Amidst a ton of competition, it is difficult for businesses to promote their product or service effectively, especially for budding organizations. Also, reaching the right target audience with high rate of conversion is also becoming challenging. In this article, I will cover the 25 best ways to promote your product with a focus on the above two challenges. I intend to start with a few unconventional techniques, and later move onto common ones like social media marketing.
Before we get into the techniques, you need to understand that execution is equally important. Starting to use a bunch of techniques without the right approach is not going to yield any useful results. I will also cover how you can plan your execution to achieve desirable outcomes. Further, the article is written with a basic assumption that you have a killer product.
Of course you do 🙂
Here we go.
1. Customer visits and store promotions
This is one of the most ignored methods by businesses. If you are a company with a store or an outlet, these events are usually termed as in store promotions. Inviting your potential customers to visit your store, outlet or office is a powerful way to generate interest. Having the customer feel and use the product or service without having to buy them is a more compelling reason for them to write reviews about it as well.
Make sure that you display your product or service in an appealing fashion and the customer gets a real view of its benefits. Using digital display screens is a good idea. Also don’t just make it a chance to introduce your product, give something for the customer to take away. For example, if you are selling an electric car, share some collateral on how electric cars can reduce pollution over a period. You may share it as a brochure, or an article or blog post by collecting their email ids.
2. Product launch
If you are introducing a new product, there is nothing better than conducting a big product launch to demonstrate and take it to your target audience. Samsung’s recent launch of one of its Galaxy A9 variants is an example. This promotion method can be used when you release a new variant of a product as well.
Be sure to choose the right venue and time for the launch to attract the maximum audience. Plan it out properly, keep your resources ready and let the world know about it. Have a look at 8 steps for the perfect product launch to learn how to conduct a successful launch.
3. Partnership marketing
Here, you make use of other businesses that sell your product/use your product for any of their services. For example, if your product is protein powder, and say a few fitness centers are prescribing that to their customers. Ask those fitness centers to proactively promote your product.
But why would they do it? Here are two ways to convince them: Tell them it’s a win win situation for both, as the more product they sell, better is their commission. The second way is to tell them that, if their customers like their product, it is going to improve their brand value and popularity.
Another way to promote your product or service through partnership marketing is to ask for referrals. Let us take the same protein powder example. The fitness center, who is your existing customer, can leverage their contacts in the fitness industry to refer your product to their peers. To understand how to manage referrals, have a look at how to ask for referrals and get more clients.
Webinars are an excellent way to attract very targeted customers. And it is one of the quickest ways to convert prospects into customers. You can use online webinar services like ezTalks Webinar, Zoom, Anymeeting etc. All of these tools offer a free a trial for a limited period of time and participants.
Don’t just talk about your product in the webinar. Pick an interesting topic in your niche. For example, if you are an audit company, choose something like ‘Technology to revolutionize the future of audit industry’. At the end of the webinar you may say ‘we at <your company name> understand the changes and is prepared to serve our customers to meet their business goals. Here is how you can contact us to know how’. Then display your contact details in the video itself, or leave it in the comments area. Doing it this way, you are not selling your services directly.
To have a detailed reading on how to plan and conduct your webinar, have a look at The Ultimate Guide to Webinars: 37 Tips for Successful Webinars.
A kiosk can be used for promoting most of the products and services. It is a nice way to excite customers with your product. Use displays that properly convey the features and benefits of your product. Build videos and animated content to be displayed. Have people with good articulation skills to run the visitors through the product/service. Ask questions to visitors and talk about how your product can address some or all of their needs. Use this as a channel to collect visitors’ email for later communication. Finally, depending on your business, choose the right locations to place the kiosks.
6. Contests and sponsored events
Conducting contests and other sponsored events is expensive, but worth the money if you can afford it. This helps to get a wide outreach and loyal customers. You got to make sure that you host events and contests related to your product or service. If you have a music production company, conduct a music reality show. Or if you do business consulting, conduct a business quiz. You can utilize these opportunities to build your brand and introduce your products and services to a mass audience.
You can also sponsor events related to your industry and domain. It could be a panel discussion, conference, or any similar event. Choose a relevant theme related to your area of work. Also share your wisdom with others, which will in turn help you to win credibility.
7. Influencer promotion
As the name suggests, this involves using influencers or celebrities in your domain to promote your product. Go with those people who would suit your brand.
Find influencers like popular bloggers, social media influencers, popular people on platforms like Quora, or Answers,com etc. Try to find influencers in forums in your business area. You can also look for popular product reviewers. If you are a company building services around Microsoft Azure, find product/service reviewers in that area and reach out to them.
8. NGOs and charity
Some businesses see working with NGOs and doing charity as a waste of time and money. They do it only because there are government regulations in place. While we need to see these as an opportunity to give something back to the society, they are powerful promotion avenues as well. If you are selling an electric car, you can work with environmentalists and similar NGOs to run campaigns to reduce emission or pollution. Even if your product doesn’t help a social cause, you can use charity as a tool to promote it.
9. Cross promotion for related products
This is a type of partnership marketing. This is possible if there are related products that can be sold with your product. For example, if you are an earphone manufacturer, you can approach mobile phone companies to offer your product in their package or provide it as an additional item. If you strike a deal, your company and the mobile phone manufacturer can promote the other’s product with their own product. Both of you benefit by reaching more audience for free, which will directly result in more sales.
10. Project/case study competition
Here, you approach premier management/engineering institutions in your country and outside to hire students for short term projects or conduct case study competitions. Even though the number of participants will not be significant in terms of your target audience, this will buy you credibility and popularity in the business world, with a lot of these institutes having close association with several large companies. More importantly, you can further use your relationship with the institute to your advantage by using them in your branding and other promotions. Also, you can use the ideas proposed by students through these projects and competitions to improve your business.
11. Educational training
Educational training can be conducted at institute level or as a training and certification course open to other eligible people. If your company sells digital marketing solutions, provide certification based training to eligible candidates on it. Depending on the goal of your promotion, you can focus on educational institutions, corporates or other types of candidates.
One advantage of this technique is that, it helps you generate additional revenue while it helps you promote your product, brand or service.
12. Mobile van marketing
This might not be suitable for all types of products and services. Many FMCG companies resort to this technique to improve visibility and create an opportunity to interact with customers directly. A mobile van that displays the branding of your product or service travels around a particular area, and stops at defined locations to conduct fun activities or contests for the audience.
13. Create and share stories
With lot of avenues of entertainment and information gathering, it is very difficult to grab one’s attention, especially when you want to promote something. So how do you make sure that people listen to your promotion?
Creating a story around your product or service is a powerful idea. It will help to converse with the consumer at an emotional level. Here are some examples of some successful brands who created a story around them:
- Warby Parker: created to tackle the problem of expensive eyewaer.
- GoPro: sells cameras, drones, apps and accessories.
- Under Armour: sells athletic accessories. Huge competitor to Nike.
So if you already have a story, nothing better. If you don’t have one, create it. Make it touching and use that in your branding.
14. Create a community
The idea is to create your own online community for members to discuss related topics to your industry such as latest products, product reviews, trends etc. Communities like Beauty Talk by Sephora and Plant Power Journal by Traditional Medicinals are classic examples.
Creating a community does take time. It is an excellent method to create the perfect target audience in your niche. If you do not want to start from scratch, you can try partnering with a company which already has a similar community. In return you can extend some of your services to them.
15. Product exhibition and awards
There are two ways to go about this. One is to participate in a product exhibition. Second is to host one yourself. The latter one is recommended if you are a decently established brand. If your product is able to attract the attention of industrialists and end consumers, and win an award in the exhibition, that will give a huge boost to the product’s popularity. Even if you don’t win, if you are able to create a buzz, you have got the ROI for your effort and money.
If you are hosting one on your own, then have different awards like ‘the best product’ of ‘the most innovative product’.
16. Make your product unique
Beyond doubt, your product or service has to be different. Go one step further and make it unique. Then the product will speak for itself. The Wild Robot restaurant in Japan is a good example. While every restaurant talks just about food and taste, they made their service special by using robots.
Similarly make your product unique by using a different packaging (like paper boat), or an ad that stands out (like Vodafone zoozoo) or creating an entirely different experience for the user like Amazon Alexa.
17. Work with Governments
If your product or service serves a need of any government body, sell it to them by providing additional incentives. Working with government bodies has mainly three advantages: it gives you a wide reach within a short period of time. Secondly it builds credibility. And last but not the least, it might help you get your government approvals and relaxations easier.
However, you cannot to see this as a commercial business opportunity, mainly because when you do business with the government, you might have to compromise on your pricing and other conditions.
18. Publicity stunt
Some people call publicity stunts a cheap publicity. But this is an excellent way to gain popularity for your company and product in quick time. You can hire somebody to do the stunt and sponsor the act. The stunt by Felix Baumgartner back in 2012 sponsored by Red Bull was a huge hit. American business man and philanthropist Richard Branson is known for his publicity stunts which has gained him immense publicity.
You have to make sure that you let enough people know about the stunt to maximize outreach. You can read more about such stunts at 25 greatest publicity stunts of our time.
19. Curiosity marketing
Humans are curious, and curiosity marketing leverages this to attract customers to their product. A recent trend in TV advertising has been to air an ad partially for a certain period, and then later broadcast the full one.
Another method is to send emails to your prospects with partial information about the product that would generate curiosity in them to know more about it. You can use posters with fancy taglines and images for this. You may also use question statements in the text.
Be creative, find your own way of curiosity marketing. Make it highly customized to your product or service.
Till now, I have covered the unconventional methods of promoting a product. But we cannot ignore some of the conventional and most commonly used methods. That’s what I am going to cover in the next half of this article.
20. TV, online and paper media advertisements
TV ads are one of the most commonly used promotion techniques. To make these ads more effective, produce focused ads, like sponsoring a show that your target audience is more likely to see. Also the season and time of the day you air the ad is important. Think when your target audience spend time watching TV. Use those slots to reach maximum potential customers.
Online ads include ads in mobile apps & games, relevant websites & blogs, communities etc. Choose the one that suits you the best depending on your product or service.
When it comes to paper media like newspapers, magazines, annual reports, year books etc, try business related magazines. Have a look at 7 best practices for magazine advertising to learn some tips for publishing magazine ads.
21. Social media
To succeed in social media promotion, the best strategy is to focus on a few and master those platforms. I have seen many new businesses trying to be present everywhere and failing miserably. So identify those platforms that suit your product. See where your competitors have done well. In most of the cases, professionals use Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. But there are other image based platforms like Instagram, Pinterest which are well suited for businesses like a restaurant, beauty products company, a photo editing app etc. If you are using celebrity advertising, Twitter will give you the best outcome.
So put some thought into it before you choose your best media. As I said, stay focused on 2 or 3, and create excellent campaigns in those.
22. Hire an expert or marketing agency
This will help you to be more strategic and systematic about your approach. You can have an expert as a consultant, or hire a marketing agency to do the complete promotion for you, or both. This helps you sit back and let them do the work. But it does come with a cost. If you are a newbie, start with small campaigns, and as and when you grow you can invest in large campaigns by working with large marketing agencies.
23. Email marketing
One of the most effective marketing and promotion strategies. When you send emails to your prospects, give something of value to the customer. For example, give them a chance to subscribe to a free webinar by inserting a button into your email. You can use an email management tool like Constant Contact or Mailchimp to easily manage your campaigns. They provide free service till a limited number of subscribers.
Also try to personalize your email as much as you can. Have a look at Neil Patel’s 11 types of marketing emails that actually generate a response, to learn how to frame your email.
24. Content marketing
Content marketing involves using your website, blogs, forums etc. and promoting your product through content creation and curation. Websites are a powerful mode of promotion, especially when you are trying to establish your brand. Make sure your content is crisp, SEO friendly, easy to understand and emphasizes benefits and differentiators.
Blogs have to be on related topics. Write about the most trending topics in your industry. Let the world know that you are an expert in the field.
Forum marketing is another effective technique. Go engage in forums relevant to your product or service. Product Hunt, which lets users share and discover new products is an example. Connect with people, try to see what problems they face with existing products. Then bring your product into the conversation stating that it solves some or all of their current pain points.
25. Coupons and referrals
You see this everywhere. They are used by eCommerce websites, restaurants, online businesses etc. It is one of the easiest ways to attract customers to your product. Google pay (previously Tez) used this to aggressively acquire new customers. Food delivery apps like Zomato and Swiggy have also used this technique extensively.
One advantage of this method is that there is no significant upfront cost associated with it. Also, it’s easy to communicate and implement.
Those are my 25 unique techniques to promote your product. Each of those methods is an ocean in itself and might require further explanation. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or wish to share anything.