Inbound marketing is a well-known practice to use to help grow your business, but it's more interesting when you can use it for something more tactical-- specifically when you get to use it to launch a product.
I could lead you into a generic blog post with generic step-by-step instructions on how you might launch a new product with inbound marketing. But instead, let me tell you how to do it by telling you a story about a little known product named Wheel Woolies.
Once upon a time there was a company called Braun Automotive who wanted to launch their product Wheel Woolies online.
Starting from Zero: No Dedicated Internet Presence to Drive Sales
Though the Wheel Woolies brushes had been in production since 2006, the product line was considered a secondary offering of Braun’s. As such, Wheel Woolies were never formally launched and no attempt was made to market the product specifically.
Because of this, sales were inadvertent and sporadic. However, initial feedback from users revealed a substantial market and potential for Wheel Woolies success as a stand-alone product line. Because Wheel Woolies had no existing internet presence, there were no marketing performance metrics to evaluate.
How to Attract Interest from Distributors and Their Customers
As their marketing agency, we began to investigate this opportunity further and noticed there were two avenues available to improve product sales:
Promoting the brush line to distributors
Building end-user awareness and demand
We recommended a website branded specifically for Wheel Woolies and that the website launch be treated as a product launch, even though the products aren’t technically new. This approach was intended to provide maximum visibility and increase demand from both distributors and consumers.
While establishing a website was a critical first step and would give Wheel Woolies a vital platform for providing product information for distributors, more was needed. So, we created a full-scale inbound marketing plan aimed at generating both distributor and end-user demand.
The plan included a blog targeted at end users, intended to increase consumer interest and help educate them about the products. The expectation was that educated end users would then request the product from distributors.
Create a website aimed at distributors, with premium content available for download.
Create and maintain an educational end-user blog. High traffic-driving keyword phrases should be utilized.
Build out a social media presence, giving consumers a place to convene and talk about the products, and demonstrating to distributors the existing consumer demand.
Use social media to engage end users by asking for their feedback on existing products and possible new product development.
OverGo set out to gain a deep understanding of the language, solutions, and brands in the marketplace by researching the automotive detailing industry and Braun Automotive’s existing distributor clients. Using HubSpot, we built a responsive website aimed at educating existing and prospective distributors about Wheel Woolies and measuring their interest in purchasing the products to offer to their own customers.
We created a separate page for each available product. To gather potential distributor leads from the website, we created premium content contact forms, placing them on landing pages throughout the website. These included an ebook and a “Become a Distributor” contact page.
The Next Step: Bring Attention to the Site and Product Launch
While conducting our initial research, we noticed that car enthusiasts were actively writing about our client’s products and how much they loved them. We saw this as a huge social media opportunity.
We chose Facebook as the platform for us to give these enthusiastic advocates a place to gather and communicate directly with the company and each other.
Because the Facebook presence was aimed at end users, we launched it by creating a contest that would allow fans a chance to win a set of Wheel Woolies brushes. Response was instantaneous, garnering 1274 likes in just the first 16 days from contest launch.
We also researched the topics car enthusiasts were blogging about and analyzed which keywords would drive the highest traffic, using this information to form our blogging strategy. All blog posts were targeted at product end users, focusing on their key interests:
Using the products
Right away, the website began functioning like the well-oiled machine we designed. Both Facebook and the blog began to drive end-user traffic to the website, increasing awareness about the new company, the products, and the website.
Within just 16 months, dozens of potential distributors had used the website to submit requests for more information and 12 became new distributors. We utilized HubSpot software to generate immediate automatic email alerts to our team and our client’s sales team when any distributor request was received.
This allowed the client to take immediate sales action, and it enabled us to coordinate and refine our marketing efforts based upon their in-person follow up.
The Moral of the Story
The moral of this story is that with any product launch you can’t just set out down a bunch of different avenues and waste your time spreading the word all over the place.
The key is to find where you target audience is and put your new product right in front of their face. If you run around the Internet without an inbound marketing strategy you’re going to waste your time and even worse-- waste your money.
Originally published Aug 19, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016