Table of content
- What is a go-to-market strategy?
- When do you need a go-to-market strategy?
- Go-to-market strategy and marketing strategy – differences
- Why you need a go-to-market strategy
- A go-to-market strategy or sales strategy?
- What is the flywheel about?
- Customer lifetime value
- When to start pre-launching activities?
- How to prepare a go-to-market strategy
- Clarify the new product idea and goal
- Market research – common problems and product-market fit
- Segmentation & buyer personas
- Competitive research
- Define app requirements
- Monetisation model and pricing strategy
- Choose a distribution model and the sales strategy
- Prepare the sales process
- Understand customer’s journey and choose channels and mediums
- Value matrix and competitive advantage (unique selling point)
- Branding and positioning
- Preparing consistent communication
- Planning marketing boudget
- Generate interest through effective marketing
- Content marketing
- Marketing automation and lead generation
- Customers support
- The feedback loop
- Delight customers and take care of loyalty
- Use your data to improve the app
- Final tip: never stop improving
Launching a new product is always a challenge. At first glance, the amount of work might overwhelm, but the outcome is worth it.
You can create such a strategy whenever you need to reach a new market for every kind of product, from a new chocolate bar line to consulting services. In this article, however, I’ll guide you through the GTM strategy for standalone software products.
What is a go-to-market strategy?
A go-to-market strategy is your plan to gain a competitive advantage, reach the target market and fulfil business goals when launching a new app or reaching a new target audience.
In other words, you must consider:
- what you’ll develop and why (business goals)
- the market niche and whether there’s a place for your app,
- to whom you’ll address the app (segmentation and buyer personas),
- what problems does the app solve, what the unique value proposition is (product),
- how you will earn money in your app (monetisation model),
- how much end-users should pay for it (pricing strategy),
- where the app will be available (distribution strategy),
- to whom you’ll promote the app (target audiences),
- how (communication and branding),
- when (campaign schedule)
- and where (marketing channels).
At a higher level of generality, we can say that the go-to-market strategy is about product, price, place and promotion (4P). All those will help you increase sales or advertisement income (depending on your monetisation strategy and business model).
Remember that a good marketing plan is always measurable, so you must define your goals (KPIs, Key Performance Indicators). Although you can have a few minor marketing objectives, the ultimate goal is always ROMI (Return of Marketing Investment).
When do you need a go-to-market strategy?
You need to prepare the go-to-market strategy every time you have a new product or reach a new market. There are three situations when you should prepare your go-to-market plan:
- New market entry (the same product, different customers)
- New product launch (you offer a new product on the existing market)
- Offering differentiation (new product launch on a new market).
Thanks to the target audience’s understanding, you can avoid common pitfalls. Without a suitable go-to-market strategy, you might not realise that you misdefined potential customers’ problems and needs (so you’ll provide an app that doesn’t solve the real pain points) or set too high prices and made the solution unaffordable for your target market.
Go-to-market strategy and marketing strategy – differences
The main difference between the “go-to-market strategy” and “strategy” is the goal. The go-to-market strategy is crucial when you’re about to try something new (new market, product/service, or customers) and need to prepare for that. It’s focused on a specific product or market.
When the product is live, you don’t need it anymore. In such a case, a regular marketing strategy is the one you should take care of. It’s your long-term plan for your market existence, reaching new business goals and expansion.
Why you need a go-to-market strategy
Being visible is a must. Nowadays, when people do their research on their own on the Internet, invisibility means losing potential customers.
Become visible and recognisable
If people need to solve a problem, they search on the Internet. It’s even more important for B2B services where around 60%-70% of the buyer’s journey is made on the Internet without contact with your company (even if the contact is required to make a purchase). If you aren’t there, you’ll lose customers simply because they don’t know about your existence.
There’s a difference between low-value and high-value goods. In the case of the latter, when people are going to spend a lot of money, making decisions as employees or signing long-term contracts (like in the case of a marketing automation tool, property security app or CRM), customers need to make sure you’re trustworthy. If you don’t plan your communication in advance around building trust, you may lose a large share of the target market.
Immediate Return of Investment
A well-planned go-to-market strategy shortens the time needed to start earning money. If you start acting before the app is launched, when the day comes, your existence on the market is obvious and expected. You gain customers immediately after launch.
Decrease promotion costs
Thoughtful and planned activities allow you to decrease customer acquisition costs. If you know your clients, you won’t lose money blindly experimenting with the wrong audiences for your marketing campaigns.
Opportunity for early app improvements
A well-planned go-to-market strategy helps you to improve the app from the very beginning. You can provide early access to the app to build a customer base, collect user feedback and improve the app before the final launch. The early access group is usually more understanding than the rest, so you can ask them for opinions with a low risk of losing them.
A go-to-market strategy is not only about the way how you tell your target market about your app but also how you’ll help them to use it. You can prepare a guidance or video tutorial in advance and provide the users with it when launching the app. You should also ensure your support team, with their sales reps, will be there for those early adopters who need direct help.
Your activities are aimed at increasing sales volume. That means your company grows, and so do the app requirements. To provide an outstanding user experience, you need to take care of the infrastructure before the app is overloaded. There must be no surprises. With good marketing planning and analysis, you can predict when that happens and prevent it.
The go-to-market strategy is also about being compliant. You must ensure your app is secure (don’t be afraid to interview your software developer on this point) and fulfils all law rules (especially if you’re a healthcare company). You have to take care of compliance while planning your marketing activities: marketing automation, analysis, privacy, personal data assessment and so on.
A go-to-market strategy or sales strategy?
The go-to-market strategy is all about boosting your app usage and engagement and, therefore, your income. It’s important which monetisation model you’ve chosen because it might define your communication strategy.
In many cases, when people think about marketing strategy, they actually think about the sales cycle or sales funnel. It’s highly connected with the buyer journey and decision stages. It is said that every user goes through a few stages of the buying process before they make a purchase: awareness, consideration and decision. I would add another step just before the decision: intent.
In real life, those stages are not linear but tangled.
The most important definitions of go-to-market strategy terms
Let’s make some terms clear. Everyone who visits your website or consumes your communication is a prospect. When the prospect contacts you and provides you with an email, he becomes a lead. Then you observe the lead actions, and when you find out it fulfils the requirements of your sales team or sales manager, you can pass the lead (now: qualified lead) to them. They contact the qualified lead and decide whether there’s a sales opportunity (opp) and create a deal.
Awareness (problem identification)
Every time a user decides to use your app, he’s made the first step to this decision earlier. It starts when a potential customer realises that he has a problem to solve or a need to fulfil. Sometimes it’s an article or podcast encouraging them to think that way or a conversation with friends. Whatever it is, it’s a trigger.
Consideration (solution exploration)
At this stage, when people know their problem, they’re looking for solutions that allow them to solve it or fulfil the need. They might not be aware of your app’s existence yet, but they are looking for possible solutions (e.g. printed templates for trip planning vs mobile app).
Nowadays, when almost everything is being googled, being visible in the digital world is a must. The statement that a good product is enough to earn money and there’s no need to promote it is a holdover. Your job is to make your product visible. Otherwise, you’ll lose potential customers who choose a solution by your competitor.
Intent (requirements building)
In some distinctions, you won’t find this stage, but we believe that it’s important. When people know how they want to solve their problem, they need to find an app that offers all the needed features The questions about functionality define not only the must-haves but the list of potential apps simultaneously.
At this stage, you can help your customers-to-be define their requirements and induce them to check your offer. It’s extremely important because you can promote solutions unique to your company – the possibility of automatic trip itinerary building, for example.
That brings us to the final sales funnel step – decision. Now, they’re making the decision of which app to use, your or your competitors’. There are only a few apps competing at this stage.
Your customers also need to decide whether to choose a free or paid plan.
Your job is not finished yet. Although usually sales funnels end here, your marketing strategy should go way further. If you’re promoting your app, you should remember it’s not just an app. It’s an overall experience with your company and brand that makes sales. You need to provide users support and an easy start with the app.
What is the flywheel about?
When you are going to build a free app that makes money on adverts, it’s extremely important for you to have active users. So it is when you offer a subscription model, ’cause if someone resigns from using the app, they’ll probably do this for good.
The truth is, your go-to-market activities shouldn’t finish with a purchase (e-commerce shops know this best). You need to take care of the user and delight them to raise loyalty. Loyal existing customers not only provide income but are also promoters who can spread the news about the app to the world. The most effective advertisement, which can be considered free, is whispering marketing.
Customer lifetime value
Every user has its own weight. It’s called a customer lifetime value. Simply speaking, it’s about how valuable the customer would be through the whole relationship with your company.
If you’re an e-commerce, it could be the amount of money spent on your products from the first purchase to the final one (in the future). For a tour company, those might be all the trips the client will plan with you. For a streaming platform, the overall length of paid subscription, and so on.
The loyal customer provides you with a higher income and revenue thanks to lower customer acquisition costs. You don’t need to invest to attract them again. They are already engaged. Your job is to keep them that way.
Even if their engagement decreases, they still have your app installed or are on your mailing list, so you can use those to make them active again.
Loyalty also has another side. Think about how often you’ve installed an app simply because your friend told you it’s a good one. That’s how loyalty works. If you attract users and make them delighted, it’s more than probable that they will recommend the app to family, friends or acquaintances. This is the most effective way to gain new users and a higher ROMI (return of marketing investment).
When to start pre-launching activities?
If you start your marketing activities a month or two before the launch, it might be too late. There’s no rule on when to start executing a go-to-market strategy; you need to assess it by yourself. If you start too soon and won’t plan communication well (won’t deliver any interesting content and updates), your followers will lose interest in your app.
On the other hand, if you start too late, your app may not be recognisable enough to provide you with a solid opening because of a small customer base.
You may start your project with a Minimum Viable Product to verify your idea (check Gabriela’s article about an MVP to find out more). You can follow Dropbox’s founder’s footsteps and, at the very beginning, provide your users with a piece of information about your app idea. That approach has two main benefits: it gives you an insight into the target market and increases awareness about your product even before you have a developer who brings it to life.
How to prepare a go-to-market strategy
Now let’s take a look at how to plan the go-to-market strategy for your digital product. If you do it properly, you’ll understand your market position and gain a competitive advantage.
On many points, the go-to-market strategy is required in the software requirements specification, so you can check how to create such a document on our blog.
Clarify the new product idea and goal
The go-to-market strategy begins with the new app idea long before you even choose a software developer (or build an internal team). You need to conceptualise the app as precisely as possible and indicate basic features. That’s your starting point.
Market research – common problems and product-market fit
Researching the market allows you to discover more about prospective customers, the target market and market forces. You need to discover what problems and pain points they have, why those are so important, and how they want to solve them. Then, you need to answer whether your app addresses those (a product-market fit).
Properly conducted research can bring more value to your company by answering the questions about where the target audience is looking for solutions and where they are looking for information and possibilities (probably on competitors’ websites). You can discover trends and challenges of the target customers, factors that influence purchases, and customers’ attitudes towards some brands, topics or ideas. That’s crucial for your go-to-market strategy.
The market research is to answer the question of market penetration: whether there’s room for your software product on the market (or is the market oversaturated?) and whether the app has a chance to succeed. It will help you to establish a unique value proposition to differentiate from competitors and attract potential customers. You can find out needs that are not addressed to change them into sales opportunities and check their mindsets about pricing in case of your product.
Whatever app you’re building, there’re always different groups of users that will use it. Each of them might have different problems that are addressed by your app.
Let’s say you’re building a trip planning app. The main goal is to help people to plan their trips, but in fact, it doesn’t mean the same for different groups of people. You might target the youth who are planning their holiday with friends, students who are about to go sightseeing or parents who would like to show their children the world and have time to rest.
There might be many more groups that you could target, and that’s your job here: define those and divide them into segments. Each one will need a different approach and communication. To persuade students to use your app, you might highlight that it recommends events they might take part in, but parents will not be interested in this feature. They will search for children-friendly places, playgrounds or babysitting services in the neighbourhood.
Segmentation is the first step to the buyer personas, which are the detailed description of your segments in an example. Before you start your marketing activities, you also need to define which segments you want to focus your efforts on and which can be temporarily omitted.
What differs buyer personas from ideal customers
You’ve probably heard the buyer persona term. It’s an inevitable element of every marketing strategy but mostly misunderstood.
In many cases, when people think about buyer personas, they describe the ideal user/customer. Max Weber, the XIX century sociologist, described the ideal model by saying that it doesn’t exist. Neither do your ideal users.
Every time you imagine a person, remind yourself that marketing is not about imagination. Don’t be mad at yourself. This mistake is made by most marketers worldwide. Focus on data and facts instead.
Define buyer personas
Buyer personas are descriptions of genuine buyers’ silhouettes and provide customer insights. Those are types of buyers and decision-makers that are valuable for your business.
First of all, define who your clients are. Are you building a CRM for companies or a travel app for people? I recommend you to ask the same question in both cases, but keep in mind which kind of clients you are to attract.
Remember to define who might initiate the purchase process and who might affect the decision (users, influencers). You should provide relevant content to all people engaged in the process, so don’t forget about CFO, CEO, CTO and all those who might have something to say.
There are a few questions you should ask T(but can vary depending on your business):
- Who are those people (demographics)?
- Where do they live?
- What do they do in their spare time?
- What values do they have?
- What do they do in their job?
- Are they decision-makers or influencers?
- In what companies do they work (size and industry)?
- What problems do they have?
- How are they trying to solve them?
- What budget do they have?
- Where are they looking for information? What media do they prefer?
- How do they evaluate solutions?
- What barriers and fears might they have?
When you describe buyer personas, you need to prioritise them to choose who you need to reach first and which are not crucial for your app to succeed.
For every persona, prepare use cases that are a must-have for developers and might be helpful for clients to learn how the app can help them solve their problems and for the sales team to understand the app better.
There’s a difference in developing buyer personas depending on whether you have already existing customers or starting from scratch. Defining buyer personas is much easier when you already have an existing product, but there are some ways to build them also when you’re just starting.
When you have an idea, you need to conduct competitive research. You need to find similar solutions to yours and check their functionalities, pricing strategy and communication. You need to verify whether there’s a place for your app on the market and understand competitors to bring to the end-users a higher value than they do.
You should find out whether there’s one leading solution and, if so, why it’s favoured. You need to establish why your end-users would choose your app over the competitive ones.
If you think your app is to be totally unique and nothing similar was ever made, you’d better check the market again. It might be hard to find them, but it’s worth digging deeper.
Having that information, you can find out whether there are similar apps on the market, what features they have and how to position your solution to differentiate from the competitors, bring a unique value proposition, gain traffic and, foremost, users.
To investigate the field properly, you should gain as much information as possible. Collect everything they published, from brochures to articles and reports, watch their videos and webinars, and observe social media. Check what marketing channels they use. Observe mentions about your competitors on the Internet (check Brand24 tool), analyse them and measure sentiment, and talk with people who might have relevant knowledge.
You need to define whether there’s a place for your app on the market (or it’s saturated by even cheaper solutions) and find the best way to make your brand recognisable and convincing.
The theory is simple, but how to do competitive research when preparing the go-to-market strategy?
Step by step guide
Well, first of all, use a search engine. You need to find at least one relevant app similar to your idea. You don’t need to check all search pages. Focus on the top 10 or top 20 SERP results (SERP = Search Engine Results Page). If those are saturated with similar solutions, you should keep in mind that another app of this kind might not succeed (but you need to verify this).
If you have at least one URL, you can use a dedicated tool to check the competitor. There are many tools on the market, but I recommend using Ubersuggest or seRanking. SeRanking is a paid but powerful SEO tool, while Ubersuggest has a free limited version. Both of them have a free trial, which might be enough for you to make competitive research and keyword research.
Both tools allow you to check the traffic volume and keywords for the URL (use the Keyword by Traffic option in Ubersuggest and Competitive Research in seRanking) and display search results for each keyword associated with it (when you click on the keyword). From there, you can go to a particular competitor overview and find out more about their keywords, most popular pages and content.
Define app requirements
When you know the market and competitors, it’s time to define the app in detail.
As there is a software development aspect, I suggest you check Gabriela Jarzębska’s text on how to gather requirements and write a software requirements specification. As you’ll find, it covers many elements of the go-to-market strategy, like market or competitors’ research, as those are crucial for developing a successful app.
Monetisation model and pricing strategy
When you know your customers, you have to define how your app will earn money (define the business model). Depending on the knowledge about the target market you already have, you can provide a free app that is driven by adverts, a one-lifetime payment or a subscription model.
So it is when it comes to defining pricing strategy. When you know everything about the target customers’ problems and lifestyles, it’s quite easy to assess the right pricing. You need to adjust the model and price to your end-users, or you might not see a penny if the solution is unaffordable.
You can choose from many different monetisation models:
- lower promotional prices at the start
- cost-effective bundle with an existing product
- free plan with earning money on adverts
- freemium – free with limited features with a free full-featured trial
- flat rate – one stable fee
- user-based when paying for users, not features
- pricing per feature
- tiered – various packages for different segments of users with different features
- pay-as-you-go when payments are dependent on usage
Choose a distribution model and the sales strategy
Now you need to choose how you’ll be selling the app. There are some common sales strategies you can choose from. The easiest and cheapest sales strategy is self-service model (especially when your app is sold online), but it might be costly to build. You know it from Amazon or Netflix platforms when you can buy the subscription immediately with no salesperson involved. However, you need a marketing team to boost inbound traffic, nurture leads and bring sales.
You can also build your own internal sales team that is responsible for nurturing the leads. It’s worth considering when sales processes last from a few weeks to a few months. There are two strategies of this kind (inside and field sales strategy), and the difference is the complexity and cost of the solution and the sales team members amount.
You can also build a partner channel strategy to make sales for you in exchange for their margin. That’s a good idea when your app is specialistic, like marketing platforms, and might be added to some third-party services. Remember to provide incentives for partners and appreciate their efforts.
Prepare the sales process
It’s crucial if you’re a B2B company and needs to take care of prospects to become customers, but as a B2C you should not neglect this either.
You need to design the whole sales funnel, from the first contact to closing the deal (and further renewals). The most common stages are first contact, qualification, negotiation, and deal, but you may adjust the process to your business needs and add many other stages. It may also look like this: lead, initial meeting, evaluation, estimation, negotiations, deal closed.
Remember that there are no good or bad funnels. They are adjusted to businesses. Always use some CRM system; there are many free solutions that help you to be up to date and verifiable.
It’s crucial to verify the sales process when the app is live. Sometimes lack of purchases is a result of an improperly built process and defined points of contact rather that the lack of market desire for the app. If you’ve done market research, so you know your app should be desired, think over the sales process based on statistics available to define the weak points and leaking funnel.
Understand customer’s journey and choose channels and mediums
There are two main approaches to the customer journey. The first of them is a buyer’s journey or sales funnel, described above (it’s a business perspective). The second is a cross-channel journey from interest to bought (and beyond, from a customer’s perspective).
Every customer has a trigger that starts the purchase process. It might be an enlightening text or an interesting infographic. From this point, users may interact with your company many times, using search engines, social media, paid adverts and your own website.
Remember that different mediums are used depending on the buyer’s journey stage. At the very beginning, users might look for a solution to a problem in search engines, so it’s the awareness stage. In the consideration phase, they might still use those to find solutions for their challenge. When they have a clear intent, they might need a case study, business case or use cases or webinar and, finally, a free trial when making the final decision.
Customer journey is multichannel, which means he uses different mediums and sources during their decisive path. This term is often confused with omnichannel, which means that your communication should be consistent and present in many different marketing channels (the same that your buyer persona visits).
You should always focus your marketing efforts on channels where your customers are.
You should verify and address the below channels:
- search engine visibility
- email marketing
- social media
- paid campaigns
- brand ambassadors
- Press and public relations
- conferences and trades
Value matrix and competitive advantage (unique selling point)
For every buyer persona, you should create a value matrix. Those will result from buyer personas and their pain points or needs, but you need to translate them into value proposition and message. That’s your communication cheat sheet.
Remember that people don’t care about features. They think in benefits categories.
You can provide a free version of the app if others don’t, build a comprehensive knowledge base or support, invite people to be a part of the development process to improve the app, offer loyalty benefits or simply speak to the deepest motivations. Try to convince people that you understand their challenges and needs and are ready to address them.
For example, Ana is afraid that she won’t handle being a mother because she lacks knowledge. Your value proposition is a solid portion of easily understandable information and free 24/h consultation in case of emergency. The message might be: You won’t be alone. We’ll share with you all our knowledge and experience whenever you need it.
Branding and positioning
Now you know competitors and customers and understand how the latter interact with your communication (it’s all about communication). You need to work out how to achieve competitive advantage and brand recognition that will resonate with end users’ values and goals. You also need to differ from your competitors. For example, to Ana, you might want to be seen as an empathetic childcare expert, so you need to include those values in your communication strategy.
Don’t forget to explain your brand to employees and provide them with internal resources. Sales and support teams should understand your values and clients, have sales reps and be aware of KPIs. They should have a repository with marketing resources like case studies or brochures to be able to send them to customers in need.
There is no brand without a brand story. It’s about what, how and why but in reversed order. People associate your brand with a value that is communicated in “why”. Let’s say that again: the harsh truth is that they are not interested in what you offer as long as they do not see value in it. The value means how using the app benefits them.
Preparing consistent communication
A good marketing strategy is the targeted marketing strategy. Talking to everyone means talking to no one. You need to design communication for every buyer persona (that’s why you need the value matrix) and test the messaging.
Be as specific as possible and always use language understandable to the particular persona. Don’t be afraid of using natural language, the linguistic usus, instead of sophisticated style. You need to make language transparent and invisible to be persuasive. When unique words are used, people focus on them instead of the core of the message (so it is easily forgotten).
That doesn’t mean you should avoid metaphors or visual language. Quite the opposite. Use stories, visualisations and examples to make your message understandable and clear. You can describe use cases to make the app more familiar and tell stories to be remembered. Keep in mind that the most recalled and persuasive messages are the ones that provide pictures, both visual or described.
Don’t flood your potential customers with too much product messaging. It’s about value proposition than specific product or service.
It’s crucial in the digital world to provide a personalised experience, but not in a “Hi, John” way. Nowadays, it’s not enough to mention a customer’s name in an email. Your app should be considered as an end-user’s personal space, adjusted to their needs.
To respond to such preferences, many apps contain some recommendation solutions to provide relevant suggestions. You can also gain an advantage from a marketing automation system. Contrary to popular beliefs, it’s not an emailing system (although it has such a feature), but it can help you to provide to your users relevant content (by emails, website or even web browser) based on their activities and preferences. It’s an extremely helpful tool for gaining and maintaining customers.
Planning marketing boudget
Before you start acting, you must establish how much money you can spend on marketing activities. If you’re a startup, you probably don’t have much to invest.
When you’re out of money, you should invest your time in creating marketing content and using free communication channels. Remember, however, that a well-planned and optimised paid ads strategy can bring your customers without significant acquisition cost.
You should always assess how much money you can spend on gaining a single customer. That allows you to calculate how much you can pay for a single adverts click and conversion. If you’re planning a Google Ads campaign, there are tools that can help you assess whether the campaign you’re planning is doable within your budget.
Generate interest through effective marketing
As you already know the journey your customers goes, you should plan specific activities for each channel you’ve chosen. Your ultimate goal is inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is when leads come to you themselves. I won’t say with no effort from your side because it requires a lot of activities to be visible and persuasive. In fact, your whole marketing strategy is aimed at gaining inbound leads because they have the best quality. If people bother themselves to reach you or install the app, they care, and you are one step closer to the deal (or paid subscription).
To gain inbound leads, you need to know your target audience and plan your activities perfectly. You need to use all relevant channels you’ve defined to promote appropriate content for already segmented target customers, and you should do that consistently.
It’s the most common marketing type, but already illegal and ineffective. It’s called cold calling and is based on searching for potential customers and contacting them by your sales team.
If you thought about this kind of marketing, you’d better try social selling. It is based on sharing knowledge and provides way better results, even if you’re the one who initiates the contact.
If you are targeted at one huge customer to whom you want to offer your app, you might need an account-based strategy. Using it, you focus on specific people from one company and try to understand them to provide relevant content. It’s a costly strategy but might be highly profitable if it succeeds.
As you already know, the best way to gain inbound leads is a good content strategy. You can create it knowing your buyer personas and understanding their challenges. Good content brings traffic to your site and educates your prospects to transform them into leads (and clients).
Every stage of the buyer’s journey
Your content marketing strategy is about providing the right content at every stage of the decisive path (buyer’s journey). Most marketers planning the content marketing matrix focus on consideration, intent and decision but forget about awareness. It’s understandable when you realise that awareness is the less profitable stage in the category of direct sales, but it’s the trigger.
When you focus only on further stages, you risk that the client will be taken over by competition, who provide them with enlightening content. If you are the one who helps a client to notice their problems, you might be the first who suggest a solution. It becomes the reference point for every other possibility the client encounter.
So, from this point of view, it’s obvious that leaving this stage out of the interest is leaving the market share. Don’t be afraid that you won’t be able to show the contribution of those texts to the overall sales volume; you will. If you invest in a marketing automation tool and integrate it with Google Analytics and Tag Manager, you’ll be able to indicate the first and every other point of contact with your content, including the awareness articles.
The right content
Content marketing strategy is also about providing the right content. That means you need to understand what your target customers need and give it to them. In the case of a B2B app, you need to build trust through case studies, business cases, testimonials, whitepapers and reports, and by sharing knowledge.
You should also take care of users who already use the app to ease the process of adoption. The better users know the app and the more intuitive it seems, the more willingly they use it and pay for it.
Remember, also, that it’s easier and more cost-effective to take care of people who already use your app than convincing strangers to do that. It’s highly connected with loyalty, which arises with customer satisfaction. Loyalty pays off.
Whatever you do, do it wisely. Don’t believe that marketing activities are unmeasurable. There’s always something you can measure to find out whether your campaigns are going in the right direction.
Remember that your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-specific. Avoid setting too many KPIs for one business goal. Choose one or two main KPIs that reflect the overall success of your activities and some supportive ones. Monitor them and be ready to make some changes when those are far from being reached. You’ll know that if you track conversions.
Conversions are valuable activities on your website or in your app. It’s up to you to define them. Those might be app downloads, subscriptions, newsletter signups or contact form submissions. Maybe there’s some action inside the app that is valuable for you? Maybe you have loyalty card storage, and it’s valuable to know whether someone added a card or not. Maybe a conversion is a time spent listening to music in your app or the number of movies watched. It must resonate with your business.
It also depends on the decisive path. On the awareness level, you might consider opening another article as a conversion, while on the intent stage, you would expect to download the demo of the paid app or visit the pricing page. Then you know that the lead is in the final stage and can make proper activities.
Define conversions as actions that move clients from one funnel level to another. That will help you to adjust your activities and provide users with the appropriate content. If you use a good marketing automation tool (like user.com), you can integrate it with your website or Google Tag Manager and send conversion details directly to the system. Using those, you can make automatic rules that will trigger some campaigns depending on users’ activities.
If you don’t know what to measure, challenge yourself. Make a brainstorming session with your colleagues, and free your mind with something completely different (maybe eat a pie – in Men in Black III, it worked :)). Marketing should be creative, so go out from your comfort zone and think about what would be important to you.
It’s also about patterns. Carefully watch which user’s activities define passing to another sale funnel stage or lead to conversions. Not every observed activity must be considered a conversion, but it might be helpful to monitor some (as GTM events, e.g.).
If you use any marketing automation tool, it might be considered CRM. Systems like user.com, GetResponse or SalesManago provide you with the CRM functionality and the opportunity to measure funnel flow. You can build your customer base and personalise the communication.
You should measure how many leads are coming to your funnel, how many of them convert into sales opportunities and which one ends with won deals. There’s no difference between whether you offer a streaming app or an enterprise processes management tool. In each case, the knowledge you gain will be beneficial.
Marketing automation and lead generation
Customer journey is connected with lead nurturing. When someone signs in to your newsletter or downloads gated content, they land in your database. If you have a marketing automation tool, you can trigger almost any action depending on what the contact has already done or which pages visited. You can create complicated rules and provide your users with the most suitable content.
However, there is a catch. You need to prepare the whole content for your content marketing plan to be able to nurture leads properly. If you stop sending emails because of lacking content, you may lose the sales opportunity.
Before you launch the app, you need to specify how you’ll support your users if they face problems or pain points. The first and obvious place is a knowledge base. Take care of explaining all features and providing a quick start guide. As users spend more time on the platform, they might need more advanced tips. At this stage, marketing automation platforms might be useful to provide the right content at the right time.
The feedback loop
Your product will never be perfect. There’s always some space for improvements. Circumstances are changing, as well as people and their needs. You need to constantly monitor your end-users approach and opinion.
You can ask your sales team to ask customers for feedback, but keep in mind it would be a positive one (especially when they’re closing a deal). Your support team may provide you insight into clients’ thoughts as they talk with unhappy customers who are inclined to express their dissatisfaction.
If you run social profiles and have an active audience, you can ask them for opinions. You can build a brand advocacy program whose additional benefit is gaining knowledge of how people see your products (but you need to allow free communication and be open to negative sentences).
You can use traditional methods, like surveys or interviews, but you should be careful not to affect the outcome simply by how the questions are formulated or the order they’re placed. During qualitative interviews, you should be cautious and aware that your behaviour may also affect the standings. It’s worth being aware of that, but don’t be discouraged.
You can also activate users by open request forms, contests, promotions, emails or monitoring the Internet to find all mentions about your product and brand (or competitors’). The final method not only allows you to gather valuable feedback (and insight into sentiment) and measure brand recognition but also monitors competitors and their activities.
Delight customers and take care of loyalty
Now there’s a time for rewarding loyal customers. You can do that in multiple ways:
- be open to communication, and appreciate (and implement) their suggestions
- aim on delighting a customer and responding to needs they reveal
- provide special offers and gifts for loyal customers
- build a loyalty program with some benefits
- build an advocacy chain inviting some people to become experts for your app
- reward proactive customers who encourage others to use your app
Preparing a roadmap is easier when you know what your clients think. You should constantly improve the app and fix issues. Constant problems might discourage your customers from using the app, but when you’re working to improve it, they may use it more willingly.
Use your data to improve the app
Analyse the data since launching the app and use them to make the app better. There are many tools that can help you to assess your marketing campaigns. Below you’ll find the most useful ones.
- Hotjar – allows you to build heatmaps and analyse how users interact with your app
- Google Analytics – allows you to monitor user flows and discover weak points of your app
- Marketing Automation (e.g. user.com, GetResponse, SalesManago, Eloqua, HubSpot) – can show you whether your omnichannel campaigns are effective in lead nurturing
- Google Tag Manager – helps you define custom events (that might be your conversions) and pass them to a MA and Analytics tools for better analysis
- Search Console – is a Google tool that helps monitor problems with search indexation
- seRanking or Ubersuggest – allows you to monitor competitors’ activities, improve search engine optimization and monitor Google search position
- Surfer SEO – helps you to write well-optimised and competitive content to reach the TOP10 search results
- Campaign builder – for better sources and mediums measurement
- Brand24 – for Internet monitoring and discovering competitive advantage
Final tip: never stop improving
Finally, improve everything you can – your value proposition, pricing strategy, the app itself, customer care, lead nurturing at every stage of the sales cycle, marketing campaigns and communication. Whatever you think about right now surely can be improved and optimised.
John Wanamaker, the American marketing expert, once said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.
Learn from data and experiments. Make mistakes. You won’t avoid wrong decisions and missed campaigns, but when you know what went wrong, you’re successful.
Improving is about learning and avoiding repetitive mistakes.
I keep my fingers crossed for the success of your upcoming app launch. Don’t forget to let me know on LinkedIn how it goes!
Marketing is about research and communication. As a social scientist and marketer with many years of experience, Kasia combines knowledge and crafting to help design the app and plan and execute marketing strategies for TeaCode and our clients.
Even the best app can fail if no one uses it. How do we reach them with our messages in a world saturated with communication? That's why she helps clients spread the news about their apps worldwide.