As the demand for technology arises, so does the need for digital marketing. Over 80% of people search for products and services online, before making an actual purchase (Retailing Today, 2014), which means your online presence is crucial for your company’s profitability.
If you are a Software Development agency, your products and your clients are online. Your primary goal should be great online exposure for your brand, such as excellent Google ranking. In fact, 62% of the B2B buyers claim that Internet is one of the three resources they rely on for finding business solutions (Fronetics, 2017) A better Digital Marketing Plan actively links your clients to you through your social media accounts, blogs, websites, online forums, and mobile communications.
However, creating and implementing effective digital marketing strategy for a software company can be a real challenge, especially for developers who lack extended experience in marketing and business planning. To help your company stand out from the competitive technology market, we suggest a few proven marketing strategies, designed for tech companies.
1. Set Your Goals
No matter if your business model is B2B or B2C, the first thing you need to ask yourself before you start drawing a Digital Marketing strategy is “What do I want to accomplish”?
You might want to attract more customers, increase your brand’s awareness or promote a new software product you just developed. Whatever your purpose is, defining your goals and putting them into writing will lead to a significant possibility of success.
An action without a goal leaves you with no idea where to go. Having a better Digital Marketing Plan is a great way to know what to focus on.
2. Define Your Target Market
Your target market is the group of people to whom your product or service is most relevant and who are more likely to benefit from it.
Based on your target market you will choose the right tactics to drive more traffic to your sales funnel. When promoting a product, your new software platform or interface you should know not only who will use it, but also who will be the buyer.
For the Software development companies and particularly for those who are focused on B2B, defining the target market can be more complicated because most often the user is not the actual decision maker.
Your marketing activities must be directed towards users, influencers, buyers and the C-suite. For that purpose, you will need to create buyer personas, write targeted content and design landing pages according to their expectations and demands.
According to the audience you aim to target, you will choose how to approach it and how to communicate to it. The effectiveness of your marketing activities strongly depends on defining as accurately as you can your ideal customers by conducting deep research. You should focus on the following segmentation criteria:
- Demographics (Age, Location, Gender, Income level, Education level)
- Psychographics (Personality, Attitudes, Values, Interests/hobbies, Lifestyles)
- Behavior – purchasing patterns such as price sensitivity, brand loyalty
- Business segmentation – business size, nature of business, structure, etc.
3. Spend to Earn
Do you know that 28% of online searches convert into a sale (Google, 2016)?
Do not be afraid to spend. Spend and you will earn. Digital Marketing is the new trend for attracting mass consumers.
Allocating some of your budget on display ads, paid search ads, or social ads can help you reach the target market and achieve high conversion rates. Awareness of the brand is established. Thus, potential customers will come to your website for further information on their specific needs.
4. Focus on multiple channels and take advantage of what each offers
There are different social media channels and each one has pros and cons. Most of the businesses nowadays strive to be active on as many channels as they can manage, but the truth is that you need to find which social media platforms your users get information from.
When it comes to software development and particularly B2B companies, you have to pay attention to which platforms your target audience seek business advice from.
LinkedIn is the most relevant social media channel as it is business oriented and connects people from various industries and networks who both offer or seek solutions for their business. 80% of B2B marketing leads come through LinkedIn (LinkedIn, 2017)
Facebook and Twitter are great platforms for engaging with your potential clients and followers and promoting your content.
YouTube has become the second search engine after Google so it is a great platform to post your video tutorials and webinars on.
TIP: Never ignore comments and reviews even if they are negative! Try to understand and solve the problem which the user experiences.
5. Contribute to external online communities and blogs
This is a great chance to increase your company’s exposure and to demonstrate professional knowledge and skills in your industry. Especially in the software development and deep programming field, there are always people who are willing to learn online and other practitioners who are seeking advice on online communities and forums.
This approach also involves guest blogging and link outreach. Your company can offer content to be cited on another blog and in return, you will publish a guest post on your blog. Or you can offer your content to be linked to external website which is dedicated to the Software development industry
You can also contribute to different groups on Social Media such as LinkedIn or Facebook groups related to the industry you work in. In this way, you will get involved in conversations with professionals who can later become your partners or clients.
6. Educate your clients through Tutorial and Guides
Creating and distributing problem-solving content such as “How to” tutorials and Best practices guides is a definitely a must for your digital marketing strategy. Every business aims to stand out from the crowd and beat the competition which is why companies would invest in a new software product.
Understand what problems your prospects face and how your products can solve them, and create educational content which can be distributed through Social Media, website landing pages or email. In return, you will be able to collect valuable information about your followers and contact details which is a great starting point for your email marketing strategy.
Email marketing is the perfect chance for you to get to know your customers better. Acquiring a customer’s email addresses is an open door for you to send out a promotion of your brand. It helps to start a conversation or to keep them up-to-date with your latest products.
7. Create a Solid Website
A website is a good tool to showcase your business, unique selling options, videos and client testimonials. Visitors go to your website for information regarding your company and offerings so give them what they are looking for.
Improve the speed of your website, make it mobile friendly and post relevant content. Including pricing pages will help you to filter people who visit your website only to find out the price and clients for whom price is the main purchasing factor.
Software development companies often have the technical know-how of building a website. But there’s a lot more to a website than the code itself. It’s about the corporate brand, web design, user experience, and numerous marketing techniques tailored for conversion rate optimization and increasing the traffic from organic search and social media.
As the price and product have always been important factors for the marketing, according to Walker`s report from 2013, the customer experience is increasing its significance and is expected to become the key differentiator by 2020.
8. Invest efforts and time in SEO
Effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies aim to increase organic visitors to your website or blog which would later be converted into leads, provided if you have followed the steps so far.
Allocating enough time on strategic business development and SEO at the same time is hardly ever accomplished by anybody. You would probably not have the time to develop the additional expertise yourself. Your SEO goals can be achieved if you assign to employees/ agency and monitor the following steps:
- Make sure your website can be found by the search engines
- Make sure your website loads fast. Page speed is important both for Google ranking and user experience
- Make your website mobile friendly
- Make sure your website has reliable and updated Sitemap and Site structure
- Pick the right keywords for your content
SEO may be tricky to master as a beginner, but it pays off in the long run. The most straightforward thing you can start with is identify which keywords will bring prospects to your site. You can use keyword research tools to understand what words and phrases your target market uses when searching for information or products that your business provides.
9. Use contrast as key differentiator
Create a webpage comparing your products to your competitors` ones, and you will have the chance to showcase what makes your product/service outstanding and unique. If you structure and present the comparison in the right context and avoid being too pushy, you will help the reader to evaluate the offering correctly.
Comparison web pages also contribute to better ranking by including keywords focused on competitors` alternatives and using “versus” e.g. Microsoft vs. Oracle.
10. Use precise language and avoid jargons
In software development, as in any other industry, there are specific terms which you, as a professional, know and use. However, the visitors on your website are likely to be unaware of their meaning. If you use too many of those, your audience may be unable to understand and relate to what you are communicating.
TIP: In order to check if your message can be understood by a broad number of visitors on your website, show the text to someone, that you know has no experience in software development, and evaluate their response.
If that person did not understand what you are relating to her/him, it probably means the language you use is not clear. Another thing you can do is create a short questionnaire based on the description of a product or service on your website and then see how many of the questions have been answered correctly.
11. Be Unique
Merely providing valuable and attractive content to your customers, your competitors, industry influencers, and practitioners is not enough anymore. You need to find a creative way to present it, as well.
In the software development industry, this can be implemented by posting daily videos, explaining how your product will make your clients` lives easier, or how it will improve their working process, how your company differentiates itself from the competitors, tips and tricks on how your products can be used and more.
The main reason why videos are getting better preferred is the fact they are visually appealing and make the information easily digestible.
12. Invest time and efforts into the research process.
To support each of your decisions or furthermore to understand what stands behind your target audience behavior and what drives the attention of the decision-makers in your industry, you need to do a deep research.
Researching your customers, your target audience, your competitors and your industry trends will give you a better understanding of the current market situation and define your strategy.
Even though implementing digital marketing strategies to your software company can be challenging and time-consuming, you should try and persist.
Remember, your closest competitor might be preparing a good plan as well. Make sure to have a better digital marketing plan which will help you map out the actions you are going to take to put your company in the limelight.
Since we’ve started as a tech company, the need for our marketing strategy became apparent as we were growing. Which is why we’ve spent 4 years on designing an inbound marketing strategy tailored and tested in-house for software development companies that care about their digital presence. If you’re interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to get in touch. ⬆️