Start with Your Competitors
Since your potential customers will likely comparison shop before choosing a platform, you will want to make sure that you are giving them all of the information necessary to make a decision between you and your competitors. If all of your competitors have a pricing page, for example, then you should have one too. Otherwise, potential customers may skip over you.
If you’re particularly confident in your platform, you may even want to offer a comparison between you and your competitors. That way, when people do a search for your platform vs your top competitor, they’ll be taken to your website, giving you the opportunity to win them over.
So start your marketing campaign by researching your competitors and taking notes. This goes beyond just what information you offer on your website. It should also cover which social networks your competitors have large and engaged audiences on, what keywords they target, who writes for their blog, and so forth. Knowing what strategies they utilize will ensure that you are not inventing the wheel, but improving the odds.
Optimize Your Website for Conversions
No matter where a person might land on your website, you should be able to convert them. On your main website, it’s simple: a strong, converting homepage. A header that includes links to your features page, pricing page, sign up now, free trial, and login option. A footer that includes the same items as you navigation bar, plus links to your top social profiles.
Your blog gives you even more room to place conversion-focused items. A call to action banner for your free trial in the sidebar. Another call to action banner for your free trial in the middle of or at the end of your posts. . Links within related pieces of content. And for those who subscribe to your blog posts via email, the chance to include a free trial banner in your newsletter.
The easiest way to incorporate these calls to action in your blog would be within its template. If you can’t access or edit your blog templates, the second best option would be to include a call to action in each new post you create. Be sure to also use Google Analytics to see which of your past posts still get a lot of traffic and make sure there are strong calls to action in each of them.
Create Content Geared Towards Your Customers
Speaking of your blog, a good question to ask is who you are writing your content for. Surprisingly, a lot of businesses are not writing content for their customers, but for others in their own industry. If you want your blog content to convert, you need to gear it towards your idea customers.
The easiest way to do this is to create a customer persona / profile. If you can’t easily come up with what your ideal customer would be interested in, just ask your current customer base what they would like to know about. If you offer an analytics tool that measures social media activity, they are likely going to want to know more about how to improve their social media strategy. If you offer a customer relationship management too,, they are likely going to want to know more about how to attract customers and maintain strong relationships with them.
The best part about writing content that is valuable to your ideal customers (beyond tutorials and “what’s new” updates for your product) is that you will attract more than just your current customers. You’ll attract people who want more information about a particular subject – people who would likely consider your product once you demonstrate your knowledge of their needs within your content.
Get People on Your Mailing List
People who visit your website may not be ready to buy yet. This is why you need to have an alternative conversion option. Instead of only focusing on obtaining new customers, you need to also focus on turning the not-ready-to-buy-yet visitor into a mailing list subscriber. The easiest way to do this is to offer something that your ideal customer would want, such as a free ebook that relates to your product.
When someone goes to download this ebook, guide, whitepaper, etc., you will get their basic contact information – at minimum, a name and email address, or more if you prefer. This way, you can keep them up to date on your latest blog content, upcoming webinars, and special offers for your product – a strategy that can turn someone who wasn’t ready to buy in October into a customer the following April.
Position Yourself as an Authority
As you build your reputation in your industry, you’ll be invited to participate in text-based interviews, podcast interviews, conference speaking engagements, and much more. Be sure to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can – they will help bolster your reputation as an authority in your industry.
Along with increasing your industry reputation, you’ll be given the opportunity to give your platform exposure with larger audiences that include your ideal customers.
Grow a Strong Social Presence
Having a presence on social media – for B2B companies especially – is a must. It gives those who are not ready to buy your software just yet another place to follow your business. In turn, it gives you another outlet to market to them in the future.
Not only can you organically reach your ideal customers with valuable content that demonstrates your knowledge of their needs, but you can also target your ideal customers using advertising platforms from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. This allows you to boost customer acquisition throughout the year, especially when you have special offers or new features to offer.
Putting a face behind your platform can give potential customers a welcoming feeling. As you grow your online presence, be sure to put faces behind the names of the people in charge of your social media, blog content, and support.
Not only does this make your business look more welcoming, it makes your business more trustworthy. People considering your platform don’t have to wonder who will be helping them – if you show them who is on your team, they will know.
Offer Outstanding Support
Sometimes, it’s hard to be on top in terms of features and pricing compared to your competitors. The one area you can trump everyone in is support.
First, look at what your competitors are offering in terms of support. Then offer more. Give your customers someone they can speak to without a lot of tele-prompting hassle. Have someone arm your Twitter account for quick responses. Answer email support inquiries quickly.
Why is this important? Because one thing that your customers will talk about is support. Word of mouth marketing is important, and if you have the best customer service before and after the sale, people will talk about it. And greet support will make people more willing to choose your platform over your competitor’s.
Monitor Your Reputation
Along with customer service and support, you need to be on top of your brand mentions across the web. People who may have a problem with your platform may not tell you directly, which makes reputation monitoring essential. Imagine someone’s surprise if they are asking their friends for help with a problem on Twitter or a forum, and you chime in with an answer to support your product. That would be impressive, and score your business major points in the world of above and beyond support.
There are many tools that can help you do this. Tools like Trackur make it easy to monitor brand mentions across the web, blogs, forums, social networks, etc.
No matter what you use, be as vigilant as possible about catching mentions of your platform online and responding to them. This includes a quick thank you for positive brand mentions, and a quick apology for negative ones.
Monitor Your Competition
In addition to monitoring your own brand, you need to monitor your competitors closely as well. Whenever a major competitor shuts down, it gives you a major opportunity to capitalize.
Start creating guides on how users of that competitor’s platform can transition to yours, and offer custom support, discount, etc. See if major blogs who are publishing the news would consider adding your platform as a good alternative. See if people who have previously written about the competitor would like to add a note to their articles about how your platform is a good alternative. Consider advertising opportunities that would put your business first in search results when people are searching for your competitor’s alternatives.
The key here is to start capitalizing as soon as the competitor announces their shutdown. Chances are, you won’t be the only one to do it. You do want to be first if possible though.