This is the first article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your software and make it a success.
If you've developed software to sell retail or B2B, it's important that you establish a brand identity. Whether your software is intended for desktop use or is a software as a service platform, you can't simply rely on all the great features and benefits you've packed into your programming to make sales for you. Software competition is fierce: not only do you have to reach the right audience at the right time with the right benefits, you also have to convince your audience that you are honest and your products are made with integrity specifically for them. That's what branding is all about.
Importance of a branded image
Branding your software company - and your software itself - is important because your customers need to feel that you have their best interests at heart. When customers trust a brand, they buy that brand - and brand loyalty is the sacred cow all companies strive for. Thus, your software has to be branded in a way that solves a specific problem or set of problems for a well-targeted audience.
You can then promote your company with this brand image to win over a specific market segment. If you can establish your company as the expert in one particular area, you'll do much better than if you try to market to a variety of market segments at once. To concentrate your efforts is to concentrate your wealth.
How to identify your branded image
To identify what your branded image is, start by asking yourself the question, "What does my software do, and who does it do it for?" The goal is to come up with primary benefit that sets your software apart from the competition, and to understand who your audience is so you can market that benefit to that audience.
Let's say you've developed an amazing new software that processes actions to identify trends and make predictions with a 98 percent success rate. At this stage, you have an amazing piece of software, but no one to market it to and no specific purpose for it. You can't sell it.
Now, let's say you learn that poker players would kill to have that kind of prediction ability before they go into their big matches. You have a benefit and a target audience. Your brand image could be poker preparedness: "Beat your opponent before the hand is even dealt."
Alternatively, stock brokers might also be interested in your software to predict the market. You couldn't sell your software to both stock brokers and poker players with the same pitch, so you would have to make adjustments in your brand image to accommodate stock brokers. It would be a completely different product, comprised of the same framework. You could then position yourself as the "go-to millionaire maker" software.
As you can see, branding has a significant affect on how software is deployed and marketed. That's why it's important for you to define the benefits of your software and who will enjoy those benefits most in the early stages - this is the only way to narrow your niche and focus your marketing efforts for branded success.
Software branding through design
Skilled graphic design can transform your software's branded identity from a written concept to a visual motivator. This image is what the world will see, and the public will perceive the ideals and emotions that your image expresses.
Most importantly, you want potential customers to see your logo at a glance and feel that you're the perfect solution for their problems. When you achieve this, you've developed a powerful software brand identity.