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?
I recommend leveraging your existing customers as much as possible. Nearly 40% of our business comes from existing customer referrals.
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?
This is how we've been growing our audience 10% each month. :)
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:
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:
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.
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.
I think all of the said promotional techniques have a great potential to give you targeted traffic and boosting your business.
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.
Since it's targeted to businesses who are willing to pay, I would go with a zoom-in strategy.
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.