How to find and sell to early adopters – WAU

Early adopters are the first consumers to buy a newly launched product. They like to be pioneers and are not afraid to take chances! For companies, they represent a strategic audience to leverage the product in the market. In this article, learn how to approach these consumers in marketing and sales strategies.

Are you the type of consumer who wants to be the first to try a launch or prefer to wait for other people to approve the product and then buy?

If you identify with the first option, then you are one of the early adopters on the market!

Early adopters are not afraid to throw themselves at the news: as soon as a product is launched, they are the first to buy.

The other consumers, who want more security at the time of purchase, await the impressions of early adopters before betting on an innovation.

Do you see how this type of consumer has great influence? That is why marketing and sales strategies need to look closely at this audience.

In this article, we will understand better:

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What are early adopters?

Early adopters are the early adopters of an innovation, responsible for leverage the success of a new product or service.

They are willing to try new things, even at the risk of buying a product that has not yet been approved by the market and that may not have been fully developed yet.

However, the risk is worth it to be one of the first privileged to have access to innovation and to be able to influence the decision of other consumers.

This term came from the studies of Everett Rogers, one of the most renowned researchers in the field of innovation.

Intrigued by the success of innovative products, the university professor wanted to understand the path they took until they conquered the market.

Then, he launched the book “The Diffusion of Innovation”, in 1962. In this work, Rogers launches the theory of diffusion of innovations, according to which a new idea, a new product or a new behavior is consolidated in society after passing through different segments audience.

Early adopters, then, would be those consumers who drive the adoption of innovation, which only then takes root in the social environment.

The model he proposes is summarized in this graph:

early adopters chart

This model divides the social segments into five groups, according to their size and the time it takes to adopt an innovation. Are they:

  • innovators;
  • early adopters;
  • early majority;
  • late majority;
  • laggards.

In the consumer market, it works like this: after the product is launched, it is known only to a small group of innovators. Generally, they are specialists or technology aficionados, who like to explore new developments in the market. With them, innovation takes off slowly.

So, early adopters form a larger group of first consumers to purchase the product, even in an environment of uncertainty – after all, very few people know if that product is really good, if it will work, if it has a fair price.

When it comes to innovation, the market often doesn’t even understand what it is for and what needs it can solve.

It is these early adopters, therefore, who leverage the launch of an innovative product to make it capable of transforming the status quo.

From them, other consumers have more security to adopt innovation. Then, based on early adopters’ first impressions, the initial majority (or early majority) begins to purchase the product. Thus, it begins to expand in the market.

After them, the product finally consolidates itself in the market with the late majority (or late majority). This segment does not like to take risks in the news, prefers to stay in its comfort zone, but also does not want to be left behind.

Therefore, it takes a while to adopt innovation, but ends up surrendering when it realizes that it is getting out of date.

Finally, a smaller group of latecomers is the last segment to adopt innovation – which, at this point, has already caused changes in social habits. This group prefers traditional solutions to which it is already accustomed and resists buying new products.

This only happens when there is no escape – only that product can solve your need.

Want an example of how this happens with a real product? Think of the iPhone – since Apple is known for its innovative power.

When the iPhone was launched, tech aficionados were already eyeing what Steve Jobs would launch. But it was the launch event, in 2007, that moved early adopters: they needed to try that device that promised to put everything in the palm of their hand – even if they paid dearly for it and the product was not fully finished.

They were then responsible for trying the smartphone and launching their impressions to other consumers.

That product was different! So, the initial majority switched to their cell phones for the iPhone in search of their benefits.

Some still resisted, perhaps because of the price, perhaps because of their attachment to their habits. But the iPhone started to stand out in the mobile device market and garnered a legion of fans and supporters. The late majority, therefore, could not be left behind.

Those Blackberry and Windows Phone users, however, still resisted. It was undeniable that Apple’s launch featured superior technology, design and performance. There was no way to avoid it – the iPhone had dominated the market.

Why is selling to early adopters different?

Launching an innovative product is a challenge. After all, it still needs to be known by consumers, demonstrate its purpose and spread in an unknown market until it starts to make a profit for the business.

That is why the group of early adopters plays a strategic role in marketing: they open the way for the conquest of the market.

When they are willing to try an innovation, they enhance the product’s dissemination, generate security for other consumers and give access to a wider market.

In addition to boosting sales, this segment is generally willing to share their opinions and collaborate with brands. So, they also help to give crucial feedbacks for companies to test the market and improve their products before reaching a larger audience.

In the case of startups, the launch of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an essential step in product development.

At this stage, a group of early adopters is often approached by the company to help test the product and give feedback to improve it, before reaching a larger market.

Now, let’s understand what are the characteristics of early adopters that differentiate them from other consumers and that influence the way they approach them.

Early adopters like news

Early adopters are eager for innovation. There is no comfort zone that holds them – what they want is to know the latest news to be the pioneers in the market.

They feel comfortable with changes, unlike the late majority and the latecomers.

Therefore, marketing and sales strategies do not have to worry about convincing them to change their habits. They are already willing to do that!

What you need to do is show how your product will add value to their lives and address their needs.

Early adopters are critical, but not perfectionists

Early adopters are also quite critical. They usually follow the technology and innovation market, know the latest trends and have the insight to assess the positive and negative points of a solution.

For this reason, they are strategic in product development. They are able to provide valuable feedback, with details that would not be possible without your perception.

However, they are not perfectionists. You don’t have to worry about delivering a finished product to them, as long as you can show its relevance – in fact, that’s the purpose of startups’ MVP.

They already know that they can find some flaws, but if they believe in the solution that the product offers, they are willing to contribute to correct them.

Did you know, for example, that the iPhone was launched without even making a perfect call?

However, the product managed to evidence its value for early adopters, which boosted sales in the market.

Early adopters are sociable and opinion leaders

Do you know that boss or co-worker who likes to appear in the company with the news of the market? And that friend who has already become a reference to ask about the latest products launched?

These people are usually early adopters.

They like to share their findings: “Hey, look at this incredible product that I found, I think you should try it!”.

Thus, they become opinion makers of friends, family and colleagues. In the digital age, early adopters have even more channels, such as blogs and social networks, to influence the decisions of the rest of the market, including strangers.

Therefore, they can have access to new products not only by purchasing on their own initiative, but also when being sought by brands. Marketing can propose partnerships with groups of early adopters to boost the launch of a product.

Early adopters are discerning and involved with the product

Early adopters are very careful when choosing which products to try.

Although they are excited about news, they need to realize the value of the solution, both for their life and for their relationship circles.

After all, they are considered references; So, should recommend products that are valuable to your audience. If not, their reputation is compromised.

When they trust the solution, however, they get involved with the brand. They want to see the success of the product, so they collaborate for its development, correction of flaws and dissemination.

Here is another reason for the marketing teams to propose partnerships with early adopters: they can say that they were the pioneers in the market and contributed to the good performance of the product.

Early adopters take calculated risks

Early adopters are at risk when purchasing products that have not yet been tested and approved on the market. But don’t think they are playing in the dark. They make calculated decisions to devote time, money and effort to a product still surrounded by uncertainty.

To convince them that this investment is worth making, brands must show that don’t want to use them as guinea pigs.

Instead, they must show them the benefits of purchasing the product and contributing to its development.

It is also important to provide technical information, show the backstage of the brand, explain who the product is for and what the future plans are, so that early adopters get involved and realize the greatness of the project in which they are involved.

How to target campaigns for early adopters?

A Pew Research Center survey found that 28% of Americans consider themselves early adopters of technology products.

This is a representative group, isn’t it? Even more so if we think about the power of this social segment to influence other consumers and leverage their product in the market.

Okay, you already understand the relevance of early adopters in marketing. But how to find this group out there? How to communicate with them?

That’s what we’re going to unravel now!

Take a personalized approach

Early adopters do not respond to marketing campaigns aimed at consumers in general. If you use the same approach, they will not perceive your product as unique and will not trust your solution.

This group of consumers needs to be valued. They must feel that they are being invited to something special as pioneers, to take on a great responsibility, which will have a great impact on the market.

Thus, they feel compelled to try the product. In addition, you also need to explain to early adopters what you expect from them, as experts and as influencers.

For that, it is essential to adopt one to one marketing strategies. This type of approach speaks directly to each consumer, so that they feel unique and valued by the brand.

This can be done with email marketing, with participation in specialized communities and forums or even with non-invasive ads on specific websites.

Approach early adopters in their niches

Early adopters are usually already in networks, groups, communities or forums on the issues that dominate. In the smartphone area, for example, there are hundreds of groups that come together to meet and discuss the latest launches, mainly on the internet.

In these groups, they already exercise their influence and are already free to talk about the subject. So, it is worthwhile to map the places where early adopters are present, such as Facebook and LinkedIn groups, internet forums, YouTube or even their own Slack channels.

An Twitter search, for example, showed that the social network is widely used by early adopters as a way to create a continuous and active dialogue about technology.

early adopters and influencers

In these channels, brands can directly promote the product, always emphasizing the value it can offer to that community. But, in addition, you can request feedback from members of the network, who also love being on top of the news in the market.

Understand if they are already looking for the solution you offer

One of the essential definitions for targeting campaigns for early adopters is if they are already looking for a solution or if they still don’t know what they need. This is what defines, according to David J. Bland, whether you should adopt a “push” or “pull” approach.

The author says that the “push based acquistion” approach is adopted when the target segment – in this case, early adopters – recognizes the problem it has, but still does not seek a solution for it.

Then, the brand anticipates to “push” (push) its value proposition and arouse interest in the product.

This can be done with the segmentation of social ads – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter Ads, mainly – based on interests and behaviors.

push and pull approach

The “pull based acquistion” approach is done when early adopters are already looking for a solution to their need.

So, the brand must “pull” (pull) consumers to its value proposition and convince them that it has the best solution.

This can be done with investment in Google Ads and Bing Ads, for example. This type of ad reaches consumers exactly when they are looking for an answer in search engines. Thus, the value proposition is evident.

push and pull approach

Therefore, you need to understand what stage your audience is in relation to your product. Depending on this, you can use different channels and segmentation filters to make communication more accurate.

Interact with early adopters to get feedback

Remember that early adopters can help you improve your product. So, there is no point in thinking about a one-way communication. It’s needed create a conversation between the brand and the consumer so that he shares his impressions and is interested in product growth.

In the case of the launch of Dropbox, for example, Drew Houston (founder of the business) asked users of the Hackers News forum what they thought about creating a storage application that would eliminate the need for the pendrive.

Upon reading the comments, Houston gained a general perception of the product’s receptivity in the market and collected very specific feedbacks to improve its development.

hackers news

So, have you realized that early adopters cannot be left out of their marketing and sales strategies, it is not?

If they can boost sales of a product and make innovation more palpable for the entire market, then they deserve your attention.

Value the motivation of this segment to try new things and take this opportunity to create defenders of your brand.

In fact, have you considered using the advocates marketing strategy? It can be applied with early adopters! So, download the free e-book on defenders marketing now and understand how it works.