Your awesome new product is always at the forefront of your mind, but you realize that it’s unlikely anyone else thinks about it, or has actually even heard of it. How do you get your target market to give your product the time of day when they are distracted by products that offer solutions to problems they see as more pressing, the products your competitors are offering, and the all the other busyness of their own lives?
To actually benefit from all the hard work you’ve put into your product up to this point, you’ve got to really nail the marketing. If your product appears in the wrong markets, or doesn’t appear at all, its chance at success plummets.
Fortunately, there are a handful of marketing techniques that are extremely effective for products of all scales.
Whether you’ve created a sleek ballpoint pen or an e-commerce platform that challenges Amazon, here’s how to be really, really good at marketing your product.
It’s easy to assume that your marketing strategy can be covered by a few social media platforms and a website. In almost all cases, this is untrue. Marketing refers to so much more than just an online presence, but we’ll get to that later.
Let’s say that your product does only need social media and a website as its marketing tools, what many people still fail to understand is this: just using social media and just having a website is not enough. These platforms must be used correctly, with strategies and techniques that take years of studying for professionals to perfect. Research, case studies, and expensive tools get put to use by marketers in determining the best marketing practices and strategies for different products.
When a product is marketed correctly, the results can be astounding. When a product is marketed incorrectly, the results can also be astounding. If you feel even slightly unequipped to market your product yourself, unfortunately, you probably are.
Luckily, there are many people who devote their entire career to helping people market their new products. While it may be tough to fork over the cash for a service that your stubborn self wants to believe you can do, it can be so worth it. Getting your product in front of the right audience through the right channels in the right moments with the right verbiage can pay endless dividends. Hire the right person and your ROI will pat you on the back.
As the world’s communication methods begin to move away from email, email marketing ironically becomes even more powerful. Inboxes are less cluttered than they used to be, meaning that a well-crafted email marketing campaign can produce high customer engagement.
Building up your email list is a crucial part of marketing. A report by GetResponse found that the average click-through rates between social and email are as follows:
Email marketing: 3.57%
This same report found that the average email open rate for all industries is 21.73%, while Facebook only allows about 6% of your followers to see your posts, and Twitter only 2%. This means that if you have 2,000 email subscribers, 2,000 Facebook fans, and 2,000 followers on Twitter, you will get:
120 Facebook fans seeing your message.
40 Twitter followers seeing your message.
435 people opening your email.
As you can see, email marketing blatantly beats out both Facebook and Twitter in terms of reach and click rate. To ensure your company feels these effects, it’s important to make it ridiculously easy for customers to sign up for your email list, with forms scattered all over your website. Also, as annoying as hover ads are (these are like pop-ups, but open in the same window you’re viewing, often covering up the content of the page), they are pretty dang effective in getting email subscribers, with marketer Derek Gehl saying his newsletter subscribers increased by 86% when he implemented hover ads.
Go to Your Customer
From earlier research, you should know where your customers spend their time online. Are there certain blogs or sites that your customers frequent to learn about the topics they’re interested in?
Making yourself known and helpful on these sites can help you appear as a reliable, knowledgeable resource to your future potential customers. Without promoting your own product, use the comment sections to answer questions for your potential customers. After you feel that you’ve established a good relationship with them, then you can start inviting people to sign up for your email list or giving your website link if they’re interested in learning more.
Like email, physical mail is an old-school technique for marketing, but it works.
Direct mail volume has been declining 1.9% a year since 2005, but 70 to 80% of consumers open all of their mail, including “junk mail,” and nearly twice as many people surveyed say they will act immediately on an offer in their physical mail (79%) versus one in their email (45%).
Taking the road less traveled, which is now physical mail, can make you stand out in a world of Facebook advertisements and tweets.
Creating content that attracts cold leads to your platforms and reengages warm leads is another effective marketing technique.
Blogs, videos, and podcasts are all examples of content that can yield high conversion rates if used correctly. Perfecting the art of content creation is truly a skill, as topics and types vary between industries, but there are three characteristics of good content that remain constant for marketing any kind of product.
Your content should have an inviting voice.
The overall voice of your content should help the reader to associate your brand with knowledge and personableness. Sounding dull and preachy will do nothing to help you, even though this may be the easiest route for getting your information across. Instead, try delivering your message with a dash of humor or creativity to help you stand apart from the competition and to trigger interest from your customers.
Your content should use an easy-to-understand, audience-friendly format.
Adults’ attention spans and reading scores are already plummeting as it is, so organizing your content in a way that requires extreme effort to understand is a major no-no. If you’re recording a video, use visual transitions between topics so your audience stays on track. If you’re writing a blog post, take full advantage of sub-headers and religiously use the Return key to space out your thoughts. People love to skim, so make it easy for them.
Do your research to figure out what content formats your customer base best engages with, then compare that with your strengths. Do your customers love podcasts? Maybe you were a theater major and have a killer speaking voice. Score!
Do your customers like reading blogs? Maybe you’re an absolutely terrible writer and just thinking about blogging stresses you out. Not score… (But now you know you can engage with your audience by just hiring a ghostwriter.)
It’s important to know what format caters best to your audience so, from the very beginning, you can devote your time and resources in the right direction.
Your content should be aimed at a target audience.
One of the most important parts of content creation is knowing who you are creating the content for. Before you even think about creating, lay out a list of personas that represent the different members of your audience.
Let’s say your product’s target market is college professors. For content creation, that’s not specific enough. Start to break up your audience into a few different personas. Maybe there is Pessimistic Paul, the college professor who undermines his students and just really looks forward to the weekends. And maybe there is Scatter-brained Samantha, the college professor who always comes to classes ten minutes late with half-graded tests spilling out of her briefcase. Try to split up your audience into at least three different personas to make your content creation process easier for future you.
The way you market your product can determine whether your sales skyrocket or nose-dive. With your business’s success on the line, it becomes imperative that marketing is not an afterthought, but a priority. By following the marketing best practices outlined above and adapting them to your industry and product, you increase the chances that your customers will get to know your product and fall deeply, deeply in love with it.