15 Strategies to Promote a Software Product Online With a Small Budget
People are actively searching for a solution to their problems. It doesn’t matter how great your software product or service is, if no one knows of its existence then it won’t be worth much.
The software industry continues to grow more fierce and competitive by the day. Companies in the B2B sector especially will need to maintain and adjust their roadmap to keep up with the latest changes.
But, the question is how to do that at minimal costs?
In this guide, we’ll cover 15 strategies to promote a software product online with a small budget. I’ve also included some key points under each strategy listed.
Why is Marketing a Software Product Different?
Marketing a software can be somewhat difficult. As a developer, it could also be time consuming. Many startup founders focus on adding new functionalities and scaling their software’s infrastructure, outsourcing marketing to a digital marketing agency. There are many experienced consultants who you can get help and learn from.
Here are some of the main reasons why marketing in this industry is different:
- You’re selling an intangible product, which is different from selling a physical product.
- It requires more information and explanation.
- The software sales cycle can be short but for some B2B sectors, it tends to be longer as prices are higher and requires key decision-makers to be involved.
- Customer lifetime value (CLV) is an important metric as existing customers spend 67% more than new customers.
Another thing to take note of is that the main difference between a software product (SaaP) and software as a service (SaaS) is how you pay for it.
For SaaP, you buy the product once and it’s yours forever. Since it’s a one-time purchase for lifetime access, the price is usually higher. Whereas, SaaS usually involves a recurring payment for using the program built by the external company.
How To Market a Software Product
There are several different ways to promote your software product or service.
You’ll find that educational content and data are your best friends. Unlike paid advertising, organic marketing is not as expensive yet has proven to get good results and ROI.
Without further ado, let’s get into how to market a software product with a limited budget.
1. Optimize Your Website For SEO
SEO means search engine optimization.
Optimizing your website for the search engines increases your online presence and visibility. People will have a higher chance of coming across your website when searching for something on Google that’s relevant to your brand or product. Therefore, it can increase organic traffic and the probability of gaining new leads or customers.
You can do this by yourself using paid or free tools such as Google Analytics. These can provide you with helpful data to improve user experience and performance.
2. Create Blog Posts, Articles, and Whitepapers
People are looking for answers. One problem or pain point can be looked at from multiple perspectives. You’re more likely to appeal to your audience by covering each of those angles in the form of written content, e.g:
- How-to guides
- Blog posts
- White papers
In each of these, you allow yourself to not only demonstrate industry expertise. But, how your solution can solve a common problem and help your audience get closer to reaching their goals.
Provided that you’re putting out valuable content, this can help you gain regular readers and leads. As stated earlier, it’s not as easy to explain how your software works compared to a physical product like Tide. That’s because you’ll need to simplify complex topics and communicate in a way your audience can resonate with.
3. Use Share Buttons
People are more likely to take action when it’s convenient to do so. Using share buttons increases the likelihood of reaching out to new audiences in your network. It’s a simple yet effective marketing strategy that you can incorporate for free in almost every piece of copy you put out.
4. Guest Posting
Guest posting is when you publish an article on another person’s blog or website.
For example, imagine if you published on Forbes – a media company that reaches over 140 million people across all platforms. It’s an opportunity where you can gain new followers and an influx of website referral traffic.
As long as you’re giving readers value, people are likely to visit your website to find out more about you.
To find guest post opportunities, you can simply search the following on Google:
- <industry> write for us. Example, <finance> write for us
- <industry> guest posts. Example, <cryptocurrency> guest posts
5. Guest Podcasting
Of the US population, 75% of people are familiar with podcasts.
This is quite similar to the previous strategy. Except, rather than appearing as a guest in a blog, you appear as a guest in a podcast.
Your audience would love to tap into your thoughts and mindset. In casual settings like this, it allows you to humanize your brand and establish expertise. Just make sure you’re providing information that’s valuable for listeners.
6. Create a Google My Business Account
Creating a Google My Business account is quick and easy.
We’ve already established why it’s important to optimize your website for SEO.
When you create a Google My Business account, you allow Google to bring up your website on the search engine results page whenever someone searches for a keyword related to your product or business. It’s free marketing that helps with increasing your online presence and local discoverability.
7. Social Media Marketing
Promoting anything online on social media is free and can effectively raise brand awareness.
It’s straightforward to create an account. The next step is about being active and consistent by creating and sharing good content with your audience.
Before you upload a post, write a strong caption and include the appropriate tags and hashtags to reach your audience. Depending on your budget, you could also consider paid social advertising for wider outreach and exposure.
8. Free Demos and Product Trials
Free demos or product trials are a good way to onboard new users into the pipeline and move them along the sales funnel.
During the buyer’s journey, your prospective customer will research for more information so that they can make an informed decision. That includes comparing your solution to another one of your competitors.
With a free trial, the user gets to have a feel for your software and see if it meets their specific needs.
If it doesn’t go as expected, use the opportunity to get their feedback. It’s valuable information that lets you know how you can improve next time.
9. Collect Emails
When someone comes across your website, how will you know for sure that they’ll come back?
One way to confirm it is by getting their email. It’s one of the most powerful marketing campaigns for growing the revenue of all online businesses. After all, it has an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent.
If someone signs up to your email list, it means they want to hear from you. More importantly, they’ve given you permission to reach out to them. This means you can target all website visitors who come across your brand, nurture relationships by adding value, and make sales by converting a percentage into customers. Convertkit and Mailerlite are very good email marketing tools for collecting emails. You can get started for free.
10. Groups, Forums, and Communities
There are roughly 5.6 billion searches per day on Google.
People are always looking for an answer to a query they have. To be more specific, your target audience is likely to be searching online for a solution to a problem they’re experiencing. Some of these people can be found in forums and communities such as:
- Facebook groups
You can enter some of these groups and offer genuine help by answering people’s questions with an actionable step. But, make sure you check and abide by the community guidelines.
11. Post Reviews and Testimonials
Online reviews and testimonials help prospective customers make a purchase when they’re in the decision stage. Besides that, it not only improves your brand image and reputation. When reviews are posted on external websites such as TrustPilot, it can increase brand awareness and visibility.
12. Referral Programs
People are 4x more likely to buy something if a family or friend recommends it.
To make the most out of each customer, implement a referral program. For example, you can use incentives to motivate loyal customers such as “refer a friend for 20% off your next purchase.”
You wouldn’t have to worry too much about building trust either. Chances are, they’ll already know and trust the person who is referring them to you.
13. Use Affiliate Marketing
Hiring affiliates is another low-risk and budget-friendly strategy.
This is when you hire a third party to act as the middleman between you and your consumers. It’s stress-relieving if you’re overwhelmed with focusing on multiple distribution channels because your affiliates can take care of promoting your product or service for you. Both sides benefit from using each other’s services.
Unlike hiring employees, you don’t pay the affiliate any sort of commission unless they’ve managed to make a sale.
14. Host Webinars and Online Events
Hosting webinars and online events gives you the opportunity to directly connect with your audience.
In a real-time setting, you can communicate and answer questions from your attendees. It’s also a good opportunity to make a good, lasting impression when you introduce who you are and what you do.
However, make sure you’re giving value. Don’t just pitch and try to hard-sell throughout the entire event.
15. Product-Led Storytelling
Good storytelling can go a long way in spreading a message and building a relationship.
If you understand your audience well enough, you can deliver a powerful message about your brand or product in the form of a narrative people resonate with. When you’re able to develop an emotional connection, your clients can have a lifetime value that’s four times higher than the average customer.
And there you have it – 15 strategies for promoting a software product or service online on a small budget. You can include these in your marketing game plan and take action right away to start building more traffic, leads, and customers.
In the early stages of building a startup or small business, each activity related to the development of your organization requires consistency and adaptability. Once you’ve planted the seed and it continues to bloom, you can focus on scaling your business to the next level.