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GUEST COMMENT Breaking a new product into an online marketplace

Being clever starts with the type of marketing you use

Launching a new product online is difficult. In fact, SEO and new products together are like a catch-22. Firstly, people need to be aware of your new product in order to search for it. And, secondly, you need to pick searchable terms for your product so people can access details about it, read about it, and buy it online.

But how can you do any of this for a product that nobody has heard of and no one is searching for?

The answer? When thinking about putting together an SEO strategy to break a new product into an online marketplace, you have to be clever.

Marketing that pulls people in

Being clever starts with the type of marketing you use – and this should involve using pull marketing, and not push marketing techniques.

Push marketing is a strategy where the products or services of a business are pushed out to an audience. Whereas pull marketing is a technique where customers are already pulled in.

Television and radio advertising are good examples of push marketing. While it’s a good way to advertise a new product to a mass audience, the problem with this type of marketing is that it’s made at the wrong time, the wrong place, and has a forced agenda. This is because it’s pushed at the audience at a time when they’re probably not thinking about it, nor want to think about it – interrupting what they’re watching, for instance, and forcing them to see it. This means the level of engagement is low, resulting in low conversion.

Take, for example, a pension company’s advert that’s show on prime time television on a Saturday night. The majority of the audience watching probably won’t be the target audience for the advert. And those that are probably won’t be thinking about pensions at that time.

In contrast, pull marketing does quite the opposite. It’s made at the right time, and the right place, with user intent – the customer wants to know and learn about that product there and then. This means the level of engagement is high, resulting in high conversion.

The best (and only, in my opinion) example of pull marketing is search. For instance, a user is searching on the internet about pensions and comes across an interesting article on the topic. This includes a link to the website of the pension company mentioned above, which the user chooses to click on.

While pull marketing is very effective online, the problem with it is it’s difficult to use to break a new product into an online marketplace because no one will be searching for that product. However, they will be searching for products that it can be compared with. So being clever with pull marketing involves tapping into what people are already searching for.

Capitalising on comparative products

Tapping into current user searches involves focussing on comparative products. As you have no defining keywords and searchable terms for people to access your new product, you have to capitalise on those that already exist. This involves using terms of comparative products – those products that are the closest to it, in terms of similarities.

For instance, imagine you’re launching a kitchen appliance, like a new type of microwave oven. In this case, you would use search terms of other microwave ovens.

Now imagine that a microwave oven is a completely new idea – a unique and groundbreaking product. Here you would consider the closest variant of that product, such as other hi-tech ovens or microwaves.

Focussing on comparative products, like this, allows you to do two things:

It distinguishes your product from others, allowing you to show how your product is better. This is similar to comparative advertising, where side-by-side comparisons are often made between a product and its competitors

It allows you to target keywords similar to those other products, so you can try to capitalise on the audience searching for them

In doing this, you can create a landing page and on-page content for your product, with links to a page where users can buy it. Content could include blogs, features and case studies, using the search terms of those comparative products. This could include your page title, meta titles, meta descriptions, and long-tail keywords.

Focussing on your product’s benefits

When it comes to writing on-page content for your product, you should do two things:

Look for the problems your product solves – the solutions it provides

Look for the benefits of your product – the added value it gives

Looking at the problems it solves should involve describing what it does, explaining its key features, and how that provides a solution to a problem.

For example, if you were a medical company and your new product was a type of sleeping tablet, answering these sorts of questions might work as follows:

  • What does the product do? It helps people sleep.
  • What are the product’s features? It contains ingredients to help people sleep, without causing drowsiness during the day
  • What problem does the product solve? It helps people who struggle sleeping and suffer from insomnia start to sleep well all through the night

The benefits, however, are concerned with the secondary tier benefits – the added value. And it’s these that you should focus on when producing your content.

The benefits of the sleeping tablets could be that in getting more sleep you:

  • Perform better in your job
  • Are more focussed when you’re driving
  • Are more organised and feel on top of things
  • Have the energy to socialise more and you don’t snap at your kids
  • Look and feel better about yourself, are more relaxed and happier

In the case of the microwave oven, the problem it solves is that it makes it easier and quicker to cook a wide range of foods. Whereas the benefits could include that it saves you time to do other things, provides your home with the latest technology, helps improves your social status, and gives you peace of mind.


Gifting campaigns for product promotion

Another effective way to break a new product into an online marketplace is to gift it as part of outreach. An outreach campaign involves you contacting bloggers relevant to your product and writing blogs for their websites. Each blog should include one or two links to your site. This allows you to build more links from different sites to yours, strengthening your domain authority (DA) – how Google perceives you – and, in turn, improving your SEO.

Gifting as part of your outreach campaign takes this method to the next level by sending your product out to bloggers for them to test and try out. This can do two things:

  • It leads to bloggers writing a wide range of content about your product. This could include blogs, reviews and videos, as well as posts on their social media channels
  • It generates more links, by you encouraging bloggers to link the content they produce to your site, like to your product landing page

In doing this, gifting can also:

  • Generate interest in your product, resulting in people talking about it and sharing details on social media
  • Lead to people recommending your product
  • Lead to people making comparisons with your product, saying it’s better than what’s come before

Other PR campaigns that can help launch your product

In addition to outreach gifting, there are other PR campaigns that help with launching your new product too. This includes:

Social media campaigns – posting about your product on social media channels, like in the run up to its launch. This could include hashtags for your product.

Doing this helps create a buzz around your product, as people like your posts and retweet them.

Press releases – putting out a news story as a press release about your product and sending it out to the media, so that editors can publish it on their online news sites. This should include a couple of links to your product landing page or relevant content.

Doing this helps to get your product’s key messages out to the large audiences of news sites, which might be interested in your product

Email marketing – sending out emails about your product to people in your contacts and emailing lists, like those who’ve signed up to receive your newsletter. You could offer them the chance to pre-order your product or give them a sneak preview before it’s released to the public.

Doing this allows you to provide content to people with whom you’ve already built strong relationships while rewarding existing customers and building on loyalty and trust.

A big investment that reaps rewards

Breaking a new product into an online marketplace can be a big investment, which can take a great deal of time and effort. It can be an uphill struggle, and you shouldn’t expect to see results overnight. There’s a lot to think about, so you should have a good structure for your strategy and a carefully thought-out plan in place.

But, when done well, it can reap the rewards. Over time, more and more people will start searching for your product as interest builds and your marketing techniques pull them in. They’ll access your product-related content and read it, understand what your product does and see value in it. And, more importantly, they’ll want to buy it.

Jon Hunter is the search director of digital marketing agency every1.

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