In this cutthroat industry, hype is the name of the game. Consumers are always up to date on the latest trends, so getting your brand in the right place and finding the attention your products deserve is crucial. Today, there’s no better way to generate a buzz than with social media. Ensuring you’re keeping your new products in the public eye and engaging with your organic community could mean the difference between sinking and swimming in such a fast-paced and saturated industry. Here are a few ways to build hype for your new products — and ultimately your brand as a whole.
1. Build an email list and send emails (the smart way)
Emails are a business’s best friend. However, far too many businesses overdo it. You don’t want to send your loyal customers a bunch of junk every other day. No matter how good you think your content is, if you spam your subscribers, they’re going to unsubscribe — or worse, report you for spam. A good rule of thumb is to send an email every two weeks.
A monthly newsletter is a great place to showcase new products and content, but it also gives you the opportunity to offer a super attractive deal or a discount just for being a subscriber. In a monthly newsletter, you can also offer other incentives, like encouraging people to enter a monthly giveaway with a secret code for extra entries, or following and sharing your content on Instagram for free stuff.
You can also offer a second email after two weeks if you need to promote a sale or create hype about a new product drop. Hype emails should always be timely and play with the psychological fear of missing out that all humans inherently possess. If you want to create hype, use language like “act now” or “limited time only”. You should also be specific. For example, if you have a new limited edition drop of rigs in collaboration with a glass artist who has a lot of clout, you’ll want to mention the exact number of rigs you have — especially if it’s a small number. People are more likely to convert on a hype email if you include a countdown module for a sale end date, too.
Again, hype comes from FOMO. You want your emails to explain all of the cool stuff about a specific product and showcase them with drool-worthy imagery. Throw a couple of testimonials in there for pizazz, or drop in a link to an influencer review video. There are a lot of ways to create really stellar email campaigns for your new products. Just be sure to avoid sending too many emails, and make sure you’re incentivizing your customers with deals or creating hype by making them afraid of missing out on something spectacular.
2. Run giveaways on your own and with larger publications
You can generate a lot of hype over a product by offering to give it away for free since everyone likes to win. Customers on the fence about shelling out a lot of money for a product may be more inclined to enter a giveaway to win it for free. When they enter a giveaway, though, you can add them to your email list and continue nurturing them as a lead until they convert on a sale or succumb to the hype you generate with your email campaigns.
More importantly, if the giveaway item is something stellar and highly attractive, the giveaway itself will generate hype for your brand. Running a monthly giveaway with a detailed description of the product, how it works, and plenty of imagery can capture the attention of your customers and encourage them to convert in lots of different ways.
Many businesses use Gleam to run contests on websites and social media. To enter, customers sign in with their email address and are then given several options to earn entries, including daily bonuses, secret codes you can put in your email campaigns, social following, blog commenting, and more. All of these avenues support other areas of your marketing and encourage an organic and engaged audience that continues to grow with each passing giveaway.
But if you’re just getting started, don’t be afraid to run a sponsored giveaway with a major publication. For example, publications like ours and Stoner Things have massive audiences. Offering a giveaway item on a larger site makes it possible for you to capture the attention of thousands of potential customers who may have never heard of your brand. Sponsored giveaways usually come with an article outlining what your product is and how it works, and it generates hype as thousands of people enter for the chance to win it. A lot of the time, the people who didn’t win will still head to your website and check out your brand and products.
Click here to learn about running a giveaway with Heady Pages.
3. Incentivize and generate organic reviews to build trust
It’s hard to build a loyal following without trust. If you’re just getting started, it may help to use influencers to review your new products and showcase how they work. Their reviews may encourage some of their audience members to explore your product and try it for themselves. Starting with a few influencer reviews could lead to organic reviews from real people.
Once you have a few sales, you should always send a follow up email after their order was delivered to encourage them to leave feedback. You can encourage reviews by offering incentives that will ensure they follow through with the review. You might offer a free gift, like an accessory, or give them a single-use coupon code as a thank you.
It helps to streamline your review process, too. Making sure customers can leave reviews directly on products pages without having to login to your website can increase the likelihood that they convert when you direct them back to that page in your review solicitation email. Just be sure you can review your reviews — you don’t want them to auto-publish, especially if someone had something off topic and negative to say.
Make sure you’re also listed on other important review sites, including Google My Business. The more places you have for people to leave feedback, the more trust you’ll have from the get-go with new and potential customers. Trust and transparency make or break sales, so it’s important to have plenty of reviews that you take the time to respond to.
4. Support all your efforts with social media
There’s no better way to build hype than with social media. Done correctly, it’s the most effective tool you have for engaging with your audience. But much like email marketing, there are a lot of ways to do social media poorly, especially as a smoke shop. For example, you never want to buy followers or likes, as attractive as that may seem. The algorithm penalizes brands for having an unengaged following. So start from scratch and take your time.
As a visual brand, you’ll want to focus more on sites like Instagram and TikTok. Take care to not post a bunch of sales or marketing stuff. Social media is not a soapbox for you to stand on and scream into the void about your products. People don’t care. They’re on social media to look at memes and watch videos that interest them, like bubbling water pipes, pretty scenery, art, and things like that. You should have a personal voice and only mention selling things less than 20% of the time. Make fun and interesting videos, talk to people, and have fun with it.
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If you’re just getting started, you might want to start pushing social media on customers by including QR codes to your accounts in your packaging materials or on signage posted in your store. Offer an incentive for following, such as access to exclusive social media deals and specials.
Create a specific hashtag and encourage your customers to use it and generate their own content for your brand, which is going to sell better than anything you put out on your own. You can leverage these hashtags for Instagram contests and giveaways, too.
Remember, social media is a fantastic tool for building hype around new products when you showcase them in a fun and engaging way. Once you build a following and continue cranking out engaging, interesting content, social media works wonders.
At the end of the day, hype comes from an engaged, organic audience with an interest in the types of products you offer coupled with a fear of missing out and the desire to be one of the first to have the latest and greatest in smoke shop tech. By streamlining your marketing efforts, running giveaways with large publications, and optimizing your email and social media campaigns, building hype around your new products comes naturally.