I’m in my third decade of selling software. What’s amazing to me is how much easier it is today to market and sell software over the Web, versus back in the “old days” when we had to mess with disk duplication and mailing, snail mail correspondence, cashing checks and postal orders by hand, and providing support through dialup electronic bulletin boards.
Perhaps the greatest change is how relatively easy it is today to launch an effective global marketing campaign on a limited budget. If you’re selling software that provides true value at a reasonable price, you don’t need a Microsoft-sized budget to reach your potential customers.
So here are a few suggestions for an inexpensive marketing campaign:
Start a Blog
Start a WordPress blog focused on the problem you are solving, your target audience and their market. WordPress comes SEO-ready out of the box and is a great traffic magnet. It’s even more valuable if your blog can provide advice and solve problems that naturally draw an audience. Of course you’ll want to write about and advertise your software on your blog.
Write a Press Release
Write a press release and take advantage of free press release submission services such as PRlog. Review samples on the Web and be sure to follow the guidelines for a good press release. You need to look and sound professional.
Promote Your Software on Blogs and Forums
Visit blogs and forums in your target market, leave relevant and valuable comments, and provide a link back to your blog and/or software website. You need to walk a fine line between being a spammer and helpful contributor. The best way is to answer questions and give advice but don’t directly plug your product.
Provide a Free Sample
Provide a free version of your service that actually delivers some value. And of course, provide a paid version with additional features. People love free stuff and it helps draw a crowd.
Advertise with Google AdWords
Buy some Google AdWords search ads. This can get real expensive real quick, so you need to choose your keywords well: the more precise your keywords, the better your click-thru rate and lower the cost. Be sure to set daily limits. If done well, you should be able to generate a half-dozen or more good clicks for a couple dollars per day. You can also get $50 and $75 free AdWords coupons from companies such as VistaPrint if you order business cards, for example.
Article published on September 1, 2009
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