You’ve found a product and created your online store. Now, what?
Once you’re up and running, it’s time to start driving traffic to your store and closing sales. Whether you’re trying to make your first sale or you’ve been open for business for a while, it’s always good to find more ways to promote your products.
How to Promote a Product: 20 Creative Ideas to Try
Here are 20 creative ways to promote a new or existing product on your online store. Once you've identified an interesting idea to try, click on the link to get step-by-step instructions on how to execute.
- Gift Guides
- Email Marketing
- Affiliate Programs
- Land Your Business in the Press
- Go Live With Periscope
- Pinterest Buyable Pins
- Facebook Custom Audiences
- Facebook Shop Section
- Search Engine Optimization
- Referral Marketing
- Blogger Outreach
- Reddit Advertising
- Pop-up Shops
- Product Hunt
- Run a Contest
1. Gift Guides
What do you do when you’re struggling to find a good gift idea? If you’re like most people, you Google “holiday gift ideas for co-workers” or “unique birthday presents”. Then you scroll through the piles of gift guides that pop up in the search results.
Why not get your own product included in these gift guides? They exist for just about every industry, type of person, and holiday you can think of. Look for the lists that rank on the first few pages of Google and reach out to see if you can be included. They could drive a lot of traffic back to your store.
Remember, you need to provide a reason why you should be included. Mentioning your product on the list has to add value to the author or editor of the post, so be sure to highlight what makes your product a distinct or unique addition to their current list.
2. Email Marketing
Email is one of the most consistently effective channels for acquiring new customers. And while channels like search can take a while to start generating organic traffic, email marketing can start working right away. That’s why you should be using email to promote your store.
There’s no need to spend all your time writing and sending emails. Make it easy on yourself by setting up a collection of automated email campaigns that are designed to increase your revenue. There are many options available, such as:
- Emailing new subscribers and offering them an incentive to shop.
- Emailing new customers a post-sale email to upsell and delight.
- Emailing visitors who abandoned their cart and reminding them to finish their purchase.
3. Affiliate Programs
If you’re struggling to make sales and you don’t have the cash to hire sales or marketing help, consider adding an affiliate program to your store. Affiliate marketing programs enable other people to promote your product for a commission. You’ll only have to pay them if they make a sale.
Affiliate programs typically work by creating a custom URL for each person promoting your products. They can share this link on social media, in a blog post reviewing your product, or even in a YouTube video where they’re showing it off. Through the custom links, you’ll be able to track who is driving sales for you so you can compensate them.
A little bit of education is usually helpful if you plan on introducing affiliates. Remember: they’re promoting your products for you, so in some sense they’re handling a marketing function of your business. If you don’t provide best practices, they’ll make up their own.
4. Land Your Business in the Press
Getting publicity is a great way to reach new customers and help more people discover your product. It’s also notoriously difficult to do. Mainstream journalists are inundated with press releases and pitches for stories. Improve your odds by targeting bloggers instead.
Instead of sending bloggers press releases, reach out with a personal email and ask if you can send them a sample. You can target bloggers in your industry, product-focused websites, and even social media influencers.
5. Go Live With Periscope
While Periscope is still a comparatively new social platform, it has definitely demonstrated marketing potential. Many businesses are already promoting themselves with this live-streaming tool. Although you’ll no longer be an early adopter, fewer companies do short, live video well versus, say, posting tweets or Facebook updates.
There are many ways you can use Periscope to promote a product. In particular, you can use Periscope to offer a demo of your product, answer questions through a Q&A, and even take your customers behind the scenes to show them what’s special about the way you do things.
Pinterest is the place to be if you want to buy or sell products online. 93% of active pinners say they use Pinterest to plan purchases. Not surprisingly, many people use Pinterest to build wish lists. This makes it a great place to promote products—especially well-designed products that photograph well.
What’s even better is that pins tend to stick around for a long time. It’s not uncommon for pins to get viewed for months after they’re posted. Optimize your pins by posting when more people are online, using the right keywords, and using captivating images. You can even run contests to extend your reach.
Make sure you enable Rich Pins to have additional product information included.
7. Pinterest Buyable Pins
If you run a Shopify store that meets the eligibility requirements, you can take your Pinterest marketing to the next level by enabling Buyable Pins. This option makes it easier for Pinners to buy products they see on Pinterest while helping merchants sell more.
You can enable Buyable Pins by adding the Pinterest Channel to your Shopify store. Once ready, all your product pins will include a buy button—no matter who pins it.
8. Facebook Custom Audiences
Billions of people are on Facebook, and as an advertising platform, it offers very targeted options for running paid ads. Facebook Custom Audiences in particular, is a useful way to advertise a product.
With Facebook Custom Audiences, you can advertise to your website visitors or email subscribers. These ads tend to be very effective because you know more about who you’re targeting and can tailor your ad accordingly.
9. Facebook Shop Section
You can take your Facebook marketing a step further by adding a Facebook Shop Section to your Facebook page. This option makes it easier for people who discover your products on Facebook to buy them.
If you have a Shopify store, add Facebook as a sales channel. You’ll be able to create your own Shop Section on your Facebook page where fans can learn about your products, look at pictures, and click the buy button to make a purchase.
10. Search Engine Optimization
Although it takes a while to get going, search offers one of the few opportunities to build predictable, compounding web traffic.
An effective search strategy involves a number of steps, from forming a keyword strategy, to conducting more granular keyword research, to optimizing your site architecture and performance (e.g. category pages), to building links back to your website. Like I said, it’s an uphill battle, but it’s one you can fight in the background as your store starts to gain traction.
If you already have a basic search strategy in place and need to take things to the next level, I recommend you check out our Intermediate Guide to Ecommerce SEO. For everyone else, the article below is a good way to get started.
Learn More: The Beginner's Guide to Ecommerce SEO
Uncrate is one of many product curation websites with a massive, loyal following. The people who frequent Uncrate don’t just like looking at cool products, they like to buy them too. Getting your product featured on Uncrate can drive significant sales and lead to other press opportunities down the road.
Getting featured on Uncrate isn’t easy. There’s no formal process, but one thing is certain: your product has to be cool to make the cut. Some companies get discovered by Uncrate, but others have had success after contacting the company to tell them about their product, or even sending them a sample.
12. Referral Marketing
Referral marketing, also known as word of mouth marketing, is one of the oldest marketing methods around. Referral marketing is all about getting other people to talk about your product in a way that will drive awareness and sales.
These days you can use the web to drive even more referral marketing. Not only does it allow you to reach more people, the web makes it easier for other people to share your content—and for you to track its impact.
13. Blogger Outreach
One of the most difficult parts of starting a new business is promoting a product when you don’t have an audience. If you don’t have your own community built up, you either have to pay to drive traffic to your website, or tap into someone else’s audience until you have your own.
Blogger outreach is a great way to build prestige around your product and get it in front of interested shoppers. Ask authoritative bloggers to feature or review your product. If they have an engaged audience that trusts their opinion, it could drive a lot of traffic and sales.
14. Reddit Advertising
While most businesses don’t use Reddit ads, they can be quite effective. In fact, sometimes the least used advertising networks are the most profitable because the cost is lower, and there is more opportunity to stand out.
Try advertising on Reddit to promote your product. You can create a sponsored post in subreddits related to your business. Use it to talk about your product and offer a discount. The key is to make sure it blends in with the other posts in the subreddit.
Learn More: How to Make Your First $1,000 With Reddit Ads
15. Pop-Up Shops
If your business is online, you don’t have to open a retail store to get the benefits of selling in person. You can run a pop-up shop instead. Chances are there’s an unused space in your city that would love to have you come in for a week—or even just a weekend—and open shop.
Running a pop-up shop will help you create exclusivity around some of your products, get covered in local media, take advantage of seasonal shopping, unload old inventory, and chat with your customers in person to learn more about them.
Learn More: How to Set Up and Run Your First Pop-up Shop
16. Blog Posts
Blogging is a great way to promote your store. With the right approach, blogging can be an effective way to drive traffic and promote the lifestyle around your products. In fact, one study by HubSpot found that the more you blog, the more traffic your website gets.
Use your own blog to drive traffic and promote your products. When done effectively, blogging drives search engine traffic, attracts customers, and captures the attention of the media and high-profile bloggers who could write about you.
Instagram has over 400 million active users and its visual focus is perfect for promoting products. Half of those users are on Instagram every day. Any brand would do well to share their products on this network.
There are several ways to use Instagram to promote your store. You can share captivating images of your products, share a stop motion video of one of your products in action, run a contest, or reach out to influential Instagram accounts and ask them to share your product.
YouTube has become one of the world’s largest search engines for finding fresh content. What’s more, YouTube videos can also rank in traditional search engines like Google. This presents a huge traffic opportunity.
You don’t need to create a viral video to get results on YouTube. You can still promote your products with interesting or helpful videos. Many people may already be looking for your products or brand on YouTube. By creating a branded channel, with your own videos, you can control the narrative.
19. Product Hunt
Product Hunt is a popular destination and community for people who love finding new products. Although apps and software are more popular than other industries, you’ll regularly see physical products make an appearance on the front page.
The stores most likely to land on Product Hunt are typically selling a single (or small set) of highly novel items. This usually means oddly customizable products, fresh takes on an existing product category, or products that are aesthetically unique. Commodity products or daily purchases aren’t a great fit.
20. Run a Contest
Contests are an easy and affordable way to get your brand in front of a lot of people. By giving away your product, you can make sure your contest gets in front of the right kind of people: potential customers.
However, many contests fail. There are a few key mistakes to avoid when running a contest to promote your business. Make sure the platform, the timing, the messaging, and the steps people have to take to enter your contest are well thought out.
Ready, Set, Promote
Products don’t sell themselves, Fortunately, there are many ways to promote a product in your store. Find one you like from the list above and follow the link to learn how to do it!