Image of an invisible man holding a frame with nothing in it

When I first got started in marketing, I was selling consumer electronics. As technical products go, they were a good middle ground – easy enough for the average consumer to understand, but with some tricky tech wizardry going on behind the scenes for anyone brave (or bored) enough to learn about it.

Still, at least they were physical products which customers could inspect for themselves.

Not only that, there were a wealth of tech comparison and review sites dedicated to that exact thing (a personal favourite of mine is Knob Feel on YouTube – products reviewed solely on how their knobs feel.)

So how do you market products that don’t have a physical presence?

To go from the above to marketing intangible products must have been a shock right?
Well, not really. A lot of the methods used are the same – they just have to be adapted slightly.

Almost all products can be considered intangible at the beginning of the sales process. Even physical products like electronics, foodstuffs, even IT infrastructure installations start out as intangible. The customer journey, from identifying a need to choosing a product, relies on the same basic principles of clarity, expertise, trust and proof – it’s just that these need to be amplified to ease the sense of apprehension that comes with buying a product you can’t physically see.

Customers shopping for intangible products have to rely more on what others are telling them – something they’re not always comfortable with – so make sure your expertise is shining through at every step.

Here are some of the best ways you can use your marketing to sell an intangible product.

USE CREATIVE STORYTELLING

This doesn’t just mean video. Use infographics, pictures and even audio files to show how your service or product works.

Or, just describe an ideal situation where a customer needed your product. In the past, we have used scenario-based stories to show a multitude of problems that were solved by the product in question. Each story featured a member of the target audience, which lent authenticity and detailed context to each scenario.

Don’t be afraid to try new ways of conveying your message. If you’re looking for some fun inspiration, again check out Knob Feel – it’s fun, it demonstrates a 1st-hand experience of a product, it’s the epitome of creative storytelling.

You can learn more about how to spice up your storytelling in our recent blog – Why is B2B Marketing So Boring?

Drill down into personalisation

With an intangible product, it’s important to go deep with knowledge of your audience. If you properly understand their situations, pain points, you can create content they’ll find relatable.

Address them directly, make it sound like you’re talking to just them. The goal here is to make them think “that sounds like me – maybe I need this product!”

Demonstrate Tangible Benefits

Even if your product isn’t tangible, chances are it solves a tangible problem. There is often an emotion attached to a problem, and seeing it solved brings a sense of satisfaction and relief – all very tangible feelings. For example, an insurance policy is an intangible investment, but the potential benefits from a claim can make a huge difference to the customer’s life and are therefore extremely tangible.

Customers are often hesitant to invest in intangibles for fear they won’t work,or just anxiety about the unknown. The best way to resolve this is by demonstrating how it works on a surface level. It’s important not to get too techy with this – most customers don’t want to hear about the deep workings of a product. Instead, create content that explains the benefits clearly and in real-world terms.

Be specific about the problems your product solves. If you’ve followed point #2, you should already have a good idea about unique challenges and pain points your audience faces.

LEVERAGE TRUST

Trust is usually the biggest obstacle between your customers and conversion, whenever you have an opportunity to leverage trust in your customer journey, grab it with both hands!

Tried and tested methods like social proof can really help to provide reassurance to the prospective customer by discussing how they benefited from using your product. Having a seemingly impartial party advocating for your product feels more authentic, and removes a lot of the feeling of being “sold to”.

And speaking of impartial parties…

If you can, get your product in front of independent reviewers. Often, these reviewers come with their own built-in credibility, which rubs off on your product when it is given a favourable review. We employed this exact tactic by getting a falls detection product reviewed in an industry publication, and the review did more to generate customer trust than any of the ad campaigns we had previously run.

Another way you can generate trust in your product is with the use of honest FAQs – that’s right, they’re useful for much more than SEO!

Talk to your customers and your prospects. In an honest, good-faith conversation you will be able to outline your audience’s biggest anxieties and objections – and then hit them face-on! Doing this demonstrates not just that you understand, but that you care about their objections, and have a proper answer and/or solution ready.

Want a marketing partner that can deliver tangible results, even for intangible products?
Let’s have a chat!

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