Software Development is a highly competitive industry where the demand is higher and higher in today’s corporate world. Thus, to succeed, it becomes vital to develop a good and unique digital marketing strategy. “Good Marketing makes the company looks smart, Great Marketing makes the customer feel Smart“. Joe Chernov.
A well-planned marketing strategy needs to first define its goals. Then comes the Market Analysis that allows a thorough study of potential customers and competitors of your products, bringing to the Swot Analysis. Define your target audience and budget needed to promote your product or services. An online presence is obvious in today’s corporate world and this starts by building a solid website, followed by taking advantage of social media platforms, as well as email marketing and online communities.
Although investing in SEO is a must in this highly competitive industry, especially delivering high-value content, building relationship with your customer through live event integration is an important point.
This is highly related to product management. They both start with a Product vision, which is the global goal of the product. It gives the direction of product development and marketing. The Product Vision focuses on 3 questions:
- Who will use the product?
- What problems does the product solve?
- How is the success of the product measured?
1- Define your goals
“Marketing Strategy will impact every piece of your business and it should be tied to every piece of your business“. Brandon Anderson
Thus defining your goals will make you save a lot of time and money. It also prevents going away from your actual goals. Defining accurately your goals, helps you be realistic and objective oriented.
2-Analyze the Market
The Market Analysis is the key study to best respond to your customers and understand your competitors.
This comes with market research and competitive research.
The market research stage gives you an understanding of how viable your idea is by taking into consideration the current business environment, purchasing habits in the industry.
Conduct a market research
Use primary research to create a buyer persona. Personal interviews, group surveys with potential or current customers.
During the Secondary Research, gather external sources with existing data to find out the percentage of your future users in the whole population of your area, how many of them are going to become users, taking into account their affordability.
Analyze your Competitors
This analysis focuses on similar products and providers in your industry. This tells you the main competitors and allows you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your product.
Use Premade market research or find out by searching with Google and social network to get the list of the competitors. Once that done, Compare website traffic, analyze their website and social network and categorize them into 3 parts: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Competitors.
Primary Competitors: those who have the same product or same audience.
Secondary Competitors: those who have the same product but a different audience.
Tertiary Competitors: those who sell products that expand to your audience.
Build a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT Analysis represents the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats for your product. Usually listed in the grid, this helps to understand your internal and external business environment: planning how to use the strengths and take the opportunities, how to minimize your weaknesses with the help of these opportunities, the strengths that will help you to avoid the threats and what weaknesses make you vulnerable to the threats.
3- Define Target Market, Analyze buyer personas
Once your goals are set, the next step will be your target market. Everyone is not your customer. The targeted audience will help to take the right strategies to increase traffic and so profit: a good understanding of user/buyer is important to promote the product or get brand awareness. Building a buyer persona is very essential and will help you to better understand your customer behaviors.
The Target Audience for Software Development Agencies is mainly B2B, proposing solutions to companies in need to solve their problems.
A thorough analysis is the key success of your marketing strategy plan. This comes with segmentation criteria :
– Business segmentation
Define positioning and message
Once analyzed by the competitors of your product, it is important to define the future of your product in the market. This is called Positioning Statement.
To make that, answer the following questions:
1- Who is this product for?
2- What does this product do?
3- Why is this product different?
Listing the needs/ problems of your Target Audience and the product benefit that meets them is the core part of positioning. It allows us to better understand the customer’s perception of the product.
Create a product message that describes the value of the product to the target audience: the benefits that the product offers. Software companies should focus on how their products are solving problems that customers/clients are facing. In other words, it helps the audience to understand how useful your product is compared to others.
A good message should be:
-short, simple, and under 1 minute
-focused on the benefits only
-use the tone of voice that reflects your brand.
IBM delivers purposeful messages designed to enhance understanding. “To think like IBM is to think with the rigor of the scientist, the scope of an industrialist and the ideals of a statesman”. Article by Ryan Rieshes https://www.brandingbusiness.com/insights/ibm-how-employees-bring-smarter-planet-positioning-to-real-world-engagement/
This aligns with the companies values, allowing consistent branding on customers.
4- Determine a Marketing Budget
As correctly said “You get what you paid for“, even though there are various free marketing tools, these would take time and might not be as effective in the longer run.
In a highly competitive industry like Software Development agencies, investing in ad search, display ads, PPC and social media placement becomes essential to succeed. But the question of how much budget to allocate is the hardest decision.
5- Solid website
“Optimize your website for just being a good user-friendly website. It is generally the most important thing that you could focus on”. Lydia Giberston
Before promoting your product or service, you need a solid website that brands your company’s products/services. A good website will be the key success to engage a good and long-lasting interaction with your customer.
Usually building a strong website is often not enough to promote your product/ service. In most cases, an online presence is necessary to establish brand awareness.
6- Online presence through the social media platform
“Brands that ignore social media… will die, It’s that simple”. Jeff Ragovin.
Social Media presence has become vital nowadays, to survive in this corporate world. Taking advantage of the social media platforms for Software Development agencies will not only increase brand awareness of your product/service but also drive traffic to your website, increasing conversion rate.
- Linkedin comes in the first choice: connecting professionals and finding what group those people follow will help you to better approach your customer.
- Youtube, the most used social media to get brand awareness and convey valuable information
- Twitter and Facebook are also another way to find potential customers by getting to know who people follow and how many tweets.
7- Email marketing: lead magnet
A Lead Magnet refers to digital content marketing in exchange for a person’s contact information. By doing so, you get a list of interested people, which will be used to run an effective email campaign.
Email marketing is very effective as you are going to interact with people who have already shown interest. This is going to be a good way to communicate your brand awareness. But not only, but it also focuses on a conversion and retention stage by providing valuable information and special discount to your customers ( the ones who have already purchased your product ) and case studies, industry statistics/facts to give more assurance to an indecisive audience and turn them into a customer.
8- Active Contribution to Online Communities
B2B is more dedicated to investing resources and specific teams to improve their customers’ experience. This will grow customer loyalty and thus driving sales. The interaction with the customer is a great way to prove to them your support when a customer posts a question.
Branded online communities, increase customer retention, increasing connection between your brand and the customer.
Similar to a hub, an online community allows the customer to find everything they need.
There are a couple of ways to contribute to the online community :
- Forum: This online community can make an online business stand out from the crowd. It is a good way to share knowledge where people who are willing to learn can do so by posting their doubts and seeking advice from a practitioner or expert. This will add value and always drives useful contributions to the community by solving problems, answering questions related to the topic and so establishing an online presence.
- Blogs: It has become very effective as more and more people are looking for online information on programming, software development. Blogging will offer you credibility and brand awareness.
9-Invest in SME Strategy
“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time”.Henry Ford.
A robust online presence doesn’t necessarily come gradually, instead, it takes time and effort using a keyword search.
Keyword Search is among others the most powerful tool to use in paid search ads as choosing the correct and unique keyword can ensure your success through a high conversion rate.
Although you have Keywords related to Software Companies like Software Companies, Software Developer, Programming Software…, software companies tend to use question-based keywords “how” to provide solutions for their customers’ problems. This will strengthen your website and increase ranking in search engines like Google or Firefox.
Also, the content displayed shared on other websites helps drive traffic and increase conversion rates.
“Video has emerged as the way to make yourself stand out from your competitors”. Tonte Bo Douglas.
Today One-Third of online activity is spent watching a video. This means the importance of video has gained value in our daily lives.
Video Marketing is a must marketing tool in the software industry. Delivering content through youtube has been proven to be effective, helping to connect and create value for new and returning customers.
Video Marketing also gives a learning aspect that helps to connect with customers. Posting regular Videos on youtube educate clients with tutorials and increase your credibility in that specific topic.
Why is Video Marketing effective?
- Video is the fast-growing Marking tool. 87% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool.
- Video engages users for longer on your website. The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video.
- Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.
Although video posts are necessary to promote your product, don’t forget that content matters more.
11- Provide High-Value Content
Delivering good content is the hardest part of promoting but also the most important aspect of advertising. High-value content is the key success of the company.
However, how to ensure to deliver high-value Content?
As we already discussed earlier, Software agency is a highly competitive industry that demands to differentiate from their competitors to succeed.
This is why content should be unique and be able to solve customer problems. The more your content appears new for the customer, the more you will get noticed. Being creative and analyzing how your peers’ contents are, will help you produce a different one.
Being able to tell better stories helps to promote products, increase branding awareness.
Your stories should be differentiated from your peers in order to be unique.
Personalize for each stakeholder: your story might not be accepted by everyone, and that’s fine, what is important is to build credibility. This can be done using the Audience Matrix ( define each person’s goals, pain, and motivating factors).
High-value Content also comes by delivering some useful pieces of information. Centralize your content that connects to your brand. A resource page on your website can drive all into one experience where people can find stories and information that are useful to them.
Another important aspect is learning.
Posting educational videos tend to produce great responses as more and more people are willing to learn different aspects of software coding/programming.
Delivering real value will create a positive brand impression and so a high chance of conversion rate.
Although Online presence is important, in-person interaction has always been very effective. Today with Live Event Integration, we can bridge the gap in person.
12- Live Event Integration
Live Event Integration has been growing among software companies. Face to face interaction is still important to get branding awareness and be noticed in the marketplace. Live event, Conference appearance is here to bridge the gap in person.
Education workshop content is highly dependent among software companies. It attracts both new and new prospects and helps to stay active in social media prior and post events to spread the word.
When the product is on the market, it is very important to keep an eye on it to understand what works and what doesn’t. Measuring the success of the product can allow you to correct the marketing strategy place. You can do that by tracking sales, volume, and other metrics through Market Penetration Rate, Net Promoter Score, and Return on Investment.
- Market Penetration Rate: This allows you to calculate the success of the marketing strategy by dividing the number of existing customers by the size of the target market and multiply by 100.
Market Penetration Rate= (number of customer / Target Market size) *100
- Net Promoter Score: Measure Customer loyalty and learn how likely they are to recommend your product. This starts with a survey that determines detractors (customers rank your product from 0 to 6), passives ( giving 7-8 points ), and promoters ( 9 to 10 points).
NPS=(% of promoters – % of detractors )
- Return On Investment: An important KPI in business that measures the efficiency of invested money and the overall success of a product.
ROI= (Gain from investment – Cost from investment ) / Cost of Investment
This KPI allows you to track Revenues.
Analyzing customer feedback is also an important point to consider. In fact gathering, that information can help you solve problems at an early stage, by better understanding customer satisfaction ( features they would like to include, ..) and so increasing customer loyalty.
This can be done through various ways:
A Solid Marketing Strategy is a key to a high sales level. Customers must be the main focus of product marketing. For Software Companies to ensure a successful marketing strategy, they need to define their targeted Audience, have a good knowledge of their competitors, and using the right tools to promote their products. As noticed, an online presence is inevitable. Social Media platforms, paid ad search, Video Marketing, Email Campaigns, online communities are all a must to increase your brand awareness as well as to better connect with your customer.