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How to bypass competitors when promoting an IT product

To promote IT products, it is necessary to understand what is important and what is secondary, what tools to prefer, how to analyse and select the optimal advertising bundles that lead users to take targeted actions and lead through the sales funnel to the purchase of the product.

How to advertise software

Examples of how to market an IT product

Guide with detailed instructions from a marketer with many years of experience

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    How to advertise software

    Examples of how to market an IT product

    Competent segmentation for successful IT product promotion

    IT products can be categorised into two segments, depending on the level of maturity. When a company starts up, it faces the question of whether to develop a Mobile App or a Web App. There are companies that fundamentally stay on the web, or, on the contrary, work only on mobile apps. These are completely different concepts that require radically different methods of promotion.

    When resources are limited, they usually start either with mobile, focusing entirely on it, or with the web and then roll out mobile. Web promotion means that the company does not have the ability to simultaneously support two teams engaged in development and PR on different sites. In this case, the goal is to create a website or application where you can log in or register online.

    The choice of segment depends on the product itself and the planned usage model. For complex products, mobile may not be suitable. If you are making a banking terminal, you will need a large screen to carry out complex analytics, taking into account a lot of statistical data. It is much easier to release a web application for a wide range of investors. For example, the idea can be implemented as a separate web application for pros, on which you can actively trade, as well as a mobile application for everyone.
    When there are enough resources and a serious budget, you can launch work in two directions at once, using different teams. There is nothing to do in development without $10800 per month. With a smaller budget, it is acceptable to develop only tiny niche products.

    Example. The ISO 9000 standardisation team has been selling their product for at least six months. At the same time, only 10 companies have purchased it. There are many similar competitors working in a similar niche on the market, and the market itself is not a multi-billion dollar market, with tens of millions of dollars being spent on it. Compared to the countryside construction market, it is a drop in the ocean. What to do? It is logical to promote the product only on the web, because the market is super-small, and there are few potential clients on it.

    Mobile App is promoted using different tools from the web. The marketing techniques remain the same, but the technical nuances (visuals, meanings) are very different. In both cases it is possible to promote through the Facebook advertising cabinet, but the structure and mechanisms of launching, the specialists involved in the process, the tests conducted will be different. Placement play depends on where the distribution will take place – on the web or in a mobile application.

    Example. All mobile applications in the GameDev industry contain a permanently displayed advert. This allows you to sell the mobile app through advertising in other mobile apps. This cannot be done on the web.

    There is a different approach to creating photo and video content for Mobile App and for the web. At the same time, promotion always involves building communication with customers using the most convenient channels for them in order to influence their decision to purchase a product.

    Globally, the category of IT products includes software, hardware, software and hardware solutions that can be used by the consumer or included in various IT systems. It is important to keep in mind that direct advertising from an IT guy to an IT guy does not work. It is not possible to list the properties and specifics of a product in terms that are understandable only to a narrow specialist. It is important to maintain a balance between simplicity of presentation and technical details, packaging the product for the end user.

    First of all, it is necessary to establish communication with all segments of the target audience, speaking about complex things in simple language. When considering the advantages of purchasing an IT product, a manager will pay attention to the improvement of financial performance, reduction of risks and implementation costs, while an IT specialist will assess the scalability of the solution and the requirements for staff qualifications.

    The sales funnel starts working when many users are attracted to the product and show interest. The widest part of the funnel engages all channels that bring traffic (landings, content, white pages, participation in events).

    Key points of IT product promotion

    The IT market is highly competitive, so the requirements for companies seeking to find their niche are tough. In addition to competitors who are IT-savvy and use all kinds of marketing techniques to promote brands, services and products, users are also spoilt for choice.

    To gain a foothold in the market and outperform competitors, requirements must be clearly articulated:

    • to the market;
    • to the product;
    • to advertising and promotion;
    • to fulfil all stages of the business plan.

    IT product requirements

    Entering the IT market requires a marketing strategy to promote an IT product. It includes assessments of the market, competitors, demand, development prospects and the product’s ability to solve the problems of the target audience.

    For promotion, work on the Internet and presence in thematic publications is relevant. Before starting promotion of an IT product, it is necessary to:

    • segment the target audience (a mass demand product differs from solutions with the possibility of customisation or technologies reworked to meet the needs of a large client);
    • be based on cold calculation and absence of emotions, make packaging of advertising for different formats (online and offline);
    • build up a reputation as a developer, integrator, expert, form an image through well-thought-out content marketing.
    • take into account the pent-up needs of IT product consumers.

    IT product promotion

    Remembering that the main task of promotion is to explain the value of the product, the ability to solve users’ problems with its help, it is necessary to build communication with constant visualisation in diagrams, charts, instructions, training videos and webinars. This task is handled by a team that includes a marketer, SEO, PPC, SMM, SERM, content manager, copywriter, targeting specialist, programmer and designer.

    Effective mechanics for advertising IT products

    For a part of products, especially those related to web applications, a combination of channels such as PR and targeted advertising can be the most effective. Classic methods of promotion – SEO, contextual advertising do not give the desired result. This is due to the fact that the product is complex, but the selection is often delegated by managers to their subordinates, who are often not experts. When a person enters a promoted application, sees the abundance of information, detailed structure, he stops understanding what to do with it.

    In this case, you need to promote in a different way, without overloading the consumer with excessive information. For example, make a 40-second video (maximum three minutes), and let all near-product traffic go through simple, clear examples of use. Short videos and engaging micro notes, short interviews on the main pain points of the customer (like rils), should convey to the end consumer the idea of how to solve the problem quickly and easily with the help of already available software.

    Even the most serious topic can be presented in a way that makes the customer smile. For example, in 40 seconds you can launch a story about the problem, the significant efforts and resources required, and immediately interrupt the pathos of the enumeration with a reference to a ready-made solution. Initially, you need to make a funny video, PR it on profile resources, and from it through to engage in reviews, and only then work on the closure of the product.

    Another important point. For products that are sold under SaaS-subscription, it must be possible to log in, to enter the interface. The familiarisation version is not only about getting acquainted with the product, it is also about collecting data about the customer.

    If in order to buy such a product it is offered to call a manager or pay for it immediately, without the possibility of trial-demo, the client is likely to simply leave the site. There will be a breakdown of conversion. Meanwhile, it is enough to make a personal account for each client after registration to chase advertising, set up to make users a measurable target action.

    For example, modern advertising systems know how to optimise for lead generation. They understand how many people have visited the page, which of them perform target actions, and start to select similar users with high potential. If a user is limited in their choice of action (either put it in the basket and enter a bunch of data and details, or call), the chances of successful lead generation are reduced by 20 times.

    If the site has a simple registration form with authorisation via almost or social networks, the user simply clicks a button to get inside the interface. Automatically he is sent a welcome mailing and a chain of emails follows, aimed at warming up to the purchase. This is how the sale is automated.

    Launching an IT product promotion: what to look out for

    Let’s imagine that we have only a project with a ready-made concept, without a mobile application and a website. What should we do to make “everything work”?

    At the first stage, the future foundation of promotion is built.

    • An in-depth marketing analysis of the product is conducted at a conference with the customer.
    • The semantic core is collected by direct and near-target demand for the countries for which promotion is planned. It is important to understand the clustering of queries to know which semantic blocks or triggers have traffic potential, for which solutions there is less competition. This information is mandatory for launching a PPC/SEO/targeting project.
    • An in-depth analysis of the target audience is carried out, hypotheses for attracting clients are formed, and triggers are identified.
    • The five main competitors are analysed in various sections – in terms of traffic, presence in social networks, actual advertising layouts, website positions, outreach, promoted queries, and target audience engagement.
    • After receiving the data from the analysis, we create UTPs, communication maps, and write the texts of offers for different segments of the target audience.
    • It is important to understand what tools competitors use and search for “white spots” for which competition is minimal.

    At the second stage:

    • Based on analytics, the visual part of the site is developed, the correct arrangement of blocks is determined.
    • Marketing bundles for advertising are selected (problem or query + product banner + CA or its segment).
    • Typical creatives for the first tests of advertising systems are developed (as a rule, three re-sizes for five systems are enough).
    • Scenarios are planned, videos for promotion funnels are made.
    • PR content is carefully worked out.
    • A plan for multi-level retargeting is drawn up.

    It is possible to get a large volume of lead generation in a narrow segment with the help of PR, which combines a large reach of the target audience, high recognisability and optimal price. Ready PR is poured on a significant number of industry platforms and resources. Targeting, advertising is also chased on them, ultimately contributing to the growth of product sales.

    PR builds loyalty of the target audience, and the key tool for this is quality content. At the same time, it should be understood that the budget for promotion should be laid accordingly high. The smaller the company, the greater percentage of turnover should be spent on marketing.

    In order to promote an IT product with the help of PR, you need to be savvy, expert, understanding in practice what combination is best to put together to attract the necessary traffic and leads.

    What influences the success of IT product promotion

    Successful promotion depends on a competent selection of a set of advertising tools. Advertising for IT is mandatory, as the product will not sell itself, but the client will buy what is most actively promoted.

    Digital promotion, which uses digital technologies, helps to promote the IT product in all digital channels and drag the CA from offline to online space. Product information is present on the internet, TV, radio, smart gadgets, apps, sms. It can be found in a blogger’s post, in push notifications, in mobile apps.

    Digital marketing increases brand awareness, attracts traffic, generates and qualifies leads, helps in customer retention.

    Internet marketing is an integral part of digital. It includes:

    • Website. Structured, clear, secure, demonstrating the product and providing useful information. On it you can place articles with analysis of business problems, the solution to which was found by implementing the products of IT-companies. It is desirable to detail the state “before implementation”, variants of proposed solutions, reasons why a particular solution was chosen, results “after”. Comparing the case with their own pain, users choose those products that give the best result.
    • Lendings of one product for different segments of the target audience or for solving several problems. Personalise each advertisement of an IT product.
    • Blog. Publication of cases, instructions, ready-made solutions that familiarise users with the product and demonstrate the benefits of its purchase. An expert blog contains interviews, video reviews, downloadable materials, reviews of new products, etc.
    • Content marketing. Information useful to the target audience is created and distributed. It proves the expertise and usefulness of the company and its products. The tool builds audience loyalty and brand recognition. The work is done through articles, lead magnets, posts in social networks, presentations, podcasts, mailings, videos.
    • SEO-promotion to generate leads and increase positions in search engine results. Conversion depends on work to improve the technical side of the resource, optimise content, building links. The task of SEO is to optimise content for user queries.
    • Usability. It determines the quality of the product and user experience. Meeting all the criteria makes a web page attractive to customers and search engine robots.
    • Outreach. Strengthens the expert component of the resource, increases the reach of the target audience, improves ranking.
    • Crowdfunding. Attracting investments for the development of an IT project or product.
    • Contextual advertising. Gives a quick but expensive attraction of traffic. It is shown only to users who are looking for a solution to a specific problem.
    • SMM-promotion. Promotion of IT products in social networks is based on quality content, targeting, promo by opinion leaders and in thematic groups. Feedback, user-generated content, training and customer support are collected in social networks. Promotion is designed for the long term, turning subscribers into customers.
    • Email marketing. Users should leave their own contacts, for example, when they log in to a page or subscribe. The newsletter should be informative and infrequent!
    • Video marketing. Promoting IT products through videos increases engagement and reduces the burden on tech support. Placing videos more than doubles conversion rates.
    • In marketing IT products, video is effective for demonstrating the principle of operation, showing the benefits and motivating users.
    • Creation and distribution of demos, promotion of software.
    • Participation in affiliate programmes for a percentage of sales when promoting software.
    • Direct sales in online and offline formats. Participation in seminars, conferences, organisation of webinars.
    • Mobile marketing. It is possible to promote via applications, sms-mailings, notifications, QR codes, geomarketing.
    • Tools that catch the attention of page visitors (pop-up windows, push-newsletters, live chats, exclusive offers).
    • Cooperation with online portals, catalogues and app shops.

    How to advertise services for IT

    What tools and services are most useful for IT product promotion

    Guide with detailed instructions from a marketer with many years of experience

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      Petr Dzyuba

      IT marketing expert

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