Recently, we discussed taking a look at your current business environment and making sure that the information you are acting on is still valid. But what do you do if you dig into the numbers and find that the economy isn’t slowing you down, it’s just that the rules have changed?
For instance, what steps should you take if you find out that a new product offering is needed in order to bring your sales back up into the range that they once were?
Let’s talk about that:
Step 1: Research
Before you jump into providing a completely new service, you need to answer some questions:
- Are your competitors offering it?
- How much are they charging for it?
- How strong is the need or desire for it?
- What percentage of your customers would actually use it?
- What would it cost you?
- What could you charge for it?
- How long until it pays for itself?
It may seem like a daunting list of questions, but most can be answered quickly with some research and the rest just require surveying your customers. Ask the questions in a non-salesy way and they’ll answer truthfully.
When I discovered that better websites would help my direct mail customers get a better response, I needed to answer all of these questions before I knew if it was a service I could provide. Many of you helped me answer those questions and helped me launch the new product. (Thanks again!)
Once you have the answers to these questions and you’ve come to the conclusion that you can profitably provide the new service, you need to test it.
Step 2: Small-scale roll-out
You’re pretty sure it can be profitable and you decide to go ahead with it. But a full-scale misstep in the uncharted territory of promoting or providing this new venture can be very costly.
Start by promoting it to a list of your good customers. Sign a good number of them on for the new service and personally guide these customers through the process. As you go, refine the process and get it to a point where it can be a part of your regular production. This may take a short time, or not, depending on the specific product and how complicated it is to provide.
Once you’re confident that you have it grooved in and ready to go, then comes the real fun part…
Step 3: Promote the heck out of it!
You know it will make you money. Your promotion to your test list has worked. You know you can provide it well and create happy customers. Now you’re ready for the full-scale launch!
Expand your direct mail campaign to your full list of customers and prospects, promote to purchased lists that match the demographics of your best customers, and start researching other ways to get the word out!
I decided that the best way to get the word out about my new website product was to give one away – so sign up if you need a new site – but you’ll have to decide for yourself if that’s a viable option for your product. My marketing team also came up with a great quiz to help educate our customers on what makes a great website, so feel free to test your knowledge!
If you follow the steps above, you will be able to greatly expand your offerings – and in turn, your entire business. As usual, if you have any questions or comments you can go to my blog or email me directly at email@example.com. When you do launch your next big product or service, be sure to let me know how it goes!