I like to think of great marketing as the perfect burrito.
It’s cheap. Everything gets wrapped up in a warm nestle of fluffy tortilla, evenly distributed for the maximum taste experience per bite. Whether it’s five ingredients or fifty, it’s made-to-order to sate your cravings and needs.
But perhaps most importantly of all, great marketing is easy to carry with you no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going.
Making your first foray into selling digital downloads? There’s a burrito for you. Starting off a brand new membership program? The same ingredients will satisfy your ROI and keep customers coming back for more.
Of course, the features that make marketing so accessible can also make it feel overwhelming. An extensive fixings bar means you can add anything you want, but if you don’t know what you want just yet, it can also paralyze you with indecision.
So that’s what we’ll take care of today. We’ll go over nine marketing strategies for products both new and old, look at the facts behind them, and help you find the perfect mix of strategies for your business.
Let’s get started.
Strategy #1: Start a YouTube channel
If you’re a new creator and introducing a product people have never heard of, your first priority should be establishing a relationship with your potential audience.
Because 92% of people who land on a website aren’t ready to make a purchase yet. They need to be nurtured and reassured before they’re willing to make a commitment to you.
And one of the easiest ways to provide that reassurance is to create a YouTube channel where people can get to know you.
Again, you’re probably wondering, why?
This marketing channel, more than any other, fosters a sense of interactivity and friendship between creators and their audience, especially with younger audiences. 40% of millennials feel like their favorite creators understand them more than their friends do.
Besides, if you’re already putting in the hours to create video content for your products, why not take your skills and apply them to building your relationship with your audience in a format you’re already savvy with?
This process also works in reverse, by the way.
If you’ve built up a steady following on YouTube through your other business ventures like Joy Cho, you can easily transfer those skills to creating a standout online course and leverage your channel audience to spread the word.
If you’d like to get started with a YouTube channel, swing by Wix to check out their excellent step-by-step guide with actionable and practical tips for beginners. Just keep in mind that while YouTube excels for brand engagement, it's decidedly less useful as a direct monetization stream -- if you're looking for something that can pave the way for profits directly, you may prefer our second strategy as an alternative to YouTube monetization.
Strategy #2: Create a free sample or lead magnet
When was the last time you walked through a food court or a downtown fair? If it’s not the overwhelmingly tantalizing aroma that gets you to bite, it’s probably the helpful attendant waiting with a free sample.
In restaurants, providing free samples increases the conversion rate by 25% to 30%. The psychology behind the conversions is actually pretty simple. It’s based on reciprocity -- when someone does something for us, we’re more likely to return the favor out of obligation.
Basically, it’d quid pro quo on an unconscious level.
The same concept applies when you give away free samples of content or free digital downloads to visitors: if it’s valuable, they’re more likely to convert, though note that this is typically used as part of an email marketing strategy for blogs rather than to net immediate customers.
I.e., Leanne Hoekstra’s Best Sweet Green Juice recipe probably won’t turn everyone who signs up into customers immediately…
But it will bring those customers into her sales funnel, allowing her to nurture them until they’re ready to make a purchase.
And once they are ready to make that purchase, there’s a strong chance it’ll be a larger transaction than what non-nurtured lead will produce -- 47% larger, in fact, which makes this strategy beneficial from start to finish.
My favorite guide for creating lead magnets comes from the lead magnet masters themselves, Sleeknote. Check out their case study on evergreen lead magnets to learn more about how to create a great offering that stands the test of time.
That said, a lead magnet is only effective if people can find it. For that, check out the next strategy -- there are few methods for promoting your free samples faster or most cost-effectively than it.
Strategy #3: Use paid advertising on social media
I have a love-hate relationship with paid advertising. I love what it does for creators who want to build their audience quickly and as a digital download launch strategy, but it has some serious issues with sustainability if you aren’t willing to allocate consistent funds to it.
With that caveat out of the way, paid promotions on social media are a happy middle-ground. While they aren’t free, they tend to be significantly cheaper than search engine ads to start, and they’re usually more user-friendly for someone inexperienced.
Plus, unlike search engine ads that are triggered based on user search queries, social media advertisements are targeted based on people’s psychographic data, allowing you to reach users who haven’t yet entered the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.
Why is this a powerful advantage for social media advertisement? Because in search engine ads, the user must be at least aware of their interest in the problem by searching for a related term or topic.
On Facebook (or similar), on the other hand, the user doesn’t need to take any active steps before being introduced to the solution for problems they haven’t fully idealized yet.
The user just needs to fit the audience data that you’ve selected, enabling you to activate them prior to the awareness stage with your advertisement.
Becky Mollenkamp does this really well by introducing her advertisement with emotions that anyone considering starting their own business has undoubtedly felt: overwhelmed and scattered.
Want to try your hand at it yourself? You’d be hard-pressed to find a better guide for taking on your first social media advertisement than what Sprout Social has to offer.
Better yet, follow Becky’s approach to the tee by incorporating the next technique into your promotions.
Strategy #4: Host giveaways for product launches and promotions
Did you notice that Becky’s paid advertisement did more than make people aware of their problem? It did something even better: it offered a free, no-obligation solution in the same breath.
But unlike a free sample or lead magnet, what Becky offers isn’t just a taste of what her online courses can do. It’s a standalone product in itself, and if you want to build your email list quickly, it’s a great strategy to follow.
Why? Because giveaways are another highly effective way to generate leads. Much like they sound, a giveaway is when you host a contest that offers a prize or prizes to users in exchange for the desired action.
As an example, here’s one of the giveaways used by AppSumo to grow their email list from 0 to 147,973 subscribers over the years.
And here is another example from Poster Gully that was used to build instant hype and virality around the business and pave the way for them to grow into a $1,000,000+ online marketplace.
Want to know the secret to an effective giveaway that doesn’t put you into a negative balance?
The best giveaways don’t rely on high-price tags or mass appeal to reach their audiences. Instead, they provide something that their audience -- and their audience alone -- finds highly valuable.
I.e., don’t stress on trying to offer a trip to Mexico. While you’re all-but-guaranteed to generate a lot of leads that way, few of them will be qualified for your products if they’re not travel-related, and the result will be a disengaged, overinflated list of unqualified leads.
For more actionable advice and tips to running your own giveaway, I suggest giving Quick Sprout’s concise and novice-friendly guide a read.
But if you’re looking for a quick giveaway strategy, there’s another lesson to be learned in the example from Poster Gully: turn your giveaway into a hub of free content creation by prompting users to generate it for you.
Strategy #5: Leverage user-generated content as part of your promotions
User-generated content is a little bit vague, so before we look at this strategy, let’s clear up the definition.
User-generated content is anything someone creates about your business or product without being paid.
Or, it could be a tweet like what you see from this fan talking about one of Justin Jackson’s blog posts.
(By the way, want to learn about how Justin Jackson went from a WordPress blog to an online business that pushes over $100,000 annually? Check out his story here.)
No matter what form it comes in, user-generated content is a free and impactful way to market your products. Why? Put simply, because people trust other people more than they trust businesses. 66% of people trust opinions posted online, while only 33% trust in businesses.
Adding user-generated content to your promotions can be as simple as interacting with tweets that users send you by replying and retweeting them, or highlighting fans on your page when they send you feedback on your course.
For more ways to add user-generated content to your business, take a look at the Content Marketing Institute’s guide for more data and detailed (but concise) steps.
Now, let’s take a different direction and talk about your email list. If you’re not dividing and conquering it, you’re missing out on the opportunity to make your marketing more effective.
Strategy #6: Segment your email list
Email marketing is a lot like clothing. While you may periodically find a “one-size-fits-all” that doesn’t massacre fashion or your inbox, it’s rare.
Audiences -- even niche audiences -- have different needs from one another, and if you use the same marketing materials with them, you risk disengaging them from your content or signaling indifference.
The solution is, fortunately, easy: segment your email list. It’s the most effective way to personalize your marketing outside of writing individualized messages.
It’s also far more tenable than trying to send individualized messages.
When you’re only emailing a handful of people, writing personal messages isn’t too difficult -- but when you’re working with a list that exceeds 20 or even 100 people, regularly sending them personal messages is a full-time job unto itself.
Plus, it has amazing benefits for your email list overall. Segmented campaigns have 14.37% higher open rates and 8.98% lower unsubscription rates than non-segmented (“one-size-fits-all”) campaigns.
Want to learn more about email list segmentation? Oblero’s beginners guide to segmentation is a great resource for running and refining segmented campaigns.
But if you really to improve engagement -- and you should -- then don’t stop at just segmenting your list.
Take it further by interacting with them through content.
Strategy #7: Use interactive content to wake your followers up
There’s a harsh reality every content creator has to face -- self-included -- about the work we do:
No matter how engaging we write or how thoughtfully we design, most content is consumed passively. We might write a post worthy of an Abbott and Costello routine, but there’s nothing about static content that can compete with a real conversion or interaction.
That’s where interactive content comes in. Interactive content covers anything that prompts user action, such a quiz, a survey, a poll, or even an interactive infographic.
And while it’s relatively new in marketing compared to classics like sales writing (copywriting), it’s a trend that’s quickly becoming the norm. 93% of marketers say interactive content is effective at educating their audience, while only 70% feel the same way about static content (like a blog post).
This strategy might sound intimidating at first pass, but remember that interactive content doesn’t have to include highly-stylized and coded interactions.
If you’re interested in diving deeper with more advanced interactive content, DemandZen has a useful overview of premium and free tools you can use.
For learning more about quizzes and polls, I’d recommend checking out our recent post on using interactive content throughout the funnel.
Rounding off our list today, what if I said there’s a marketing strategy where users are not only engaged but make sales on your behalf?
Then I’d be talking about our next strategy and my favorite type of marketing.
Strategy #8: Set up an affiliate marketing program
If you’ve never heard of affiliate marketing, it’s a marketing model that hinges on three relationships: the advertiser, the publisher, and the consumer.
Note that these parties sometimes go by different names, but how they function is the same:
- The advertiser or merchant is the one who sells the product.
- The publisher or affiliate is the person who makes the sale on behalf of the merchant, such as a blogger who recommends the product to their audience, for a commission.
- The consumer or customer is the person who buys the product by following the publisher’s link.
So why do I -- along with 81% of brands -- love this type of marketing so much?
Because it’s a pay-for-performance model. Affiliates don’t receive a commission until after they’ve made the sale, so you’re never left in a position of paying upfront for something that hasn’t benefited you yet.
The image below is a good visual overview of the affiliate cycle -- just keep in mind that ads in this context mean anything advertising your product from a banner to a social media post to a blog article.
Beyond its simplicity, the other major contributor to the acclaim of affiliate marketing is its fantastic track record with launching products in the past.
For example, consider the case of Syght, an eyewear company, that used affiliate marketing to launch from an idea to a successful online store in just five short weeks by offering $10 for every sale an affiliate made.
Likewise, Claire Pelletreau used affiliate marketing as a pillar strategy to generate $37,517.00 in net revenue during her first-month post-launch.
Sounds great, right? You can learn more about the ins-and-outs of affiliate marketing with Kinsta’s guide.
Alternatively, learn by doing and start your own affiliate program in just three easy steps with Podia’s made-for-creators platform.
(Don’t have an account yet? No worries, you can get started for free today with even fewer steps.)