More than 100 years ago, the showman P.T. Barnum observed, “Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.” That statement couldn’t be more true today. Would you dare step foot in a restaurant before checking the reviews? How often do you opt for the YouTube tutorial with five views vs. the one with 5,000?
In a world where we rely so much on the opinions and validation from our peers, it’s extremely difficult to build an audience of evangelists for your new product or business if you’re starting from the ground floor. But, everyone has to start somewhere, right?
We have a few ideas that will help you get over the hump of going from crickets to fire crackers in your next product launch.
First, let’s talk about a few industry standards that any business will need to keep the steady flow of communications open – to both promote new products and keep your business on the forefront of your customer’s minds.
When thinking of ways to promote a new product, using social media is definitely a good place to start. But a big mistake businesses make when using social media, is putting too many eggs in this marketing medium basket. A few things to keep in mind are:
- You don’t need to have a profile on every major social media site out there – just the ones you find your audience is most active on, or you get the most engagement from. For some that might be Instagram, for others it might be Facebook.
- You cannot rely solely on a social media profile to promote your business. Even if you’re posting every day, the number of Fans/Followers you’re actually reaching (or should I say “not reaching”) will astound you.
You may be thinking, “I sell lawnmowers; I don’t need a blog.” But every single business can use a blog to position himself or herself as the expert in an industry. Pet groomers, hair stylists, lawyers, realtors, and even lawn care professionals can write posts about trends, tips, and ideas.
If you’ve been putting in the work and posting articles about “How to keep your lawn green through the summer months,” and “how to grow a low maintenance vegetable garden,” you’ll have a primed audience, ready to learn all about the latest John Deere model sitting in your showroom.
Video is become a must-do for business and product promotion. You may (again) be thinking “I sell lawnmowers; I don’t need to make videos.” But with a little creativity, any business can use this ‘easy to digest’ form of promotion to their benefit. A great example is the “Will it Blend” video series promoting Blendtec Blenders.
If you have a few minutes to spare, you can see the Blendtec pulverize an iPhone X into powder:
Blendtec pulverize an iPhone X into powder
Now that we’ve got the basics of product promotion out of the way, here are some ideas that will really kick up your ability to reach new people, collect qualified leads, and start getting your product out into the world.
6 Product Promotion Ideas to Help You Build More Hype
The inspiration for these product promotion ideas is to offer ways to go beyond putting your product on display and talking about – because the key to building hype is to let your audience try it out, and let them talk about it. These ideas are broken up by category, and offer a simple solution for getting your product out in the world, collecting feedback, and building that base of loyal customers.
For tangible products:
Give away free samples.
When the product you’re releasing is something tangible – hair care products, electronics, makeup, fitness supplements, etc. – give away free samples by building a landing page with an entry form. You can set a maximum number of entries and include verbiage like “The first 100 people to enter will get to try our new _____.”
Limited-Entry Giveaway Template
Run a sweepstakes and offer your new product as the prize
This method is sweet and simple, but very effective. There are a few tricks to ensure its success – make sure you’re offering a prize that’s both relevant to your business and elicits the appropriate amount of (as Pavlov would call it) salivary response. To learn more about the ins and outs of running a successful giveaway, check out this resource.
For software, saas and online services:
Let your core customers try it first.
This has proven to be an effective strategy here at ShortStack because the benefits are threefold. First, by releasing your product to a core group of your software users, you’re cementing their loyalty to your product and creating true brand evangelists. If they already use your product and love it, inviting them to be in an “inner circle” makes the relationship symbiotic – “our product is important to you and your feedback is important to us” – or some similar sentiment. You may as well send them the other half of your BFF necklace.
Second, when this core group uses your new product, you’ll get a number of invaluable user tests in real-world scenarios. This is key for bug fixes and last-minute tweaks that can save a lot of face when releasing to the general public.
Lastly, collect reviews from your core group of testers (who hopefully loved the software). Use these reviews to help you promote your product to establish a basis of trust for new, incoming users.
Offer a free trial to everyone.
If you don’t have the inner circle of loyal users, you can still offer a free trial/signup/demo of your new product to your entire audience. This will allow you to collect reviews from those who tried it out and build on the feedback you receive.
Offer a free downloadable sample guide or teaser.
If your new product is content of any sort – an ebook, guide, webinar, etc. – gather email addresses in exchange for a sample of it. Let’s say you’ve written a guide to help small businesses with Facebook advertising. Collect an email address into an online form that triggers an email autoresponder. The email will include a link to the first chapter of your guide covering a really juicy bit of knowledge – how to get more clicks with a retarget ad.
This tidbit from your guide is something tangible that most businesses can use to boost their sales. With the taste from that little nibble still lingering, schedule a follow up email to go out three days (give or take) after the first content was sent – this should be enough time for them to have put the content into practice, but not enough time to have forgotten who you are. This time, the triggered email will come with an option to buy the whole guide.
Downloadable Content Template
Use customer data for targeted marketing.
Use any previous interaction with a customer to target your promotion efforts. If you were collecting email addresses when distributing your How to Use Facebook Advertising Guide, you’ll know the email list you’ve built from that is interested in Facebook advertising. Use follow up emails to sell your other products or new products that come out down the road such as webinars, conferences, or anything related to that topic.
If you’ve ever had to push a stalled car, the hardest part is getting it rolling – but once a few friends (or kind strangers) come to your aid, that initial “umph” gets much easier. These product promotion ideas can help you get over that initial challenge. When combined with a great product, you’ll be rollin’ along in no time.
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