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10 Steps Toward a Successful Software Marketing Plan

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software marketing planLaunching a new software suite can be an exciting thing in the life of any development company—but sometimes, all of that excitement turns to frustration, as the software fails to make the impact hoped for. This is not necessarily because the software is somehow lacking, but because there is simply no prudent and strategic software marketing plan in place. Below are nine tips for constructing a software marketing plan that will increase sales across the board.

Build an Audience Before You Launch

One of the best ways to increase software sales is to ensure that there’s an audience, eagerly awaiting the software before it even launches. A blog can function as an incredible tool for building this kind of pre-release buzz. Regular blog entries, about the vertical into which your software is launching and also about the development of the software itself, help to generate interest in a product while it’s still coming down the pipeline. A great example of this strategy in action is Hubspot, currently the second fastest-growing software company in the world; Hubspot started blogging a full year before its launch, and it has obviously paid off!

Beta Test Your Marketing Plan

Beta testing is important for companies seeking to develop software, but it is also crucial for those developing a software marketing plan. How do people respond to your various marketing endeavors? Who are the demographics responding to your software announcement with the most zeal? Beta test your marketing plans before you begin the full-scale marketing plan in earnest.

Build a Community

As you build your software—and develop your software marketing plan—also build a community of interested users. This goes back to the point about blogging; creating pre-release buzz is essential for optimizing software sales, right out of the gate. Social media can be a great way to cultivate a following for your software launch.

Use Landing Pages

Once the software does launch, it is crucial to promote it via landing pages—with each landing page you design highlighting the software features in a different way. Create scores of landing pages—three times more than you think you need—and drive traffic to them via your blog and social media accounts.

Use Press Releases

Press releases should play a key role in your software marketing plan. Remember to use your press releases to share actual news about your software launch and development—not to try to implement press releases as mere SEO gimmicks!!! Share stories that will attract the attention of leading software publications and bloggers, and see if they can help you build buzz.

Form Joint Ventures

Many software companies make products that are complimentary to one another—not competitive. For example, if you have developed a new piece of accounting service, you might seek out a company that makes budget-tracking programs. Forming a strategic alliance can prove effective to both companies as they seek to market and promote their software suites. A related idea is to offer up a revenue share to major influencers, effectively establishing a joint venture with them.

Use Affiliate Marketers

Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective way to sell your software, and should be considered for any software marketing plan. Affiliate marketers are paid only on the basis of sales they make, so you lose nothing if the software does not sell for any reason.

Create Content, All the Time

One of the biggest blunders that software companies make is believing they can only generate buzz when there is something specific to promote. Even if you’re a year out from your product launch, with no new software iterations in the works, you can still generate buzz through content marketing. Regular blog posts and social media updates, offering tips and trends from your industry, helps keep your brand name in front of consumers.

Integrate Sales and Marketing

A good software marketing plan is one that includes the sales team. Remember that your marketing endeavors do not happen in a bubble. They need to be implemented in conjunction with the sales team; specifically, your marketing team should be passing along qualified leads with information about where those leads are in the sales funnel. The sales team, in turn, should cycle back any leads that do not immediately choose to buy, so that follow-up marketing can be done.

Get Customer Service on Board

Finally, note that many users pick their software purchases on the basis of the technical support that is offered. As such, one of the best ways to engender consumer trust is to make sure that customer service and support is highlighted in your software marketing plan—and that the customer service team, in turn, knows how to properly cross-promote complimentary software offerings!

Summary: 

A good software marketing plan includes pre-release buzz, customer service and support, content development, and more.

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Photo by: Romainhk

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This article was written by Zsolt Bicskey

Zsolt’s professional background includes work with many companies throughout his native country, donning the mantles of CEO, HR and IT professional, and more.Currently his major focus is on: corporate social media marketing, lead generation, local search optimization, video marketing and mobile marketing.

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