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Marketing Tactics

3 Tricks To Marketing Unsexy Products: Tips From Industry leaders In SAAS

When it comes to marketing functional but not particularly exciting products, there is no point trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes with buzzwords and sparkle; rather share how it makes their life better.

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When you are solving a “big” problem, or have developed a product which is trending – VR, AR or machine learning, to name a few – then creating a buzz around your company is easy. However, if you are part of the other 90 percent who are selling an “unsexy” product which solves “small but essential problems” for specific consumers, you will need to think outside the box about how to get people hot under the collar about what you have to offer.

Just because your product isn’t shiny and exciting doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. A cashless payments portal, accounting software or ecommerce tool could help mom-and pop business owners dramatically boost sales, improve customer service and streamline day-to-day business. But while I wouldn’t go as far as calling these product “grudge purchases” – like getting new tires or re-roofing your house – people are unlikely to post a Facebook or Twitter comment boasting about their SaaS investment, as they might with a car, house or hoverboard.

Related: Milestones In Multi-Sensory Marketing

To help those businesses that have Saas products, I spoke to various experts about the best ways to market an unsexy product.

1Understand the problem you are solving

problem-solving

The first step in being able to convince consumers that you have created something important, is truly understanding why your product is important for different users.

Once you truly understand the problem you are solving, you can clearly express this to potential users in a language they understand.

Matt Hodges, senior director of marketing at Intercom, suggests leaning on the “jobs to be done” theory to clarify why consumers choose to use your product to solve a problem.

To really add value to consumers, you need to look at what jobs your company is completing for them, and get to the root of why they choose your product above others for that specific task. This will then provide the value proposition to express to them in marketing campaigns.

“Rather than building a better version of what already exists, take the time to truly understand the problem and then build a solution based on that. This will help you really resonate with buyers,” said Matt Hodges. “You have to unpack problem before you try to solve it. Really understanding the market and customer pain points first, will then help development and also market placement.”

This can be done by hiring researchers. Another means of gaining feedback from customers about product is through conducting interviews via phone or online.

“I personally conducted more than 200 interviews with potential consumers trying to understand the problem,” says Ardi Iranmanesh, co-founder of Affinio. “Rather than putting words into their mouths, we tried to figure out how customers explains their own problem. What keywords do they use to describe the pain points? We then use these exact words when we describe our company and how we can help them.”

By truly understanding the root problem you are solving for consumers, you can then use this information in all of your marketing and communication, speaking to them in real terms about real differences you can make to their lives.

Related: 6 Facebook Marketing Tips To Help Grow Your Small Businesses

2Speak to users in a language they understand

coding language

Once you understand who is using your product, and the difference it can make to users’ lives, you can then focus on conveying your message to these people in a clear and concise manner.

Instead of focusing on the technology which enables you to solve a problem, focus on the problem being solved.

“I am a big believer in no bull and no fluff. You shouldn’t try to dress your product to be better than it is,” says Hodges. “Use simple language to describe features, which is completely free of buzzwords. Explain to the user in simple terms which they understand the value which the product can bring to them.”

If your target audience are small business owners, the chances are that they are already constantly having to learn new skills to manage a business in the modern digital age. They shouldn’t have to read a dummies guide to programming to understand how your SaaS tool can make their lives easier.

Tobias Lütke, founder and CEO of Shopify argues, It is your job to take a ball of technology and make it accessible. SMB owners are incredibly smart and hard working, and people underestimate the amount of skills which they need nowadays. All of our founders used to be merchants. We acknowledge that it’s hard and don’t pretend it’s not. We just take a big amount of complexity and reduce it.”

Knowing your target user, having a real knowledge of their average day and the challenges and strains which they face, allows you to speak to them on a more personal level.

Mike McDerment CEO and founder of Freshbooks states: “It is important to explain value using units of measurements which really resonate with busy people. Instead of spinning their heads with industry buzzwords, explain to them how your tool could free up two extra hours per day of free time. That’s time to watch a movie with their partner, take their kids swimming, or sit down at the dinner table with their family.”

3Create a buzz around your whole company rather than just your product

coca-cola-company

Just because your product itself might not have the “wow’ factor,” doesn’t mean that you cannot make your company interesting to the general public. It is your product which users pay for, but it is your dream, mission and values that they are buying into.

Offer your community a behind-the-scenes look at the company. Rather than only sharing information related to your product, create stories which convey your aims and values, and share the journey which you and your team have taken to arrive at this point.

Related: Right Here. Right Now. How Marketing Is Evolving

“Human beings are hardwired to retain information through stories and pass it on. If you can tell a story, the retention rate will be higher and will be passed on faster and further,” says McDerment.

“You need to make yourself interesting at all costs. Create novel and quirky stories to grab eyeballs, and then share them with the media and on social channels.”

At FreshBooks, McDerment and his team have created a number of stories which portray their central values. From making every new employee spend their first month in customer service, sending employees on blind dates to improve communication, hanging hangover kits on doors after conference events, to running free shuttles from the airport to conferences just to make the experience easier for attendees, the company creates experiences which share the fact they hold customer service at the company’s core.

However, Jamie Petten, director of marketing for L-SPARK warns Flashy stunts create a good moment, but it’s just a moment. What will really be impactful and memorable is building a community and sharing quality stories about what your company is and has been doing on its journey.”

When it comes to gaining media coverage, you have a much better chance of being covered in a leading publication sharing business advice, founder stories, interesting insights about company culture or tips for how to improve processes and workflow, than you do if you focus on your product.

Instead of trying to wow a general audience with fluff and flair, experts state that it is best to hyper-target specific audiences with content which resonates with them. Ben Yoskovitz, co-founder of Highline Beta says: “It’s about finding the people who find your product sexy. Highlight who these people are and then sell your mission to them in a clear manner.”

When it comes to marketing functional but not particularly exciting products, there is no point trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes with buzzwords and sparkle; the trick lies in truly grasping the root of the problem you solve for different users, and then explaining the value to them in language they understand.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Marketing Tactics

An ‘Outside-the-Box’ Approach to the e-Commerce Unboxing Experience

Get started by keeping three elements in mind – recyclable/re-usable packaging, personalised thank-you notes and free samples.

Daniella Shapiro

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With a predicted 24,79 million e-commerce users in South Africa by 2021, online shopping is here to stay, making it impossible to escape the predicament of perfecting the art of product packaging. It’s time to think outside the box when it comes to creating a meaningful unboxing experience. Get started by keeping three elements in mind – recyclable/re-usable packaging, personalised thank-you notes and free samples.

Recyclable/Re-Usable Packaging

Certain types of product packaging are having a tremendous negative impact on our environment, with 5.35 trillion pieces of plastic debris littering the world’s oceans, and with 269,000 tonnes of this amount floating on the surface – and plastic isn’t the only culprit. Did you know that it’s impossible for Styrofoam to ever be broken down completely? And that 1 million single-use coffee cups wind up in landfill every single minute of every day? These statistics make it obvious as to why it’s becoming so important for business owners to be more conscious about the type of packaging that they use.

Many business owners wonder if their customers really care whether their business is doing its part to protect the environment. According to Forbes and a 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study, the answer is a resounding ‘YES, they most certainly do!’.

87% of the consumers surveyed stated that they always have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues, and 88% claimed that they usually feel more loyal toward a company that they know supports social or environmental issues.

Thoughtful Thank-You Notes

The unboxing experience should be a unique and personal one, and it should be just as memorable as the experience of utilising the product itself! So, make it all the more special and build customer loyalty by including a personalised thank you note. Address the customer by their first name, thank them sincerely for their patronage and end off by giving them some helpful advice regarding the product, or share an interesting benefit of using it. Go the extra, extra mile by hand-writing the letter too.

Free Samples

Everyone loves getting free stuff. Why not bolster the unboxing experience by sending over a little bit more than expected? Not only will a free sample put a big smile on the face of the receiver, if they actually enjoy using it, there’s also a good chance that they’ll be coming back to order more. According to Shopify, free samples have the potential to boost sales by as much as 2,000%.

When it comes to packaging, make the right choice. Sustainable, thoughtful, memorable. Your customers, and the environment, will thank you for it.

 

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Marketing Tactics

The Facebook Ads Strategy That Can’t Lose

It’s a numbers game.

Entrepreneur

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Running a profitable Facebook Ads campaign is simple. Not always easy, but simple.

There is a formula that can guarantee a profitable Facebook Ad campaign. Once you know the formula and the values to plug in, you’ll never sink money into a losing digital ad campaign again. I know it sounds too good to be true, but stick with me…

The Guaranteed Growth Formula

Here’s the entire formula: CPA < AP

Were you expecting coefficients, remainders and dividing by polynomials? Nope, there are only two values that matter when assessing your digital marketing funnel.

1. CPA – Cost Per Acquisition

2. AP – Average Profit Per Client

If your Cost Per Acquisition, the amount you pay to generate a paying customer using Facebook Ads, is less than the Average Profit you make from each new customer you’re guaranteed a profitable campaign.

Calculating Average Profit

To get average profit per client, sum your total revenue from new clients and subtract what you spent to serve them. Divide the result by the total new clients. For example, if you made $75,000 from 10 new clients over the past year and it cost you $40,000 to serve them, your average profit is:

 ($75,000 – $40,000) / 10 = $3500 Average Profit Per Client

If your average acquisition cost for similar future clients is less than $3500, your campaign will technically be profitable.

Of course most businesses won’t want to spend all of their profit on acquisition. An average business can expect to invest at least 7 percent but no more than 15 percent of revenue in sales and marketing. If Cost of Goods accounts for 60 percent or more of total revenue, your low profit margin may make it difficult to afford successful advertising. Decrease operating costs by increasing efficiency or adjust your margin by raising prices.

Don’t make the mistake of calculating Average Profit based on revenue only from the first sale. Use at least six months of revenue or your lifetime client value as the basis for your calculation, or you risk underfunding your marketing and sales budget.

Related: Here Is Why Your Facebook Ad Campaigns Aren’t Producing Results

Calculating Cost Per Acquisition

Let’s assume you’ve considered all of your marketing and sales costs and determined you can spend $350 per new client on Facebook Ads. Let’s reverse engineer your ad campaign to see if a $350 cost of acquisition is reasonable.

The simplest Facebook ads funnel includes four metrics that build upon each other to determine your acquisition cost. I’ve included standard benchmarks for use as a starting point, but your results may differ:

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR) – Percentage of people clicking on your ad. Your CTR should be near or above 1 percent.

2. Cost Per Click (CPC) – The cost of one website visit. CPC should generally be below $3.

3. Lead Conversion Rate – The percentage of site traffic that becomes qualified leads. This value should be 20 percent or above.

4. Sales Conversion Rate – The percentage of leads that convert to a sale. Aim for sales conversion at or above 5 percent. (E-commerce companies often skip the Lead Conversion stage and have a Sales Conversion Rate of 1 percent or greater.)

If 10,000 people view your ad at a 1 percent CTR, you’ll get about 100 website visits. At a $3 CPC, you’ve spent $300. Since 20 percent of your traffic will become leads and 5 percent of those leads become closed sales, we can calculate that you’ll generate approximately 60 leads and three new customers.

Your estimated acquisition cost using Facebook Ads is $100 per client, which is well within your budget of $350. This cost may rise as you scale and target less optimal prospects, but as long as your acquisition cost is less than $350 you’ll make an acceptable profit.

Complex funnels can include several ads and conversion points, but the Guaranteed Growth Formula of CPA < AP still applies. There’s no immediate reason for concern if your metrics differ from the benchmarks. You can and should split test ideas for improvement if your numbers are far from what you expect, but don’t mess up a good thing until you’ve got a better one.

Optimising Your Guaranteed Growth Funnel

If unhealthy metrics cause your acquisition to cost more than what you’ve budgeted, start with these adjustments:

Click-Through Rate Too Low or Cost Per Click Too High

If your CTR falls far under 1 percent Facebook may stop showing your ads or show them to second-rate audiences causing your traffic to tank and CPC to increase. To improve your click metrics, adjust your ad copy (headline and body text), ad creative (image or video) and highlight the benefits in your offer.

Refine your audience. Tailor your copy, images and call-to-action to the audience you’ve selected and ensure that your audience has the desire and means to act.

Lead Conversion Too Low

If leads aren’t converting at 20 percent or more, either the promise made by your ad isn’t congruent with your landing page, or the process of moving forward is too difficult. Try using the same image and headline in your ad and reduce the form fields in sign-up forms to the bare minimum. Also try retargeting visitors who don’t sign up with ads stating the benefits of acting now, or with a different offer.

Related: Staying Relevant In The Facebook Age Of Meaningful Social Interactions

Sales Conversion Too Low

If you’re an Ecommerce brand with sales conversion below 1 percent your shopping cart or sales process may have too much friction. Simplify the sales process to decrease clutter, or increase trust by adding testimonials and trust signals near important calls to action.

Your sales process may need improvement, but that is beyond this article. In the meantime, you can still increase revenue by cross-selling and upselling those who convert. You may also improve client retention with recurring contracts. Yes, that’s why many software companies are switching to cloud-based subscription models.

When used properly, The Guaranteed Growth Formula of CPA < AP makes Facebook Ad marketing an investment, not an expense. Using the formula, the most you should ever risk is a small initial budget to test whether your estimated calculations hold true in practice.

If your net profit is 3X your acquisition cost, your funnel returns $3 for every $1 you invest. Instead of asking “How much should I spend on marketing?” The question becomes, “How much do I want to make?” I’ve built a Facebook Ad Growth Calculator that incorporates the Guaranteed Growth Formula to help execute your growth strategy. Input your revenue goal and it will estimate the Facebook Ad impressions and traffic required to reach it.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Marketing Tactics

How Is Influencer Marketing Going To Change In The Future?

How is influencer marketing going to be in the upcoming time? Read on.

Maulik Patel

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Influencer marketing is definitely not a new story. It’s been more than a decade now that it is immensely dominating the world of digital marketing. While being extremely cost-effective, influencer marketing strategies have very soon ended up with a great exposure. The businesses are building an immense level of reputation and earning various links with the help of this innovative marketing concept. In fact, the influencer marketing agencies are coming up with new approaches of implementation with each passing day.

Moreover, like any other type of marketing, the trends of influencer marketing are ever changing. Like how the story was five years back is not the same now and it is going to further evolve in the future.

The anticipated influencer marketing challenges

With the continuous growth of social media, influencer marketing is definitely going to face a myriad of obstacles. A few of the most expected ones are as follows:

Expenses

The demand for influencer marketing is continuously on the rise and eventually, the cost is going up. If you want to enter into the market of influencer marketing and establish yourself as an influencer then you need to give a lot of efforts while building a personal brand and earning the reputation for yourself.

You want to become one among such influencers who’ve already amassed a great following means that you’ll need to make it worth it- sometimes paid promotion could be the right tactic. In the future, this scenario is going to be even more prominent as people will have to spend huge bucks to be a worthy influencer.

Customers faith

In recent times, consumers have gradually started distrusting the huge brands when they realised that the corporations are working for only profit without having the user’s interests in the mind. So, for them, influencers are now no more than some mere conduits for big commercial names. So, it is going to be really tough for the influencers to get the trust of consumers back.

High level of competition

Social media is no doubt such a place now which is teeming with massive competition and threats. Many influencers who are already thriving and the people who have an urge to become influencers turn it into a complicated scenario for you to enter in this space as an influencer in your own right.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Really Works

How can influencer marketing unfold in the future?

Of course, there are multiple ways in which the entire story of influencer marketing can change in the coming years. Let’s check out some of the most expected developments:

Exchanges will be ahead of favours

The chapter of influencer marketing is probably going to be a pretty much an impartial marketplace in the coming time. The brands are more likely to enter into a mutual collaboration with the influencer marketing agencies in terms of interchanging shares, posts, audience visibility while being more organic rather than asking for the favour of mentioning the brand’s name to the influencers

Networking will be preferred over individuals

Gone are the days when influencer marketing used to be the story of respective individuals. Now, markets are assumed to start focussing on the entire networks or industries. The future influencer marketers can get rid of the problem of being based on individual interactions by getting the insights of blog comments, forums etc.

Change in the concept of disclosure

Why has not native advertising sustained over the long term?

It’s because the publishers always negate to disclose which posts are the paid promotions. In such a scenario, influencer marketing strategies can move a bit ahead of this transparent problem in the future. All that they are expected to do is formally announce the sort of partnership or arrangement that is existing behind each and every content. The experts believe that this process might end up being quite a tedious one. Howbeit, the consumer trust will not be hampered at all.

Limited and sensible partnerships

Influencers might lean more towards self-preservation in the coming days. Rather than establishing a relationship with hundreds of marketers or products, influencers are expected to focus more on developing authentic professional relationships which really make some sense. For examples, the influencers are intended to concentrate more on such relationships which can be profitable for themselves as individuals and also seem to be appealing to their followers. Say, a move towards quality over quantity!

Winding Up

No doubt, the evolution of influencer marketing is not only dependent on the aforementioned factors. There’s much more that can happen. The time can only reveal that. Influencer marketing is certainly going to change on its own in either of the two ways, a more sophisticated one or become a mere peripheral strategy which won’t be completely accessible.

Let’s just wait and watch how it comes up to us in the future!

Aren’t you taking an advantage of the current extraordinary status of influencer marketing in the meantime?

Related: 4 Young Marketing Influencers You Can Learn From

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