- Optimise your product listings on online marketplaces like Amazon, Rakuten, eBay, etc.
- Pick the correct price point based on your product, buyers, demand, and the market.
- Create buzz through events, free samples and blogs.
Look, I think we can all pretty squarely agree that the global economy that our grandparents knew is long gone. Forget markets that are limited by regional availability, regional demand, and preposterously protracted shipping times. The new global economy is online, and like any marketplace, it operates by its own rules and business best practices.
Marketing is one of the most crucial business operations and company can undertake. It drives demand, boosts sales revenue, and gives you powerful control over the carefully cultivated image of your brand. And just as the changing global digital economy took with it many vestiges of the old ways of doing business, so, too, has it changed the way that smart businesses market themselves online.
So, if you’re one of the countless would-be online sellers wondering to themselves, “How do I market my product online,” you’re in luck. We’re going to show you some of the best tips to market your products on some of the world’s most popular online marketplaces, as well as some general best practices for marketing your product online.
Ready? Let’s go.
How do I market my product online?
Marketing is known for its clever ploys, tricks, and techniques, and online product marketing is no different. In fact, knowing how to leverage some of the most effective online marketing techniques can be the difference between selling out your inventory and simply getting by.
Everybody loves free stuff, right? Of course! And the only thing we love more than free stuff is the people who give it to us! That’s the idea, and the power, behind sending out free samples to customers.
First, sending free samples increases your brand visibility and awareness, one of the biggest challenges facing new, small shops. Free samples are a powerful way to make sure your name is at least on people’s minds when they’re shopping, and they dramatically increase the likelihood of shoppers seeking you out when they’re considering their next purchase in your field.
What’s more, sending free samples to influencers, those industry folks and personalities on social media with millions of followers, can multiply this same effect exponentially. Imagine it: on the next episode of Sarah’s Imaginary Online Shopping Podcast, she shares with her listeners her opinion on this great new product she just tried – yours! Now, all her loyal (and trusting) fans are seeking you out, too!
Blogs – those harbingers of the millennial age – are great tools for online product markets who want to improve their SEO results, position themselves as thought leaders in their space, and product content they can share with their customers.
For SEO purposes, consider all the Google search queries customers commonly find you through. Are you selling gold banana-shaped earrings? Write a blog about why they’re great, and be sure to generously include the terms “gold earrings,” “gold banana earrings” “precious fruit jewelry,” and so forth! Your blog (and consequently, your website) will appear higher and higher in the search results, increasing the odds of customers finding you.
Blogging about what you know also lets you position yourself and your shop as an expert – a thought leader – whom customers can trust. After all, how could someone so knowledgeable not run a professional business? It tells customers they can trust you and your services.
It also gives you content to share, improving your brand visibility! Now you have a real, valuable call-to-action to share in your weekly newsletters: Come read our new blog and learn how to do X, Y, and Z!
Sponsoring an event, and the massive, promised, contractually-obligated exposure it brings can be very valuable for marketing products online. Whether it’s a large industry conference or a smaller promotional event, event sponsorships do guarantee a significant uptick in brand visibility, a key performance metric in product marketing.
However, small online product sellers beware: depending on the conference, event sponsorships can be expensive. We mean, really expensive. As such, event sponsorships may not make good financial sense for new, smaller sellers. And even if your shop can afford to, make sure you do lots of analysis and research on expected return on investment (ROI) for such an expenditure. If the numbers check out to the good, then go for it! But be careful: marketing should be a revenue-generator, not a budget sinkhole.
How do I market my product on Amazon?
Ah, Amazon. Is there anything that wonderful purveyor of pleasant packages can’t do? Amazon is the archetypal modern online selling business, and has rode its industry-disrupting innovations all the way to being the eighth-largest retailer on planet earth. Not too shabby for a company that started life as an online bookstore and delivery business.
Making your products available on Amazon is one of the most immediate and beneficial “marketing” activities an online seller can undertake. Further optimising your product listings, and taking advantage of Amazon’s numerous beneficial distribution programs, like Fulfillment By Amazon, can be the difference between being just another seller, and being an Amazon marketing powerhouse.
Once you’ve registered as a seller on Amazon, here are the best ways to market your products and really give yourself a leg up in the online world.
Marketing with fulfillment by Amazon
The amazing, empowering, mind-blowingly mighty marketing aspect of Amazon is its global reach. Marketing is all about attracting more potential customers, and what marketing play could be better than suddenly getting in front of the eager eyeballs of literal millions around the world? Nothing, that’s what!
So how do you reach more of those customers? Or, as a marketer would ask, how do you reach as many of those customers as is fathomably possible, for as little money as is physically possible? Well, Fulfillment By Amazon, that’s how!
According to Amazon’s website, Fulfillment By Amazon is a program that lets you leverage Amazon’s global distribution network to “store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and [Amazon] will pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for them.” The core of marketing lies within being a customer champion, focusing on their needs. FBA helps you deliver a better customer experience by expediting delivery times and managing returns.
Once you’re registered, the way it works it pretty simple, and pretty cool:
- Ship your products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Amazon has 202 fulfillment centers in 13 countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, China, Japan, India, and Brazil, with more coming to Australia in late 2017. Just use Amazon’s discounted shipping rate to deliver your products to the fulfillment center in your desired global market.
- Amazon manages your products. The global retailer inventories, stores, and catalogues your products so they are ready to ship immediately, and locally, when customers order them.
- Customers buy your products! Customers shop, purchase, and order your products from Amazon.com or your own storefront just like they normally would for any product. Hooray!
- Amazon ships your products. Amazon picks your products out of its inventory, packages them, and ships them out directly to your customers from its local fulfillment centers. Amazon even provides local-language customer support for items ordered from Amazon.com.
Fulfillment By Amazon, when partnered with Amazon’s Global Selling, is a marketing silver bullet. Now, you can compete in over a dozen global markets with billions of untapped potential customers without having to compete with larger retailers on shipping, storage, and customer service costs by yourself.
In the land of marketing, return on investment (ROI) is king, and Fulfillment By Amazon is may give you more marketing bang for your buck, if it helps you get more satisfied customers.
Marketing by optimising Amazon product listings
Of course, hammering out the logistics of fulfilling your orders is only half of the equation; now, how do you stand out to shoppers? There are a couple of smart, easy ways to boost your marketing signal.
Use bullet-pointed descriptions to boost your SEO rankings
Amazon actually gives sellers a good deal of flexibility in designing their product pages, with multiple fields being optional. One of those fields is the bullet point product descriptions you often see immediately beneath the product photos and headers.
Amazon has a 200-character limit for product titles, so slaying the old SEO dragon can be tough in such a limited space. The bullet-pointed descriptions immediately beneath (overlooked by many sellers) are your SEO playground. Go ahead, touch them all! Each bullet point is a chance to check off another keyword that will bring your product closer and closer to the top of your shoppers’ search results.
Include compelling product images
You must comply with Amazon’s product image requirements, of course, but you can also use your images to market your product. Beyond including clear, professional photos, go ahead and show your product being used. Show it being used for many different things, if you can! Each photo is a visual use case, a photographic case study itself that can be used as a compelling piece of marketing content. Each viable use you demonstrate with your photos, the more cross-selling and up-selling opportunities you open up.
After all, a picture is worth 1000 words of ad copy.
How do I market my product on Rakuten?
Rakuten is a massively popular Japanese online retailer, offering many in-demand products and hard-to-find oddities to shoppers all around the world.
So, how can use use Rakuten’s unique tools to better market your products online? We’re glad you asked!
Rakuten super points™
Rakuten Super Points™ are a special promotional loyalty program that rewards “points” with each purchase that function like store credit on Rakuten. Customers earn 1 standard Rakuten Super Point™ for each dollar spent. These points can then be redeemed like cash towards a future purchase.
Not only are loyalty programs like Rakuten Super Points™ a proven-effective marketing method to generate repeat sales, but sellers on Rakuten (like you!) can run special Super Points™ promotions that offer larger rewards incentives above the standard. Sellers can sponsor Super Points™ promotions of 5%, 10%, and 15% for select purchases, offering a powerful incentive to buy your products over your competitors’. This discount is both an effective marketing play, and a double-whammy that further encourages customers to continue shopping with you by redeeming their reward points. That’s what we call ROI.
Optimising your Rakuten storefront
Rakuten offers more customisation than Amazon by allowing sellers to create digital storefronts with unique features and branding elements.
Use your Rakuten storefront as a marketing laboratory and go wild. Make it visually compelling. Feature videos, photos, and customer testimonials. Include multiple, large CTA buttons at both the top and bottom of pages to encourage conversion. Feature value-adding tools like Contact the Seller and Ask a Customer features.
We’ll dive into more depth below about creating the perfect product pages, but essentially, it’s a shame on you if you simply leave your Rakuten storefront white and sterile. It’s as great a marketing sin as not branding your packaging.
How do I market my product on eBay?
eBay has long been known as the internet’s premier auction house, but today it has evolved as a marketplace into so much more than that.
Like Amazon and Rakuten, eBay has some unique features that give savvy would-be marketers more freedom to expand their products’ reach.
eBay offers wonderful little marketing rectangles it calls Promotion Boxes. According to eBay, these boxes are “graphical displays that you can use to highlight featured items, announce specials, or describe alternative ways to browse your items.”
Essentially, they are customisable visual call-outs that can be placed nearly anywhere in your eBay Store, and can be tailored to lots of specific marketing needs. Want to promote a specific product in your store? Advertise it in a promotion box at the top of your page! Want to guide customers to shop your secondary auction-only store for chances at better deals (and more sales for you)? Place a big CTA button in your promotion box! Want to remind shoppers that you have the best selection of vintage 1940s Mickey Mouse lunchboxes in North America? Slap a promotion box up there and funnel them to your lunchbox listings! You have the power with eBay’s promotion boxes to more closely manage your online selling operation.
Auctions vs. fixed price listings
If you want regularity, stability, and predictability from your selling model, eBay’s fixed price listings are perfect. They function just like any online marketplace, and are great for promoting products that you either have a significant inventory of, or are confident that you’ve selected the right price point for (more on that below).
But what’s unique about eBay is its auction listings. Using a standard bidding format, eBay auctions are surprisingly effective ways to drum up interest for certain unique, rare, or hard-to-find items. Auction tools like eBay’s reserves (a set price the item much reach before the seller will agree to sell the item) also give marketers ways to incentivise buyers. Advertising your rare item as “No Reserve!” draws attention and hints at a possible steal for savvy buyers. Further, auction-style listings attract attention with their wildly variable prices, whether early on in the bidding (luring in new bidders) or late in the bidding (with high bids attracting other buyers to what the community has deemed a high-quality product).
How to pick a price point
Picking a price point is one of the most crucial marketing functions of an online seller. Choose the wrong one, and customers will immediately disregard your product and move on to your competitors.
So, how do you pick the right price point?
Observe the competition
What are your direct competitors charging for the same or similar products? Does there seem to be a general consensus or coherent range of prices, or do they vary wildly? If they vary wildly, is there some pricing trick or promotion going on that explains it? Consider these factors, and try to find a commonly agreed upon price range.
Compare your product to theirs
Now that you’ve observed what the competition is offering, how does your product stack up? Is it a more feature-packed version that will allow you to charge a premium over your competitors’ products and market it as a luxury, premier product? Is it rarer, or in higher demand? Or, perhaps, it is a more basic, common, or widely available version that will let you market it as a more affordable, entry-level, accessible option. This wiggle room in pricing lets you distinguish yourself from the crowded market.
Consider your target buyers
Who do you envision buying your products? Realistically, what can they comfortably afford? Is your product a luxury to be indulged in occasionally, or a more staple item that needs to be purchased repeatedly? It’s important to consider your buyer personas (especially income) and establish the optimal price point for the largest swath of them.
Does your product require accessories?
Is your product a stand-alone item, or, like a high-end camera, is it likely to require customers to purchase additional accessories and peripherals like lenses, tripods, cleaning products, and so forth? If it does, then consider a lower starting price point that “budgets” for these future accessories to attract more buyers.
Plan for demand
If your product is highly seasonal, you can tinker with your price point during peak demand seasons as well as low demand seasons. Similarly, products that are older versions of newer models are likely to diminish in demand over time, so be prepared to adjust your prices as time goes on to reflect the latest market realities.
How to make a great product page
Of course, there are several great ways to market your products online when you can create your own product page (or if, like Rakuten, your chosen online marketplace allows you to customise theirs).
Here are some of the product page must-haves for savvy online marketers.
User-generated content (UGC) is extremely effective at telling your brand’s story by letting your customers tell it for you, in their own, authentic words.
So put out a call to your customer base for photos, video testimonials, reviews, anything that shows the real impact your product has in their lives. According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report, 75% of consumers consult the opinions of “peers or someone like [themselves]” before making a purchase. Compare that to just 32% for celebrities, and its obvious whose testimonials wield the greater marketing influence.
Ask an owner features
Another great marketing play to capitalise on this peer influence is Ask-an-Owner, a feature that allows customers to opt-in to receiving and answering questions posed by future shoppers. Not only does this tell shoppers that your product is surrounded by a robust support community, but it also builds brand loyalty and a sense of ownership in existing customers, helping convert them into repeat customers.
Rich product experiences
The more you can persuade your shoppers to really imagine owning your product, and not just as some abstract option, the more effective your product page is. Include photos, videos, testimonials, product “test drives,” anything you can do to encourage your shoppers to see your product as a three-dimensional item they can (and should) add to their lives. Further, let’s be honest: between a product that is just a few lines of text on a random web page, and a rich, compelling, dynamic full-colour product experience that obvious work, thought, and consideration has gone into, who would you be more likely to trust your hard-earned money to?
Real-time stock levels
This is trickier to manage if you use multiple suppliers and/or wholesalers, but a real-time counter of the remaining stock of a product – especially a high-demand product – can create a sense of urgency among shoppers, as well as show-off any sold-out products that shoppers just like them clearly love!