Not all businesses are endowed with inherently sexy products or services.
These campaigns were all exciting, entertaining, and became immediately recognizable. While these campaigns were chock full of creative genius, the businesses they represented all have an edge. They’re selling exciting products.
Athletic wear, technology, and alcohol are all things people tend to look forward to shopping for.
Other businesses are not so lucky. It can be challenging to come up with exciting marketing tactics for products or services that on first glance sound pretty boring. So, what marketing tactics are out there for less glamorous brands?
Social media, your new best friend
Social media marketing has been a blessing for boring businesses. It’s engaging and allows significant experimentation. It encourages the use of different formats like video, photos, and text which can all be used creatively. Social networks allow you to engage directly with consumers.
Maybe your brand’s personality, or the lifestyle your product enables, is more interesting than your product itself—there’s your edge. So how can you use these platforms to your advantage?
Tell a story
Storytelling is the oldest marketing tactic in the book. With a little outside the box thinking, you can definitely find an interesting aspect of your product or service. Why is it useful? Who needs it? What difference has it made? Explain how or why it’s interesting in a creative way. Creating social media posts or video ads that follow a narrative is much more interesting to readers than a list of the product’s features.
Proposify is a great example of this. With a fairly robotic product (one that enables you to fill out RFPs in a jiffy) Proposify has managed to find a marketing edge by telling a story about their users with some very goofy humor.
There are likely plenty of stories related to your product or business that are interesting which you might not have even considered as a marketing tool. Consider these questions:
- What is the product’s origin story?
- Where did the business name come from?
- What was your inspiration?
- Who are your employees?
- Who uses your product or service? What’s their story?
The answers to these questions can all make for short and interesting posts.
Use humor as a marketing tactic
One way to establish an interesting brand is by using a personable voice. You want to avoid your marketing and social media presence feeling stiff. Including personal touches in your posts will make your business seem accessible and relatable.
Not only does posting in a personable voice encourage natural engagement from your followers, but it gives you the freedom to create “funny” posts as well. Posts invoking laughter, amusement, or joy get shared 46% more than posts that don’t use humor. The content that is most likely to go viral online is content that makes people laugh.
Social media users are especially entertained by the use of humor by businesses and corporations. This has been clear with examples such as Taco Bell, Netflix, and Old Spice capitalizing on the Internet’s love for witty replies and memes.
You are more likely to gain followers for being consistently funny than for talking about your product 100% of the time. Keep your online marketing tactics at a healthy mix of informative, funny, and sales-related.
Dollar Shave Club does an excellent job with this kind of marketing. They offer a subscription service that sends razors to your home for a dollar a month. The business model is interesting, but the product is definitely less than glamorous. Not to mention, the market for men’s razors is already dominated by a few huge companies.
Dollar Shave Club advertises primarily online which is important because it’s an online service. Their ads are successful because they’re entertaining and different. Comments on their YouTube videos say things like “This is how you get people to not click ‘Skip Ad’ on YouTube.” Their ads work because they make people laugh, setting them apart from their competitors.
Challenges, contests, and trivia are great social media tactics to get people engaging with your brand. These posts are successful because they aren’t one-way, they ask for the input of your consumers.
To generate more interest in your product, you can ask trivia questions about the invention of your product, its history, how it’s used, or even questions related to your industry. People are inherently competitive and love winning.
When developing a contest or challenge, think about why your potential consumers would want to engage with your content; what’s in it for them? Offering a coupon code or free product is an excellent way to ensure that your followers have something to gain from engaging with your brand.
Make sure what you’re asking for in exchange serves the growth of your business. Ask people to share your post, tag friends, and follow you if they aren’t already!
Teach your followers
Often, products or services are boring because we don’t know much about them or they’re part of an industry which is hard to understand. You have an advantage here; you’re an expert in your industry! You can use your expertise to teach the general public about your industry or your product in a way they can engage with.
Why is the industry important? What can the product do for them? This social media tactic can be informative and engaging while convincing potential consumers that your product is necessary.
Blue Apron is an online service that delivers fresh groceries and recipes to your door. The company uses its social media presence to teach its followers about food and wine. As the service advocates learning to cook interesting meals at home, this is the perfect way to market their brand. Their Facebook page is especially helpful, from sharing some of their recipes for free to explaining how different spices are used globally.
Be a little crazy
One sure-fire way to gain notoriety is by marketing your product in an absurd way. This marketing tactic is not for the faint of heart and can be risky if unsuccessful.
The Niagara Falls recycling mascot, Totes McGotes, is a perfect example of absurdity working as a marketing tactic. While saving the planet is something everyone should care about, recycling isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to try and encourage. Especially without sounding preachy. The mayor of Niagara Falls discovered only four percent of residents were recycling and determined something must be done.
Enter Totes McGotes, the recycling goat mascot who went around town educating residents and schools on the importance of recycling.
Of course, even when your ads are crazy or absurd, they should be inoffensive. You don’t want to lose customers by trying too hard to be interesting. You can replicate some of this absurdity easily using social media — try creating memes or short videos.
Have some fun!
Even if your product or service seems dry, there are many ways to use marketing to your advantage. The popularity of social media allows you to create a brand that is far more interesting than the product itself. If you’re having trouble getting (or keeping) attention from potential customers, try adjusting your marketing using some of the tips above!