QUESTION How to Market Software Products
I have started a software development company and we have finished several software products that I know my target market would find very useful. What are the methods I can use to go advertise my software products to its intended costumers? I do not have much money for advertising, and though I want to advertise in industry magazines, my budget is not enough.
– Derek (Framingham, MA)
ANSWER by Isabel Isidro
Congratulations on your new company! I have listed below some ideas on how you can get the word out about your new software products. The suggestions are things you can do without breaking your bank account:
1. Develop strategic partnerships with websites where your target audience goes. If you have software for small businesses, then you may want to approach small business portals or online magazines targeting small businesses and offer a partnership deal with them. You have to address the question for your potential partners – what is it for me?
Give potential partners a hefty commission for every sale (or if you are generous, commission for every lead) that they send your way. Help your partners devise strategies on how to market your product – provide them with sales copy that they can put in their newsletter, give them banners or other creative that they can run in their websites, give them text link copy that they can use.
Then monitor if they are actually doing anything to market your product. If they are not providing you with the sales you were hoping for, talk to them and ask them how you can help improve their sales. For this approach to work, you need to have a dedicated person tracking and helping your strategic partners.
2. Create an affiliate program. Expand the strategic partnership route even further and develop your own affiliate program. There may be other websites out there that would be willing to sell your software for you in exchange for a percentage of sales. However, you would need infrastructure, and a person who could monitor the affiliate program.
3. Make sure your product is listed in software review and download sites such as CNET Download.com, Tucows.com and similar websites. They are the place people go to when they need software, and you need to be there.
4. Get tech magazines (print and online) and bloggers to review your software. If you get good reviews and the review is featured or published, that is a great source of free publicity for your business.
5. Offer a free trial version of your software. Those who download a free trial version are more likely to buy your product.
6. Advertise where your target market gathers. You need to be visible where your buyers are. Whether buying sponsored text links or banner advertising, measure your ROI carefully. If you use pay per click search advertising, carefully track your keywords and your ROI.
7. Create the best software you can. Satisfied customers will freely recommend your software to others in forums or other online gatherings.
8. Write articles. Articles can help boost your traffic, increase your pagerank, establish yourself as an authority in the field, and get more sites to link to you. It may not be a direct way to get sales, but it can help in the long run
9. Press release. While some press release services cost $650 to use, some are less than $100 and others are even free. Everytime you release a new version, land a partnership deal or something good is happening in your business, write a press release and send it around.
10. Improve your conversion. Getting visitors is one thing; getting them to buy your products is a whole different story. Read the article “10 Ways to Convert Visitors to Buyers” for tips on how to improve your conversion rates
Hope this helps. Good Luck!
Recommended Books on How to Market Software:
- How to License Your Million Dollar Idea: Cash In On Your Inventions, New Product Ideas, Software, Web Business Ideas, And More
- Eric Sink on the Business of Software (Expert’s Voice)
- I.T. Sales Boot Camp: Sure-Fire Techniques for Selling Technology Products to Mainstream Companies
- Software That Sells : A Practical Guide to Developing and Marketing Your Software Project
Article originally published May 2006. Updated on January 21, 2012