One of the most important times in the software marketing process is before any of the actual marketing takes place at all. Developing a clear strategy as to how your business is going to grow and adapt to the ever-changing world of online marketing will help set you and your business apart and keep from being buried by the competition.
1.Teach the Geeks
It’s important to develop a clear buyer persona early on to let those who are actually doing the web developing for your company know who you are trying to market your software to.
As the development process moves along your geeks, those guys at the computer all day writing and testing code, will have a clear understanding of what the software they’re designing is supposed to do and who it is designed for.
A well thought out buyer persona keeps the development going smoothly because it starts everyone on the same page.
2. Update, Release, Repeat
As your development team writes and tests more code for your software, don’t wait until the “perfect version” is finished to release your software.
It is okay to release early versions of your software and then update them later in the future. Every piece of software has bugs, it happens when dealing with thousands of lines of code, but being able to fix the problem and release a new and improved version says a lot about your development team.
It means that they are paying attention to those using the software and trying to come up with a way for the next version to make the customer’s life even easier. Updates and new versions show you pay attention to the buyer.
3. Let them Speak
As you update and release newer versions of your software, you have to be making sure that the updates are actually making a difference. This can only be done by getting the opinion of those using your software.
Things such as customer reviews and personalized emails asking for people’s opinions lets them know you care while also making them feel good about themselves. It would be nice to get a personalized email from WordPress developers Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little asking if the new layout made my life easier.
4 Make it Mobile
With the rapid development of smartphones and tablets, it is necessary to develop a piece of software the people can access anywhere on any device. Nothing is worse than trying to look at web page on a phone and having to move the screen all about just to find where to log in.
A mobile marketing strategy can come from simple things such as tweeting out links about updates coming out, new versions, asking for opinions. Raising the visibility of your software in a mobile sense means that your software will withstand the test of time. We have already seen a decline in desktop computers. Perhaps, in the future, we will live in a world without computers at all. Developing software that can handle the mobile shift puts you in the drivers seat.
5. Keep it Free and Easy
If you are coming out with a brand new piece of software, it is going to be extremely difficult to get people to pay to use it. But the use of free demos, trials and webinars are great ways to show off your product and allow people to easily get their hands on your software with little risk of failure.
This doesn’t mean that everyone is going to have a positive experience with your software; it just means that they didn’t have to fight you to try it out. It’s all about being part of the discussion in the beginning.
Whether people bring up the strengths or weaknesses about your product, getting the name of your software out was the goal of the promotion. You have an entire software development team to fix the problems that arise and release a new version so don’t be discouraged when someone has a tough time with their free trial version of your software, at least they used it and left feedback.
Coming up with a good software development strategy starts in the beginning, before any of the actual software development starts. It all stems from a well thought out, well designed, well communicated buyer persona. Once this step is accomplished, the actual development of the software and the marketing strategy behind it all falls into place. After your development team knows exactly what you want the software to do and whom it’s supposed to do it for. All that’s left is putting the product out there and listening to what users have to say about it and make updates accordingly.
Photos by: David Hume Kennerly, Kathryn Decker