10 Easy Ways You Can Generate Buzz For Your Business
- October 28, 2015 | Lee Polevoi
You may have the greatest online product or service anyone’s ever seen, but if no one’s talking about it, chances are you’re not having great sales. The key is creating buzz, that intangible but essential component of selling, which sets your product or service apart in the marketplace.
A recent survey of online sellers produced a wide array of tactics and strategies to generate buzz -- tips that are sure to help you get your target audience excited about what you have to offer.
1. Build Something Useful
Marketing specialist Anna Daugherty believes a great way to get some buzz going is by “supporting your product pages with awesome content.” To illustrate her point, Daugherty singles out the coconut oil retailer Vita Coco and its “slick landing page with lots of tips and tricks for using organic coconut oil.”
The reason it works? Because it “brings in people who are looking for ways to use organic coconut oil in their day-to-day lives, and it also offers them a product to try at the same time.”
To be fair, calling for "awesome" content is a bit obvious and not all that helpful. If you're an online business owner seeking to generate buzz, we suspect you are looking for more than pie-in-the-sky recommendations. To help with that we recommend the following tips which we'll expand upon in the remainder of this post:
- Research: Understand your audience. Know they questions they are asking and understand what they respond positively to. This will guide you as you plan your content.
- Data: Content is always better when it is backed by data. Consider services like Google Consumer Surveys as a way to tap into your target audience. We did exactly this when we published "How Online Shoppers Think About Sales Tax."
- Design: Invest time (or money) in quality design elements. The days of half-baked gifs are behind us. High quality design is everywhere. If you want to create awesome content, you can't wing it.
- Social Media: Build a strong social media following before you need it. Spend fifteen minutes every day connecting with others over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. When the time comes to amplify your content, your growing network will pay off.
Steve Hatmaker, Jr., of Seismic Audio Speakers, feels the best buzz generation comes from “putting the focus on people and not the product.” Let people know how the product will affect them. “Talk about the problem and how your product fixes it,” Hatmaker says. “That’s what gets people excited.”
2. Be Mysterious
Remember, "I Love Bees"? You'll be reaching back into the depths of internet lore if you do. I Love Bees was an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) that was spun up for the 2004 release of Bungie's Halo 2. According to Wikipedia, "250,000 people viewed the ilovebees website when it was launched in August 2004, and more than 500,000 returned to the site every time the pages were updated." That's no small hive!
We understand you're probably not Bungie, but with enough creativity, a great product, and a little mystery, businesses can get people chatting, sharing, texting, and Tweeting.
3. Tell a Story
Telling a story is another proven buzz generator. Andrew Royce Bauer, CEO of ROYCE, created a Tracker to find lost wallets. “By telling the audience about my inspiration behind the product, as someone who had been a victim of identity theft, the product need became much more apparent,” Bauer says.
Craig Wolfe, president of CelebriDucks, a line of celebrity rubber ducks, also advocates telling a story, but he does it through press releases. A press release he created got a call back from a reporter at The Atlantic City Press. “The story appeared that weekend and the vice president of the Philadelphia 76ers happened to read it,” Wolfe recounts. “He called me immediately and then flew out here to meet as he wanted us to do an Allen Iverson duck for an NBA promotion. It was a huge hit! Then the Chicago Cubs, the Yankees, etc., all called and wanted to do promotions.”
4. Dazzle the Eyes
Images can be awesome content as well. Richard Storm of Nyphotony says, “lifestyle photos of your product or service in use” can get some buzz going. “Great photography for any item will capture people’s attention, especially in the social media visual age we live in.”
If you’re unsure about what type of content will appeal to your audience, just ask them, says Sarah Jones, founder and CEO of Introverted Alpha, a site that “helps smart introverted men attract women naturally.”
Like we mentioned in our tips above, Jones suggests using Google Consumer Surveys to collect data around the topic of your product and then funneling the results into a spreadsheet. “I did this for my last product launch, and it generated a lot of interest and excitement,” she notes. “Being able to say, '71% of you said xyz,' made things really personal and relevant.”
5. Get In With Social Media Influencers
Lisa Chu, CEO of Black N Bianco, offering formal wear for kids, says, "The most successful tactic I found to generate buzz around my clothing brand is to attract influential bloggers. Not only do they showcase my product in a gleaming way, but it also brings a lot of credibility to my brand." When a blogger reviews her product, others follow suit. "Blogging and social media like to follow trends," Chu adds.
As the inventor of Swiggies (wrist water bottles for adults and kids), Julie Austin also strives to connect with bloggers. "I send out the kids' version of my product to as many mom bloggers as possible," Austin explains. "In addition, I get it out to bloggers in a small niche called the Hash House Harriers, a running and drinking club with chapters all over the world."
6. Look for Unexpected Partnerships
Teaming up with an unusual partner can also get buzz going. Erin Fry, owner of Fancy Fortune Cookies, paired up with a craft brewery next door to create "beer-flavored fortune cookies," which became an instant success. "Both the brewery and the bakery sold and promoted them, which doubled the publicity and social media buzz," Fry says.
It's even better if you can strike a partnership with a company that is already trending up and has these buzz-generating methods mastered.
7. Promote Holiday Themes and Special Deals
Amanda Henke, owner of Annie B's Candy, suggests promoting your product as "a must-have for theme months." Research themed months that "offer the perfect tie-in for your product or service," Henke says. "For example, we pitched our caramels as the perfect treat for October National Caramel Month and our popcorn treats for National Popcorn Poppin' Month and National Movie Month."
Get some buzz going around your newsletter subscribers, says Claudia Montez, founder of Isabelle Grace Jewelry. "Every week, we put one of our pieces on a special JUST4ME discount and advertise it in our newsletter," Montez notes. "Not only has this resulted in new purchases from existing customers, but it has also helped us really grow our newsletter and social med
One more amazing example is The Peacemaker from Austin Beerworks. 99 beers in a single case? Enough said.
8. Think on Your Feet
At Xerocon Denver this year, we ran into a bit of an issue with the front of our booth not having a branded overlay (it was just white). Rather than take this as a loss, we quickly came up with the idea of turning the front of our booth (which was detachable) into a giant "Thank You" card we could present to Xero at the conference afterparty.
As word spread throughout the conference, attendees made their way to our booth to sign the card. Beyond that, inviting people over to participate was a great ice breaker.
If you can maintain a positive outlook, you'll find that almost any setback can be turned into an opportunity to pivot and make gains.
Every now and then a customer will hand you an opportunity to over deliver. Including a little something extra with an order is a great example. Consider stickers as a way to test this out. Better yet, if you are dealing with an upset customer, find an angle to provide them with a little something extra.
10. When in Doubt, Give Stuff Away
"Giving away your product is an amazing way to generate buzz," says Jonathan Ceballos of USB Memory Direct. "If you're an established brand with a good following, giveaways are a great way to liven up your community, get your fans excited and have some fun. Having the product be the prize will not only fuel excitement, but also help you gauge interest."
Brent Hale of Income Addon enjoys running giveaway contests on his sites and blogs. "For one method I require an email address as the method of entry into the contest," Hale explains. "I use a plugin that collects these emails for me and also gives each contestant their own special link with a unique tracking ID in it, so that when they share the link and others join the contest, they get extra entries. This gives them incentive to share the contest with their friends and has a viral effect."
Second, Hale asks people to join the contest by following him on Twitter, or liking his Facebook page and mentioning a friend in the comment section. "Friends of friends pour into the page to enter the contest and again, a viral effect takes place. Obviously, the more people who enter your contest, the more people that have some interest in your product."
How have you generated buzz to boost online sales? We'd love to hear about your tips and experiences.