How to Market Your Application
Build For Your Audience, and We’ll Help You Reach Them
Making the right contacts and developing the sales cycle can be both challenging and time consuming. In addition, B2B (business to business) marketing and sales are a lot tougher than B2C (business to consumer). Businesses are looking for ways to save time, gain additional revenue, lower their churn, increase customer loyalty, and/or increase their ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). The single most important thing to remember here is NO FLUFF! Build your story with legitimate analytics, short case studies, and assumptions with backbone. Skip the generalities and go straight to the details they’re looking for.
Identify and Engage Your Core User Base
“No Fluff! Build your story with legitimate analytics, short case studies, and assumptions with backbone.
Prior to getting started, it’s important to have a solid product and a clearly defined list of benefits for hosting providers. You’ll then need to convince both the technical and business-minded folks at web hosting companies to evaluate your application.
Three of the top areas web hosting companies are concerned with are acquiring new customers, retaining current customers, and ARPC (Average Revenue Per Customer). You’ll need to be fully prepared to provide the Execs a path to all three of these items for them to consider evaluating your application.
To successfully sell your product to technical engineers, you’ll need to:
- Build your story
- Engage them
- Provide short-order education on how your application benefits them
- Convince the Execs
- Your next step is to reach out to the marketing teams and executives
Now that you’re completed the hard work, let’s explore some ideas that’ll usher you into web hosting companies and get noticed.
Three questions will stand out when presenting your software…
- Is your application secure, and what steps have you taken to make sure you’re not adding threats to their server environment?
- Does the application work, and has it been heavily tested? Anomalies and/or buggy software will result in a higher support load. Ease of use for end users and admins is also highly important. The more integrated your software is into their existing cPanel & WHM interface the better. In other words, can your mom use it?
- If you’re dealing with a web hosting provider that has hundreds or thousands of servers, how are they going to deploy and update it on new and existing installs? If you’re asking them to go through a complex installation procedure and manually apply updates, you’ll most likely be asking them for a lot of hours of their time.
12 Ways to Market your application
Build the community: The web hosting industry is very competitive. Once one of the larger players has your application and is marketing it as a new feature, others will want it. Getting the first sale might be difficult. Providing it for free or at a highly discounted rate can help you establish a solid base.
Build a GREAT website: Provide a website that not only tailors to selling your product to web hosting providers but also provides them with content they can use on their own site. Go in-depth with technical data, provide FAQ’s, feature pages, and screenshots for all aspects of your application. Make your product site the perfect marketing and technical resource.
cPanel Forums: We have a great online community at http://forums.cpanel.net. With over 100,000 members, your application is sure to get some major face time. Get involved, discuss, present, and promote your application!
cPanel Employees: Our employees at cPanel are avid users of our products. They live, breathe, and eat automation. Provide working demos of your software and allow them to install and play with it. Don’t mistake an over-the-phone “demo” with letting them actually dig their hands in and get dirty. There just might be an opportunity for them to spread the word about your software. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool.
cPanel’s Application Catalog: http://go.cPanel.net/apps Our application catalog is a directory of third party applications that integrate with the cPanel & WHM product. Getting listed in the application catalog will provide you exposure and introduction to web hosting companies.
Other websites: There are a number of other websites that you can utilize to promote your application. Gaining external exposure will provide additional traction.
Commercial and Open Source Indexes
Open Source Sites
cPanel’s Annual Conference: Once a year, we hold a cPanel Conference which focuses on automation training. Top tier providers, partners, and experts from cPanel gather together during this two day event. Various promotional opportunities are available including sponsorships and exhibit packages. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Social Media: We love social media and have a great community on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Building a community can be tough, but you can start conversations, make announcements, and get inside a growing community. Don’t forget to utilize @cpanel and #cpanel on Twitter. It may get re-tweeted by the cPanel marketing team.
Press Releases/News Sites: Make a big deal about your product, gain legitimacy, and reach the press! Press releases provide ongoing steam in the marketing engine which is crucial to getting the word out. We utilize a number of services including PRWeb, PingZine, The Web Host Industry Review (WHIR), TopHosts.com, TheHostingNews, and HostReview.com with great results. Develop your media release strategy and provide the news buffs insight into your project.
Offer a demo or trial: Technical and marketing professionals like to see things in action. Offer a demo of your software and show them how your software works. Be sure to highlight the process, the added functionality, and the ability to test drive it in sandbox environments.
How do I get my application included with cPanel by default?
Generally, we do not market other services directly to our customers (unless there’s a really incredible reason to do so). If you’re wanting us to approve and distribute your plugin, bear in mind the very high standard of excellence it must achieve before it’ll be distributed directly with cPanel & WHM. Please remember, cPanel is a control panel, not a marketing platform. Including third-party plugins with a default cPanel installation will always be the exception and not the rule.
Some basic criteria we utilize to determine viability of applications with our software include:
- Customer Demand
- Coding Standard
- Unique Functionality
At cPanel, we believe in great software, and we hope you’ll find working with our development and business development teams an enjoyable process. Every project has unique aspects, and utilizing one or more of these tips may help boost your exposure.