A 5-step breakdown of the incredible free marketing strategies and rules that you can use to move your high-end speciality product, create fanatical fan bases, and grow your business on autopilot.

I do NOT have $300 to blow on a backpack. It took all of 10 minutes for this one company to convince me that I actually did have $300 to blow, and that I should choose their product.

In this post, I am going to outline the key marketing steps they used that helped them raise $341,393 on Kickstarter, ship their backpack internationally, and develop a cult following. None of that happened by accident; they followed a fantastic marketing plan.

Enter Minaal:

The Minaal backpack is the brainchild of Doug and Jimmy, who were looking for a more efficient bag to travel the world with. The Minaal carry-on bag opens like a suitcase, converts into a briefcase, and has room to fit almost anything a backpacker would need to travel.

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The Minaal backpack is a superior product, which is important. None of these strategies will work if your product doesn’t solve a problem people have. But there are plenty of other bags around that have more features, color choices, and a much lower price point. Here’s why the Minaal is so successful:

 

1) They Follow the Inbound Marketing Method

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The Theory

One of the key rules of marketing is that you can’t really convince someone to purchase a product (attached to a benefit) they have absolutely no want or need for. There is just no way that I am ever going to purchase a baby stroller today. Marketing exists so that when I realize I have a need, I choose your product over any other.

Inbound marketing follows this principle by focusing on potential customers who are already actively looking for a solution to problems you can solve.

In Action

I discovered I had a need for a better backpack. I was leaving the house everyday with a duffel bag for gym clothes, a backpack for work items, and a lunch bag. I wanted a bag that I can fit my entire life in. There is a term for people who live the way I do: working from the laptop, travelling everywhere, and not owning very many possessions. They are called “digital nomads”. I was familiar with this term, so to begin my search for a solution, I went to Google and typed in:

“The best backpacks for digital nomads”.

 

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This top search result is exactly what I was looking for, and I promise you that it’s there on purpose.

Google is trying to find the best helpful content for me. The writer of this blog post understood exactly what I would search for, and created a post exactly for me. Remember, I’m still in the discovery phase. Showing me a product right now wouldn’t work. We’ll talk about how this innocent article leads to a sale in step 3.

Being the first piece of educational content I consume while I’m actively in this new market is HUGE. Psychologically, the first source you receive information from on a specific topic becomes the standard by which you rate other sources of information.

How You Can Apply This Strategy

Stop worrying about the millions of people who will never buy from you. Focus on the first thousand people that would see your product and think, “Holy crap, that’s exactly what I need.”

What problem does your product solve, and how can you become the first touch point for your consumer? Once you know what a prospect might type into Google, create boatloads of content related to that. Blogs, eBooks, YouTube reviews, Facebook pages, Google+ communities. You aren’t trying to push your product with those pieces of content; you’re trying to educate a consumer and get them to trust what you have to say.

 

2) They Used A Hyper-Niche

 

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The Theory

Your target market is never “everyone”. In fact, the more specific market you choose, the more sales and market share you’ll generate. This is why the Segway transportation machine failed. The founder believed everyone would use a Segway. If he had designed and marketed his product for the “security guard market”, it would have been a massive success.

In Action

As we go through this story, you’ll find out the Minaal is trying to dominate the “digital nomad” niche. This backpack isn’t for hikers, bikers, or college students. This backpack is one of the few products specifically made for those who want to fit everything they need to travel for long periods of time, work on the go, and stay flexible.

How You Can Apply This Strategy

How can you continue to narrow down your target market? This is extremely hard for almost every business owner, because it feels counter intuitive. But when you choose a hyper-niche, your opportunities to become the market leader explode. You can become a specialist.

When I became an “online-only marketing consultant for small businesses”, business boomed. Now, I’m working on choosing an industry. If I was an “online-only marketing consultant for small businesses in the health and fitness industry”, I could become a well-known expert.

If you have a commodity product, you may have to invent features or benefits to help you develop a niche. If you run a pool cleaning supply and service company, maybe you should become the best pool cleaning and supply company only for people in Florida who rent out homes to snowbirds. Then, you can offer free house check-ups for the owner each time you clean the pool.

 

3) Third Party Endorsement

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The Theory

“Pay attention to what JD says in this paragraph, it’s really important” – Warren Buffett

If that quote was real (and it is, seriously), you would read these next few sentences very carefully. The power of third-party endorsement is insane. This is how recommendations and referrals work. When you ask your friend for a real estate agent, you are almost absolutely going to work with whomever they recommend.

In Action

In this case study, the blog post I clicked on was on the website tropicalmba.com. This website is owned by a entrepreneur named Dan Andrews, who runs a very successful blog along with great location-independent businesses. He’s a digital nomad too, so that builds trust.

Dan is a professional, and please remember this blog article he wrote is no accident. Dan most likely worked with Minaal during the product launch to help gain exposure. One of the ways you can do this is what we call affiliate marketing, where an affiliate uses his audience he’s created to drive another person’s sales, and is compensated accordingly*.

It’s just the same as hiring an athlete for a Subway commercial; take someone a lot of people trust and admire, put your product right next to them, and voila.

*I don’t think Dan was compensated here, I think they are just great friends helping each other out. That’s awesome.

How You Can Apply This Strategy

Reviews, testimonials, asking for referrals, and promoting others you trust.

Can you find someone who is willing to endorse you and your products? How many testimonials are on your website? Do you always ask for a referral from a satisfied client? If you have an online product, try to seek out a relationship like the one between Minaal and Dan. It’s powerful.

 

4) Using Marketing Copy

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When you are a marketer, you subconsciously judge everything on its ability to persuade. After reading this case study, I hope you’ll never look at an online article or YouTube video the same way again. Most of them are trying to get you to do something; trust, subscribe, buy, believe, or just spend more time on the website for ad revenue.

Marketers use copywriting to persuade people. Copywriting is specifically structuring your pitch to emotionally connect with the consumer, build interest and want, and then go for the sale. Most of the time, it follows this formula.

Attention: This is an awesome headline, flashy video, or fun energetic introduction. In this section, the only goal is to make enough of an impact to hold someone’s attention until you can build interest. Check out the headline for this post. Questions work great here, because we’re hardwired to answer the question by continuing to listen or read.

Interest: Most marketers tell a story here. Stories are an incredible way to bypass the rational part of the brain, and consumers love a good story. In the interest section, you usually introduce a problem that you’ve had or a problem you know your customers are experiencing.

Desire: In the desire section, feel free to solve that problem. You can show a product or a service you used to make life better. Desire is all about moving the consumer’s brain away from the pain they are currently experiencing into the potential pleasure of your product.

Action: After all that, now it’s time to go for the sale! This is the link to your product, a description of the features and benefits, and a coupon if they make a purchase right then and there. Action is the most important step of this process, but it fails miserably without the first three.

In Action

Dan uses this exact formula in his blog post! I’ve attached the link, so go ahead and read through it.

http://www.tropicalmba.com/best-digital-nomad-backpack/

See if you can break it into sections. It’s a sales page, just like a brochure you’d pick up or a presentation you’d sit through. And it’s authentic, trustworthy, and not sleazy. It’s just effective at educating the consumer and providing a solution.

How You Can Apply This Strategy

How much time do you have? Pick up “The Ultimate Sales Letter” by Dan Kennedy. Start using the AIDA formula in all of your sales meetings, website sales pages, and marketing materials.

It doesn’t have to be rocket science. Try and get a friend to go to a specific restaurant of your choice using this formula:

A: “Hey, do you want to know where I discovered the best food in town?”

I: “I was absolutely starving after work hours and I couldn’t even make it home. I literally just pulled off the road into this shady BBQ joint that didn’t even have a real sign!”

D: “That restaurant had the best pulled-pork burger I have ever had. Spicy sauce, great fries, and they had live music in there too!”

A: “Check it out, they gave me this coupon, text me if you go tonight!”

 

5) Emotional and Strategic Website Design

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The Theory

Your website is the single most powerful sales tool you have in your arsenal, besides your own two legs and passion for your product. Designing a proper website is a science, and if you have a simple, static website, you need to make some changes.

Emotional websites drive instant sales, logical ones do not.

In Action

After Dan’s post, I did a bit more research on other bags. But remember, Dan got to me first with a great message. I’m pretty much helpless now; nothing I look at is going to live up to the Minaal bag.

So, I finally went to Minaal.com to check out the product. The website prominently displays the term, “Our Story” everywhere. Sound familiar?

If you click on the about us, you read about the two founders and the trials they went through to create the bag. You are becoming more and more emotionally connected to the product.

The home page features Instagram shots of other Minaal bag users, adding in a sense of community. There are testimonials on the front page, for more third-party endorsement.

The website’s blog features even more stories about product design, end-user experiences, and advice for digital nomads.

How You Can Apply This Strategy

You need a full website evaluation.

Find the competitor in your niche that is dominating the space and see if you can discover what their website is doing right. Go to marketing.grader.com and see how well your website is optimized. Contact me to compare your website with others and create an action plan for you.

No matter what, take some sort of action today to make your marketing efforts more emotional.

Conclusion

My Minaal backpack is in the mail.

Conclusion, Extended

All of these fundamentals of marketing lead up to an incredible machine that builds sales for Minaal on autopilot. Sometimes, marketers get lost in pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, and all these other tools instead of focusing on the basics.

Make a great product and tell a great story.