A Few Proven But Simple Marketing Tips for 'Not Safe for Dinner Table Brands' Who Need Help Creating Exposure
Marketing not safe for work (NSFW) brands can get a little messy.
You have a great product, but it is not getting the attention or respect that other brands get. You're left pulling your hair out and wondering how to market your products effectively.
In my time marketing controversial brands, I've learned how to do it--and how not to do it --so that brands get the maximum amount of exposure with a minimum amount of BS.
Know Your Target Audience--and Don't Be Afraid to Go Deep
Before you begin marketing, it's advisable to know who you're marketing to. This is where customer personas and avatars come into play. A customer persona is a semi-fictional character/s that describes your ideal customers.
Personas may seem like a drag to create, but believe me, they'll help you create content that engages with the right people at the right time.
Start by creating a general overview of your ideal customer. Put together details about their location, age, gender, job, income, spending habits, and where they hang out.
By building personas and knowing your target audience, you can structure your content and get it out on channels where your customers hang out.
Create a BIG Personality--and Stick With It
Every brand has a personality. But, not every company knows how to harness the power of their own, making sure that it's tailored specifically for them and is on point with what they're promoting.
Personality is using emotion to get your message across. For example, if you had a human salesperson, what would they be like? Witty? Sassy? Unashamed of who they are? Write down the traits you believe in and use these to build your online brand personality.
A few key pointers to think about when creating a brand personality are:
- Know your brand inside out. Have a clear set of brand values and let them shine through.
- Figure out what you want your target audience to feel when they see or hear about your company and market accordingly. Use your brand personality to engage emotionally.
- Think outside of the box - think BIG. Be larger than life. Be bolder than bold. Be playful. Generate excitement and push limits.Whatever it is that makes people take notice, do more of it!
Don't be afraid to let your own personality traits become part of your brand traits. If you're loud, sassy and quick-witted, let that shine through your brand. Openness and authenticity are also great brand traits for NSFW brands to have.
Lean into Humor
Using humor is a way to break the ice. Humans love to laugh, and if it's about an awkward topic, it can lighten the moment. In addition, it makes people think more positively about a brand.
Humor also makes a brand more relatable, especially if it embraces a topic that people may find embarrassing to talk openly about.
But there are a few things to remember...
Humor is often subjective. What one person finds funny can easily offend somebody else. So for comedy to work effectively, you need to know your target audience.
If you have a physical store, think about whether you can make customer visits a fun experience. Humor can often encourage them in and break down those awkward barriers. If they are curious, they may be more inclined to visit as a 'joke.' Once they are in store, make them feel comfortable about being there, and any return visits will be easier for them.
Some excellent ways to include humor in your marketing include:
- Poke fun at yourself
- Create shareable content like memes or infographics with funny content. This is a great booster for word-of-mouth marketing. People love to share a funny joke on social media, even if it's about an NSFW topic.
- Create a humorous marketing video that showcases your brand personality
- Surprise people with unexpected products, like a cost-effective freebie (a small branded item) for all new customers who sign up before a specific deadline
Don't Be Afraid to Piss People Off (Because You're Definitely Going To)
A controversial brand isn't for everyone. So it's inevitable that you'll have your lovers and your haters. Of course, it's the same with all brands, but NSFW businesses often face more active criticism.
You'll always face bias and traditionalist, conservative views. And that's to be expected (but that's a them problem, not a you problem).
Get your marketing right, and you'll attract your ideal customers while also repelling those that aren't suitable for the brand. But be prepared that your content won't be for everyone and plan when criticism peaks.
It's best to bear in mind the following pointers:
- Be sensitive to the feelings of others, but don't be a pushover.
- Use your discretion when deciding what type of content to use for your brand.
- Include a warning before showing content that may not be suitable for work, like "NSFW" or "Parental Advisory."
The best way to know how your audience will respond is to test it out. Be smart and think about what you want to gain from your marketing efforts. If a possible drop in brand reputation is at stake, always play safe and err on the side of caution.
Test, Test, and Test Again
Like with any business, it's essential to test your marketing efforts using all the data you have to hand.
Using social media, you can tap into insights to determine how many people are engaging with your brand by liking and sharing your content.
Look for new channels where your audience may hang out. For example, OnlyFans is becoming a channel popular with NSFW brands. Tumblr, on the other hand, has banned certain content on their channel. But always read the channel's guidelines carefully to prevent any bans.
The difficulty with social media for risque brands is that the platform can close your account at any time. So bear in mind advertising guidelines and always be building a strong email list.
When evaluating your marketing, think about:
- How are customers reacting to each piece of content? Focus more on the types of successful content and try to figure out why some content nosedives.
- How are your competitors reacting? Have they changed their marketing tactics?
- How many new customers are you gaining? How many are you losing?
- Does your marketing cover the buyers' journey, from the curious to the experienced?
Testing may seem time-consuming, but if you want your marketing to succeed, you need to know what works and what doesn't.
You CAN Successfully Market Your NSFW Brand
Marketing a controversial brand is a tricky job. You have to be prepared to look at things a little differently to promote your products.
Be daring and be bold, and your marketing will soon pick up momentum and your exposure will increase.
This guest article was written by Frances Tang, founder/Captain Awkward/CEO of Awkward Essentials, a company that makes products that address the unspoken parts of hygiene. She is also the inventor of the dripstick -- an after sex cleanup sponge. Frances Tang never intended to build a company around a post-sex cleanup tool, but the Awkward Essentials founder saw a need -- and an opportunity -- for an entrepreneur willing to go there. Now, Frances is leading a revolution for female founders, showing that fearlessness is a founder's most important value.