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How to Pivot Your Business: Part Three

This is the second installment in a three-part series to help you pivot your business.  Check out the first article on planning, the second on launching, and subscribe to get more great articles like this!

Part Three:  Marketing

Just because you made announcements and informed your customer base doesn’t mean your work is done.  In fact, there are a lot of people that probably missed your launch event, many more who will continue to think of your business in its former form, and an entire new target market that hasn’t heard of you yet.

Here are some methods for marketing your pivot.  Expect to market your pivot for at minimum of six months after launch.

Facebook Ads

Facebook is everywhere — which is why it is such a powerful marketing tool.  Even if this is not your #1 marketing platform, I still recommend using it.  Marketing on FB means you’re able to narrow down to your exact demographic, and even to those who have already liked your Page or been to your website.  This is a good way to stay in front of ‘your people’.

Business Associations

Do you have a LocalFirst association in your area?  What about a Chamber of Commerce newsletter?  If you’re a startup, what incubators or organizations might cover your pivot?  What about your Alma Matter’s graduates newsletter?  All of these are fantastic places to make an announcement of this caliber.  Lay out a calendar of organizations that will promote the pivot so you don’t use them all at once.

Email Newsletter

Don’t forget that you have a captive audience that already loves you in your email list.  At least, you should.  Even though they already have been privy to the pivot survey, pivot announcement, and launch party, not all may have gotten the message.  In fact, an average of 25% opens and views for an email campaign is considered really good.  That means at least 75% of your customer base may not even realize the pivot happened!  So remind them at the 90 day mark and the six month mark.  Frame it as a curtesy update, and invite them to get involved to check out the new system / product / etc.

Talk To Your Vendors

If you have a physical product, then you have vendors.  Or if you make a physical product for someone else (ie. brochure design), you definitely have suppliers to talk to.  Did you think to update them on your internal changes?  If not, get on it.  It’s never too late to fill in the picture.

Talk To Your Colleagues / Partners / Friends

I have a lot of entrepreneurial friends in my life.  We tend to find each other.  Guess what my biggest mistake was when I pivoted my business:  not telling my friends and colleagues.  Seriously.  Halfway through the year I had a conversation with a buddy and colleague who owns an IT company.  His business doesn’t necessarily interact with mine, but he does bump shoulders with business owners who need website support.  Except he didn’t know that we’d switched from website design to website support.  I’d lost out on the new kind of business I’d been hoping for!  That’s a lesson one only needs to learn once.

Mention It When Networking

Don’t assume that you’ve said it enough.  When you shake hands with someone at an event — old acquaintance or stranger — and they ask you what you do, or how it’s going, be sure you mention your business’ pivot.  You can be vague:  “Oh, good.  We went through a pivot three months ago, and it’s been fun.”  Their response will inevitably be a question about the pivot’s direction.  If you know you’ve mentioned the pivot to the person before, then make an update statement instead, still jogging their memory that the pivot happened.  Everyone is dealing with their own stuff, and even someone you see often may forget.  Heck, I think my partner has even forgotten.

What else has worked for you?

How to Pivot Your Business: Part Two

This is the second installment in a three-part series to help you pivot your business.  Check out the first article on planning, and subscribe to get the final installment!

Part Two:  Launching

Why am I jumping from market research to launching?  Every business is different, which means I can’t tell you how to implement your market research.  I can suggest that you will want your mentors (if that’s me, great!) and staff involved in processing the information you gather and setting it in motion.  In between week one and week two comes a lot of planning, strategizing, and developing new systems.

When that’s all complete, it’s time to implement and publicize the pivot.  Just as when you founded your business, you need to publicly launch your pivot.  Many of the tactics new businesses use to launch will be useful at this stage.  Here are a few ideas for getting the word out.

1 – Throw A Party

Parties set the public stage for a pivot.  Though internal company changes can be scary, a party says you’re excited, and your customers should be, too.  If you are a brick and mortar location, this is a great start.  Provide some sort of raffle, test station, or maybe just treats if you don’t offer a physical product.  Everyone likes free stuff, and if you give away product that is involved in the new business model, your public has the opportunity to check it out without risk.

2 – Digital Launch Week

Whether you’re a digital company without a physical space for an event, or you’ve done the event but want to carry on the momentum, a digital launch week can make a great splash.  This is where your email list comes in handy.  On the Thursday or Friday before Launch Week, announce it via email and social media.  Send a reminder on Monday / the start day, and the morning of the last day.  Why would they care?  Well, Launch Week can involve giveaways, discounts, or a slow roll out of features that your following will want to take advantage of.  If you have a physical product, the holiday season offers a special advantage for this kind of launch strategy.

3 – Get Them Involved

Your customer base follows you for a reason.  They are happy to support your brand.  Thus, if you’re making a visual decision (brand design, paint colors, etc), offer them the chance to further voice their opinion.  Facebook polling is useful in these cases, but you can also use a system like Typeform to gather longform input.  Make sure you track who is involved so, at the end of the month, you can pop some virtual champaign, say thanks, and show them the final decision.

Note that each of these suggestions keep your audience involved.  That is critical to a successful pivot launch. Stay tuned for the third installment of this series — the post-launch work.