Creating brand buzz for a new company or brand might seem impossible at first. How do you get people to talk about something they don’t know exists?
You join their online conversations, and you take your product to them in stores. During these interactions, you point them to your digital content and your content marketing continues the education process.
Focus Groups in Early Market Research
Ideally, you’ll run focus groups for market research while developing your minimum viable product (MVP). You’ll retain the names and contact information of those participants and return to them for further information when you become ready to introduce the product. First, go back to them as a beta testing group.
Beta Testing Your MVP
When you beta test your product or service, you use consumers. Your alpha test uses people inside your company. Once you alpha test and improve the product, you’re ready for your beta test. While you make information about your beta test public, only those from your market research focus group would participate and gain early access to your product or service.
These individuals already know about your product and have a personal investment in its success. Their advice helped develop it after all. As beta testers, they can tell you if it meets the description they provided in the focus group. By sticking with the same people from your earliest focus group throughout your marketing process, you help build your first brand ambassadors.
Second Round of Beta Test or Discounted Product
Following your beta test, you take your product back for further improvements. Once you’ve addressed the problems with it that the beta testers experienced and fixed all of the problems, so they no longer exist rather than simply patching them temporarily, you’re ready to go to market. You might go through a second beta test round, or you might provide the early product to your focus group at a discount or for free in exchange for status as a brand ambassador.
Using Brand Ambassadors
Tapping beta testers as your initial brand ambassadors get your product in the hands of people who know its value and have an intimate acquaintance with the problem it solves. Your agreement with your brand ambassadors provides these influential individuals with your product, and you get their positive representation of it online on every social media site that they use.
Word of mouth marketing helps create buzz and content marketing helps continue it. Online brand ambassadors help you educate consumers about your products and motivate product or service sales. Your brand ambassadors make a requisite number of posts per week about your product. Depending on the type of product, their digital content might include:
- Unboxing videos
- Product photos
- How to use the product texts or videos
- Personal modeling pics
You turn your focus group attendees into your first online brand ambassadors, and this provides you with ready-made influencers who know your product well. These early influencers help you spread the word about your product by combining word-of-mouth marketing and content marketing. They talk up the finer points of your brand. These trusted friends of consumers help you launch your product or service and provide an integral step in getting consumers to act on the coupons you place in your advertising.
Advertising that Includes Coupons
Whether you open a plumbing service or a new mop, you need people to try it and pay you for it. One of the easiest ways to do this is to offer a coupon in your first advertisement.
Where Should You Advertise?
Your target audience determines this. There is no single answer. When you conduct your market research, you learn this information. If you open a bed and breakfast, your market research might reveal that 75 percent of the visitors to your competitors travel to your state from northern states and read Town & Country magazine. You’d advertise a vacation package that discounted a weekend and a week’s stay in Town & Country magazine. If you open a skate park in a major city, your market research might reveal that 63 percent of the skateboarders in your city attend public schools and watch YouTube and TikTok. That means you would advertise on YouTube and TikTok, offering half off of the day pass price.
Your coupon provides the incentive consumers need to try something new and provides an integral component of your content marketing. A discount on their first product or use lets them risk less to try the product. Reducing risk often increases participation. You need people to try what you have so they know they like it.
In-Store Experiences and Sampling
Experiential marketing offers consumers the chance to try before they buy. You’ve probably shopped at a Costco, Sam’s Wholesale Club, Target, or Walmart when the store offered consumer sampling. Most stores offer these sample kiosks on Sunday. Trained in-store professional brand ambassadors prepare samples and offer or serve them. They also provide standardized product information and answer questions about the product or service, purchase price, manufacture, etc.
Many major corporations use this method to get consumers interested in their brand quickly and entice purchases. Small businesses can do this, too. For example, a bakery launching sugar-free cookies could give away bite-sized mini-cookies using the same recipe or cut a regular-sized cookie into four equal portions, giving them out on the street in front of their shop or in the parking lot of their shopping complex. If you choose the latter option, check first with the shopping center’s rules and with the city to determine if you need a permit or if you’re limited to the area in which you can conduct the giveaway. You could also include a complimentary sugar-free cookie with each sale to let customers try the new product before buying it.
Where Do You Find Focus Group Participants, Brand Ambassadors, and Online Influencers?
Finding focus group participants starts with your survey host. Most survey companies will help you by letting you offer your survey or focus group to their members. You’ll either pay a fee to the company, or you’ll pay the participants directly. Typically, companies use the former plan. Depending on your brand or topic, you might consider Esearch.com, Evidation (formerly Achievement), Zidisha, MyPoints, Toluna, or Qualtrics.
Some companies specialize in online and in-store brand ambassadors (BAs). These firms can help you locate local professionals of any target audience description, so your BAs fit your target audience. You’ll find it much easier to reach an audience when your BAs represent it. That means hiring African-American BAs for hair care products designed for them or plus-sized BAs to represent plus-sized fashions. That bakery launching sugar-free cookies could hire those willing to disclose the reason they cut out sugar. Since these positions fall under that of an independent contractor, that is legal. It can also help you reach your audience because they will feel more comfortable being approached by a member of their own target audience. Those grandmotherly BAs at Costco on Sunday make shoppers feel comfortable and willing to try a new cookie or casserole. You could contact ATN (Across the Nation), Mosaic, Convention Models and Talent Agency (CMT Agency), and/or GetEventJobs.com.
Let Bake More Pies Help
If that all sounds daunting and you already feel overwhelmed, let Bake More Pies help you launch your brand. It does take time to build a brand, but we can help you start your branding process while you develop your product or service. Contact us!