After spending so much time and energy creating an amazing prototype that you are excited about, you may be eager to take it to market and to start generating a profit from it. As simple as this sounds, it actually is more complicated than you might think. After all, the prototype should be carefully analyzed and tested before it is mass produced. Furthermore, you have to understand market requirements, competing products and even how your customers may actually use the product. The prototype is only the first step in the full production process. However, you may be able to start marketing your prototype quickly through several different strategies.
Create a Prototype First
Before you start marketing the prototype, ensure that the prototype is the best version possible. It should be very detailed and made of high-quality elements. At one time, creating a quality prototype was cost-prohibitive for inventors and smaller companies. However, 3D printing is now easily accessible and affordable. Prototypes made from this type of technology may even the playing field and potentially increase the number of great inventions that are brought to market. With your prototype in hand, you can market it in these ways.
1. The Teaser
A teaser is a website that is specifically designed to promote your prototype. Your website should use Google Adwords and SEO strategies to bring visitors to it. Once on the teaser website, visitors can see the prototype in detail. They can also learn about its features and uses. However, avoid stating all features and benefits. This website should be akin to a movie trailer. You want to entice visitors to contact you for more information so that you can customize your sales pitch specifically to them.
2. The Funds
To effectively market your product on a wider scale, you generally need to have access to a substantial amount of capital. You can fund this endeavor through your own personal funds if you have access to that amount of capital, or you can raise money from friends and family members. Your teaser website may be useful in this situation. You can also raise funds through venture capitalists, angel investors, silent partners and others.
3. Offer Early Purchase
Your product may not currently be available for sale, but that does not mean that you cannot accept orders for it. A pre-order is a great way for you to raise the revenue needed to bring the product fully to market. It also can show your potential investors that there is a strong market for the product. However, if you do accept pre-orders, try to deliver a product that is as close to the prototype as possible. You do not want your first few customers to be unhappy with the product they received because it is different than what was promised to them.
4. The Tryout Period
Another idea is to offer a free trial of your product. Some customers who are interested in your product and who may be uncertain about buying something seemingly new or untested may be eager to try a product without strings attached. This is also a great way to get feedback that is necessary to further refine your product. A smart idea is to offer these initial customers a discount to encourage them to make a purchase after the trial period ends.
5. The Power of Social Networks
There are many free or cost-effective ways to promote your product online. For example, social networks like Facebook and Instagram are free for you to use, and you can spread the word about your product to your followers. They can share the information with others. This potentially lets you expand your reach to a significantly larger group of people than you otherwise would have access to on your own.
Important: Ideas and Patent Protection
If you have a truly great idea, there is always a chance that someone else will mimic or outright copy your idea. In order to protect your rights, you need to have a patent on your product. You may seek legal assistance with this process if you are not familiar with it, or you can contact the U.S. patent office yourself to begin the process.
You could try to bring your product to market immediately on your own, but there are ways to promote your prototype that may be more effective and affordable. These alternatives may give you time to work the kinks out and to further refine the product before it is mass produced. Explore these various concepts to identify the most effective strategies for your unique prototype.
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. You can reach her on Twitter.