The Dos and Don’ts of Product Marketing for Software Providers

Angeline Rast
17 January 2019

The ability of software providers like Kaspersky Lab*, Neusoft, ESET*, Asseco Group, Avast Software, among others to operate and distribute their products has scaled from regional to global competition, giving room for partnering with emerging markets or acquiring them altogether. Emerging markets here refers to regional vendors who have set foot in the global arena over the last 10 years. To this extent, a lot of creativity is being demonstrated and cutting across South and North America, Eastern Europe, and Asia, among others. And according to research by IDC, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market is confident to hit the over $110 billion by the end of 2019.  For this reason, there is a need for software providers to familiarise themselves with the dos and don’ts of product marketing.

The Dos of Product Marketing for Software Providers

  • Marketing for software providers calls for strategies in lead generation and nurturing; this is because software products need to be extremely tailored to each and every customer needs/goals. Not every software product is a one-size-fits-all and thus knowing your potential customer(s) is really important since this reduces the marketing costs which translates to a positive ROI. To increase traffic and leads on a daily basis, software companies will need to routinely post blogs, either on a daily or weekly basis, or evenly spread throughout the month. And because software buyers are not known for impulse purchases, company news should be accompanied with fact sheets and press releases, to aid in making informed purchasing decisions. Any other relevant information should also be displayed on official websites of software companies, with clear descriptions of how the said software would help in solving specific problems.  
  • Once a prospect has expressed interest in learning more about your software product, you should make sure that you reach out to them promptly. Research from MIT shows that allowing an hour to pass between when a lead is generated and when the next step is taken can decrease the value of that lead by 13 times. Marketing automation would come in handy in this case, especially where email marketing is adopted to reach out to leads, inform them on emerging trends in the industry and any upcoming features for specific products. Landing pages should never miss out on calls-to-action which software marketers should actually test (think A/B testing) and evaluate to establish their efficiency and effectiveness.
  • In an era where the internet is flooded with campaigns, you must be wise in choosing which social media platforms suit you best. Just like their counterparts in B2B, software marketers tend to distribute their content using various social media platforms. But comparatively speaking, software marketers from North America used Twitter at 89%, LinkedIn at 87%, Facebook at 82%, YouTube at 69%, and SlideShare at 29%, against B2B peers at 80%, 83%, 80%, 61%, and 23% respectively. Before you decide on which platform you will consider for marketing purposes, research on certain keywords to help you narrow down to your specific targets; given that many companies within your industry are likely to be using the same platforms.
  • Get to know your audience by leveraging the power of big data and seek to establish a lasting relationship with them. This should be informed by the fact that most customers are no longer concerned about companies, but more specifically what the company can do to address their immediate needs and challenges. To this end, the content you create or the stories you publish are those that customers can relate with, in the context of your industry and product. Marketing for software providers should also focus on long term relationships, something that should be cultivated way before you think of dropping the sales pitch! Your company must present itself as one that cares about the individual customers and not the volume of sales, although it’s known to both parties that selling your products is the ultimate goal. The emphasis here is to humanize your product offering since you are selling to humans.
  • While marketing for software providers may be clouded with thousands of trends, it is important that you maintain relevance by knowing what is trending. And to ensure that you are indeed relevant, adopting tools like Buzzsumo will go a long way in showing which content is popular. Be sure that you look for specific tools which will suit your specific needs, tastes and preferences. Remember, software vendors must be up to speed with new IT trends.

The Don’ts of Marketing for Software Providers

  • Do not miss the gist of marketing! You often come across companies that are very keen on describing software features, using technical jargon which may anyway not be understood by many readers. And while there are those who can, you must learn to tell your story in an appealing and compelling manner, demonstrating that the product is really about helping your customer to overcome specific challenges like SaaS failures based on software updates. Do not rush into selling your product, or even discussing the prices. Focus on service delivery, and with this conviction, potential clients will now look into features and the prices thereof. Don’t forget your current customers; you could share with them tips, resources, and industry research.
  • Offline marketing is the leprosy of SaaS Businesses – avoid it as much as you can! The cost of marketing offline is not comparable to online marketing, and often eats into individual or collective lifetime revenue. And given most of your prospects are online, you don’t have to over rely on offline promotions in the name of demonstrating presence and credibility, while there are cheaper ways of achieving the same results online. Reasonably minimising the expenditure column is a sure way of increasing the profit margin.
  • After you have spent a lot of time and resources to create awareness and demand for your product, do not commit suicide by denying your prospects online trials. This is usually a great opportunity to allow your customers have a foretaste of the glory of your creativity. At this point, the trial should be an obvious response to the demonstration of their interest in your product.
  • Marketing for Software providers should not be construed to mean sharing a lot of information, liking your own posts, repeatedly posting the same message, or using the same formula to approach all companies. Potential partners and clients read this as unprofessional. For example, tailor your message to suit each and every customer/company needs (think personalization) and this would give the impression that you actually care about their needs and goals. If you’re using Twitter, when a company you sent a message visits your page and views the recent activity on your profile, they should be glad when they realise that you did not send them the same message you sent their competitor(s).

Smarter Marketing for Software Providers

The marketing environment for software providers has become more complex over the past few years due to new technological advancements in IT such as IoT, Big Data, Cloud Computing, among others. And research also indicates that 53% of software companies reported that the know-how gap between software vendors and buyers has increased due to the higher complexity of new information technologies. Therefore, in order for marketers in this industry to constantly secure and increase their competitive advantage, they will need to be smarter with their strategies.

That is, your software product and marketing message must be different if you want to break away from the pack.

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