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Successful Software

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Guerrilla marketing ideas

For those developers who have spent most of their time and money on product development what would your idea for a low cost marketing campaign be?

Any success stories?
Thomas Oeser Send private email
Friday, March 08, 2013
 
 
Not entirely success story but getting ton of downloads (also development tool):

1. Open source version in major code repositories
2. Free ads in Stack overflow
3. Download sites
4. Facebook+Twitter+Google+YouTube

For some very specific keywords I went from no ranking at all to top 10 in one month.
Maksym Sherbinin Send private email
Friday, March 08, 2013
 
 
It's at this point the software devs suddenly realize how useful the marketing people really are :)

There is no short cut -- if there was, everyone would be using it.  (Well, I suppose the Internet is the short cut).

Post in forums, tweet, and work on SEO on your website (that's probably most important).

No matter what you do though, unless it goes viral (and if you think you're that lucky, better to go by lottery tickets), it's going to take time to gain traction.
Doug Send private email
Friday, March 08, 2013
 
 
The best way to run low cost marketing is to lower the value you assign to your own time.  Talk to people.  Not text or email, but verbal communication.  Don't advertise, talk to as many people as you can find, and then go out and talk to complete strangers.  Ask them to try your software, and keep asking people to try your software until there are so many people using it your time is used up with processing orders and providing support.  The easiest way to say no is when you use faceless, anonymous communication.

When it comes to cheap, easy and effective marketing, you can only get 2 of 3.  Your objective is to continually make your product better and continually get new people to try it out.  Everything else is what marketers use to justify their salaries.
Howard Ness Send private email
Friday, March 08, 2013
 
 
I've been twittering but so far no one is listening yet.

It's the old chicken and egg story.

What about writing articles, have you guys done that?
Thomas Oeser Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
@Howard - How would you find the people to talk too?
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
Be part of your market, whatever that is.  Call it a user base, community, environment, but your product should come from your experience and expertise and it should be promoted to people with a similar background.  This requires a lot of one to one contact, which takes a lot of time but it is effective and if it doesn't cut into other revenue producing activities, it is low-cost as well.  And it's hard, but as I said, with cheap, easy and effective marketing, you only get to pick two.

So if your product is used by teenagers standing on street corners, go talk to teenagers standing on street corners.
Howard Ness Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
Writing quality articles that provide genuine value to your target audience is about the lowest cost marketing campaign, but you only realize this over a long period of time.

Today, over 50% of new visitors to our Web site land on one of my articles (click my sig and look under Resources if you are interested.) The outgoing links are aplenty - I link to alternative solutions, relevant documentation, etc., so most of those visitors leave. But those who stay, or return later, are well qualified leads.  And some of them do free link building for us by posting links to my articles to forums, Q&A sites, and so on.

I have heard from many paying customers that they had first learned about our company and product as a result of reading one of those articles.
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
> 1. Open source version in major code repositories

How does this work?
Bring back anon Send private email
Sunday, March 10, 2013
 
 
If your product is a web application, I'd suggest putting in the Chrome Web Store.  It doesn't get you a ton of exposure but it's nearly free (one time developer registration cost me five bucks).  I've gotten at least a couple of users through it.
James A. Send private email
Sunday, March 10, 2013
 
 
> 1. Open source version in major code repositories

> How does this work?

Just put your project (with the source code) in:
https://code.google.com
https://sourceforge.net
https://codeplex.com/

also:
http://freecode.com
https://www.ohloh.net/

and Google will do the rest.
Maksym Sherbinin Send private email
Sunday, March 10, 2013
 
 
I'm not sure open sourcing your code will help.

GitHb as 5.6 million open source repos, how is adding another going to make any difference to your marketing?
Ducknald Don Send private email
Monday, March 11, 2013
 
 
Is this in context of your Gryphon Web Framework?

The good news is that when it comes to building the product, you did everything right: you finished the product, you have a decent website, a tutorial, a video tutorial. You've clearly put a lot of effort into it.

The bad news is that you seem to have committed an original sin of technical people: you've built a product without first finding out if there's a market for it.

I don't have secret cheap marketing trick for you. Instead I'll enumerate the things that are wrong about the question itself.

1. Why "cheap"? Shouldn't you be asking for "cost effective" marketing campaign? $10 that doesn't bring more sales is cheap but not cost effective. $1000 that brings $2000 of additional profit is a steal but not cheap.

2. You have a product, tell us about it for context. Marketing that is cost effective for Coca-Cola will be different than a marketing that is effective for one person company selling web framework in perl.

BTW: you wrote "marketing" but what you meant is much closer to "advertising", which, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing, is a subset of or "promotional content" which itself is a subset of marketing. It's a common misconception but it's good to know the differences and be clear about what exactly are you asking about.

3. Do you know your conversion rates? If you don't, then any advertising  will be blind.

On the web marketing boils down to "buying" visitors, whether you do it by writing technical posts and hoping that 6 months from now you'll get organic visits from search engines or by buying AdSense keywords or buying ads directly on StackOverflow.

You know the cost per visit or per ad impression.

If you don't know how many of those visits convert into sales, you can't know if your advertising is cost effective or not.

I simplify, of course. Visitors are not of equal quality and don't convert at the same rates, but you still need to track you conversion rates, preferably per advertising channel.

4. Now is too late to ask this question.

Marketing is much more about defining the right product than it is about advertising. If you haven't tried to answer the question about how you'll reach potential users before you wrote a single line of code, then it's unlikely you'll find an answer now.

Incidentally, I just found a great resource that talks about those fundamentals in depth: http://thestartuptoolkit.com/blog/ - many articles talk about how to figure out if a given idea is good or not.

5. I looked at your product. I see no market for it. There is a glut of high-quality, free web frameworks. They all promise to make web development easier.

You're basically competing with giants like Ruby On Rails, with technology that no one knows about from a guy no one knows, targeting platforms that are in decline (perl and Apache).

Maybe I'm wrong. You can easily find out by:

- installing analytics to track visit->sale conversion
- buy some AdWords targeted at your audience to get traffic
- watching the conversion rates

If people are buying (i.e. you proved product/market fit) you can just increase your AdWords spend (or try finding even cheaper advertising channels).

If people are not buying, it's time to move on. It'll be painful - I've been there (I once built Windows application that got zero sales), but the good thing is that you have technical chops to create products. You just have to choose those products wisely.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Monday, March 11, 2013
 
 
>I'm not sure open sourcing your code will help.

>GitHb as 5.6 million open source repos, how is adding another going >to make any difference to your marketing?

It will increase visibility of your project for search engines for sure. It did it for me without any other type of back linking or ad campaign.

I'm not saying  it is a way to go in a long run but thread starter is looking for cheap "Guerrilla marketing" ideas...
Maksym Sherbinin Send private email
Monday, March 11, 2013
 
 
Just wanted to throw my hat in the ring here and mention these three

http://www.bitsdujour.com/promotions
http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/for-developers
http://www.dailysoftwaregiveaway.com/p/for-developers.html

(and yes I run the first one)
Nico Westerdale Send private email
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
 
 
It all depends on the type of product, but I had a bit of success with one of my products by looking for sites that link to my competitors to see if they would link to me as well. 

One high ranking site for example lists 10 of my competitors for a particular product, I sent him a message requesting that he add my product to his list, and for over a year I've had ~70 visitors per month from that link alone, with a reasonable conversion rate. 

I made a few videos to promote one of my products as a bit of fun - using Fiverr for the actors and playing around with ideas in Sony Vegas.  6 videos only brings me an average of 36 visitors a month - but it's 36 visitors who have sat through my sales pitch and are still interested, so the conversion rate is really good. 

I offered a free copy of my software to anyone who writes a blog about it (the caveat that they have to wait 1 month for their license) - takeup has been limited but it all helps to spread the word, and hasn't impacted on sales. 

You can get backlink data for your competitors from SEO Profiler, SEO Moz, Majestic SEO and AHRefs - I think at least one of them gives a 1 month free trial.  There are also people on Fiverr who will do it for, well $5 funnily enough ;)

I use Backlinks Explorer to work with the data (but then I would, it's one my products ;) which I find easier than using a spreadsheet. 

Of course to get that 1 link that brings you 70 visitors per month you probably send 100 emails to people who never get back to you, but stick with it and these trickles of traffic can soon add up to something substantial.  Like anything else there's no magic bullet!
John W King Send private email
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
 
 
John W King: "I offered a free copy of my software to anyone who writes a blog about it (the caveat that they have to wait 1 month for their license) - takeup has been limited but it all helps to spread the word, and hasn't impacted on sales."

What is the point of the one month, please?

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
 
 

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