!
So, how do we validate our product before launching it? It’s easier than you think and it could save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of wasted time.
Create a ‘Customer Board’.
What’s a Customer Board? To put it simply, your customer board is a group of your very best customers that you can bounce ideas off and get feedback from. These are the people who spend the most money in your store, they’re the people that follow your journey, use your products and are talking about your brand. Finally, they’re in your target market. This is possibly the most important criteria for anyone you consider adding to your Customer Board – is this person in my target market?. You might argue that if they’re spending lots of money in your store, they are in fact in your target market. I would disagree. There are many exceptions to this school of thinking. Consider this, let’s say I run surf fashion brand and I’m targeting 15 – 17 year old males. The biggest spender in my store is a 46 year old woman that purchases clothes that her son wants for Christmas and birthdays. Should she be in my Customer Board? No. It’s a no because she may be handing over the money, but it’s the son that is driving the purchase. We want the son to be telling us what he wants in a product, not the mother.
Your Customer Board can be anywhere from 10 people to 100 people. As a rule, I would take the top 15% of your customer base in terms of dollars spent, send them a survey to ascertain why they’re buying from you and find out their demographics. Following the results of the survey you can go ahead and invite a select group to your Customer Board. At Uncle Jack, we use a simple Facebook group to keep in touch with our Customer Board. You’ll find that these people who are already advocates of your business won’t mind being involved and they’ll actually enjoy having a say in new products that you bring out.
Our last 6 product releases have all been successful because they were all positively validated by our Customer Board. Before launching (or even going to production) we showed them images of the product, told them the story and gauged their feedback on it. If we felt the feedback was strong, we’d go ahead and launch. Anything less than strong positive feedback we would question whether that product should be launched. It may need iterations.
The process of validating your products before launching costs nothing but a couple of hours of your time.
If you want some more information on creating product demand, download my 4-step guide below:
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