It's crucial for businesses to have an active social media presence to survive in 2018.
No social media marketing strategy is complete without Instagram. It's become a top platform for brands, advertisers, and consumers alike.
This platform has 800 million monthly active users. And 500 million Instagram profiles are active on a daily basis.
Here's something else that may surprise you: 70% of Instagram hashtags are branded.
What does that tell you? If you're not active on Instagram, your competitors definitely are.
Those of you who already have an account set up are on the right track. But just having an Instagram profile doesn't necessarily translate to sales.
If you want to drive sales and make real money from Instagram, you need to come up with a viable strategy. This guide will steer you in the right direction.
Increase your following
One of the first steps to having a successful Instagram marketing strategy is growing your follower base.
Without lots of followers, you will struggle to get your posts seen. It's not going to be easy for you to generate sales without followers.
For those of you who just created your Instagram page, it can be intimidating to start with the number zero. But unless you're a brand new company, you already have customers.
That's the best place to start looking for followers. Here are the top reasons why users follow brands on social media:
As you can see from these numbers, more than 73% of users say they follow brands on social media because they are interested in the product or service the brands are offering.
Your existing customers are interested in your brand. Tell them about your profile, and ask them to follow you.
Start by sending out messages to your email subscribers. Just make sure you give them an incentive to follow you.
For example, you may send out emails only a few times per month. Tell your subscribers that if they want to see more frequent discounts and promotions, they will find them on Instagram.
If you use this strategy, be sure to follow through with that promise.
In addition to reaching out to your email subscribers, you can have an Instagram badge on your website. Use your other social media channels to promote your Instagram profile as well.
After you take these steps, another great way to get more followers is by following other people. That said, don't follow random users.
Find followers that fit within your target audience. That'll be your best bet when it comes to generating new leads and driving sales.
How do you find people that fit within your target market? It's a bit tricky, and you'll need to put in some effort. First, you need to find accounts similar to yours.
I'm not saying you need to steal followers from your competitors, although that can work too.
Instead, you can search for Instagram profiles that post content related to your industry. For example, let's say your company sells hiking and camping equipment.
Check out this profile. The name of the account is Adventure Enthusiasts:
They have more than 132,000 followers. All of their content is related to outdoor locations across the world.
You could assume that people who follow this account would be interested in camping and hiking.
It's time-consuming, but this will work. Once you find an account like this, go through its followers, and start following people.
The users will get a notification and check out your page. If they like what they see on your profile, which we'll discuss shortly, they'll be likely to follow you back.
Once you add tons of new followers, it's going to be much easier for you to drive sales with your Instagram strategy.
Focus on the first impression of your page
First impressions matter. This statement holds true in the real world as well as the virtual world.
As a marketer, you need to recognize that. It's the same reason why writing an irresistible blog post introduction is vital to your content strategy.
When an Instagram user clicks on your profile, what's the first thing they see?
They see your profile picture, biography, and your most recent posts. Going back to our last point about following users to grow your own follower base, when a user clicks your profile, they shouldn't have any questions.
What I mean by that is this. Your profile should say who you are and what you do.
Having your logo as your profile picture makes the most sense. It's much more recognizable than a random picture of a person or one of your products.
Here's an example from the Dollar Shave Club Instagram page:
What is your first impression of this profile?
To me, it's clear from the beginning who they are. The profile picture is their logo, and their bio explains what they do in greater detail.
They even include a link to a landing page on their website to encourage users to sign up for the service.
Basically, if your brand's Instagram page doesn't grab the attention of users, you won't have much luck getting followers.
For the most part, it's best to keep everything short, to the point, and professional. Now, you'll have a greater opportunity to promote your products and ultimately increase your sales.
Post content on a regular basis
If you're adding a picture or video to your profile only once a month, it's not an effective strategy. I wouldn't even call that an active profile.
You want your brand to always be fresh in the minds of your followers.
At the same time, you don't want to flood user timelines and be perceived as annoying. You need to find a middle ground here.
I wouldn't recommend posting much more than once per day. If you have lots of content you want to share each day, it's better to add it to your Instagram story.
If you don't know how it works, check out my ultimate guide to using Instagram story to promote your business.
How often should you post on Instagram? Research shows that the top brands on Instagram post 1.5 times each day on average. That comes out to about 10 or 11 posts per week.
The timing of these posts is crucial as well. Top brands typically post content during office hours of a standard workweek.
Well, roughly 90% of employees admit to using social media as a distraction while they're at work.
You need to recognize this and plan the timing of your posts accordingly. Posting on a regular basis increases your exposure and the likelihood that as many people as possible will see your content.
Don't be too “salsey “
So, we've just established you need to post daily. But we haven't talked about the content of those posts.
Obviously, you want to drive sales. However, that doesn't mean that everything you post should be a product promotion.
That'll annoy your followers and end up having the opposite effect of what you're looking for. Mix up your content.
Be funny. Post pictures of your employees. Just don't stray too far from your brand image.
While it's okay to post content that's not promoting a product, you want to stay away from controversial topics. I'm referring to subjects such as religion, politics, and race. Offending your followers is not going to help you drive sales.
Again, just avoid too many promotional posts. Posting too many promotions is the number one annoying action businesses take on social media, according to users:
Furthermore, 46% of users say they'll unfollow a brand on social media if it posts promotions too frequently.
Whenever you do post a promotion, do it casually. You don't need to put words in all capitalized letters and include tons of stars and quotation marks around everything.
That's annoying. Keep it short and to the point.
Instagram has a live broadcast feature. If you read my top marketing trends of 2018, you'd know I put live video streaming first on this list.
Users love it, and brands are using this information to their advantage.
Live video gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience in real time. While you broadcast, they can comment.
Make sure you respond to these comments, and try your best to acknowledge those users. This will help you increase engagement metrics.
There are endless possibilities with your live streams.
You could demonstrate new products, give a tour of your facility, or even introduce some of your employees. I like the idea of hosting a Q&A segment to give you a more authentic connection with your audience.
Another way to utilize Instagram live story is by working with other brands. Instagram is the top social platform in terms of brand collaborations across the globe:
You could try to get featured on the live broadcast of another profile in an effort to promote your brand.
As a result, this type of strategy can help you expose your brand to a new audience, increase your followers, and ultimately drive more sales.
Add pictures and videos to your story
As I briefly mentioned earlier, your story is a great place to add daily content.
You can post content to your story multiple times per day because it won't flood the timelines of users who follow you.
But that doesn't mean you should go overboard and post 20 different pictures and videos to your story every day.
People won't look at each one, so it's a waste of your time and resources. The engagement and views will drop with each additional post to your story.
You also need to make sure the timing of the post on your story is relevant because it will disappear 24 hours after it gets uploaded.
I'd recommend using your story to offer discounts, run contests, or tell people what you're up to that day in the office.
The whole idea here is having your brand on their minds. If they're thinking about your brand, they are more likely to make a purchase.
Similarly to your live video strategy, you can even use your Instagram story to partner with another brand for a takeover. You can take over their account, and they can post content to yours as well.
Again, this will make it easier for you to expose your brand to a wider audience.
Partner with social influencers
You don't need to be the only one promoting your brand on Instagram.
You should work with social influencers to share your content and encourage sales as well. That's because social influencers have high engagement rates and great relationships with their followers.
If you work with micro influencers, their followers will likely view those people as their peers. Based on this research, 90% of consumers say they trust recommendations made by their peers:
Plus, working with micro-influencers is much more cost-effective than paying someone with a celebrity status to promote your brand.
Not sure where you can find social influencers?
Check out these top platforms for managing social influencers to get started.
Add hashtags to your captions
Captions are just as important, if not more important, than the images and videos you post.
You've got to learn how to write Instagram captions that drive engagement.
Hashtags are definitely necessary. There are lots of different approaches to this.
For starters, you can use one that already exists so that other people can see it. For example, you could pick a hashtag that's promoting a national event.
Another idea is to create your own hashtag. This would be much more brand-specific.
You could use a hashtag with just your brand name as well as the name of your campaign.
If you're like to run contests on Instagram, you can have a unique hashtag for each one.
UGC is short for user-generated content. This piggybacks on my last point about using hashtags to promote contests.
Promotions of this nature encourage users to post photos and videos related to your brand to their personal profiles.
As a result, your brand gets exposed to all of the followers who are friends with that particular user. This type of content acts as a recommendation, which we just discussed as an effective promotional method.
Besides running contests, the best way to encourage user-generated content is to feature user photos on your profile.
Check out this post from the Thule Instagram page:
As you can see, this post came from one of their followers.
When other people see this, they'll be encouraged to share it as well as submit their own photos for the chance to be featured on the page.
Try some sponsored posts
The great thing about promoting your brand on Instagram is that it's completely free.
It's not going to cost you anything to create a profile and post content. Lots of the strategies we've discussed so far in this guide won't cost you anything either.
But if that's just not cutting it for you and you want to be more direct with your strategy, you may want to consider paying for ads.
This is a good idea for newer brands struggling to get new followers.
You've got lots of options here:
If you want to find more information about setting these up, check out this resource from the Instagram Business website.
The great thing about these ads is you can include links that drive sales. Here's an example of a photo ad with a “shop now” CTA:
It's also easy to set up these ads while making sure you reach your target audience and stay within your marketing budget.
Your brand needs to have an active Instagram presence.
Always try to increase your followers. Make sure your profile is set up in a way that gives a great first impression.
Post content on a daily basis, but don't post too much promotional content. Use live video streaming and your Instagram story to your advantage as well.
Partner with social influencers to expose your brand to a new audience.
Use captions with hashtags as a promotional tool. Encourage user-generated content.
If you want to take your Instagram marketing strategy to the next level and you've got some extra funds, you may want to consider paying for sponsored posts.
All of these strategies will help you elevate your Instagram presence and increase sales as a result.
What type of content is your brand posting on Instagram to generate sales from your followers?
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It doesn't matter what type of business you have or how long you've run it. Your customers are the lifelines of your brand.
Whether you sell products, offer services, or a combination of the two, customer service needs to be one of your top priorities.
You could have the best product in the world, but if you don't treat your customers well, it's going to hurt your bottom line. On the flip side, you could have a product that's average, or even subpar, and be extremely profitable if you provide excellent customer service.
How is that possible? Well, the numbers don't lie.
According to research, 80% of consumers say they're willing to pay more money to businesses offering better customer service.
But that's not all. Failing to provide good customer service can result in the loss of your customers.
What exactly causes a business to lose customers? Research shows that only 14% of customers stop supporting a business because they are not satisfied with their products or services. And 9% leave because of the price.
But look at the top reason why customers leave a business. Nearly seven out of 10 customers will leave because they don't feel valued.
In short, customer service is more important than what you're selling.
Now that we've established why improving your customer service is important, it's time to take steps in that direction. But how can you improve your customer service if you don't know what your customers want?
It's simple. Just ask them.
Getting feedback from your customers is a crucial component of your customer support strategy.
It shows them you care about their opinions. Furthermore, the results can help you better your business and ultimately make more money.
If you want to provide excellent customer service, I've narrowed down the top 8 ways to get feedback from your customers.
1. Create surveys
Leveraging customer surveys is the most logical place to start your quest for feedback.
Depending on what you're using the survey for, the questions and potential responses can vary.
It's important to have a clear goal when you're creating these. For example, if you're trying to improve your customer service, you don't necessarily need to ask the customer about a specific product.
That said, surveying customers about a previous purchase shows them you value their opinions, which they perceive as good customer service.
The idea is to get your information and get out as soon as possible. Customers don't want to fill out a 20-minute survey.
People are busy. In all honesty, they've got better things to do. I recommend using an online resource such as SurveyMonkey to create your surveys.
You can create an account for free and have access to templates and pre-written questions about specific topics. Obviously, you can customize those to fit your business and goals.
Once your survey is complete, it's easy to distribute it electronically to your customers through all your marketing channels.
Since time is of the essence here, keep your surveys short and limit them to a handful of questions. Don't ask obvious or misleading questions.
Don't ask questions and provide answers you want to hear. You may be doing things wrong. Allow your customers to share that information with you.
Sometimes you need to give your customers some extra incentive to fill out a survey to get as many responses as possible. A discount off their next purchase should be sufficient.
Interviews might not work for your business.
It's much easier for brands with brick and mortar locations to conduct interviews than for online businesses.
Sure, ecommerce companies can still interview customers. But they'd have to set up a Skype session or phone call to do so. This isn't impossible, but it's more of a hassle.
But those of you with physical store locations can interview customers when they shop in person.
The best time to do this is after the customer has checked out and is getting ready to leave. You don't want to bother customers while they are shopping because it could potentially prevent them from making a purchase.
Since it's not the most common practice, this strategy could really help you gain an edge over your competitors.
Nearly 90% of marketing experts believe that improving the customer experience is the top factor for differentiating their brand from the competition.
Before the customer leaves your store, politely ask them if they have five minutes to answer some questions. If you tell them the interview is going to be five minutes, you'd better stick to five minutes.
Conduct the interview away from the register so it doesn't hold up your line.
It doesn't need to be in an office, but go somewhere with some privacy so other employees and customers can't hear the responses.
Introduce yourself and explain why you're conducting the interview. Establish a rapport with the interviewee so they feel comfortable answering your questions honestly.
Make it clear that you won't be offended by their responses. Some customers may be hesitant to provide negative feedback if they are saying it directly to your face.
You'll need to let your guard down and ask questions in a way that gives them the opportunity to say how they truly feel.
The great thing about an interview, as opposed to a survey, is that the answers are more authentic. Customers have a chance to tell you what's on their minds, without having to select from a pre-determined list of survey responses.
Record your interviews, with the customer's permission, of course. That way you won't have to scramble to write notes while they are speaking.
Again, you can offer an incentive to customers who take the time to answer your questions. Thank them for their time, and give them a coupon.
3. Add a comment box to your website
This one is pretty simple.
Include a customer feedback form on your website. That way, people who are visiting can see this as an opportunity to share their opinions.
Here's an example of a basic version of a comment box on the BuildFire website:
You have different options with these comment boxes. As you can see in the example above, this form requires you to include your name and email address with the message.
But you could provide the visitor with an anonymous option.
If customers do provide you with their contact information, it's always in your best interest to reach out to them when you receive the message. This is especially true if they are voicing a complaint.
Apologize for any inconvenience you may have caused them. Offer a solution.
Let them know that you value them as a customer and that you'll make improvements to ensure this won't happen again. Thank them for reaching out to you.
Here's something else to keep in mind. Don't be discouraged by negative comments.
You should be thankful the customer told you about their poor experience instead of leaving without saying a word.
In fact, only 1 out of 26 customers will complain if they are unhappy. The other 25 will just give up on your brand and stop buying.
When a customer gives you negative feedback, you still have the opportunity to make things right. Not all is lost.
You can turn a negative experience into something positive by mending that relationship.
4. Third-party reviews
Your business is on websites such as Yelp, Google Local, and TripAdvisor.
Just because you don't control those websites doesn't mean you should ignore them. Make a habit of checking those listings weekly, at a minimum.
If you are getting tons of reviews, consider checking more frequently.
For starters, you want to make sure the information listed on these sites is accurate. I'm referring to your hours, phone number, menu, pricing, etc.
But you also need to consider the customers who willingly took the time to write about your business.
Good comments. Bad comments. You want to pay attention to all of them.
All too often when we talk about customer service, it seems like businesses automatically jump to the negatives. While it's important to be proactive about those poor experiences, it's also necessary to keep track of the positive ones.
This will reinforce what you're doing right. You'll know what you should continue doing instead of changing something that customers are happy with.
5. Live video broadcast
Facebook. Instagram. YouTube. All of these marketing channels have live streaming features you should be taking advantage of.
While this tactic isn't quite as intimate as a focus group, which we'll discuss shortly, it gives you the opportunity to reach a high volume of customers at the same time.
Here are some of the top benefits of live video streaming, according to brands, retail companies, agencies, and other marketing executives:
As you can see from their responses, a more authentic interaction with the audience ranked first on the list.
This authentic interaction is great for getting customer feedback. That's because customers can comment in real time while you're broadcasting live.
Everyone else watching can see those comments as well. Respond to comments.
Depending on how many people are watching your stream, it can be overwhelming to keep up with comments. That's okay. Take your time to go through them.
The great thing about these live streams is you can save them and refer to them at a later time. Read through the comments, and take notes. Group similar statements so you can prioritize what needs to be addressed first.
Live video is great for customers as well. They can watch it on their smartphones from the couch as opposed to being bothered when they are in your store.
6. Focus groups
Focus groups aren't nearly as popular as some of the other feedback methods. This is mainly because the logistics are more complex.
But that doesn't mean you should ignore this option. Even if it's not your top choice, conducting a focus group should still be in your arsenal of potential ways to get feedback from your customers.
An ideal focus group is conducted in person, with all the participants in the same room. Groups of six to eight customers should commit between 30 and 60 minutes of their time to participate.
Being in a room together will allow them to feed off each other.
One person could say something that another customer may not have thought of. As a result, it could trigger a response based on that customer's experience.
Focus groups are great for testing new products and ideas. Allowing your customers to be part of the innovation process will make them feel valued, the importance of which I have already talked about.
Customers who participate in focus groups should be compensated much more than those who fill out a survey online.
Your customers who complete a survey may get 20% off their next purchase. But it's not unreasonable to provide a $50 or even $100 gift card to customers participating in focus groups. You should also provide them with some food when they arrive.
7. Follow-up emails
After a customer makes a purchase, you should send them a follow-up message, asking for their feedback.
I'm sure you've seen these before. Here's an example of a short survey from Venmo embedded directly into an email:
As you can see, this survey is directly related to customer service.
In addition to embedding the survey into the email, you could also provide a link for the customer to provide feedback through a platform like SurveyMonkey, which I talked about earlier.
You may even decide to send a link to the comment box on your website I previously mentioned.
Just realize that any additional steps a customer has to take to give you feedback will decrease the chances of it being completed.
Don't be annoying. All too often I get three or four emails from a company asking me to provide feedback for my most recent purchase, flight, etc.
You don't want to be that person.
If they don't respond after the first message, you could send one more reminder. But that's it. If they still haven't given feedback, you could always try again in the future after their next purchase.
8. Social media comments
You need to stay active on social media.
But in addition to posting content on a regular basis, you also have to track what your customers say about you.
Don't ignore your notifications. Read through your comments and direct messages.
Do this on all platforms. Facebook. YouTube. Instagram.
Use the Twitter advanced search query to find out what customers are saying about you, even if they don't tag you directly.
Check out these comments from a post on the Lululemon Facebook page:
The first comment is positive, and the second comment shares some criticism.
But do you notice something they both have in common? Lululemon responded to both of them.
As I said before, you need to treat both positive and negative feedback the same. In both instances, you want your customers to know you value them.
More than half of consumers say they expect brands to respond to their feedback. If their comments are negative, that number jumps from 52% all the way up to 72%.
If you can't keep your customers happy, your business is going to struggle. It's a fact.
Customers care more about customer service than they do about the quality and price of what they're buying.
That's why it's so important for you to find ways to get their feedback. But there is no one-size-fits-all way to do this.
Not all customers will respond to all tactics.
In order to get responses from as many customers as possible, you'll need to try different approaches. This will also help you get accurate results.
Refer to this list of my favorite 8 ways to get customer feedback. Ultimately, this will help you provide enhanced customer service.
What method is your company using to get feedback from your customers?
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Your customers are your greatest asset
The one thing shared across all great ecommerce companies is a large, loyal customer base. The keys to building that kickass cusotmer base are well known, but easier said than done:
Acquiring new customers is top-of-mind and top-of-spend for most ecommerce companies we speak to every day. But, there's something that we don't see happening enough, and that's getting the most out of each customer to accelerate growth. Focusing on building great customers, who will then in-turn help you get more new customers causes a snowball effect and accelerates your growth. That's the 1-2 punch.
A self-feeding engine of growth
The chart below shows the amazing growth impact of repeat purchases. Getting from 1 purchase to 3.5 purchases per customer per year will drive your growth and margins–almost 20x over five years. It's the difference between a slow growth grind and an accelerating rocket.
The reality is, you cannot do this without customer referrals or a deep understanding of your customers and their behavior allowing you to better serve them. To rely too heavily on paid customer acquisition is not sustainable.
Turn your customers into referrers – and better customers – with ReferralCandy
At ReferralCandy, they think of your existing customer base as your best source of new customer acquisition. If you are an ecommerce merchant, you already know the importance of getting word-of-mouth sales on your online store. If your product is able to solve your customers' needs and you provide them with a great shopping experience, it's very likely that they will recommend you to their friends and family.
If you don't have a referral program, however, there's very little you can do to encourage your customers to keep referring you to their friends and family. Think of your customers as your best salespeople:
There are several studies proving that referral programs help business get better customers (they're more profitable, they're less likely to leave, and they have higher lifetime value) but you can also use them to build loyalty with your existing clients. Your customers will keep you in mind for future recommendations – but also for future purchases.
ReferralCandy makes it very easy to set up an effective referral program, reducing friction on the customer end and improving the customer experience. Choose your rewards – cash, store credit, discounts or free products, easily share your program through email and on site pop-ups and that's it! ReferralCandy allows a scalable and highly cost effective channel to drive new customer acquisition. Once they become a customer, Alliioop enables you to drive more effective and timely engagements with your customers and increase repeat purchases.
Building a kickass customer base just got easier
Building a large, loyal customer base takes time and effort–and both art and science. It requires that you understand what makes customers tick–and what doesn't. It's not always about sending discounts and special offers, though those do work.
Referrals are one part, but you must also deliver well timed content, advice, product recommendations, as well as those special offers to add value, build appreciation and drive loyalty. That's exactly why we created Alliioop.
Getting results with Alliioop
Alliioop is will make you more effective in doing the two most important things for growing your loyal customer base.
Make your Shopify site soar
Getting started and realizing results is easy with our Shopify and Facebook integrations. Plus our pre-built reports and segments come to life right after you turn it on, with these key capabilities:
Reporting: We've pre-built a suite of reports that will show you everything from high-level conversion metrics, to campaign performance, LTV and the details of every customer path. You get insights highlighting what you should do next to increase conversions.
Segmentation: Sending highly targeted messages requires powerful segmentation. You can segment on anything and the segments are dynamic–meaning people are added and removed from segments in real-time–not stale, static lists.
Facebook: Keeping your Facebook Custom Audiences fresh and on target is cumbersome. We automatically add and remove people from your Facebook Custom Audiences based on their behavior. This keeps your audiences fresh and your ads more on target–and effective.
Anonymous user tracking: We can show you what users did before they gave you their email address. So you get the real time-to-purchase picture and can personalize welcome messages with products they previously viewed or abandoned.
Automation: Driving all these engagements requires serious automation. Alliioop monitors all your customer behavior and triggers the engagements automatically. So as you build more granular targeting over time, we manage all the delivery so you can scale.
Use Alliioop and ReferralCandy together
The key to making this work is using the 2 solutions together to maximize your growth. Take your existing customer base and empower them to refer their friends and family (after all – they get a benefit as well when they refer someone who makes a purchase) with ReferralCandy. Use Alliioop to gain insights you've never been able to glean before and better understand, segment and engage with your customer base. By only sending timely and relevant messaging you'll show your customer you understand and respect them more than your competition.
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So you're ready to launch a new product.
Regardless of your business type or industry, it's important for brands, both new and old, to be innovative to stay relevant. I know how much hard work you've put into this new release, so I want to commend you on that.
Whether you're releasing a new product or an extension of an existing product line, you've got to make sure your marketing efforts lead to sales.
Think about all the blood, sweat, and tears you put into this creation. Okay, maybe not blood, but you get what I mean.
This goes all the way back to your early brainstorming sessions as well as your research and development phases. You may have even had some failed attempts.
Oh yeah, and what about all the money you invested in this new product? Can't forget about that.
If you can't get consumers to buy your product, you won't get an adequate return on that investment.
But those of you who are able to effectively promote your new product will enjoy the high sales. I'll give you some tips and advice that will help you out.
Build hype early
If you wait until your product launches to start marketing it, you've waited too long. Those of you who failed to start early are already behind.
But don't worry. I'm not here to reprimand you. There are still ways in which you can generate sales after the item is released, but we'll talk about those later.
A great way to build hype in the early stages is by turning the announcement into a big deal. Apple is famous for this with its keynote presentations.
Since the company has been using this strategy for years, consumers now anticipate the announcement itself. By the time Apple announces a new product, people have already decided to buy it.
Announcing new products at a particular event will get your audience ready. They'll want the latest and greatest product or technology.
The anticipation of the release makes the product that much more desirable. Now you've got them hooked before it's even released.
Consumers will be lined up around the block to buy your new product because they've been thinking about it for months. They already know the features and benefits of it because they've done the research.
Building hype before the release will help you generate sales on the release date as well as the subsequent days and weeks.
Start taking pre-orders
Again, this strategy relates to the idea of starting early.
You don't need to wait for your product to be in stock to start generating sales. Let your customers pre-order the product so you can secure profits right away.
Offering pre-orders has tons of benefits. One is collecting money early. But pre-ordering an item also gives your customers a sense of exclusivity.
It will give customers the illusion that they have something before anyone else does. They'll be one of the first people to have the product in their hands.
Furthermore, if you take pre-orders, people may think there is a chance the product may sell out. If they don't order it now, they may not have the chance to buy it on the official release date.
Pre-orders ensure your new product gets off to a strong start, which is better than it would do through the average product life cycle.
There's no reason to have a slow introduction phase if you can avoid it.
In addition to wanting to be exclusive or have the product before anyone else, think of other reasons why a consumer may be interested in a pre-order.
Everyone loves getting a deal. Depending on your brand image and pricing strategy, you could potentially offer a discount to customers who pre-order the product to help drive sales.
Taking orders before release can also help you gauge your inventory. You'll have a better idea of how much of the product you'll need to have on hand for the initial release.
This is important information in terms of your production costs, and it will help you maximize your ROI.
Target your most loyal customers
Just because you're releasing a new product doesn't mean you need to find new customers.
Don't get me wrong. New customers are great, and they are always welcome to buy. But you already have an existing clientele of people familiar with your brand and existing products. Those are the customers whom you should contact first.
Your email marketing list is a great place to start.
These are the customers who are so interested in your brand and products that they signed up to hear from you on a regular basis. So send emails before and after the product launches.
Here's an example of an email sent out by Lululemon:
This email is promoting new colors of an existing product. So it makes sense the company is starting with its existing customers, who may already be familiar with this product.
Even if it was a new product, telling your email subscribers about it first is still a viable strategy.
It's also worth noting that you have a 60-70% chance of selling to a current customer. But you only have a 5-20% chance of a new customer purchasing a product.
If sales are your goal, focusing on new customers won't be as effective.
Research shows that it's six or seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to market to an existing one.
When it comes to your ROI, marketing to your most loyal customers is the best bang for your buck.
Run a contest
Another way to generate sales for your new product is by giving it away.
I know what you're thinking. This sounds counterproductive. How can you make money by giving something away?
You need to learn how to run a profitable giveaway. Contests will get people interested in what you're selling. Rather than promoting it by saying “here is our new product,” put a unique spin on it by running a contest.
The cost to run a contest is relatively inexpensive as well. The only major expense is the cost of the item you're giving away, plus maybe some additional shipping charges.
But the benefits will be worth it. In my opinion, social media platforms are the best places to set up your contests. Here's why:
Running your contests on social media will expose your new product to a larger audience. As a result, it will help you generate more sales.
Here's a hypothetical example to show you what I'm talking about. Let's say you run a contest on Instagram. To enter, people need to post a picture to their personal Instagram profiles and include a relevant hashtag.
Let's say 1,000 people enter your contest. That's 1,000 photos of your brand just from one contest. Tons of people will see these pictures.
Of those 1,000 entries, you're selecting only three winners. But there are still 997 people who want your product, plus who knows how many people who were exposed to it.
They've already built up excitement about using it. There is a good chance a large chunk of that group will still buy it.
As you can see, something as simple as giving away three items can generate hundreds or potentially thousands of sales.
Offer a discount
Typically, most brands don't offer discounts for new items. When a new product gets released, they discount older items.
While I can understand the thinking behind this concept, it doesn't necessarily mean it's correct. People love to get a deal. Put your pride aside for a moment, and recognize that consumers are price sensitive. They're also more intelligent than you think.
If they realize your new product will eventually go on sale, they have no reason to buy it right now. But by the time it goes on sale, they may have forgotten about it and lost interest.
While the product is fresh in the minds of the consumers, close the deal.
Mark down the price right away. If you want, use an age-old marketing trick. Jack up the initial retail price, then discount it making sure you can still profit.
Psychologically, it's going to be tough for people to justify paying a full price for a product when they see cheaper items surrounding it on your site and in stores.
Blog about it
Use your blog to your advantage.
Start talking about the product in your posts before it gets released. Continue talking about it after the release as well.
As you can see from these numbers, your blog can help you generate new leads. Consumers trust advice from blogs.
Sure, it's obvious your readers will know your opinion is biased. They realize you won't say anything bad about the products you want to sell.
But that shouldn't stop you from writing about your new release. You can also reach out to other websites and try to get featured in guest posts.
Set up a link directly in the posts that brings the readers to the checkout page with the new product in their carts. Reducing the steps in the process increases the chances of driving sales.
If your new product is boring, is the same as your other items, or is already available from other retailers, people won't be thrilled to buy it.
But if it's unique, improves their lives, and enhances their customer service experience, they'll be much more willing to spend their hard-earned cash.
Start by conducting the right market research.
What do your customers want? Give it to them.
Try to make drastic improvements to existing products that have problems. If your product is revolutionary, it will sell like crazy.
Highlight the new product on your website
Now that your product has launched and is available for purchase, don't bury it on your website.
Showcase it on your homepage. Take a look at this example from the GAP website:
The new arrivals are the first thing featured on its homepage.
Do you notice anything else about this site? It also offers discounts on its new items, a strategy I've previously discussed.
You can feature your new product in other places of your website as well.
Let's say your site has a search filter, which it should, so I'm assuming it does. When someone searches for something by name or by a category that fits the description of your new product, it should be the first item they see on the page.
If they have to navigate through pages and pages of results to find your new product, it will decrease the chances of them buying it.
Here's a look at how Michael Kors sorts products on its ecommerce page:
You can employ a similar strategy to increase the exposure of your new products.
This will help you generate more sales.
Timing is everything
Your new product might be great. However, if you release it at the wrong time, you won't get lots of sales.
For example, let's say you're planning to release a product on a Thursday, which just happens to be July 3rd that year. You can't just do that without taking things like that into consideration.
July 4th is obviously a national holiday celebrated by Americans. Lots of people will take July 3rd off work and enjoy a nice long weekend with family and friends.
They could be having a barbeque, traveling, or spending the day on the beach. They probably won't have tons of time or incentive to buy something online.
Your opening weekend is going to be a dud. This won't build much buzz around your product release.
On the flipside, if you were releasing a product that could be used on the 4th of July, such as American flag apparel, you've got to make sure the release date gives your customers enough time to get the item before they need it.
If they need it for the 4th, releasing it on the 3rd won't get you sales either.
You should also keep seasons in mind as well. For example, nobody in New England is going to buy snow gear in the summer.
When it comes to proper timing, ecommerce brands can build hype for the holiday season. You'll want to release your products when consumers are ready and willing to spend money.
Use video content as a promotion tool
Don't just share pictures of your new product. You'll want to give people as much information as possible about what they're buying.
That's why video promotions are a viable strategy. There are lots of ways in which you can accomplish this.
You can use commercial style promotions to showcase your product. This can be done before and after your product is released.
Once the new product is available for purchase on your site, include a video demonstration to show website visitors how it works.
Recognize what type of content your target market wants to see. Consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
Furthermore, 90% of consumers say videos about products help them make buying decisions. Customers are 64% more likely to buy a product online if they've seen a video about it.
Share the videos on your website, social media platforms, marketing emails, and all your distribution channels.
Jump on the live video bandwagon. Showcase the product with live video streams as well.
These tactics will help you drive sales for your new product release.
Releasing a new product can be intimidating. You put so much effort into the release that you need to make sure everything goes smoothly.
If you don't generate sales, your new product won't turn a profit.
That's why it's important for you to start building hype for your product before it gets released. Take pre-orders, and start collecting money right away.
Rather than looking for new customers, promote the new release to your most loyal customers.
Come up with an innovative product. Run contests, and offer discounts as promotional methods. Talk about the new product in your blog posts.
Showcase the item on your website, and consider the timing of your release.
Create video advertisements, and share them on all your distribution channels.
If you follow the advice in this guide, your new product will generate sales and drive high profits as a result.
What marketing strategies are you using to drive sales for your newest products?
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