3 Ways to Target Early Adopters with Your Next Big Idea to Overcome that Period of Uncertainty
Definition and Importance of Early Adopters
Arguably, some customers are more valuable than others.
More specifically, customers who can be classified as “early adopters”are major players in the success or failure of a 21st century business and/or product.
Early adopters are important because they’re often also your influences and influencers; they run blogs,Youtube channels, and everything they say prompts triple or quadruple-digit retweets on twitter. Get on the good side of an early adopter, and they can bring with them hundreds or thousands of average users.
(Early adopters can play the role of “evangelists” for your business – the topic of another newsletter and blog. You can email me about this particular article.)
In some writings on the adoption curve and life cycle of new products, in our day and age, early adopters are touted as those who can guide a new business across the “chasm.” The chasm is the period of uncertainty when it is unclear whether a product or service will make the jump from something a few people try out to a commodity that is adopted and integrated by the majority.
How can you help your products, services, and causes be as attractive to early adopters as possible?
How can you best leverage that attention?
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1) Find a genuine need. Depending on where you’re at, this might be advice coming too late, but the first step to getting your product into the hands of eager early adopters is to make sure you’re filling a genuine need. People have “cool” ideas all the time, but that doesn’t mean these ideas will come to be viewed as “needed.”
Sometimes, however, your big idea can simply be an improvement of another system (think of Facebook eclipsing Myspace), however the barrier to entry with these ideas is higher because your product has to be so good, it entices people to drop something they’ve grown accustomed to.
There are pre-sell strategies where you obtain feedback from your current contacts (e.g. your email list) about a product or service, and then given them the prototype version as a freebie. In fact, some people are motivated to pay or even pre-pay because they feel vested in receiving a product or service they had a role in creating through their input.
2) Have a proper incentive system. Don’t just offer to give people free products, give something above and beyond that. For example, you can pre-sell them a product or service at an early bird price. Thus, you receive money in advance for a first generation product or service, and you keep your end of the bargain by providing the product or service in short order so they can offer additional feedback. (Ideally, you would also offer a minimum 30-day guarantee.)
In terms of the incentives, people are motivated to respond to call to action whereby
a) they are receiving a freebie as an early adopter
b) they are willingly paying and even pre-paying because
- they receive the lowest prices as the early adopters (or founding members at the membership site where the product or service is transacted)
- they receive the most bonuses as early adopters (or founding members)
For example, you might take a note from the gaming industry: Often, these companies will offer their early adopters exclusive titles for their profiles or unique character looks called “skins” that won’t be available ever again after the initial testing or adopting period.
Think about what rewards could be relevant to your audience in the same way. Maybe you’re launching a mobile ecommerce platform and you offer “veteran seller” badges or other marks of credibility to those who sign up and start using your site within the first 3 months, etc.
3) Communication will make or break you. The world we market in today is one of two-way communication, including on social media. You should be regularly reaching out to and interacting with your potential early adopter audiences through the channels that they use most.
Beyond recruitment, this communication, as mentioned, expands to post-adoption feedback and support. Early adopters will likely be using these channels to either get in touch with you directly or to broadcast their opinions about your product or service. Either way, you should be monitoring social and traditional channels all the time to respond in a timely, appropriate way.
Once you have all of the above in place you can turn on the traffic tap!
And the best place to start sending floods of traffic is through good old-fashioned media buying. For a step-by-step guide to media buying (written by an insider), check out The Traffic Blackbook now by clicking HERE.
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Transforming Vision to Value
Roberto Ragone has over 25 years experience in government, nonprofits, and business, working with them on strategic planning, marketing and public relations, fundraising, and outreach. He has also worked on literary, film, and theatre projects.
One of his guiding principles is a determination to help you attract popularity, prosperity, and prestige — fans, friends, funds, and fame. He helps define and disseminate the uniquely compelling story about you, transforming your vision to value so you “REaP” the benefits of your hard work.