When you scour the internet, you’ll find heaps of resources about product marketing.
But if you’ve launched any strategy, you know that catch-all best practices and research don’t guarantee success.
That’s why I decided to talk to real entrepreneurs and get their insights on what makes a product marketing strategy successful.
On top of that, this article will also include tips on how you can apply these ideas to your business, regardless of your industry.
7 Strategies to Launch a Successful Product Marketing Strategy
1. Understand What Your Customers are Looking For
For CocoDoc’s co-founder and marketing director, Alina Clark, the best product marketing strategy is selling a product that people genuinely need.
SaaS companies, in particular, will find it easier to sell a product that fills in a consumer’s need than to create a new one.
According to Clark, “I would recommend studying the target market and learning what they need before launching a product. Is your product offering any added value compared to the ones available in the market? What would make them come to you instead of your competitor? These are all questions that should be answered at the targeting stage.”
She explains that the idea for CocoDoc came about when they realized that there were a large number of PDF users who wanted to edit their PDFs without making any format changes. They implemented a few things before their product launch to verify their product offer.
First, they looked online for reviews and posts from online communities about related apps. In particular, Clark mentions noticing several questions about Adobe Acrobat and how to use the tool for this specific use case. They also checked online for popular Google searched about PDF editing and figured out what people wanted based on their queries.
Combined with doing surveys with their sales team, CocoDoc was able to determine the viability of their product and create a unique tool that solved their customers’ pain points in ways the competition might not currently be doing.
According to Clark, all these efforts led them to create CocoDoc’s unique selling proposition: “Although there were other players in the [document editing and management] field, we used our ease of use and web-based accessibility as the ultimate selling point […] and the fact that you can add an e-signature using the tool.”
They then implemented an email marketing strategy, among other marketing efforts, that focused on serving remote workers who wanted to edit, sign, and share PDFs all in one platform.
The biggest takeaway from Clark? “One should exclusively focus on the possible customers. Narrowing down on the people who are more likely to buy from you will save you the expense. Also, your best prospects are those with a perceived need for what they want and those who purchased from your competition. As such, studying your competitor’s most likely buyers will help you arrive at your best prospects.”
2. Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams
One can’t deny the role of your sales team for closing sales and getting more customers, but we can’t also ignore the contribution of your marketing team to getting those potential sales and customers to begin with.
As Mo Rassolli, TrendScout Senior Consultant, shares, “[W]hilst your marketing team will indeed be responsible for planning and executing the campaigns for your product, your sales team will also have a role to play to make sure that the campaign is successful.”
Rassolli emphasizes the importance of ensuring that both sales and marketing teams are aligned and have a clear understanding of your product’s ideal customer. He notes factors like their position in the company and their annual revenue as some starting points.
Aside from knowing the customer in and out, both teams must understand your buyer’s journey. This includes knowing lead generation strategies are currently being used, sharing assets of active campaigns, and the like.
“Above all,” notes Rassolli, “[you] need to make sure that your marketing team gives your sales team not just a steady stream of leads to convert but also the right information. Otherwise, your sales team won’t be able to reach out properly to your leads. And when that happens, you can lose your chances of converting otherwise ready-to-buy leads.”
Indeed, we’ve seen evidence of how marketing and sales team alignment is crucial to the success of B2B companies. Because of this, it’s essential to get everyone on the same page and ensure your management team is communicating openly and regularly.
3. Organize a Pre-Launch Giveaway
Another great way to create hype around your product marketing strategy is to have a pre-launch giveaway.
Stand with Main Street’s founder, Charles McMillan, can’t recommend the strategy enough. “In this way, you can capture the attention of your target clients. Give away your products to the lucky group of participants, or you can even come up with a catchy concept for a contest. You can spread the word through a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.”
McMillan shares that he used this product marketing strategy a long time ago, and the results were stellar. Not only did it catch his potential clients’ attention because of hype, but the giveaway even gained recommendations for their team.
When we ask him how they prepared for the pre-launch giveaway, he shares that the team started to brainstorm and got the idea of spreading the word about their giveaway through their employees’ social media accounts. This would get their personal friends’ eyes on the giveaway, who would then invite more people outside their employee networks to join.
The organic effort was compounded by paid advertising efforts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The results, McMillan shares, is as follows:
“[The pre-launch giveaway] has been very successful, and we were able to double our target gains in the span of one month. Also, some influencers were enticed by the idea and asked to collaborate with us in exchange for free items. With this said, we saved a huge amount by hiring celebrities to promote our brand.”
Based on McMillan’s story, create a giveaway plan that makes the most of organic and paid efforts. Try to tap influencers willing to promote the giveaway in exchange for access to your products to skyrocket brand awareness even before your launch.
4. Invite Beta Testers
To make sure your product marketing strategy is successful, you need to ensure your product is successful first. Enter beta testers and their crucial role to help you identify gaps in your product and even in building up hype around your product.
Yvonne Morriss of IP Toolworks, LLC shares how her company launched their patent prosecution process tool called Arguminer with the help of beta testers that helped them spot bugs and issues before a big release.
“We first got [Arguminer] ready with all the basic functionalities that we wanted to go in the final product,” she says. “We wanted to make sure our beta testers and users had enough functionality to test around.”
Of course, you shouldn’t just get any beta tester. Morriss emphasizes the importance of getting suitable testers who are genuinely part of your target market and who would interact with your product in the most organic way.
Getting beta testers may come with some budget restrictions, as it did with the Arguminer team. ”70% of our beta testers were from industry connections attorneys. They were not the ‘must-haves’ but were ‘nice-to-have.’”
The other 30% of beta testers then were recruited based on what Morriss calls “accurate technography and legal practices,” made up of primarily young attorneys, which was Arguminer’s ideal persona.
With their beta testers working alongside them, the team behind Arguminer focused on feedback to be able to weigh their priorities. Morriss shares that the team was even surprised that some features they found important were not, in fact, critical to their beta testers, so they were free to focus on other aspects of their software.
And after their beta test, Morriss explains how it helped them streamline their product marketing strategy for launch, including getting clarity on who they would be speaking to:
“We got a clear product message and positioning. We wanted to launch this tool for R&D heads and IP attorneys. But after beta testing and A/B testing, we are very clear that it is the best fit for IP attorneys. We became very much familiar with the limitations of the tool. Beta testing helped us think more practically and align our message accordingly.”
5. Launch an Affiliate Marketing Program
A product marketing strategy that many marketers might be familiar with is affiliate marketing. For Simon Dwight of SDK Marketing, he compares the process to another related method that is influencer marketing:
“One of the best advantages [of affiliate marketing] is lower cost. An affiliate program does not require a large amount of investment. If you go with influencer marketing, you have to have a few thousand in the budget to deal with the influencers, and you may need more if you go with well-known influencers.”
Incorporating an affiliate program in your product marketing strategy can be an incredible asset for your company, but you have to know how to manage and launch it properly. Dwight shares some steps his company took to help his clients launch affiliate marketing programs of their own and to get more sales:
- Check if the product is popular in the market or not.
- Once you’ve found a popular product, check how much commission they might offer to affiliate partners. Depending on the product, you can get anywhere between 5%-30% in commissions. (Generally, SaaS products can afford to offer higher commissions because of little to no product cost.)
- Make your affiliate program more compelling than others. According to Dwight, they would give 1-3% more commission compared to their competitors.
- List your affiliate program in all major platforms like Clickbank, ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, and the like to get eyes on your program and for people to sign up.
Following these steps has gotten Dwight’s clients much success. He notes one particular web hosting client as a success story: “We generated $57K revenue from the affiliate program in one year, which is the second-highest revenue channel for that year.”
6. Provide Social Proof
Another product marketing strategy that never fails is giving social proof.
Tal Shelef, realtor and co-founder of CondoWizard, shares the importance of social proof, especially when creating a product marketing strategy for a business in a highly competitive industry. “As an effective form of proof in the social side of your products, posting good reviews help build trust and character of your products to your target clients.”
He adds, “Support the spread of good words about your business. By doing so, launching a product market strategy will have a higher probability of getting success.”
Social proof relies on encouraging your existing customer base and community to help convert new users and get them to buy. When someone sees that other people just like them are enjoying or have obtained value from your product, they may be more likely to make a purchase.
Make an effort to collect testimonials and reviews about your product or service, then post these on your users’ channels. You might use social proof in your ads, across your website, and especially on your sales pages.
7. Retarget Your Abandoned Carts
The last product marketing strategy is retargeting your abandoned carts.
Consumers now are living in a fast-paced world. They may be browsing your online store or catalogue, adding products to their cart, but ultimately failing to check out.
There may be different reasons they fail to do so, from not having made up their minds to getting distracted right before completing their checkout.
Either way, your business could be losing crucial sales because of this. To combat this, your product marketing strategy should be able to prompt users to revisit their cart and complete checkout at least once.
Because of this, I recommend implementing retargeting strategies wherever you can. This might be through abandoned cart emails or retargeting ads that appear on social media platforms and other websites your user is on.
We can agree that there is “no one size fits all” approach to a successful product marketing strategy. However, you can always learn from experts themselves to see what worked for them and the steps they took. Next time you’re looking for tips to make the best marketing campaign, revisit this post to see what these experts have to share.