Developing effective business marketing strategies is critical to building and maintaining strong sales and a successful software business. Effective marketing strategies ensure that your marketing activities are well aligned with business goals.
So do not make the mistake of considering marketing strategy an afterthought. Taking a little time to write down your strategy before you implement your marketing plan will help focus your product or service planning, focus your sales efforts, and ultimately save the business money and decrease time-to-market.
It Really Is As Easy As 1-2-3!
Developing some effective business marketing strategies does not need to be difficult or time-consuming. If youknow your target customer and what pain point your product or service is addressing, then you’re already most of the way there. If not, you should start with some software marketing research planning. You can take a look at our resource for developing marketing strategies for small/medium businesses here, which has some useful how-to guides and helpful articles.
If yours is a small company, or just starting out, it is a good idea to really focus in a niche where you can overdeliver value (especially in a recession). Take a look at this article on finding a focused software niche, and check out this one on using market segmentation to drive successful software marketing.
Take a piece of paper, and write a brief answer to each of these questions below. This should only take you a few minutes if you’ve already researched your market and know your product. Who is your target customer? (Be as precise as possible. Check out these articles to help you:"Identifying your best target customer", and "Do You Know Your Customers?") What are the top 3-5 issues facing your target customer and target market? How does your product or service solve one or more of these top pain points? Describe it in one sentence – that’s your initial benefit statement. What other solutions could your target customer use to solve this pain point? This will identify your main competitors (which may or may not be vendors with a similar product/service – sometimes the toughest competition is that which solves the customer’s problem in a different way). How is your product or service (or your company) better than your competition? Try to find at least one differentiator that makes you stand out. Describe it in one sentence – that’s your unique selling proposition! How/where does your target customer look for information or solutions to his/her pain point? This could be magazines they read, websites they visit, conferences they go to, or vendors/channel partners that they trust for advice or solutions. OK! That’s the input to your marketing strategy!
Given your responses to the questions above, you are now ready to summarize with a list of 3-5 effective marketing strategies given your target customer and your product/service value proposition. Think of the strategies as the rules that will guide your marketing decisions. For example, if you find there's a single channel partner who touches all your customers and has a significant influence over how those customers try to solve their pain points... one of your strategies may be to focus on building a strong relationship with that channel partner. Leave the detailed "how" for the final tactics step below. To give you some ideas, read this article on our top ten marketing software strategy ideas for software companies. Choose 3-5 strategies from that list and customize them to your specific needs, and you'll be well on your way to a marketing strategy plan targeted to your business. Also, based on the data you have gathered so far, you should review and refine your pricing strategies before moving on to the final step.
Now, go through the various marketing tactics that are available to you (check out these pages on software marketing and advertising tactics, and web software marketing). You should now be able to prioritize these marketing activities as sub-bullets under each of the marketing strategies you identified above. Stay focused! If a marketing activity does not obviously hit your exact target customer (or channel partner) profile in a cost-effective way, and doesn’t support one of your key strategies, then don’t do it.
Following these three steps is something you can do easily to quickly put together a first draft of your marketing software strategy and marketing plan. So if this is something you have been procrastinating, then stop and take a little time to write down your business marketing strategies. You will find your business and your product sales will benefit from it.
Also check out these articles for other items to consider as you develop your software business marketing strategies: