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To some, discounting a product means more customers and easy sales. To others, discounting damages brand perception, which can have negative long-term results.

Whether you like discounts or not, there comes a point when you simply can’t rely on that strategy in a way that makes sense for your brand. You want people to notice your product, but you don’t just want to spam people with, “Hey, my product is still for sale!”

It isn’t hard to find “marketing gurus” who swear by discounts but never actually teach anything useful. Discounting is the easy way out, and if you want a brand perception that is rock solid, it’s time to get creative.

On today’s show we’ll be talking about ways to build interest in your product or service even past launch date and practical ways to market what you’re selling without resorting to discounts.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • Discounts have the potential to give people a bad experience when they see something they bought at full price sold for less later.
  • Discounts can make your product seem less premium.
  • Everyone likes a deal, but no one likes to feel like they’ve been deceived.
  • Promote your product by using customer stories as they relate to your product.
  • Increase the value of your product instead of decreasing the price.
  • Create something that showcases your product or service in action.
  • Raising the price of a product after an introductory rate or when you add value can build urgency.
  • Collaborate with other people who have similar audiences or who have similar interests to your product.
  • Case studies let clients or customers see your process.
  • If you want a brand that’s known for being premium and taking care of the people it serves, you may have to do more work to sell, but it’s worth it in the end.
  • Giving stuff away can build buzz around both your product and your brand.
Show Notes
  • 07:07 Cory: There is always a time where you’re building up to launch day. You’re like, “I’m using Supercharge Your Writing to write my copy, and it’s really great. I’m really excited.” You get to launch day, you start selling products, and then the next day comes. Maybe you have an Open Cart period where there’s a limited time of sales, so you have a marketing funnel built up.
  • 07:38 Maybe it’s just launched and it’s out there. Past the day, you’re wondering, “How do I build buzz? How do I keep people interested in this thing when there isn’t any urgency? There isn’t any added value that I can add to this, it seems.” A month, three months, or even a year past the launch date, a lot of people will run sales. They run discounts. “Hey, there was this thing! It has been around, but now, you can get it for cheaper than you could yesterday!”
  • 08:23 To some people, discounting a product means more customers and easy sales. It’s like, “I know that if I run a discount, I’m going to get sales.” There are several problems with that. If you’re only looking at the bottom line, if you’re only looking at numbers, then you could see that as a win. On this show, we talk about your brand, brand perception, and how people feel about you. How does everyone who interacts with your brand feel about you?
  • 08:56 That’s the lens we need to filter everything through. How does everyone who encounters your brand feel about you, the company, the business, the product, or the service? That’s what a brand is. Kyle, I have my own thoughts, but I want to ask you what your thoughts are on discounts. I know that a lot of people who listen to this show have differing opinions, and that’s fine, but we want to offer our thoughts on it and get into some practical ways that you can continue to build buzz and interest around your product without discounts.

Discounting as a Brand Perception Risk

  • 09:49 Kyle: I see discounts as a potential brand perception risk. I like what Sean McCabe of seanwes does. He’ll do this rewarding loyalty system. Whenever a product comes out, sometimes there’s a discount on that because it’s being launched. It’s the first few days of launching it, and the people buying it then have typically been following along with it, or they’ve been following along closely enough with the brand to know that there’s something new coming. That’s great.
  • 10:31 Cory: It’s like an introductory rate.
  • 10:34 Kyle: That’s great. They get a special price at the beginning. I’ve adopted that model with a lot of the things I’ve produced as well, where I give a discount upfront because those people are close to what I’m doing. They’re there to help me and support me. I know that in the first couple of days, most of the people buying are either previous customers or people who have been interested in what I’m doing. Doing discounts later, let’s say two or three weeks after or a couple of months after, I see all the risk involved with that.
  • 11:11 I see the potential upsides, too, like you mentioned, Cory. Discounts could spike your sales a little bit. They might raise more awareness of the product, because more people are buying it and mentioning it to others. Then there’s this other down side, where you’re kind of telling the people who bought two weeks before that they were really stupid to buy it then. Now, you could get it cheaper. You missed out, because you bought it earlier than the other person.
  • 11:40 I’ve been in a few situations with brands where I purchased something, maybe at significant cost—a $200 or $300 item—that, a week later, or even days later, goes on sale for close to half off. That’s not a fun experience. If you’ve ever experienced that, that’s the downside to running discounts.
  • Discounts have the potential to give people a bad experience when they see something they bought at full price sold for less later.

  • 12:15 Cory: Everyone has that story, I think, of when they bought something, and a week or a month later it was on sale for a significant amount. I signed up for some marketing resource late last year. It was $47 or something like that. It was worth it to me. It sent me through this whole funnel. It was interesting. I was interested in it, so I bought it for $47. Within seven days, I think it was six days later, they ran this big sale where that same product was $7. That’s literally $40 different.
  • 12:58 The way I looked at that, the way I felt about that when I found out was, “They robbed me of $40.” That was the phrase that went through my head. Whether or not they got 1,000 more sales and they made $7,000 or whatever, the fact that there are people who’s first thought is, “They robbed me,” that’s not an association you want with your brand if you’re trying to build up a positive brand image. To their credit, I emailed them, and I said, “Hey, what’s the deal?”
  • 13:38 I asked, “Hey, I bought this for $47 last week. I see this deal, and now I feel silly that I paid $47 when I could have gotten it for $7. Is there a way I can get that deal?” They refunded me $40. It still left a weird taste in my mouth from that interaction. I would have happily recommended that product to other people, but because of that discount experience, I felt iffy about their business practices. I was like, “What if I sent this product to someone and said, ‘Hey, you should get this,’ and they bought it for full price and then had a similar experience?”
  • 14:19 Now that looks bad on me as a consumer and as a friend. I look at this and I think, “This doesn’t make anyone feel good, unless you’re the person taking advantage of the discount.” Everything else aside, as consumers, we love deals. We love going into places and seeing, “Oh, look at this amazing sale where you can get $14,000 worth of software for $50.”
  • Everyone likes a deal, but no one likes to feel like they’ve been deceived.

  • 15:01 No one likes to feel stupid. It’s not that this happens all the time, but when it comes to trying to build a positive brand perception, those are risks that you take when you play around with this thing where something goes back and forth between being full price and being discounted.

Premium vs. Race-to-the-Bottom

  • 15:20 Cory: Discounts can also make your product seem less premium. Kyle and I know sites where you can get this bundle deal. You can get $350 worth of software for $39. You never want all six of the apps that you get. You only want one. You’re like, “Yeah, but it’s less now if I get the bundle. I just won’t download the rest.” I look at that and I go, “If it’s really worth $350 but you’re selling it for $39, what am I missing here? Why is it so cheap?”
  • 16:02 Then I start using the word “cheap.” Why is it cheap? Now I have associated the word “cheap” with your product. Discounting has the ability to do positive things, for sure. Discounts can make your product seem less premium.
  • If you want your product to stand out, you don’t want words like “cheap,” “deception,” “conned,” or “scam” associated with your brand.

  • 16:35 All I’m saying is, is it worth the extra money to associate yourself with those phrases, with those adjectives? I don’t know. I don’t think so.
  • 16:53 Kyle: There’s another aspect to discounts, too, depending on how you go about it. You can definitely lower the risk you’re putting yourself at by doing a discount, but let’s say you’re constantly trying to increase your sales by doing discounts. You do a monthly sale or even a weekly sale, some form of discount on a product every week or month or whatever.
  • Regular discounts can drive your business to the race-to-the-bottom category.

  • 17:34 Some businesses are fine with that. I want to mention that. We’re typically talking about premium brands on this show, brands that have a customer-first mentality, but there are some brands that are fine with that. Walmart, or even Old Navy, has tiers of their brand. There’s Gap, Banana Republic, and then there’s Old Navy. Each of those has a different brand association. Old Navy is the one that’s the race to the bottom. They always have some form of sale or discount. You can go online to get a coupon.
  • 18:29 They aren’t known to be a high end brand. If you see an expensive shirt from them, you wouldn’t buy it. They could sell it at Banana Republic for twice that price. It’s all about brand perception and what you’re going for. As a premium brand, there’s one way that discounts make sense, just to give the positive side here.

When Discounts Make Sense

  • 18:56 Kyle: Discounts make sense with some form of membership or exclusive club. Someone is paying in, they’re paying in on a recurring basis, and they get special rates on certain products or services because they’re a member of the exclusive side of your brand.
  • 19:22 Cory: It’s really interesting that you brought that up. I signed up for a 12 month membership with a local automotive repair service shop. It was a door-to-door salesman. He got me. He was like, “We walk around all of the neighborhoods at this time of year. We have it spread out, and we run this promotion once or twice a year where you can become a member for X euro. Then you can come in and get free oil top ups, puncture repair, and so on. Some of the higher end stuff is discounted.”
  • 20:03 I would just have to cover the cost of the parts and they would cover the cost of labor. For me, that was really cool. I became a member. There are other aspects where maybe discounts make business sense. Let’s say you’re a clothing line and you have summer wear, and all of a sudden it’s winter. No one is going out and buying your snazzy board shorts. They want to get themselves sweats and sweatshirts. Now, you have a massive stockpile of snazzy board shorts that no one is going to buy. Maybe you need to clear inventory because you ordered too much.
  • Running a discount may not decrease your brand perception if your products are seasonal.

  • 21:08 Consumers understand that aspect of things. Again, if you’re not in a place where you can manage that, it has the propensity to make you look desperate. Like, “Oh my goodness. We have to get rid of all of this stock and make some money. Here, run a discount!”
  • 21:30 Kyle: In your example, people who buy seasonal clothing know perfectly well that it’s not going to be worth what they paid for it in the next season. They want to be in the current fashion cycle, and they’re willing to pay for that. In those cases, you’re right. They expect it to eventually be worth less. Cars are the same way. If you buy a car new from a dealership, you expect it to decrease in value when you leave the dealership.
  • 22:06 You understand that that will happen, and you also understand that next year, you could buy it cheaper from the same dealership, because there’s a new car.
  • 22:15 Cory: There’s something to be said for decreasing value. You could say the same thing for smart phones. When the new iPhone comes out, the previous model will go down in price. They want to keep the new one at that same price point. They’ll probably make it go higher, because it’s Apple. Samsung releases their new S8 phone. You can’t get the S7 Note, but if you wanted to get all of the previous ones anywhere, the price would have gone down.
  • 22:47 Now they’re just trying to clear stock. They want the value for their consumers, the ones who are on the cutting edge, to be on the cutting edge. It’s not that discounts never make sense. Think through it before resorting to discounting, so you can have the best possible brand perception.

Customer Stories

  • 23:14 Cory: Daniella asked, “How do you keep building interest around a product post launch date, especially if your own excitement for the product seems to have dwindled?” That’s a great question. Cory McCabe asked, “If you feel like you’ve honestly depleted any and all interesting and valuable content to share around your product, what do you do? Should you ever share the same content twice if it’s been long enough since you shared it the first time? For example, a video interview around why you made the product.”
  • 23:42 We brainstormed a little bit, and these are some practical ways you can promote your product or your service, whatever you’re trying to sell, without spamming people. You’re not just saying, “Hey, it’s still for sale!” I did that with my business. I felt like I went there. “Hey everybody, it’s still for sale. If you didn’t buy it last time, go ahead.” That wasn’t great.
  • After the launch date, one of the ways to promote something is to use customer stories as they relate to your product.

  • 24:32 This is gathered through various bits of data, testimonials, and actually asking people. If you have a physical store with people coming in, if you have people who have left reviews—maybe you released an album on iTunes or on your own site, or you released some kind of product and there is some kind of customer story you can find, you can send that out. Share those ways that people have interacted with that product.
  • 25:00 Kyle: I think, for a lot of people who sell products, and I’m saying this as someone who’s in that category of selling something, it gets to a point where you may feel like no one is buying the product or sales aren’t continuing because everyone who would pay this price (or who would buy this thing in general) has been depleted. It’s silly to think about when I say it that way, but you can start to feel that way. “There’s no one else who’s going to buy this thing.”
  • 25:34 One of the main routes people take is to discount. That seems like the most logical route. You’re like, “If I lower the price, the people who aren’t willing to pay for this, who don’t see it as valuable as the other people did, will start purchasing it.” This list, starting with customer stories, is all these ideas to move past that and start thinking outside of discounts. That’s great. Customer stories is a good one.
  • 26:10 I can’t say that I’ve used that one yet, but I should. I should find some people. Some people have reached out, I know. They’ve said that a print they bought, stickers they bought, or even the app I have, have done something for them with relationships with people or some time in their life. I really need to reach out and do that.
  • 26:32 Cory: You can invite people to create that.
  • There are ways to invite customer stories on social media.

  • 26:40 If you have a following that’s pretty well engaged, let’s use Modmoji, Kyle’s stickers for iOS messages. Kyle’s like, “Hey everyone, use your sticker in response to someone in your text message and tweet it back at me.” You can do something simple like that. I said something to Ben Toalson the other day, and he sent me one of your stickers from Modmoji, and it was the tired, exasperated smiley. I must have said something really snarky.
  • 27:26 In that case, it was kind of funny. It tells a bit of a story. You can use your customers and invite them to be part of the story you’re telling about that product.

Use Case Examples

  • 27:44 Cory: Secondly, use case examples. If you have a product that’s usable, that goes around the house, or is something that you literally do something with, maybe you can make a lookbook. Maybe you do apparel. You go get someone to take pictures, and you release a new lookbook about the product or a series of products.
  • Create something that showcases your product or service in action.

  • 28:18 Kyle: You can also use parts of your product. For example, one of my products has a cloth bag that comes with it, that really just holds a sticker pack, but you can also use it for different things. You can give those ideas to people of, “Hey, you got this thing with your order. It’s a nice bag, but here’s what you can actually use it for. You don’t necessarily advertise that with the product, but you can mention that.
  • 28:49 Cory: There are all these things. It comes down to creativity—how can I be more creative past, “Hey everyone, I have this thing I’m selling.”

Increase the Product’s Value

  • 29:06 Cory: Add new features, new things, or increase the value to the actual product. You can say, “I have this course I made, and I just added a new lesson. I just added a new module.” In fact, some people who have online courses can make a full course, and then they have a few lessons that they drip out over the next few months. You say, “Here are the first four modules. There’s a fifth module that’s going to be released over the next five months.” That drips out.
  • 29:48 You say, “Hey, just added the next lesson to the next module.” Now, you’re increasing value to that core product without even raising the price. This is included. Maybe later on, the following year, you could re-release it, add another module, or build something into it. You want to increase the value instead of decreasing the price. Then people feel like they got a deal. They didn’t pay a lot, and now they’re thinking, “I’m continuing to get increased value without paying more.” It changes the mindset. It turns it around, so your customers feel taken care of.
  • 30:32 Kyle: You can also do versions of the product, course, or whatever it is. If you released a course today, a year from now, maybe you had extra lessons that you didn’t add on, but you wanted to include them. You revise things. Maybe you even re-record the entire course and repurpose some of that stuff, and then you release it as a new product. That separates it from the old one. Maybe the people who bought the original course get some form of discount, or even receive it for free, but now you have a new course to start promoting.
  • 31:14 Cory: Yeah, that’s brilliant.

Raise the Price?

  • 31:19 Cory: I say that as kind of a question, because if you’re arbitrarily raising the price, that can feel a little bit desperate. Raising the price certainly is a strategy that you can use in an effective way. Kyle mentioned introductory rates earlier, where you say, “There’s a launch price. It’s $9.99 for this product. In seven days, it’s going to go up to $14.99.” Now, people are thinking, “If I get in early, I can be part of that.”
  • 32:02 They can get it at the introductory rate. Then, when you raise it, you keep it at that price of $14.99. Let’s say you add new features and new value. You say, “I’m going to be increasing it to $29.99, because the value has increased.” Then you can promote that by saying, “The price is about to go up. You can get it at this rate. Take advantage of it.”
  • Raising the price of a product after an introductory rate or when you add value can build urgency.

  • 32:32 Kyle: That’s really good. I feel like this point goes hand in hand with adding new features and value. You could increase the price. The introductory rate makes sense, but randomly increasing the price is kind of weird.
  • 32:51 Cory: It feels weird. I did that towards the end of my shirt business. I was like, “Well, I’m going to raise it from $25 to $30. Maybe some more people will buy at the $25 rate.” I think two people did. I didn’t really have a reason for it. I was like, “I need to close this business down. Here, everyone, get it before I increase the price.” It was terrible.
  • 33:17 Kyle: There is room for a reverse-discount situation with raising the price. It’s similar to the introductory price. You say, “This price is going up for this thing on this date. If you buy before that date, you’ll get it at the lower price. After that, it increases.” It’s like a reverse-discount. You’re not saying that the price will decrease for a week or a month, but you’re saying that it will increase permanently after a certain date. You’re creating a little bit more urgency to buy the thing, so you could stagger out the price a little bit.

Create a Case Study & Go Behind the Scenes

  • 33:59 Cory: Similar to customer stories and using case examples, you can create a case study about the product. You can say, “Here’s my process of going behind the scenes.” That’s the next one, so let’s pull those in together. You can say, “This is how I decided to make this design. This is how I made the film. This is us creating the leather to put on your bag, because it’s a leather bag. Here’s the way we created the soy to make your new soy-based latte.”
  • 34:44 You can do a behind the scenes that way, using videos, pictures, or stories that bring people in to continue the interest. That helps facilitate the story. There’s something to tell about your product beyond, “Hey, I have a product.”
  • 35:10 Kyle: This isn’t product-related, but even with services, that can help. That’s a slightly different topic. Case studies help all over the place, because you have something to share. In the services area, if you’re running a brand with services, sharing case studies helps clients see what your work is like without you saying, “Hey, I need clients,” and looking desperate to get a client.
  • Case studies let clients or customers see what your process is, what you’re doing, and how you complete a project.

  • 35:42 Not to get off into services, but that applies there as well. That helps with understanding how beneficial case studies are.
  • 35:52 Cory: Absolutely. Services are relevant here, too. It’s something you’re trying to promote or market. You’re trying to get work or whatever.

Relevance to Topics You’re Already Talking About

  • 36:16 Kyle: This is really important. Let me use a real example. I’m coming back to YouTube. I’ve had a YouTube channel for a while, and I haven’t figured out how to do it right. I hadn’t figured out how to get videos produced on a regular basis and stay consistent with it. I’ve reached that point now where I can do this. I’ve been creating some videos ahead of time, and there have been opportunities where, when I talk about my process for creating something, there are these areas I can mention, like certain things I’m working on or things I already have made.
  • 36:59 I can say, “This will help you with this.” If you want to learn more about color, go to ChoosingGreatColors.com. That can lead someone to see the product signup for it, eventually purchase, and those kinds of things.
  • 37:16 Cory: That’s super good. If you’re already creating content that’s related to that, it doesn’t even have to be about the thing. At the end, you can just say, “By the way, I’ve got this thing.” We were talking about Casey Neistat in the preshow, but he started his daily vlog on YouTube. Casey Neistat is one of the biggest YouTubers right now. He’s got something like 6.6 million subscribers and over a billion views.
  • 37:50 He’s a big deal on YouTube. He started doing daily vlogging, which is how he gained popularity, because he wanted to talk about and promote his company that he was starting. He was creating something to create it, but it had a purpose. It was relevant to his company, and that’s how he was able to connect it.
  • There are always ways to tie in the product or service you’re selling with something you’re already talking about that’s related.

  • 38:26 Kyle: It’s essentially word of mouth. It’s like word of mouth from your brand. That’s the thing about selling products. They fit in somewhere, or you wouldn’t be making them. They’re relevant to your audience, or you wouldn’t be making them or selling them. There are always occasions where you’ll be talking about something and you realize, “If you want to know more about this or to own something that has to do with this thing I’m talking about, go here and check this out.”
  • 39:03 It’s the best way of selling, I think. It’s not this pushy, “Hey, buy my thing. Here’s my thing, buy it.” It’s very natural. It comes up in the conversation. It’s a mention. It doesn’t feel like you’re telling them to buy it. You’re just mentioning that if they like the things you’re talking about in the moment, there’s this thing that would relate to them.
  • 39:29 Cory: Totally.

Helping Someone With a Problem Your Product Solves

  • 39:40 Cory: This can either be in person or on social media. Now we’re moving outside of, “Do I send this in my newsletter? Do I make a video? Do I put this on my blog?” This is where you have to step outside of yourself. Get to where your audience is. I recently shared on Twitter where I said that I was thinking about switching from Adobe Premiere to Final Cut Pro.
  • 40:10 I wanted to know if anybody had any resources or recommendations. Somebody tagged it with #fcpx, and I had a ton of people, super helpful, come in and offer me links to resources that they knew and tips and tricks for switching, and it was really amazing. I had these great conversations. That would have been perfect for someone selling a product of training for Final Cut Pro for beginners to come and say, “Hey, really great question. Here’s some free content that I have. I also have this course on getting started.”
  • 40:49 They could offer some helpful suggestions within the Twitter thread or whatever. Finally, they could point back and say, “If you’re looking for more, these will definitely answer your questions and help get you started.” I’ve been looking at these things. I’m putting some money aside to buy some of these training materials, because that whole interaction with this community on Twitter about Final Cut Pro is making me switch.
  • 41:20 If your product solves a problem or someone says, “I’m looking for a new shirt/coffee/whatever,” maybe you have people who offer that offer for you. That’s the word of mouth that Kyle was talking about. Other people who have experienced your brand in your positive way want to share your product with other people.
  • There are a lot of ways to use social media and online or in-person interactions to help people, and then guide them to your product, which will extend even more value.

  • 42:06 Kyle: Those are great interactions. I’ve had some people do that as well. They say, “Hey, there’s this thing that can help you.” I guess this gets a little more into word of mouth, but I’ve even seen someone ask a question that’s not related to anything I necessarily do. I saw someone ask one day about pixel art, for example. I’ve done some of that, but I’m not a pixel artist. I don’t draw things with pixels all day.
  • 42:39 Then someone else answered and said, “Hey, there’s this really good training course from my friend so-and-so.” As soon as I saw that, I went and bought it. It was crazy ridiculously low-priced. I bought it and I took the course. Answering that question from someone else helped me find it.
  • You may not sell to the person who’s question you’re answering, but it may attract someone who’s on the outside.

  • 43:08 “Oh, Cory asked about Final Cut Pro. I’ve been wondering that, too. Oh, here’s some training material for it.” I may go back and look at that, too, because I’m switching to Final Cut as well. That might create more sales.
  • 43:25 Cory: That’s a great example. It’s like accidental sales. That will be the name of my book, Accidental Sales. No, it won’t. I’m not going to write that book.

Influencer Marketing

  • 43:40 Cory: This is a little bit more advanced and nuanced, but basically, the idea is to connect with someone who has a following online, an audience, and ask them to promote your product. Usually, it’s a paid ask. It’s not always, “Hey, by the way, can you put my product on your site and maybe people will buy?” This goes into talking about affiliates and things like that, using other kinds of advertising.
  • 44:18 We wanted to talk about the different ways you can promote. Influencer marketing is huge right now, especially in the social media sphere. Somebody influential can mention something, and then sales go through the roof. I mentioned him earlier, but I’ve been following Casey Neistate, less because I enjoy his content and more because I’m really interested in the viral way that people follow him.
  • 44:53 A couple of days ago, he had this video where he had this kid on. He was in Miami or something. He was walking around, and there was this kid with this YouTube channel. He had like 180 subscribers, and he showed him how to use his drone. He included him in the vlog. He linked to this kid’s YouTube channel. I think within a couple of hours, the kid had somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 new subscribers to his channel.
  • 45:27 Those numbers don’t necessarily matter when we’re talking about products. You can have a bunch of people following you, but if they’re not actually buying your product, it doesn’t matter. It does go to show the power that influencer marketing has.
  • If you want to use influencer marketing for your product, it will probably cost something, but media agencies do that kind of thing.

  • 45:52 They say, “You have this product and we have all of these influencers, these people on these different platforms, and we think that you would line up with this person’s audience. We’ll connect you.” I wanted to throw that out there. That’s a way you can promote, for sure.
  • 46:08 Kyle: Influencer marketing can be really powerful. It’s the trust that’s built. You’re using the influencer’s brand equity—it’s not that you don’t have the right people to buy your product in your audience, but you don’t have enough of them. This is a way to go somewhere relevant to you, and I say “relevant” because it can be misleading if you go somewhere super irrelevant. It starts to make people think, “Oh, they just want more sales.”
  • 46:49 Maybe they do, but it’s a brand perception thing. From the consumer’s point of view, if you have Michael Jackson selling some really irrelevant product… You know what I mean. I don’t mean in person. I mean, a really weird random product, like a Michael Jackson lunch box. You’re using the influence the person has. People know Michael Jackson. They’ll buy that. That’s where I was going. Lunch boxes are pretty common. If tomorrow, someone that makes flashlights makes a Michael Jackson themed flashlight, it doesn’t really make sense.
  • 48:00 Why is it Michael Jackson themed? It’s just to get sales. It’s just so they can sell something. It’s not a relevant association. If there was someone known to use flashlights a lot, it would make sense.
  • 48:21 Cory: If there was an influencer who was a DJ who only played Michael Jackson songs, and you were like, “Hey, maybe I could work with this person and say, ‘By the way, I just bought this really cool Michael Jackson flashlight…'”
  • 48:42 Kyle: There’s also the other way. I’m staying on the Michael route here, but when Michael Jordan promotes things like deodorant, what’s the relevance? I guess it could be basketball.
  • 48:59 Cory: Don’t get stinky.
  • 49:01 Kyle: But maybe he promotes car insurance, and it’s only because he’s Michael Jordan and people know the name. Using influencer marketing can feel sketchy, depending on who the influencer is that’s helping you promote things.
  • Stay relevant to what you do when using influencer marketing, or it can look like you found a popular person to promote your thing without any relevance to your audience.

  • 49:29 Cory: Right. I’m with you. At first, I thought you were talking about Michael Jackson being the influencer. I was like, “I mean, you know that he can’t?” Then it got really uncomfortable.

Collaboration

  • 49:51 Cory: You can collaborate with other people who have similar audiences or who have similar interests to your product, or whatever you do. I know Daniella asked this question earlier. Maybe you connect with another musician, and you collaborate on a song. That builds buzz about who you are. As people are interested in who you are, you start to get more traction on the thing you’re trying to sell.
  • 50:20 There are a lot of things you can do with collaboration. There are a lot of people in the design industry that love to collaborate. They do things together, and that helps create a cross-platform for the audiences to be able to build these communities in a similar vein.
  • 50:42 Kyle: It can also bleed over into influencer marketing a little bit, depending on what your collaboration is. If I collaborated with a very well known designer, then there is some of that influencer marketing involved. I partnered with someone bigger, and they’re now seeing me and seeing the association between the two. Or, there’s the joining together where you’re both on equal playing fields. You realize that you could leverage each other’s audiences to grow your own, because you’re relevant to each other and you can collaborate.
  • 51:18 One of my friends, Austin Saylor, does motion design work, and a lot of my work lends itself to being used in motion design. There are a lot of people that reach out to me and say, “How do I animate my icons?” I can do a decent job, but I’m definitely not as good as Austin. That’s not the area where I’m a professional. I may recommend him. If we collaborated, there are people in his audience that are interested in designing something similar to what I make, and there are people in my audience that are interested in animating that thing. It crosses over the two bounds.
  • 52:08 Cory: That’s a great point. Collaboration can be powerful.

Affiliate or Joint Ventures

  • 52:20 Cory: This is reaching out to other people’s audiences, but you can also bring on other people to talk about a topic relevant to your product. Let’s say you have a course on hand lettering. Our good friend Sarah Dayan asked a question, and I wanted to give her a shoutout. Let’s say she makes a course related to hand lettering, like vectoring or something. Let’s say she wanted to continue promoting this product.
  • 52:56 She wanted to do a live event, and she wanted to bring on somebody in the hand lettering community to talk about their process, to bring some kind of value. They can promote it if they want to, but it continues to build something around the product you already have. There are a lot of people who do this kind of thing of affiliate or joint venture. You can give them a kickback, a percentage of any of the sales you make in that time. There is some nuance there. We’re talking about ways to promote and continue to build interest and deliver value to your audience, and to the audience of anybody else that you work with.
  • 53:46 Kyle: A residual thing from that is, most of the time, if you have someone come, even if they’re not required to promote something but you wanted to have an event with them there and you wanted to give a little bit more value, it’s likely that they’ll share it anyway. You’ll get some extra eyes on it from their audience as well.

In Person Gatherings, Events, & Meetups

  • 54:15 Cory: I don’t know what more I can say about that. If you’re selling a piece of art, maybe you’re an artist, you can have art galleries or showings. All of that stuff. If you’re a musician, you have shows. There are all sorts of ways to promote in person gatherings. You have to make sure there’s a good balance of cost and return, but again, if we’re talking about building up brand perception and equity, as long as anyone who comes has a positive experience with your brand or your product, that could be a great thing.
  • 54:59 Cory McCabe, our good friend and coworker, is making a film. Literally, a way you can promote your film is to have it in a theater. You have a launch date in a theater, and maybe you keep it there for a week or two. Maybe you do showings in different coffeeshops or bars around town for a month or two, where you have a big theatrical release, but then you do secret, underground showings where you invite people to come see the film. It’s really low key, on a projector or a little black and white, hipster-style. There are a lot of ways to say, “Hey, we’re doing this thing. If you’re in town, come hang out.”
  • 55:49 Kyle: I would also add to that, attending in person gatherings and events—going to conferences or places where people are gathering that are interested in the product you have. I’m saying this because I’ve experienced this. I’ve been at meetups, professional gathering type of things, where there’s someone who’s just handing out their card saying, “Go buy this thing.” That’s bad.
  • Naturally have conversations with people at meetups or in person events.

    People will have questions about what you do and sell, and you can get more word of mouth.

  • 56:36 I’ve had plenty of people, when I go to a conference or something, where it comes up somehow in the conversation that I have a product and a store. They’ve been following my work for a while, and they just didn’t know. I’m kind of raising that awareness a little bit. It’s natural and fluid. Don’t only go to these in-person events to promote your thing, but attending can help you network and raise awareness for your products. It comes up in conversations. If it’s relevant to the people at the event you’re going to, it’s probably going to come up at some point.
  • 57:16 Cory: That’s really great. I like that.

Give Aways

  • 57:23 Cory: You can literally give away the product. I don’t think that has much of a downside, except that you literally just gave away one of the things. No one is getting deceived or fooled and no one got taken advantage of it because you’re literally just giving it away. There’s a lot of benefit there. You’re like, “Hey, I just launched it. The second week, we’ll do a giveaway. The next month, we’ll do another giveaway.” You can promote your store, your product, your business, or whatever, by giving something away.
  • 58:01 I’ve seen people on different social platforms say, “Tag somebody, and whoever I choose, I’ll send you and your friend one of these things.” People tag their friends. That can be annoying, but if you win, then that’s really awesome.
  • Giving stuff away can build buzz around both your product and your brand.

  • 58:32 Kyle: I hesitate to mention this here, but it’s relevant. I want to preface this by saying, very seriously, be genuine with this. Don’t just do this. There have been a few occasions where I have sent someone something that’s relevant to them when there’s a situation in their life that it’s relevant to. An acquaintance I know decently well, his mother passed away, and another person’s wife left him, and there are certain situations where I’ve sent something I make to them with the genuine interest of improving their day or putting a smile on their faces for a little bit.
  • 59:32 That has increased word of mouth a little bit, and just that brand perception. I hesitate to do this, because I’m not doing it to increase my brand perception, but it has that side effect if you’re genuinely giving. The point is to not be stingy with what you have. Show genuine interest in people’s well being with your products, and don’t worry about, “Oh, I gave one away.” Likely, it will come back to you. In some of those cases, though I wasn’t planning on this happening, they mentioned it, shared it, or talked about their story, and that brought in a few extra sales.
  • 01:00:17 Again, don’t do that just to make money from it, but it’s something to think about. It should take you out of that, “I have to make a hard sell on every single thing I do,” mindset. Look at the people in your audience and find situations where someone isn’t in a position to buy from you, but you want to send them something.
  • 01:00:46 Cory: That’s a great point.

Advertising

  • 01:00:51 Cory: As we always say whenever we do lists, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Be creative about it. We’re just trying to help you think about stuff. Our last one, and this is a vague term, is advertising. There are some people who are like, “I’m going to run Facebook ads, Google ads, and an ad in the paper.” That’s not necessarily discounting your product. You’re just paying an entity to show your product to interested parties. There are so many different aspects of advertising, so just saying “advertising” doesn’t really count.
  • 01:01:38 Some people haven’t considered advertising. They haven’t considered creating anything on any of these other platforms in a way that might show up as an ad. I’m not saying that you should do it, but maybe it’s something your brand or business should consider to get your product in front of more eyes.
  • 01:01:57 Kyle: Sometimes there’s a concept that if you advertise, that if you promote in some way, you have to have some form of discount or sale that you’re running, or some event that’s going on with your brand. You don’t. You can promote the thing you make, or maybe there’s something free you give away—in general, not just for the advertising campaign. Or maybe just for it, I don’t know. I’m talking about more of a lead magnet, where you have a free two lessons out of the course that you give away to everybody, and they could sign up for that.
  • 01:02:35 Then, they could receive the course. You’re giving value, and then receiving leads and making sales in return. That’s instead of a hard sell in the ad that says, “Buy this thing now for this price!” Then they buy it.
  • Depending on the situation, maybe it’s better to funnel people through your system and give them something free first.

  • 01:02:58 Then you sent them all these promotional emails, and hopefully, that moves them to buy the product. It depends on the product, of course. If it’s a course, you might not be able to do that. That’s just a thought.
  • 01:03:20 Cory: There are so many of these things that we’ve already talked about that you can run ads on, like case studies, behind the scenes, answering a question, adding features and new value… You can take some of these other practical ways to promote and incorporate that into advertising. You can just use one aspect of one of those things and put that out there. Essentially, you’re just trying to get in front of more eyes.
  • The more eyes you’re in front of, the higher the likelihood that a percentage will spend money, talk about your brand, and have a positive experience.

  • 01:03:59 Kyle: I think customer stories are the most powerful out of those for advertising. You’re actually showing how the person can use it. Now that I think about it, a lot of the times I’ve been attracted to an ad, it’s been because they mention, “Somebody had this problem, they did this thing, they used this product for this, and it helped them.” You’re like, “I have that problem.” It’s very relatable. I know I’ve bought some products over time that I may not have bought if I didn’t know what people were using it for.
  • 01:04:42 Why would I buy an umbrella with two handles? It’s a silly example, but imagine an ad for an umbrella with two handles. You’re like, “What do I do with this thing?” That’s all it is. Or, you see an advertisement and someone used an umbrella with two handles to walk with their significant other in the rain, and it was a fun experience. We have weird examples. I’ll call it Doublebrella.

Build Your Brand Story

  • 01:05:53 Cory: Here are the ones we talked about here:
    • Customer stories
    • Use case examples
    • Adding features/new things/value
    • Raising the price
    • Doing a case study
    • Going behind the scenes
    • Bring it up in topics on other platforms
    • Answer a question
    • Help someone who has a problem that your problem solves
    • Word of mouth
    • Influencer marketing
    • Collaboration
    • Affiliate/joint ventures
    • In person gatherings or events (whether you’re putting them on or attending)
    • Give aways
    • Advertising
  • 01:06:35 That’s pretty good. I think that’s a good list. It has certainly given me something to think about, and I hope it has been helpful to our listeners.
  • 01:06:45 Kyle: It takes more work to promote without discounts. Being realistic, it’s harder. Discounts are easy. You just say, “There’s a certain amount off,” and you get more sales.
  • Maybe your brand doesn’t benefit from the easy route.

    If you want a brand that’s known for being premium and taking care of the people it serves, you may have to do more work to sell, but it’s worth it in the end.

  • 01:07:24 Cory: How creative are all of these things? How creative can you be in all these things we just talked about? There is no creativity in discounting your product. It’s just like, “We got a sale. Cool.” There’s nothing to that story. That’s not adding anything to your brand, literally, except that it’s cheaper. There are all these other ways to build on the story you’re trying to tell and ways you can captivate your audience with what you’re trying to do in the world. All of these things are ways you can build on that story. Discounting doesn’t build on your story. It just doesn’t.