Promoting a product is not easy.
But before we go any further, we have to align our vocabulary on this first…
Promotion DOES NOT mean discounts. Neither does it mean cheap.
Promotion merely means finding a reason to talk about your product.
The moment you have the habit of dropping your prices, the perceived value of your product/service drops with it.
In economics, we know this as a “price war”. And unless you’ve got super deep pockets or you’ve reached huge economies of scale, it’s a losing game for you.
Regularly sending out discount coupons and offering random vouchers sends a signal to your customer: I can get it for cheaper. Let me just wait.
There’s this one promotional banner I see in the Mall near my house where throughout the year, they market their “Post-Chinese New Year Sale” except during Chinese New Year when they market their… You guessed it… Chinese New Year Sale.
I’ve seen too many companies who’ve gone down this dark path – the quick and easy fix – and forever did it dominate their sales cycle. You’re better than this.
And what you’ll end up seeing is sudden spikes and terrible troughs in your sales cycle.
I’m not saying that your value is based on price. No, no, no.
What I’m saying is that baiting customers with money as a driver is the lowest form of marketing you can engage in.
Cheap pricing can’t be the only competitive advantage you have, right?
Solution #1: Hashtag Holidays
If a promotion is about reminding your customers that you exist and reinforcing how much they need you…
… then all you have to do is find opportunities to talk about yourself. If you can’t find opportunities, create them.
Hashtag Holidays are a great start that we recommend to the brands we work with. It livens the mood, it’s interesting and it’s just not that salesy!
You could be selling barbeque grills. And you could use #InternationalHotDogDay to talk about how much more mouth-watering they taste with a grill (or how sexy your hotdogs will look with those grill marks).
They look so good don’t they? I’m sorry for digressing a little from the blog but can we please take a moment to appreciate the beauty of these hotdogs?
OK let’s get back…
Similarly, if you’re selling timber to furniture companies, you could use the Hashtag Holidays. #EarthDay can be an opportunity to remind clients about how your timber is sustainably grown (which is something the furniture company can impress their customers with since an increasing number of consumers are into environmental conversation).
As you think about developing your next hashtag holiday promotion, realize that you don’t have to spend a bomb to get the word out.
There’s email, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or whichever social media platform your customers are on.
Now that you have a REASON to talk about yourself, how do you package it in a way that is palatable and irresistible to your customers?
Remember, you don’t want to be that random dude you meet at the party that can’t stop going on about how big his house is or how great he is at his job. That’s pretty obnoxious.
Here’s how you can do it instead…
Solution #2: Bundles
Think gift hamper.
Just a couple of years ago, my grandfather went for a knee replacement surgery that required him to be warded in hospital for about 3 weeks.
His friends visited with hampers. Tall wrapped up pyramids and mini baskets.
One of which really caught my eye. It was a brand that sold canned seafood. It had an assortment of flavours and the different varieties. But it had a new product to promote; a bottled sauce. The brand was going to launch a seafood sauce and they included it in the package so consumers could try it and like it even before its official launch!
I found out that the overall hamper price was pretty much the same as what you would pay if you got them individually off the shelf, maybe shave off 5%. But this gave me (because my grandfather didn’t want to eat them, not that I was greedy…) a reason to sample their full product range!
I ended up trying 6 flavours of their flagship seafood product, 3 other seafood varieties (of which each had 2 flavours) PLUS their new product. All of which I would never have sampled otherwise. Note: I’d only tried 2 flavours from their original line.
You get where I’m coming from?
Just by bundling your products together, you don’t have to drop your price and people can still buy.
You don’t have to crack your head on how to make consumers try your full product range.
You don’t have to hold a huge publicity stunt to launch a new product.
This doesn’t just go for consumables. You could do the same even if you’re a Software as a Service (SaaS) company that has several add-ons to your core product.
Bundling happens all the time.
Look at Amazon. On the product page, you see “Frequently Bought Together” and they list several different complementary products, with an overall price plastered at the end. This is a form of bundling as well that helps subtly promote a product.
Solution #3: Events
If all of this still isn’t something that you could do because your business is unique and people don’t respond in the same way…
… you could use Hashtag Holidays as a reason to hold an event.
Or just run mini sessions to get customers down.
There are two types of commitment:
A customer coming down to a specific location requires their commitment of time. They need to clear their schedule, take the time to travel down, spend time with you, travel back…
That’s a huge sign of interest in your offer that you shouldn’t overlook.
When someone invests that much time with you, they just need a little push and they’ll be taking out their wallets.
At events, there’s social proof. They’ll see other people LIKE THEM who are purchasing and they’ll feel a little more assured to spend money.
They have this feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when they see a line of people buying while they’re just standing awkwardly in the corner of the room. This is extremely powerful by the way. I fall for it all the time even though I know how it works.
Events are an opportunity to meet your prospects and existing customers Face to Face, allay their fears, address their concerns and establish that trust.
Physical events engage all their senses that drive them to action. It immerses them in an environment and incites emotions in them.
As the saying goes “Humans buy with emotions and justify with logic”.
Solution #4: Splinter
Sometimes your product is just too advanced for your customer, for the stage of the Value Journey they’re at.
If you’re offering a bigger-ticket item like a $997 course as your only product, chances are your take-up rate is going to be low.
People just aren’t ready to make such a huge commitment yet.
What you could do instead is to pick out a few key points the programme and create worksheets, canvasses or frameworks that people can apply on their own…
… sell that as an introductory product to your course at maybe $79.
Then create a 10-part video series to go along so that guides people step by step on the implementation.
I know what you’re thinking, “But that’s my proprietary information!”
I get it. It’s your baby. Many people struggle with this too.
Think about it, how does making this more public (while still collecting money), compare to your zero-sign-up rate for your courses?
Using this $79 product is known as a “loss-leader”, that at least covers your cost of advertising and marketing.
When people have a taste of your product and like it, they’ll grow to trust you a little more. But they still need help. And that’s where to come to you again, ascending themselves into your $997 course where you handhold them through this process.
The Final Cut
For most businesses, you don’t need new products. You just need new ways to sell the same product.
To promote your product, there must be a clear strategy, using the right targeting and tracking to ascertain the effectiveness of your activities. There is no one solution or one strategy that’s better than any other.
Try out these solutions for yourself and let us know how effective it’s been for your business.
And if you’re stuck wondering why you’re not getting leads, ask Josh. We’re here to help