4 Mistakes You Make While Marketing, Launching, and Selling Your New Product

This is a time of year when many business owners are thinking about what’s next in their businesses. And for you, that might be your “Next Big Thing.” It’s a product, program, or service that you’re incredibly excited about. Something you think might represent your business for years to come. Something that might finally put you over the top of your revenue goal or revolutionize your business model.

A Next Big Thing could be exactly what your business needs to do all those things. Unfortunately, if you’re an idea person like me—and I reckon you probably are, it’s likely that you’ll get carried away with the idea itself and forget to engage some of the strategies that can help you realize the true potential of your idea.

After all, you’d like people to be hungry to buy your new idea, right?

Here are 4 mistakes you’re likely to make in the process of marketing, launching, and selling your new product—and how to avoid them:

1) You take it to market too slowly.

Yes, too slowly. The faster you can bring a product to market the better. My highest grossing, most respected and well-known products have gone from idea to sales in the shortest periods of time. And that’s no fluke.

When you take a product to market as quickly as possible, you get “proof of concept.” The proof, of course, is whether people are willing to buy it or not.

To get that proof, you need to ask yourself, “What’s the least amount of work I can do on this for people to be willing to buy it?Perfectionists, please stay with me. I’m a Virgo, I get it.

Challenge yourself to think small.

The answer to that question is the design of your Minimum Viable Product. Often for service or information businesses, the answer is nothing more than an offer, a sales page, or even just a conversation. For product businesses, it might be a photoshop mockup or a sketch.

If you don’t have at least some people willing to buy this kind of product, your Next Big Thing isn’t going to be that big the way you’ve conceived it. The great part of going to market fast is that you can make changes, adjust your idea—possibly several times—so that when it comes time to really investing your time, money, or energy into your idea, you know it’s going to work.

2) You don’t take into account who’s ready to buy.

Now, not everyone buys a Minimum Viable Product. Who does? Early Adopters. They’re often your business’s biggest fans and most loyal customers. They love trying out new stuff and are just tickled when they get to try out something before everyone else.

But what about when you move past of the MVP stage? Every stage of product iteration and marketing development should take into consideration the segment of the market you’re ready to reach—and who’s ready to be sold to.

For example, you might develop an internal launch of your new product that is designed specifically for customers who wouldn’t have been comfortable buying a prototype but are nonetheless excited about a new idea. They’re focused on what they’re trying to achieve, how they want to feel, and how they could be doing things better.

Later in the game, you might turn an active product into a more passive product or evergreen offering and put it on autopilot. The kind of customer who is going to buy that product wants to have everything figured out for them. They’re likely more focused on fixing a problem or alleviating some pain.

Each of these stages deserves a fresh marketing message that appeals to that customer segment’s specific needs.

3) You focus on feel-good ideas instead of urgent needs.

Speaking of needs, let’s talk about that. I know you, you hate to be “salesy.” And you just love this idea that business “starts with why” because it feels good, feels safe, feels altruistic.

Here’s the thing, business starts with why but transactions don’t end with it.

Instead, the real reason people Buy Now is because they’re actually looking for something to buy. People love to buy! And when you tap into the natural reasons they’re already in the market with their wallets out, you’re much more likely to get the sale.

And the really beautiful part of that is that you still don’t have to be salesy. You just have to match your sales copy to the reasons people are looking to buy, whether that’s because they’re looking for a great necklace for date night, they’re frustrated by their website, or they’re finally ready to stop visiting the refrigerator every night at 8pm.

Don’t just get people excited, give them a reason to buy.

4) You don’t start marketing and selling soon enough.

Finally, the number one mistake I see with marketing, launching, and selling a new product is that business owners don’t start the marketing and sales process soon enough. Clients ask me all the time, “How early is too early to start marketing my new product?” The answer is never.

It is never too early.

It doesn’t have to be polished, it doesn’t have to be strategic. It does’t need to use the latest trend in online marketing.

First, marketing starts the minute you start product development. Because marketing is so much more than promotion, as soon as you start thinking about who your product is for, why they need it now, and how you’re going to best fill those needs with your product, you’ve started marketing.

Second, promotion can begin with a whisper. A small wave of a mention that you’re working on something for your people that does x, y, or z can lead to a tsunami at launch time.

Finally, I don’t let any of my clients start building a product if they haven’t figured out their sales message. If you don’t have confidence your product is going to sell, you’re not ready to realize your idea yet. Start there.

If you can avoid these 4 mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to creating and selling your next blockbuster product.

The good news is that my next creativeLIVE workshop is on this very topic. I’ll be outlining the 7 essential steps you need to market, launch, and sell your Next Big Thing.

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And on top of that, you’ll also receive 3 free training videos on how to develop your Next Big Thing in the weeks leading up to the workshop. This is content I haven’t shared outside of my high-end coaching programs and it’s worth thousands of dollars. But it’s all yours FREE when you enroll.

Click here to enroll in my next creativeLIVE workshop, FREE.

Being Independent Shouldn’t Mean Being Alone

If I had to choose the key factor that all successful microbusiness owners have in common, it would be that they chose not to be alone in their businesses.

When I started my business, I desperately wanted to be alone. Even while attempting to create a community, build an audience, and exercise my voice, I wanted to keep to myself.

Invitations to coffee left me nauseous. Phone calls went unanswered.

Luckily, on top of wanting desperately to be left alone, I was also just plain desperate. I had no choice. Even then, I could sense that succeeding would mean meeting with, learning from, and collaborating with other people. And so early on, I learned that even as I was still “solo” in my business solo entrepreneurship was a myth.

Too often I see the struggle for independence turn into suffering through loneliness.

Your friends outside the entrepreneurial world don’t understand what you do. Your partner gets tired of hearing about Twitter. Your parents just wish you’d get a real job.

Couple that with fear of failure, the impostor complex, and not knowing where to find your compatriots online, let alone in your local community, and you’ve got the formula for going-it-alone syndrome.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Being independent shouldn’t mean being alone. Click to tweet!

This is one of the messages I’ve been focusing on over the last few years. Whether it’s been my own personal investment in travel & industry events or my desire to put together groups of like-minded entrepreneurs in coaching experiences like 10ThousandFeet, I have sought to bring people together–with each other and with me–to dramatically increase their chances of success.

As a connector & a futurist, I put an extremely high value in creating communities of value so that we can learn from our disparate experiences and put them to good use building the world we want to live in.

I believe we should be actively cultivating relationships that bring us closer to the success we crave. And I believe we could all put more time & intention behind that action.

The next week will see me take two big steps even farther in that direction. I’m rebooting Kick Start Labs, the entrepreneurial community & resource library I founded over a year ago. By the end of the month, I’ll have opened a coworking & workshop space in Astoria, Oregon for the purpose of bringing together the independent workers & thinkers of Northwest Oregon.

I look forward to telling you more about CoCommercial soon. But in the meantime, I hope you’ll consider joining me and over 100 charter Kick Start Labs members to do just that. Not only will you get access to me and this community of just-like-you business owners, but you’ll have access to all the resources I’ve created over the last 3 years plus access to new ones as they are created.

And it’s just $39/month.

Now accepting new members: join today.

How to Sell What You Make: 3 Days With Me–FREE

Join me for The Art of Selling What You Make – FREE on creativeLIVE from tara gentile on Vimeo.

On October 18-20, I’m teaching a workshop for creativeLIVE on the Art of Selling What You Make. I’m offering my Customer Perspective Process, plus teaching the psychology of value, pricing, value(s)-driven marketing, and sales all in high-def, all FREE when you watch live.

You’ll learn how to connect more with customers, how to make a bigger impact in their lives, and how to charge more for what you create. Click to spread the word!

This workshop is geared toward makers, artists, and designers but service-providers will get a ton of practical value from what I’m sharing, too.

Click here to enroll–FREE–or order the recordings in advance to grab a discount.

And, I’m looking for 6 audience members to join me in studio. Click here to apply.

What will growth look like for your business in 2013?

As one year ends and another begins, you’ve no doubt been inundated with opportunities to explore successes & failures, doors open & doors closed, goals, plans, and strategies. It’s true; this is the perfect time to evaluate where your business has been and where it’s going.

Most likely, one of your goals for your business in 2013 is growth. But what does business growth look like for you?

It’s your choice, you know. The picture of growth may be IPOs, 7-figure revenues, big teams, fame, or fortune. But that’s not all there is to growth. Growth is what you make it.

To kick off 2013, I’m proud to release my new book, The Art of Growth. Think of it as the big sister follow-up to my popular book, The Art of Earning (still name-your-own-price). This book is about both redefining business growth to reflect the opportunities we have in the You Economy and providing strategies for growth that you can adapt to fit your own values as a business owner.

The book lands January 8. It will be available as a multimedia pack here on my website and as a Kindle-only version on Amazon.

Below is an excerpt from the introduction. More importantly, I’d like to know: What will growth look like for your business in 2013? Click the link and let me know.

From The Art of Growth:

Growing your business is about maturity. Just like a child grows from a baby who needs your care to fill every need then, as he ages, requires less of your hands-on care, so does your business. Or, it will if you practice the art of growth. If you continue to baby your business with frenetic action and reactive effort, your business will remain a baby. The national news media wonders if helicopter parenting will create a generation of adults unable to to care for themselves; I wonder if helicopter entrepreneurship will result in a lost opportunity for millions of people to experience a new level of prosperity.

The art of growth is crafting a business that fulfills desires, changes lives, and rewards you without having to tend to its every need. The art of growth is about being proactive, not reactive. It’s about integrated systems and strategies.

The art of growth is not necessarily about the fastest track to a million users. It’s not necessarily about reaching the masses. It’s not about turning the people you serve into nameless, faceless numbers.

Scale doesn’t have to mean impersonal. Leverage doesn’t have to mean hands off. Impact doesn’t have to mean hustle.

As Danielle LaPorte, author of The Fire Starter Sessions, put it, “Love scales.”

That is the art of growth. It’s imagining the give-and-receive nature of business on a whole new level.

***

Look for additional thoughts on business growth in the age of connectedness over the next few weeks. And, in the meantime, tell me: What will growth look like for your business in 2013? Click here to let me know.

How to Create, Host, and Profit from Teleclasses

Whenever I get the itch to talk business with a friend, whenever there’s an answer that is just bursting out of me, whenever I have something to say dammit, I turn to a teleclass.

There’s something about jamming for an hour that just brings out the best in me — and offers something truly unique to those who listen in.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve perfected a system that generates sales, ups my credibility, and engages new customers each time I host a teleclass. And today I’m sharing it with you for free.

I don’t normally share detailed tutorials because I believe in experimentation over systems; I believe in “your way” over the “right way.” But I also believe strongly in the power of information, personal vision, and community to pave the way into truly transcendent commerce – and teleclasses are an easy-to-produce & highly effective way to engage all three of those things.

If you’ve ever wondered about how I create highly effective, highly profitable, and highly fun teleclasses, check out this comprehensive tutorial at Kick Start Labs.

— PS —

If you’d like to get every resource I create for a year, plus monthly masterclasses and Q&A calls, check out the Kick Start Labs membership. Every resource you need to run a thriving You Economy business, all in one place, for one low price. Click here for to learn more.

Hone in on the value you truly provide – or why my highest grossing product needed a makeover.

Over two years ago, my customers started asking me for a resource on creating their own websites. They wanted to know how to install WordPress, how to design something they were proud of, and maybe even how to code a little.

I stalled and stalled and stalled.

Until I realized that leveraging this skill of mine was one way to break out of the time-for-money crunch that drags down so many beginning business owners.

So I created my DIY website program.

The first time through it – creating the content, answering support questions, sharing ideas, discovering what I hadn’t anticipated – was extremely difficult. I almost didn’t run the program again. But overwhelming demand buoyed my confidence.

I launched it again and it went much better the second time. By that point 80 people had participated in the program and I started receiving very interesting feedback.

I heard that, while the program taught them all sort of new skills & brought back the thrill of a challenge, it was the fresh way of looking at their businesses that was the true value for them.

You see, in Website Kick Start, I focused on guiding participants through thinking about their business from the customer’s perspective. We spent time considering our websites from the visitor’s point of view. And that made all the difference.

Participants found clarity around their business decisions. They discovered new language to use in spreading their message. They created new ways to serve their customers right on site.

And that’s why people said things like…

This was definitely one of the best investments I made in my business and I love being able to go in and control my site design myself!
Amy Kozak, jewelry designer

and

The skills to build it has taken up <--this--> much of my learning and the knowledge and new way of thinking about my business has taken up <------------------------this------------------------> much of my learning.
— Kathryn, CloudLoveBaby

In working with hundreds of business owners over the last few years, this has been one of my greatest lessons:

The greatest value you deliver is the solution that’s sitting below the surface of the problem you think you’re solving.

People wanted websites. What they needed was a new perspective on their businesses. They got both.

So the makeover?

This week Kick Start Labs launched Website Kick Start 2.0 (as well as a juicy membership program that’s FREE with purchase). The program was constantly updated during it’s 2 year life — but this time it needed reworked from the ground up.

Despite the success it had, I wanted to hone in on the value the program truly provided. I wanted to make getting the website part even easier and I wanted the business shift to be even more massive.

I know now that the experience of the program will be better for all involved, that the results will be even more massive, and that the program will spread from customer to customer.

That’s a pretty good feeling to have in your business.

What products do you have sitting on the shelf that could use a makeover to hone in on their true value? What products are you dreaming about that may have a deeper value than the surface problem you’re trying to solve?

Stick to your ribs value is your customer’s birthright. Give it to them.

— PS —

Want in on the all new Website Kick Start 2.0? I betcha do. Find out more about how to get a website that works for you and how to get every resource Kick Start Labs creates for a year… FREE: click here.