The advent of CI/CD in software development promised to offer a better way to develop and deploy new software builds. While fairly effective, one of the biggest challenges that software and technological development companies fail to overcome is getting their software in the hands of a mass audience.
Marketing software is brutal and there is no single third party platform, like the App Store or Amazon, that has enough mainstream appeal to get your software large scale visibility. This means that the reach of your software is fairly limited to your established user audience.
Beyond this, multiple discovery is the software developer’s worst enemy. Chances are if you’ve had an idea for a new software application, there are already hundreds of similar models already available on the market.
This means that your software needs to provide unique value that the competition doesn’t offer. Leveraging this unique asset, you can begin to appeal to a larger audience in need of your product as a solution to their everyday problems. But we are back to our original issue. How are we supposed to build awareness for a software product? Well, here’s five ideas your team can leverage.
Offer a Beta
What’s the most effective marketing strategy? Is it SEO, print advertising, email marketing, or radio advertising? It’s word-of-mouth advertising. According to Nielsen, 92% of people in one survey stated that they trusted word-of-mouth recommendations more then advertising.
This is where software has a slight advantage over most products. Offering your customers a free beta trial is a great way to your users acclimated with your new product and talking to their friends and industry peers. While this strategy is limited to your established user base, this will also allow your users to market your product organically. Best of all, this all occurs before actual launch, building anticipation for your software solution in the same action.
Tackle Multiple Marketing Channels
An effective multi-channel marketing campaign before launch can greatly expedite much of your marketing strategies post-launch and start delivering an immediate return on your investment. Honestly, you’re two best channels will be affiliate marketing and email marketing. Affiliate marketing takes a lot of the stress off of your marketing department. Simply pay other highly reputable firms to market your software for you. Of course, I would also suggest enlisting in white label digital marketing services to start generating brand visibility for your products across directories, software resource sites, and external publications.
Consider what Netflix went through to promote its streaming services. With a mix of content co-creators and tons of electronic partnerships with major internet and wireless companies, Netflix was not only able to appeal to a mass audience, but become a household name.
Enlist Review and Directory Services
We mentioned the use of directory sites before, but it’s key to go a little more in-depth on this subject. Without a centralized third-party platform to market on, you’ll need to enlist the help of software directories and third-party reviews to create visibility for your software. These are the areas where users in your niche are most likely to conduct their software research.
You might also consider enlisting the help of independent reviewers or contacting major publications like Tom’s Hardware and TechCrunch to review your product. Do everything you can to encourage your users to leave reviews on your site and other relevant directories where users research software. With so many options available for each single SaaS or software application, user reviews become critical in providing social proof and trust for your products.
Create Supplementary Content
Ok, so you’ve managed to market your software to a mass audience or at least generate a ton of impressions for your online ads, but how will people understand what your products truly offer? Create supplementary content, such as blog posts and videos to help customers understand what your software offers and how it works.
This will become especially important for users who do download your software. If marketing something as complex as an energy management platform, you’re going to need to provide data visualizations and tutorials that help people understand and properly use your product. Videos can also be a very effective marketing tool for online ads and social media campaigns.
Consider Offering Free Services
Finally, consider leveraging the freemium model to get more downloads. This strategy has been leveraged by antivirus and spyware companies forever now. Offer your users a lite or basic model that provides some value and more advanced services for a small monthly subscription.
This strategy really depends on the product itself. Some users will only get fee software while others are willing to dish out the extra dough for a product they truly enjoy. Consider the split between Google Suite and MS Office. 88% of students who write papers individually will use MS Word, while 72% of students will leverage Google Docs if working on a group project. Know your niche and which model best suits it.