Let me start off by saying this: every product needs this or that amount of advertisement.
That’s right. Practically, there is no realistic way to guarantee your product to sell itself without any advertisement, demo, or a sales team.
How is the product going to start selling itself if no one knows about it? Now, the key is to decide the amount of advertising your product needs.
Even people who are not in the marketing world are familiar with the saying “There is no such thing as bad publicity”.
But hey, there is.
And it is even worse when the amount of advertisement is high. What you first have to do is go back to square one. Make sure the product CAN and WILL sell itself.
It’s not the advertisement that counts, it’s the product.
Most entrepreneurs and start-up people know that launching a product costs a lot of money. So much that there is hardly any left for advertisement.
Well, good for them. Because once you focus on the product itself, you won’t need to put all that money into the advertisement. When the product is good, you can achieve the effect of an advertisement on several channels with just one channel, 10 times the effect.
Here are the 3 main steps to do so, with 3 sub-steps each (and a bonus step!):
1- Problems and Solutions – Draw In the Customer
The year is 2020, and every single startup idea seems to be done already.
Modern problems require modern solutions; crisis means business. However, it is not enough to find a problem, the problem needs to be specific enough to find a solution, but also general enough to make people think: “yes, that is a problem I have.”
1.1- Find a “real” problem
Don’t create a problem, find one and solve it.
People these days are so used to keep on keeping on that they don’t even realize there is a problem. This automatically makes your product an original.
When your product gets to be an original, there’s no need for advertisement. It’ll spread like wildfire.
Remember when Uber first started its cab service and became a huge hit?
People were so used to struggling to get a cab and paying vast amounts of money for it that they didn’t even realize there could be such a service as Uber. Not only that, but it also made rides safer and more comfortable for everyone.
Think they’d make a revenue of 14 billion dollars in 2019 if someone didn’t find a practical solution for such an obvious problem? Think not.
1.2- Use the Problem
I know, it is needless to say.
But hey, never underestimate the ground rules.
In fact, you may come across many examples that actually solve a big problem but never address it in an effective way. And when I say effective, I mean it. Plus, it doesn’t even have to be a big problem.
If your product has a solution for something, make it yours completely. Brand it, make it into a slogan, put it in your logo. Let the people know your aim.
You may be familiar with Grammarly.
It’s a grammar checking AI, but you probably realized it already, the name gives itself away.
Grammarly is a solution for the bad grammar problem most of us have (don’t lie to yourself), and I especially enjoyed this ad they have. It’s about someone having a problem with writing a wedding toast, and he checks his grammar with Grammarly.
In fact, it was this video that made me download Grammarly years ago. It doesn’t tell you things like Grammarly does this and that, it shows you the problem and how the software solves it.
Great way to make use of a problem, take notes, everyone.
1.3- Let the People Find You Through the Problem
Do you ever just randomly realize a problem you have and look for a solution online?
I personally find myself searching for “daily reminder software” or “restaurant recommendations”. That’s how I found some really helpful tools I use daily. When your product answers a specific need or a common problem, people can access your product in search of a solution.
All you have to do is enhance your website and work that SEO.
2- Know Your Market – And Dominate It
Finding a solution to a problem is the first step to any startup.
But with a second step, you get closer to a self-selling product.
And that is knowing the market. Whether you are entering an existing market or creating a market from scratch, there are some questions that need answers.
- What is the buyer profile in this market?
- Is the timing right for a launch?
- What do I do differently?
After figuring out an approximate answer to each of the questions, you have your guideline to create a self-selling product. These questions also help you through the 3 most important strategies when it comes to the market.
Related Article: How to build a brand for your SaaS Product?
2.1- Know your customer
Conduct market research.
Discover customer profiles.
Know what they need and what they want.
When you know their desires, that means you don’t have to go to them, they will come to you. Your product is selling itself already.
2.2- Know your timing
If you want your product to sell itself, the launch time cannot be overlooked.
Many good products go unnoticed because of poorly made launch decisions.
For the product to sell itself, mind the trends and the news.
You wouldn’t want to launch the new iPhone right after an AI takeover Hollywood movie premiere, right? But launching Uber right after the taxi flag drop charges increase could be a genius idea.
Know your timing.
Also, check out our guide to a successful Product Launch.
2.3- Be Unique
Unique equals advertisement.
The perfect examples of uniqueness probably reside in the smartphone market, since they come up with a futuristic feature every other day.
However, the most recent product that needed no advertisement was probably Samsung’s new flip phone Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. I remember seeing a leaked video of it on the internet months ago and everyone was ready to buy one. It was how unique and different it was that made people so enthusiastic (and even converted some iPhone fans).
It is obvious to see that uniqueness sells the product.
3- Build the Product Right
It all boils down to the right decisions for the product itself.
Find the right solutions for the right problems or master the market: it’s all meaningless if your product can’t compete.
3.1- Choose the right name
There are many aspects of a product that makes it self-selling, but the most important one is probably the name.
Put the goal in the name people, it helps.
Though, you might be wondering how Google and Apple handled. Simple, they didn’t have to advertise like we do today, the market was not as packed, and the name didn’t matter as much.
Plus, the product’s name is the one that counts. That could be Apple’s strongest suit for coming up with the iconic “iPhone” and the rest of the “i” products. It came to be such a powerful name that it sells itself just with that. Tell someone there’s a new iPhone coming out and they will pre-order it. So, make sure to think over the name of the product. Who knows, it could be the next “iPhone”.
3.2- Choose the right slogan
When you want the product to sell itself, you want it to talk to the buyer without the need to explain it through an advertisement.
That makes the slogan your most powerful and articulate advertisement without making an actual advertisement. For example, Uber’s slogan is “everyone’s private driver”.
Although it’s basically a taxi driven by a random person, the tagline not only explains the system but also gives it a special touch. Kudos for that, Uber.
3.3- Choose the right logo
Once a company gains recognition, no matter what the product is, the name and logo of the company matters.
Say, you have everything for your new product to self-sell itself. Plus, the customer trusts your company.
With a sudden logo change, it all could go to waste.
In 2010, Gap suddenly changed its logo from its iconic white on dark blue to a black on white with a blue square on the side. And they did it without the public opinion too. The sales went down 2% right away and they had to go back to the old version.
And when the logo is bad from the start, it’s even harder to get on track. So whatever you do, make sure to come up with a good logo, you can always change it for something for better but don’t make the same mistake as Gap.
Bonus: Automate User Onboarding
Your product is not self-selling unless you turn people who sign up into a fan of your business, period.
You have to make sure your users have adopted your product and are constantly engaging with it. If it solves a real everyday problem, this won’t be a problem; but there is no guarantee.
What if the way you onboard new users is not as efficient as your marketing and product?
Then you lose them!
To avoid this, you must create the best user onboarding experience possible, which:
- goes over the essentials only,
- is interactive,
- is personalized (user segmentation),
- has many elements that perfect the experience(checklists, in-app messages, help centers),
- is measurable (in-depth analytics).
Coming up with a product that sells itself has many steps and even when you think everything is perfect, it may end up flopping.
After all, selling with no advertisement at all is close to impossible. What matters is to make great use of the advertisement you do.
Even though you cannot fulfill each and every step, it will surely affect your sales positively. Remember, a unique problem solved with a unique product makes the difference whether it’s an existing market or a brand-new one.