Getting Started with Marketing


6

I'd like your opinions on how I can use marketing to increase sales.

I run a small business on the side (I also have a full-time job), selling a niche enterprise software application. Last year I made around £30,000 (~$45,000 USD).

Currently the only marketing we do is using Google Adwords, which is getting us a little extra traffic (though the keywords are expensive... up to £3 per click!).

I'll soon be launching a new, more powerful, more scalable version of the software, along with a much improved new website. I'd really like to do more in terms of marketing to increase sales, but beyond Adwords I don't really know where to begin.

Someone suggested finding relevant bloggers, giving them some free licenses and asking them to do (unbiased) reviews.

Another suggestion was issuing press releases - I wouldn't know how to go about this, where to issue to etc.

What are your opinions on these two suggestions? Do you have any other suggestions or tips for a marketing newbie?

Getting Started Marketing Advertising

asked Mar 25 '10 at 21:20
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Cocowalla
327 points
  • Post your website under your profile. – Jeff O 8 years ago
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6 Answers


2

I recommend leveraging your existing customers as much as possible. Nearly 40% of our business comes from existing customer referrals.

  1. Focus on the second conversion for each and every one of your first 1,000 customers.
You got someone to your site, they signed up for your beta, and they've started using it! Success right? Nope... you've forgotten about the most important conversion of all... getting them to recommend you to their friends.

The second conversion is something that too many people overlook. They think they are done because they acquired the customer and they have a LIKE button. But real word of mouth is the difference between a movie that's shuttled to DVD release and a blockbuster. But how do you do that?

  1. Build of case studies and social proof that you cross market with your existing customers. This should include interviews, testimonials, and real results from them. Then promote and share these case studies with your blog, social accounts, and ads.
  2. Giving away an ebook that helps your customers has done wonders for us. It's more than paid for the cost of production.
  3. Get your name out there on influential web blogs for your industry. Start by leaving insightful comments and then contact the blog owners to offer a guest post.

This is how we've been growing our audience 10% each month. :)

answered Mar 23 '12 at 15:10
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Joshua Ledgard
31 points

2

The first thing to do is define your target market. You may already know a lot about them but it's good to take a fresh look at who uses your software. Some of the questions to ask include:

  • Geographic : Region, city or metro size, density, climate
  • Demographics/Sociocultual : Gender, age, income, ethnicity, education, religion
  • Psychographic : Lifestyle, Personality
  • Behavioral : Usage, benefits, status, buyer-readiness, attitudes

Once you have this defined for your product, then you can figure out where these types of people hang out on the Internet or other places. You already have Adwords going so you know a little bit about what converts people to buy your product.

In terms of marketing tactics, the blogger review is a good idea as well as a press release. Press releases are pretty easy. Just search for Free press release service and a bunch will pop up (If I recall, there is a question here that has a list of services).

A couple of other, low cost things to try include:

  • Get some reviews in a trade publication that your target market reads
  • Offer free upgrades or cheaper upgrades to existing customers
  • Referral bonuses for existing customers that bring you customers
  • Customer testimonials. Nothing works better than having happy customers sell your product for you.
  • Blog about the industry that your product serves and become an expert (this does take some time)

I am sure there are plenty more but these are what come to mind.

You can also employ an Inbound-Marketing Strategy that encompasses some of the tactics about but basically allows your customers to find you. That's one of the most powerful ways to build your business up.

answered Mar 25 '10 at 22:24
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Jarie Bolander
11,411 points
  • Yes, we are already using Adword, and will continue to do so. We are also already planning on offering discounted upgrades to existing customers. Getting some customer testimonials sounds like a good plan - any suggestions on how best to approach customers for these? Will customers expect anything in return? – Cocowalla 8 years ago
  • I would ask them as part of an effort to get feedback on how to improve your product and how they think you are doing as a company. Once the conversation is started, then you can ask them for a reference. Customers usually don't ask for anything in return but you might want to bump up their service level or give them some freebie type stuff. Good luck – Jarie Bolander 8 years ago
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1

Since your targeted audience is B2B so instead of considering PAD or directory submissions, i would suggest you the following trendy ways to meet your target audience. But before implementing any of the marketing campaigns; please make sure that your website should be human and SEO friendly as well. The landing page(s) should be web 2.0 compliant.

So here are a few credible marketing ways to get you product build the reputation in the market and generating business for you.

  • You must be knowing your target market already. Find those communities, groups etc where you say a word to get your product introduced.
  • Find out those targeted bloggers who have already reviewed some of your competitive products and ask them humbly for reviewing your product as well
  • Try to get your product reviewed on credible and users-rich websites like TechCrunch, GigaOm, ReadWriteWeb etc.
  • If you are good at writing; make use of this skill and write blogs to highlight the unique and competitive features of your product.
  • Find out relevant blogs, forum posts and other discussions where the competitive products or relevant features are being discussed those are supported by your software as well. Follow an unbiased tone with a vision to help the community and ethically reference your products in your comments/replies.
  • Practice viral marketing techniques. Send your product-introductory emails or direct messages to your business friends, followers and contacts who might be interested to evaluate it or refer it to someone who can be interested.
  • Make strong use of social marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc to quickly pass on the word to a wider audience.

I think all of the said promotional techniques have a great potential to give you targeted traffic and boosting your business.
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answered Mar 24 '12 at 09:58
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Usman Sarfraz
1,326 points
  • Thanks. What does 'web 2.0 compliant' mean, exactly? – Cocowalla 6 years ago
  • It means that your landing pages should have interactive design, UI, targeted on-page information, social bookmarking icons placement and direct links to useful but relevant sections of your website that can possibly convert visitors into customers. These directs links may belong to 1) Case Studies 2) Demos 3) Customer Testimonials 4) Community Buzzes 5) Tutorial Videos 6) Documentation 7) Etc... – Usman Sarfraz 6 years ago
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0

One additional thing to do, if you haven't already, is to get your software listed at as many software download sites as is possible. Even if most of these sites never generate a sale they do give you inbound links.

First you need to build a PAD file for your software. Download the free PAD file generator at ASP-Software. Once you build a PAD file, submit your software by hand to CNET's download site and to Two Cows. Those are the two most important software download sites. Use their free service- don't pay to get listed.

Once that is done, hire a service to handle the file iploads for you. We have used the RoboSoft people several times. It costs $70 - $100 for them to upload your PAD information to between 700 and 900 sites.

answered Mar 26 '10 at 00:42
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Gary E
12,510 points
  • I though such sites were geared more towards lower value, 'shareware' type applications? My software will _never_ be purchased by home users, only business users, and it's priced at £200 per license (~$300). Do you think such sites are suitable for enterprise software? – Cocowalla 8 years ago
  • I think he's referring to the inbound links. These will generate buzz, and increase your rankings. – Publicrelate 7 years ago
  • I am going against this advice for this particular case and B2B in general. I can't see how this will generate 'buzz', little effect on ranking as the vast majority of the tens of thousands of download sites have no raking themselves but what it WILL do is pollute the search results if someone searches your exact product name with lots of download sites - some of which might even rank higher than you. All IMHO – Ryan 6 years ago
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0

Since it's targeted to businesses who are willing to pay, I would go with a zoom-in strategy.

  • Engage in business networking
  • Engage business publications to do stories on your software
  • Work with business gurus and consultants who have close ties with your target customers
answered Mar 30 '10 at 12:06
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G Rex
683 points
  • This seems a bit vague... can you expand on any of this? E.g. network how exactly, and where would I find these gurus? – Cocowalla 8 years ago
  • Attend conferences, business referral networks, or any business oriented events. When you are in the presence of such people, do not try to sell. Make intelligent comments, bring up smart questions. Demonstrate that you are on to something worthwhile. Almost inevitably, people will put you in touch with people and something good is bound to happen. – G Rex 8 years ago
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0

There are services where you can create and distribute press releases. First, after you define exactly who your competitors are, find out which publications and sections have been covering them, so you'll have some idea of who you want to pitch. Press releases must have an angle of interest for their audience, so you'll have to define that angle and pitch it from there. It can't be 'salesy'. Here's a great blog posting which describes some of the little tricks of the trade to garner press coverage. I don't know what you're product is, but you may want to pitch to trade publications and a wide variety of different publications with different angles. There are services such as PRWeb or Vocus, but I've never had to use them (although I do know that this is what other PR pros are using). They will distribute your releases, but they caan't guarantee they'll be picked up. This is why I stress the importance of researching your competition's strategies, as well as really knowing your market and where they are - Internet, radio, print (magazines, newspapers, trade pubs, etc), and last but not least, online.

answered Nov 27 '10 at 13:35
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Publicrelate
315 points

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