Entering new markets is a big component of business growth. A company that doesn’t branch out into new markets may stagnate, limiting its ability to thrive.
Bringing a product or service to a new market that’s hungry for it is a great way to acquire new customers and grow your business. Before investing too much to expand in their direction, however, it’s important to determine how your offering will resonate with new target audiences.
Here, 12 experts from Forbes Agency Council explore ways to gauge how much a product or service will appeal to potential buyers in a new market so that you can optimize, adjust or rethink your approach to reaching them.
1. Conduct Market Research
The most reliable method of determining new target segments for a product or service is market research. Brands that skip market testing may save up front but pay in the long run. Speaking directly to the new audience segment through surveys, interviews or focus groups will validate your assumptions and uncover insights critical to positioning and a successful launch. – Keri Witman, Clever Lucy
2. Tap Family And Friends
Keep it all in the family. Qualitative research among family and friends is a great way to gain initial insight into a product’s appeal. It’s easy to swear them to confidentiality; they are most likely to be honest and productive in their feedback, and they’ll be eager to contribute to your success. – Jim Heininger, Dixon|James – Rebranding Experts
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3. Check Out The Competition
Do some competitive research to see if another brand has already tapped into your target market. If so, then you know that the appeal (and opportunity) exists. If not, find a group of beta testers or create virtual focus groups that you can survey to get their real, raw impressions. This approach gives you the added benefit of using positive feedback in your marketing campaign’s messaging. – Bernard May, National Positions
4. Examine Audience Motivations
When introducing your product to a new audience, it is critical to examine the motivations that audience already has for using the product. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can motivate the intended audience, however—you can’t. But you can tap into their existing motivations and spur them to purchase by making it as easy as possible for them to do so. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave
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5. Run Small Pilot Campaigns
The best way is to run small pilot campaigns with different messaging and calls to action to see how your audience reacts to your product or service. Let people see what advantages your product or service has over its competitors. Sometimes offline activities also help in understanding the audience’s response toward a new product or service. – Mandeep Singh, SEO Discovery Pvt Ltd.
6. Offer Trials And Freebies
I believe strongly in trials and freebies. Invite people to try out what you want to offer in bite-sized chunks. Convene casual market tests (not formal focus groups, but random market testing through social media, live offerings, free samples or mini-gifts) and have real conversations about how they are received. Invite feedback to help tweak your offerings. Remember, business is a relationship! – Lynne Golodner, Your People LLC
7. Look At Similar Offerings
The best way to ensure that your product or service will appeal to a particular audience is to see how things have worked in the past. Looking at products that are similar and have a similar history is critical to determining how a new product will be used. – Jon James, Ignited Results
8. Choose An Indirect Methodology
You can get better results testing new products if you don’t alert subjects to the fact that they’re being studied. To do this, choose an indirect methodology that uses quantitative measurement; it’s why the minimum viable product is so popular. Why? When people know they’re being observed, it may shift their behavior. Why quantitative? It’s much easier to gather and compare numerical results. – Benjamin Collins, Laughing Samurai
9. Partner With Influencers
Influencers are a great way to test and learn about any product or service. Working with the right influencer persona for what you want to promote will give you direct access to your target audience. Because these creators have a close relationship with the members of their community, who will usually share honest feedback in the comment section, you will have a notion of how that audience is going to respond. – Emilie Tabor, IMA – Influencer Marketing Agency
10. Run Video Ads On Facebook
It’s never been easier or less expensive to test new markets. By running video ads on Facebook, you’re able to easily monitor total view time, where drop-off is happening inside the video and click-through and conversion rates. This will give you all the indicators you need to see if the product or service is valuable to your audience. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint
11. Work With A Focus Group
Somewhere along the way, focus groups went out of vogue, and they shouldn’t have; they are very powerful, and you can conduct them inexpensively by offering a small incentive if the cost is an obstacle. You have to make sure the concept is still strong outside of your own bubble. To do that, you need raw feedback. – Christine Wetzler, Pietryla PR
12. Try Selling It
Yes, it is that simple. If people buy it, you’re good. Don’t waste time with vanity metrics or too much research, especially if you are a smaller or younger company. – Erik Huberman, Hawke Media
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Author: Expert Panel®, Forbes Councils Member