Long before you launched your company, you started planning for it.
Doesn’t your new product deserve the same consideration?
Often, when we first meet with start-up companies, we’re told that they “don’t need public relations right now because the (product or service) isn’t finished yet.” But that’s exactly when to begin the planning and development of marketing communications which can give you the best product launch possible.
If your concept is brand new, you can begin to prepare the market for it with public relations months prior to launch. What will it do? Why do they need it? What will media outlets think about it? Why is it so novel? How will it affect the buyer’s ROI?
If it’s an improved “me-too,” you can give prospects a reason to wait for your launch rather than decide to buy the existing competitor(s) offering. Or you can provide the prospect with reasons for including a purchase in the next budget cycle.
Educating the market can be time intensive. Unless you really do have a better mousetrap, you shouldn’t expect customers to be knocking the doors down when you decide you’re ready to sell the product to them.
Timing is critical. Start too early and you will wear down customer interest. Start too late and the word can’t be spread as quickly as you’ll need it. The key is to begin softening the market for your sales people while never overpromising your product’s capabilities.
Early PR can begin to position your company as well as its products/services. The innovation story can be as interesting to editors as the end result. Talk about how you determined a need for the product, obstacles or breakthroughs in the development stage, or what is happening in beta testing. You can generate buzz and position yourself as an industry leader.
Ways to do this include:
- Attending local networking events
- Building a social media following
- Posting blogs that highlight your expertise
- Investing in discussions surrounding your industry
- Encouraging thought leaders to guest blog for your website
- Finding bloggers who will be interested in sharing your story
Starting a new business can be exciting, scary and often chaotic. In the midst of finding investors, securing a location and perfecting your product, it becomes even more challenging to find the time to promote it.
But you have a unique perspective on your industry. So be a conversation starter. Create a dialogue that positions your product. Capitalize on any opportunity to highlight yourself as an expert in your field.
You’ve put a lot of work into your company, so show off your knowledge and build your reputation.