A little clarification – the subject of this post is not marketing software but software marketing. It’s not about software used for marketing but how software is being marketed. Software are also products that need to be promoted to their intended buyers. This post explores the different strategies software companies can use to sell their products. How do they make sure that their target customers know that the software product being offered is for them and be convinced to buy?
1. Narrowed-Down Marketing
Even software that seem to be already narrowed down based on their category may have to be further narrowed down when it comes to marketing. Point of sale (POS) software, for example, can be marketed not just to stores in general but to a specific group of users like tradies. POS software like ShopKeep, Breadcrumb, PayPal Here, GoPayment, and Epos Now can be marketed as POS systems for restaurants. Instead of selling them simply as POS software, they can be specifically marketed to a particular group of users. They are still the same POS systems they are widely known for but the marketing is targeted at a certain group of users.
2. Narrowed-Down Branding or Product Identity
There are software that can be used by specific people but tend to be somewhat difficult to market because their design is applicable to many different purposes. Apps for tradies, for example, don’t appear easily relatable to their intended users. However, when they are marketed to specific tradies, they are more likely to catch the attention of the software buyers they can be useful to. Take the case of electrician software (software for tradies in the electrical services field). Most software or apps that can be used by electricians for their trade actually come with the same functions and features that are also usable for those in other trades, plumbers and HVAC technicians for instance. Apps or software for tradies have a broad range of users that, instead of making them supposedly more saleable, they become less searchable because their prospective users can’t easily identify them as the software tool they need.
Take note that this is related to but slightly different from narrowed-down marketing. Here, the software itself is being given some sort of a sub-brand. It comes with its own identity along with its own web page or even its own set of marketing materials. Instead of offering a software for tradies, what’s being offered is a software for electricians.
3. Search Engine Optimization, Directory/Software Collection Listings, and Reviews
A software’s name rarely says much about what it does and for whom it’s made. When potential buyers see your software’s name and logo online, it’s unlikely that they would know what it does or how it can be useful to them. As such, it is essential to establish a solid online presence. This means incorporating search engine optimization (SEO), directory listings, as well as reviews. With SEO, you get to reach out to the target buyers by making your software’s site or page appear for specific relevant keywords. Similarly, if you do directory listings and reviews, you make it easier for target users to see your software as they find it on a directory category/group along with software they are interested in. Just look at the Google Play Store or iTunes. If you search for an app, you also get to see related or recommended apps. These listings, together with reviews, are very useful in exposing your software to potential buyers while at the same time improving your software’s online presence and search engine ranking.
Going back to the example on software for tradies, imagine how easier it would be to reach out to your prospective buyers if you optimized for the keywords they likely and unlikely use to search for your software. Self-employed electricians, for example, are unlikely to find your software (assuming you offer software for tradies) if you just optimized for the “software for tradies” keyword or the like. You need to work on the right keywords and have your software listed in directories and review sites.
4. Targeted Advertisements
Again, it’s about the right targeting. When running advertisements on print, TV, or on the web, it’s important to emphasize for whom the software is created. Before going into the details on the features and functions, it makes sense pointing out for whom the software product is intended. Good examples of this kind of targeted advertising are the video ads frequently shown on YouTube videos recently—the ones for Grammarly and Wix. They don’t just cite functions, they make sure people know who gets to use the products they are offering.
5. Using Third Party Marketers
Sometimes, it pays paying a third party to do it. If a software company fails to make its products move as desired, it helps considering external help. There are many third party marketing companies that can serve as the marketing arm for companies that can’t afford to run their own marketing departments and are not that knowledgeable with right marketing techniques to employ. A good proof of how this strategy is worth considering is the story featured on Forbes: Avantgate Is Changing How Software Is Sold.“ Many small and medium-sized software companies throughout the world can benefit from the services offered by firms that specialize in the marketing of software.
The marketing of software is similar to how it is done with other products. You need to identify the intended buyers and make sure they know about your product and what use they have for it. If you are going to sell your software to companies or organizations, you will likely be making detailed presentations to these companies. If you get the chance to make presentations, you will have more time to point out the highlights of your product. If you don’t have this opportunity to make presentations, though, consider the points mentioned above. Be sure to call out the attention of and appeal to your prospective buyers through narrowed down marketing and branding, targeted advertising, and a moronline presence.