(Photo Credit: Universal Pictures)
Congratulations! With the extra time you’ve had on your hands recently, you and your colleagues decided the time was right to launch a new service line. Not just a small upgrade to what you’re already doing… but something entirely new. That’s terrific news.
I say “probably” because if you don’t do a good job bringing that new service (or product) to market, it could potentially flop… or, at least, take a lot longer to reach the levels of revenue and profit you envisioned for it. So, as you’re getting ready to operationalize your new service, make sure to create your go-to-market promotional plan, too. To help, here are 12 things to consider:
1. Start with the language. Not just what it is and what it does, but how and why clients benefit from using it. Highlight the problems that it solves. Once you get this messaging nailed down, you’ll be able to use it throughout your promotions. And by the way, if this new Service is truly unique or ground-breaking, you’re going to need to add one more thing to your messaging… how it compares to the way your clients are used to doing it. That is, a comparison to the traditional methodology.
2. As part of language, are you going to want to give it a ‘brand name?’ If so, you’ll want to do a name search – and a domain search – to make sure they’re not taken. And maybe even create a logo for it.
3. Make sure you add a new section or page to your website for it. Refer back to the ‘language’ for this. And make sure you update any menus and links, too. And what about an announcement banner on the homepage? Note: you’ll likely be getting a lot of visitors to your website to learn about your new service. That’s terrific. So, make sure the rest of your website is in good order, too. Make sure all services, industries served, client lists, etc. are updated. Have a fresh set of eyes go through it to look for content errors and broken links.
4. It doesn’t have to be only words. To help introduce the new service, create a video with someone from your team making the introduction. And depending on its complexity, maybe even create an ‘explainer’ video. If you’re introducing a new piece of software, you’ll likely need some sort of brief ‘demo’ video, as well.
5. Add the new service to your capabilities presentation. Again, refer back to the ‘language’ for this.
6. Schedule an email campaign to go out to your CRM database. In fact, schedule a second email a week later that goes only to those who did not ‘open’ the first one. Note: use a different Subject Line in the second one.
7. Prepare to post about it on social media. A couple of thoughts here: Like the email, don’t just post about it one time. Since there’s a good likelihood that many of your connections & followers won’t see the first post, schedule a second and third post, too. Post them several days apart and at different times of day. And don’t forget about posting it in the LinkedIn groups where your target audiences are members.
8. Create content to support it. Just because you launch a new service line doesn’t mean you’ll be perceived as an expert with that methodology. To help create and maintain that ‘expert’ perception, create some content around it that showcases your true knowledge and expertise. For example, suppose you create a new Concept Testing service. To support it, write a few blog posts about Concept Testing. For example, ‘10 Ways to Get the Most from Your Next Concept Test’ or ‘Using Concept Testing to Spur Innovation.’ And at the bottom of each blog post, link to the new service page.
9. Similarly, spend a little time every day scrolling through your social feeds, particularly LinkedIn and LinkedIn groups. If you come across a social post or discussion thread related to Concept Testing, participate in the post as a way to showcase your expertise.
10. Don’t let all promotions be mass market. For your top clients, reach out to them directly and share with them your new Service. Kind of a sneak peek. It doesn’t have to be a hard sales pitch, and they will appreciate getting a little special treatment, rather than being lumped in with everyone else.
11. One of the hardest sales challenges you’ll have is convincing clients and prospective clients to give your new Service a try… particularly if they’ve been reasonably happy with their current supplier. They need a reason to switch. They need ‘proof.’ To help with that, find a few existing clients and ask them to try it, even at a greatly reduced cost. In return for a favor. That ‘favor’ is, at the conclusion of the successful project, they will write a strong testimonial for you. Nothing is a better proof source than a company sharing publicly the success they’ve had with you.
12. Finally, don’t forget to look inside at our own staff. Make sure everyone on your team – especially those who interface with clients, like Project Managers – thoroughly understand the new Service Line and can speak intelligently about it. Make sure to spend some time training them, because – as the ones who have the most frequent contact with clients – they are the ones who end up selling (or losing) the new business.
Be excited! There’s not much in business more exhilarating than launching a new Product or Service Line and watching it really take off. But be careful and remember what Kevin Costner’s character said in “Field of Dreams”… “If you build it, they will come.” Yes, but only if you market the hell out of it first!