The Differences in Marketing a Physical Product and a Digital Product
Marketing has certainly changed over the last three decades. People no longer rely on newspapers, magazines, and television ads to gather information about the products and services they buy. Instead, they can find everything they need online. Because of this, digital marketing has taken over the world. The principles and guidelines that apply to selling physical products and digital products have a huge effect on your marketing tactics, so understanding the difference is crucial.
The Difference between Physical and Digital
A physical product is one a consumer can hold in his or her hand and analyze up close. He or she can view pictures of the product online, head to a local store and look at the product and/or packaging, and even watch a friend use the product to see how it works. As a result, the tactics for marketing a physical product are fairly straightforward, whether online or on the web.
A digital product, on the other hand, is not quite tangible. It exists only inside computers in the form of software. This can make it a bit trickier to show consumers how it works and what it does because they can’t just go into their local shop and pick it up. For this reason, the tactics you will use to market a digital product are quite a bit different, and if you are used to advertising physical products, you will need to make a few adjustments.
The Most Important Concepts in Marketing a Digital Product
If you’ve developed a digital product, whether that product is an awesome CRM for small businesses or perhaps even a lightweight application designed to track workouts, you will need to take a much different approach when it comes to selling that product. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Your Target Audience: Who is your digital product for? Is it a workout tracker that will work for anyone, or is it a very specific CRM application that is only ideal for certain industries? Be sure that you know exactly who you need to reach before you start putting together your campaign.
Your Product: Of course, the quality of the digital product you’re offering is also important to your overall success. It should do something different or better than any similar products that are out there, and you should focus on this within your marketing campaigns, as well.
Your Reach: Do you have a website for your product? What about a social media page? Do you have a YouTube account? All these platforms give you more reach. In other words, the more ways you can contact the people who might buy your product, the better.
Your Demonstration: No one – not a person and not a company – will buy a piece of software from you without first understanding exactly what it does and how it works. You will need to come up with a way to show them, and for most successful companies selling digital products, free demos are the way to go.
The Value: Finally, you need to be certain that the product you are offering brings value to the people who will most likely buy it. What kinds of problems will your software solution solve, and why is it better than any of the alternatives that may be available to your audience?
Search Engine Optimization and Content
Whether you are selling a physical or a digital product, search engine optimization and quality content are going to be some of the most important tools in your arsenal. Either way, the goal is to attract people to your website where they can learn more about your product and the value it can bring to their lives. Case studies have proven that proper SEO, both onsite and onpage, along with outstanding content and an easy-to-use site will go a long way toward helping you rank highly in search engines like Google.
When Google shows your website to people who type in certain phrases on the internet, you are well on your way to success. It’s getting there that can be tricky. You’ll need competitive keywords, optimized URLs, the best possible meta tags, and constant sitemap monitoring to ensure that you have done all you can to impress Google’s algorithms and climb the search results ladder.
Don’t Forget the Free Trial
Marketing a physical product on the internet is all about getting people interested, and for the most part, the same can be said for digital products. However, there’s one big difference: there are still plenty of people who prefer to buy their physical products in person so they can see exactly what they’re getting. Why take the chance of ordering a pair of jeans online when they could just as easily go to a local shop, try them on, and make sure they fit? In this case, the consumer needs a pretty spectacular incentive.
In the digital realm, a consumer can’t go try on a piece of software to see if it’s the right fit for his or her company. In fact, the only way to do anything like that is to actually try the software you are offering. You should provide a free trial – long enough to show your potential buyers or subscribers why they need your product – to entice these individuals to buy. Depending on the type of software you’re selling (and who you’re selling it to), your trial could last a week or a month before prompting the user to buy. On the other hand, if you are selling something like POS software, you could set it up so the first 5000 transactions are free; afterward, the user must purchase the software to keep using it.
As you can see, there are some huge differences between physical and digital products, and that means there will be significant differences in the best and most successful marketing tactics for them, too. Learning more about marketing best practices as they apply to selling digital products online is sure to serve you well both now and in the future.
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