How to Promote Products: The Ultimate Guide

Everything you need to know to get your product seen by the right people, right now.

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Bringing a new product to market isn’t easy, but sometimes the hardest part is getting people to notice it.

With an average of 30,000 new products launching every year, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of new releases. And as we know, it doesn’t matter how ground-breakingly amazing your new product is if no one knows about it.

That’s where promotional strategies come in, and there are plenty to take advantage of. Take a look at our rundown of them below and start seeing results (and revenue) fast.

1. Facebook Ads

79% of people online use Facebook. With 2.7 billion average monthly users, there’s a high chance that your target audience can be found right here.

Industries that typically do well with Facebook Ads include:

  • tech
  • fashion
  • retail
  • fitness
  • health
  • beauty and skincare

To make the most of your Facebook Ads, and get better results, use the custom audiences feature. The reach will be smaller, but you’re targeting the people most likely to be interested in your product (based on past behaviour) and therefore more likely to convert.

Facebook’s custom audience tool offers an unlimited combination of targeting options and can be created from almost any data you’ve collected. If you have an email list, data on website visitors and app users or even who engages with your videos, you can create a custom audience.

To expand your reach you can also use your custom audiences to create lookalike audiences. These closely match the behaviours of existing customers and allow you to target specific ads towards them.

promote product - lookalike audiences

To generate a lookalike audience, go to the Audiences tab of your Facebook Ads Manager account, select “create new” from the dropdown menu and select your source, location, and size (or relevance to the existing audience).

Remember to always set clear goals for your campaign and define objectives based on why you’re running the ad in the first place. This will allow you to track how successful the campaign is, and whether you’re getting a good ROI.

If you’re in a creative rut, take a look at our curated selection of the best Facebook Ad Examples for some inspiration to help get you started.

2. Google Ads

If you asked someone to name a search engine, I’m going to bet that the majority of them would say Google.

It’s not just your potential audience that is using it either, 4 out of 5 businesses who use PPC advertising choose to do it on Google. And for good reason; effective use of Google Ads can see a 46% boost in brand awareness, as well as help you appear on the coveted first page of results.

Google processes 40,000 search queries a second. Make sure you’re appearing in them.

Easier to learn and maintain than SEO (which will get to later), it also offers much faster results. In fact, you could start getting clicks and impressions immediately!

The PPC metrics built into Google Ads allow you to track your campaign and see what’s driving conversions, and what’s falling flat. Having measurable ways to track campaigns allows you to make better use of your advertising budget, and the data collected can be used to influence future campaigns.

If you’re already running ads but finding that the right keywords, visuals and engaging CTAs aren’t getting you results, then it’s time to look at your AdWords Quality Score. A determiner of where (and if) your ad appears in the search results, it can make or break your campaign. Luckily, at SH1FT we’re experts at Google Ads and we’ve written a handy guide to understanding and improving your Quality Score to help you get on top of it.

3. SEO

As promised, a section on everyone’s favourite topic – SEO (or Search Engine Optimization). Perhaps one of the most vital parts of promoting a product, it can be hard to get right, and even harder to maintain.

Essentially, SEO is about optimizing your website in order to increase not just the quantity of organic search results, but also the quality. Having good SEO helps you to rank higher in search results, and makes it easier for customers to find you.

How it works:

Search engines, such as Google, crawl web pages in order to determine their content and categorize them. The information collected is used to decide if the page is relevant to a user’s search term, and therefore if it should appear in the search results.

A website that isn’t easy to navigate and has no clear keywords is harder to crawl. This makes it less likely to appear (or appear further down) in search results which isn’t good for brand visibility.

If you have a website you need to have good SEO in order to compete. And for good SEO, you need a strong SEO strategy…

  • Identify your target market with Google Analytics and customer data
  • Use the keyword planner within Google Analytics to discover relevant keywords for your product and/or company
  • Make your website mobile-friendly, they account for 50.71% of internet searches
  • Create quality, relevant and consistent content that contains your keywords and adds value (see #11)
  • Improve your website’s usability, with fast load speeds and clear navigation
  • Build high quality, relevant links to increase traffic
  • Have a comprehensive social media presence that is consistently updated with relevant content

Remember SEO is an ongoing process. Once you’ve done the hard work of getting it up to scratch, you need to continuously revisit, tweak and update it to ensure you’re still operating at the top.

4. Email Marketing

One of the simplest and most effective ways of promoting a product, email marketing is an affordable strategy that offers rapid returns. In fact, up to 66% of consumers make a purchase based off a promotional email.

It’s a cost-effective way to remain in front of existing and potential customers, reinforcing brand recognition and opening up communication channels. Much like with Facebook Ads, segment your audience to achieve better results.

74% of people are frustrated when they receive a marketing email they’re not interested in. Ensure the content is relevant by avoiding email blasts and proving tailored emails based off of audience data. A little extra work is worth it as targeted emails generate as much as a 760% increase in revenue! How’s that for results?

There are many ways to segment your audience, so focus on what fits for your product. If you need a few ideas try…

  • previous purchase behaviour (particularly useful if you’re offering a complimentary product or an upgraded version)
  • list engagement with previous promotions
  • interests
  • demographics

While not primarily used for new leads (unless your lead submission form gets a lot of responses), email marketing is great for nurturing existing customers and those who have displayed interest.

You can use it to request reviews, send important updates and promotional offers or remind customers about items still in their cart. Just don’t spam people – too many emails is a sure-fire way to get people hitting that unsubscribe button.

Pair it with content marketing and social media campaigns for even better results.

Tips for successful email marketing:

  • personalise emails with the customer’s name
  • remember that too many images and links can see you sent straight to junk
  • get your timing right – run A/B tests to monitor customer engagement but usually weekends and evenings work best
  • for eCommerce, consider adjusting abandoned cart emails to include recommended products to advertise other items customers may have missed

5. Content Marketing

Most customers will only pay for something if they understand what it is or how it can help them. Content marketing is a way to educate and inform your target audience, adding value and ultimately driving sales.

Examples of content include:

  • case studies and testimonials
  • blog posts
  • e-books
  • ad content
  • images, videos* and infographics
  • social media posts
  • website pages
  • podcasts

*Videos don’t need to be Hollywood standard as long as they’re adding value – shooting on a smartphone is fine!

Customers are inherently selfish. To put it bluntly, they don’t care about the product, they care about finding a solution to their problem. That’s why your content needs to sell an experience, not just the product.

When creating content consider how does your product help them? What solutions is it offering? How is it better than your competitor’s similar product?

Once you have the answers, make it clear and don’t be afraid to repurpose successful content across other mediums. For example, if an infographic was really popular, try condensing it for social media or turning it into a video for Facebook.

Find out what works for your target audience and get creative.

6. Social Media

We’ve already covered how many people use Facebook per month, but that’s not the only social media platform out there. Having a comprehensive social media presence is an easy, free way to engage with your audience and grow your following.

If you’re looking to promote a product, social media is a great place to do it. While you can run paid ads (as we’ve already seen), there’s plenty of other ways to promote without spending a penny.

The goal of every post should be to get followers to take action. This could be anything from liking and commenting, to clicking a link or tagging a friend. Ultimately what you’re after on social media is engagement. The more engagement you get, the more visible you become and the easier it is to promote something.

Ways to boost engagement:

  • reply to all comments and DMs
  • include questions and open-ended call-to-actions
  • ask for opinions
  • share valuable, curated content relevant to your product/brand, including behind-the-scenes content
  • hold quizzes, polls, competitions and giveaways
  • create a unique hashtag – customers can use it to find you, and you can use it to find their user-generated content
  • tease new releases and pre-order promotions – get followers to guess what it might be or share with friends to win discounts or exclusive items

Influencers

Another option that is becoming increasingly popular with brands looking to promote a product is working with influencers. You can take advantage of their larger reach to build your own while promoting a product at the same time. 59% of customers base purchasing decisions on recommendations from people they know and trust, which, despite never having met them, includes influencers.

While some are happy to promote in exchange for free product, some will require payment. For smaller businesses, this can seem like a non-essential expense. However, with the right influencer (and demographic) the ROI can be substantial, so if you have the budget it’s worth the investment. After all, 80% of Internet impressions are driven by just 6% of users.

Pinterest

A social sharing site and digital mood board, depending on your product, Pinterest can be a great way to reach your target audience. While you have the option of promoted pins, look at optimizing your boards to show up in Google Search and advertise for free.

Develop a list of search terms that are relevant to your product (any keywords used from discovery to purchase) and create boards around them. That way you can start to show up in the search results for those keywords. For example, in a search for ‘outdoor dining ideas’, two of the top four search results are Pinterest boards.

pinterest search results - promoting products

Just make sure to add other pins around your product to provide interesting content that will engage the audience rather than just promote.

Youtube

Youtube is essentially a search engine for content, and importantly for brand awareness and SEO, it ranks in Google.

If it’s applicable to your product, consider setting up a branded channel so that your target audience can easily find you. Make sure the content you’re creating is valuable to the customer, helping to build brand awareness and trust.

Videos ideas include an ‘unboxing’ showing the benefits and how it’s used, and behind-the-scenes content showing how it was made and why.

7. Website Design

Perhaps your best marketing tool for promoting a product, your website is the place customers will ultimately end up.

We covered website design briefly in the SEO section but it never hurts to re-emphasise something this important. Your website should always meet users needs quickly and easily, and the best way to achieve this (aside from sending them to the right landing pages!) is to have clear navigation.

The navigation menu should be easy to find, with appropriate page titles that accurately reflect their content. An FAQ page that anticipates customer questions, as well as answering ones you get regularly, can also provide value and shows an understanding of customer needs.

Use visual content such as infographics, photos and videos on your website to engage users and make it clear what you’re offering and how your product benefits them. And please, for everyone’s sake: work on your load speed!

8. User Generated Content

There’s really no better promotional material than that created by your customers. Reviews, comments and feedback are the #1 factor most likely to influence a purchase, closely followed by discounts.

88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations – imagine you’re comparing two similar products, one has 5* glowing reviews and the other has nothing. Which are you going to choose?

Reach out to repeat customers and offer a discount incentive or early access to a sale/product in exchange for reviews if you’re not getting them organically. Be careful though, as too many reviews flagged with ‘collected as part of a promotion’ can lead to potential customers questioning the validity of them.

Other great U.G.C to collect are customer images, which are most likely shared on their social media. They’re ‘real-life’ and provide an alternative to the staged shots you took during the product’s launch.

Rather than scouring the internet for customer images, encourage them to use your new # (see number 6) so you can source it all from one place!

9. Press Mentions

So far strategies 1-8 can be achieved by you (or a marketing agency like SH1FT). Press mentions, while fantastic for brand/product awareness can be a little harder to achieve as journalists receive hundreds of press releases a day.

Instead of just sending emails blindly, research press coverage of similar products and reach out to the journalist or blogger individually. Send a personalized pitch and don’t be afraid to follow up if you haven’t heard anything. Just don’t send more than two emails without a response…

Another great way to promote your product is to feature in or create your own gift guides.

Decide who your target customer is, if your product would make a good gift, and when you’re likely to give it and search for those gift guides. Don’t restrict yourself to the obvious events (Birthday and Christmas), think Father’s Day, Easter, Valentines Day, Graduation and so on. Once you’ve found the guides, reach out to the author and see if they will feature you.

Alternatively, if you’re creating your own make sure to pack it with value. List the products you want to promote alongside other complementary products that fit the theme. Make sure to add links to where you can buy them and include prices to make it easy for shoppers to navigate.

10. Loyalty Programmes

Once you’ve done the hard work of finding customers, you don’t want to let them slip away again. Not to mention existing customers can be an effective way of bringing in new leads.

Loyalty programmes are an easy way to improve lifetime customer value, generate repeat purchases and even improve the average order value.

Use yours to promote your new product, or one that’s sales have dropped, by reaching out to programme users with special offers, such as double points when buying the specific item. Additionally you could show discounts on pages exclusivly for loyalty programme participants.

If you don’t already have a loyalty programme in place, now’s the time to set one up!

11. Blogging

Having a blog on your site is a great way to connect with customers and provide in-depth information on products. It’s also extremely beneficial for SEO.

Posting regular (relevant) content keeps your website fresh and adds new pages to be crawled to help with your ranking. The longer-form content enables you to target long-tail keywords and gives you the opportunity to expand on what’s in your product information sections without making them difficult to navigate.

Quality content increases your chance of earning backlinks from other sites which help improve your domain authority. Blog posts also allow you to add internal links to pages to direct traffic within your site.

With a blog, you can host guest writers, and write guest posts for other blogs to gain exposure and expand your reach. Make sure not to just sell your product in the article though. Provide value (as with everything!) and entice the reader to visit your website to see your offerings.

12. Offline Marketing

So far everything we’ve covered in this article has related to digital marketing. However, you might want to combine these efforts with some offline marketing too.

If you sell online and are shipping your products to customers, consider adding product inserts. These can vary in size from a business card to a postcard. Or if you’re looking to keep costs down or reduce packaging, tacking a promotion on the end of the shipping receipt works too. You can use a QR code generator to create a custom QR code that links to your website, social media, or even to discount pages or promotional coupons.

Include the promotional code along with a thank you note so the customer feels both appreciated and inspired to shop again. (Make the code unique to any others running on your site so you can track its usage.)

Direct mail is another way to reach customers offline. It’s not cheap and is often overlooked in favour of emails, but it can be effective if done with a strategy – ie. segmentation!

It’s probably been mentioned a hundred times by now, but segmenting your audience allows for more specific targeting and better results.

Send offers to select customers with purchasing behaviours that align with the new product you’re promoting. It’s not a strategy that works for everyone so consider the cost vs the potential return and profit margin when making this decision.

Finally, trade shows can be another method to promote a product, particularly if it is a new launch. There are obviously costs involved, but it can be a good way to get noticed by people in your industry and offers pre-sale opportunities. Research to see if there are any tradeshows specific to your niche close to you and enquire about a stall if you think it will work for you.

Final Takeaways

As you can see, there a plenty of different ways to promote a product, both online and off. While they won’t all apply to you and your business, a general mix of different strategies if done well, provide the best results.

It’s important to consider the value you are creating when promoting your product. Remember, people are more interested in how it’s going to help them than what the product is. Make sure the features and benefits the product offers are clear and appeal to your customers through targeted, segmented advertising.

If the prospect of promoting and marketing still seems overwhelming, reach out to one of our experts for some advice – we know our stuff!

* Bonus Tips *

social proof - promoting
  • Eye-catching visuals – Visual media does better across social media than any other kind of content. Avoid stock images and generic visuals and get creative! Think infographics, videos, countdown timers, user-generated images and custom graphics for holidays and events.
  • Utilise your Google My Business page – If you operate from a physical location, or only serve customers in a particular area then you should have a Google My Business page. You can then use your listing, or more specifically the ‘What’s New’, ‘Offers’ and FAQ/Q&A sections to update customers and provide the information they might be looking for.

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