It’s not the first time I write about marketing tips; I wrote about targeting the right audience and then about how to promote a website. This time, I would like to talk about promoting products and services. When I’m speaking about products and services, I mean anything you’d like to sell: from chocolates, coffee, clothing and jewellery, to photography, graphic design and consulting services. Since the dawn of the digital age, there are no boundaries to what can be sold on the web and this limitlessness gives sellers and service providers the unique opportunity to be able to sell from anywhere to everywhere in the world. Merchants, freelancers and business owners; this article is for you.
Assuming you already have your product or service ready (that includes having your online store already set up on your own website, Ebay, Etsy or elsewhere), here’s where and how you should consider promoting it to have a successful launch and ensure good sales:
The first place where you should announce your new product or service is on your website (You don’t have one? Well, what are waiting for?). If your company or brand already has a homepage, create a special section for this new product or service you are offering. Write a blog post about it. Put an ad on your front page. You want to make money? Make sure it’s THE first thing your clients see when they will visit your website.
It’s obvious really: if your clients cannot find your new product, they will simply not be able to buy it. By featuring it on your homepage in an evident manner, you are making it easy for your customers to find it. Consider a tasteful banner, ad or image to catch the eye of your visitors (see an example on Nike’s product page here). That said, you will want to stay away from annoying flash banners and animations as they will not be visible to tablet users and too much bling might push away your clientele instead of attracting them.
Email and/or slow mail campaign
Not all your clients visit your website on a regular basis and you don’t want them to miss the launch of this new product or service of yours, right? Send them an email! Gather the mails of all your past, current and potential clients and send them a proper message announcing your product. Remember to use the BCC field (there’s nothing less professional than seeing a bunch of other unknown recipients with your email among them) and if you have a promotion related to your product, put emphasis on it.
If you can afford it, also consider sending a postcard or a letter with a coupon. While many emails end up in the spam box, all your clients will have to at least handle the letter before tossing it away, giving them the chance to see your offer.
Make it a memorable message; keep in mind your clients receive dozens of emails a day, at the very least, and you don’t want yours to be lost among all the others.
If you’re launching a new product, chances are you will want the news to spread. If you only post a single announcement on your website and keep the launch to yourself, then your chances of selling your new product are slim. In order to get clients, you will need to use social media ferociously.
Get on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and post a direct link to your product/service page for your followers to see. Use an explicative and original tag line; “The BEST shoes in town at the best price you’ll ever find!” is so much more enticing than the boring “Check out my store”. You’ve got a promotion? Share it with your fans; “Click here to get 10% off the BEST shoes in town! This offer is only available for a limited time!”. Also don’t be scared to invite your fans and followers to share the news with their friends.
Conclusion: Be memorable and be the best
The internet is a very competitive market. Unless you’re selling something strange or exotic, chances are you will have thousands of competitors. Some may sell better quality, others may have better prices. You need to let your clients know what makes you different and what makes you the best. Make it obvious to them and they will buy your products and services. If you hide behind your screen, if you do not make good use of your website or social media and make it hard for your clients to find you, then your online store is doomed.