Marketing is one of the most difficult hurdles for IT companies. We show you the six most important steps for successful software marketing.
Table of contents:
- Software marketing is not rocket science
- 6 simple steps to successful software marketing
- Example of a 6-step-plan: How to implement it successfully
- Ideas for your software marketing
- This is how much marketing budget you need
The most important things in a nutshell:
- Marketing is first and foremost a strategic process
- Always align your software marketing with the desires of your target audience and identify your strengths relative to competitors
- Use the strengths of different marketing channels to create content dispersion
Software marketing is not rocket science
Innovative ideas pay off and secure you a strong position on the market. That’s one of the reasons why software development has surged in recent years, especially in the area of mobile applications and business process automation (e. g. in accounting and marketing). But just like with any other product or service, software companies first have to find buyers / clients, and this is where one of the biggest challenges becomes apparent.
→ Marketing is the be-all and end-all in any industry, because without buyers even the greatest ideas remain undiscovered and the software sector is no exception.
With this article we follow the goal to help IT businesses develop their marketing strategy. Many companies fail to win Clients because they make fundamental mistakes in the marketing process. And we are not talking about too little financial investments or choosing the wrong marketing channels, but about an insufficient strategy, poor positioning and wrong communication with the target group.
Many people think of marketing in terms of search engine optimization, social media or web design but these areas follow only after strategy development.
First, there are six important steps to follow to lay the foundation for successful software marketing. These steps will not only help you target the right audience, they will also save you resources.
6 simple steps to successful software marketing
To develop a good marketing strategy, you need to answer the following six questions first:
- What are my strengths compared to my competitors?
- Who is my target group and how do I address them?
- Which communication channels do I use for my marketing?
- Who is responsible for implementation?
- What is the best way to spread our marketing presence?
- How do I measure the results of my software marketing?
The implementation only takes place after you have worked out every single aspect of your strategy. A good marketing strategy will not only help you to plan your resources and approach, but will also give you a better overview of the required effort and the time buffers that need to be planned for implementation.
Every software stands out from its competition in its own way but your target audience may not be aware of these advantages. To use channels like social media or blogs effectively, you need to recognize your strengths in order to communicate them. But being aware of your weaknesses also has its advantages because it allows you to recognize potential for improvement and what possible objections your target group raises or what possible disadvantages they see in your software.
But don’t only focus on objective advantages of your software but also on how it meets the challenges of your target audience and what subjective needs your company addresses with its marketing strategy. When analyzing weaknesses, you should ideally consider the opinion of your team because it is often difficult for you to remain objective and even identify possible weaknesses in your own software.
Know your target audience
Many software businesses make the same mistake and explain any technical terms on their website or via their social media channels. But why? Your target audience probably are people who are familiar with the application areas of your software.
There are benefits of using a good glossary or encyclopedias to explain certain terms, especially if they are very technical, but don’t treat your audience like clueless people who need a primer on the subject first. Instead, communicate the advantages and which use your software promises. Also, creating informative as well as unique content should help position your company.
This “I first need to explain everything” mistake is due to poor target audience analysis. Every company has an idea of its persona but still commits communication mistakes. As a result, it’s not uncommon to miss the mark, which means no sustainable growth and no leads will be generated.
Depending on your target audience, you need to consider different criteria when communicating. In the case of a B2C target audience, information regarding price or characteristics such as motives or personal preferences play a primarily role. In the B2B sector, on the other hand, solution-oriented approaches, industry and return on investment matter the most.
It should also be mentioned that every company has several target audiences which in turn are segmented into different subgroups – therefore, you should never focus your software marketing on only one group of people.
The right communication channels
It’s well known that social media and blogs belong to the best marketing channels. However, this does not answer the question of which exact channels should be used, how often and with which content. It makes a big difference whether your company is targeting a B2B or B2C target audience, as channels need to be selected accordingly.
The following table shows which (social media-) channels are particularly well suited for each target audience:
Consider that the industry plays an important role as well. For example, Twitter is not bad for B2B businesses but it hardly offers any advantages for software companies. On the other hand, the platform “Reddit” has proven to be an insider tip because millions of people search there everyday for advice on different topics – with knowledge of software development, you can position your business extremely well.
But choosing the right channels isn’t everything, because that doesn’t answer any questions about posting frequency or the type of posts. In order to create a working content strategy, you should therefore clarify the following questions in the team:
- Which channels do we use?
- What content do we post?
- When do we start with social media postings and blogging?
- How often do we post on social media or our blog and what time buffer do we allow ourselves?
- What are potential challenges? (e.g. copyright in image use for blog articles)
- How do we achieve broad content distribution through different channels?
- Are our blog articles and website aligned with search engine optimization (SEO) criteria?
- How do we use your content to generate leads and retain them?
Are you looking for an exclusive content format that guarantees competitive advantages and triggers a lasting “wow effect” with your target audience? Then you should take a look at the advantages of digital signage!
Our software offers you a wide range of functions, starting with image playback and ending with interesting additional features such as the display of Facebook postings or YouTube videos. Of course, you can also use FRAMR as a presentation medium to communicate the benefits of your software. We promise: Your target audience will be stunned!
Internal vs external expertise
Blogs, social media, SEO, SEA (Google ads) – with all the given possibilities it’s difficult to find the necessary expertise internally, even when specifically choosing marketing channels. But that’s not necessary either, because through freelancer portals and Google research you can easily find a freelancer or even a big agency for your software marketing.
Both internal as well as external production of marketing content have advantages and with the following table we draw a comparison:
|Strengths internal||Strengths external|
|Faster communication||Agencies/freelancers know best practices|
|Quicker access to knowledge||Specialization|
|Staff is easily available||Can take on more tasks|
|Change of direction within the strategy is faster||Strategies can be worked out more purposefully|
External labor requires good delegation. Don’t get it wrong, you don’t have to control every process in detail but working with freelancers or agencies is only purposeful if good framework conditions are created. For this, the first step is to clarify the following questions:
- Who is responsible for which activity and what is the goal?
- Which deadlines do we set?
- Which information and materials does the freelancer or agency need?
- How well does the cooperation work and what can be improved?
In the third point we have already mentioned content distribution – but why is this important at all? The answer: Many companies fail with implementing their marketing strategy and end up rearranging everything or plan all over again.
For successful software marketing, you have a variety of channels at your disposal, be it social media, SEO, SEA, PR or blogs. But just because you have so many options doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the advantages of the different channels. Instead it’s better to set up multiple channels right from the beginning to see what content resonates best with your target audience and what content format gets good results.
But make sure to ask yourself to what extent a good and broad content distribution is possible with the available resources because it doesn’t make sense if you have one person available for marketing, but you want to play ten marketing channels at once.
Metrics for measurability
Every company wants to achieve goals but surprisingly, this part of the marketing strategy in particular is treated quite superficially. Common goals are “growth” or “reach,” but no one mentions exact numbers or what metrics are used to achieve them.
To measure the success of software marketing, you have several metrics at your disposal, be it website traffic, Google Analytics stats, social shares, newsletter signups or number of purchases or bookings. However, don’t make the mistake of focusing too much on the number of website visitors because even if high reach is an indicator of good marketing performance, it says nothing about the quality of your visitors.
Our recommendation: It’s best to use two metrics to evaluate the success of your marketing, for example website traffic and number of newsletter signups.
Don’t forget to use the results as a foundation for further development of your strategy. For example, if Facebook insights show that your target audience is mostly active between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., these numbers should guide the time of your future posts. Similarly, you should remove content types from your strategy if the metrics show that they are performing poorly.
Example of a 6-step-plan: How to implement it successfully
Below, we give you insights into FRAMR’s marketing strategy so that you can get a feel for how to implement the 6-step plan.
- Positioning: At FRAMR, we focus on speed and agile processes. This is because the Linux operating system starts even when power is lost and does not require a license. In addition, no complex installation is necessary and our cloud service guarantees permanent availability ofthe services. This flexibility also ensures constant expandability and good runnability on all platforms. We see potential weaknesses in the established market position of our competitors. Since we are competing with big companies like Sony or Panasonic, we have to position ourselves with good content and address our target group effectively.
- Target group: We specifically address B2B customers with our digital signage solutions. We don’t discriminate on industry or company size, instead our marketing agenda aims to convince the target audience with the benefits of digital signage and position ourselves as innovative pioneers in entrepreneurship.
- Communication channels: Besides our blog, we primarily use B2B channels because they best fit our target audience. We communicate via LinkedIn, use cases, workshops, and the FRAMR blog.
- Internal vs. external expertise: We rely on both internal and external expertise. With internal strengths we ensure fast communication within the team and with external marketing support we “buy” the necessary know-how to do so.
- Distribution: Two up to three articles are published on our blog every month. In addition, we post one LinkedIn post per week, publish guest posts on other websites for link-building, have already published case studies and regularly participate in knowledge-sharing events.
- Metrics: To measure the success of our software marketing, we consider website traffic, number of purchases, and completed subscriptions.
You want to learn how digital signage, marketing and process automation work in FREE online webinars? Then be there LIVE at the next event!
Ideas for your software marketing
- Blog articles on industry-specific topics
- Use case studies to show results of your work
- Explainer videos
- Google Ads campaigns with keywords targeting the search intent of the target audience
- Free use of your software for a certain period of time
- Live webinars to explain your software
- Postings on Google MyBusiness
- Digital brochures
Looking for more sustainable ideas? Then be sure to read our blog article on the best content formats – you’ll find valuable tips and tricks for implementing your software marketing strategy and which tools will help you do it.
This is how much marketing budget you need
The cost of good marketing has skyrocketed. Before digitization, people were less able to get information and it was correspondingly easier to sell products or services. But in the information age, different rules apply and your target audience has several touch points with your offer before they even develop interest. This is partly due to the growing competition, but also because access to information through search engines like Google is now available and your target group uses this offer. Because of that, you need to provide your audience with good content to spark curiosity, answer important questions, and get them to interact with your business.
How much budget you need to allocate to your marketing depends on several factors, including which channels you use or whether you cooperate with a freelancer or agency. Experience shows that the set-up phase with strategy development, setting up social media profiles, web design with texts and logo creation already costs well over 10,000 €. In addition, there are monthly costs for content, SEO and social media, which costs between 2,000 € and 5,000 €, depending on the factors mentioned.
Conclusion: Software marketing unfolds your potential
There is no question that marketing is one of the most important areas for the successful implementation of a business idea. There are high investments involved, but the long-term goal is a positive return-on-investment and most companies achieve this by working out a good strategy in the first step.
But that’s exactly the point: The first step requires a good strategy to set the stage for successful software marketing. The six steps from this article will help you establish your innovative idea on the market and set you apart from your competitors.
Pictures: © Canva.com
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