You’ve done it. You put all the time and energy into designing and manufacturing a new product for your ecommerce store, and you’re finally ready to add it to your website and start selling it to customers. The question is, where do you start? Getting initial traction on a new product isn’t always easy—it doesn’t always happen naturally or quickly. So what can you do to increase the likelihood of your success? How can get customers and other people in your target audience excited about it? How do you build trust and drive actual sales?
It’s not easy, but it is possible. It just takes time, money, and the willingness to test a variety of tactics aimed at getting your new products in front of the right people.
Here are 13 product awareness tactics worth trying the next time you’re ready to launch a new product on your ecommerce store.
1. Send an Email to Your VIP Customers
Before launching any new product, the first thing you should do is send an email out to your most loyal and active customers. These are your raving fans—the people who come back to you over and over again to buy your products. The purpose of this email is to get your brand advocates (the people who are most likely to trust you and buy from you) to order your new product before anyone else.
To drive sales using this tactic, write an email that makes this select group of people feel special. Help them understand that the first batch of inventory for this new product is extremely limited and that you need their help testing it out before you can release it to everyone else publicly on your website. You could also offer a big discount or promotional code in the email as an additional incentive to get this group of people to buy.
2. Plan a Photoshoot Day
Successful product launches today are all about the visuals. You can’t expect to drive sales on any new products unless your prospective customers can get a crystal clear idea of what it is that you’re selling—what it looks like, what it might feel like, how it functions, etc. To succeed, you need to have great visuals. Well before you launch your product, spend an entire day capturing and editing visual content about your products.
To cover all your bases, you should think about the types of photos, videos, gifs, and interactive media you’ll need for your marketing efforts. Think about all the visuals you want to include on your product page, but also think about the types of imagery you want to have when you’re ready to talk about your new product on social media, in advertising, and in email campaigns.
Need help creating great visuals? Check out this helpful product photography guide from BigCommerce.
3. Leverage Influencers
As the ecommerce space becomes a lot more competitive, more and more online retailers are hiring and working with influencers who can help them tap into new audiences. To sell products online today, you can’t just have a functional ecommerce store—to succeed, you also need to be able and willing to build community around your products. You also have to be willing to participate.
By working with influencers, you can gain immediate credibility and trust in communities that you might not have much influence in yet. This can be extremely useful if you’re launching a new product and don’t yet have raving fans or loyal brand advocates who can help ensure a successful launch.
To see this tactic in action, check out what Beardbrand is doing on their blog. They regularly feature videos of bearded influencers using their products and educating others on how to grow, manage, and style a beard.
4. Tell the Origin Story
Storytelling is another big part of what makes ecommerce brands successful today. Again, online consumers today don’t just want to buy products—they want to be part of a community and an experience. Storytelling is an easy way to connect with customers on a more human level, and it’s a great way to differentiate from competitors.
To build awareness around your new product, take the time to develop the origin story of your new product. Help people understand why you decided to design and make this new product, what it means to you, who it can serve, etc. Help people get as excited as you are about your new product by showing them how much thought you’ve put into it.
Need help crafting a great story? Check out our guide here.
5. Run a Contest
You can also build a lot of buzz around your new product by launching a contest or a giveaway for your followers to participate in. Tools like Gleam and Rafflecopter make it incredibly easy to build and launch viral contests and giveaways that can be embedded into your own website.
To make your product launch successful, consider creating a contest where you give away a certain number of your new products for free to a few lucky winners. Have contestants provide you with their contact information (email address and phone number) so that you can add everyone to your email list. Anyone who enters your contest to win a free product should be considered incredibly qualified leads—i.e. they are probably very likely to buy from you if you spend a little more time marketing to them.
6. Collaborate with Partners
Another great way to drum up more awareness and conversation about your new products is to collaborate with other partners who align with your products and business. It’s another easy way to tap into other audiences that you might not have had access to on your own.
There are a number of ways you can collaborate with partners when it comes to product launches. You could host a virtual launch party together and invite both of your audiences (more on that later, you could send co-branded email marketing campaigns out to both of your lists, you could create bundled collaboration product packages that are sold on both ecommerce stores, the list goes on and on.
The key to your success is all about finding the right partner. Find a company that sells products that compliment your own, sells to audiences that are identical to your own, or ones that support the same cause, mission, or movement as you.
7. Throw a Virtual Launch Party
Another way ecommerce retailers are connecting to more people and differentiating from audiences is by hosting virtual launch parties using tools like Facebook Live. As social media sites become noisier and more competitive, brands and retailers are using video, and live video specifically, as a way to stand out.
To raise awareness about your new product, promote a virtual launch party to be thrown at your headquarters. Invite local customers, vendors, partners, community members, and your team members—designers, engineers, customer service reps, etc. Have your team introduce and talk about your new product, and make it fun! Ask audience members both in person and on the Facebook Live to chime in with questions. Offer exclusive promo codes to attendees and run an exclusive giveaway during your Facebook Live launch party.
Want to see a real-world example of this? Check out this recent product launch party thrown by YETI.
8. Offer a Pre-Order Discount
I mentioned this briefly in the first tactic, but it’s worth mentioning again: if you want to drive immediate sales and excitement about your new or soon-to-be released products, consider offering a pre-order discount or promo code to your entire list of past customers and leads. Let everyone know that the pre-order discount is limited-time only in order to drive urgency. You can also limit the inventory quantity in an effort to drive more interest and immediate action from your list.
9. Create a Bundled Product Offer
If you’re worried that your customers might be hesitant about a new product that you’re launching, consider bundling it with one of your most popular products. Reduce the cost of one of your most purchased items if customers agree to bulk order it with your newest product. It’s a great tactic for building trust and getting your new product into the hands of people who already love your other products and company.
Promote your bundled product offer in Facebook ads, in email campaigns, and throughout your website. This is another place where you can drive urgency by limiting the time people have to order, or limiting the amount of bundled packages available to purchase.
10. Promote Educational Content
To boost awareness about your newest products, spend time creating content that helps customers understand how to use your product to solve the problems or pain points they have. Don’t create promotional blog posts and expect them to drive sales for you—instead, become a value provider and a brand that’s willing to freely educate customers on various topics that they’ll be interested in. It’s another way to become more involved and active in the community that you’re ultimately trying to serve.
Need help creating a content marketing strategy for your ecommerce business? Take a look at this article from our blog.
11. Get Photos and Feedback from Customers
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to convince new customers to buy from you. As soon as you launch a new product in your store, your main priority should be to get it into the hands of people who can and will share their feedback with you. You want to be able to show other visitors as soon as possible the social proof and unbiased opinions from others that they need in order to make a decision about your product. That means as soon as you launch and get a few orders in the mail, you need to spend time reaching out to happy customers to get photos and testimonials about your new product, and you need to share that feedback with your social media followers and on your product pages.
12. Create a Movement
Another great way to build brand awareness and awareness for your products is by creating or supporting a movement that you know your customers care about. For example, Chaco, YETI, and S’well are all brands that promote living an exciting and adventure-filled life. They build and sell products to support that lifestyle, and the celebrate people and stories that they know their target audience can and will relate to.
To create and support the right movement, you have to know your customers, and you have to take the time to develop your own brand story. You have to ask yourself: why am I selling these products to these people? Why does it matter and what am I trying to help them achieve? Once you know the answers to those questions, you can start to shape a movement that people can get behind (such as adventure, serenity, peacefulness, happiness, health, etc).
13. Get Help from Designers & Developers
Finally, if you want to successfully launch a new product, you have to get help from the professionals. In ecommerce, design and function matter more than anything. It has to be easy for customers to access and use your website from any device, your product pages need to look good, and people need to be able to differentiate your brand from other brands selling similar products. Take the time and spend the money to work with great designers and developers who know how to “brand” products and create amazing shopping experiences for people online.
Over to You
What other product launch or product awareness strategies have worked for you recently? Tell me in the comments below.