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How Do You Market Your Products?

Posted by on May 16, 2012

Today I’m asking the question more than offering suggestions because I think that sometimes we learn from each other, rather than from one person. And trust me, the last thing I should be offering advice on is selling products.

This is a question specific to products, not services. I mainly provide services but I have some products, as well as belong to some affiliate programs that allow me to offer products. I’m going to tell you what I do and then leave the rest open for you to share with everyone else. And yes, to the right there is one of the products I market, which is also to the left but looking much different than what I shared in 2010. Chick on it to take a look; trust me, it’s not a hard sell. 🙂

Actually, that’s one of the ways I market products on this particular blog. Sometimes the image I have to the right in my posts is actually an advertisement for something. Most of the time no, but if it’s a specific product or even a painting it’s probably a product. Sometimes I probably should mention that it’s a product because putting a painting in is almost like putting an image in, so I should say “selling on Imagekind” or something like that; I’ll need to work on that.

Obviously from my sidebars you know that I market products that way. However, I keep asking myself if it’s really marketing just sitting there. I may write specifically about my products once a year, if that often, and that’s for all my blogs.

Every once in awhile I toss out a product link on Twitter. Those don’t get much traffic but you never know who’s watching, right? I’ve never done it on LinkedIn or Google+, but when I created my business page on Facebook I advertised my products early on; haven’t mentioned any of them since.

I have one website which is mainly geared towards marketing my affiliate programs, which is kind of my version of a directory. It’s called Services and Stuff, and I’ve made few sales over the years from it, but I’ve also not marketed it all that well. It takes a lot of maintenance that I don’t always have time for because you know how affiliates are; here today, gone tomorrow.

Finally, every once in awhile I write a review about something, or a post that mentions something, and I include a link to the product. Most of the time I don’t mention that it’s a link to a product, but long time visitors know that if a link is underlined in blue that leads to a product, whereas most of the time my links are just a burgundy color without a line.

That’s all I do; trust me, it’s not very effective. I don’t have a list because, as I always ask, what the heck would I push to anyone with a list? Now, I do have a newsletter for my business which I guess one could say is an email list, and it has links to my products on it with every issue, so maybe that’s another way I market, ineffectively of course. lol

Your turn; what do you do, and how effective is it?
 

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29 Comments »

Mitch, I use my lists to broadcast updates. I don’t really push products. That may change but, for now, my strategy is like yours with one small difference: I “squeeze” email addresses in exchange for my software. The only one I didn’t do that with was Blogmogrifier.

One other thing I do is put the link to the squeeze page in my signatures – email and forum. I suppose a CommentLuv link counts in the same way. (Hint. Hint.)

Other than that – nothing. I gotta get on the ball, right? 🙂

Cheers,

Mitch
Mitchell Allen recently posted…How to REALLY Stop ProcrastinatingMy Profile

May 16th, 2012 | 6:39 PM

Yes you do Mitch. 🙂 By the way, I’m missing the hint; I can be dense that way. lol

May 16th, 2012 | 10:50 PM

Mitch,
I host an online community at http://www.izania.com, and also a promotional website at http://www.izaniamarket.com. Both of these provide “marketing services” to our community. We complement both of these with a weekly newsletter.

At Izania, we maintain an online Black-owned business directory, and we “feature” businesses that are listed at no charge. This is a form of marketing that provides links to the websites of listed businesses. Additionally, business owners can purchase banner ads that appear on our website. This is a low cost form of marketing ($5.00 per 1,000 impressions).

At Izania Market, we focus more specifically on products with a discount coupon form of marketing like Groupon. What is interesting about this form of marketing is that many business owners don’t think of it as marketing. We promote their products to a much larger audience than they are currently reaching, and the resulting sales are a small fraction of the audience that their products are exposed to. We get paid a share of proceeds on the back end. The exposure to the larger audience is the marketing aspect of what we do. If there are no sales, there is no cost to the merchant. So, they get a lot of free marketing before there is a yield of sales. This can be the most effective form of marketing that we offer, because merchants can try a number of different products and messaging, but only pay for what produces results.

We send a weekly newsletter with free promotional ads for businesses in our directory. We also send exclusive “e-blasts” to our opt-in audience (for a fee). This is a form of direct marketing that gives the equivalent of a full page ad in a newspaper, except the product marketing info is the only news.

All of these forms of marketing can be applied to products and services. My role in all of this is to continually build a larger email list, and to exploit multiple channels like Facebook, Twitter, my websites, my newsletter. Along with our services, we provide some online marketing consulting to help our clients choose what is best.

We “market our services” through press releases, ads on other websites, social media channels, and “virtual word of mouth.” We depend a lot on others sharing our content to raise awareness of our services.

May 16th, 2012 | 10:24 PM

Of course you know why I had to pull this out of moderation, right Roger? lol I remember when you started your site and it’s amazing how it’s grown. You’ve done nice work with it, I must say. And remember, I wrote one of the first featured articles for your site; I sure do. 😉

May 16th, 2012 | 10:53 PM

I do remember your contributions to our online community. In many ways, we are a “marketing channel” for Black-owned businesses. I have always believed that content is king. and all content can be “marketing oriented.” I have observed that most people aren’t shy about being self-promoting when given a platform and an audience.

May 16th, 2012 | 10:59 PM

Actually, I see the opposite; trying to get more people to talk about themselves in some fashion is like lifting heavy weights. Truthfully, even all the years I’ve been writing blogs and the like I don’t talk about myself enough as far as promotion goes. I’ll talk about myself in stories to get points across, but sales… very little. I agree with you in saying that content is king, but I also think many of us don’t fully get how to use our content in the best way.

May 16th, 2012 | 11:14 PM
Carl:

I am also not much into selling products, but mostly services. However I have had few online shops and mostly online, selling because high rankings and organic results. Pretty much depends on the product, some products have very high conversion and not much marketing is necessary. Yesterday, I was talking to previous customer of mine, telling him that his rankings have dropped, well actually he mentioned something that right now he is not much concerned about rankings as he have found that old fashion way of local advertising in newspapers is doing very good job, so I think everybody need to find own way to market products.

May 16th, 2012 | 10:14 PM

Carl, I think it’s a tough thing trying to sell stuff online, though there are some folks, like our buddy Adrienne, who seem to be doing okay. And of course there’s Lynn Terry, who’s really got it going on and someone I’d love to emulate in some fashion.

May 16th, 2012 | 10:51 PM
Carl:

Yeah, it is a tough call for some products and even services. Tracking and improving conversion online require full-time job.

May 17th, 2012 | 10:10 PM

That it does Carl, and when you already do other things to make money, there’s literally no time to do it all.

May 18th, 2012 | 2:44 PM

I haven’t figured out how to solve the “content is king” riddle yet. I understand how the content drives Google search results. What I want to unlock is the door to consumer action. Converting content to sales is really hard.

May 16th, 2012 | 11:29 PM
peter davies:

I think Roger sums it up well in the last comment “unlock the door to consumer action”

I am currently some way through an SEO/Traffic/Marketing plan I am putting together for my Health And Beauty site.

1. You need to show competence (topical articles)
2. Your site needs to be professional looking and easy to navigate (I hope I’m not too far off)
3. You need to generate traffic (this is process driven)

4. Something in place to ensure that visitors see value and return so you can send them where you want to send them (email newsletter)

Out of all the above I think its point 4 that is the trickiest to crack – in reality this is where the marketing part kicks in, I don’t see putting a banner on a site as ‘marketing’ this is advertising – marketing is all about demonstrating a problem and suggesting an appropriate solution with a justification.

My focus is to try to demonstrate topical competences and provide good valuable information (this is what blog articles do)

To get people to come back you need to prompt an email optin (I struggle with this because a popup box is the obvious one but they are bloody annoying – Ive got one in the corner but only get the occasional one or two – there a yellow box on the bottom of each article and there are loads of social buttons)

Once people are on an email list that is the sure way of getting them to come back and view your latest articles, information and offers – this is where the real marketing is and in my experience the most difficult as it involves making people want to come back and feel comfortable, the other tasks are process driven.

Some products probably sell themselves if put in front of the right people, others need a fair bit marketing so if its a high demand product with a high PPC cost (you know from search volumes and you get in on the front of search engines then your marketing is probably limited to banner s and product descriptions.

In the meantime my focus now is to ensure that point 3 (traffic based on search terms) is nailed through a combination of SEO, You Tube Videos that rank for keywords, and feeder sites like blogger, Ezine Articles etc have appropriate article on them.

All very tedious and difficult but that just about sums up my strategy – I can’t think of any other way of approaching it
peter davies recently posted…A Fantastic Story On A Dog Named LuckyMy Profile

May 17th, 2012 | 9:33 AM

Wow Peter, now there’s a marketing strategy! I’m with you, #4 is the most aggressive, risky, and, for you, most essential part of the entire endeavor. And I also agree that pop-up boxes are irritating as sin. I’d almost prefer, if I was going to do something like this, the thing where you see the little flap in the corner… maybe that’s what you’re indicating. Those other 3 points are definitely essential as well, since you want to be seen as an authority on the subject. Good stuff; I wish for your success, and thank you for sharing.

May 17th, 2012 | 11:00 AM

Yeah, I’m pretty useless with my marketing efforts. However, as soon as my blogging book is complete, I’m going to be the best marketing and salesperson I know. I don’t know HOW I’m going to sell it, I just know that books will be sold.

May 17th, 2012 | 2:50 PM

Marcie, I wish you the best in getting it done. You’ll need to make sure you talk to our best seller friend Bev. 🙂

May 17th, 2012 | 9:51 PM

Mitch,
I thought I’d chime in here since this is sort of my area of expertise. The first thing you have to do is surround yourself in a community where people get to know, like and trust you. I’m definitely an extrovert so I can strike up a conversation and even be controversial. Marketing is a strategy and you should never think you can sell to EVERYBODY. When you find that group, no matter how small it starts out to be, it can and will grow because you’ll discover that your small group attracts more like-minded people.

On Twitter, for example, I notice that the same people continue to RT my tweets so I ALWAYS acknowledge them at every opportunity. Their friends see it and want to get in on it. I connect with them and start building a relationship and, of course, I’m never afraid to ask folks to promote something for me.
Beverly Mahone recently posted…Blueberries Are Good for SoccerMy Profile

May 17th, 2012 | 9:03 PM

Bev, it’s amazing how you’ve fully embraced social media, to the point where you’ve surpassed me in the way you’ve made connections. You’re right, you’re not afraid to ask, and that’s something I have to work on because I rarely ask for assistance. I think the only time I’ve asked you for something, or anyone else, is a couple of weeks ago when I asked y’all to help me promote this one post, which I thought might help a lot of people. Maybe when I finally finish my second book I’ll ask some folks for some help.

May 17th, 2012 | 9:57 PM
Lorna:

There are many ways to sell. What I do is collect people’s name and email address. I email them at least twice a week, but my mail focus is on giving them value. Giving them value helps them to trust you so they don’t think you are just out to take their money.

May 17th, 2012 | 9:20 PM

Thanks for sharing that Lorna. I only collect email for my one newsletter, but it doesn’t generate anything as far as enough subscribers for doing all that much. That’s why I’m working on my book, which is a collection of older newsletters, hoping it will generate interest in what I have to say now.

May 17th, 2012 | 9:58 PM
Lorna:

Just always be yourself and stay honest. That will win people’s trust. Good luck with your book. I wish you much success!! 🙂

May 17th, 2012 | 10:15 PM

Thanks Lorna for the book wishes. And yes, being oneself certainly can help.

May 18th, 2012 | 2:44 PM

There are many ways to market and promote your products and services. Success only boils down to how dedicated you are with what you do.
Maine recently posted…The Perks of Having A Triple Monitor StandMy Profile

May 17th, 2012 | 10:24 PM

Pretty much Maine, though a few breaks here and there helps as well.

May 18th, 2012 | 2:45 PM
Fiona:

Excellent article Mitch! I also like how the people react here
Fiona recently posted…Mother of the bride dress plus sizeMy Profile

May 18th, 2012 | 7:32 AM

Good folks here; I like that.

May 18th, 2012 | 2:49 PM

As you know Mitch I don’t have an actual product of my own so I’m forced to sell other peoples products as an affiliate. I promote these products from within a post and the ones I have the most success with are those products that people can see in action.

People are more likely to buy a product if they can see what it does or the end result of something it is used for. That’s because they can then make a more informed decision as to whether or not it will work for them.

It’s one of the reasons why I got out of my comfort zone and started to do YouTube video tutorials, something that I plan to do a lot more of.
Sire recently posted…The List Is All About YOUR MoneyMy Profile

May 19th, 2012 | 9:40 PM

I think that’s a good move Sire, and I need to find more reasons to create more videos as well. You’ve always done better writing about products you try; then again, you try a lot more products than I do also.

May 19th, 2012 | 9:49 PM

Yeah, well I figured I would have more of a chance at promoting things that I use and so I go out looking for things that I feel would enhance my blogging and I go out and buy it. Hopefully it turns out to be as useful as the sales copy suggested but either way I get more fodder for my posts.
Sire recently posted…The List Is All About YOUR MoneyMy Profile

May 19th, 2012 | 10:06 PM

More fodder for posts is never a bad thing.

May 20th, 2012 | 2:26 AM