If you’ve recently opened up a business, the next steps involve marketing your product or services. Digital marketing is one of the best ways to promote your business, and luckily it is relatively easy to get started online.
If you’ve created software, had software made, or run a software-as-a-service company, then you’re in the business of selling software! But your product won’t sell itself, and you must get your product out in front of potential customers to grow revenue.
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can take to market your new software or business. And, since we’ve moved into the new year, we thought we’d provide any beginners out there with some of the best and latest in marketing.
To give you the best shot, here’s our beginner’s guide to marketing your new software or business in 2021:
Solidify the Branding and Basics
You may be eager to get customers to purchase your new software. But, there are some essential first steps that you need to take before you can begin marketing:
Start the Process of Legitimizing Your Busines
Now, starting incorporation before you sold your first piece of software does not always have to happen. In fact, there are many forms of limited liability protection that you can get for your company. However, you need to have some type of legitimacy in place as this is what your customers will be looking for, and it will protect your personal assets.
Be sure to have a company name that you like and something that people will be able to remember. Your company name can be different from your brand name. But for the most part, you just want to have some clearly recognizable assets in place before you start marketing.
If you’re unsure about how to start the “business” side of things, know that you can work with formation services and LLC companies in order to get this established.
Create Brand Guidelines
In addition to legitimizing your business, you’ll also need some development over your brand.
Your brand is your client-facing company identity.
Try to choose an easy-to-read name. It should be short and somehow reflect the product you’re selling. You can also contact a graphic designer to create a logo and develop brand colors. This brand imagery will go on your website and other advertising and marketing materials, so you need to make sure it is clear and consistent.
If you’re selling software, then you’ll need to set up an online website to sell that product. In addition to your website, be prepared to field questions over email or phone, and have an address on file for invoicing. You’ll also need some way of processing payments.
If you run an online business, then know that your website, for example, is part of your marketing. If you run an ad through Instagram and this ad draws people to your website, then you want your website to reflect you and your business. You need it to look good, look professional, and give comfort to those visiting your page.
When it comes to marketing your business, we’re first going to start with some goals. Now, when developing your goals, we can keep it simple to start. Recognize that the industry will throw around some key terms like lead generation (or lead gen), brand awareness, lead captures, and ROI. But, just focus on what you want to start: sell your product.
Once you’ve created your goal, you can then build up a strategy to achieve that goal. You’ll also want to establish ways to measure that goal and key areas for success. Here’s an example:
- Business: You run a software business primarily online
- Business Objective: You want to increase sales through your eCommerce platform
- Marketing Goal: The main market goal is to increase sales
- How to achieve this: You want to do this by bringing more visitors to your website
- KPIs: Key performance indicators tell you if you were successful with that goal. In this case, your KPIs will be direct sales
Now, once you’ve mapped out what you want to achieve, you can figure out how best to get there. If you want to draw in more sales through your website, then you should market digitally. Market online through paid advertising, pay-per-click advertisements, social media advertising, and content marketing are surefire ways of getting people to your website.
In these scenarios, you will need a bit of a budget. Even if you are doing content marketing and writing blogs on your own, you still need to dedicate that time to publishing content. Try to pick the avenue that is best suited for your industry/product, fits your goal, and is something you will follow through with.
Things to Think About For Beginner Marketing
While the above process is important, it is also something that every single business does. Therefore, there are additional considerations that your brand needs to make before you start marketing in highly competitive markets.
Software-as-a-service, for example, is extremely competitive. So you want to highlight the key features that set your business apart from your competitors.
Think about the following:
- How does your product differ from others in your industry? Is the market oversaturated with a similar product? If so, what does your product add to the industry?
- What are the features of your product that customers are looking for?
- What problems does your business solve?
- What advantages come with purchasing from your business?
- Are there any benefits or tradeoffs that come with supporting your product?
- What is the longevity of your product?
While not exhaustive, this list should get you started on how you should be marketing your product. You see, it’s not just about getting your name out there, but it is also a bit of strategic thinking.
Try to tap into the type of demographic that would like your audience. If you know this information, then you could lay out a customer profile (also referred to as a customer avatar or buyer persona). Your customer profile could help with your marketing efforts as well. Certain older demographics shop through Facebook ads, groups, or Facebook Marketplace. So if you think that your older software would appeal to this crowd, then market there.
Other software might be better suited for programming niches, like message boards, private groups, and code development platforms.
Developing Your Marketing Plan
From all of this research, you should be able to develop a marketing plan. Map out your goals, your demographics, the actual sales funnel or process that the buyer has to go through. Go through all of this yourself to see if it will actually work.
Your marketing strategy might look like this:
- Goal: Get more sales through online conversions
- Avenue: Market through paid advertising on targeted websites
- Conversion: Customers should feel comfortable with your website that they purchase online
- KPIs: Your sales increase if you are successful
- Maintenance: You are not only trying to secure new sales, but you are also making sure that your current customers are happy
Your marketing plan is not just ready when you are, but you must also have things set up like a customer support line, FAQs, software developers maintaining the product, and so on. Have all of these support systems in place for when the sales start rolling in.
Once you have made your first sale—congrats! You are officially a business owner! Continue to improve your brand, the product you sell and test out different types of marketing campaigns to see what works for you!