Writing software is an art form that requires specialized skills. Marketing software, although perhaps not as highly regarded as hard core techies is no less an art form and also requires a specialized, although very different, skill set to creating software. It is not the intent of this article to judge which is the greater of the two arts, it has been written to assist those who are not software marketing professionals, such as sole practitioners who create their own software, with advice as to how market it.
Software marketing must be done in parallel with software development. Consequently, just as every element of software is planned in advance; similar thought and planning must be invested in its marketing. Marketing of software cannot be an afterthought to be attended to once the software is ready for sale.
There are elements which must be incorporated to the software to maximize its marketing capabilities as follows:
- Different versions. Create at least three versions of software – Basic, Intermediate, and Enterprise. Call them whatever you like but no doubt you get the idea. There should be different versions for two reasons– to capture every strata of user and thereby maximize revenue, and for marketing purposes. By giving either a free trial of one of the more feature packed versions or perhaps even giving away the basic version of the software, you are inducing users to get to know the software and hopefully pay for it once they see how good it is.
- Dynamic Installer. Integrate a dynamic installer to your software. A good dynamic installer will be easy to integrate and will add many collateral benefits as far as marketing goes.
A dynamic installer can put your software on the cloud resulting in faster and more stable downloads which, in and of itself, is good for marketing. Easy version updates also add to the marketability of the software. Similarly, some dynamic installers assist in bringing quality advertisers to the software resulting in additional revenue streams.
However, the parallel marketing doesn’t end with the software itself.
- Social Media. Everyone is seemingly using social media today, so that is where you must go to market your software. Visit communities that deal with your software and become a contributor. Use the community to gather free information that can be used in developing the software and then contribute to these communities as an expert.
You will need to set up a website or, at the very least, a blog. When contributing to communities, reference your software and even provide a link to the site. Consequently, when the software is ready to rock and roll, you will have an informed group primed in anticipation of its arrival.
There are numerous other methods of software marketing such as partnering with others or even just outsourcing the marketing, however the methods outlined above should be considered before developing any software product.