Marketing a product is very different to marketing a service. While services can be more complex to promote because they rely on trusting people’s skills and experience, products tend to require more rigorous promotional tactics. This is because customers often voluntarily seek out services, while the majority of products often have to seek out customers.
Products can take many forms from objects to software to experiences. This guide focuses mainly on products that are objects – the most basic and traditional form of product. Many people think that they already know how to promote a product because it’s one of the most common forms of advertisement. However, products aren’t always as easy to market as expected – there’s a lot of competition out there and the internet has created new rules as to how to market a product. The following guide offers a few tips on how to break through the competition and how to gain trust in the internet age.
Make It Visually Appealing
This is the most basic way to encourage product sales. If your product doesn’t look good, a lot of customers won’t buy it, either because they don’t trust the quality or they don’t think it’s trendy enough. There are a few ways in which you can make a product visually appealing:
- Consider the general form: Good aesthetics have to be incorporated into the design of the product itself. Even when it comes to kitchen utensils and tools, aspects such as the colour of the handle and the shape can still influence buyers.
- Invest in snazzy packaging: Snazzy packaging can help a product stand out on the shelf. If you plan on selling to retailers, it could be essential that you look into retail packaging solutions. Find a professional designer that can communicate your brand.
- Provide professional product photos: When it comes to making your product visually appealing online, good quality photographs are a must. Such photos can also build trust in your product. Hire a professional product photographer to take these photographs.
Offer Detailed Information
Modern consumers want to be given as much information about a product as possible. This is essential for building trust – as well as keeping your legally protected.
If you’re selling your product at an event or within a physical store, you may want to hire a good sales rep to present this information. When selling your product on a shelf, your packaging will need to do most of the communicating – make sure to provide detailed information somewhere on the back.
When selling a product online, make sure to provide a detailed product description with it. Bullet points and tables are great for condensing information and making it more easily readable. You could even use explainer videos to get your point across visually. Providing contact details or a virtual chat feature could also allow consumers to ask any other questions they may have. Remember to incorporate keywords into your product descriptions to help with SEO.
In situations where you don’t have the space to provide detailed information consider using hyperlinks or QR codes. For instance, if you’re advertising your product on a billboard, you don’t want to use too much text – a QR code is much better for offering further information.
Sell a Lifestyle
When promoting your product, you want to be able to show consumers how it can positively impact their life. Don’t just sell a product – sell a lifestyle.
When it comes to visual advertising, you can do this by using models and actors. You can either present a dream lifestyle scene or you can tell a story of how your product has solved a problem for the consumer and made their life easier.
Sell the Altruistic Benefits
A big difference between modern consumers and consumers of previous generations is the importance of a product’s benefits on the world and society. Modern consumers feel better about purchasing a product knowing that it will have a positive environmental impact or that it is Fairtrade or that proceeds are being given to charity.
Make sure to mention these benefits in your marketing if they apply to your product. You may even be able to use your marketing to tell a story of how your product makes the world a better place.
Demonstrate Your Product
When it comes to gadgets and niche tools, it can be essential to demonstrate your product. This not only gives consumers a clearer idea of the purpose but it also shows consumers how easy your product is to use (technophobes may be put off by a product that doesn’t look immediately easy to use).
You may be able to demonstrate your product in person with the help of a sales rep. This could be done at events such as trade shows or within stores.
When demonstrating your product online, it’s best to use demo videos. These videos can also be used in offline marketing – it’s not unusual to display demo videos at events on screens.
Allow Consumers to Interact With It
Allowing consumers to interact with a product can give them a better idea of whether it’s right for them. Reading information and watching demos is not always enough – especially when it comes to products that may be a matter of taste.
Events are great opportunities to let consumers interact with your product. This could include offering free tasters of your food, letting consumers try on clothes or allowing consumers to play with a gadget. Hands-on interaction may not always be possible unless you’re in a specific setting. For instance, you can’t let consumers test out a lawnmower unless you’re on a lawn.
Physically interacting with products is something that you cannot do online. However, the rise of AR and VR is likely to change this. 3D Photos are already a common way of allowing customers to view a product from multiple angles. Some companies have taken this a set further by incorporating AR technology such as allowing you to virtually test out glasses designs using an app.
Give It Away for Free
Giving your product away for free may not seem very sensible on the surface, but in fact there are instances where it can be a very effective marketing tactic.
Free samples are one example. This is popular when it comes to food and perfumes – smell and taste are things that are very subjective, and so giving away samples allows customers to fully determine whether the product is right for them. By only offering a small sample, you don’t have to worry about losing too many profits.
Competition giveaways are another way of using freebies to build customers. Competitions can help your product to gain buzz and become more widely recognised. Social media is a popular platform for hosting competitions, however you can also host competitions at events or via customer mailing lists.
Free products can also be given away as rewards to loyal customers or subscribers. This could include offering loyalty points on every purchase or sending freebies to subscribers on their birthday. This encourages customers to keep buying your product knowing that they’ll eventually get a free product.
Encourage Positive Customer Reviews
A lot of modern customers will research into the reputation of a product before buying it. Online customer reviews are one of the best ways of determining whether a product is good value – if lots of previous customers have posted positive reviews, it’s usually a good sign that a product can be trusted.
Some customers will voluntarily leave reviews, but many won’t. Make sure to follow up purchases with requests to leave a review. If they’re buying online, you may be able to do this via an automated email. If they’re buying in person, consider providing a reminder on the product’s packaging.
Respond to negative reviews where possible – your response can be an opportunity to show off your customer service skills or justify yourself if you think a customer is being unfair (the customer is not always right!). You may be able to display positive reviews on your website or even within adverts.
Get Professional and Celebrity Endorsements
The opinions of professionals and celebrities can influence many of us. These people are sometimes known as ‘influencers’.
There are many blogs and Youtube channels dedicated to product reviews. These professional reviews can sometimes carry more weight than regular customer reviews – especially if you’re selling a niche product to an educated audience. Consider reaching out to these professional reviewers. Along with reviews, you may also be able to get featured in product comparison guides and gift guides.
Sponsorships and endorsements are another option. This involves paying an influencer (which could be anyone from a professional reviewer to a celebrity model) to promote your product for you. The bigger the influencer, the more recognition you’re likely to get for your product as they’ll likely be able to share it with a wider audience. There are online platforms that you can use for connecting with influencers.