This article is part of our SaaS Business Startup Guide—a curated list of articles to help you plan, start, and grow your SaaS business!
In many respects, software is like a baby.
It starts off with an idea, you think through whether it is worth indulging your idea, then you plan your idea, and execute. Software often has a much longer gestation period than nine months though.
Once the finished product enters the world there is much joy and happiness—and that is about where the similarities end.
Babies are universally adored; software has to be extensively and correctly marketed to achieve the same effect. So that begs the question: How are you going to market your newborn software?
Software marketing cannot be an afterthought. Any hope you have of successfully marketing your software is reliant upon you developing a marketing strategy concurrently with your software.
Blog and website
Almost from inception you must establish a blog or website to let the world know what you are doing and to prime people for your “baby.”
However, on the one hand you want to prepare people but on the other hand you don’t want to expose exactly what you are doing to potential competitors, so your blog/website must be informative but not too informative, it must entice persons of interest whilst not being so vague as not to attract people.
Maintaining a website so as to extract maximum benefit tough takes time. The content must be updated on a regular basis with newsletters and press releases, and SEO techniques must be implemented so as to optimize organic search. Investment in advertising may also be required should you decide to tread that path.
Quora and Twitter
Use Google Blog Search to search for terms and topics that potential users of your software would search and find the most popular forums. Then start to contribute to these forums and become the expert on the topic.
When posting, ensure that you include links to your website/blog, use the name of your software, and, in short, promote without being too “markety.” As you gain credibility in these forums you will attain trust in your software. Part of being an expert means you can help others.
Sign up for Quora and start answering question in your field, slowly but surely you’ll build a reputation for yourself and people will seek your knowledge. Once you gain followers your Twitter should start being more active. Engage with followers and look for twitter chats in your field.
Once you are an expert and have followers, they will trust your new software when released. Keep them updated on the process and get them excited about the release. Offer your followers free trials, they will be sure to try it out and you can request feedbacks in return. This way you gain also better client interaction will which help develop you software in the future according to your user’s needs.
LinkedIn has approximately 200 million users in over 200 countries—that’s a heck of a lot of people.
A free LinkedIn company page is a good starting point for accessing this market. Use a LinkedIn poll and access a professional community, this will give you valuable feedback and whilst saving you in marketing research. LinkedIn Ads are relatively expensive when compared to Google Adwords or Facebook Ads but are well worth trying as a marketing tool.
Affiliates are parties that promote and market your software from their website for a fee, usually a commission of every download. The advantage of this is that affiliates often already have a following so they enable you to penetrate a market relatively quickly as you can piggyback on their credibility and existent market base.
Also, unless the affiliate generates results, they don’t receive their commission. Compensation may be determined by pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, pay-per-sale, or any combination of these three. Obviously, select an affiliate that concentrates on marketing software.
Sharing is caring
Part of any software marketing site involves a free trial or even giveaway of the Basic version. Submit your software to as many directories and download sites as possible.
Another plus of utilizing such sites is the number of backlinks they generate which benefits your organic search. By monitoring which sites generate traffic and results you will know where to concentrate further marketing efforts. Spend time to create a comprehensive Portable Application Description file. This will endear you to the webmasters and streamline the submission process.
For some developers, it is easier to focus on what they do best, taking care of the new born baby software. In these cases it is a good idea to take an outsourcing company which can help with all of the marketing process.
Marketing is something that needs to be done a lot before the software is launched, so that you have your followers and audience ready and excited. Therefore if you think outsourcing is suitable for you, be sure to do so in time.
Your software is just like a newborn baby—there is planning, expecting, welcoming it into the world and watching it walk on his own two feet.