Skills Lab: Attracting early adopters can be key to growth

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When Everett Rogers, a professor of communication studies, wrote about the diffusion of innovations, he identified an important part of launching a new product or service: early adopters. These are the consumers who start using a service or product from the moment it becomes available and are willing to give large amounts of feedback on it.

Think about it like this: were you one of the people that bought the first iPhone model as soon as it was released, or did you wait to hear other people’s opinions before you took the plunge? If you were in the first category, you’re probably an early adopter. If you prefer to hear what others think first, you’re probably not. However, you shouldn’t appeal to this demographic only at the launch stage. Instead, consider investing in a longer-term approach to continue appealing to early adopters.

Perhaps you were lucky enough to have a small group of early adopters back when your business first launched, who were willing to take a risk on your brand and have since recommended it to everyone they know. This type of customer is invaluable, so why not continue to involve them in your business? With the right public relations strategy, you can keep an early adopter in your business for many years. Let’s delve into some important things you should know about early adopters.

What does an early adopter look like?

An early adopter is happy to take high risks in return for a potentially high reward. They love to be the first in line for anything new or different and pride themselves on being in the know. This means that others often value their advice and they love to give this advice. Often, they’ll pester their colleagues, friends and family until they sign up to your service or try your product.

If you have a different and intriguing branding approach, these people will thrive on standing out from the crowd by aligning themselves with your brand. However, it’s not always easy to please an early adopter, who will analyse every detail of your product or service. On the flip side, once you have them hooked, they are likely to be loyal for life and will continue to invest in your business far into the future.

How do you attract an early adopter?

To get on the side of an early adopter, you might need to ask them personally to try out your brand. If there’s anyone in your social circle who is likely to take risks, be sure to get them on board. As mentioned, early adopters love being the first in line. Why not advertise directly to them by offering the opportunity to be the first to try your exclusive service before it’s released to the public?

It may be tempting to wait until your new service or product is perfect before sharing it, but consider getting early adopters on board just before it is completely finished. This will allow them to understand the general product and offer ideas for improvement during the final stages. Considering that they love giving advice, why not ask for it? A social media call-out that asks for opinions and advice could attract exactly the right crowd.

Keep attracting early adopters

After you’ve launched your business and experienced some success, it may be tempting to continue with business as usual. However, a better option is to involve your early adopters at every turn. Whether that means asking them to try out the next upgrade early, or simply asking for their advice, they will value being included in the conversation. This inclusion will mean that they’re not only likely to stick with your brand and share it with their friends, but they’ll also give carefully considered feedback when you need it most.

If you’re looking to attract early adopters into your business, you can start today. Perhaps put together a Facebook ad that offers exclusive access to your new service or try to decipher which of your current customers are early adopters. Once you’ve figured that out, consider how to reignite that feeling of “newness” or novelty for them.