How to Choose a Marketing Strategy for your Product that Sells

How to Choose a Marketing Strategy for your Product that Sells

By Matthew Round

There are 3 main product types sold online:

  • consumer
  • shopping
  • speciality

If you’re frustrated that your ecommerce store isn’t performing like you expected, then there’s a high chance you don’t understand which category your product belongs to.

It’s certainly not your fault; despite this contributing the most to the reasons most businesses fail, it’s rarely taught.

In fact, it was one of the first mistakes I made in ecommerce.

Unknowingly, I promoted a regular shopping product with a strategy suited to a viral shopping product.

This is just one of my many mistakes that made me recognise the value of marketing and piqued my initial interest in the discipline.

What I’ve subsequently learnt, is the importance of crafting the right sales funnel for the type of product you sell.

And this is what this post is all about.

Let’s get into it.

It’s all about the product

The truth is, each product type requires a different marketing strategy.

A single Facebook ad can work really well for viral products but can fail miserably selling regular products.

Before you can choose the best marketing strategy for your product, you need to understand the different product types:

The different categories of consumer and business products. Convenience, shopping, speciality and unsought.
The different categories of consumer and business products: convenience, shopping, speciality and unsought.

Products can be categorised as consumer products and business products.

My bet is you’re selling consumer products, so that’s what we’ll concentrate on in this post.

Consumer products can be split into convenience products, shopping products, speciality products and unsought products.

Understanding which type of product you sell is essential in order to market it effectively.

Check out the table below to identify which types of products you sell.

 ConvenienceShoppingSpecialityUnsought
Customer buying behaviourFrequent purchase, high price sensitivity, little customer loyaltyOccasional purchase, customer researches to compare with other productsLow price sensitivity, strong brand loyalty, little product comparison researchLittle product awareness and knowledge or little interest
PriceLow priceHigher priceHigh priceVaries
DistributionEverywhereSelective distributionExclusive distribution in few outletsVaries
PromotionMass promotionAdvertising, personal sellingMore carefully targeted promotionPushy/aggressive advertising and personal selling
ExamplesToothpaste, magazines, laundry detergentTelevision, furniture, clothingLuxury goods (Rolex & Apple) & designer clothingLife insurance and pre-planned funeral service

Table adapted from Marketing Insider.

You should avoid convenience products like regular toothpaste and laundry detergent, unless you have a huge marketing budget for mass promotion.

These products have high price sensitivity, which means that customers buy from whichever company sells it the cheapest. So, unless you can beat Walmart or Amazon on price you should avoid these products.

Similarly, shopping products should also be avoided unless you are experienced, with a large marketing budget.

However, if convenience or shopping products have a high chance of becoming viral. Then they can be a fantastic choice for beginner online entrepreneurs.

Viral products

The truth is, some products are easier to sell than others.

The easiest are viral products.

So, what are viral products?

Viral products can be:

  • convenience products
  • shopping products
  • or occasionally, speciality products.

What separates a viral product from a regular product though, is its exponential growth in popularity.

Viral products connect with our primitive emotions and are bought by people on impulse.

An example of a recent product that became viral was charcoal peel off facemasks. These became viral because of ads that showed close-up shots of the product actually working. These closeups were “disgusting” and “shocking” which helped the videos spread organically.

Below is an example of a Facebook ad selling a viral product.

Viral charcoal Facebook ad example dropshipping
Viral charcoal Facebook ad example.

This ad was very successful because it was simple and provided undeniable proof the product worked. This meant the video spread like wildfire and people bought on impulse.

How to sell a viral product

The main advantage of viral products is that no carefully crafted sales funnels are required; customers are driven by emotion and jump straight from awareness to conversion/buy.

Ecommerce marketing funnel
Ecommerce marketing funnel

This means to sell a viral product you often only need a single ad and retargeting is optional.

This is great news if you're a solo entrepreneur because the barrier to entry is low. Consequently, competition is fierce, and margins are often small.

The drawback to viral products is that their lifespan is very short and interest dies down as quick as it grows.

Timing is everything.

Therefore, for you to build a successful and sustainable business, it’s important to have a constant stream of products that have viral potential.

Finding viral products can be challenging, so this requires you to do a lot of research.

Luckily, the increased popularity of drop-shipping recently, has meant tools and methods to discover viral products is more accessible now than ever before.

Note:

It is still a numbers game. It’s good practice to plan for only 1 in 10 products becoming a winner. You are likely to lose money on 9 products but the 1 success with pay for the losses and will give you a healthy profit.

How much do I need to sell viral products?

Viral products are the best option for first timers delving into ecommerce.

An ecommerce store selling viral products can be started for less than $500, however I would recommend a budget of around $1000.

This allows you to create high-quality video ads, test multiple products, split test ads and optimise your website for conversions using tools like Feedme.

Example marketing campaign for viral products

A Facebook campaign would look something like this:

  1. Video ad showing the product in use and your offer. Watch this tutorial to learn how to create viral video ads.
  2. (Optional) retargeted ad featuring customer testimonials and your offer again

Speciality products

If you own a business with a larger budget, speciality products are the best option since they have the best growth potential – think Nike, Rolex and BMW.

Unlike viral products, specialty products require you to carefully craft a sales funnel, since customers rarely buy speciality products on impulse.

That is, unless the product is recommended by someone they trust. Namely, influencers.

A newly established brand promoting makeup with a single Facebook ad would generate very few sales.

However, a single post by Paris Hilton or Kylie Jenner would generate thousands of sales.

How to sell a speciality product

Compared with a campaign selling viral products, speciality products need a longer sales funnel.

Here’s an example of a Facebook campaign you could use to sell speciality products:

  1. A brief and interesting video that subtly introduces your company. This could be educational, inspirational, humorous, etc. (for example: a “How to video”).
  2. Retargeted video ad with problem statement & value proposition. In other words, how your product will solve the viewers problem.
  3. A retargeted video ad featuring customer testimonials.
  4. Retargeted video ad with your offer and call-to-action.

An alternative:

  1. Promote a blog post that will help your audience. Again, this could be educational, inspirational or humorous.
  2. Retarget them with a lead magnet or low friction purchase like "get your free mascara (just pay shipping)".
  3. Promote your main offer.

As you can see, speciality products require a more complex campaign, taking the prospect through each stage of the marketing funnel.

How much do I need to sell speciality products?

In general, to increase your chances of success, a substantial upfront investment is required.

As you can see in the table above, customers have strong brand loyalty for specialist products.

This means you need to build a strong brand, and this will require capital or a lot of creativity.

It’s hard to come up with an exact figure since it depends on the product and how fast you want to grow.

Here’s how a marketing strategy of an ecommerce business with a small budget selling speciality products might look over time.

Pre-launch
  • Begin building an audience with content marketing (blog, YouTube etc.)
First 10 sales
  • Friends, family & your audience
First 50 sales
  • Referrals from friends, family & your audience
  • Forums & other online communities
First 100 sales
  • Outreach – contacting bloggers for reviews & send product to influencers
  • Sell in person around your community
  • Sell at events
  • Recruiting friends and family as affiliates (pay them a percentage of each sale).

First 1000 sales

(scaling)
  • Influencer marketing (pay per post)
  • Affiliate marketing – blogger & influencer outreach

1000+

  • Online advertising. Now your product is proven, I recommend hiring a marketing agency or employ an experienced marketer.

By trying to sell in person to begin with, it helps you to identify individuals reaction to your product. If the reaction isn’t what you expected you can cut your losses before investing any more time and money.

Conclusion

I hope by reading this you’ve had an aha moment.

You may have been struggling because you were trying to sell a regular product like a viral one.

This is now your time to make a decision.

Are you going to adapt your marketing strategy or find another product?

If you’re new to business with a small budget (<$1000) then finding and selling a viral product is the best option.

However, if you have a larger budget and are more experienced in business, then selling a specialist product like starting a clothing brand is my recommendation.

It’s very hard to sell a specialist product as a new solo entrepreneur with little money. But it is possible, even if the odds aren’t in your favour.

Whatever you choose, you now know which direction to take.

If you have any questions or advice, please leave a comment below.

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