New product - how to promote?

Hi all,

I posted this in the e-commerce section, but it’s probably more appropriate here.

I have recently established an e-commerce website to sell a personalized novelty item (related to cell phones). My target customer base is young singles ages 15 to 25 with a credit card. (a highly sought after audience, I know) The product costs on average $16 incl shipping, depending on which style/color the customer chooses.

This is a unique novelty product my partner (the manufacturer) & I have come up with & is not being sold elsewhere either in stores or on the web, although someone could have one made for them from vendors online or off if they ever thought of it. Even then our business would have them beat on price & convenience. Since it is personalized with customer provided information, each order has to be fabricated individually.

The problem is … since this is something the prospective customer would never think of buying till they saw it, SEO techniques really don’t seem to be helping it much, there are few keywords that would relate directly to this product. (kind of like some of those unique products you see in late night TV infomercials)

My stats show exactly zero visits generated from search engine hits. I do get crawled by Google everyday. Google wants $400 a month for an ad campaign to start & I’m not ready to go there yet till I see what kind of sales I can generate on my own.

I have been of late advertising in select cities/towns on Craigslist, carefully trying not to violate their TOS (though I have probably crossed the line just a bit, I haven’t been caught yet!) Hits on the site generated from Craigslist ads seem to be three or four per the first day per Craigslist location, then diminishing in subsequent days. But no sales :frowning:

My amateur test marketing consisted of my teenage daughters friends, most of whose initial reaction was that the product was very cool, but most could not say for sure whether they would buy one or not if they saw it online.

I have also established a Facebook page, but a bit unsure how to promote from there - and I have established a MYBB forum in the past week with a contest for people to submit their funny stories related to cell phone use. (weekly winner of the contest to receive one free product) I am promoting the contest/prize on Craigslist as well - just started a couple days ago.

The e-commerce site has been up about a month now & the Facebook & Forum contest campaign less than a week. Am I perhaps expecting results too soon from a previously unheard of novelty product?

I could probably offer affiliates $1 per sale initially, but don’t know too much about affiliate marketing as of yet. (still reading up on it) Would affiliates be interested in promoting a small ad for a novelty product on their sites that generates them only $1 per sale?

So I am looking for ideas on how to get the product idea out in front of the eyes of prospective customers. Any other ideas anyone on the forum has would be greatly appreciated.

I recommend you set up a Twitter account for the product, and “tweet” about it. As you do, add hash tags to your tweets with key words. (A hash tag is the # symbol with a word attached, such as #fun.)

These hash tags help people find tweets about various topics. You could try a range of topics—that is, words that in some way relate to the nature/functionality of your product. That will at least give you a sense of what sorts of key words might create interest in your product. There are also some standard hash tags that are in wide use, which may or may not relate. For example, if your product in some way related to the iPhone, there is a common hash tag for that which you could use: iphone

Worth considering, anyhow.

Hey thanks Ralph. I’ve been meaning to get to the Twitter thing (don’t know much about it) I’ll try that.

(or perhaps I just have a dud product?) :confused:

You are a long way off determining that. If lots of people know about it and try it, and then don’t use it, well then you’ll know.

Even then, lots of dud products sell well due to clever marketing. :lol:

How about Video Marketing, Its good for products, Have you tried it?

You mean like YouTube videos?

for e-commerce websites try to establish good customer relationship. return customers is key for success.

here are some more options for e-commerce marketing:
ebay
amazon
ppc
google base
social sites
get listed on price comparison sites
seo

Zero google pretty much means Zero Twitter, Zero Amazon, Zero everything else. You either need to rethink your keywords and/or go with PR. My guess is anybody not in the company who sees this product will come up with a set of less original keywords that will work a whopping lot better.

Those keywords may not do justice to your opinion about the product. Those keywords may not be the ones you think potential customers should use. But use those keywords, nonetheless. In online marketing terms, you haven’t had your cold shower moment yet. But I can hear it coming through the pipes.

If it’s such a head slapper, reporters will cover your well written news release. (And no, well written does not mean you spelled I, myself, me, and our company correctly.)

Right now you seem to be the only one holding the opinion it is an in demand product. Hand out a bunch, video the frenzied reaction, and hand reporters that.

Don’t do Twitter. Target established bloggers who Twitter – with a ready audience – and show the bloggers customers finding your novelty novel. Do not say it is novel. Do not write it is

Market reaction is news. Your high opinion of your own product idea is not. (Now just let me guess – all the styles and versions were developed without a single, solitary, target user’s input – because it’s just too great an idea to market test.) And no, you did not market test. Market reaction is denominated in dollars not adjectives.

If so, don’t Twitter. Don’t blog. Don’t even write. Hire someone. (And, just to make it clear, that someone is not me. And trust me, I don’t know what it is and yet I already know it’s not me.)

Newsflash: Unless somone in the market says it’s great – great enough to buy and tell friends about, who then go and buy – it’s not so great. I work with people who have garages and warehouses full of surefire genious ideas …I work to keep these market landslide, can’t miss, “we just need to tell people” products out of landfills.

If you have some money to invest, you should do PPC, PPV, Ads in Facebook or Media Buy (put banners in other webs. Decide wich one of those methods is better for you and concentrate on it. It would be much faster if you do a course about it.