E-commerce sales exploded during the pandemic, reaching $870.8 billion in 2021 according to the US. Census Bureau. This jump of over 14% between 2020 and 2021, far exceeded projections made below that predicted sales in 2020 and 2021 of less than $700 billion. As recently as the middle of last year, experts predicted this escalation in e-commerce would extend permanently. Yet, your online business might not see these gains unless you are effectively marketing products online. Today, we’ll share 5 tactics designed to help you effectively market your products online.
Effectively marketing products
Product merchandising, whether online or off, is marketing, at its core. So, many aspects of effectively marketing products rely on mastering marketing fundamentals like:
- Understanding your target market
- Positioning products to appeal to your market
- Building high-quality products based on customer needs
- Providing superior customer value
- Ensuring high-quality customer service
- Managing your messaging to create awareness and drive prospective customers toward conversion with integrated marketing communication
- Adapting your marketing to different devices and platforms including both virtual and physical stores
Let’s explore each of these tactics to give you ideas to help effectively market products for your business.
1. Understanding your market
The world contains billions of people and if you try to market your products to all of them, you’ll likely fail. With the exception of a few global brands, like Coca-Cola, you find consumers reflect vast differences in what they want and need, as well as their top decision variables (hot buttons) and messaging that resonates with them.
For instance, consumers in one country face different physical realms than others, while women want different things than men across many brands (the whole women are from Venus; men are from Mars thing). Children want different things and adults and seniors. Rich people want different things than poor ones.
Understanding your market begins with understanding how people are different and how they’re the same. Once you build that understanding, you must decide which consumer characteristics make the ideal candidate to buy your product. We call this market segmentation; dividing the market into groups that share similar needs/ wants/ desires.
2. Positioning is essential to effectively marketing products
Of course, segmentation is only part of the solution. Next, you must position your product in a way that appeals to that group. For instance, Gen Z consumers willingly pay more for a product when the company supports their values. Below, you can see some other differences for Gen Z.
Personalization in marketing is the way to go if you want to improve your client relationships. Personalizing your messaging to those aspects of your brand most important to an individual consumer is the ultimate positioning solution. Sending generic offers delivers far less ROI than sending a targeted offer to an individual based on their prior interactions with your brand. For instance, if a consumer viewed a product page on your website, sending them notices of discounts on those products produces far superior lift than sending a generic message about a sale on your site or in your store. This feature of a company’s sensitivity to its consumers also aids in gaining the hearts of potential customers.
Thus, personalization isn’t about putting customers’ names at the top of email messages. It’s all about presenting them with content that is relevant to them. Personalization is all about making your customers’ lives easier. It should make them feel engaged or excited when you deliver an email or product. Overall, personalizing the experience for your customer increases the likelihood of them making a purchase.
3. Building high-quality products that meet customer needs
Effectively marketing products means making the “right” products in the first place. Once you understand your customer (or prospective customer) you can build products for them. Building a product then looking for a market is so 1950s; it puts the cart before the horse. Instead, listen to what customers want, then build it. Social media is a great tool for listening to complaints, wants, and compliments about your product and those produced by competitors.
A friend of mine was head of listening for Microsoft when the new Surface computer was introduced a few years ago. Within a week after launch, he was able to provide a list of improvements to go into the next version so engineering could start working right away. This kept the product growing.
Of course, building high-quality products means having a secure supply chain delivering high-quality raw materials, hiring great workers willing to help improve your systems and a reliable manufacturing process that monitors performance to reduce defects. The aim is 0 defects.
4. Providing superior customer value
Building the cheapest product isn’t the goal when effectively marketing products to any market. Instead, shoot for superior value. Value, what’s left when you subtract the cost from benefits, is the deciding factor for most consumers when making a purchase. You might sell a product with low value once, but gaining repeat purchases that drive business success, means delivering value.
Understanding value means you must understand how consumers calculate value. A Big Mac (from McDonald’s) is a cheap burger that isn’t especially high-quality but it owes its success to other benefits it delivers. For instance, you can get a Big Mac pretty much anywhere (and I’ve tested that statement in some pretty weird places). In food deserts, fast food businesses are likely your only food option, for instance. A Big Mac is also predictable; it never seems to vary much no matter where you buy it. Intangible benefits, such as nostalgia and memories tied to the burger, also contribute to the success of the brand.
5. Ensure high-quality customer service
Interacting with your consumers or listening to what your customers say about you on social media sites helps with better positioning. Listening also provides for better customer service, especially when used with a traditional customer service program. If you receive complaints or customer inquiries, answer promptly and continue to work on establishing a genuine and long-term relationship with your customers.
Treat your dissatisfied customers with respect, and treat your satisfied customers as if they were your dearest friends. You can turn delighted consumers into loyal customers by cultivating a relationship with them. Loyal customers spend more money in your store and help bring in new customers with their reviews, recommendations, and engagement with your brand on social media.
Using technology to assist your customer services efforts in our digital world is no longer optional. Many companies not only listen on social media so they can respond to compliments, questions, and complaints, they host customer service hours on the platforms with a live person available to provide immediate responses. Chatbots live alongside your website to offer immediate assistance to customers and prospects. This AI-enabled software learns over time so it becomes more effective in dealing with a wide range of customer inquiries.
6. Eliciting customer emotion through effective copywriting
Use your marketing tools to tell a story. Make your products more than just a product by including characters and themes. Large organizations spend millions of dollars hiring professional writers who develop extremely persuasive copy that elicits a positive response from customers to the company’s product. Building messaging that resonates with your target marketing, enhances your brand image, and positions your brand effectively against your competition is essential for success.
As you plan your marketing strategy, integrate your marketing message across channels using similar images, storylines, fonts, and other design elements to ensure your message is amplified across channels.
Recognize that the message a customer needs changes as they move down the conversion funnel, shown below.
At the awareness stage, reaching customers is key. Hence, short, pithy, emotional messaging works well. More critical is helping your target market see your message is important. Using tools like SEO to generate organic search traffic to your website, social media to both reach your market and position your brand, and advertising ensures you reach a wide audience with your message.
At the consideration stage, comparisons between your brand and the competition become more important as does providing more detail about your product. At the intention stage, offering payment options, predicting delivery, and showing the full price (including shipping, taxes, etc), is important. The conversion stage relies on a clear, simple payment process. Amazon found it increased sales when it went to the one-click purchase option, for instance.
Customer loyalty refers to a customer’s willingness to buy from or work with a brand regularly due to a positive customer experience or satisfaction. Customer loyalty is critical to a business’s success. Customers loyal to a company help it grow faster than if it were to acquire a new consumer. Below, see how customer lifetime value benefits a firm.
Because we know that acquiring a new client is more expensive than keeping an existing one, you may focus on how to activate your present customers to bring in new ones. Rewarding Customers through loyalty programs helps with this. When a business offers a reward or incentives to customers who make repeated purchases, such as promotional pens, discounts, rewards, coupons, or deals on yet-to-be-released products, it encourages repeat purchases from a customer.
7. Effectively marketing products across devices
Increasingly, users are multi-channel users. They integrate their search across mobile and desktop (and laptop) devices. They shop online then purchase in a physical location. Consumers expect a seamless experience regardless of device or modality. For instance, if you offer a different price online and in the store, you encourage customers to go somewhere else or to delay making a purchase by confusing them. Similarly, offering different prices or product descriptions, or availability on different devices reduces trust. Finally, the internet has reduced the world so if you change your product attributes in different markets, expect a huge backlash.
I hope you enjoyed the 7 tactics for effectively marketing products. These tactics work the same way online and off. If you have questions or want to contribute to the conversation, use the comments below.
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