Advice

Testing Out New Products & Services (Ask)

The best way to test your new products out is to partner with a blogger or industry writer and offer to have them send out a special e-mail to their subscribers offering them a great deal on your new product.

Entrepreneurs come up with new ideas, products and services nearly every day, but it is sometimes hard to get an idea if customers would use or purchase these products and services.

How do you test your new ideas for products and services?

Featured Response

Testing new products and services is an important part of the entrepreneurial process.  Here are three ways we test a new service.

Business Networking Events

We often sponsor and attend networking events where we hand out gift cards/flyers with different offers.  This is a great way to see what service “sticks” by the volume of calls we receive.  This is one way we test a new service.  To be specific, for one event we offered an SEO audit which did not get much response so for the next event we changed it to a free marketing and website review which got more traction.  Those who requested the free marketing and website review got a personalized report with an offer for the SEO audit at the end – once they received a free report that had a ton of value in it for them at no cost, they were more open to use us for other paid services. In addition, networking events are an excellent resource to ask peers what they think of a new service or product – getting feedback from others especially from your target market is key to make sure that there is a need for the service or product and to see if others think the idea is unique.

Tracking and Analytics
Tracking and analytics also help us determine how well a new service may do.  When we have a new offer, we place it on our home page clickable to a landing page. By tracking how many people click the link and land on the page about the new offer, we can get a feel for how well the new service may do.  But, don’t put all your faith in analytics because you could have a dynamite new service or product, but your call to action may need work to draw in the numbers needed to make it a success.

Social Media

Lastly, social media is a great way to test a product.  You can run a giveaway contest offering the product or service for free – then the winner in exchange offers a testimonial which can be used to attract more clients to the service or product.  Also, taking polls via social media is a great way to see what people want and need. Post something like:  New Product “x” that will do “A,B,C” for you.  Would you find this product helpful?  Tell us your thoughts and be entered to win “y.”

Overall, testing is an important phase and there are many free tools available to see how well your new service or product may do.

Resources:

  • Sign up on Meetup.com and find a networking meeting near you.
  • Google Analytics – free!  Download and insert code on every webpage to start seeing analytics.
  • Take Free Google Analytics training!

Thanks to Tasha Mayberry, Social Media 22!

http://www.socialmedia22.com
@SMMSEO22

Other responses:

The best ideas come out of necessity.  If you are having a problem or your clients are having a problem, then that’s a good indication that a service or product solving that issue would be useful. Once you have a skeleton or prototype of that service or product, go into a alpha test mode.  Talk it up at your various speaking engagements, use it as a door-prize at your current speaking engagement audience, use it as an OPT-In offer to your subscription or membership pages/website, have your partner-affiliates display samples at their businesses, offer it as an opt-in to your affiliates membership page.  At each distribution point, collect contact information for follow-up survey on the product or service.

Thank you to Laura Rose, Rose Coaching!

www.RoseCoaching.info

@Laura_Lee_Rose

Related Post: The Art of Testing: Keep Testing Until You Find What Works

We talk to in our case what we describe as Lead Generators.  Those trusted advisors who would recommend our services to their clients.  We test the concept, the pricing, the execution.  If these advisors feel that the marketplace is in need of specialized (or regular) services, we then create sales literature and start to market the service.

Thanks to Wayne Spivak, SBA Consulting!

http://SBAConsulting.com

@SBAConsult

Entrepreneurs should ask themselves the following questions: 1) Does the idea solve a problem? 2) Does the customer recognize that this is a problem? Many times the entrepreneur sees the problem, but not the target customer. 3) How much is the unsolved problem costing the customer? 4) Is the customer actively seeking a solution? Do they have a temporary working solution? 5) Misery loves company. So customers desperately seeking a solution are asking each other and everyone how to solve it. Find them. Conduct some customer interviews. It only takes 15 to 20 interviews to see a pattern. These customers will talk to anyone who is proposing a solution because they are desperate for a solution.

Thanks to Cynthia Kocialski, Author of Startup from The Ground Up!
www.cynthiakocialski.com
@ckocialski

Related Post: The Lean Startup

This is a great question for us as we have developed 20 products in the past 9 years, and have 3 more are on the way. We develop product ideas based on customer comments and wants. The concept is developed and prototype created and tested by us first. Usually it will go thru several major changes. Then we ask good repeat customers to try the product and give us feedback, no matter if it is good or bad. Then being a small company we put the product out on our website and into the market quickly. We do short runs of manufacturing so if problems occur we can change them.

 

Thanks to Frank Morosky, Flat-D Innovations!

www.flat-d.com

@FlatD

The best way to test your new products out is to partner with a blogger or industry writer and offer to have them send out a special e-mail to their subscribers offering them a great deal on your new product.  That way you get to test your product out with the exact customer base you would be targeting, but without having to spend a fortune on Adwords or Facebook Ads.  You’ll immediately see if enough people are interested and you’ll get some good feedback on what changes people would like to see too.

 

Thanks to Lea Richards, Pig of The Month!

www.pigofthemonth.com

@iheartbbq

Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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