From a B2B marketing standpoint, the value of a well-established software community is priceless. It’s a dynamic venue for generating feedback, bringing users and prospects together, growing software/IT leads database, and promoting your brand. If you’re wondering how you can build one for your own product, take a look at the following guidelines.
1. Do your homework. A software community requires special skills and tools to be managed smoothly. Study other communities and see what makes them tick. Thoroughly understand specific tools like blogs, online groups, social bookmarking, forums, targeted emails, and monitoring systems as these will be your constant companions in overseeing your community.
2. Set your mission and goals. Give your software community a specific reason for existing. When setting your software community’s direction, take the perspective of your participants and not just your own. Don’t make it just about building your software leads database. Instead, find a binding cause that engages your intended members.
3. Lay down community rules. Since you’ll be dealing with a number of individuals throughout multiple channels, it’s important to outline a set of house rules for each. For example, set the minimum number of replies a forum participant must make to reach a certain status. You can also specify rules like registering to your mailing list before becoming a member, which is similar to how a leads database provider builds its opt-in lists.
4. Polish your plan. Your plan should describe how you respond to and follow up on conversations or questions in your software community. It should cover how you moderate discussions and motivate better participation. Make sure to also think about how you plan to promote the software community itself.
5. Launch your community. Once you launch your software community, keep monitoring participants and make sure that you actively take part as well. Look for opportunities to respond to important points, promote your products, develop your leads database, and educate users and prospects.
Communication is essential in keeping a software community on the right track. In the next blog post, we’ll be looking at effective email communications in the software marketing setting. So, stay tuned for another edition of the software marketing survival guide.