Now that you have a software product, you’re ready to start selling it to the masses. But how do you market your software, and how do you know what works?

Marketing has changed over the years from being seller-centric to buyer-centric. In the past, the seller had all the information and the buyer had to come to the seller to get that information. Today, the buyer is in charge. By the time the buyer comes to the seller they probably have at least 70% of the information they need.

So how do you really sell to someone if they have all the power? Before you do anything, you need to figure out who your ideal customer is. This will frame the rest of your marketing efforts. The reason for this is that your software isn’t for everyone. You need to market to a particular set of individuals or companies.

Buyer Personas

Whether you call this ideal customer a persona or an avatar, it doesn’t matter. What matters is you figure out who that person is.

sarah_williams1-300x293To be successful selling products in a customer-centric world, we need to understand who our customers are and who we’re trying to reach. Understanding our buyers helps us bring in the right traffic to our website.

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of an ideal customer, based on real data and some educated speculation about demographics, behaviors, motivations, and goals.

Personas are created through research, analysis, and by taking a look at who’s already buying from you. They can help you get into the mindset of your potential buyers and create content that appeals to them.

When you create the right content, you’ll attract your ideal visitors, convert them into leads, and close them into customers.

They’re the glue that holds every aspect of marketing together.

Figuring Out Your Buyers

How do you figure out who your ideal buyer is?

Talk to your current customers, especially your good ones. Your current customers are the best place to start when coming up with your buyer persona. You probably won’t just end up with one persona. There’s usually different types of buyers that come looking for your software. Talking to your customers will help you figure this out.

In our case, we market accounting software for oil & gas companies. We found that we have three different personas to market to. First we have the company owner who is looking for a way to make his office run more efficiently. Second we have an accountant/bookkeeper that is juggling many hats. They need software to help them get everything done quickly. They want software that doesn’t make them think or get in their way. Third, we have an office manager who is not the decision person but is the one in charge of gathering the information for the decision maker, who is usually the owner or accountant.

How we talk to a CEO who is looking at big picture things and how they grow their business is totally different than how we market to an accountant just trying to survive all the data, paperwork and deadlines. Touting how a streamlined software product will help your office boost productivity and cut down on costs does nothing for the accountant who just wants accurate data they can create financial reports for their boss off of.

So by knowing the pain points of each of our personas, we now know how to speak to them and sell them our value.

Talk to your prospects. When you have prospects looking for software, you go through a qualification process, don’t you? You’d better. In any event, the questions you ask prospects will help you discover what their problems are and what solutions they’re looking for. Often times you can unearth problems that they didn’t remember they had. Talking to your prospects is a great way to figure out who’s looking for your software.

Once you know who you should be marketing to, it makes it the rest of your marketing fall into place so that it is easier to create blog posts, ebooks and other helpful content to draw that type of buyer into your site which you can then turn into leads and eventually customers.