Congratulations, you’ve launched your new software product! Now, all you need to do is build up a customer base and get people talking about your product. For companies that have been focusing on development, this is not often such an easy task. You might ask what it is that you need to do other than point out how great your product is.
The truth of the matter is that if you want to succeed via word of mouth, you need fans. You need to create a community of users who have rallied around your product and you need to get those users united and talking to each other. A united tribe that talks positively about your product becomes a group that attracts other potential users.
And although building up your customer base will require a lot of initial work, the rewards are well worth it. Here are some considerations to get started:
Create incredible content about your product – Write about the coolest aspects of your product and put that information into your descriptions. Does your product have a benefit to your customer like decreasing download time? If so, that’s great; busy people know they should have it. But if you make a point to tell me I will never again have to watch a “forever buffering” movie or video, then, BAM, you’ve really gotten my attention in a way that directly benefits me. You’ve shown me a need that I might not have even known I needed filled. You’ve hooked me and I want to know more.
Do whatit takes to get your user’s initial attention: humorous headlines, terrific graphics, or a sly sense of humor. Use everything in your creative marketing toolbox to make sure that people not only stop by your site, but decide to join the party.
Create incredible content about your users – Epic content gets noticed. When your users do something great, go ahead and sing their praises. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be related to your product. Something that is funny or cute often grabs attention. The point is to show the world that your users are some of the most intelligent, humorous, and downright coolest folks out there.
Who wouldn’t want to join a group like that?
Put your product in context – Try not to showcase your software product as a standalone product. Tie it in to other products and show how it complements and enhances an overall experience. Spell out the connections for your customer so that they can easily see why they should use your product. An excellent example of this is Dell’s homepage (www.dell.com) where they specifically point out the ways their product can benefit you (For Home, For Small & Home Office, For Small & Medium Business, and so on). In this particular case, they are not just selling a product, they are selling a solution.
Make it easy for your user to find what he needs – Does your user have a question or need assistance? Be sure to make it as easy as possible for him to contact you. (Got a Question? Click this box!) Likewise, organize forums into categories, use keywords, and separate discussions from articles and white papers. Declutter the path so that your user can see exactly where he needs to go to get what he wants.
Create a team of users – Everyone likes to be part of a group. Star Trek fans are called Trekkies, Digital Equipment Corporation employees were called Deccies – consider coming up with a name for your tribe of followers.
Make the user experience sweet – Acknowledge your users and reward them for supporting your product. Let them have exclusive access to downloadable media, give them “points” for participation, or give them special responsibilities (Want to be on our next beta review team?)
Constantly enhance your product’s message – Just as everyone gets tired of watching the same old reruns on TV, so will your users get tired of seeing the same old message from your company. Constantly modify the message, change your graphics, and tie material into current events and even the time of year. Try to make your content fresh and give your users a reason to keep coming back.
It takes effort to build a fan base, but once you have the foundation developed, your reach to new customers will be wider than you could have imagined. What other tips do you have to build a loyal fan base?