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How to effectively promote software on the IT market

Software marketing takes into account the high cost, the factor of delayed sales, the release of demo versions, and the difficulty in predicting customer demand. Even if you have a unique product ready, you have to remember that competitors can release a similar one by hijacking the idea. Therefore, you should enter the market in such a way that as many interested users as possible become aware of the IT solution.

How to promote software

A detailed guide on how to enter the IT market

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    How to promote software

    A detailed guide on how to enter the IT market

    How to develop a strategy for software promotion

    At the first stage it is important to develop a promotion strategy:

    • segment the CA;
    • describe the benefits of the software, the change in the customer’s life after purchasing the software;
    • know the strength and weakness of competitors;
    • calculate profitability and unit economics in general.

    Software promotion

    When creating a digital product, you need to find a way to explain to the customer why they should choose a particular solution. The user should understand what problem will be solved by purchasing the programme, how work processes can be simplified or accelerated.

    The buyer does not have to understand the topic, so the description of the benefits is concise and specific, explaining:

    • what tasks the software solves;
    • how easy it is to use
    • what versions of OS and hardware are required for operation.

    Software is available on the market in abundance. Users try to buy free analogues. Only after failing to find what they need or being disappointed in the functionality, they look for paid versions of software. Interest in purchasing can be generated by offering unique developments or software with a large set of functions.

    Software is realised through sales to companies (B2B segment) or directly to users (B2C). For complex products the image of the selling company is important.

    Product promotion is most often combined with advertising of the developer. An excellent way to make yourself known is to talk about how and to whom the product helps (using specific examples). The most important thing is to find your target audience and get your first clients.

    Software promotion has its own specifics and in practice depends on the type of IT product. It is one thing when mass solutions are considered, for example, CRM-systems used everywhere and solving the problems of thousands of multi-billion enterprises. Another case is when software is developed for a micro-customised solution that accelerates only certain internal business processes. For example, a company makes software to automate regular inspections for compliance with ISO9001 standards. Using this solution automates paperwork and reduces report collection time by four times!

    If an unknown company is just entering the market, there is very little traffic because no one knows that there is a ready-made solution to automate a business process that is a headache for a certain segment of entrepreneurs. Few of them would think of looking for a way to reduce costs and time when creating ISO9001 reporting.

    To promote software in a narrow segment, 80% of success is competent PR. The first steps for promotion will be to find industry-specific sites, apply content marketing on them, collect audience targeting, and launch targeted advertising. If you invest exclusively in SEO, there will be no result at the initial stage.

    It is pointless to optimise and write expert materials on the keys, which no one reads yet. This is the biggest difficulty of entering the market: there is no demand, but the solution is there, and how to attract customers – it is not clear. That’s why the main way to tell about yourself until the product becomes self-sufficient is PR.

    It is necessary to create a website (lending) at the first stage of promotion, but in general it is secondary. On it you put content, videos about the product (ideally – from an expert) to explain everything to the client in a simple and accessible way.

    The second important point, where most often all software promotion ends, is partner programmes (cross-marketing). In this case, you are looking for industry companies that are close in subject matter or have similar target audience clients from all over country. Then a partner manager is hired, who starts working with all such companies, concluding contracts and selling their products in addition to the main ones.

    In the period of one or two years after entering the market, this way of attracting clients may suit you. But beyond that, you still have to develop on your own.

    The following recommendations can be given to software companies that are just entering the market:

    • a minimum SEO budget should be set from the very beginning;
    • it is mandatory to place on the site in a modified form the content that is used on industry platforms.

    This should be done to minimise the risk of dependence on platforms and partners. All PR traffic providers require money, but the prices for attracting traffic can change, as a rule, upwards. The terms of co-operation may also change, becoming unprofitable for the developer company. Affiliate programmes are also at risk if the entire affiliate network is bought out by a large market player who starts to dictate new terms (reduces affiliate payments, changes rates, etc.).

    To hedge channel dependencies, you need to invest in organics that will never “burn out”. No matter how conditions change, the company will still own the website and the base for mailing lists. Subscribers in social networks and messengers may not be available at any moment with the introduction of any ban (sanctions, changes in legislation).

    Two fundamental ways of communication with clients, minimally dependent on geopolitical factors, to which it is difficult to close access, are the company’s website on its own domain and the distribution of its own database by e-mail.

    Why it’s so important. Email newsletters help to remain independent from social media, domain linking, etc. Subscribers are collected through different channels. If a channel bans emailing or blocks a community, it can lead to the loss of the community database. If you have a well-developed database of email addresses, then in case of blocking by a service provider it is enough to change it, and all the subscribers of the mailing will remain for the company, unlike social networks.

    Another point to consider is that the ratio of work on PR, content marketing, targeted advertising with the budget for advertising should correspond to the proportion of 1:3. Having spent a thousand dollars on services, it is necessary to spend at least three thousand dollars in the budget to make the sales funnel pay off (the final cost of the client is made up of promotion works and advertising budget).

    Basic mechanics of software promotion on the market

    The promotion methodology aimed at reaching the top of the search results takes into account SEO, lendings, content marketing, contextual and media advertising, promotion in social networks, email marketing, CPA. All advertising activities to promote IT are carried out comprehensively.

    The website is the main channel of communication with the consumer, so each new product may require web page revision or rebranding. The key resource should be structured, user-friendly, and contain UTP with a focus on priority IT products. Digital identity is a unifying factor that works for the recognisability of the brand and its products. It reinforces the image of the company, adapting it to different channels and forms without interfering with the functionality of the product.

    The perception of information on the site improves if you choose sans serif fonts and use a cool range of colours. The presence of infographics will allow you to explain the advantages of this or that “trick” without referring to complex terminology.

    SEO-optimisation for natural growth of visitors to the site, entering the search top, confident positioning in the market. It is necessary to find and prescribe key phrases that briefly characterise the product. Multilingualism, full-fledged technical support (FAQ, chatbots, technical support for software operation) are mandatory.

    Promotion through search engine optimisation is not fast, providing a gradual increase in visitors, as well as delayed, but confident occupation of its own niche in the market.

    Lendings allow you to support the entry of software into the market, quickly create landing pages for various offers with the ability to quickly respond to demand. They demonstrate IT products and collect applications.

    Users purchase software when they are convinced of its quality and the cost-effectiveness of the software to achieve the desired result. Non-alternativeness, detailed technical description, attractive price, and concise design help in persuasion. It is convenient to place videos with demonstration of the main functions of the software, links to download the demo version of the product on the landing page.

    Content marketing implies placement of useful content on the Internet, which becomes viral due to a certain strategy. It is optimal to publish software reviews, comparisons with analogues, IT market news, analytical articles.

    Content placement tends to cover thematic sites, blogs. Advertising on thematic resources is most important for niche products. On specialised portals, offers are sought exclusively by interested advanced users.

    Contextual advertising as a part of content marketing is necessary to quickly get the volume of traffic. The more correct the key queries (search and thematic), the better the result. Thematic resources are used for software promotion. Search links are highly effective, as they are used by already warmed-up clients.

    By publishing articles, the company builds up an image of an expert. Such a result is achieved quickly if the content demonstrates how software closes the pains of representatives of various business spheres.

    SMM, corporate blog. Part of the clients are in social networks. Traffic is obtained by placing links and posting sales articles. Reviews, testing, posts, maintaining groups require investments and time, but they work for the future, creating an image of an expert for the company and a good reputation for the software.

    Promotion is facilitated by bright product design, well thought-out navigation, viral content, involvement of the target audience through raffles and marathons, involvement of bloggers in advertising. Emphasis should be placed on video reviews, as they allow to quickly demonstrate the software and its advantages.

    Media advertising affects emotions and puts the name of the company and product in the memory of a person. The task of this type of advertising is to inform about promotions, discounts, events. Publish banners, videos, ad units should be published on thematic sites, social networks and forums.

    Email marketing is a way to remind the user about software products from time to time, finding good reasons for this. Every week the user can be sent information about new software, IT company news, promotions. The database of addresses is collected through a form for collecting leads, push notifications for subscribers and adverts placed through partner networks.

    CPA-aggregators place adverts that are paid for only after a given target action is performed. Partners promote adverts through their resources, receiving money for this, CPA networks – interest, and advertisers – clients.

    To make a user want to purchase an IT product, classic marketing techniques must be used.

    • Available trial versions with a usage limit of up to a month. This time is enough for the user to become convinced in practice of the software’s usefulness and get used to it.
    • Showing the results of using the software by an electronic assistant. If it is not possible, as in the case of a graphic editor, to show “before” and “after” versions, it is possible to show digital performance indicators in the form of infographics.
    • Detailed description of each software product on the site, their comparison. Choice between several software bundles, differing in cost and functionality. Creation of a configurator on the site to select optimal functions.
    • Additional services – software installation, customisation, integration, consulting. This is relevant for complex software that requires the work of a specialist.
    • Maximum convenience when paying for the purchase and receiving the key.

    Marketing techniques

    The most common software sales model is subscription. A quality product is capable of selling itself, but in order for this to become a reality, it is important to set up an analytics system.
    Software promotion is influenced by the localisation of sales, it is important whether the software is designed for the Asian, European or American market. With this in mind, a promotion plan is built, taking into account the mentality of the inhabitants of different countries and regions.

    How to promote software

    How to make a name for yourself in the IT marketplace

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      Software is a complex product, so it is necessary to give the client maximum information to make a choice and purchase, demonstrate the advantages and functionality. It is necessary to use a coherent, systematic approach when using channels for advertising and carefully monitoring their effectiveness. The profit of an IT company depends on the elaboration of a marketing strategy for IT, setting up a conscious passing of all stages of the sales auto-funnel.


      Petr Dzyuba

      IT marketing expert

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