The Four Steps To Successfully Marketing A Product in 2018
You’ve got a product that works. It solves problems, makes people laugh, makes life better, or some other inconceivable thing. It’s great, but getting traction to even the best product can be hard.
This guide is for how to get your new product out there using digital marketing. This is not a guide that will tell you the details of how to build a website, set up a Facebook ad account, or explain beginner’s tactics of SEO.
This guide will cover from start to finish, how to leverage data, measure and make informed decisions on channels, and more. This is the guide to make you the most money, the fastest by breaking your process into five steps:
Understanding Product Market Fit
Identifying and Segmenting Your Audience
Mapping Your Customer’s User Journey
Choosing the Right Channels To Advertise With
Understanding Product Market Fit
The best kind of marketing is marketing that begins before you even spend a dollar.
It is absolutely essential that your product serves a real purpose and is made for the market. High growth companies (usually) aren’t those that do the same thing as others but just market better, high growth companies have something innovative that markets itself.
This is the one part of the guide that I can’t outline for you because the nature of something innovative is that there isn’t a set playbook for how to do it.
To get this step right, ask yourself: do real people want to buy this and how does it make their life easier? If you can’t identify exactly who would want your product and why, the rest of the article could just be a waste of your time.
Now if you have a great product that does really cool things, learning what marketing entails and how to go through each of the steps is essential.
Segmentation and Identifying Your Target Market
There are two possibilities: only one group of people wants your product, or more than one group of people want your product. Either way, understanding exactly who they are is an essential first step to making marketing work.
Segmentation should not be done off of your gut instinct, it should be something that is data driven, and you’re going to see exactly how that is done with three main methods: transcript analysis, user surveys, and data mining.
People interested in your vertical are likely talking about their problems, solutions and asking questions all over the internet. Find where they are to learn about what they want, and your marketing will be more successful. Let’s go over a few popular methods of transcript analysis that focus on what real people are saying.
If your product already has reviews, record every single one of them, and begin to make categories of what your actual customers are saying. Here’s an example of 20 something reviews being said about a product called “Framed Tweets.”
Reviews on Website/ Tweet/Insta Mentions
Quality/ Great Decoration
“Frame looks great, print is clean and crisp! Great discussion piece!”
“The quality of the item is outstanding.”
“Amazingly packed and superb quality!”
“Coool F frame”
“Yeah, it’s a little expensive, but a great (and hilarious) product so totally worth the splurge.”
“Excellent concept, even better execution. You will not be disappointed.”
“Oh my goodness, this picture is stunning!!! The frame is great and the picture of the tweet is clear and colorful. Very high quality…it’s going to make an excellent gift.”
“Shoutout to @Framedtweets for the best office decor!”
“Thank you Kanye for helping me live my best life. Also, hmu if you need home office decorating tips.”
Entertainment/Value From the Content
“Such a fun and quirky item”
“Makes me laugh daily.”
“it makes me laugh every day.”
“Okay @framedtweets, now how do I get this physically tattoed to my body?”
“Thank you Kanye for helping me live my best life. Also, hmu if you need home office decorating tips.”
“Words to live by”
“Different kind of #twitterwisdom with @framedtweets and a live explanation of the sauce by the one and only La Flare.”
“Had it delivered to my work, a luxury auto dealership. My co-workers loved. Taking photos & sending to friends. Hope I sent you guys some business!”
“Everyone is offended! I love it”
“printing out tweets and framing them is truly our greatest art form. this is the future.”
I took all the online reviews and social mentions from buyers that I could find and separate them leaving me with a chart like this:
Clearly, most people rave about the quality, with a decent amount talking about both entertainment and a social reaction.
From this data, which wasn’t hard to find, I have two new segments that I can test: people who are motivated to buy this $50 tweet in a golden frame because of the juxtaposition of something as silly as a Tweet in a golden frame, and a segment of people that want to elicit a social reaction.
Reddit/ Quora Site Searches
Why make things more challenging than they are? If your product fits nicely in a niche, search its category and see what you find.
Let’s say you’re Activ5.com, a company that is selling a new isometric workout method to help people get fit without ever having to leave their house.
They should start by doing a search on Reddit using advanced Google search parameters shown below:
This search shows a couple of insightful segments that can be leveraged, here are a few quotes:
“Yielding isometrics are okay, they’re better for prehab and rehab”
“Overcoming isometrics workouts will make you stronger, though you have to work multiple angles, and that’s a fact, strongmen use them.”
“I find isometric exercises awesome for recovery/ healing as it’s the easiest way to fully control how much resistance you’re putting your muscles/joints through.”
“Bruce Lee was a big proponent of isometric exercises. He talks about it in his book The Art of Expressing the Human Body”
“Charles Atlas used isometrics as the basis for his Dynamic Tension method of bodybuilding”
They also show objections that may be important to address:
“You’ll gain static muscle strength, but if your goal is to be able to curl or bench press X lbs or gain mass, it will be very slow going–especially if you’re not doing them weighted.
“Doing a workout using all isometrics could not be a good idea, isometrics put to much stress in the CNS so if you overtrain or your life is actually very stressful you should consider better doing dynamic exercises in combination with some isometrics exercises.”
Of course, if this was actually my company, I would love for 100’s of points of data, but for your sake, I’ll stop at 8 points of data.
From this, we’ve seen that people already know a lot about isometrics. There are three major segments that can be identified for activ5 right away: those who need isometrics due to lowered stress on muscles and joints, regular people trying to build muscle, and advanced bodybuilders looking for something else to get a competitive edge.
Now, of course, there are a lot more segments that can be targeted with a product like this. Busy professionals who lack the time to go to a gym, people who are intimidated by gyms, and a lot more.
That being said, the point of this is to stop guessing. These are real people talking about real applications. Tap into a market that already exists and wants your product, don’t default to making a new market for your product.
The same thing applies to Quora. A site:quora.com search about isometric exercising will provide similar insight.
There are two goals for your Google searches, one has to be to find what actual people are asking, and the other is finding how other publishers are writing about your niche to their audience.
To continue with the activ5.com example, a search looking for blog comments could also provide a lot of great insight. Take the below comment on simplifaster.com as an example
“I like the[m] in rehab and pre-season work and I am combining them with eccentrics just because they are “nicer” for user. Don’t mix them a lot with regular lifts. To much demanding and my athletes hates that combo.”
Comments like these continue to shape available segments showing that athletes that are in need of recovery but still want to progress, could greatly benefit from isometric exercise.
By analyzing the first five or so pages of Google on a search like Isometric Training and recording what kind of audience they are being written for, how frequently each audience is written to, and if there are any other audiences that come up.
Do not just go out and ask your friends what they think about something. Find the most passionate people in the aforementioned segments and go right to them.
There are a few free mediums to do this, but by far Reddit is my favorite. How is this done? Well to start identify the community that your users are likely hanging out at.
All you need to do is search “(Your Niche) Subreddits” and you should get a nice handy list.
Create an account, if you don’t already have one, and go to your Subreddit. Use this tool to find when the best time to post is with a vote threshold of 50, and ask your question!
Do not try to sell anything. Seriously. You are here to get some research done, treat your post as such. Ask questions starting like “How would you feel about…” and only post your product if directly asked. Reddit can be an unforgiving place, be sure to respect the user’s community and be informed about their culture.
Another great medium to use is an exit survey for people after they buy your product. Set up a survey monkey account and send people super short surveys asking them why they decided to go with your product.
Facebook Psychographic Data
This is an incredibly powerful tool for the correct niche. Facebook has massive amounts of data on what people’s interests and behaviors.
There are 37,000 people in the United States that Facebook has psychographic data related to “isometric exercise” on.
Of these 37,000 people, we can see that 16,000 are men:
From there, we can further see what interests and demographics coincide with what we’ve got. Something very valuable to know is that only 3,600 men interested in isometric exercise are also married. This shows us that the audience of single men is 5x larger than married, pointing us to the conclusion that the market for this as a means to strength gain and performance is more important than to busy married people trying to save time.
There are a few caveats though. Facebook isn’t 100% accurate, and Activ5 could potentially be more popular in a market segment that doesn’t yet exist. Again, this is data that should be acknowledged as important, not an absolute picture of how you should market.
Reddit and Facebook data is great, but for people with a little deeper pockets, it might make sense to use a service like Google Surveys.
While the price per completed survey is $0.10, spending a few hundred dollars can provide incredible insight into what demographics are interested in your product and why.
Segment Analysis Conclusion
It is essential to understand who you are selling to, and with so many online assets at your disposal, it is easier to do this now than ever before.
Armed with the data of your segments, creating personalized funnels for each of them is a breeze.
User Journey Mapping
Forget the funnel and forget traditional marketing. Digital marketing puts people in control of their own journey, making it dramatically different than the last hundred years of advertising.
Think about a few of the things that are at your disposal to influence a purchasers decision:
Social Media Marketing
Showing up on Google for related questions
Say this “first exposure” is enough to get people to click to your website and look at your content. They either buy right there, buy later, or don’t buy. Each of these options are so different from the traditional funnel.
In the past, paid formats like Radio and TV would be the driving factor behind getting “exposure” and then “consideration,” but today each individual can choose how they consider a product and at what pace.
The goal of mapping a user’s journey is to create concrete and measurable paths each with their own Key-Performance-Indicators. Like everything in digital, you need to rely on your tools to see how people buy, and see what could be made better.
If you don’t know how to use Google Analytics, you absolutely need to. There are way too many tools within Google Analytics to use to map how people interact with your website to cover in this guide, but rest assured, you’ll learn the most important ones.
This is the most basic you can get. Of the 15,341 cart adds, 26.06% went to the billing and shipping page, 71% went to the payment page, and so on. While this page just shows metrics and popular links that precede a step, it is a great overview of how people move through a funnel, and how many do so.
Goal Flow allows us to take a different look at a basic funnel visualization by comparing the different traffic sources (and other variables) rather than looking at the URL’s. This is essential when comparing the different effectiveness of sources of traffic.
From here, it’s easy to compare how people interact by clicking on the source you want to analyze, and see how the traffic only from there behaves.
Top Conversion Paths
This allows you to see what touchpoints occur before a purchase is made. Sorting by Source/Medium path gives great insight. This particular path shows that organic search is incredibly important, but as is social media marketing. Both seem to provide the same amount of value as a first touch point.
Funnel Visualization In Practice
In each tool, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Email, or something else, there are KPI’s that exist in each of the steps. While email will be covered in a later step, let’s look at a sample funnel that can be evaluated through Google Analytics and Paid Search/ Paid Social/ Organic Search.
Funnel Visualization #1: Paid Social
With Social Media, it is important to start with an engagement funnel that both separates your audience into “qualified” and “trusting” individuals. Whether if this is putting out a video that your target market would be interested in, a blog post, or anything else, it is important to FIRST gain trust, and sell second.
Let’s take a service that authenticates if expensive sneakers are real or counterfeit. Because their target market is very defined, they are able to speak directly to the 18-28 year olds that buy expensive sneakers with engaging content.
They run a 60 second video with the 3 top ways to spot fake sneakers with their product at the end. It’s just education, no call to action. Their KPI here is to see how many people watch the whole video. They can test captions, different videos, and different platforms like Twitter to see if they can get longer watches, for cheaper.
Everyone who watches the video is then retargeted with the next step of the funnel: a call to action to learn more about the product. Users are directed to the website and can learn more about the product. They can either move to the next step of the funnel, actually viewing the product page with a purchase Call-To-Action, or leave the site.
Now, this is where the funnel diverges within this strategy. I have a very valuable group of people that show a higher intent to buy by going to a product page, and I have a less valuable audience that did not. With Social Media Marketing, I can separate these two groups of people and speak differently to them.
The first group, the more valuable one, should be retargeted with more “salesy” content. Content designed to overcome the objections of whichever specific segment while focusing on the product’s unique value propositions.
The second group is a little more challenging to reach. They potentially are interested but could have a greater variety for not wanting to convert. Testing four or five different messages, from a soft sell to a hard sell, is a great way to re-engage them.
Either audience is going to end up back at the cart page if you’re successful. This step works like any other. The more people to go from the cart page to the checkout, the better.
Funnel Visualization #2: Organic Search
Everyone’s got problems these days. But thankfully, Google is there to help us solve those problems. This funnel works a lot like the Social Media funnel, but the first touch is actually through organic search.
People from each of your already-identified segments have problems, and most people are doing a Google search about them. If you are there to answer their question (easier said than done), you stand to win their business.
If we use the same “shoe-validator” example as before, people in that community are likely to be searching for things related to how they are personally able to check the authenticity of shoes.
It would be important for this brand to have articles written about, and show up for related topics. After the qualified prospect (we know they’re qualified because they’re searching for things on this topic) reaches the blog, a number of things can happen.
First, this audience could see Call-To-Actions on the site talking about the product, click to the product, and convert right there. While this is unlikely, it is a definite possibility.
Secondly, this audience of people could be retargeted with Social Media Marketing with direct sales language. These users already trust this brand and would likely be open to hearing more about their relevant product.
Channels For Growth
A funnel is only as good as channels that feed it, and a marketer can only leverage a channel if they know how it fits into the funnel as a whole. There are dozens of channels to use to sell your product, but each channel has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Google Search Ads
We’ve all seen them, ads coming up after searching for something prompting us to click, call, or some other thing. There are three main uses for Google Search ads. Advertisers get to pay (in a bidding war) to get in front of people based on their searches, allowing them to choose what piece of content (or product page) shows up for what search.
Search Ads For Users With High Intent
Someone searches to buy a product, your brand shows up, and they choose and (hopefully) buy from you. This is by far the highest-converting way to do it, but because of this, the cost to market to these “high buyer-intent” searches can be very high.
Search Ads For Users With Low Intent
While people search to buy something right away, they also search in order to research products before buying. In fact, mobile searches for the “best” of something are up 80% in the last two years.
Bidding on the traffic for people researching, if done well, can lead to much lower costs due to lower competition. Unlike buyers with high-intent, users who click on this may need to be retargeted more heavily.
Competitor’s Search Terms
I’ve got a whole article about stealing your competitors leads here, but in short, the method is to bid when people search for a competitor and give prospects a compelling reason to buy from you.
Product Listing Ads
Bring the power of bidding when people search plus putting your product and price in front of people in a visual way. Product Listing Ads (PLA’s), are a fantastic way to get in front of the right people with your product, but heavy competition is a serious factor as it is with high buyer-intent search ads.
Google Display Ads
These ads are an interruption. People don’t like to see ads. A significant portion of desktop users use an ad block and Click Through Rates of display ads on mobile are incredibly low.
Yes, these ads present significant challenges, but there are also great opportunities. Google allows incredible targeting, and for big ticket items, this can be very successful.
Like Display ads, Youtube Ads are an interruption. Unlike display ads, Youtube Ads can be much more engaging. With the same incredibly powerful targeting, Youtube Ads can drive consideration of a product very well.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media is such a broad topic that to learn what you need to know at a high level you’d need to read an, I don’t know, 1,837 word post dedicated to understanding Social Media Marketing at a high level.
There are a whole bunch of channels that fall under this umbrella, but you need to understand that Social Media Marketing is a fantastic channel for controlling first exposure, to driving a sale.
Here are some links to free courses on how to get started with a few different social media channels:
Search Engine Optimization
Yet again, this is a huge topic that has its own dedicated post, but I’ll summarize what you should know below.
Product/ transactional SEO
This type of SEO is the hardest, because like with Google Ads, the competition to rank for search terms related to buying is very challenging. A strategy of having a high quality reputation, good PR, and a fantastic user experience on a landing page can help this area.
This type of search, coined by Google, is a search where people aren’t trying to “do” something, just learn. And as noted in the Google Ads section, this type of query is growing.
Researching what your prospects are trying to learn with a tool like SEMrush, can lead you to write about the related topics with the most volume and least competition.
Ah yes, the most dreaded and least understood form of growth. Put simply, PR is getting other people to talk about you online. Getting that done, on the other hand, can be very challenging.
This is an area that you don’t want to neglect as it is a huge boost for your online profile. Start by identifying where your potential customers read. I’m talking super small, niche blogs.
Next, reach out to the blog writers with something interesting. Something that you know that their readers will EAT UP. Remember, blogs are paid by ad networks for the traffic they bring, so giving something that has good traffic is very important.
Once you have your placements in small blogs, send those articles and more interesting content up to higher-traffic blogs.
Email marketing is still relevant in 2018. Having a captive audience that is free to reach with whatever you want, whenever you want can bring you some serious cash.
When email marketing, be sure to have content that people will actually want to read. You can end up as an interruption, or could potentially be something that brings happiness and value. There is no one right answer to the frequency of your emails, but above all, they need to be bringing value.
Gamification is essentially incentives on steroids by creating a “game-like” environment. Picture a gambling site that rewards the person who gives the most referrals every week with a $1,000 reward. Or Dropbox when they offered 125mb of free space (back when that was a lot) for each referral.
Giving people strong incentives to market for you is an incredible way to grow.
To successfully market your product, you first need a product worth selling. After that, analyzing how your target market talks about your product on places like Reddit and Quora will give you insight into who they are, and how you can reach them. Finally by mapping out your user journey, you can optimize weak points, expand into new channels, and ensure your digital marketing is as efficient as possible.
Austin Pena, Managing Director at Equipo Media
Austin Pena is a digital marketer who has held senior level positions in multiple agencies. Specializing in Social Media Marketing and Coordinating marketing teams Austin has built many successful marketing campaigns.
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