Face it. The market is saturated with new products. According to the U.S. patent office, nearly 289,000 patents were filed just in the U.S. in 2015. Included in those filings — patents for a whole lot of new tech products.
For companies like Apple or Microsoft all that competition is merely an annoyance, not a huge concern. That’s because they know the market will pause and pay attention to giant tech brands.
But, what if you’re a startup or SMB? How do you successfully launch a new tech product? How does your brand get noticed?
These questions are keeping me up at night these days. As Director of ViewPoint — essentially a startup incubated within a long-established software company — I know we’ve done the work. We’ve developed an innovative product for which we see a market opportunity; we’ve built a small-but-growing and uber-loyal customer base of respected Fortune 1000 companies; and we’ve garnered excellent reviews from users.
For us, it’s now all about attracting attention and converting leads into happy customers. If you’re launching a new product — even a whole new business — you are, or soon will be, facing these same challenges.
A Louder Megaphone
Back in the “old days” — until about the late ‘90s — attracting attention was pretty straightforward. All you had to do was shout the loudest. Simply hire a well-connected PR firm to wordsmith a catchy press release, and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring as eager journalists clamored to cover your launch.
These days, not so much.
In the digital landscape the sway of traditional media takes a back seat to bloggers, influencers, social sharing and crowd-sourced content. With so much noise — hordes of competitors and unrelated businesses dueling for eyeballs and mindshare — gaining attention is a huge challenge.
Getting noticed requires more than a little guile and creative thinking.
Here are five tactics ViewPoint has used successfully to build brand awareness. Certainly, this is not an exhaustive list nor a comprehensive marketing tutorial. Just a few ideas we’ve found work well for us — and could likely work for your business, too.
1. Reach out to industry influencers
Get your product into the hands of happy customers, motivated prospects, benevolent bloggers or influencers in your niche who have a significant online presence. Encourage them to try your products and share their (hopefully positive) experiences with their followers.
This tactic has helped us develop brand advocates who are not on our payroll. When an independent and respected business influencer sings your praises… well, that’s priceless in terms of market credibility.
2. Encourage social sharing
Identify people likely to be interested in your offering (and willing to talk about it) and give them a sneak peek. If they accidentally leak your product-release announcement on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, well… that’s just more people who will see your brand.
3. Get your customers involved
They’re your best brand evangelists so empower them to talk about your product release. We love when our customers mention ViewPoint! It amplifies our voice. The more people talk, the more likely ViewPoint will trend on social or at least get picked up by the digital trade press. And that’s music to our ears.
4. Don’t forget everyone else
Woo businesses and practitioners in your target market with free trials, demos, product videos and other valuable content. But tone down the hard sell. Become a source for expert insight so people will return to your company over and over.
5. Create the right online presence
Since people who encounter your content are likely to click through to your website to learn more, make sure it’s up to par. Put your best foot forward with targeted brand messaging and detailed product information that supports your business strategy.
That’s actually what we’re up to at ViewPoint at this very moment. We’re overhauling our site to better reflect our story and the value ViewPoint delivers, and better showcase the visually compelling nature of our product. It’s set to launch in a few weeks so stay tuned.
Got tips of your own for publicizing a new brand or launching a new product? Let’s start a conversation. While our website is under construction, find us on Twitter and Facebook @ViewPointTouch or on LinkedIn as ViewPoint Interactive Solutions. Or skip social and reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.