Archive for the 'software' Category

WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT SELLING SOFTWARE ONLINE?

From Software Marketing Advisor:

What is different about selling software online?

You may be wondering how is selling software online different from selling any other ecommerce product. After all, isn’t selling software online more or less the same as selling anything else, such as shoes or office supplies?

working macbook computer keyboard

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

In a nutshell, it really isn’t very different: You still need to understand your target customer and what problem or need your software is addressing. You still need to worry about branding, messaging, and how to reach your audience. And you still need to be able to communicate your USP (unique selling proposition) to get them to buy.

But there are two ways in which selling software is a little different from selling other products – the first may be obvious, and the second is a little more subtle, but both are important:

(1) Where you sell software online: software is often sold through app stores, download sites, or your own website, rather than via the popular ecommerce platforms which are designed primarily for physical products.

(2) How you communicate the value: software developers are engineers, and often make the mistake of focusing on the technology (software features or the underlying technology used) rather than on the customer benefits.

Keep reading to learn ten strategies to boost your web software sales.

Continue reading “What’s Different About Selling Software Online?”

7 Steps to Plan Your Software Product Marketing

CommStrategy-kaleidico-754517-unsplash

Many small tech firms don’t have a dedicated marketing employee in the company. Instead, company leaders or founders have to find the time to plan marketing, and as a result it often becomes an afterthought.

If this describes your company, here are some easy steps you can take to make sure you make strategic marketing decisions that align with your business goals.

1. First, you must really understand your market ecosystem

This includes:

  • your competitors,
  • potential customers,
  • potential partners,
  • influencers, thought leaders, media.

2. Second, identify the different segments within your market

Think about how you can group the market players, and what are the different sub-niches of potential customers or problems.

3. Third, write down detailed profiles for each segment

Consider the key descriptors of the various customer segments that you wrote down above. Really get into the shoes of each customer, and write down as detailed a description as you can: demographics, needs/wants, challenges, etc.

4. Fourth, narrow down to your ideal customer targets

Once you have a really detailed picture of each customer sub-segment, you should be able to identify which of the customer segments are most profitable and which are the segments for which you deliver the most unique value.

5. Understand the pain points & sales needs of your ideal target customer

Now that you have a really detailed picture of your ideal customer, you need to think about what are their main pain points – what keeps them awake at night?  How does your software or service address one of their top pain points?

Then consider sales needs:  in order to purchase your product, what information or material do they need?  Also consider who else is involved in or influences the purchase decision (stakeholders and influencers).

6. Perfect elevator pitch & messages

You need to think about the messages and elevator pitch to each of your target audiences above:

  • Ideal customer
  • Stakeholders
  • Influencers

What is the CTA (call to action – what you want them to do)?  What are the key talking points?

7. Finally, define your communications strategy

Basically, your communication strategy is just the key steps above written out in a document or slideset:  Who is your audience? What do you want them to do? How will you communicate that to them?  The answers to those questions are your marketing communications strategies.

Keep reading here to learn more and start planning your software product marketing.

6 Steps for a Successful Software Launch

A successful software launch can be a critical component to the long-term viability of any new software, app, or service. How can you plan your launch to really boost your product’s success?

schedule planning startup launching

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

This article gives you six helpful steps to follow.

Keep in mind: as much time and energy should go into planning the launch and your ongoing software marketing strategy as goes into productizing and testing the actual product.

To help you plan, we have just launched our Go-to-Market Toolkit, which includes guides, templates and checklists to plan a successful software launch. The Toolkit is available now here.

If you’d like advance notice about new products or downloads, you can sign up for our FREE monthly newsletter here. Or contact us with any questions.

 

Planning Your Product Launch with a Go-to-Market Checklist

If you’re bringing a new product, software or service to market, then you need to have a go-to-market strategy:  what are your plans to launch your product and get customers and interest?

sea flight sky earth

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Below is a simple week-by-week checklist leading up to a new software product introduction that you can use to keep all those marketing & promotion details straight. If you need some help putting your go-to-market plan together, or just have a few questions, then sign up for a Software Marketing Consult session here.

Next month we will be introducing our updated Go-to-Market planning package which will include a more detailed checklist and timeline, GTM strategy template, PR templates, eGuides and more! Sign up for our newsletter here to be notified when it is available.

8-12 weeks before launch:

  • Product name finalized
  • Acquire domain name, social handles for product name
  • Create ideal customer persona: Description, Pain points / needs, Benefits
  • USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – what is the key value of your product to your target customer? why are you/your business the right choice (build credibility)?
  • Create a high-level launch plan:
    1. Goals
    2. Strategies (Who is the audience? What channels? When? What messages? How will the customer find it? Why should they act?)
    3. Tactics – specific activities to accomplish the strategies
    4. Metrics – how to measure success

4 weeks before launch:

  • Website ready (or new web page / sub-domain for product)
  • All social pages ready
  • Promotion plan done:
    1. Plan for pre-launch, launch & post-launch press releases
    2. Media/influencer targets identified, with contact info
    3. Compile editorial calendars
    4. Advertising plan (eg, PPC, banner ads, FB ads, offline ads, etc)
  • Keywords for SEO or PPC identified
  • Content marketing plan in place – blog posts, guest blogging, social media

3 weeks before launch:

  • Create media kit (PR, company & product description, bio/story, headshots, screenshots, Q&A, video or demo, trial codes, etc)
  • Sign up for HARO, Pitchrate to receive email about media pitch requests
  • Email signup on website (start before launch)
  • Write email sequence to send to mailing list, both at launch, plus pre- and post-launch
  • Create SEO content for website/blog to bring in search visitors

2 weeks before launch:

  • Pre-launch press release sent to select media & influencers
  • Promote mailing list (prerelease signup)
  • Email update to mailing list
  • Customer support plan
  • Customer documentation complete
  • Channel plan in place – who do you need to sign up? what do they need to sell or list your software?

1 week before launch:

  • Email update to mailing list)
  • Promote mailing list (prerelease signup)
  • List of events (tradeshows, meetups, user groups) and websites where you can “announce” your new product/service)
  • Finalize all announcement copy: press release, description, elevator pitch, social content)

At launch:

  • Update website / product page
  • Launch press release published & sent to all media & influencers
  • Email update to mailing list
  • Add listing / description to websites, directories, stores, etc
  • Announce on social media, blog, forums/groups (as appropriate), etc

Post launch:

  • Post-launch press release with user/customer update/announcement
  • Email update to mailing list
  • Content marketing: social posts, blogs, guest posts, forum/group engagement, etc
  • Gather feedback from users, influencers, etc

 

What is the Best Software Business Plan and Marketing Strategy for You?

person writing on white book

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

If you manage a software or online business, there are many different options for monetization, including:

  • traditional software license,
  • subscription fees,
  • advertising,
  • bundling,
  • licensing by component,
  • software consulting or
  • software reselling.

This article will help you plan the best business model and monetization strategy.  Keep reading to learn more about how to optimize your software business plan.

 

Developing Your App Marketing Strategy: 7 Key Steps

With a good app marketing strategy you can make sure that your sales and marketing efforts aren’t in vain. Keep your limited resources focused on your business goals with these 7 tips to planning a strong software marketing strategy.

pexels-photo-905163.jpeg

A focused software marketing strategy will decrease your time to market and shorten your sales cycle.  It can drive the most effective app launch for your software.

To start planning your app marketing strategy, follow the 7-step process below:

  1. Make sure you fully understand your market, including size, trends, and key players.
  2. Segment your potential customer base.
  3. Make detailed profiles of your customer segments.
  4. Identify which of your segments are your early adoption targets.
  5. Identify their key pain points and sales process needs.
  6. Develop micro-messaging for the target segments
  7. Plan your communication strategy

For more detail, read this article on how to plan your app marketing strategy.

Assess Your Marketing Effectiveness for 2016

Marketing should never be static – there’s a reason I always emphasize the circular, iterative nature of my 7-step marketing strategy process.

Mktg-Strategy-Process

7-Step Marketing Strategy Process

A strong marketing program must always start with a careful analysis of your target customer niche, their problems and pain points, and other solutions in the marketplace.  Once you fully understand the customer problem and available competitive solutions, then you can write your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Your USP is the one most important piece of content to drive your marketing.

Many of our clients turn to Software Marketing Advisor to help better craft their USP and marketing messaging.   Our Marketing Strategy Review service helps optimize your USP and messaging.

 

5 Top Challenges When Marketing B2B Software

What’s so different about marketing business-to-business (B2B) anyway?

I’ve spent most of my career in marketing of business software and services, so I get asked this question a lot.  How is marketing business software different from marketing a consumer app?

There’s actually some significant differences, and if you don’t remember that then you’re not likely to be successful with your marketing.

Here’s a list of the top 5 challenges in selling B2B software rather than consumer:

  1. Selling a Solution — If you’re selling a business app, then you have to sell a solution to a problem, not a piece of software.  Ideally, you can tie the use of your software to a solution to one of the top three problems that keeps your target user awake at night.  And then market that solution…
  2. More Than One Buyer – the purchase or adoption decision for a business application often involves more than one person.  You don’t only have to market to potential users, but you also have to include messaging for other stakeholders, such as group manager, execs, purchasing manager or CFO, etc.
  3. Aligning the Ecosystem – If you’re marketing a solution (see #1), as you should, then sometimes that solution involves more than just your product.  For example, when I was working for Intel we had to focus on software marketing with partners in order to convince users to buy a new PC – they don’t buy hardware, they buy software.  So figure out which companies sell the other pieces to your solution, and approach then to do joint marketing.
  4. Longer Sales Cycle – for a typical business software purchase, it’s not as easy as having the user visit your website, read your great sales copy, and click to purchase or sign up.  Even for a small purchase they may need to get their manager’s approval, or perhaps it needs to be included in the next budget cycle or reviewed with other stakeholders.  That all takes time.
  5. Supporting Content Matters – B2B buyers expect to find good-quality marketing content about your software.  At the least you should have a professional brochure, some case studies and testimonials, and a product data sheet.  You can also write and publish white papers to market to your audience.

Remembering these 5 key differences will make it easier to properly market your business software. For additional help, check out the software marketing toolkit here.

SaaS Business Planning

Cover

If you’re starting a SaaS business, it’s a good idea to start your business plan with a template.  This template provides a lot of useful tools to help you plan out your SaaS business idea.

http://www.software-marketing-advisor.com/software-development-business-plan-2.html

 

“Internet of Things” a $614 Billion opportunity in 2013

According to Cisco, the Internet of Things will generate over $600 Billion in savings and sales in 2013, growing to over $14 Trillion by 2020.

The connection of devices,  sensors and other machine end-points to the internet opens up tremendous opportunity for unique, value-add software and service solutions.

How can your software/service business profit from the Internet of Things? Are there new threats or competitors to your business? What does the Internet of Things mean to you?

Read more about Cisco’s vision in the article below.

http://gigaom.com/2013/06/28/ciscos-internet-of-things-vision-is-more-about-services-than-gear/


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.