Time and time again I run into small business owners who just do not know where to begin when it comes to creating content for their product or service.
The primary complaint?
It’s always exciting to hear this because most of the products or services deemed boring or completely lacking in sex appeal are practical. People everywhere need and use these things, and use them regularly — and that’s a very good thing.
To be clear: your “boring” products are content-marketing gold because the “what” needs very little — or even zero — attention. Your product is probably at least mostly self-explanatory. This means that you can spend more time on developing your brand and product personality.
Let’s take a look at five ways to market your most unsexy and boring products.
Tell a Story
No matter how boring or uninteresting you think your product is, there is undoubtedly something interesting about it.
Create narrative content around your product or company instead of just listing product features.
To get you started, here are some questions you can answer about your product and company to create interesting and engaging content:
- About your product
- Who needs it?
- How is it useful?
- What difference has it made?
- What is the product’s origin story?
- What was the hardest part of developing the product? The most fun part?
- Why this particular product?
- About your company
- Who are your employees?
- What’s your company culture?
- Why did you start this particular company?
Be Personable and Funny
More and more up-and-coming brands are making space in markets dominated by larger, more established brands simply by being funny and human. Companies like Dollar Shave Club are creating hilarious ads that are successful in reaching their target market.
This shouldn’t be confused with being offensive. Refer to your buyer personas. Speak to those people. Be relatable, but don’t be a jerk.
Unless you’re Wendy’s. People LOVE that Wendy’s regularly roasts people and other brands on social media.
So, if that’s your thing, then definitely be like Wendy’s. Just know your market.
Bottom line here is that you need to connect with your target market. You don’t do that by talking about your product all the time. You have to develop and show off your brand’s personality first — particularly if you are pushing boring products.
Teach Your Audience
Create content to position your brand as a trusted authority. Don’t just talk about your product and its benefits ad nauseam. You’re trying to show clients and potential clients that your brand and products are part of an entire lifestyle that you want to be theirs for more than just the sale.
Customer-friendly resources are critical. This includes a ton of potential content — infographics, videos, webinars, etc. The goal is to build the practical knowledge of your followers in topics surrounding your product.
As an example of this in practice, let’s pretend that you’re running a small painting business. Your website could include content about preparing a room to be painted, how to remove trim without damaging it, how to tape your edges, picking quality paint, etc. You could even get into things like how to make your home more marketable with painting and decor, and how to maintain your home to keep your paint jobs fresh and pristine.
If you’re worried that providing all of this information will cause you to lose sales, don’t. Potential clients will appreciate the tips and your willingness to share them.
And, in all likelihood, the people who use your tips and not your services weren’t going to use your services even if you didn’t share the kickass tips. But, they’ll remember you the next time!
Talk About Tangential Topics
As you know from the previous section, your content doesn’t need to be solely about your product, but can include interesting information about related topics. Even loosely related information, quite honestly.
The first step to building content around related topics is brainstorming. Don’t edit yourself as you go along — you’ll have time to pare down your list later.
Here are a few quick examples of what tangential content may look like:
- A company selling outdoor privacy screening creating content about backyard entertainment.
- A luggage retailer publishing destination travel guides.
- A home or rental insurance company sharing maintenance tips.
The simple fact is that tangential content in an unsexy industry is shared socially and linked more often than branded content. Take advantage of it.
Highlight Your Proof
People love proof. The proof can come in the form of data, case studies, testimonials, reviews, you name it. People love knowing that other people have spent their money on the same thing they’re considering.
- If you’re a B2B company, your potential clients are going to be interested in data, case studies, and testimonials from your clients. They want to know how your product has improved the bottom line for clients like them.
- For a B2C company, your customers are going to want to know how many people have purchased your product and what they thought of it. These customers are more likely to respond to testimonials and reviews, as well as social media mentions.
Brands That Are Rocking Unsexy Products
If those tips didn’t convince you that creating exciting content for boring products is possible, let’s explore marketing campaigns for three unsexy products that are anything but boring.
Dollar Shave Club
There are very few things that are less sexy than shaving. Well, maybe toilet paper, but Quilted Northern is also great at producing clever content.
When you first get to the website for Dollar Shave Club you’re greeted by a video for their shave butter product. The video runs automatically as part of the website’s background. And it is delightful.
Blendtec sells blenders. I’m sure you’re shocked. I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself before we move on.
Almost ten years ago, Blendtec started a YouTube series, “Will It Blend?,” that became a marketing phenomenon.
The premise? The company’s CEO would put various products into a Blendtec blender to see if the product would blend. Blendtec’s sales went up a staggering 700 percent due to this marketing campaign.
The video for their “Give life a sparkle” campaign is touching, beautiful, and so-very-subtly highlights their incredibly boring product.
It successfully shows the progression of life through glass, in the form of reflections, through windows, and telescope lenses. Only at the very end do you realize you’ve just been crying through watching a Windex commercial.
Go Ahead, Get Boring!
There are many marketing professionals out there who find that their creativity thrives in marketing so-called “boring” products, brands, or services.
Marketing the sexy stuff is no fun because the product is already fun. Ironic, right?
If you sell boring products, you have an awesome opportunity to give them the personality you want them to have — you don’t have to follow a prescribed format.
Boring products actually give you the chance to be even more creative and sometimes even completely off the wall. Embrace it!