So, you’ve got a great new product or service offering at your business…now, what? What’s the best way to get the word out and drive attention and buzz your way? Well, we have asked our CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share their best tips for successfully promoting a new product or service. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Nurture & Engage Your Audience
The smartest pre-launch action that you can take is to send your email list and other audiences some useful, valuable content that relates to what you're selling. Make them understand that you care and you only want to build a product that you know they'll want - they'll appreciate this and are often happy to give you the feedback that you need to make your product even more amazing.
2. B2B Promotions that Work
For B2B businesses, the usual online routes of promotion for new products must be tailored a little differently -- less flashy graphics seem to do better. For example, well-placed design elements highlighting useful features should be powerful but not overdone. Additionally, sending a press release about new products to an industry-specific publication is still useful for B2B promotion.
3. Find a Few Stark Raving Fans
Have something new to promote? Who would be better at spreading the news than a Stark Raving Fan of your product or service?
Start your launch in Beta mode to a select group of well connected evangelical types and then, once you know that they are "on-board", give them a referral fee or gift of some sort for helping you bring in new customers.
Make sure that they don't forget to post lots of positive testimonials online (Google+, Yelp, LinkedIn, MerchantCircle, Yahoo, CitySearch, etc.).
4. Share, Send, Spread
Share your offer with a colleague or a client and ask permission for a favorable review. Then, send your client's review with the announcement of your product or service back to your client and also within your social media channels to direct mail. If possible, include a link to your client's website to show that sharing is a two way street.
5. Rock 'em with Star Power!
Centers of influence matter. Get a celeb or a media personality to endorse your product--even if you have to pay to do it. Even better- add the unexpected to the formula. We had a consumer advocate radio show host endorse an organic gardening product. His credibility brought a huge response. Alternatively, tie in to a celeb event. We had Springsteen concert goers submit ticket stubs for a free restaurant entree and generated 856 sales in one week!
6. Your Network is Your Net Worth
By far, the easiest way to promote anything new (product or service) is by going to your Network.
Ask your network to help you promote your product or service. People love helping and when you're referred to someone, the chances of them doing business with you increases tremendously.
Make it easy for your network to share what it is you offer by making sure that they can explain the benefits of what you offer.
People buy benefits, not features!
7. Influence the Influencers
Get out and find the influencers who already speak to your target audience and get them to use your product or service for free.
If you've got a great product or service, then share it with those that already have large audiences.
When they're happy with what you have to offer, they'll want to share it with everyone. Sometimes, you'll have to incentivize them and other times, you'll just have to ask if they'd be willing.
Go find the influencers today!!!
8. Free Offers
When introducing a new product or service, you can gain lots of attention from target customers by offering them the service or product for free or at a discounted price by a certain date. For example, if you have a new Transportation Management service that you are introducing, give the 1st 10 respondents a free e-book on enterprise logistics operations, 25% off services for first 50 people, or 30 day free trial. Free or discounted offers really help get the word out.
9. Go Out On a Limb
In my case... literally 😉
Find something creative and unique about your product and showcase THAT in a totally different way. Stand apart from the crowd ...and you will get NOTICED!
10. Know Your Audience
Launching a new product and service is as much about knowing your target audience as anything else. It is about communicating to the right people in a way that they are receptive to and crafting your message so that THEY will respond to it.
When we launched a no smoking in bars campaign many years ago, we created a game with bar coasters. Each coaster had a question on it and the answer on a different coaster. You went on line and answered the questions, with the grand prize being a trip to the Bahamas.
11. The Press Release
It is not very novel, but it works. A well constructed Press Release to both online and print newspapers and magazines is the best way to market a new product or service. Everyone, including potential new customers, vendors and investors, loves to read about a new product or service that can change their life.
12. Compare to a Competitor
For promoting a new product or service, create buzz and attention by challenging a high-profile competitor to a comparison. The most famous marketing example of this technique is the Pepsi Challenge, where Pepsi challenged soda drinkers to a blind taste test and, of course, came out the victor. Having your target market experience your product or service and vouch for the quality themselves is much more effective than your company tooting its own horn!
13. Low Cost Google Display Ads
My #1 way for promoting a new product or service is with low cost Google display (banner) advertising on websites that are highly topic related to the new product or service being sold. You can easily get clicks for 30 cents or less and you can get a million banner ad impressions for around $500. Other than PR, which is hit and miss, I know of no other lower cost system for getting the word out in mass to a target audience for such a low price.
Ironically, we are in the pre-launch phase of a new product and we are alerting our current and prospective customers through email, social media and print ads about the release of this new item. We are excited and are speaking with our customers daily about the new item, how it will benefit them and the concept behind it in a 20 second pitch. We will pre-launch the product using our marketing plan strategies, release the product and keep reminding our audience how it solves one of their problems.
15. I Need That
Would you buy the product that you are offering for sale? Is it a 'must have', or is it simply a 'would like to have' product? So many customers buy a product simply because it attracts them and after they have purchased it, use it for a short while and then, put it in a cupboard and forget that it is there. A product sold must become a part of a person's daily living by making life easier for them.
Jacob Singer of Regnis
16. Teasing: Foaming at the Wallet
Announce the next big thing to your community. Address their two-cents & questions, & then incorporate feedback.
Provide compelling, snackable teasers via launch e-mails, social media & a brief webinar to build buzz.
Run an early adopter launch at an introductory price for the first 100 quick action-takers during the webinar. Time-limited exclusivity always prompts sales.
Build a campaign based on rave reviews to generate sales at a higher price for prospects who initially missed the boat.
17. Media Response Services
How many calls generated from your marketing campaigns go unanswered because no one is there to answer the callers' inquiries? To make the most of your advertising and marketing campaigns, and to generate more leads, invest in advertising and media response services; a more cost-effective way to measure the successes if your campaigns.
18. Gossip is Your Friend
Use existing customers/clients, friends, vendors and, of course, social media to spread the message about your new product or service. Word of mouth is the best marketing. Be sure to make your message to the existing people in your network applicable to them. Make it easy for them to spread -- put it on Facebook and ask them to share; send them a pre-worded email that they can pass on or give them flyers for their place of business.
19. Got Editorial Calendar?
Spread the word with PR, especially if you want online/print coverage for your new product or service. Think about your target audience and how to pitch publications based on editorial needs for that month. Check out the Editorial Calendar. You will find topics listed that will help you pitch for a specific angle plus deadlines to keep you on track. Think about pitching at least three months ahead. AND... be sure that your product or service is ready for the big media hit. You can thank me later.
20. You Actually Have to Launch!
Many entrepreneurs think that they can put up a new product or service and people will come to buy. Or, they will casually mention that it is now available on social media or in an email newsletter. That's not enough! You actually have to launch and create a marketing campaign around your launch. Creating awareness is one factor of a successful launch. You also need to know how to move your customer from awareness to the sale, but if no one knows about it, you won't have any customers.
21. Growth Hacker Playbook Tactic
The first step is to identify who your early adopters are. These are your ideal customers that will benefit directly from your new product. Think of wants, needs, and pains.
If you can match your product to these early adopters, you will have a successful launch and generate buzz. These customers will champion your product to others and give you supporting materials, like testimonials and case studies. Even better, find an influencer who may share your great product with other early adopters.
22. Work on an Elevator Pitch
Instead of spending lunch at your desk, why not practice your elevator pitch on the elevator at work, or go out for a walk, smile and engage people in a conversation. Have that 30 second conversation at the diner or at the dry cleaner... or even at a restaurant. Hey, you never know who you might meet? So, get out of the office and smile- try out that new pitch, who knows? It might work! And you'll get some exercise while doing it. Win/WIN!
23. Be Buzz Worthy!
If you want referrals, be referable. If you want buzz, be buzz worthy.
And if your product or service is not a re-invention of the wheel, sometimes, pointing out very simple and basic things about it that no one else in your industry thinks to point out is enough of a reason to "get buzz".
24. Define the Pain!!
This is a well known step in product development, but is sometimes lost in marketing and sales efforts. Being able to describe the real problem a product/service solves has given us great results.
Joseph Aquilina of tab32
25. Be Different - Then Promote
The heart of good PR is not just heavily promoting your new product. You have to create a unique product and story first! Our celebrity rubber ducks have been featured on The Tonight Show and voted one of the top 100 gifts by Entertainment Weekly. We got that buzz not even because we contacted these people. We created the product and a unique story...they found us. That's where the best PR begins. Don't create hype. Create a story and a great product first!
26. Use Promotional Products
Promotional products are powerful marketing tools. Unlike other forms of media, promotional products are tangible. You can hold, feel, taste, and smell them. There’s nothing like custom logo products to generate immediate buzz for your brand, and the best part is- they stick around. They’re long-lasting reminders of your business.
27. Send Samples to a Lot of Media
In addition to launching your product with a lot of advertising and publicity, you should also send out a pitch letter with photos and information about the product, and if feasible, also include a sample of the product and send it to various radio and television talk shows, magazines, newspapers and other news media that might be interested in covering that kind of product.
28. Facebook Targeting
With Facebook ad targeting, you can target almost any group of people directly in their news feed. Craft your message to suit an audience perfectly, pay for the ad over a period of a few weeks, and you're almost guaranteed to get some online buzz! If you do this right, it will turn into likes/shares, as well as additional mentions in blogs and other online news sources.
29. Give it to Your Mother
My mom will schlep a copy of my book to the nursing home, to the supermarket, to the coffee shop, and to the synagogue. She's so proud of her daughter, "the writer," she will share it wherever she goes and sell it to anyone she meets. Go mom!
30. The Greatest Marketing Tip
I buy a ticket to a charitable event where influencers, "Shark Tank" types and marketing geniuses congregate. Then, I just socialize and let the law of attraction kick in.
31. Circulate to Accumulate
The only way people will find out about your new offering is if you tell them about it. One way to introduce a new product or service and create a buzz about it is to network. Attend networking events and even create your own blogger events, where you invite bloggers, writers and journalists to your event for an exclusive preview.
The aim is to get those people you network with to talk about your new offering online and offline. Be creative, be social and you may just succeed.
32. Don't Throw Up on People!
It's easy to get excited about a new product or service. Clearly, you've put in time, thought-and likely blood, sweat and tears. However, those buying the product/service generally don't care how it came to market- don't regurgitate your story. Focus on them. Why should they care? What will it do for them? What value does it have for their lives and/or businesses? Much like cooking dinner, kids aren't going to eat it because of how much time it took you. You have to make it appeal to them.
33. Podcast! Podcast! Podcast!
The average podcast listener has an income of 75K and this year, Apple Play will be available in 90% of cars. Podcasting is a great way to introduce you to an audience, show them your expertise and promote and launch your products. If they are listening to you and viewing you as an expert, they are likely to be interested in your services and products.
With all the available technology tools, a podcast can be done at minimal cost and is easy to set up and learn.
34. Viral Product Announcements
Product GIVEAWAYS are easy and effective ways to virally share your new product or service.
We run 30 day Giveaways and ask entrants to Tweet, Facebook Like, Google Plus, and share on Pinterest. This has been a successful method of introducing our new products and building a fantastic social following.
35. Provide a Free Trial or Demo
Just this October, we published a sales survey revealing several unique statistics on how to improve your sales and marketing strategy. According to the survey, 64% of business owners turn to personal trial and error when choosing a product - nearly twice the 36% who feel more comfortable with a vendor demo alone. Looking to promote a new product or service? Try offering a free or limited version. The "freemium" model is an especially popular (and lucrative) pricing strategy right now.
36. Go Global with Local
Crowd fund local crazes to reach a global audience. The bonus is press attention from anywhere in the world marveling at your idea and is also an excellent e-commerce outlet for your new product or service.
37. Connect with Influencers
Most people start off with the idea of trying to reach their target audience directly. It can work, but there is a better way.
Figure out who influences your target audience. Who are the people who say "you should totally buy this" & everyone jumps?
Once you know who influences your target audience, you can plan a strategy to leverage their influence in order to promote your own product.
Remember, this is about creating mutually beneficial relationships - there must be give & take.
38. Go Find Your Tribe...
Find your tribe! Research finding your tribe! Then, build your tribe - introduce your tribe to each other. Ask them what they want, and then MAKE IT, by being the lead. Don't think about the money - that will come as your tribe shares. Think about servicing your tribe and solving their problem(s). Think Tribe and niche in. Do all of this with absolute authenticity from your heart!
Sure, do split testing and all of the other marketing whiz, but focus on the above paragraph!
Did I mention tribe?
Matt Cox of Purcus
39. Humorous Disruption
Successful new product promotion calls for humorous disruption. Do whatever you can to get the product in front of your prospects and use humor to make them remember not only the product, but the brand. Humor is a great way to promote recall. If your product is a boring but revolutionary widget, be honest and tell them that it’s boring, but do it in a way that pokes fun at yourself as a company in an honest and open way. They’ll appreciate the honesty, remember your brand and new product.
Lindy Benton of MEA|NEA
40. #Hashtag Campaigns
Create a #hashtag campaign around new customers' experience with your product (usually supported by a giveaway of some kind). Get visual, get creative and get into the experience of the product by having customers document it through social media channels. It's a super easy and creative way to start a conversation and build some fans for life. #FollowersToFans
41. Be Obsessed with It
If you’re going to successfully promote a new product or service, the biggest tip I tell everyone is: BE ABOUT your product. And by “be” I mean, be passionate about the product: live it, breathe it, be in LOVE with it. How can you promote a product you’re not obsessed with?
Christian Wiklund of Skout
42. The Best Marketing Tool Ever
Without a doubt, the best way to promote a new service or product is Facebook advertising. Just spending $1 a day will get you seen by up to 4,000 new people who otherwise might not have known about you. It's much more targeted than magazines, radio, or TV. There are more than 15 targeting options to get you seen by your most qualified prospects. For the best results, make sure that you create your ads from the Ad Manager and choose website clicks or conversions instead of boosting a post.
43. Reach Out and Add Value
When launching a new product or service, reach out to 10+ people each day and add value to their lives. You'll have to figure out how to add that value. These could be influencers, old friends, or colleagues. If you put out enough value to your network, your network will add value to your product or service.
44. Get Users Involved Early!
Get potential users involved in the development of your product or service before it launches. In addition to the promotional benefits this gives you, it also assures that you are building a product or service that people actually want and will tell others about.
45. Put Out Feelers on Students
Students constitute a big part among early adopters; that’s why it is good to go after schools.
For example, our startup approached student unions and alumni networks of UCLA, Harvard and HEC Paris. These universities have 4,000-30,000 students each. Since our business brings value to students, we’ve got a lot of registrations and new followers on Facebook after crafting a proper message to right people. What is more, students attract their friends, as they need their support on our website.
Perhaps the hottest way of promoting a new product or service is a well produced crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is often viewed as a means of collecting donations for personal needs or funding a wild idea (i.e. Potato Salad) but the unsung result of a successful campaign can be its promotional value.
A successful crowdfunding campaign can quickly appear in major news outlets, propelling the new product (or service) offering in to the media spotlight.
47. 1 Viral Video & Fries Please
I believe the most realistic and profitable way to launch a new product is with a viral YouTube video, and that is what I plan on doing. I've seen it work with a ton of companies. If the video's really funny or has great production, then it shouldn't be too hard to promote. Make sure you frame your brand as you want it to be seen.
Derek Riccardo Coleman of Styleuno
48. Evoking Honest Interest
Your potential customers are bombarded on a daily basis with messages and you only have a split second to grab their attention. We pay special attention to messaging, design, and imagery throughout all brand channels and customer touch-points to evoke an honest and emotional connection with people. When a personal connection can be made to a product or service, the customers are more likely to engage with the brand.
49. Huh? Ya Say It's Momentum?
Successfully getting attention for a new product is all about CREATING MOMENTUM for clients to notice.
How much are you willing to reach out and get people to check it out? Are you building up a pre-launch to get the word spread? Why not call the existing client base to get them in the loop? Your e-mail list could be utilized in this scenario for a marketing or promoting campaign. Consider using the web site your business has running to get the word spread.
Any effort to promote beats 0 effort!
50. What Attracts Your Attention?
What catches your eye? Think about the marketing messages you receive via email, snail mail, social media, newspapers, magazines, radio, television & other places. What was memorable? Interesting? If it caught your eye -- it will catch the eyes of others. Think about how you can modify that information for your launch. Was there a special offer that may work for your product or service? How about the style or use of language? Your junk mail may be the source of your next great marketing idea!
51. Display Remarketing
Every business should launch a display advertising campaign when launching a product or service. You can creatively show-off your product or service through imagery and text across millions of websites at a very low price point.
Even if your budget is set at $20.00 per day, a display campaign will provide you with the capability to target your demographic and geographic region, while helping to increase brand awareness for your company.
My tip for small business owners is to DIY!
Don't just think outside the box; get rid of the box! Be creative. Think Guerrilla. And if that doesn't work, sometimes it just doesn't hurt to "ask." I've ended up on the news many times by just calling up the news channels and asking them if they'd be interested in featuring my business. It's sometimes that simple. I would say the most crucial thing in getting Media Coverage is a subtle yet persistent approach.
Lori Cheek of Cheekd
53. Get Your Own Billboard
Green outdoor advertising is a fast growing trend and now, anyone can have their own billboard. Over 100,000,000 bikes are made every year and cities and towns everywhere are retooling their streets to accommodate bike riders. Having your own Bike Billboard - with an effective message - can dramatically increase your product or company's sales and connection to your market.
54. Make Your Photos Tell a Story
The most important thing is having striking photos with beautiful people showing a small, tangible, but unexpected twist on the product (in our case, being able to ship a luxury bed in a small(ish) box).
55. Get Out of the Customers’ Way
Our approach is to let the power of our platform connect customers. We get out of our customers’ way and let them talk to each other. We facilitate real peer to peer interactions without censoring, allowing our customers to engage each other about our products and designs rather than us starting the conversation on our social media channels.
56. Get Product in Customer Hands
To promote a new product, you must get your product in customers' hands in any way possible. Even if it involves going up to each one personally and begging them to take your product for free, there is no other way to get any really good Buzz. Ads and marketing don't work like they used to; only first-hand experience will get people talking. The important part is to target your customers, so the right people will spread the word about what a great/fun/new/exciting product you have, and tell friends.
Jack Connor of vqTek
57. Produce Engaging Content
Nothing is more powerful than connecting an authentic voice and expert approach to an audience that needs it most. We recently shifted from direct response and traditional advertising to online engagement. The best way to get in front of this generation is to draw them in emotionally with great content that matters to them. We feature expert voices in easy to understand language that offers immediate results.
58. The Sweeter the Better
I’ve experimented with a lot of approaches to winning new business and nothing has worked as well as sending cake. But, not just any cake. As soon as I send a proposal to a prospective client, I immediately send them a delicious cake in the shape of their product, incorporate their branding, and include “life is sweeter with dooley media.” The result? All of their employees know my company, and the ball is in their court. It costs me nothing compared to the return I get.
59. Drop a Pebble in a Pond
In this economy with similar cheaper products from global rivals – products universally are commodities – how to differentiate your stuff? The sales launch is a riff I learned selling large volumes of medical devices. An inventor gets national industry giants enrolled in using/refining the prototype, these thought leaders become cheerleaders extolling product benefits to the second ring of first adopters, then PR kicks-in to promote and sell to the outer rings of regular folks.
60. Make Everything an Event
The single best tip I have for promoting a product/service is to make an event out of it.
Starting a new blog? Don't just launch it; make it an event by starting to allude that something is coming a few months in advance. This serves as an alluring hook for potential customers.
61. Pop Your Biz Up!
PopUps are a great way for businesses to test new products, gain exposure, promote other sales channels and cut down the cost of starting a brick-and-mortar. PopUps allow small businesses - startups, chefs, retailers, artists, makers - to have a more intimate experience with their customers. Vendors often find that they have increased word-of-mouth sales after the PopUp. Combining this with traditional marketing and PR can have a really huge impact for small businesses.
62. Cards With a Double Purpose
The main idea I have is to hand out small, but nice thick cards with an inspiring quote on them. These are nice enough that people will almost always keep them in their wallet or purse to look at again. Then, on the back of the card, I put my product information and website where it can be found. This makes the product name become engrained in the person's mind. I find these cards really work, and depending on what industry your business is in, perhaps they might be useful for you too!
63. Show How It Solves Problems
One consistent way to kick-start sales of a new product or service is to show audiences how it can solve a real problem for them through content marketing and then, make sure your message is seen. From an online marketing perspective, this means identifying websites, forums, or social media platforms where your target audience lives, and creating a piece of free content like a blog post, video, or podcast in those communities to show your product or service addressing an issue they need solved.
64. It's All About Content!
Write content about the industry your product or service is in, publish it on your website and push it through social media channels. Your company will be associated with quality content and get great exposure.
65. Find Out What Works for You!
As a co-founder of 2 businesses, I have come to realize that what works well for one business won’t necessarily work for the other. For our content services business, AdWords generates a large number of our qualified leads and works beautifully. But, email marketing works the best for our newly launched social media content management tool. The conversion rates of the emails to sign ups are insanely high for the tool, while for the content services, email marketing almost never took off!
Sophia Solanki of DrumUp
66. Viral Buzz Through Twitter
Twitter can dramatically elevate your promotional campaigns if you earn the support and backing of influential users.
Use tools like Followerwonk to identify Twitter users with large followings who are passionate about issues related to your new product. Build a rapport over time (this is critical!) before asking for their feedback about your new offer. If they like it enough to Tweet about it, you can benefit from exposure to a large, captive audience from a trusted advocate.
67. Marketing Touchpoints 101
We've found success by marketing to our audience with different touch points. A touch point is a common ground you have with your marketing persona or target market. We have achieved this by co-producing all age raves/festivals with Electric Productions, most recently #ElectricWinter.
Above all, authenticity is the key. Doing what is natural for your brand, culture and audience is what will resonate. Once you know and understand this - marketing is nothing more than a conversation.
68. Shameless Self Promotion
My best tip for successfully promoting a new product or service is to talk about it to every new customer and cross sell it at a promotional price to existing customers. Fill a need with your new product or service to existing clients at a super deal. Recruit loyal customers to shout out your new product on their social media pages. Provide links to published articles promoting your new product and their review. Appreciate customer shout outs with thank you emails and an offer to return the favor.
69. Real Artists Ship!
You can't help anyone until you get your product out into the world. Don't wait for it to be perfect. Get a core product that is truly helpful and get it out into the world. Remember, Apple didn't start with the iPhone. The important thing is that your customers feel value in what you put into the world. If you wait for all of the bugs to get worked out, for it to be perfect, you'll never ship. Real artists like Steve Jobs told us ship!
Do you have a tip for helping businesses promote a new product/service that wasn’t included? If you do, please share it below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!