Software marketing and advertising can be a real challenge if you are a small software company with a limited budget. Even for larger software firms, it is imperative to focus those marketing dollars properly to target the right customer for your product or service. Regardless of your niche or your budget, your approach should include both software marketing online and offline, as well as both inbound and outbound marketing.
In fact, most small companies are likely to see more impact for their money from inbound web software marketing. Of course, any marketing tactics must be only one piece of your
larger software marketing plan and strategy.
What are some good, economical avenues for your software marketing and advertising? Below is my list for “offline” marketing (web software marketing strategies are covered in another article):
Creating a tagline is free, and if it's a good one it can do a lot of selling and marketing for you. First, you need to know what your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is to your target customers. Here are some tips for writing a compelling software tagline. You can use your tagline on your business card, email signature, mail pieces and marketing literature: anywhere that target customers might see it.
Attend seminars, conferences and trade shows. Depending on your budget and your niche, this could take a lot of money (if you have your own booth, create event-specific brochures, etc) but it doesn’t have to if you choose targeted local events. Giving a carefully selected presentation to the right audience can do a lot to get the word out about your product and services. Customer case studies are particularly effective. Or you can find venues to make brochures or information sheets available (in partner booths, for example). Most important is probably the networking with potential customers and partners at such events.
Even if you have a broad target market, which is not regionally-specific, there can sometimes be a lot of value in starting your efforts locally. First, you may see a more immediate impact from your marketing. Second, it is easier for you to meet with and “sell yourself” to those first customers if they are in your back yard – you could look at this as an expense on your part to gather your first customer testimonials. Look for local seminars or meetings, groups, even your local Chamber of Commerce, as a chance to network inexpensively and get the word out.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what other vendors they trust and work with related to your solution. Ideally, they would be complementary ones, and not competitors of course.
Reach out to those partners – especially if they have a local office near you. Even large vendors may be interested in partnering at the local level. Think about the win-win you could propose in return for having those partners introduce you into some customers or participate in joint software marketing together.
Doing a targeted direct marketing mailing can certainly be more expensive than doing the same thing online, so do your homework to make sure it’s really hitting your target customers and has a clear and concise value proposition to them. Make sure your mailing has a “next step” if the customer is interested: invite them to attend a seminar (could be online), provide a limited-time-offer of some kind. Give the customer a reason to act on your piece.
A more personal direct mail option is to send a holiday or birthday greeting card or a calendar at the New Year. It can add a personal touch to your relationship with your customers, without being too personal.
To properly prioritize your software marketing and advertising, take a look at the world through your customers’ eyes. How do they get their information about software or solutions: What conferences do they attend? What groups do they belong to? What magazines do they read? If you don't know, then I suggest you take some time to
focus your marketing strategy, narrow down on your ideal
target customers, and talk to current or potential clients before you spend time, energy and money on mis-directed software marketing and advertising. And don’t forget about your
web software marketing also.