The trick to make your customers believe in your product at once is by helping them overcome their initial hesitation and making your new item speak to them in a relatable way.
Here are five ways to help your product sell itself in a crowded marketplace:
1. Broadcast your advantage.
Be clear with customers from the start. Perceived advantage is built on factors like greater prestige, more convenience, superior effectiveness, or better value for the money.
Even cleaning products, the most mundane of all consumer necessities, can win using this theory. For example, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers solved the problems that previous spray-on liquid cleaners claimed to, with the added advantage of not damaging the paint on walls as competitors' products did. The brand made this ability to remove touch marks without damaging walls clear through a TV ad campaign that demonstrated the product at work. This provided positive reinforcement to consumers before they made their purchase.
2. Fit into your customer's routine.
How much effort is required for customers to make the transition from a current product to yours? If the cost is more than its relative advantage, most people won't try the new product. Febreze seems like one of those success stories--and it is--but even P&G can make mistakes with their branding, as was the case with Febreze Scentstories. In 2004, the company launched a scent 'player' that was reminiscent of a CD player with five scent discs that changed every half hour. Consumers were confused. They couldn't tell if the product played music, freshened air, or did both. Not knowing how or why they would use it, they didn't.
3. Work right out of the box.
When building new products, don't add work for the buyer. Make your product work as intended the first time out and every time thereafter. A kink-free garden hose, for example, should be kink free the first time and the hundredth time; a children's toy should be easy to assemble; and you should never expect a busy mom to spend more than five minutes figuring out how to use a new slow-cooker.
4. Make benefits easy to spot.
The more evident the perceived advantages, the more your product will market itself. For example, the clear plastic packaging of 3M's Command line of removable hooks allows you to see and understand how the product enables you to hang and remove a hook without leaving a hole in the wall.
5. Let customers try it out.
Samples, giveaways and store demonstrations are tried-and-true techniques for risk-free experimentation. If you can't afford to give your product away, offer a tempting discount or "buy one get one" deal.
Local products or services benefit from actual social interaction: an informal gathering in a home where guests can "play" with the product or try the service, a farmer's or open-air market where consumers can touch and taste what you're selling and meet you. The easier something is to try, the faster customers will want to buy it.
Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
Photos from Flickr (Tambako the Jaguar)