Audiences are typically reluctant to adopt a new product, whether it’s a new brand competing with a long-established competitor, or a completely novel concept. There’s something to be said about our obsession with new technology—research from the University of York shows that we tend to value new things, regardless of whether or not they help us—but when it comes to paying money for something that completely breaks from what we’re used to, the dynamic is different.
Audiences need to be persuaded before they’ll part with their money. That means it’s not good enough to offer a stellar product—you have to convince your audience that it’s stellar as well.
The Biggest Challenges to Overcome
Ultimately, there are three distinct challenges to overcome here:
- Unfamiliarity. Customers like to make informed purchasing decisions. If they don’t know what your product can do for them, or if they don’t understand why they need it, they aren’t going to buy it. They may also be reluctant to buy from a brand they don’t recognise.
- Uncertainty. New customers may also be uncertain about specific aspects of your offer, such as whether it’s worth the money, or whether they can trust your brand.
- Complacency. You’ll also need to overcome customer complacency; some customers will be perfectly content with the products they’re already using, or with using no products whatsoever in a given application. Your job is to motivate them to change.
How to Persuade Your Audience
These three challenges can be overcome with the following strategies:
- Emphasise the benefits. Work on emphasising the benefits of the product you’re showcasing. Not only does this help consumers understand exactly what your product is meant to be used for, it will also put your product in a positive light. You can talk about how fast it works and the effects a consumer is likely to experience while using it, such as describing the effects of CBD oil, or compare it to other competing types of products, such as comparing hybrid bikes to other types of bikes.
- Give live demonstrations. If your product descriptions aren’t increasing customer adoption, your next step is to give live video demonstrations; visual content is easier to process and remember than written content, so showing consumers how a product is used in real-time is often an ideal complementary approach. Make sure to have someone who represents your target demographics demo the product.
- Give a sample (if possible). If customers seem to be especially resistant to paying for your product at first, consider giving them a free sample (or a free trial). You’ll immediately overcome the payment hurdle, since customers won’t have to part with their cash, and you’ll get the chance to prove that your product is worth having. This method requires an upfront investment, especially if you’re shipping out tangible products, but the exposure potential for early-stage companies is almost certainly worth it.
- Build in a guarantee. You could also build a guarantee into your product, depending on the nature of your offer. For example, if you’re offering a new food product, you could offer a money-back guarantee; if a customer doesn’t like it, they don’t have to pay for it. If you’re offering a household cleaner that competes with an existing brand, you can challenge your customers to try it for 30 days and do a side-by-side comparison. Guarantees are a sign of confidence to your customers, and provide them reassurance that they won’t waste their money on this new, novel product.
- Offer social proof. There are many types of social proof you can offer, but they all share a commonality; they’re all designed to convince new customers that various neutral third-parties have confirmed your product’s value. You could, for example, promote a scientific study that proves how your product works, or get an influencer or expert in your industry to give you their support. Or you could go a more traditional route and ask for reviews from your existing customers. As long as you have credible testimonies from an unbiased source, you can demonstrate social proof.
These aren’t the only ways to overcome customer hesitation and convince your audience that a new product is worth trying, but they are some of the most effective ways. Experiment with different marketing and product development strategies until you find a combination that works for your target demographic.
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