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Do Your Customers Care About Your New Product? 8 Ways to Find Out

Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber

It's a classic e-commerce mistake: You're sure your customers are interested in that great new product idea...so sure you log dozens of man hours rolling it out online and pinging your subscriber list with a discount code, waiting for the sales to roll in.

But they don't. Not one.

Before you spend time and resources developing a new product or offering, you need to make sure your customers want what you're selling. And assuming you have current customers willing to give you their feedback, you can save a lot of time and energy if you simply ask. Eight entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) explain how:

1. Use Web Forms

Using Web forms on your current e-commerce site can tease the new product by starting an early notification list. By measuring page traffic and the number of converted sign ups, you'll have a good idea if the new product is selling itself. These people who sign up can become beta testers, get lower pricing and become your early fan club. - Kelly Azevedo, She's Got Systems

Related: Top 5 Companies That Have Teased a New Project

2. Send Samples

Give your best customers a sample or free trial of your new product or service. This works especially well with info or licensed products. Make it easy for your existing client base to try out your new product, and you will quickly be able to get feedback. - Caitlin McCabe, Real Bullets Branding

3. Post a Teaser

Post a teaser section with some basic info on the new product, and analyze the results with a tool. Crazy Egg provides you with a wealth of visual information as to how people are interacting with your pages. From click tracking to heat maps, this tool will help you gauge interest. - Adam Callinan, Beachwood Ventures

4. Increase Visibility

The best way to gauge interest is to sell your new product. Give the product enough visibility so shoppers will see it. You'll be able to quickly tell if the product is a winner or a loser by looking at sales and analytics. We did this during the holidays with two new products: gift cards and a blanket. The gift card was a loser. The blanket was a winner. - Brett Farmiloe, Internet Marketing Company

Related: What Crowdfunding Can Do For Your Next Product Launch

5. Use a False Gate

There is a common lean startup tactic called "False Gates" that makes it dead simple to gauge interest in new products or features without actually having to build them. You simply put a link or icon to the product or feature you are considering before the product or feature actually exists. Then, you track how many clicks the link actually gets. - Danny Boice, Speek

6. Measure Click-Throughs

Put up a landing page with the offer, and test an email blast to your existing users. Measure the click-through rates and the conversion to see if there is genuine interest. If your open rates on emails are low, you can try calling a sample set of your users or driving traffic to the new page. - Jordan Fliegel, CoachUp

7. Accept Pre-Orders

In a lean startup approach, you can accept pre-orders for your new product and start shipping it once you reach enough volume. This allows you to measure how interesting something is before actually making the investment. - Pablo Villalba, 8fit

8. Leverage Social Media

Leverage your social media community to do an informal and -- more importantly -- real-time focus group. You'll be surprised how responsive and detailed they will be. - Alex Frias, Track Marketing Group

Related: The One Thing ALL Successful Small Businesses Do on Social

Image Credit: NanoStockk / Getty Images
Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber
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Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.