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How to Build an Audience Before a Product Launch 

Workshop Recap: Jumpstart your Business 

· Entrepreneurship,Blog Post,Workshop

Traditional business models are fast becoming a thing of the past. Recently, entrepreneurs to launch their business ideas to early adapters through crowdfunding platforms. In this business model, a minimum viable product or prototype comes first. They get a chance to build their audience before product launch. It also lets them test their customers’ response through prototypes . These ‘backers’ give valuable feedback to help improve the products. Pebble is a great example of a Kickstarter project that proves an MVP-based business model that is lucrative and more effective in predicting what your market wants. 

How to Build an Audience Before a Product Launch

Creating an audience before a product launch plays a great part in Kickstarter's success.  These are supporters gathered through marketing efforts made by the entrepreneur’s team. Now, the question is, how do you build an audience that will support your business idea? What do you need to do to spread the word about your product without having to spend thousands on promotion?

Here are four steps in building an audience online.

1.       Build a website. 

Build a website for you business

A website serves as a window to your business. It’s a powerful tool that tells your unique story and the solutions that you are offering. Why do you need a website? Because customers expect that you have one, so they could learn more about you and your services. Having a website creates opportunities for you since most of today's shoppers browse online. Customers also get a chance to make a good impression of who you are as a business and how you take care of your clients.

So what resources do you need to set up your website? First you would need to get a domain name. A domain name is your url. For it to appear on the internet, you must have a hosting service. That's where web hosting comes in. It would also be convenient to set up hosting in the same location since it will be easier to manage that way. Bluehost.com offers both a domain name and web hosting services. Here you can get a domain name starting at $11.99 a year and a basic web hosting package at $3.95 a month. You can also set up a working website in China with Strikingly. It comes with easy to use, professional templates that you can set up hassle-free. Check out our article on how you could create a professional, working website here. 

2.       Create quality content.

Content is king

Creating quality content for your audience will help establish you as an expert in your field. It will help you attract your ideal clients. Providing them with resources that educate and add value will help build your credibility. Now how do you decide what write about? The secret is to get to know your ideal audience. Get to know what they’re reading and where they read it from. See what they’re looking into and learn what they’re listening to. Doing so will make it easier to create content that is relevant to your potential customers.

3.       Share content in the right platform 

You can have the best product or service ever, but if nobody knows about it, you will never sell anything. That is why choosing what to share on which platform matters. Knowing when to post also helps maximize its reach to your audience. 

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on how you can maximize your social media posts:

Social Media Cheat Sheet

Blogging is also a great way to improve your communication skills. Marketing guru, Seth Godin encourages entrepreneurs to write and publish content every day.  These blog posts would be a perfect addition to your newsletters, which is a great way to spread your content to your target audience. It gives you the chance to increase your audiences' awareness of your products and services. It helps customers show your expertise, promote products and services, launch new products and push for special offers and discounts exclusive only to your subscribers. Newsletters give you the chance to connect with more people, maintain contact with your current clients, and increase the coverage of your target audience. 

4.       Set up payment methods

Set up payment methods

We can’t reiterate more than anything that making money from day 1. So it’s important to set up easy payment methods for your customer’s convenience. Make sure to have one Chinese card and an international card (Visa, Mastercard). It is beneficial to have a WeChat or a Taobao account in Allipay as well as a Paypal account that your customers can send payment to.

You would also need to have a platform where you can sell your products and services. For tickets, websites like Yoopay.cn and TryClearCut.com is an easy option. For products, you can check out Shopify.com, WeiDian.cn and WalkTheChat.com. Remember to take note of all the business requirements. You can avoid legal issues which could stop you from operation or worse, get your licenses revoked. 

Establishing a community before launching your project will increase your potential to get a sale. If done right, your community can also become your first allies in sharing the word about you and your business. Don’t be afraid to be remarkable, and go beyond your client’s expectations.

Herlene Somook is a creative entrepreneur based in Manila, Philippines. A graduate of AB Psychology, she was a Kumon Reading teacher for five years before jumping ship to the Business Process Outsourcing industry. She has been a digital nomad and freelance writer for a little over two years, and enjoys reading bedtime stories to her bouncing toddler.

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