Future of Commerce Blog

Lessons from Rand Fishkin: Generating Demand for Your New Product


In collaboration with BigCommerce, StatBid, The Jibe and Shopper Approved, Stitch Labs co-hosted a happy hour with Rand Fishkin. Fishkin, one of the co-founders of SEO software company Moz and founder of audience intelligence tool SparkToro, joined us at Seattle’s Alexis Hotel to talk SEO and ecommerce and read a snippet from his book, Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World.

One topic that hit home for attendees was how to find people who want your product. For new products and brands in particular, it can be difficult to assess existing demand. No one is searching for you yet. And once you’ve launched, how do you get the word out to shoppers who actually care? Here’s what we learned:

Find Publications and Amplify Your Message

This is the first step for brands that want to get the word out. After you’ve defined WHO is likely to be interested in your product, you’ll want to research where they spend their time online. Which blogs do they read? Which forums do they participate in? Where do they hang out on social media — and how do they interact with brands there?

To conduct this audience research, you can use a tool like SparkToro. But you can also conduct surveys, scan reviews of similar products, and analyze your competitors’ social media presence. Third-party marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy and eBay are also full of valuable insights.

Related: Pre-Purchase Strategies for Enhancing the Customer Experience >

Once you’ve identified where your audience hangs out, you’ll want to begin an outreach strategy. The goal here is to gain credibility and recognition for your brand. If third-party, trusted outlets are advocating for you, then customers will likely trust that message as well.

So how can you reach out to these publications, and what can you offer?

  • Guest posts: Offer to create content (for free!) for publications to post on their site. Make sure you have a look around and familiarize yourself with their content and voice so you can craft something that’s likely to be accepted. Not sure how to pitch it? Take advice from Shopify Plus’s Aaron Orendorff:


Guest Blog Shopify

Image: Slideshare

  • Advertorials: This is a paid option but can have a big impact. Advertorials are essential longform ads disguised as editorial content. Kopywriting Kourse has a great article that shows you how to write them.
  • Influencer marketing: Send your products to influencers to try out. If they like it, let them know that you’re happy to provide imagery or whatever they’d need to write a review about it on their site.


Spend Money With Facebook and Google

You may have already optimized your Google My Business listing and your social profiles, but you’ll want to invest a few bucks to make an impact on demand beyond organic reach. Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) and paid social media ads can help you target a specific audience group and spread the word about your new product.

Related: Finding Your Place in Marketplaces: Amazon and eBay >

Paid social media isn’t just limited to Facebook, though you’ll want to use Facebook Business to manage any Facebook and Instagram ads. Create different audience groups and test to see which one is most interested in your product. You can also target specific audience groups in Google Ads.

Once you have results, double down on the efforts that generate the most engagement and conversions. Through iterative testing, you’ll continue to learn deeper insights about your audience, and use those to build further demand.

How to Generate Additional Demand

Your first “round” of demand gen might be complete, but the work isn’t over. To achieve sustainable growth and continue to attract new customers, you’ll want to complete the cycle. Leverage customer reviews and testimonials from your first round of shoppers, and consider introducing a referral program to motivate them to spread the word. Remember to motivate referrals with rewards for both the recipient and the referrer for the best chance at success.

Before they launched, online razor subscription service Harry’s ran a pre-launch campaign that integrated referral marketing — before anyone even had a chance to try the product. They illustrated the exact steps you’d need to take to earn rewards, a visual emphasis of the benefits for the customer.

Harrys Thank You Page

Image: Shopify

Launch your own referral marketing program with a tool like Smile.io, ReferralCandy or TapMango. Many tools have apps for ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify and Magento.

Up next: Learn how to develop scalable marketing strategies for continual growth >

Ellie Kulick

Ellie is an experienced Marketing Communications and Content Specialist based out of San Francisco, CA. Passionate about technology and health, she is constantly looking for new challenges in effective communication and creative content development to help businesses grow and engage with current and prospective customers.

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