How do you create demand for a product?
Having a product is one thing. Product marketing and creating demand for it is entirely another. Even if you have built something that kicks serious arse and creates a much-needed solution, it can be still difficult to create demand. And it’s sadly where many cool innovators struggle. We believe in our products, so why don’t the customers?
Creating demand matters. And being able to create demand is often different (and a little more intensive) than your standard product marketing idea.
Let’s see what you need to do to create demand via product marketing, shall we?
Take a step back from what you’ve created
Whenever I work with a client on their product marketing, I always ask them to take what I have created and sit back with it for a while. No matter if it’s website copy, a product description, a foundation marketing plan or a coaching session, the same rules apply.
You need to step away from your product to remember how it fits in the scheme of things.
Working on your product, you’ve seen it grow so many ways in front of you. You’ve been through the development milestones. You’ve tapped into the customer. You’ve overcome any manner of hurdle.
And with that, your closeness to the product and your insight into it has grown ten-fold.
Every customer however comes at it with a fresh pair of eyes. They don’t have that in-depth understanding of what you have made. They are coming at what you’ve created as a new concept.
Put simply, they don’t understand it as well as you.
So, each time you look at your product marketing, you append onto the knowledge you have. It’s knowledge the customer doesn’t often share. Using the opportunity to breathe in your product as an item seen through a fresh pair of eyes is invaluable.
Always make sure that you step back so the customer you’re building for remains central to the story. Not your checklist of new items that need to be completed. Because it’s marketing to the customer, not the people inside the product, that matters.
Why don’t customers immediately grab onto a new product?
Here’s the rub all new products face at some point- you’ve built something cool. It’s reduced the number of steps someone needs to take to complete a journey or make their lives easier from 15 to five. Yet the pesky little customers still won’t buy the product. What gives?
There are a few in-built potential customer objections when you present a new idea:
- New means untested. A lot of customers will wait to see how other people interact with a product before they jump on board
- Change is difficult. People go to extraordinary lengths to do what is familiar over what is convenient, helpful or better suited to their needs
- The cut-through may not be there. When you are starting out with a new product, you have to do a lot of education to ensure people understand the benefits
- Loyalty still matters. Despite what you’ve been told, some people hate leaving a product they’ve outgrown behind because they’ve built a connection with it. Even if it’s inferior
- It has to be easy. The pain of changing needs to be less than the pain of remaining the same. Customers are far less tolerant these days for convoluted setups and cross overs
Again, this is often a symptom of working day and night on your product. You know it’s better and are convinced of the value. Your potential customer has no such insight.
But there are ways you can counter those potential objections by:
- Leveraging inquisitive new audiences. Cater to early adopters by launching a beta test product. Reduce the cost, make it sound appealing to the curious early adopter. Then, leverage their success with the product to attract more conservative customers
- Helping with the change. For example, migrating a customer from their existing product to your new one as part of the sign-up process. Or offer cashback for submitting someone else’s products with you for a new purchase. Or offer classes on how to use the new product as standard
- Relying on networks to help you. If your product works for a shared audience and there are already established players in the market, make friends. Establish relationships by offering deals, affiliate programs and shared opportunities. Help each other grow
- Recognising emotional attachment matters. We understand the process of growing away from a product far more than breaking up with it. Let customers know it’s OK to take the next step
- Refining your onboarding process. Make adoption of your product so simple, it’s difficult to ignore. Lay it out via content such as blogs, infographics and video. Help customers understand how simple your product is to use.
Use the opportunity of a customer’s hesitation to inform your product marketing.
Control the narrative
Customers are self-researchers. They don’t slip down sales funnels as though they are slip and slides these days. They come at you from any angle. That means you’re vulnerable from all sides.
Learning how to work the narrative to your advantage is your best bet.
There are a few steps you need to take including:
Providing the marketing that supports the customer research
Nobody wants to contact your salesperson to hear a pitch until they are ready to part with the money. There’s a lot of work to be done before that happens.
Do your product marketing efforts include:
- Enough information on your website for your potential customer to understand the product?
- A sentence they can repeat to explain what your product does succinctly to their boss, partner, the person who may be paying for it if it’s not that person?
- A strong benefit statement as to why your product kicks arse over the other options available?
- Information that shows that the customer will be supported properly after they buy your product?
Creating customer demand means meeting these questions head on. As cute as it is to make people contact you for sales information or to speak in industry-speak, nobody cares if you make it feel as though they are not clever enough to figure out your product enough on their lonesome.
That means providing blogs, FAQs, videos, robust sales pages, testimonials, booklets, support sections and enough proof that you are going to be there for the customer every step of the way.
Championing your product as a viable option
Your social media and your blog are your best bet here. In an instant, there should be proof that you are there for your customers. And that getting behind your product is more than simply a purchase.
That means you need to leverage your social media to demonstrate:
- Your willing to educate your customers with tips and tricks and reveals
- Proof you support them with rich information in answers on social media as well as content such as blogs and video
- Displays of your personality and behind the scenes. Customers care about who they put their money with
- Overcoming objections. If you think like the cynical customer, you can counter their dialogue with optimistic, informative and realistic posts
- A regular timetable they can tune into. The more consistent you are across your social media and marketing efforts, the more viable a product yours becomes
Include influencers in the mix
No, I am not talking about giggly women in string bikini taking happy snaps against graffiti walls in Bondi. I mean the influencers in the product cycles that create demand.
Your product influencers can include:
- The early adopters I mentioned previously
- The people who never directly use your product yet will share the story with their friends, co-workers and family who may
- The people who set the trends in your industry such as bloggers, journalists, vloggers, conferences, and the other places your customers get their news and new finds etc
- Educators in your field. Never underestimate the value of reaching out to the informal and formal networks of teachers, speakers, coaches, lecturers and trainers in the field
And yes, it may also include the giggly women in string bikinis if appropriate. Influencers of the social media variety get a bad rap when they perhaps shouldn’t. Building trust with an audience is no mean feat. Being able to leverage that trust and align with established credibility is a great way to create product demand.
Use the velvet rope
One of the biggest issues with new products when it comes to demand creation is being way too accessible. Customers are human beings. They love the idea of a tiny bit of grit in the mix to make obtaining something worthwhile.
Think about the ways you can make your product appeal to that mentality. How can you recreate that moment of being lined up at the hottest club in town and that moment the bouncer picks you out of the line and let’s the velvet rope down for you?
Some of the ways you can create demand with product marketing include:
- Creating promotions that increase access for a limited time – e.g. special value adds
- Giving a discount or special for a limited time
- Experimenting with competitions
- Making user generated content work for you and showing off people interacting with your products and services on social media
- Limiting sneak peeks and behind the scenes content
- Creating a community or tribe-like vibe where love is poured on initial followers to make others want to do the same
- Using testimonials and case studies to demonstrate what doors the product opens
In all things, be personable
We’re living in this weird and wonderful age where people are products and products are friends. We can try and fight the crossover and feel odd about it. Or we can get with the program.
Most people want to feel like they are apart of something. For a long time, we’ve wrapped up our relationship with products with fandom or being enthusiasts. We’ve made it a marketing issue to the point where it is an issue.
The truth is much more complex.
There are some products where we simply pull them off the shelves, put them in the trolley and don’t give it much thought until it comes time to use them.
However, there are many that don’t fall into this category.
We don’t put up with English motorcycles that leak oil in our garage because we want a motorcycle. We put them in a garage because they are a Triumph or a Harley Davidson and that means something more to us.
Nor do we choose a course simply because we need the skills. We want to be a part of the student cohort and boast later about what we learned and with who.
When we buy software, sure, we want greater convenience and lower headaches that automation brings. But we also want to know we’re choosing something that other people find useful. And that says we’re smart about efficiency or make great choices.
We want to be able to explain the service rocks, the product is cool, and that we’re bad ass for using it.
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