In some ways, software marketing strategies are the same as any other marketing strategies. You have to know what problem your solving, get to know your audience, and proclaim your product loud and clear for the whole world to hear.
But with software, you’ve got access to a few other advertising channels and tactics that aren’t necessarily available to those outside of the technology industry.
When developing your software marketing strategies, you’ll want to first develop a plan that covers all the bases: SEO and SEM, social media marketing, advertising, directories, and affiliate marketing. Instead of talking in theory, we’ll walk through a checklist that every budding developer can use to promote their products.
If you’ve just built your first app, then you can walk through this list to develop your software marketing strategies. If you’ve already gotten started with your marketing, take a quick look at this list to see if you’ve got everything checked off.
Build a Website
If your product is a simple tool or small app, then even a free WordPress blog will do. Most likely, however, you’re planning on a future as a developer, and you’ll want to purchase a .com domain.
This will serve as the online home base for your software program. In all likelihood, you’ll want to develop more apps or programs in the future, so choose a site that’s focused on your business name.
Prep Your Product for Distribution
Planning your advertising channels and payment method is key. Do you want to use a smart installer such as InstallFuel? Will you integrate advertising into the product itself? Will you charge for the product? Will you offer a free trial?
To find out the answer to these questions, check out what your competitors are doing. Find out what comparable products are doing and assume that they’ve tested their way into that position. Calculate how many resources you’re able to devote to marketing. The more resources you’ve got, the better you can position yourself in the market. The higher the perceived value of your product, the more likely it is you’ll be able to charge for it.
To find out the best advertising channels for your product, you’ll want to get to know your audience, find out where they spend time online, and find out how they like to be advertised to. The best way to do this is to talk to them.
Talk to Your Niche
Marketing means talking to your customers through forums, blogs, and the media. Larger products deserve press releases, and you can always contact tech blogs and relevant niche blogs to see if they’ll help with advertising, interviews, or articles about your product.
Media coverage is big business: it helps with publicity, SMM, SEM, SEO, and acts as advertising for your product or brand.
Distribution Platforms, Directories, and Monetization
Monetization, of course, is one of the major concerns for all developers and software publishers. As mentioned above, comparable products will give you an idea of how you can monetize and distribute your product.
Use freemium models, software directories, and distribution platforms to your advantage. Full-service monetization solutions, such as CodeFuel’s product suite give you access to a complete toolbox that extends your marketing reach and offers a complete monetization strategy.
All marketing and sales should be considered a funnel. On one side you have the customers, at varying degrees of awareness about your product and their own needs, and on the other side you have your product. The goal is to move them through this funnel toward the conversion. Ideally, they will become lifelong customers who contribute to your business over the long term.
Marketing is a never-ending story. Ongoing tweaks and adjustments to your marketing and sales funnel will help you improve your conversions. Data you collect from the funnel will help you connect with your customers and better understand their needs. Data you collect from your program will help you tailor your product more effectively. This information, in turn, can help you improve your marketing efforts.
Rinse and Repeat
Once you’ve got your first product and marketing funnel, it’s time to connect it to your next product with a product funnel. When you have multiple products, you can advertise these to your existing customer base from inside your product, on your website, and during installation. Chain-link your products together like a fence to get more loyal customers. Loyal customers can help spread the word about your product and build your brand over time.
This checklist covers the basics for all those beginning software marketers out there. It may seem complicated, but it’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. All you need to do is go down the list and start checking off the items!