I am interested in starting a small (to start with at least) software company. The Software I would be selling would be add-ons to Microsoft SharePoint. While I am skilled technically, I know nothing about marketing.
So far the only plan I have come up with is to use Google Adwords. I don't have a lot of money to spend on this since it is a side thing. I would like to keep it at around $100 a month to start with.
Do I have any other options besides Google Adwords with my budget being so low?
Consider an inbound marketing strategy that focuses on providing valuable content that will attract your target audience. This approach has five steps:
This strategy consistently produces results that are 60% cheaper than outbound (i.e. direct) marketing techniques. However, it does take time to build and audience and generate results. Therefore, Adwords can be a good bridge to ramp up more quickly. Just make sure that your website has well-designed landing pages before turning on the Adwords or you might well be setting your money on fire.
Read Inbound Marketing by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan. Take notes on blog article ideas as you read, and then write a blog with interesting content and a specific audience in mind.
If you can create some sort of inbound tool (e.g. HubSpot's Website Grader tool) then you can drive leads through that funnel as well.
Also read the Hubspot Blog for additional content and ideas. I run my own start up, and HubSpot's mentality and information they put out on marketing has been super helpful.
if you are not good in marketing, try not to use google adwords. don't spend your money without really understand it. you might spend those money without having a potential buyers.
I do suggest you to build a website and try to optimize it and also do a good landing page for the add-on. since it is a specific software that targeted on microsoft sharepoint, I do believe it will be easier for you to optimize the website and creating a new landing page too.
if you already have the website, kindly paste it here and I can help to have a look at it too.
try forum and related community (sharepoint community, microsoft software community etc) and tell them about your software.
anyway good luck and keep us update with the marketing section of your company
A good addition would be a Wordpress based blog with dedicated posts for each keyword you are targetting (e.g "sharepoint mind mapping tool"'). Write a post for each containing:
You actually have millions of different options.
I like the social media strategies that others have suggested here. However, that depends on whether you have the time to actually carry them out. A successful social media strategy depends on three things: CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT. And it can be very tricky and very time consuming. You wanna position yourself as someone who provides valuable content to your viewers, not just someone who is desperately trying to sell something. But before you do that, you will need to profile your "buyer personas", i.e., who is your target clients and what are the problem that you solve.
Said that, and if you are serious about a solid social media marketing campaign, I'll recommend the following:
For more information about social media and its marketing potential, you can check out the bestseller "The New Rules of Marketing and PR".
Finally, and quoting Donald Draper from Mad Men, remember that success is related to standing out from the crowd, not fitting in. You wanna be the needle in the haystack, not the haystack. In other words, Why don't you give away your product for free? You will not make any money, but if your product is good, you will earn a REPUTATION. You will automatically become an expert in the arena of "add ons for sharepoint". Think about it.
Focus on your customers and surprise them, so they will talk about you. I recommend book Delivering happinness, which is talking about customer "support".