Power of Content Marketing

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If there is one thing that you could do to power your business online, what would that be?

Add content! That’s right! There is no other method.

Think about it: 50 years back, or even 25 years back, brands were built through investment in real estate, huge billboard advertising and of-course word-of-mouth. That isn’t so true anymore. In 21st century, nearly everything has gone digital. Whether it is shopping, education, banking, advertising or networking – web is everywhere. Future brands are being built online.

Push vs Pull Marketing

Digital changes have put customers in more direct control of the dialog between a brand and customers themselves. In the days before the Internet, the main channels for communication were TV, print and radio. The sedentary customer received the commercial messages, whether they wanted them or not and no interaction was possible.  That was PUSH.

The Web has changed this a potential customer now has the choice whether to deal with commercial messaging or not. They could simply go to a different Web page or choose not to consume the content at all. The brands now make themselves available and hope to engage the potential customer. That’s PULL.

Go where your prospects are

As the understanding of content marketing is growing, so are the number and types of channels available on the Web. You can publish content on your own site, develop relationships to publish content on third-party sites, or leverage social media platforms. There are plenty of options.

With so many social media and publishing options, so many different sites where brands can publish content specific to their products, it is even more important to choose a few to focus on. Those that offer the most value.

Collaborate

Different parts of your organization can be involved in content marketing. Different departments will have unique client perspectives and can make contributions specific to their area of work. It is integral to the expansion of your company’s reputation and visibility.

It will be important to ensure that your outreach efforts to promote your content don’t end up conflicting with outreach efforts or relationships that they routinely manage.

Goal

When content marketing campaign works, it nets you lots of good links. However, when you make links the main focus of your efforts, it can lead you astray. By also focusing on overall reputation and visibility, the quality of his will go up.

Content marketing campaign is a major driver of increases in rankings and organic search traffic.  The goal is to design content to help bring new prospects into the top of a sales funnel.

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Wordstream delivers Online Advertising

WordStream is a Google Premier SMB Partner, develops search marketing software, provides managed PPC advertising services, and shares online marketing advice through their blog. Founded in 2007, they seem to have evolved from being a keyword software tool developer to a paid search marketing expertise provider. Their proprietary WordStream platform lives in the cloud delivering customer requests on-demand.

User can create, optimize, manage, and measure high-performing PPC campaigns in just 20 minutes a week. Smart tools, weekly alerts, and visually stunning reports save time and money.

Some of the features are:

Call Tracking

  • Track calls back to PPC Keywords, Campaign and Match Type
  • Record calls
  • See call times and duration
  • Whisper Technology

Smart Tools

  • QueryStream – actionable search query data
  • Bid Management
  • Keyword Grouping
  • Split Ad Groups
  • Negative Keyword Finder
  • Long Tail Keyword Finder

Reporting

  • AdWords Performance Grader
  • PPC Success report
  • Campaign Dashboard (Google & Bing)
  • New! Landing Page Grader

20 Min PPC Work Week Alerts

  • Weekly Automated Alerts
  • Negative Keyword Alert
  • Bid recommendation Alert
  • Add Keywords Alert
  • Ad Text Alert
  • Mobile Text Ad Alert
  • Review Costly Keywords

PPC Landing Pages & Leads

  • Landing Page Creation tool
  • Lead notification emails
  • Conversion tracking
  • Lead Management
  • Landing Page Performance Reporting
  • Adwords and Analytics conversion tracking
  • Hosted on WordStream servers

Keyword Research Tools

  • Keyword research tool
  • Negative keyword research tool
  • Related Keyword tool
  • Spy on Competitors
  • Keyword Grouper
  • Keyword Workbench

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Heard these software positioning stategies?

There are several methods a software / technology business can use to build a clear visual image around a product or packaged service. One is to consider initially positioning the product around a “shelter” or an “umbrella.”

Shelter Strategy
A “shelter” is a product or concept that is already clearly established in the mind of the buyer. This positioning tactic works best when the product is clearly related to the shelter. For example, as Web technology is integrated into existing applications, products are increasingly described as “Web-enabled” word processors, spreadsheets, databases, etc.

It is not necessary to spend much time conceptualizing these products —time and the market have already done it.

Umbrella Strategy
Umbrella branding is a marketing practice wherein the parent brand name is used across a range of software or technology products. Such a use assumes that consumers’ familiarity and positive associations with the parent brand and its credibility will produce a “halo effect” that can benefit or help kick-start variants. There is also, often an expectation that advertising for one variant may benefit the range.

Note: Using umbrella branding merely to save cost can result in confused marketing and wasted dollars. In order for umbrella branding to produce a valuable effect, it needs to be deliberately planned and executed.

In simple words – umbrella branding strategy provides an initial mental reference point to allow selling many related software products under a single brand name rather than individual product branding (product branding uses different brand names for different products). Example: Google uses “Google Analytics”” and “Google Apps” for its cloud software offerings. It can be said Apple uses the ‘I’ umbrella for ipod, ipad and iphone products.

It may not always be feasible, or desirable, to use a shelter or an umbrella to help position a product. It may not always be as black and white because a product may not fit an existing category, or there may be marketing baggage associated with that category you won’t wish to carry.

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Do you use FAB to market your software?

Feature, Advantage, Benefit (FAB)

It is not difficult to see the difference between a feature and a benefit. Developers mistakenly present their software product’s features as the solution to their customer’s problem. That won’t work because what the customer really wants to know is how your product or service will benefit them.

Features Tell, But Benefits Sell

Build reader’s desire for your software product by mapping features to benefits – benefits to members of your target market.

When it comes to the marketing copy, it’s important that you don’t forget those benefits at this stage. When you describe your offering, don’t just give the facts and features, and expect the audience to work out the benefits for themselves: Tell them the benefits clearly to create that interest and desire.

Example: “This app helps you find doctors” describes a feature, and could leave the audience thinking “Is that it?”. Persuade the audience by adding the benefits something like “get in touch with the right physician – by accessing reviews, ratings and contacts – all from a single app”.

How to Determine the Benefit

If you did proper requirement analysis before starting coding your software, you already know what the benefits to the end user are.

Use that list and simplify it further so that more new prospects can understand what they can achieve using your software.

In general, nearly every software feature you will result in a benefit, but they may not always be obvious.

Answer these questions:

  • How can you help your customer see the benefits? Start with a list of a product or service’s features.
  • What does it do?
  • What unique characteristics does it have?
  • What technical information is important?

Once you have all of your features listed, think about what each feature means. Why does it matter? What problem does it solve? Your benefits should dig deep and be as specific as possible. Show, don’t tell.

Finally, keep in mind that some features are simply that—features. If the dimensions of the product are standard, or your software is compatible with standard operating systems, you may not need to include them as a benefit when selling to a customer.

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Do you know about Software Promotion? (Part 2)

Continuing where we left in Part 1 ..

5. Click Marketing

Important search engines place ads near search results in return of a small amount. It is called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. The idea behind this marketing technique is to bid for relevant “keywords” that bring pertinent results related to the product you’re selling, and place your advertisement on the top of the page. The most important players on this market are Google AdWords and Yahoo!Search. The method has its fans but also its fierce opponents, due to the possibility of click fraud.

6. Community or Network Marketing:
It is basically free publicity though very time consuming because web is getting increasingly impatient and competitive. Once one of the larger players has your software application and is marketing it as a new feature, others will want it. Getting the first sale can might be difficult. Providing it for free or at a highly discounted rate can help you establish a solid base.

Get involved in online networks and blogs by subscribing to forums or discussions groups that deal with software related themes. Many people visit forums and blogs in search of information that will lead them to make purchase decisions. A blog post that deals with the theme under discussion, contains relevant information and is presented in a professional way could be of real interest to the participants. When opportunity presents, share your website’s address and product name. Use a signature and not a nickname, and you can also add a slogan related to the software product you want to promote.

7. Email Marketing and Press Releases
An email is the easy way to stay in touch with your clients, prospects and affiliates – however its success depends on your database, distribution system and audience: you need to keep it up to date, accurate and valuable.

Create different campaigns for each segment that you target. Always ask permission to stay in touch with your clients and your affiliates and give them an option to unsubscribe or change frequency of receipt.

Take advantage of many websites that offer public relation services including free publishing of press releases. Of course you can always choose the classical way and publish your materials regarding product launches or news related to your company, in newspapers or software magazines.

8. Demo Marketing:
Last but not least – technical and marketing professionals like to see things in action. Offer a demo of your software and show them how your software works. Be sure to highlight the process, the added functionality, and the ability to test drive it in sandbox environments. Call it demo-marketing.

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To market software successfully, you need to find the most suitable combination of these methods that applies to your specific case. Every business, every product and every owner is different, so you need find your best formula that brings you higher sales.

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