Marketing strategies change at a blinding speed. What worked a few years before doesn’t necessarily work now. So, how do you navigate this whirlwind change? By staying on top of the trends and knowing what your customers want. Easier said than done, right?

Customers lean more toward a personalized onboarding experience when trying new products, and you can use this to your advantage when marketing. Your job is to bring a product that adds value to your customer's life and then let it speak for itself.

Show, don’t tell

Your product is your primary driver of acquisition. As people shift away from traditional sales marketing, where they’re told how to feel about a product, they want to try before they buy. In a study by HubSpot, it was found only 3% of consumers trust salespeople. So, what can they trust? Their own experience.

In terms of trustworthiness, blogs, websites, and ads were ranked lowest when compared to a buyer’s own experience through free trials and referrals. You need a product with the potential for a viral effect, where users can’t help but refer it to others for the quality it brings into their lives.

How do you do this? By prioritizing the user experience over everything. You want to tailor the buyer journey so there’s little chance for a customer to lose interest.


Think free. You want to entice your potential customers by delivering a soundproof demonstration. Your goal is to show the product’s value without giving away its full function. A taster, if you will. This is known as the freemium strategy. It’s a way to hook someone without making them commit to dropping their money outright.

Once people are hooked, and using your product, you want them to leave reviews. Today's buyers rely more on customer reviews than anything a salesperson can say to convince them. Play this to your advantage, as it contributes to the virality of your product. You get people talking, and you have a bigger word-of-mouth net.

And once you have lots of people using your product, you get to look at the data and see how you can make the customer journey even more successful.

Tailoring the customer experience

It’s time to take your mind out of the business sphere and into that of your customers. What are their pain points, and how can you reduce them? Is your onboarding experience easy to navigate? Are you using in-app analytics to make changes when it’s not? Your goal here is to reduce the churn rate by spotting issues before they burn you and your customer.

A good way to tailor the experience is to listen to feedback, both good and bad. What’s better than direct criticism or compliments to know what you’re failing or succeeding at? Make sure you’re using best SEO practices as well. Target your audience, so you find the right people. The wrong people will be dissatisfied and leave unhelpful reviews. Don’t fall into this trap.

And don’t go overpromising your product, either. This is a great way to create high expectations and then disappoint. That will surely get you bad feedback, and not the constructive kind.

Reduce friction

To encourage people to refer your product, you want to make the onboarding experience as seamless as possible. The best way to do this is by reducing friction. And there are three types of conflict you should pay close attention to.

·   Emotional

·   Cognitive

·   Interaction

Emotional friction refers to whatever feelings prevent someone from following through with an action. Maybe your product doesn’t connect with them, or maybe something about the branding turns them off. This is perhaps the hardest metric to gauge unless you have direct feedback from your customers. Don’t be afraid to ask through surveys or questionnaires.

Cognitive friction is the mental effort it takes to complete a task. If you confuse your customer or ask too much of them, there’s a high chance you’ll lose them. And if you lose them quickly the first time, it’s hard to convince them to try again down the road.

Interactive friction is when product design impedes your customer from completing a goal. Your onboarding experience should be as minimal as possible. The more steps you put between your customer and using your product, the less likely they will make it to the end. Don’t distract them. Keep the process streamlined for ease of use. Your customers will thank you for it.

Become a pirate

Unfortunately, I don’t mean this in a literal sense. But there is a handy funnel acronym that pirates would definitely say, which you can apply for your product marketing needs.


Outside of it just being fun to say, the AAARRR method will help target your marketing depending on your business's specific goals. This is the funnel you want to achieve. So, set your sails high as we dive into the deep.

Awareness: How many people know about your product? Are you starting from scratch, or do you have some brand recognition you can lean into?

Acquisition: Once people are aware, how many actually sign up to try the product?

Activation: How many people who use your product find value from it?

Retention: If they found value, how many stayed or came back?

Revenue: You caught your client’s attention, and they liked what you had to offer, but do they become a subscribing customer with long term engagement?

Referral: Are your customers referring your product to other people?

To follow the pirate funnel, you’ll need to monitor a few different KPIs, analyze the data, repeat what was successful, and fix what was not. It’s a big trial-and-error journey, but if you’re savvy with research, hopefully, you can pick the best methods to apply to your business.

The benefits of product marketing

Product marketing takes the pressure off your sales team by giving the user information they need upfront to decide if a product is worth it or not. This creates a lower cost of acquisition since your product speaks for itself, not you.

Gone are the day of expensive ads. Your best friend is now word of mouth as more people try your product and recommend it to others.

And don’t forget your user experience is streamlined since the buyer’s journey is tailored to them. They can try without commitment, which means more people will likely give your product a shot. This shortens the sales cycle, increases the cost-revenue ratio, and helps tackle people’s lowering attention span when trying new products. They don’t want to spend hours researching what is best for them. Give it to them right away so they can make that decision fast.

And when more people try before they buy, you’re given a unique opportunity to focus on branding as you penetrate the market. Your brand can grow as you fit your product to customers’ needs as their feedback comes in real-time.

Because startups are expensive, allowing your product to do the talking for itself means you’re spending less time selling it and more time improving it. And when the marketing takes on a life of its own, and you reap the rewards, what’s a better feeling?

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