Marketing your product in order to generate sales can be one of the most challenging aspects of being an inventor. It is also the most rewarding part of the job because it is how you validate the success of your idea. Regardless of your advertising budget, you should always look for ways to get your brand noticed without spending too much money. Here is my list of ways to market your invention for free.
- Your Website.
- Search Engines.
- Blogs in your niche
- News Websites.
- Television and Radio.
- Ebay and Amazon.
- Online Communities.
The primary purpose for an inventor’s website to to establish his or her brand name. I always recommend that the website URL match the brand even to the point of using the .com or other endings on your products and packaging. This way when someone uses your product in the real world and it is seen by others, it’s easy for the person to tell everyone where they purchased it. While not a large part of generating sales, it does help establish the brand and build a loyal customer base. The cost of this is simply the extra time needed to think about it during the design and graphics phases.
Youtube is now one of the top search engines on the internet. Many people turn to its videos for answers to questions in their daily lives and also when looking for products they are interested in purchasing. Product review videos and their associated channels are often used by manufacturers to promote their products. Many of the smaller product review channels do so at no cost to the manufacturer other than sending them a free product.
Keep in mind that product review Youtube channels want to give viewers the impression that they are unbiased. This tends to make them want to say both positive and negative things about products. They will go out of their way to find the smallest details to take issue with. If you don’t have a thick skin, it is best to stay away from these review channels and create your own videos.
There is no real secret to making Youtube videos. All you need is a cell phone and a little lighting. Have fun with it and you just might grow a Youtube channel to help sell more of your inventions like i did. This is a great way to market your invention for free.
This will be the most important way you generate free traffic to your website and product sales. It will take you a long time to learn how to do this correctly but just stick with it, keep creating good web content and grow your audience. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you because I have been generating web traffic for over twenty years now. Search engine rankings are one of the best ways to market your invention for free.
Welcome to your new career as an online marketer.
Blogs in you niche.
Websites like Wired, Techcrunch, Mashable and many others have been a huge influence on the success of all the electronic gadgets that I have invented over the years. You will need to develop relationships with the article contributors to these websites.
Use Google to find related articles in your niche and reach out via email with a press release or one-sheet about your product. The more information you provide, the more likely they will write an article about your new products. I have many suggestions regarding how to do this correctly that I will be posting here on Invention Therapy.
Pinterest is fairly new to the online marketing game but does generate some traffic for contributors. It’s free to use and the more interesting graphics you create, the more likely people are share your images. I see many cool products and science projects filling my Pinterest Board so it does at least catch my interest. I do see traffic from Pinterest to my websites from time to time. the more time you put in to each method of marketing, the more traffic you will see from it.
They say content is king and this will be your secret weapon when it comes to getting free press. I have started sharing this secret recently because it really has worked well for me over the years. This technique is one of my favorite ways to market your invention for free.
Writers , like all humans, are inherently lazy. They are overworked, underpaid and have writing deadlines to meet. Add the fact that many are young and spend too much time at the local bar or club. They tend to do this right before a deadline.
So how does that help you when looking for free marketing? EASY! Package everything in a way that makes writing articles easy for large news websites. Give them very high resolution pictures, press releases, text snippets, facts, technical drawings and anything else you can think of that may be interesting. Put all this information in zip files and also neatly organized on a single page on your website.
To make it even easier, create a website page with www.mywebsite.com/media and give the writers this link. No worrying about large file sizes getting lost in email spam or slow downloads. This single trick can help make or break the success of your product launch.
While printed magazine articles do little for sales these days, they can be a real boost in your ego. These type of articles help validate you as an inventor. I have pretty much been published with stories about me and my inventions in every major magazine including Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Shutterbug and many more that I can’t remember.
Use the same technique you use for contacting websites but look for the emails of people who write articles for printed publications. You can go to your local news stand and then Google their names from articles related to your niche.
Television and Radio
Like the major magazines, I have also been featured on television and radio. Publicity for my products got so prevalent at one point that after I invented Trackstick and was still working in the movie industry people were asking me how it was that I was seen more on TV and news than the famous people we were working with every day! TRUE STORY!
If you aren’t experienced with the television or radio industry, this part can be a little intimidating. You still use the same technique of contacting people by email but you have to package a story that makes producers of these programs want to send camera crews out or invite you on a TV show.
My most memorable experience was with Penn and Teller. I am even listed on IMDB. This form of advertising has been one of my most enjoyable ways to market your invention for free.
Ebay and Amazon
This one isn’t too complicated. Just set up accounts on Amazon and Ebay and list your products. Ebay runs many specials where you can post up to fifty items for free and they just take a percentage of the final sales price. Amazon works the same way but doesn’t charge for the listings. These websites are easy to use and great for generating extra sales.
Don’t depend on these websites too much as they are already flooded with products. It will be hard to get your listings noticed by shoppers. Both companies now offer a way of increasing the percentage that they charge in return for more promotion of your product in their search results. Personally I don’t mind giving these companies 15% of the sale but that is up to you.
Websites like Reddit, Quara, Boredpanda and others are huge sources of unexpected website traffic and sales. I can’t express enough how life changing the community bulletin boards on the internet have been for me as an inventor.
The communities have had an influence going back twenty years to Habbycam which was my first product line. There isn’t much you can do to influence the postings and most of the time if you try to spam a discussion with your products advertising they will be deleted within seconds. Just be aware of the importance and do your best to get the moderators of those boards talking about you in the topics.
One note about Quora. You can post questions and answers on this website but don’t expect much in sales. This particular website is very popular in Asia and not so much in the United States or European Union. It is a great source of backlinks for SEO but don’t overdo it with too many posts.
Online marketing can. be fun!
Once you launch your product, you will need to market it as much as you can to generate sales. This part of your job will be no less important than creating the invention in the first place.
As Thomas Edison said “My main purpose in life is to make enough money to create ever more inventions” So keep marking your first product so you can keep on inventing!