How to Market a Software or Service – Not a Guide
I have started working in the tech industry from 2011 but I still believe I am fairly new and have very little experience to advice startup founders and marketing strategists graduated from big universities. In this post, I will be sharing my very own personal views and experience I have gathered from selling internet service, software development service and selling WordPress plugins.
Who am I?
ICT Career is a training institute where I used to show people how a WordPress theme is made. I made several news websites there back in 2012. Then I have joined Zx Online Ltd. which is a central zone ISP in 2013. In 2014 I have joined weDevs who were developing their famous Dokan plugin back then. A few years later they introduced WP ERP. In 2017, I joined Tomorrow System who were a service provider in the European Union for web based software and other on site hardware, maintenance, installation, consultation service. I have started working for Themeum – a brand of JoomShaper in 2019 and continuing.
Disclosure: I do not know any technical jargons and I don’t remember any theory from the online trainings and my university. I do not have any certification on marketing or vice versa.
1. Make a great looking landing page!
I am a big fan of Simon Sinek and a very strong believer of-
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.– Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
If you are really making something great because you think that is what people need, say it clearly why they need it. Even if you are simply competing with an existing solution just because you had to, say it in bold letters! But please include what you are doing differently. Let’s say there is a multivendor plugin that costs $200 and you made the exact same identical thing copied or a forked version, and you’re selling it half price, you can show a price and feature comparison to help people understand the difference and similarities.
The world is quite old and there are very few things left to do differently. The only thing still different and unique is how people think and speak. So, write and show every single thing that your product is aimed to accomplish and how you’re confident to do better.
2. Slight difference or added value
It is always better to have a little bit added value from the available solutions in the market. It can be the design, documentation, service, developer support, community, social media engagement… anything! You can always get creative to propose an unique value and position. But this is fairly Pro stuff and the place where the big guys play.
If you can make one or two unique features in your product, that’s great. If it feels too much work, don’t worry. You can still survive. But if you want to climb on top of the market and eliminate all of your competitors, then this is a must have.
Especially, if you want to be aggressive with marketing campaigns and planning to earn hundred thousand dollars within one or two year span, then there is no other alternative than designing and developing something unique and doing things in a simpler and greater way with far more features and opportunities.
Write down every single feature the plugin has. Make video tutorials on every possible cases; not just how to setup, how to integrate! Create screenshots, mockups and case studies, white papers. Leave no stones unturned! You can not write everything on a landing page, and you need content to rank better on the search engines. Also, if you have content ready for all kinds of debates and questions, it will save you a lot of time, be more efficient, convince people faster and make them purchase!
Also, it will help the support team a lot and save their time as well.
4. Buyer Persona
I always think of the first customer or buyer for a product or service. I try not to think about the entire world or possible markets, countries, businesses whatsoever. I never made a buyer persona but I always think of-
Who would be a perfect user for my product or service?
This one single question can help you understand where you can find your first user or buyer, how you should approach them, what their expectations are, how much they can afford etc.
5. Right price and discount
There is always a gap between what is the amount people are ready to pay and what is the price I want to get. It is obvious you will always want to charge higher price if you have done something better and gives people better value than your competition. But you will always find people who will bargain saying that your competitor is charging less so you should offer discounts. You should actually offer discounts in the beginning establish your product is definitely worth more.
After the initial period is over, you can stop offering discounts and people have already started accepting that the price is justified. Because the price was out there for a long period of time.
6. Start pitching
Based on the buyer persona, you should be able to find where your potential users hangout. If you are making something useful for the hospitality industry, you might think of web development agency owners. A lot of them attend WordCamps to know about new technologies. So, if you can afford, you can sponsor WordCamps and take a booth to showcase your products.
If you are making a generic tool like a page builder then you can pitch in user groups and give out free licenses to first 100 users. Or you can give 1 year free license to the first batch of users. No one says no to free stuff! These first 100 users will test your product and give you feedback based on actual use cases. It will help you to polish your products more and take it to near perfection.
Besides, these 100 people will now spread the word. So, they will work on behalf of your marketing team. They will be telling more people about your product.
Affiliates are always a good idea and influencers help businesses a lot to accelerate in the first phase. So, my personal recommendation is, even if you have to give out 50% sales commission to the affiliates, do it! Because having $1 is always better than having none!
Also, you can display their testimonials on the product or service page to convince the visitors and it will help you convert more.
Deals and coupon platforms are still very famous. People randomly check the platforms that share deals and discounts and buy things even if they don’t need it within next 1 year. Those platforms can be a good place to generate the initial funding and continue the development for next couple of years.
Reviews, comparisons and listing on famous sites are also a great way to get traffic. Most of the sites write paid reviews or agree to add on the listing in exchange of content and affiliate commission. It is always cheaper to hire a technical writer and offer people free content and ask to post them. But if you have good budget, then paid reviews on the right places can also help.
7. Great service
This is the only thing I have seen where people fail and prosper. Offering exceptional service will take you to the top and maintaining good service can result in exceptional profit as well. Right after you start generating a stable revenue stream, you must hire a support team to assist with the presales and technical support queries. The faster the response rate, the more they convert.
“I did everything but it still does not work!”
The things I have mentioned above are like tools. It is you, the human has to understand what to put where, how to use it and when to use it. Don’t get frustrated if something is not working. I am available to share the little knowledge I have and give you some ideas if possible depending on your product, market and use case. My email address is available at the contact page or you can send me a message on social media.
well written and detailed tips. thanks for sharing 🙂
i believe its the story you tell about your product. you must know why people want your product. focus on that. the best way to know those whys are, to ask your die-hard fans and real customers. what made them buy your product, why they think its special. simply focus these whys and whats in all your marketing materials – landing pages, web copies, social posts, articles, ad copies, videos and see the magic 😀
Thank you so much for pointing out more important things. I will try to follow these ?