How to market a product or service: 10 effective ways
Is your business preparing to launch a new product or service? Then, congratulations! You’ve probably spent months — if not years — researching what consumers want and tailoring your offering to their needs.
Here’s the thing: without marketing, your new product or service may struggle to reach your target audience. No one will know about it if you don’t tell them. Read on to learn tips on marketing a new product or service effectively.
What goes into developing a product marketing strategy?
A product marketing strategy is a document that explains how you’ll position and promote a new product or service. This guidebook should cover the entire product life cycle, including product development, launch, and growth.
How can you create a successful product marketing strategy that engages and excites consumers? Follow these steps:
1. Identify your target audience
The first step is to understand who your ideal customer is; this potential customer is your target audience. There are a couple of ways to do this:
- Engage in market research: Conduct interviews, surveys, and focus groups to collect data, including demographic, behavioral, and preferential information. Survey existing customers for more specific information like age, job, gender, hobbies, location, and media consumption habits.
- Survey existing customers: Pay attention to customer feedback; analyze their reviews, comments, and suggestions to better understand their needs and preferences.
- Utilize analytics: Use website analytics tools (like Google Analytics) to analyze visitor behavior, interactions, and demographics on your website. Additionally, utilize social media analytics to understand the interests and demographics of your social media followers.
- Engage in competitive analyses: Find similar products and look at your competitors’ audiences by checking their social media platforms and websites. You can also use paid tools, like Ahrefs and Semrush, to learn about competing websites and the keywords they rank for.
- Use buyer personas: Develop buyer personas to represent your ideal customer. Make sure to include demographic, behavioral, and psychographic information.
2. Develop a unique selling proposition (USP)
Define the characteristics of your product or service that differentiate it from similar competing offerings. This is your unique selling proposition (USP), also called a unique value proposition.
When defining a USP, focus on characteristics that solve a problem (address a pain point). Understanding your audience’s pain points is crucial to crafting a customer-focused product and content marketing strategy.
For example, if you’re selling a razor, don’t simply say it’s blue. The razor’s color doesn’t solve a problem for your customers. Say it has a triple-blade that leads to a smoother finish and less frequent shaving — a feature that will save consumers’ skin and time.
The best way to identify your USP is through market research. Look at competing products and services and determine how yours is different.
3. Create a strong brand identity
Promoting a product or service is easier if a strong brand backs it. Your brand identity refers to how people see your brand — it involves visual, verbal, and emotional elements that collectively represent a brand. The goal of building a brand identity is to elicit an emotional response from your target audience.
The first step in creating a brand is defining your brand’s mission and values. This is a foundational step because it establishes the purpose and principles that will guide all aspects of your brand. For inspiration, check out Target’s mission statement: “To help all families discover the joy of everyday life.” Or McDonald’s: “Our mission is to make delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone.”
Then, create a visual brand identity that speaks to your brand. Visual branding includes your brand’s logo, tagline, color palettes, typography, and imagery. Visual branding is powerful — just think of Target’s unmistakable red target or McDonald’s golden arches.
You also want to establish your brand voice. What tone and verbiage reflect your brand? You might want a formal tone or a more laid-back tone — or even a humorous or irreverent tone (think Cards Against Humanity).
Once you’ve decided on your brand elements, use them across your advertising and marketing materials — from your website to your social media platforms. Remember, consistency makes it easier for consumers to recognize and remember your brand.
4. Set goals, analyze your results, and adjust accordingly
With the above steps, you can create a marketing plan. One essential step in crafting a marketing plan is setting measurable goals. You want to define key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the success of every marketing initiative you implement.
However, the KPIs you choose will differ depending on the marketing channel. If you send an email marketing campaign, you might measure success by the number of email opens and clicks. Alternatively, if you run a social media campaign on Instagram, you can measure success with metrics like the number of likes, comments, and shares (engagement) your campaign gets.
Set KPIs and decide how often you’ll measure them (daily, weekly, or monthly). Then, monitor them regularly to see how your marketing initiative performs. If it isn’t meeting expectations, tweak your marketing plan.
Top 10 ways to market a product or service effectively
Your service or product marketing strategy will likely use more than one marketing tactic. Here are some popular methods for promoting a new product launch while raising brand awareness:
1. Email or text campaigns
Email and text marketing campaigns are ideal for reaching an existing customer base whose data you have (and are legally allowed to use). Email and SMS campaigns can be highly personalized and easy to control — you can add personal information (like a person’s name) and can decide who sees the campaign and when.
Additionally, email lists and SMS campaigns are relatively easy to set up and affordable to implement. You can use tools like Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp to launch email campaigns. These tools let you create subscriber lists with details like email and name. Campaign Monitor also has an SMS function.
For effective email and SMS product campaigns, follow these pointers:
- Clearly state your company to avoid confusion (and spam folders).
- Focus on your product highlights and keep the copy short and sweet.
- Add a call to action (CTA) with a link where users can get more info or even preorder or buy the product or service (if it’s available).
- Avoid spamming customers with too many texts or emails, which may cause them to unsubscribe.
- Include a mix of words and images for emails, plus white space for visual balance.
2. Social media marketing
Social media marketing is great for promoting new products or services, allowing you to reach existing customers and possibly new customers. The potential is big: 90% of people in the United States use social media, while 80% use social media to make purchasing decisions.
Beyond reach, social media has other benefits, like various platforms and marketing methods. This guide to social media advertising covers the basics.
There are plenty of tools to simplify your social media marketing campaigns. You can implement and plan posts — even schedule them to post across your accounts automatically. When using social media to promote a product or service, follow these tips:
- Choose a platform that fits your target audience. Targeting baby boomers? Try Facebook or LinkedIn. Targeting Gen Zers? Look at Instagram or TikTok.
- Pick a fitting ad format. For example, a video tutorial pointing out key features might be right if you want to showcase a new product.
- Target your ads appropriately. Most social media platforms let you target ads based on demographics like age and gender. Take advantage of the opportunity to zoom in on your ideal consumer.
3. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a subset of social media marketing. It involves collaborating with influencers with an impactful or significant social media following to promote your new product or service.
When it comes to influencer marketing, pick your platform and partner with your target market in mind. For example, if your product is for retirees, teaming up with a 15-year-old YouTuber probably won’t get you far.
Here are some other hacks for making influencer marketing work for your product or service launch:
- Ask for stats. Determine what engagement an influencer gets, such as likes and comments. Followers alone don’t mean engagement.
- Explore their feed. Check out the content they produce. Are their values in line with your brand’s? Do they promote products or services like yours?
- Figure out the creative. How much input do you want on the creative aspect? Some influencers create their own content, while others work with brands to make content.
- Provide guidance. Make sure your influencer knows what to promote about your product or service. Ideally, they’ll flag your USP. Bullet points can help.
4. Offer a limited-time promotion or deal
You can implement limited-time promotions or deals in many ways. You can send exclusive offers or coupons to existing email subscribers, for example. Or you can create social media ads that feature a limited-time offer.
Regardless of the format, limited-time specials have perks that make them great for product or service promotion. First, they create a sense of urgency, which can inspire immediate sales.
They can also boost loyalty and minimize the risk of cart abandonment (when a consumer adds a product to their cart but doesn’t finish the transaction.)
Here’s how to use limited-time offers for your service or product promotion:
- Pick a fitting offer. Examples of limited-time offers could include a certain dollar or percentage discount, free shipping for a specified time frame, or a free giveaway with purchase.
- Make the terms clear. You risk angering consumers if there’s confusion about the offer. For example, if they expect a free gift but don’t get it. Clarify what you’re offering, on what terms, and for how long.
- Add a countdown. You know that sense of urgency we mentioned? Play it up by adding a countdown timer to your promotions.
- Heighten FOMO. You can also play into the fear of missing out (FOMO) by emphasizing products with limited availability.
5. Develop a loyalty program
Loyal customers come back to your brand again and again, meaning repeat sales. Loyalty programs encourage people to stick with your business and, in some cases, buy more. An example of a loyalty program might be “Buy two, and the third is on us.”
Refer-a-friend programs are also a type of loyalty program. This way, you aren’t just retaining an existing customer — you’re also gaining a new one through referrals.
You can promote loyalty programs through all kinds of media, from social media to emails. Loyalty programs are helpful because they can be highly targeted and repetitive and encourage repeat buying.
Here are some tips for developing a loyalty program that works:
- Choose a program that fits your brand and product. Examples include points-based, tiered, and gamified loyalty programs. For example, a tiered program opens new perks to customers depending on their spending.
- Define the program’s goals. You’re promoting a product or service, so you want people to buy it. But maybe you also want them to tell friends about it.
- Personalize your program. Consider your customers’ behaviors and tailor your loyalty program accordingly. For example, if your customers often buy your goods every three months, incentivize more frequent purchases.
6. Share user-generated content
Word-of-mouth marketing can be an effective tool when a business launches a new product or service. This means you rely on customers outside your business to spread the news through online reviews, testimonials, or user-generated content (UGC).
This kind of marketing is effective because it’s viewed as authentic — something consumers crave. People are more likely to believe an objective third party than the brand itself.
Follow these tips for using customer reviews and UGC to promote a new service or product online:
- Select relevant social networks and set goals. Decide where you want to focus your energy (for example, based on audience demographics). Then, determine what you want to achieve. For example, you might want to increase tags (mentions) on Instagram.
- Tell people what content you want. Encourage people to provide feedback through tools like hashtags. But what kind of feedback should they give? You might encourage people to show a video of themselves using your product.
- Take a collaborative approach. UGC is a great way to build a sense of community. Make sure it feels inclusive, and don’t repost UGC without asking the creator for consent first.
7. Create a subscription service
Subscription services are a great way to get repeat sales upfront. You aren’t just selling one product or service one time — you’re selling it again and again. This can help keep your offering relevant.
Be aware that subscription services don’t make sense for every company. For example, a subscription makes sense for a meal-kit delivery service — people need to eat every day. However, a car dealership can’t use this model since people don’t buy cars that often.
If a subscription service fits your needs, follow these best practices for setting it up:
- Research the competition. Before launching, see if your competitors offer similar subscription models. You want to try to differentiate from what they’re doing.
- Consider logistics. Digital subscriptions are easy to deliver via email. However, if you must bring someone tangible goods, like food that could spoil, you need to consider the literal operations of this service.
- Create a sample. A sample subscription can help convince people of the utility of your service. They may then commit to a more long-term relationship.
8. Host a contest or giveaway
Hosting a contest or giveaway is an excellent way to create excitement and engagement among your target audience when marketing a product. Interactive challenges or opportunities encourage participation, help increase brand visibility, and generate buzz on social media.
Additionally, contests or giveaways can be a great way to collect user-generated content (UGC) and attract new potential customers who may be drawn to your brand for a chance to win a prize. Here are some basic contest and giveaway ideas:
- User-generated content contest: Ask people to submit photos, videos, or infographics showcasing how they use your product or service. The most creative or compelling entry wins a prize and gets features on your website and social media.
- Share and tag giveaway: Create a post on social media encouraging people to share your post in their stories and tag their friends for a chance to win a prize. Participants who follow the directions correctly are entered into a randomized drawing.
- Flash giveaway: Host a time-limited giveaway to create a sense of urgency and excitement.
9. Create a referral program
A referral program is an excellent way to leverage satisfied customers to organically expand your brand’s reach. When you incentivize existing customers to refer their friends to your products or services, you can establish a cost-effective customer acquisition channel built off a trusted network.
Referral programs are a great way to foster customer loyalty and capitalize on personal recommendations. Here are a few ideas for various referral programs you can implement:
- Loyalty rewards: Create a system where customers earn rewards for successful referrals, which they can redeem for discounts, freebies, or exclusive products or services.
- Discounts: Offer a special mutual promotion to both the existing customer and the new customer being referred.
- Cash or gift cards: Offer cash rewards to gift cards for successful referrals.
- Exclusive access: Provide referrers and referees with exclusive access to new products, features, or services before they are made available to the public.
10. Engage in search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a content marketing strategy that aims to improve a landing page, video, or social media post’s visibility in relevant search engine results. The goal of SEO is to improve a site, video, or post’s ranking for relevant keywords. For a website, SEO involves:
- Keyword research: For each individual landing page, it’s crucial to identify relevant keywords for which you want that page to organically rank. Research keywords with high search volume and low competition to target.
- Optimize content: Develop high-quality content on the page that includes relevant keywords organically throughout.
- Title tags, header tags, and meta descriptions: Create a concise title tag that includes the main keyword and aim to keep it under 60 characters so it will properly display in search engine results. Use header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) on your page to structure your content. Also, make sure to include the most relevant keyword in H1 and additional keywords throughout the other subheadings. Write meta descriptions that accurately summarize the contents of the page and use relevant keywords — try to keep these under 155 characters.
- Image optimization: Add alt text to images that include relevant keywords. Try to reduce file size without compromising quality if possible.
- Internal and external linking: Link to other relevant pages on your website to help search engines understand the structure of your site. Additionally, link to authoritative external sources when appropriate to help build credibility and provide additional context to your content.
For social media, SEO involves the following:
- Optimize profiles: Fill out all relevant fields in your social media profiles and include a clear and concise bio. Make sure to include relevant keywords in your description to increase searchability.
- Optimize captions: Include relevant keywords in the captions and descriptions of your posts. Integrate relevant hashtags strategically to increase visibility.
- Engage with your audience: Social media platforms may use social signals (comments, messages, and mentions) as a part of their algorithm.
Create marketing designs with Adobe Express
When you launch a new product or service, you need to promote it. A product marketing strategy can help you identify your target customers and tailor your marketing channels. This can help you retain existing customers and win new ones.
There are many marketing tools you can use, from subscription services to email campaigns and social media. Whatever format you choose, create high-quality content that reflects your brand and engages consumers.
Adobe Express can simplify your digital marketing efforts. With our free plan, you can access thousands of templates, design assets, and royalty-free photos. You can use these templates to create marketing materials, such as logos, labels, and marketing plans.
If you upgrade to a professional plan, you'll get additional features, such as the ability to save your brand colors for future use. This can save you time and help you create consistent marketing materials.
Start using Adobe Express today to create marketing designs that will help you launch your new product or service.