You started your business, developed your website and mobile app, and now you are focused on growing your customer base. The problem is that there are a multitude of other companies with similar software solutions competing for the same customers. You have tried advertising on search engines, and got some leads, but the conversion rates are low because most of those leads aren't the right fit. You need figure out how to find the types of customers that will really drive your business forward. How do you stand out in the sea of options and get your brand in front of the right people?
This article will help you to narrow your focus by identifying your ideal customer, highlighting how your website and/or mobile application is uniquely suited to meet those customers' needs, doing your research to find those customers, and developing a plan to get their attention.
Identify Your Ideal Customer
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to be too broad in your approach to attracting customers. If you can narrow your focus down to a particular demographic that would most benefit from your software, then you can more effectively market to those people. Your software is not going to be for everyone, so there is no need to try to get everyone's attention. The first step in this process is to ask questions like:
- Who are they?
- What do they need?
- What are they willing to spend to get it?
- How do they think?
- How are they trying to find what they need?
- Where do they live?
- What other types of products or services do they use?
- What kind of work do they do?
- What are their priorities/what do they value most?
If you know who they are, what they need, what their priorities are, where they live, and how they make decisions, then you now have a lot of valuable information that you can use to get their attention. Once you have answers to some of those broader questions, you can start to think of more specific questions that you can use to build a profile of your ideal customer. For example, let's say your software product was developed for a particular industry like travel. You aren't necessarily going to want to target, everyone in the travel industry. Perhaps you own a SaaS application that is tailored for a particular niche in the travel industry like corporate events. If that is the case, then you don't want to be marketing to team moms who are trying to coordinate airfare and hotel for their kids upcoming hockey tournament. You want to get your message in front of business owners and their executive assistants who would be organizing the company's events.
Identify What Makes Your Company Unique
Now that you have identified your ideal customer, the next step in effectively attracting those customers is to be able to clearly articulate what makes your software uniquely suited to meet their needs. Sometimes software product owners have a tendency to focus on an area or aspect of our product that we think is important and use that in our marketing materials. However, that is not always what the customers themselves are focused on. By using your ideal customer profile as a basis for writing marketing materials, you can clearly and concisely highlight the aspects of your application that your ideal customer will care most about. Perhaps they are focused on things like:
- How the functionality is tailored to their particular niche and/or location
- How your pricing is compares to the competition
- Perhaps you are cheaper than the competition
- Perhaps you are more expensive, but the additional cost is worth it because your application will have better ROI than the competition
- How friendly and knowledgeable your customer service team is
- How reliable your system is
- How convenient, efficient, and easy it is for them to use your website and mobile app
Whatever aspects of your software bring the most perceived value to your customers, those are the aspects that you should focus on in order to get their attention.
Do Your Research
Research is time consuming and often neglected, but this is a crucial element to the long-term business development strategy of your software business. In order to be able to stand out in a crowded marketplace, you need to know your industry, your competition, and your customers so that you can make informed decisions. Regularly schedule time to search the internet and social media for other companies that offer similar products to yours. Pay attention to the competition that shows up at the top of the organic search rankings and read through their websites to see what kind of strategies they are employing. Read articles from leaders in your industry so that you can keep up with current trends in the marketplace. Document how your software is different than the competition by creating a product matrix that highlights the advantages of using your software over others.
You should also take time to search for your customers. Perhaps your ideal customers are not finding your software, but there is nothing stopping you from trying to find them! Now that you have a clear idea of who your customers are, you can search social media for people that match the demographics your software serves, and then personally invite them to try your application.
Write Down Your Business Development Strategy
Now that you have taken the time to research and gather all the information you need, it is time to put that all together into an actionable business development strategy. You should now be in a place where you know who to market your software to, and how to get their attention. As you are writing down your strategy, be sure to focus on the long term rather than the short-term.
It will also be helpful if you strive to position yourself as an industry leader who has the answers your customers are looking for. You can do this by writing blogs/articles, starting a podcast, hosting webinars, signing up to be a speaker at industry conferences & conventions, or even writing books. Writing and presenting like this has multiple benefits. It requires you to continue to research so that you know what to talk about and are able to speak with authority on the subjects. Over time, if you are producing quality content, you will gain an audience and start to build brand awareness for your software company. Having a library of relevant articles and content on your website will also improve your organic search engine rankings
Execute The Plan
Having a plan is great, but it won't work if you don't follow through with it. Be sure to schedule time to accomplish the tasks your plan requires. It can be very easy to get caught up in the short-term needs of running your software business and neglect investing in the things that will benefit you in the long-term. Stay consistent with your plan, and make sure you set up some measurable analytics to track so you can see how effective your strategy is. You probably won't see immediate results, but over the process of a few months or a year, you should start to see some measurable growth.
Whether you are seeing growth or not, you should take some time to redo this whole process every few months. As things change in your industry, you may need to adjust your strategy to keep yourself in front of your target audience. The more effort you put into it, the better the results will be. Look at it as a long term investment in your software products future.
It can certainly be tough to break into a saturated market, but it is not impossible. As software companies grow, they have a tendency to become less nimble, and have a more difficult time responding to changes in their customers' needs. There are always users that are not 100% satisfied with the software products they are using. If you can find out what needs they have that aren't being met by their current software provider, and then show how your software can better fill those needs, you will be able to attract those customers. If you can keep up with your customers ever changing needs, you can retain the customers you have. It is a non-stop cycle to keep up with these things, but the investment will have a significant impact the long-term growth of your software product.