How to Target Early Adopters with Your Next Big Idea

By | September 1, 2015

updated_md_whtNot to sound bigoted, but let’s just face the facts: some customers are
more valuable than others. There! I said it! More specifically,
customers who can be classified as “early adopters,” especially in the
realm of digital technology, are major players in the success or failure
of a 21st century business and/or product. Early adopters are so
important because they’re often also your influences; they run blogs,
Youtube channels, and everything they say has 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. 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 where it is
uncertain whether a product will make the jump from something a few
people try out to a technology that is adopted and integrated by the
majority.

Today, we’re going to talk about how you can help your products and
businesses be as attractive to early adopters as possible, and how you
can best leverage that attention.

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 they’re ideas that will come to be known as “needed.” Sometimes,
however, your big idea can simply be an improvement of another system
(think: Facebook usurping 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 accustom to.

2) Have a proper incentive system. Don’t just offer to give people free
products, give something above and beyond that. For example, you might
take a note from the gaming industry: Often times, 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. Social media. You know, that kind of
thing. 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 also 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.

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