Software Marketing Strategy for a Services-Oriented World

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Volume #7, May 2012

Included in this issue:

  1. New: Report on the Mobile Application Market
  2. Four Tips for SaaS Marketing
  3. Software Business Coaching Services

1. New: Report on the Mobile Application Market - 60% off for Limited Time!

Although the mobile application market - and mobile apps in particular - is growing rapidly, many software vendors still find it a challenge to make a business of selling mobile apps. The challenge for any mobile app developer is to rise above the million other apps available in the Apple and Android app stores.

The barrier to entry is small, since developing a simple mobile app entails less than $100,000 investment – often significantly less. However, selling mobile apps successfully is about more than just developing a neat app and uploading it to the app stores.

Since they opened in 2008, about 40 billion apps have been downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google's Android Marketplace altogether. There are now over 500,000 iOS apps and 300,000 Android apps available, with 2.6 billion downloads per month. Mobile app revenues are also growing healthily, amounting to $7.3 billion in 2011, according to the research firm Canalys, and expected to grow to $14 billion in 2012 and $37 billion by 2015, with over half of that revenue from Apple platforms. However, data from Flurry Analytics shows a more worrying statistic, with only 4% of users still using a given mobile app 12 months after they downloaded it. Mobile users have a notoriously short attention span. A key priority for any mobile app developer is to not only garner as many new users as possible, but also to find unobtrusive ways to re-engage existing users.

Assessing potential ROI for mobile apps is notoriously difficult, because experiences vary so widely and often seem to depend on the fickle whims of users with ever-decreasing attention spans. The top-selling iPhone game "Angry Birds", for example, was developed by an unknown brand: Rovio, a Finnish computer game developer.

This report provides a high-level mobile apps market analysis, and is intended to be a starting point for software developers who need mobile application research to better target their mobile application market segment and take advantage of the opportunity for developing mobile applications.

Continue reading to download the report here.

2. Four Tips for SaaS Marketing

Tip #1: Remember That SaaS is a Services Business, not a Product Business

There is a fundamental business difference between SaaS and a licensed software product: you're offering a service as a complete solution and not a product. That difference is reflected in all areas of your business, not just sales and marketing positioning.

Even more than for licensed software, marketing is about solving a customer pain point, and the benefits of your service to the customer... It's not about marketing a list of product features. Customer support, and in fact all customer interaction, must also reflect this service (customer comes first) orientation.

Tip #2: Keep Your Customer Acquisition Costs Low

An important aspect of how to sell SaaS profitably is making sure customer acquisition costs are low. Even if a lead becomes a sale, you don't know how long they will remain a subscriber, nor what their long-term lifetime value will be.

The traditional activities of enterprise software marketing are usually too costly to be the primary means of lead generation or lead nurturing in the SaaS model: expensive glossy brochure mailings, meeting with individual customers FTF many times during the sales cycle, investing in a big booth at the annual tradeshow, etc.

These activities are still important for the right reasons, but keeping a very careful eye on the ROI of customer acquisition investments is even more critical in the SaaS model than it is in the traditional licensed software world.

Tip #3: Don't Forget to Continue Marketing to Your Existing Customers

With SaaS, marketing is not only about driving leads into the sales funnel, but also about ongoing marketing to your existing customers. A prospect that turns into a sale is only a client for one subscription period if they don't receive immediate and ongoing value from your service... and you're not likely to make a profit from that. It is critical to proactively market to existing clients to keep them using your service: communicate case studies, get active in customer forums, publish newsletters, ask customers for feedback, etc.

Tip #4: Focus on Pull versus Push Marketing

Since you're selling a solution, you want your service to come up first when/where a potential customer is looking for that solution to their problem. That means being on the first page on Google when they search for that need, being responsive and answering questions in user groups and on forums, participating in social networks, etc. Even better, find ways to scale this communication through viral means within your customer base, so that your existing clients are supporting and driving new users to your solution.

For more help and tips on marketing your software or SaaS offering,

download our Software Marketing Plan Package here.

3. Software Business Coaching Services

Do you need software marketing or software business planning help?

Someone to coach you on software business planning and marketing?

Don't need to write a formal business plan or marketing plan, but just want some ideas and help to get your business moving forward?

We offer software business coaching services. These are not time-consuming, expensive engagements with a software marketing consultant to write a lengthy plan that no one reads. Instead, these are pay-as-you-go, one-off coaching sessions to get you unstuck in your marketing, sales or business strategy efforts.

I'm available for one-hour software business coaching sessions - at a cost of $100 per session, including email followup - to give you some ideas about how to take your software business to the next level.

During the coaching session, our focus will be on tactical steps that you can take in the next couple of months to really impact your sales growth - whether that is finding leads, driving traffic, keeping existing customers, or wherever you need a little help to move your business forward.

I can provide software marketing help, guidance on business planning, sales strategy and lead generation, or ideas for market research... To learn more, take a look here for how the coaching service works, and to sign up.

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